Recently I've been having recurring thoughts about having a custom pen made. I've generally put them aside with the thinking that there are still plenty of pens and pen brands out there that I haven't yet seen, touched or tried.
Then, a couple days ago, I read a post by Thomas Hall on the making of his grail pen. His pen, without a doubt, is stunning. I love looking at demonstrators, the bling of raden and the depth of urushi...but to combine them all into one pen is simply breathtaking.
Thomas' post opened my eyes up to possibilities that could be yielded from thoughtful research, patience and simply knowing what you like and don't like. Of course, it's important on such journeys to find the right partners to help execute the vision. I'm coming to realize that a grail pen doesn't necessarily have to be limited edition Visconti, Omas, Montblanc, Danitrio or Nakaya (etc. etc.) It could be an intensely personal, one-of-a-kind piece made just for me.
I had a few Twitter exchanges with Thomas. True to his reputation as THE Chief Enabler, he encouraged me to look into custom pens. It doesn't necessarily need to have all the features that would make it NSFW (Not Safe For Wallet) but simply designed with my taste in mind. In his post, Thomas is extremely positive on his grail pen experience:
Would I do this again? Absolutely. Would I change anything about the design? No. And yes. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve left the whole barrel as a demonstrator, rather than go with an ink window. In the end, I am completely satisfied with this pen. It is a joy to behold. I love how it feels in the hand. It becomes invisible and just works when I’m writing with it. When I want to roll it around in my hand, I get to enjoy the magic of the raden and seeing the ink slosh around inside. So really, I wouldn’t change a thing.
So, I'm going to do some homework and think about what I would want in my unique custom-made writing instrument. And you, kind reader, should go to Penucopia to read about the making of Thomas' grail pen and check out his other NSFW posts.