Monday, October 12, 2020

Fountain Pen Review: Stanford Wood Studio Ghost's Breath

I have used fountain pens for almost thirteen years now, and these writing tools have brought me so much — friends from different parts of the world, art and calligraphy, and this blog that I have been working on ever since. Writing reviews for this blog have become educational and entertaining for me. I meet many people, I receive products from different countries, and with them, I learn about their culture and design preferences. 

Through one of my Instagram posts, I came across an interesting pen maker from an equally interesting country. Stanford Wood Studio, based in Stanford, South Africa are makers of canoes and kayaks. But they also make pens. They make fountain pens, solid wood pens, silk pens, and wood and resin pens and pencils. One of their fountain pens, a three-color clipless Unique caught my eye. This fountain pen is unique as it has three distinct barrel colors, its material has an unexpected addition, and it has a very intriguing name: Ghost's Breath.

Stanford Wood Studio Ghost's Breath Unique fountain pen

Di and Dave, the wonderful team at Stanford Wood Studio called the new pen in their Unique series Spookasem, after the Afrikaan name for cotton candy or candy floss. However, in South Africa, Spookasem translates to ghost's breath. The Unique pen, appearing like a sweet mix of fine cotton candy strands, also has the spectral, ethereal feel of a ghost blowing a kiss. A fun ghost, Di said, not the baddie. One that rolls around with kittens in balls of soft wool, and splashes the dawn clouds with watercolors. So they kept the name Ghost's Breath for this one-of-a-kind, only-one-in-the-world fountain pen. 

Ghost's Breath has an interesting name, but its story is even more captivating, one that I love telling people. This fountain pen has a special ingredient embedded in the blank it was made from—wood shavings from a double canoe that Dave was working on! According to Di, when Dave made the blanks, he was also finishing a double canoe in ash. As he completed the canoe's gunnel, he shaved the finest paper-thin curlicues. The canoe was very special to them both as they have spent many, many months to finish it, and they thought the shavings could be a memento of the canoe and be given a new life in a pen. Ghost's Breath contains the ash shavings from Dave's double canoe, and as long as this pen is with me, I will always remember how special it is to Di and Dave, and that somewhere out there is a double canoe waiting to reunite with its playful ghost sibling.

Ghost's Breath has three sides with unique colors. This side has a combination of blue and pink and some purple swirls. The yellow or golden swirls are the ash shavings from Dave's double canoe. 
This side has more blue swirls.
This dominantly pink side is my favorite because it shows more of the ash shavings.

The Ghost's Breath fountain pen has the following measurements:
  • Length, capped: 5.5 in | 14 cm | 140 mm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.2 in | 13.2 cm | 132 mm
  • Length, barrel only: 3.5 in | 8.9 cm | 89 mm
  • Length, section to nib: 2.2 in | 5.6 cm | 55.9 mm
  • Length, cap: 2.25 inches | 5.7 cm | 57 mm
  • Diameter, barrel: 0.6 in | 1.7 cm | 17 mm
  • Cap thread: 0.5 in | 1.4 cm | 14 mm

The Ghost's Breath is a well-balanced fountain pen. It has a nice heft that's just right for writing. I also like the diameter of this pen's section and how I can comfortably grip it as I write. This pen's cap doesn't post, but that's okay with me as I do not usually write with my pens posted.

This beautiful fountain pen can be filled with ink using cartridges or converters. It's a standard-sized pen that can be filled with short and long international standard ink cartridges. However, Stanford Wood Studio provides a Beaufort converter for every pen purchase, and the Ghost's Breath came with one.

The Ghost's Breath's cap, section + converter, and barrel. That's Robert Oster Signature Dusky Pink in the converter.

The Ghost's Breath cap has a small breather hole to prevent messy ink burps. Screwing an airtight cap onto the pen usually causes air to be pushed into the ink reservoir (cartridge or converter) through the nib/feed. When the cap is unscrewed, the trapped air is released and the nib usually "burps" ink. A breather hole prevents inky accidents such as these from happening.

The Ghost's Breath's cap has a small breather hole to prevent ink burps. 

Most of my fountain pens have clips, so when I got the clipless Ghosts' Breath, it was a new experience. I realized I always needed to check which end I was holding so I don't put it nib down in my pen wrap. However, the makers of the Ghost's Breath are a thoughtful bunch, they provided these simple design tweaks to remind the user of the pen's ends—the cap has a flat top, while the barrel has a pointed end.  Thoughtful, wise, brilliant design!

Thoughtful, wise, brilliant design: this clipless pen has a flat cap top and pointed barrel end, a very helpful design feature. 
Up close: the beautiful ash shavings.

Ghost's Breath is fitted with a #6 bi-color steel and gold Bock nib in my favorite width, broad (B), but it can also be fitted with either a fine or medium nib. This Bock nib is my first Bock, and it wrote smoothly out of the box. It is soft and springy, and such a joy to write with.

The #6 steel and gold Bock nib in Ghost's Breath is such a joy to write with.

The Ghost's Breath is a full-length fountain pen, sharing almost the same length as a Lamy Safari or TWSBI ECO, but it has more heft. It's a litter shorter than the Esterbrook Estie and Laban Wisteria, but it's comfortable to use for long periods of writing. 

Capped, Ghost's Breath is almost the same size as Lamy Safari or TWSBI ECO and shorter than Esterbrook Estie and Laban Wisteria.
Uncapped, Ghost's Breath has the same length as the other four pens. 

To test this beautiful Ghost's Breath's broad Bock nib, I first filled it with J. Herbin Rouille d'Ancre, but it was too wet and dark to be a match. I also filled it with Laban Greek Mythology Aphrodite, but the pen wrote dry. A search in my ink box revealed the perfect ink color with just the right wetness, Robert Oster Signature Dusky Pink. The Bock nib wrote smoothly, and I did not experience any hard starts, skips, or inky blobs. I had no trouble writing at all. And I am so happy I can use this beautiful ghost to write my own compositions and do some colorful doodles. 

Here is a piece I wrote last summer. The broad Bock nib is a wet and smooth writer and I'm glad I can use it for long periods of writing.
And I can use it for ink art, too!

I am very happy with this unique Ghost's Breath, and I am mesmerized with it still. I feel honored that Stanford Wood Studio trusted me to write the first full review of one of their fountain pens. Ghost's Breath is a well-balanced, built for long-term use, and a stunning and beautiful pen. It's not only a work of art, but it's also art that works!

For now, this is the only Ghost's Breath fountain pen that exists. However, if anyone wants to own one, do visit Stanford Wood Studio's website or send Di and Dave a message at There are also many interesting fountain pens in their shop! Get one for your collection!

To learn more about Stanford Wood Studio, how to buy their kayaks, canoes, and pens, and for other details about their wonderful work, visit their website at or follow them on social media:

My deepest gratitude to Stanford Wood Studio for sending this fountain pen to Rants of The Archer all the way from Stanford, Western Cape, South Africa to Laguna in the Philippines. It's a fountain pen full of many interesting stories and it will write more significant ones in the days to come.

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