Monday, August 16, 2021

Fountain Pen Review: On A Whim Woodworks Fountain Pen

Writing about fountain pens allows me to try a variety of products from different makers and to also meet many people behind the brands. With each fountain pen review, I learn about pens, their makers, and the company that produced them. One of the brilliant pen makers I've met recently is Alan Shrebtienko, the owner and maker behind On A Whim Woodworks, after seeing his wonderful fountain pens on Instagram and Etsy. A retired Physics teacher from Indiana, Alan makes bespoke fountain pens using the most gorgeous pen blanks from Bob Dupras, McKenzie Penworks, Tailored Pen Company, Carolina Pen Company, and Turnt Pen Co.

For this review, Alan made me a beautiful and unique fountain pen using Peacock Springs from Bob Dupras. The fountain pen is one of a kind and special, and the material is mesmerizing. Peacock Springs is a beautiful combination of yellow, orange, red, blue, brown, and gray. On one side it looks like a raging fire, and on another, it reminds me of sweet, caramel syrup.

The fountain pen is neatly packaged in a sleeve and presented in a simple black box embossed with the logo of On A Whim Woodworks.

Alan has turned this colorful fountain pen skillfully, it is polished to a high gloss that is smooth to touch. This pen's finish is truly exceptional, and it is more beautiful in person. I am truly amazed at Alan's exceptional pen turning. He lost part of his vision in 2016 due to a life-threatening case of pancreatitis. Despite that, he works on pens and does woodworking and won first place in the craft category of the 2020 APH InSights Art competition for artists who are blind or visually impaired. (For more about Alan's exceptional woodworking skills, read this article by Amy Lynn Smith:

This pen is larger than most of my pens, but it's well-balanced and comfortable to hold and use for longer periods of writing. It's not a heavy pen, but it's not light, either. The pen is widest at the top of the cap and slightly tapered towards the barrel end. It has a small step at the joint and the slender section fits my hand perfectly. It has 13mm triple start cap threads and a JoWo #6 steel nib. A Schmidt K5 converter is also included in every pen purchase.

My first On A Whim Woodworks fountain pen, from blanks called Peacock Springs made by Bob Dupras.

This fountain pen has the following specifications and measurements:
  • Length, capped: 5.75 in | 14.6 cm
  • Length, uncapped: 5.27 in | 13.4 cm
  • Length, cap posted: 7.3 in | 18.5 cm
  • Full pen weight: 20.3 g | 0.71 oz
  • Body material: Bob Dupras Peacock Springs
  • Cap: Screw-on, postable but not very stable and may fall off
  • Clip: None
  • Nib: JoWo No. 6 Broad 
  • Filling mechanism: Cartridge or Schmidt K5 converter included in each pen purchase from On A Whim Woodworks

Alan's pens are mostly without clips and I like them that way. The only downside to this design is that the pen just rolls off without a clip that also doubles as a stopper. I just place the pen in its sleeve so it doesn't roll away and fall off the table.

This pen can be filled with ink using standard international cartridges or a converter, and Alan has thoughtfully included a Schmidt K5 converter with each pen purchase. But as this pen is made from a single block of resin without holes or metal parts in its barrel, I'm considering converting it into an eyedropper pen! Imagine all the ink that can go into that barrel? (I'll post an update when I do the  eyedropper conversion.)

This pen can be filled with ink using cartridges or a Schmidt K5 converter. It can be converted into an eyedropper pen, too!
The beautiful faces of this fountain pen. You can look at different sides and always see beautiful patterns from this wonderful fountain pen creation by Alan.

Alan offers JoWo or Bock No. 6 nibs in his pens. This pen came with a steel JoWo No. 6 Broad nib that is smooth and wrote well out of the box. When I received this pen, I held off inking it because I wanted to take its photos with a clean converter. When I finally inked it, I regretted holding off because the nib just wrote so smoothly. I'm not so much into nib priming or tuning when using a pen for the first time, so I'm glad this pen's nib wrote so well with its first ink. I did not experience hard starts, skips, or inky blobs as I wrote with it. 

This pen came with a steel No. 6 JoWo nib that writes smoothly.

Alan's fountain pen is a full-sized one that shares almost the same length and diameter as a regular Esterbrook Estie and Leonardo Momento Zero. In the photos below I included several pens to show their size differences/similarities with the pen from On A Whim Woodworks and also to showcase the pens turned from beautiful resins made by different makers. Peacock Springs stands out in this group as its vibrant color swirls show through.

Uncapped, this pen has the same length as the Esterbrook Estie Rocky Top Oversize (OS) and is longer than the Collier, regular Estie, and Momento Zero. 

Beautiful pens made from wonderful pen blanks. From top: Esterbrook Estie Rocky Top OS, Edison  Pen Co. Collier, On A Whim Woodworks + Bob Dupras Peacock Springs, Esterbrook Estie Frontier Green, and Leonardo Officina Italiana Momento Zero Positano Blue.
Uncapped, the Peacock Springs fountain pen is now longer than most pens in this group and shares the same length as the Rocky Top OS.

To test this pen, I filled it with Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Brown, one of my favorite russet brown inks. I wrote a full page of text in an A5 notebook, and the Broad nib wrote smoothly. This pen fits my hand so well, and its well-balanced design allows for comfortable writing. Even if I had to write a whole page, I did not experience any discomfort at all.

The Pelikan Brilliant Brown ink is perfect for this beautiful fountain pen. I love that the Broad nib writes smoothly, juicy, and wet.

I am very happy with my first fountain pen from On A Whim Woodworks and I am recommending it to anyone who wants to know Alan and explore his colorful creations. This pen is beautiful and well-designed, and I'm glad to have one in my collection. Alan is an excellent and skilled pen maker who uses only the best materials and takes great care in making fountain pens. Get one of his pens for your collection now!

Rants of The Archer thanks Alan Shrebtienko for providing the fountain pen in this review. His pens are available at Etsy, where they retail for US$149-US$169. But you have to hurry as his pens are always sold out!

If you want a custom-made pen from Alan, visit his Etsy shop or look him up on Instagram. At the moment, the queue is about a month, and anyone who wants to get on the list can choose the material for their pens. Alan keeps a good inventory of material from the best makers, or he can order for clients if they want something that's not in stock. 

To learn more about On A Whim Woodworks, visit them on Etsy ( or follow them on Instagram:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Clement for the review. I enjoyed it. Excellent choice of pen!