After my appearance on the Pen Addict podcast a few weeks ago, some of my more definitive statements about things were brought to light, including my recommendation of the Sherpa over a Render K in the Holiday Gift Guide Rebuttal. It lead to the fine folks at Karas Kustoms offering to open my mind to the awesomeness of the Render K by sending me a pen to review. I was surprised and delighted to find a green anodized Render K in my mailbox within a week and have spent the last week using my Render K and experiencing this unique and frankly quite amazing pen.
The first thing to note, of course, is that the Render K are made in the USA. Each pen machined from aluminum so they are seamless. The only thing that is attached is the industrial-grade clip which is held on with two screws. The top of the cap has the same diamond-plate knurling that the Retro51 has and gives some grip if you screw the cap on too tightly.
The original Render K is available for Pilot Hi-Tec C style refills (in an assortment of nine anodized colors as well as brass) and also to fit Pilot G-2 inserts (only in anodized aluminum). I’m hoping they’ll be an anodized kiwi green in the near future. I love the juniper green of my Render K though.
It took me awhile to write this review because I was having some issues with the original Pilot Hi-Tec C refill I was using. I grabbed one of the Hi-Tec Cs sitting on my desk at work and unscrewed the cap, pulled out the refill and put it into my Render K. All seemed good the first day I used it but the second day the ink stopped flowing consistently. I don’t know if I just had an old dried out Hi-Tec C or what but I was getting a little hot when both the Retro 51 and the Render K were not writing as pleasingly as everyone else had raved. I knew this was an ink issue, not a pen issue and not at all a fault of the Render K so I didn’t want to post my review until I found a refill I was satisfied using.
I scanned my desk again and gazed at my ever-growing pile of Uni-Ball Signo DX pens and wondered if the refill would fit. The tip looked quite similar but the plastic tub filled with ink was a smidge longer than the Hi-Tec C so I pulled out a pair of scissors and hacked off the extra 1/4″ or so. It worked perfectly! I am using a 0.38 blue-black Signo ink cartridge and I am loving the Render K more than ever.
The Render K does not ship with a refill but does include a spring and aluminum spacer for Parker style refills, though after my Retro 51 experience, I’m a little hesitant to try a Parker refill. With the plethora of color and tip sizes for Hi-Tec C and Signo DX, I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about it. Though I might brave it at some point.
Once I had a good ink cartridge in the Render K I could turn my attention to the way the pen felt in my hand, the weight and balance and all the fine details of the craftsmanship.
I thought the Render K was going to be heavy but, at 21gms without the cap (about the same as a Lamy AL-Star), its pleasantly balanced so that I don’t notice that its much heavier than my usual daily writers (Kaweco Sports which weigh a mere 15gms with the cap). Its really not that heavy. The cap does not post but I catch myself just rolling it around in my right hand while I’m writing. The silky smooth aluminum and the knurled top feel pleasing, like a new coin or a smooth stone.
When my husband saw my Render K he was very keen to know more about it. When I told him they were machined in the USA he looked all over the pen intently and was outraged to discover that nowhere on the pen did it say “Made in the USA”. I think it would be awesome if there was a special edition that was stamped or etched on the top of the cap or on the clip “Made in the USA”. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Next on my wish list is the Delrin translucent white Render K model. Its gorgeous! I might buy it for myself for my birthday.
(Thanks to Dan at Karas Kustoms for sending me this lovely pen and converting me to a Render K enthusiast! This pen was sent to me for review purposes and this is my unbiased opinion. Really.)