The Steel and Flint Pen has made its way into my top three pen Kickstarter projects (and that’s of all time, not just this year). The design is clean, the pen is compact enough to go everywhere in my pocket, and I've discovered a new daily-writer refill that I’m absolutely crazy about, the Schmidt Easyflow 9000. In short, if you’re a pocket pen aficionado looking for a reliable ballpoint to add to your daily carry, look no further. Go back this pen now.
Steel and Flint is the brainchild of Mike Hancox, located in the UK. This pen is his first Kickstarter project, and I have to say I’m impressed with both the idea and the execution. The aspects of this pen that have received the most attention are the knurling on the grip and the magnetic, "soft-close" cap. The knurling provides a textured surface for gripping the pen without being too sharp, while the cap works as advertised (see demonstration below). The cap runs nearly the entire length of the pen and fits tightly whether the pen is capped or posted. The pen also has a nice girth and balance: it's compact enough to remain pocketable, but just large enough to hold comfortably when writing for relatively long periods of time. You won't be writing novels with this pen, but it should meet any reasonable pocket pen expectations.
The Steel and Flint pen comes in three colors: Satin Silver, Champagne Gold, and Basalt Black. My pen is the Champagne Gold, and I was pleasantly surprised at the color. It’s definitely NOT the option I would have chosen myself, but I absolutely love how it turned out. This is why it’s a good thing to have people surprise you from time to time to push your boundaries! I'll also note that this finish holds up well to pocket carry. I've kept this pen in my pocket all week (with keys) and dropped its on its end multiple times, yet there's not a single scratch or dent on it. Not to say that normal wear and tear doesn't add character, but how this pen has held up to rough treatment certainly speaks to the quality of the product.
At least one Kickstarter commenter has raised the issue of similarity to CW&T’s Pen Type B. While there is some visual similarity, any fair comparison probably ends there. The Steel and Flint pen is much smaller and lighter, is made from a different material (aluminum vs. brass/steel), features a knurled grip, and uses an entirely different refill and closing mechanism. For now, they also sit at drastically different price points ($70 for Steel and Flint vs. $160 for Pen Type B). Honestly, in terms of look and feel, the Steel and Flint pen reminds me more of a cross between the Baron Fig Squire and the Lamy Pico than anything else.
At the end of the day, what sold this pen for me as a good daily writer is the refill. For some reason, I’ve never had the opportunity to use the Schmidt Easyflow 9000 ballpoint refill, and that’s a shame. After using this pen for a few days, I ordered a pack of six, and have since swapped out all my Retro 51 / Schmidt liquid ink rollerball refills for the EasyFlow. It’s that good, reminiscent of the Uniball Jetstream or Pilot Acroball, with a slightly darker line. Unfortunately, I think a lot of pen manufacturers are afraid to go with the EasyFlow refill as the flagship refill because it's not trendy and people consider it "boring." Steel and Flint made a good choice here, but if you absolutely don't like ballpoints the pen will accept any Parker-style refill.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
I've been very pleased with my prototype Steel and Flint pen, and I'm glad to see that the project is now 100% funded as of a couple days ago. Congrats to Mike and his team! You get in on the action until December 16, 2016 by going to the project Kickstarter page. Early birds are sold out, but you can still snag a pen for around $70 (depending on the dollar-to-pound exchange rate). I've heard that post-Kickstarter retail will be around $100, which most people agree seems a touch high for an aluminum pocket pen, but I'll reserve judgment until I see the final product. There are some Kickstarter add-on options that you may want to check out as well, including personalized laser engraving and a leather pen sleeve.
If you're still on the fence about whether this pen might work for you, check out Brad's review over at the Pen Addict, Ian's review over at Pens! Paper! Pencils!, and Mike Dudek's review over at the Clicky Post.
Disclaimer: This pen was sent to me free of charge for review purposes. This post may also contain affiliate links to third-party sites.