I love me a good ballpoint. In terms of pure functionality, I enjoy ballpoint pens more than rollerball pens, simply because you don't have to pay much attention to the type of paper you use with a ballpoint. Needless to say, I keep an eye out for attractive ballpoints on Kickstarter and elsewhere.
Joel Lockridge, of Alabaster, Alabama, is a woodworker who has run six successful Kickstarter projects selling his hand-turned wood pens. Four of these involved his "Bourbon Barrel Pens", which, as you might guess, are made of wood reclaimed from bourbon barrels. The other two projects featured rarer materials: pens made from Ancient Bog Oak and Bethlehem Olivewood.
I backed the Bethlehem Olivewood project, and opted for the "Grip Pen with Gunmetal Hardware". The clip, nock, and grip section appear to be standard hardware, but it's all perfectly functional and to write this off as a "just a kit pen" misses the point: the wood. The olivewood is beautifully turned and has lots of nice, dark grain in it. The color sets off nicely against the gunmetal. The thinner knurled grip section pairs well with the thicker, rounder wood body, which sits comfortably in the webbing of your hand. This pen takes a Parker-style refill (unlabeled, but I presume it's a Schmidt or a Monteverde) and I've been pleasantly surprised with the smoothness and darkness of the black ink.
Joel does excellent work, and if you missed the Kickstarter project, you can purchase these pens over at the BourbonPens website. The Grip Pen featured here sells for $60. For as much as I use this pen, it's money well spent.
DISCLAIMER: I purchased this pen with my own funds, for my own collection. I was not compensated monetarily or in any other way for this review.