Pen Review: OHTO Rook

IMG_20131030_171519 - OTHO Rook

The OHTO Rook is my first foray into fountain pens. I wish I could say that it was an enjoyable experience, because I really want to like fountain pens. I don’t know if it was from user error or the pen, but writing with the Rook was not really the romantic, nostalgic experience I thought it would be. When I received it, it wrote fairly well, but a couple days later it all but refused to write. The ink would only come out with an extreme amount of pressure–which I thought would be rendered unnecessary by the mechanics of a fountain pen. The fountain pen, I am told, works by gravity and capillary action (thanks, Wikipedia), and so does not require too much pressure on the paper from the user. Thus I was rather disappointed when the pen stopped working properly.

IMG_20131030_165352 - OTHO Rook

Thanks to the folks at JetPens, I was able to get a fix of sorts, by flushing out the inside of the pen with warm water a couple of times. It helped–I can write with the pen now, but there’s still an unacceptable amount of skipping. This is noticeable from the index card above. I think the nib is supposed to be a “fine,” although coming even from ballpoint pens, the line width is not what I think of when I think of “fine.” It’s a rather broad line, and I wish it were a bit finer. Otherwise it writes alright. The nib is kind of scratchy–it doesn’t glide over the paper, but since this is my first fountain pen, I don’t really have anything to compare it against. Also, the interrupted ink flow may affect the smoothness.

IMG_20131030_165330 - OTHO Rook

The design of this pen, with two small exceptions, is great. I like how small the pen is when it is closed, and how it expands to a full-sized pen when it is open. There is some great design innovation going on there. The barrel tapers a bit in the grip area for aesthetic and holding comfort. The first gripe I have with this pen is the fact that when the cap is placed on the pen, it depends on friction fit, and doesn’t screw on. I worry a bit about whether this will affect the finish of the pen or stretch the mouth of the cap over time. The second grip is with the logo. It’s terrible. It looks cheap, like something you could find in a stock set of fonts. It contradicts what seems like an otherwise careful attention to design.

IMG_20131030_171850 - OHTO Rook

I wish I liked the Rook. I really do! So I’m hoping most of this was a problem with this one pen, or user error. I’ll continue cleaning and using it in the hopes that I can warm up to it. In the meantime, it did accomplish one thing–it has piqued my interest in fountain pens. Hopefully I’ll be able to review some fountain pens in the future to get a better sense of what a good fountain pen is like.

(This pen was provided free for review by the JetPens store, but the opinions contained herein are solely my own.)


4 responses to “Pen Review: OHTO Rook

  1. Just curious, do you return the pens/books after reviewing them or do you get to keep them for free?

    • They do allow me to keep them! It’s quite generous of them, especially considering that I reached out to them to see if they would be willing to let me review for them. I’m really happy to be working with JetPens! Hopefully I’ll get to continue to review products for them, especially since I haven’t found my perfect pen just yet…

  2. That’s so cooool… haha I had no idea that you could do such a thing!

  3. Elliot, I went out to eat dinner with my family tonight and when my dad was signing the check, he commented on how nice the pen was. I tried it out myself and it was so smooth! You should check it out too if you haven’t already, it’s called InkJoy by Papermate.

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