Indian handmade pens are quite popular in fountain pen afficionados circles. It’s not really surprising. Makers like Ranga, Fosfor Pens or Krishna make wonderful pens from excellent materials. Ebonite, wood, acrylic resin – the choice is yours to make. While ordering them you can actually specify what material, finish, clip, type of nib and filling system you prefer. These pens can be customized to your exact wishes.
I always liked Ranga Bamboo design and I finally bought one during last Ranga Group Buy.
Ranga Bamboo design is inspired by nature and it remains true to its name. It looks almost like a bamboo plant with nodes and internodes. Contrary to bamboo though it writes. The pen is made from ebonite that’s available in close to thirty different color versions. Both polished and matte versions are available, I went for polished Olive Green ebonite.
There’s no clip or rings on the barrel. Both halves of the pen are of equal length. Once you unscrew the cap, you can finally start to write. Section is on the narrow side, but I wouldn’t call it slim. Actually, for many people it will be to wide. If your preferred section is the one from, say, Pelikan M205 I doubt you’ll find this one comfortable. There’s also a step down from the barrel to the section. I don’t mind as I hold my pens very close to the nib, but I guess some may find it disturbing.
When the pen is closed, you won’t be able to see where the cap ends and the pen body begins. Both halves are identical. Sure you can analyse ebonite structure and remember all the dots and subtle color differences but I don’t see a point. The pen is very well made and all the elements are put together perfectly well. The polish quality is satisfying. I got precisely what I expected. It’s not ultra-glossy. It’s just right.
I’ve ordered Ranga with broad Bock nib. The nib was extremely dry and unpleasant to use. I had to do some tweaking in order to improve flow and smoothness. First impression counts, though, and mine was bad. The pen filled with wet ink barely wrote at all. For me it’s unacceptable. I do realize it’s nor Ranga’s fault as they use Bock nibs but I believe checking the nibs before shipping the pen would be reasonable.
Once the tweaking was done the pen started to write smoothly. It uses ebonite feed that supplies enough ink for broad nib. After I improved the flow the nib is wet and consumes quite a lot of ink. So far I haven’t experienced any ink starvation issue. Feed keeps up with fast writing.
Because the pen has no metal elements it can be filled in three ways. It can be used as an eyedropper with huge ink capacity (2 ml). For those who prefer cleaner solutions converter or cartridge can be used. I use the pen as an eyedropper and while there was no problems when I used it at home, I experienced some ink leaking through the feed at work. Of course, it wasn’t work itself that caused it, rather the fact I had the pen in my backpack. I’m rather energetic person so the pen experiences dome shaking, some tilts and slight abuse. The fact is though when you used as an eyedropper you would do better to always keep it with the nib reaching up (and given the two halves are identical it may become tricky when you’re in a hurry).
Capped 152 mm
Uncapped 135 mm
Barrel diameter 14 mm – 15 mm
Section diameter 11.5 mm
Ranga Bamboo is big. Given that my Ranga Regular feels oversized to me I can’t help but wonder what a monster Ranga Bamboo Oversize must be. Lamy Al-Star or Pelikan M800 look small compared to this one. It can’t be really posted but I did it once just to see if the cap holds on. Well, I think that this pen with the cap on is just too big to use unless you’re the Mountain from Game of Thrones.
Ranga pens offer great price / what-you-get ratio. It’s not easy to buy handmade ebonite fountain pen for less than 100 $. This pen is not only cheaper than that, it’s also very well made and unique design-wise. Additionally manufacturer communicates very well with his clients and is always ready to help and, sadly, that can’t be said about all fountain pen makers.
All in all I think Ranga Bamboo is great fountain pen that will appeal to those of us who enjoy huge pens. For me it’s just a little too big. I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as Ranga Bamboo Junior but if the answer is yes, I want one.