Until a few weeks ago I’d not heard of Leonard Slattery Pens, but I’m glad I stumbled across his work.
Leonard’s a craftsman based in Ireland creating wooden pens in unusual designs. Wooden pens are not that common anyway (Graf, Ryan Krusac, Desiderata…?), but here the sections are wooden too. Wood is a uniquely tactile material, yet very few pen makers put wood where your fingers actually touch — only the Graf Platino and Desiderata Soubriquet have given me that experience so far.
I’ll be honest, most of Leonard’s designs did not appeal to me immediately. They’re mostly long and straight, with a very pronounced step-down from barrel to section. I prefer my pens to be a bit curvier, and ideally seamless from barrel to section.
But I was intrigued by Leonard’s craft, and by his interesting aesthetic choices. He often uses rollstops instead of clips, and contrasts the warm wood with metal threads in the same colour as the nibs. These pens look like nothing else.
Long story short, Leonard sent me a couple of pens to review. The one I’m talking about here is an “A Haon” model in African Blackwood, a very dense and dark wood that is also known as Grenadilla (which is what Graf calls it).
The pens come secured in handmade leather sleeves, inside rustic boxes wrapped in brown paper, tied with string and sealed with Leonard’s wax seal. It’s a nice way to start the experience.
Unboxed and with the A Haon in hand, I was surprised. It’s a longer pen than I expected, and heavier too, with brass fittings, a gold-plated Bock nib, and brass rollstop.
It’s smooth, and sleek, and when buttoned up, practically seamless.
The design is minimal. The ends are almost flat, and in profile it’s straight as a ruler.
Leonard polishes his pens with just a little wax, and some grain is still visible, enough that you know this is a natural product.
Uncapping is quick, although the brass threads squeak a bit. One of the first things that amazed me about this pen is just how thin the cap walls are. This is quality machining, especially given how unpredictable wood can be.
The second thing that amazed me was just how comfortable the A Haon was to hold. The section is super long and slightly curved, so all those brass threads and that huge barrel step are miles behind my grip. This means actually that the cap is longer than the barrel!
The wood is lovely to hold and the weight of the barrel sits reassuringly in the crook of my hand.
Filling is through included converter, which I fill directly from the bottle so as not to stain the wooden section. I picked Pilot’s darkest green Hoteison, from the 100th Anniversary collection, which I felt would match the organic colour of the wood.
I’m pleased to say that this completely blank Bock #6 nib writes incredibly well; a smooth and medium-wet fine line.
I’ll say this: I was not expecting to love this pen, but I fell for it immediately, and bought it from Leonard within a day of receiving it. It all works so well as a package: the unboxing experience, the materials, how it sits in the hand. It’s just a bit special, and certainly different from any of the mass-produced pens on the market.
And I’ll say this, too: Leonard Slattery pens are good value for money, hovering around 200 euros. For a product handmade to exacting tolerances from such expensive materials, you’re getting your money’s worth.