Questions about our pens?
How should I take care of my pen?
Caring for your Allegory writing tool is pretty simple. To keep it clean, wipe it down with a damp rag every few weeks. We use a very natural friction polish made with beeswax, walnut oil and shellac to finish our writing tools. To restore the original luster of the polish, feel free to wipe your pen down every few months with a bit of walnut oil or neatsfoot oil.
What happens when my pen runs out of ink?
All our writing tools use standard refills that can be purchased at most major office supply stores, online, or even from us if you like. To change your ink, follow the instructions on the card that came with your pen.
How do I change the ink in my pen?
Our pens that take Parker style and rollerball refills all have either a front or back section that unscrews so you can remove the ink cartridge inside. Don’t lose the little spring! You’ll need that for your new refill. For our pens that use Cross-style and D1 mini refills, the front and back sections of these pens pull apart to access the refill. Separate the two pieces and then unscrew the old refill and replace it with the new one. Don’t know which type of refill your pen uses? Search your pen here. and check the product page. Each page has the appropriate refill type listed for you.
Questions about our fountain pens?
I’m new to fountain pens. How do I even use this thing!?
To get started, unscrew the nib assembly from the pen. We ship our fountain pens with the pre-filled cartridges loose inside the body of the pen. Remove the loose cartridge and press into the back of the nib assembly, puncturing the cartridge with the feed collector. If you prefer to use bottled ink with the piston filler, insert the end of the piston filler into ink. The filler uses vacuum pressure as you screw the back portion to pull ink into the reservoir. Once filled, insert onto the nib assembly as you would with the pre-filled cartridge.
Using your fountain pen:
- Don't press too hard when writing as this can damage the nib. The nib should write smoothly across the paper. Your nib will adapt to your writing style so only loan at your own risk. If your pen doesn't write right away (i.e., after not being used for a couple of weeks), ink has probably dried and clogged the nib and/or the feed. To start the ink flowing again, wet the point of the nib with water or ink of the same color. If that doesn't work, wash the pen out. Don't press down to try to start the flow.
- Use fresh ink, and avoid bottled ink that is more than a year or two old. If you have older ink you would like to use, check it first for mold then stir it to make sure there are not lumps or sediment at the bottom. This is a sign the ink is solidifying. If you haven't used the ink in a few weeks, give the bottle a shake before filling to redistribute the ink particles throughout. Store your ink bottles out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.
- When traveling by plane, either fill your converter completely or leave it empty to reduce the risk of leakage. Always keep the nib upright during takeoff. When opening your fountain pen in flight, you should hold the pen upright and remove the cap slowly. Always keep your pen capped when not in use.
One of our favorite how-to guides is this one from The Pen Addict.
All of this said...ENJOY YOUR PEN! The nibs of our fountain pens are completely replaceable. So if you are a fountain pen newbie, don't stress. Try some stuff. Have fun. And if you run into issues just get in touch. We'll help or work with you to replace your experimentation nib.
How do I clean my fountain pen nib?
Place the nib section into a glass of clean water, completely covering the nib, and let it soak for 10-15 minutes or overnight. Room temperature distilled water will work best. Never use warm or hot water or alcohol as these can damage the pen. Blot dry with a paper towel. Clean your pen every few weeks or whenever you change ink colors.
How should I store my fountain pen?
When you aren’t using your pen, store it with the nib upright to prevent ink from settling in the nib and clogging the feed. If you won’t be using your pen for a longer period of time, wash and empty your pen before storing. This is especially important if you use black ink as it contains gum arabic which can dry inside the nib causing permanent damage.
My fountain pen isn’t working. What should I do?
You should start by giving your nib a good cleaning. See the how-to guide above. Then make sure you’re using fresh ink. The most common reason a fountain pen stops writing smoothly, or at all, is because the ink has gotten clogged somewhere along the way. If you’re still having trouble, this is our favorite comprehensive fountain pen troubleshooting guide. And if you’re STILL having trouble, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com.
Tell me more about your fountain pen nibs. Who makes them? What size are they? What are they made of? Etc…
Our fountain pen nibs are all #5 steel, medium-weight nibs manufactured by JOWO.
Can I replace the medium nib with a different weight nib?
Yep! You can replace it with your own favorite #5 nib, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to order a different size. We stock extra fine, fine, bold, 1.1 italic, and 1.4 italic nibs.
How do I swap my nib?
Check out this handy video created by our nib supplier.
Questions about our leather products?
How should I care for my Allegory leather items? Do they need to be cleaned?
Leather breathes, and in doing so, it absorbs and loses moisture and oils. Keeping the right oils in and the wrong ones out is the key to having your piece age beautifully. We recommend monthly cleanings with saddle soap followed by a conditioning/oiling treatment, or try our leather care kit.
I’ve noticed black smudges on my papers from my new leather piece. What’s that about?
Lasers, dude! ;) We use a laser cutting and engraving process for our leather goods. Occasionally this might result in a dark smudge here or there. If you're not a fan, just hit it with a little saddle soap.
My new leather piece has some marks on it. Are those defects?
The animal your leather piece came from lived a full life, and has the marks to prove it. Leathers with a pristine, unmarked look are either faking it or ridiculously expensive. Most of the ways this look is achieved can actually reduce the durability substantially, and we're not into that.
My new leather piece feels stiffer than I thought it would. What’s that about?
Generally, leathers that are super soft and flexible from day one are pre-treated. These treatments try to simulate the natural break-in process in a few minutes and decrease the longevity of your leather. We don't mess around with that stuff. So your Allegory leather piece may feel a little stiff at first, but this is because we want it to last and work better over time instead of falling apart.
Do I need to waterproof my Allegory leather pieces?
Nope! Our leather has already had a hydrophobic treatment. It won’t hurt it to re-treat it, but it’s not necessary.
I see some loose threads on my new leather piece. Is the stitching coming loose?
Nope. At the end of each stitch we do what’s called back-tacking. This locks the stitch in place by going forwards and backwards a couple times. Occasionally the very ends of the threads in these back-tacked sections might pull out as you use your piece the first couple times. Just trim them off and you’re good to go. If any stitching on your pieces is actually pulled completely loose, just shoot us a message at email@example.com and we’ll coordinate a repair or replacement for you. It’s all part of our lifetime guarantee.
Questions about our materials?
What type of leather do you use?
We’re big fans of promoting quality of life for animals throughout the supply chain so we source our leather with that in mind. We use two different types of leather for our products depending on how that product will be used.
We make our Kit System wallets and some of our other smaller leather goods that will get lots of use in and out of your pocket (and in and out of the washing machine!!!) using kangaroo hide.
Most wallets are made from cowhide that has been shaved thin, causing it to lose all its strength. We chose kangaroo leather instead, which is around 1mm thick at full grain. It's the strongest leather in the world per millimeter of thickness, ages beautifully, and conforms to what you carry. It also has a much better environmental footprint than cowhide from the U.S. beef industry. Less pollution and habitat loss, higher quality of life for the animals, and ideal design properties make this a great story.
For our larger leather goods, or even the small ones that don't have as many pockets cut into them, we source a cow-hide leather from Ecuador - a place where virtually all cattle are free-range, grass-fed, and factory farms are nearly impossible to find. We worked directly with the tannery to craft the perfect leather for our products. They use a hybrid between top-grain and full-grain processing, removing just enough material to improve the look while retaining durability we can guarantee for life. Then they top that off with a hydrophobic treatment so you don't have to worry about a little rain or the occasional spill.
From there the tannery finishes our leather two ways. The browns are a matte finish, designed to show marks and age very easily, quickly developing a classic aged-leather patina. However, they can easily be cleaned and conditioned to buff out the wear marks. The idea here is that you can dial in how much age/character you want your piece to show based on how often you condition it - just like folks used to shine their shoes (or maybe you still do!).The black is a pebbled finish; we've found that folks who choose black leather often prefer less of a “rustic character" look, so this one won't show wear as quickly as our browns and has a classic, polished appearance.
What type of thread do you use?
We use Tex 70 nylon thread because it has an excellent strength-to-size ratio, some stretch and flex capability, and high resistance to abrasion. These qualities make it ideal for leather goods with a lifetime guarantee. The thread can move and stretch with the leather while retaining its durability.
How do you decide what hardware to use for your products?
It's all in the details. Hardware is a common failure point, and failure is not really our thing. So we overbuild the hardware and cut no corners. We also keep our hardware in line with our minimalist geometric design approach.
What type of zippers do you use?
There is only one name in the zipper game if you are serious about quality: YKK. And we're proud to use their products in ours.
What type of webbing do you use?
We think our webbing will be the most comfortable you've used, especially after it breaks in. Its thickness adds durability and ensures that weight is distributed evenly, making it the perfect shoulder strap.
Where do you find the woods for your pens?!
This is probably one of the most common questions we get asked! And the answer can be a long story...or a short one. Short answer is the internet! All of the woods we use in our non-limited edition pens are available to woodworkers online. Sometimes you have to do a little digging, but we’ve found them! For example, our Bethlehem olivewood comes from a supplier in Israel. Our bog oak comes from a supplier in Ukraine. Our ancient kauri comes from a furniture maker in New Zealand who makes beautiful ancient kauri tables. She sends us her offcuts that are too small for tables. And that’s just the beginning. Each type of wood comes from a different country or state and a different supplier with their own story for how they reclaim that wood. And sometimes, we have to go to the source directly with our saws and reclaim the pieces ourselves!
How do you verify the authenticity of the historical woods?
Whenever possible we purchase directly from the source, like we do with the USS North Carolina battleship wood. Otherwise, we rely on known collectors and industry professionals whose reputation is based on the authenticity and accuracy of their work. In these cases we also pursue third-party verification through university research libraries and records searches.
Questions about your order: shipping, returns/exchanges, guarantee, etc.?
How long will my order take to arrive?
Our products are handcrafted, mostly to order. We make our smaller pieces in small batches of 10-20 items at a time. Because of the custom, handcrafted nature of our products, it usually takes us 2-3 business days to prepare your order for shipment.
Estimated shipping times begin when your order is shipped and vary by the carrier and service you choose. First-class and ground services usually take up a to a week to deliver to the United States and international first-class services usually take upwards of 3-4 weeks to deliver once we ship your package.
Please note that all carriers are experiencing delivery delays right now. It's important to us that you get your order as quickly as possible, but unfortunately after we drop off your package for shipping the delivery timeline is out of our hands. USPS and FedEx will be your best bet for tracking down information about your package. If you are having trouble getting answers, or if you just want some peace of mind, feel free to shoot us a message with questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much does shipping cost?
We have negotiated rates with USPS and FedEx. The shipping price you'll see reflected at check-out is the actual price we pay to ship to you, no additional mark-up, and we've chosen not just hide the shipping cost in the price of our products. Choose whichever options works best for your budget and delivery timeline. Your shipping fees will be based on the weight of your order. We offer first-class, ground, and expedited shipping options through both USPS and FedEx. Please note, you should still allow time for us to craft your products even with the expedited shipping options (see above).
Do you ship internationally?
Yes! We ship internationally with both USPS and FedEx. If you choose USPS international shipping, your package will be handed off to your local postal system when it enters your country. International customers will be required to pay the applicable import VAT and duties in their home country prior to delivery of their package.
I need my order ASAP! What can I do!?
We love that our customers often order from us for special, sometimes last minute gifts! We do our very best to get those packages shipped as quickly as possible so they can arrive in time. If you have a special circumstance please email us at email@example.com. We haven't missed a deadline yet! Also, be sure to select the quickest shipping service. :)
Can I return or exchange my order?
Of course! We want all our customers to absolutely love their Allegory gear!
To start a return, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's helpful if you can provide your order details (order number, item(s) ordered, email on the order, etc.) and your reason for requesting a return or exchange. Once we get your details, we'll send instructions on how and where to send your package for return/exchange. Items sent back to us without first initiating a return may not be accepted. Please return your item in the same condition that you received it: unused, and in its original packaging.
We're a small team. The same folks that answer our customer service email are the ones that will receive and process your return or exchange so we don't mess with RMA's and all that other red tape. We keep it simple! Once we receive your returned item we'll process the refund (less the cost of shipping) or send your new item in the case of an exchange. Please remember it can take some time for your bank or credit card company to process and post the refund.
What's covered in the lifetime guarantee? How do I use it?
- If we made it, it is guaranteed for life. We will repair or replace anything.
- If you buy it, you'll love it. If you don't we'll work with you until you do, or you can return it for a full refund.
- No questions asked, no paperwork needed.
- If you lose it, or it gets destroyed outside of reasonable use, we'll sell you a replacement at half price.
- Lots of companies use words like "reasonable use" as a loophole. We don't. Wear and tear is part of reasonable use, and it is covered.
Just email us at email@example.com to get the process started.
Can your products be customized?
Yep. You can add custom engraving to any of our leather products or pens. Just click on the "Add-ons and Personalization" button on each product page above "Add to cart". Custom engraving is an additional $10 for each product.
We also do custom branding for other brands. When the world's best brands want a handcrafted gift that stands out, creates memories, and drives deep brand connection, they come to us. From small batch gifts for celebrities and public figures, to scaled-up gift programs for your customers or team, we've got you covered. You can see some of our past projects here.