My next post will be back to DC Pen Show fun, but I felt that Friday the 13th was the perfect day to post this.
Over the past year (ish) the number of posts I’ve seen about cracked Jowo housings has steadily increased. What started as an occasional post has turned into multiple posts per week, from makers and buyers alike. This clearly isn’t a small, single batch issue, it’s a manufacturing problem.
I recently went through my own Jowo nibs and found around 10 cracked housings. I don’t remember the exact number, nor did I keep them for later documentation (lack of foresight on my part). However, in checking my nibs again last night, I found two more cracked housings.
Jowo’s actions — attempting to blame makers and users — and inaction — claiming it was a small issue that has been dealt with — is unacceptable. A couple of days ago, I changed my one active Indie order to a Bock nib.
I don’t have a real preference for either company’s nibs, but I don’t want nibs that will have usage issues I can’t fix. I can adjust a funky nib — Bock isn’t without QC issues of its own — but I can’t do anything with a cracked housing.
Some Useful Information
But moving on, there is a way to pre-check your nib housings. As I see more and more posts and comments, there appear to be multiple potential crack locations. So far, though, everyone seems to agree that the cracks are always on the nib side. My nib housings have only cracked in one of two locations, both on the right hand of the nib side (when looking at the nib side — as opposed to the feed side). Note: click on any image to view it larger.
There are darker/more matte lines there on some of my housings. They aren’t on my older nib housings. And they seem to be darker and bigger/longer the newer the nib is. Considering they’re in the same places as the cracking problems I keep encountering, it seems a logical conclusion to draw that they are weak spots that leads to the cracks.
I first noticed the “weak spots” when I was checking over my nibs a while back. To better explain what I mean, I made this video.
sk8rcruz was kind enough to send me a couple of photos of housing cracks she’s dealing with. It’s interesting to me that her housing cracks are in different locations than mine. I wonder if her nibs also have other “weak spot” lines.
An Eleventh Hour Update!
Jonathon Brooks posted an update to the Jowo housing issue at approximate 4:30pm EST on 8/12/21. The main takeaway, for now, is that you can use the contact form on the Meister Nibs website or directly email Brian@meisternibs.com to receive replacement housings. This is for everyone to use. Not just makers. I believe this is only for those in the U.S., though.
Jonathon was uncertain if those seeking replacement housings will need to pay shipping, but just paying shipping is better than paying for new housings and shipping. While this is a step in the right direction, I expect Jowo to make a statement with:
- an acknowledgement of the true severity of the issue,
- full transparency as to how such a big problem happened,
- and precisely how they’re going to fix it.
Considering how long they’ve tried to ignore the problem, I don’t think this is too much to ask to start earning back consumer trust. We’ll see if it actually happens.
Update: 8/13/21 ~10am
I emailed MeisterNibs about my two housings that are currently cracked and Brian responded in about a half hour with a promise to send out replacements today: “I am happy to send off spare housings to you that we have inspected carefully.” I did not need to pay shipping. I’ll inspect these new housings to see if they have those vertical “weak spot” lines.
So What To Do
Anyone who’s had Jowo housing issues, or finds Jowo housing issues, I urge you to document it wherever you can and tag Jowo (@jowo_schreibfeder on Instagram) as possible. Also consider reaching out to Mike Allen who is trying to amass a wider sampling of the issue, and perhaps reach out to Jonathon as well. I can only assume he’s hoping to force Jowo to acknowledge the severity of the problem by documenting it. And best of luck to him, this needs to get fixed.
If anyone has additional suggestions for solutions, leave them in the comments below. The fountain pen community is rather large, if we all come together, we could probably force Jowo to fix this.
From the Comments
A good suggestion from TT in the comments:
I would suggest emailing jowo (firstname.lastname@example.org) your pictures and description – there’s no indication that they have any presence at all on Instagram, other than the one post about cracked housings from April. If you do post, make a real post, not just a story, so that it’s there for future reference. Use the #JowoCrackedNibs hashtag in your posts as well.
Other hashtags that I’ve seen used: #jowoFlaws #jowoFlaw #stopTheJowoCracks