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Author Topic: Who uses Fountain Pens?  (Read 1756 times)
jrodriguez
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2018, 05:17:27 PM »

I haven't found fountain pens of any era to be very consistent - other Lamys and the Japanese pens. The older stuff tends to not have flow issues because at some point someone adjusted most of them, but the nib characteristics are all over the map. For example, they made so many "51"s over the years with different filling systems and whatnot (aerometric, vacumatic, etc.), that it's hard to really characterize how they write. Same with the old Sheaffers. I have half a dozen OS Balances from the 1930s and they're all different - the nib characteristics, and the size of the bodies too - some are longer some are thicker, some have really rigid nibs and some have some give, etc. I tend toward the old stuff, but my experience is that it's best to try things out at pen shows if you have one nearby, and buy there because there's just so much variation.

Re: the PFM, Admiral, and MBs - I've never used any that I thought was on part with the 823. They're all nice pens, and a big part of this is preference, but they're not consistent like the Pilots and I've never written with one that was as smooth ... though as I've written above, that's a preference issue too. Also, the MontBlancs are heavy - heavier than the 800 series Pelikans; I think they have more brass in their piston mechanism or something.
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2018, 07:27:40 PM »

I haven't found fountain pens of any era to be very consistent - other Lamys and the Japanese pens. The older stuff tends to not have flow issues because at some point someone adjusted most of them, but the nib characteristics are all over the map. For example, they made so many "51"s over the years with different filling systems and whatnot (aerometric, vacumatic, etc.), that it's hard to really characterize how they write. Same with the old Sheaffers. I have half a dozen OS Balances from the 1930s and they're all different - the nib characteristics, and the size of the bodies too - some are longer some are thicker, some have really rigid nibs and some have some give, etc. I tend toward the old stuff, but my experience is that it's best to try things out at pen shows if you have one nearby, and buy there because there's just so much variation.

Re: the PFM, Admiral, and MBs - I've never used any that I thought was on part with the 823. They're all nice pens, and a big part of this is preference, but they're not consistent like the Pilots and I've never written with one that was as smooth ... though as I've written above, that's a preference issue too. Also, the MontBlancs are heavy - heavier than the 800 series Pelikans; I think they have more brass in their piston mechanism or something.

There were lots of different models of the old pens. The Lifetime Balance has many different models. the Snorkels all came in various widths and lengths (numerous models too). I think this is because you do not put fountain pens in pockets. Therefore, the pen needs to fit the space it will ride in - like a front pocket. I have some snorkel Sovereign and Clipper. They have 24kt nibs and write as well as anything. They were high-end pens though.

While the nibs can be "adjusted", I have found the Parker 51's to be very consistently smooth whether they are aerometric or vacumatic. The line-widths will vary, but unless someone has ground the nib for a left-handed calligraphy writer, they seem to write consistently for me. Obviously, a double-jewel 51 will write considerably better than a regular 51 but that is why they cost more. The various filling mechanisms are a pain. Do not get me started on the vacumatic. I hate vacumatics.

If you have not tried a Scheaffer Pen For Men (PFM) then you need to do so before writing off old pens (yes pun intended). The PFM is widely considered the gold-standard of old, production pens. It is by far, my favorite old pen. Even better than the 823. They run around $250+ on ebay though. If you get a good one; you will instantly understand why people love them so much. Just a joy to write with.

As for MontBlancs - the modern pens do have a brass filling mechanism. Those are heavy in the hand. That is why pre-1990's MontBlancs sell for more money on ebay. They had plastic (ok, resin) barrels and are not so heavy. The modern ones are all for show. The older ones are for writing :-)
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jrodriguez
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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2018, 09:42:40 PM »

Not writing off vintage pens at all - I write with my 1930s Sheaffer Lifetime OS Balance pens most of the time. The issue with buying vintage stuff is just they there's much variation - not so much in quality - at least not with the big name stuff - but in writing characteristics. At one point I had two 1935 Sheaffer OS Balances with fine nibs in the same color (Marine Green) and the nibs were totally different - both in the size of the iridium and in the rigidity. That's not a bad thing if you can try before buying or are fine with just rolling the dice - and actually, since preferences vary so much, this can be a good thing - but it can be a bummer if you want to know what to expect if you're buying via eBay.

I have written with some old PFMs - they're very finely made pens, I just don't dig the aesthetics. I also don't dig the aesthetics on the "51", but I own a couple because I came across some examples that write so, so nicely. All I was saying is that the consistency of vintage American isn't on par with the contemporary Japanese stuff. That's all.
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« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2018, 04:05:23 PM »

I think I hear what you are saying. When I get old pens, I just assume I will need to adjust the nib to my preferences. Since I have the tools and vast experience with ruining lots of perfectly good nibs, I find it part of the experience of owning old fountain pens. Adjusting is something I do with most pens. This is much like the Lamy 2000 is today. Great pen, but a dice-roll in terms of nib adjustment from the factory. A bit of strategic pressure here and there, a quick buff; and they all write fabulously.

I even agree about the aesthetics of the PFM. Ugly, but who really cares when it writes so well?

If you have not tried the Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens; you should. Super-nice, smooth Pilot nibs; and cheap too.
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« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2018, 04:13:14 PM »

Well, I'm dipping my toe (erm, nib?) into this fountain pen thing. I ordered a Jinhao X450. It's taking a while to get here. Any "tips" on buying ink?
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« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2018, 07:30:26 PM »

I do some wood turning and have made several fountain pens for other people but have yet to make one for myself. I keep telling myself that I'm going to do it but then I find something else to take up my time....lately it's been yoyo's.
Here is the last one I made for a friend.
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jrodriguez
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« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2018, 08:02:28 PM »

^^Nice Rewind!

When I get old pens, I just assume I will need to adjust the nib to my preferences. Since I have the tools and vast experience with ruining lots of perfectly good nibs, I find it part of the experience of owning old fountain pens.

Ditto - I don't mind adjusting, but I don't have the know how or tools to grind nibs.

I even agree about the aesthetics of the PFM. Ugly, but who really cares when it writes so well?

Life is too short to write with ugly pens ... or to throw yellow yoyos. Smiley

If you have not tried the Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens; you should. Super-nice, smooth Pilot nibs; and cheap too.

Agreed. I actually hand those out to students who are interested in my FPs. They're good pens.



@Myk_Myk - ink is such a huge world of options! I will say that some of the Noodler's Bulletproof and Private Reserve inks can gum up and clog your feed if left for too long - they develop sediment. Great ink, just don't leave it for months in a pen. And "India ink" - the kind made with soot - is to be avoided. Some ink is thin (Parker and Waterman, for example), and other is thick (Private Reserve, Noodlers, some Pelikan inks). And the colors are just all over the place. You might do some searching on The Fountain Pen Network - there's a lot of ink reviews and discussion there. Welcome to the party!
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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2018, 10:10:21 PM »

Well, I'm dipping my toe (erm, nib?) into this fountain pen thing. I ordered a Jinhao X450. It's taking a while to get here. Any "tips" on buying ink?

I have never tried a Jinhao. I would like to hear what you think of it.

As for ink. there is a whole world out there. It is important to remember that fountain pen ink is different than other inks like "India" ink. Make sure that you are purchasing ink for fountain pens.

One of the best ways to try-out inks is to go to a reputable fountain pen website and see if they have "sampler" packs. The Goulet pens site has packs of just about every color in small vials that will fill a pen about three times. I have yet to get through all of my samples. Get a few ink syringes for filling.

That said; I will put a plug in for the Pilot Iroshizuku line of inks. They come in various shades but all are top-notch. They have great saturation and they make your nib glide better than most :-)  You can get these in sampler packs too. They cost a bit more, but they are well worth it.

Cheers.
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« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2018, 11:00:12 AM »

I received my Jinhao X450 this week. I went for a classic look:

2018-02-23_11-02-09 , on Flickr

I find it mind boggling that this was $5, shipped from China! I'll get my ink on Monday, but just holding it, it has a nice feel. The cap has a satisfying click when you replace it, but I wish it stayed on a little tighter.

I can't wait to try it out! On Yoyo Geezer's recommendation, I went with a 50 ml Bottle of "Asiatic Dayflower" by Pilot Iroshizuku.
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« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2018, 07:26:24 PM »

^^That's a good look. Hope you dig how it writes!
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2018, 09:21:32 PM »

I love fountain pens, not sure why but its been something I have always liked since forever. I inherited some watermans, parkers, and schaffers from my grandfather that are in need of restoration. I also have a rotring 600, pilot prera, a pentel excalibur which I never heard of before, lamy safari, and a twsbi diamond. I really like the TWSBI, if I had to recommend only one pen then that's the one.

Inks, so far I have tried many kinds, but I have liked Mont Blanc's blue, they make decent inks. I also have noodlers and tried private reserve. What I like about the inks though are sometimes the bottles that come with it. My favorite bottles are the Mont Blanc shoe shaped bottle, very practical and almost impossible to spill, and the Pilot Namiki bottle for its style.
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« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2018, 08:04:31 PM »

Try opening the center grooves on a Jinhao feed and dropping a Zebra G disposable flex nib in there!  Cheap flex fun, with a bit of frustration possible.   Wink  Helps to prime the nib when you first start writing.

I saw the three 159's spring color bundle on Amazon for $12.99 prime and had to try it out!

This one was with Noodler's Proctor's Ledge ink which is a bit dry.




Line the vertical groove on the nib up with a feed gap.


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« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2018, 11:26:38 PM »

^^^

Wow! That looks great.

I have some Waterman and Scheaffer semi-flex nibs, but nothing like that. Will look into.
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« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2018, 11:58:41 PM »

I dabble in brass-nibbed dipped pens and the occasional quill. I actually carried a wooden box of inks and quills with me in college; they're what I used to take notes in class. One of these days I'm going to try cutting my own quill pens.
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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2018, 08:26:27 PM »

So...I just joined this forum because of my fast growing new addiction to throwing.
Low and behold, thereís a post on this forum about fountain pens...where the rest of my discretionary income goes, lol.😄


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