~) the official pen thread (~

Discussion in 'The Good Life' started by D.irving79, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    Overall, I am pleased. I haven't changed the nib yet as I loaded the one red cartridge to start with. I can't just get another red cartridge (everything in Michaels and Staples is blue or black) so I don't want to waste that ink.

    Some observations:

    I like the way my print looks. I am having problems writing in cursive but as I usually print grades and comments, that isn't a problem. Even writing normal, as I change the direction of the stroke, the letters get more flair. It leaves a nice heavy stroke which is great if I have plenty of room to write on the paper.

    I was able to do more writing today than I could with a normal pen before my wrist started hurting. The could be a coincidence as I was writing with a brace on.

    I have to hold the pen at a very precise angle - if I go too steep or too shallow, I get nothing. Is this due to it being an italics pen or are all FP this way.

    I usually write much smaller than I am currently. Yes, my letters look nice; however, in my opinion they are way too large (OK - they are about average sized looking at my students' writing). Maybe that is another reason I have less pain. I usually write fairly small. Between the medium nib and the angle restrictions, I can't write as small as I would like. When I do write small, the letters smudge together. This is why I was wanting to switch to the fine point.

    I am noticing that ink window is going down faster than I would like (seeing that I can't get a refill red cartridge local). I am hoping that the ink usage slows down with the fine nib.

    I will be on the lookout for a metal body FP soon. Looks like I will also need to get a supply of Noodlers in a non smearing, quick drying, bold crimson.
  2. Austin

    Austin Member

    Here's a few pens. I have another case that is not pictured.

  3. superbleu

    superbleu Active Member

    refill your cartridges at home, that's what the cheapskates like me do.
    Plus you can use what ever ink you like.
    you can use these, and there is even a link to free samples here.

    For a fast dry red ink, look into the swishmix fast dry inks,
    they have true rouge and burgundy that might work for you.
    Here is the linky, a bit of warning, Swisher's webside is on par with QED's as far a ease of navigation, or lack there of.

    Nice pens by the way, Austin.
  4. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    Thanks for the links. I was going to look into the feasibility of refilling the cartridges.

    I ran out of red. It didn't even make it an entire day of grading. I think the medium nib is too free-flowing. but what do I know?

    I will probably load up another color with the fine tip tonight to see how that works and then just pick up a regular non-italic nibbed pen in the future.
  5. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    Was stopping my Target today to pick up a DVD, made my normal swing by the shaving area and then went to the pens. I found a Pilot Plumix to try. According to the box it had a fine tip. However, the nip is marked M (but Japan and from what I have gleaned, a Japan medium is an international fine?). Comparison wise, the Pilot fine is smaller than the Sheaffer fine and it is a finer print. After working all day with the broad strokes of the medium nib, it is nice to be able to make my normal sized letters. However, it just looks like a fine tip pen. It doesn't have the nice flair any more. I will have to research this more, but if the Sheaffer Caligraphy nib is an italic, then it looks to me that this Pilot Plumix is also an italic nib (unless i completely miss the difference). I still need to find a FP with the regular nib.
  6. burningdarkness

    burningdarkness Woot Off

    Want some red ink, Justin? I've got a ton and could send some to you if you'd like.

    The Plumix is also an italic nib. You're not missing the difference. An italic nib will draw lines of different widths depending on the direction you move the nib. A regular nib should draw lines of the same width no matter which way you move the pen on the paper. If you'd like to try out a FP with a regular nib, I've got one I can loan you.
  7. TomPike

    TomPike Active Member

    Man, are you having fun now or what? :o

    The 'angle sensitivity' you describe is common to edge-nibbed (italic) pens, but the degree of sensitivity varies in direct proportion to the sharpness of the grind. The more rounded the edges, the less sensitivity to angle you'll experience. The roundness of the edges varies indirectly with the line variation a nib will produce. Pen geeks talk in terms of 'crispness' and 'smoothness' of an italic grind. It's kind of a tough thing to talk about, but an easy thing to experience.

    Sheaffer calligraphy nibs are a bit sensitive to angle, but they produce really nice, thin lines and great line variation.

    I like italic nibs much more than round points. Still, I've never met a fountain pen I didn't like (or at least one that I thought I couldn't like with a little work) - it's just that italic grinds are so much more fun and they make my handwriting look a lot better (probably because they force me to slow down a bit).

    Sounds like Bong and Dom are giving you great advice and loads of help.

    Welcome to your new fascination! :D
  8. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    So I looked at some pens at an antique store today. I didn't buy any, because I felt they were all flawed. Perhaps they weren't but here are my questions.

    On a vintage piston filler in an antique store, is it OK to lift the piston lever to see if it will move and how freely it does move? If it is OK, what should I feel. Should it be hard to move, easily to move, glide easily?

    Every fountain pen I looked at had the same issue. The nibs were not lined up with the feed. Is this something easy to fix (loosen/unscrew, straighten the nib, and tighten?)
  9. TomPike

    TomPike Active Member

    The kind of pens you saw are called Lever Fillers. Piston fillers have a threaded piston with a cork or neoprene seal that's usually operated by a threaded blind cap on the end of the pen.

    Vintage pens found in the wild usually have ossified sacs. They're frequently hard as a rock. In a lever filler, you compress the sac when you lift the lever. When the sac is relaly hard, you'll break the lever mechanism before compressing the sac. I'd suggest lifting only until you feel pressure, and not going any farther.

    If the nib isn't aligned with the feed, someone has been messing with the pen. Make sure the nib brand is the same as the pen brand. (Caveat: some vintage pens have unmarked or even generic nibs.) Nib alignment is not difficult to remedy, but I wouldn't suggest it to most folks as a first vintage pen repair. If you're into learning repair/restoration, the best twenty bucks you can spend is buying Da Book:


    You know how to dive right in, Justin!
  10. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    Thanks for the response. It confirms a lot of what I suspected. I don't know the FP brands well enough to be able to guess the brands to match to the nibs.

    If the sac is ossified, is there any way to get the sac back into useable condition?

    Honestly, I have always been a pen snob and would spend hours trying to pick out a pen. I stuck with G2 for years until the refills got scratchy and I have been using 207s since then and would still stop and look at all the pens occasionally trying to find something I would accept better.

    I would rather buy something I could see and try in person; however, it looks like I will be doing online purchases.
  11. nofa

    nofa New Member

    I can't believe an Esterbrook double J just sold for $50 on the B&B sell forum. And, it sold in a little over six hours...
  12. D.irving79

    D.irving79 Gemocrat

    someone buy my conklin crescent filler.

    PM me.

  13. nofa

    nofa New Member

    The sac would have to be replaced.

    I have a feeling you're looking for something different, but I wanted to put this out there for everyone. JetPens.com offers good trial fountain pens. Look at the following (I've only used the Varsity, but many people like the others.):

    Pilot Varsity—medium(ish) nib, disposable, $3
    Pilot Vpen—fine nib, disposable, $3
    Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen—comes in both fine and medium nibs, refillable, uses cartridges, $3
    Pilot Petit1—refillable, uses special capsules, $4.50

    JetPens.com mostly sells stuff imported from Japan. Because of their specialty, they offer unique and interesting items.
  14. Goby

    Goby New Member

    I'm a fountain pen lover too. I have about 50, and all are everyday users.

    I don't really care for Chinese pens. My love is with the Parker 51. A perfect pen that works perfectly, my favorite being a 1941 black Parker 51. Oh, and the Namiki Vanishing Point is pure genius.

    I know many who buy limited edition pens for $500+ plus. To me, that's a waste of money. I have a couple of new Parker Duofolds, but got both brand new for $100.00. I think 95% of my pens I have bought brand used.

    There are some great sellers on ebay who sell restored pens. They really aren't that much more than 2-3 chinese pens. I've seen restored Parker 51's for $20 (and of course, the rare ones for $2,000).

    As far as ink, Parker is fine, but boring. I love the Private Reserve inks. I probably have 20 jars of ink, and usually have a Pen and Ink of the week.

    The prize of my collection is a 1936 Parker Toothbrush and a 1993 Parker Duofold. The Toothbrush was a gift from my wife, and the Duofold I took the bar exam with.

  15. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    I just realized that I had some old ink jet refill bottles. Any chance that these things would work on a FP? They are from this company http://www.ims-ink.com/
  16. TomPike

    TomPike Active Member

    Justin, check out this Pen Show Calendar. It looks like the Columbus show is coming up soon (it's a good one). Chicago isn't until next April - it's the largest vintage pen show in the country. I mention this because pen shows are the best places to try before you buy, for new or old pens. They're also a mega overload of pen goodness! Get thee to a pen show if at all possible.

    I'm also the guy you'd find in the pen isle at any store, staring at all of the new brands, reading the hype on the blister packs, trying to find the best writing pen I could find. I was a big G2 fan as well. Now, I just avoid all of the nice ballpoints and stick to fountain pens, which write better than the highest aspirations of any ballpoint.

    I'd stay away from injet ink. It's probably bad new (not that I've done any research). Get a brand name FP ink and your pens will be safe.

    Goby - Nice collection! Is that a sterling cap on your Skyline?
  17. Goby

    Goby New Member

    Yep! It's a sterling cap.

    Tom, I see that you're an addict like me. Only an addict would say "Da Book." lol

    I used to be a member of the Zoss list many years ago, but I got way too many emails, and way too many tempting offers.

    But that's not going to happen with this hobby. I've decided to be a one razor guy, and a one blade guy (as soon as I find that perfect blade--the Bluebird is pretty amazing). I'll just collect soaps and cremes.... I mean, how many soaps and cremes could there be? :happy102
  18. TomPike

    TomPike Active Member

    Ah, just wait until you discover vintage soaps! :D

    Nice bunch of pens you've got there. Yup, I'm an addict too. My love of fountain pens is much older than that of shaving, but both are equally fun! :happy108 Plus, I now have more stuff to look for when hunting in the wild.

    I do wonder though, how many nice razors must I have missed through all of those years when I only had eyes for pens? :think002
  19. Dr. Mike

    Dr. Mike New Member

    I have a very modest collection of my own. I have a Hero 100 that is my daily use pen. I love the size of the nib on it. Looks very nice, with a hooded nib (I believe that is how you describe it). I also have 2 of the Reform pens that have a bit wider nibs than the Hero, but are still nice piston fillers and write very well. Then I also have a Pilot, but I can't remember the model number. It is a fairly inexpensive one I bought off of Bong, with a Japanese fine nib which is very fine. You really need a darker ink in that thing, or it won't show up. Given the fineness of the nib, you also need a good quality paper, or it just feels like you are scratching the paper. Other than those, I have a couple of the Pilot Varsity disposable FPs that I bought at Staples, I believe. Pretty wide nib, but nice for using at work, where I don't want to use my nicer pens.

    For ink, I have 5 bottles:
    Mont Blanc blue/black
    Mont Blanc violet (my favorite)
    Waterman Florida blue (my next favorite)
    Noodler's standard green
    Private Reserve Quick Dry Midnight Blues
  20. azshaver

    azshaver Member

    Dr. Mike, is the Hero 100 the knockoff of the Parker 51? I have been considering buying one myself.

    What nib are you using on it? My Parker 51s are both extra fine, too fine for most work, and my Waterman is medium, too wet most of the time, but a very smooth writer.


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