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Thread: Intro to Fountain Pens

  1. #1

    Intro to Fountain Pens

    Hi,

    Many years ago when at school I used a fountain pen alot.. and I had very nice handwriting..
    Once I hit Secondary School and biros it all went to pot.

    So I am thinking of getting one and going back to a fountain.

    I have read the few threads we have here - and I am not looking for which best high end pen to buy :) (not yet)

    Honestly if I was to spend any amount of money on one I would like to get one of the carbon fibre Dunhill pens which would match the ballpoint I bought here a few years back.

    No I would like some suggestions on where to start - whats a good entry level pen and ink to buy - I may decide I will never use it or hate it now... but it would be good to try.

    I don't want to use cartridges - so a pen which can be filled from the pot.. and a recommendation for where to buy some ink (maybe in a nice brown or other slightly different colour)

    I think I would be looking at a medium nib... other than that I am all ears !

    Cheers

    Matt

  2. #2
    Craftsman zoiksy's Avatar
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    I would suggest the fountain pen that I started out with and enjoyed, but it was a cartridge type not ink bottle. (Lamy Safari incidentally)

    However, I suggest you take a look at www.cultpens.com who are a great place to get pens and ink from from all levels. Speedy service too from my experience.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by MattH View Post
    Hi,

    Many years ago when at school I used a fountain pen alot.. and I had very nice handwriting..
    Once I hit Secondary School and biros it all went to pot.

    So I am thinking of getting one and going back to a fountain.

    I have read the few threads we have here - and I am not looking for which best high end pen to buy :) (not yet)

    Honestly if I was to spend any amount of money on one I would like to get one of the carbon fibre Dunhill pens which would match the ballpoint I bought here a few years back.

    No I would like some suggestions on where to start - whats a good entry level pen and ink to buy - I may decide I will never use it or hate it now... but it would be good to try.

    I don't want to use cartridges - so a pen which can be filled from the pot.. and a recommendation for where to buy some ink (maybe in a nice brown or other slightly different colour)

    I think I would be looking at a medium nib... other than that I am all ears !

    Cheers

    Matt
    The experts will be along soon, but for now i'll share what I learnt from looking for my first pen last year.

    Lamy are well regarded for a cheap starter pen, there's the plastic 'Al Star' and 'Safari' ranges if you like the look of them, or for a more traditional look there's the 'Studio', I picked up a couple of those as my first pens last year from whsmiths for about 20. Nice pens and came with a converter (to use pot ink) which the cheaper plastic ones don't as far as I know.

    Also, if you want to spend a bit more, check out the italix brand available from mrpen.co.uk, the 'parsons essential' gets very good reviews for just 40, keep meaning to get one myself. He sells them on amazon too, which I think is cheaper as you don't pay p&p

    For ink, I went with 'diamine'. Well thought of, available in more colours than you'll ever need and only a couple of quid for a small 30ml bottle to test out.

    Brighty

  4. #4
    Master
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    Hi Matt. See where you are coming from and I was in a similar position. I quite enjoy using a fountain pen and did a lot of research. Might I make a few suggestions?

    If you would consider a used pen then take a look at the Parker 21? A nicer pen is the Parker 51 but that's a little outside your budget. Another suggestion would be the Shaeffer Imperial but be careful as these are mostly available with a fine nib (and it really is fine!) - a mistake I made and now own a Shaeffer that I never use.

    If you want new then there's a lot out there. The Shaeffer Intensity just about creeps into budget but it's a very slim pen so I wouldn't like to write with it. The Parker Sonnet is a lovely pen but outside your budget (you might pick one up used, though...) next down in the Parker range is the Urban which is right on budget - I haven't tried this one as I simply don't like the barrel shape and then down again is the IM which is available for about 20 or so. I tried this one and it didn't really impress me. I finally settled for the TWSBI Diamond Mini in black. This one is perfect for me as I like to write with the cap mounted on the barrel and with most pens this makes the balance is wrong for me. The nib is advertised as being broad but Japanese nibs are sllightly finer than most others so to me this is a good medium. This one is available from purepens.co.uk at 40.99

    I use Diamine ink - as others have said it's a perfect ink at a good price with a wide range of colours.

    Good luck with your search.

    Rob


    NOTE: Apologies - for some reason I thought you had set a 40 budget. On re-reading your post I see not.
    Last edited by Barryboy; 14th January 2015 at 12:22.

  5. #5
    If you are near London, its worth a pop in to Selfridges who I think do a wide range of pens. You can then try some, although the nibs maybe oddly worn. I am not sure if they have tester pens or just allow you to use one of the ones for sale.

    I have one fountain pen, a Mont blanc one, and even though I hardly use it, its lovely when I do.

  6. #6
    I went through this around a year ago and it quickly becomes addictive. I've now settled on two German from Diplomat and Kaweco, and two Japanese from Platinum and Pilot, which are used everyday. Along the way I had many more, initially buying on brand/size/looks, but it was soon apparent that those pens are not generally best for daily use.
    I also advise trying Mr Pen, he makes his own range which are excellent value, as well as selling major brands. The good thing is you can buy and return for free, and he also offers a nib exchange option too.
    http://www.mrpen.co.uk/
    Aside from that, go to a pen shop if there's one locally as that's the best way to find what will work for you.
    With regards to ink I would go for Diamine, as you can buy smaller 30mm bottles for a few quid.
    Last edited by bonzo697; 14th January 2015 at 19:25.

  7. #7
    Master amnesia's Avatar
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    I have a few pens...


    • Generic Parker fountain pen that I got for my 21st birthday. Still writes perfectly after 20+ years.


    • Lamy Safari (lime green) - very cheap (but looks it), incredibly smooth nib though.


    • Coles Auriol (carbon fibre) - cheap, heavy, nasty scratchy nib. Haven't used it for years... it's horrible to use.


    • TWSBI Diamond 580 - lovely pen, smooth nib, looks and feels good.


    • Platinum #3776 Century - my daily pen. Beautiful to write with, has an airtight seal on the cap so I can use pigment ink without ruining the pen if I don't use it for a while.


    As for ink, I use Platinum Pigment ink in the #3776 and J. Herbin ink for the rest. I've just bought a bottle of this in Stormy Grey.


    You can't go wrong with the Lamy or TWSBI.
    Cult Pens or The Writing Desk are both good online vendors.

    Beware the slippery slope - it can get as addictive as watches if you're not careful

    HTH,
    Daniel.

  8. #8
    Master Artistmike's Avatar
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    I've a few fountain pens but the one that tends to get used most is my Waterman Expert which is a nice pen to use, writes beautifully and won't break the bank. I have to say it's a nice looking pen too....

  9. #9
    Twsbi diamond are very good and not mega bucks. I like the noodlers bulletproof black as an ink.

  10. #10
    Master
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    I have one of these (with matching pencil)

    http://www.stefanv.com/pens/collecti...-75-cisele.jpg

    lovely pen which is nearly 40 years old and still going strong. You can pick one up for 150ish

  11. #11
    How does it work with second hand pens? For some reason I though that the nib got shaped to your writing, so using someone elses pen was difficult.

  12. #12
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattH View Post
    Hi,

    Many years ago when at school I used a fountain pen alot.. and I had very nice handwriting..
    Once I hit Secondary School and biros it all went to pot.

    So I am thinking of getting one and going back to a fountain.

    I have read the few threads we have here - and I am not looking for which best high end pen to buy :) (not yet)

    Honestly if I was to spend any amount of money on one I would like to get one of the carbon fibre Dunhill pens which would match the ballpoint I bought here a few years back.

    No I would like some suggestions on where to start - whats a good entry level pen and ink to buy - I may decide I will never use it or hate it now... but it would be good to try.

    I don't want to use cartridges - so a pen which can be filled from the pot.. and a recommendation for where to buy some ink (maybe in a nice brown or other slightly different colour)

    I think I would be looking at a medium nib... other than that I am all ears !

    Cheers

    Matt
    Matt

    I have been collecting fountain pens since the early 80s and at the last count had 88 of them tucked away.

    The best quality pens for daily use are, believe it or not, are those from the 1950s because the quality of the gold nibs peaked then and are not as good today.

    Google will be your friend for information because there is loads of it out there.

    The most practical pen for daily use is the Parker 51, it holds loads of ink and is regarded as the most reliable pen ever made. It is art deco in appearance which may or may not appeal to you.

    If you stick with Parker, Waterman, Sheaffer, Wahl, Conway Stewart, De la Rue, Swan and Mabie Todd you should be ok. Mont Blanc is best avoided due to reliability issues.

    If you want modern, the Parkers seem to be held in the highest regard at the moment, but that seem to change every few years.

    However my advice is to buy vintage as they look better and write better.

    Regards

    Mick

  13. #13
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tam View Post
    How does it work with second hand pens? For some reason I though that the nib got shaped to your writing, so using someone elses pen was difficult.
    You can buy a new nib. I'm on my second or third nib.

  14. #14
    +1 for Twsbi Diamond. Don't like some of their newer designs so much, but this is a nice chunky pen with a decent nib and looks good. It's also easy to take apart, etc.: the design really is excellent and it's won at least one design award. Around the same price, slightly more "classical" looking, and slimmer, I quite like the Parker Sonnet. I have a few other similar steel nib pens, but these two tend to get the most use.

    I've got a few more expensive pens, but the only one that's significantly better than these is the Visconti Homo Sapiens, which is an incredible pen, although it's too inky to use on light paper (e.g., Moleskine). I'm excluding my hand-finished Sailor from that because it's rather specialised and can't be used for normal writing. It is also amazing, but I have no experience with their other nibs and they are all somewhat esoteric, being designed for Japanese calligraphy.

    I'd say if you want to spend ~50 then go Parker or Twsbi. If you want to spend ~400 go Visconti. The stuff in between isn't that amazing (although a 200 Parker Premier will be better than a Sonnet, the biggest difference will be the aesthetics, not the writing ability). If you want very cheap then either Lamy or Platinum - I'd probably go with the latter as their cheapish pens tend to be outstanding quality for the money, but you're unlikely to find one in a UK shop so you'd have to order without really knowing in advance whether or not you'll like it.

    TBH, if you can find a Visconti Homo Sapiens in a shop, try one out. That's the only way you'll really understand what makes that pen worth nearly 400. Others in the same price bracket probably won't impress to the same extent (despite the price I'd call it one of the best vfm pens you can buy). The thing is, writing with such a pen is a different experience compared to a basic steel nib. You might try a steel nib and not really "get it". My advice to myself of a few years ago when I was thinking the same things you are, would be to spend at least 200 on something with a gold nib (actually, the Visconti nib is palladium, which is a unique alternative to gold: it's similar to a much more expensive gold nib). I ended up buying loads of increasingly a bit better steel nib pens in frustration before realising what the problem was.

    Another option if you want a good quality gold nib on a budget is to go vintage. However, I tried this myself and found it to be a bit of a hassle. You never really know how worn the nib is going to be, never mind the condition of other parts. They tend to be leaky and of course there's no warranty so then you have the cost and hassle of repairs. Pens in that regard are more like vintage cars than vintage watches.

    With fountain pens it's generally a good idea to find a shop where you can try them out if you can, especially to check the weight, balance, how the cap fits, etc. you also want to get an idea whether you prefer a thicker or thinner pen. As a rule, thicker pens tend to be more expensive, so try out pens outside you budget just to get a feel. A lot of pen reviewers will use Pelikan as a baseline for size comparisons because they have various sizes across their range (they're also very good pens: not cheap but less overpriced than Montblanc). The chunkiness is one of the things I like about the Twsbi (and almost unique in that price range) but it might not suit your grip.

    You can get a general idea of how the nib writes in a shop, but a nib takes a month or so to break in so it's not a completely fair test. Bear that in mind, but big differences will be evident. Most steel nibs will feel roughly the same and how scratchy they are will largely depend on how many others have scribbled with that pen before, as they are nearly always a bit scratchy when new. Good nibs (200+ pens) will feel noticeably smoother, but not a hugely different experience. A flexible, high quality gold or palladium nib like the Visconti feels much closer to using a paintbrush and will make your writing far more expressive.

    WRT nib sizes, try some out in a shop to get an idea what suits your handwriting. Just be aware that different manufacturers sizes are not all the same, especially the Japanese pens like Sailor and Platinum (which tend to be especially good if you like a very fine nib).

  15. #15
    Craftsman Sara's Avatar
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    Swore by simple Parker fountain pens at school. Have a nice one now as an adult but really don't use it enough, ink dries out between uses (posh letters, cards, etc - quite rare) so I always have to flush it through. Still writes beautifully though, always found their nibs to be the smoothest.

    One thing I like about the simpler Parkers is the rather tiny nib. I personally think the smaller nib and slot means there is less flex, less likelihood of throwing the two sides of the nib out of kilter, and a feeling of being more connected to the paper...

    ...but I am also biased. Enjoy!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Sara View Post
    Swore by simple Parker fountain pens at school. Have a nice one now as an adult but really don't use it enough, ink dries out between uses (posh letters, cards, etc - quite rare) so I always have to flush it through. Still writes beautifully though, always found their nibs to be the smoothest.

    One thing I like about the simpler Parkers is the rather tiny nib. I personally think the smaller nib and slot means there is less flex, less likelihood of throwing the two sides of the nib out of kilter, and a feeling of being more connected to the paper...
    I'm guessing that's a Parker 51, as recommended by others here too. Other Parkers (Sonnet, etc.) don't have the same recessed nib. I have one and like it a lot, but mine tends to leak a bit more often than I'd like, which is the gamble you take with vintage pens. They don't make them any more, unfortunately, otherwise I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one. You can occasionally pick one up for about 50 on eBay but you never really know what you're going to get. Might be worth a WTB on here but the chances are, if anyone here has one that works perfectly, they won't be selling it!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by craig1912 View Post
    You can buy a new nib. I'm on my second or third nib.
    Note that the main point of buying a vintage pen is for the better quality nib, but of course you can't buy a new replacement for one of those. One thing you can do is buy a decent body (say, a Pelikan M600, which can take a range of nibs) second hand, perhaps without a nib, and then buy a new, good quality nib. However you need to be a bit careful doing that to make sure everything else about the pen is in good working order. I think this approach may be good for those that really like "projects", but is a bit of a gamble in terms of saving money.

  18. #18
    Craftsman Sara's Avatar
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    Mine isn't a 51, but it looks like it might be an 88 or 'Rialto' (it's the matte navy one with gold trim):


    https://ilovepens.wordpress.com/2011...ker-rialto-88/

    I used to use Vectors at school. Reliably good.

    I haven't had leaks, but I do find some ink in my current one can end up in the lid and then move back onto the barrel - I suspect because it isn't used much, the snap-in action on the lid is still a bit harsh, throwing ink off the nib into the lid when I close it.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Tam View Post
    How does it work with second hand pens? For some reason I though that the nib got shaped to your writing, so using someone elses pen was difficult.
    It does, but unless the other person is left handed and you are right handed (or vice-versa) the difference won't be so huge that it's likely to be a huge problem. If it is, as has been mentioned already, you can buy new nibs (for still in production pens). Another option is to have the nib ground - you can do it yourself, but it's probably better to send it away to be done professionally. Never had this done myself so I'm not sure how much it costs, but people on pen forums often rave about the difference it can make. A good finisher can significantly improve a nib that isn't hand made or hand finished.

    Take a look here:

    http://www.richardspens.com/

    Lots of information and you can buy both pre-finished nibs (mainly Pelikan) and there's a DIY smoothing kit available somewhere. Apparently he's no longer refinishing nibs sent in and I'm not sure who else does it. Best to ask about that kind of thing on one of the pen forums.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Sara View Post
    Mine isn't a 51, but it looks like it might be an 88 or 'Rialto' (it's the matte navy one with gold trim):

    Ah, yes that's not as recessed as the 51. Actually looks a bit like a Lamy 2000 or the Dialog 3. The Lamy Dialog 3 nib actually retracts. I've heard lots of good things about the 2000 especially, but I tried one out and wasn't super impressed so I didn't buy it. It's probably better than I thought though, if given time to break in.

  21. #21
    Craftsman Sara's Avatar
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    Well, it looks most like a Parker, as I know them ;)

  22. #22
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    I love all things pen wise and am known as a bit of a pen magpie. Lamy Safari fountain pens are cheap and cheerful but amazing value for money, my favourite pen is a Waterman Carene which is quite weighty but writes beautifully, my Waterman Expert holds sentimental value as I got it nearly 25years ago for my 21st and its still going strong. I have a 1950's pen who's name escapes me looks great but a bit fiddly as it has an internal sac.

    Next on my list to buy is a Sailor or a TWSBI.

    Once you have a pen sorted, then there is the whole world of ink to navigate a get quite few things pen wise from http://www.bureaudirect.co.uk

  23. #23
    Onoto Magna. A plain one. I like those. Classy.

  24. #24
    Master
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    OK, let's keep this brief, because leaning about pens is very similar to learning about watches: it takes a lot of time, a lot of reading, a lot of mistake-making and there's lots of not-very-good stuff

    Ink? Diamine. The best functional and aesthetic qualities ... and it's British

    Pens?

    Modern:
    The best cheap pens are Waterman. Surprisingly well-made and efficient writers (and some still made in France). The 'Expert' is a good example.

    The best not-very-expensive pens are Pelikan. The 600 or 800. Forget Montblanc - good pens, but over-hyped and very over-priced.

    Vintage:
    The gold mine! Conway Stewart, Onoto, Swan ... Go to http://www.writetime.co.uk/ and http://www.penpractice.com/ for starters.

    Websites for TZ-UK-type reading: pentrace.net and foutainpennetwork.com, both American.

    Enjoy.

  25. #25

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    The best cheap pens are Waterman.
    I agree with everything else you said but couldn't disagree with this more. Maybe I've just had bad experiences but I started off with a Waterman Expert and was rather surprised at how much better every other similarly-priced steel nibbed pen I've had since then has been. They have some nice looking pens, but I've had several Parkers, all much better, and although I very slightly prefer the Parker nibs, I would say Twsbi make by far the best VFM cheap (or rather, affordable) pens. Although either Lamy or Platinum probably make the best very cheap pens.

  27. #27

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by amnesia View Post
    I've just bought a bottle of this in Stormy Grey.



    Cult Pens or The Writing Desk are both good online vendors.

    Beware the slippery slope - it can get as addictive as watches if you're not careful

    HTH,
    Daniel.

    I just saw that ink today and im tempted to buy it just because the bottle looks so nice!

    Agree with the above ref cultpens, i really like buying from them, very quick service and there is always something free in the package.

    Also agree about the slippery slope, i very quickly ammassed quite a few pens and managed to justify spending more than i would expect but a nice pen is a nice thing and i cant really understand why.

  29. #29
    Ok talk about a slippery slope :)

    i love over the look of the onoto magma classic - defo the black and silver
    (alright the made in England is having a positive effect along with the lifetime warranty) - but 300 quid is a big jump !

    One question what difference does have a gold nib over a steel one actually make?

    Interestingly the pen released by the Schofield watch company (my watch arrives tomorrow ) is also made by onoto and looks to be based on the manga though it's a lot more expensive....

    cheers

    matt

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattH View Post
    Ok talk about a slippery slope :)

    i love over the look of the onoto magma classic - defo the black and silver
    (alright the made in England is having a positive effect along with the lifetime warranty) - but 300 quid is a big jump !

    One question what difference does have a gold nib over a steel one actually make?

    Interestingly the pen released by the Schofield watch company (my watch arrives tomorrow ) is also made by onoto and looks to be based on the manga though it's a lot more expensive....

    cheers

    matt
    in my case, not all that much but i dont use a fountain pen all that much. I have 2 gold nibbed graf von faber castell (one of which is a rhodium plated gold nib) and a gold nibbed montblanc all of which which write as smooth as silk.

    I have a diplomat with a steel nib and it also writes as smooth as silk.

    People who use their pens often enough can probably tell the difference in feel but for me, a well made nib feels smooth regardless of nib material.

    I would say that some inks feel smoother in writing than others too. I find diamine writes very nicely in all of my pens whereas i have used cheaper generic ink which just feels less smooth. the good news is that Diamine ink is pretty cheap.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by MattH View Post
    One question what difference does have a gold nib over a steel one actually make?
    Gold is soft. Hence, gold nibs are more flexible. They have a more fluid feel and allow for more variation in pressure and line thickness. The Visconti Homo Sapiens nib is actually palladium (afaik, it is unique to this one pen), but it's better than any gold nib I've tried (I believe there are really expensive gold nibs with a similar feel, but those would be out of my budget). It's not just about gold is expensive therefore gold is better.

    Some people prefer a stiffer nib, in which case steel may be a better bet. A stiffer nib can be easier to control, but the effect it has on your writing won't be as profound.

    One thing to note about softer, flexi nibs, is that people who aren't used to them tend to push down too hard, which is bad for the nib and gives poor results. You do need to treat it more like a stiff paintbrush than a biro. The same is true for all fountain pens, but the softer the nib the more pronounced this is, as it takes very little pressure to bend the nib and create a thicker stroke.

  32. #32
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    I can heartily recommend a Lamy 2000, awesome pens with a very nice gold nib for the price (just over 100 if you shop around). I have been using one daily for over 4 years and it still gives me a smile... very tactile.

    My pen developed a crack (a fairly common issue in pre 2010 models), I sent it back and it was replaced free of charge, theyt even swapped in my nice worn in nib; excellent service.

    You are right to go for bottled inks; a world of fun. But I would advise against cartridge converters, they are not elegant and have little capacity (if you insist on this route you may consider a Faber Castell EMotion; a very nice steel nib)

    Best regards,
    Chris

  33. #33
    Master aldfort's Avatar
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    A very slippery slope for a WIS.
    The good thing is they are a bit cheaper than watches. Pelikan are available on line with all the different nib variants (not always the case with all brands). So best chance of getting the right nib. As others have said get a good nib it makes all the difference.
    I'll admit to having a pen box and a 2 pen leather travel case.
    Oh, and in addition to ink there's paper, that's very important. You have been warned.

  34. #34
    Slightly off tack - does anyone know much about ballpoints - I have a dunhill ad2000 carbon fiber ballpoint , maybe it's time to sell that and put the money towards a fountain pen ?

    any idea what if anything it maybe be worth?

    thanks - this has been a very enlightening thread :)

    matt

  35. #35
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    Funnily enough I was just talking with some mates last night about pens. I haven't used a fountain pen for 20 years since leaving school, and write very little other than notes as I use a computer all day for work. But I love the idea of getting a nice writing instrument.

    I could see how it could become another slippery slope, some of the pens mentioned already look lovely, the Onoto site is making me drool.

    But then I started off buying 200-300 watches and that went a lot higher at times so in comparison it's a cheaper hobby.

    Seems the Twsbi Diamond is a good starting point, ink i'll grab some Diamine, some lovely colours, never realised there was so many.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattH View Post
    does anyone know much about ballpoints - I have a dunhill ad2000 carbon fiber ballpoint , maybe it's time to sell that and put the money towards a fountain pen ?

    any idea what if anything it maybe be worth?
    Matt, I'd have a look at the price of used Dunhill ballpoints on eBay for a guide. The odd AD2000 comes up there. And yes, I'd put the money into a fountain pen. For what you'd get for the Dunhill ballpoint, you could buy a great Pelikan fountain pen.

    Pelikan arguably makes some of the finest fountain pens today - they are very hard to beat.

  37. #37
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    I got out of modern pens, primarily because almost all of them over, say, 200 can be stunningly poor value for money, particularly in terms of their materials. It's also a world of bullshit. So:

    'resin' = plastic
    'precious resin' = plastic
    no definition of the material = plastic
    'plastic' = the cheapest plastic you've ever seen or felt

    'gold' [carat unstated] = gold-plated
    'gold highlights' = gold-plated
    'metal' (type unstated) = monkey metal

    celluloid = 'It may be celluloid, but don't bet on it'
    Japanese celluloid = Chinese celluloid, folded (so you can see the lengthwise join if you look) and not drilled
    'Italian celluloid'= Chinese celluloid (because the last Italian factory has burnt down)
    'converter' = a cheap (i.e. pennies wholesale) plastic pump, made in China, that is common to many pen brands
    'ebonite' = hard rubber

    'b&p' = in a cheap plastic box with meaningless papers
    'maki-e' = transfer/screen-printed to look like 'maki-e'
    'urushi' = painted ... well, once or twice, anyway.

    And so on.
    Last edited by Tinker; 15th January 2015 at 01:40.

  38. #38
    Master
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    I got out of vintage pens, primarily because they're often a nuisance. Beautiful, usually very well-made, visually intriguing, echoes of a lost world, usually inexpensive and so on, but, also often, unreliable, poor fillers and, amazingly, poor writers. And they leak.

    These things said, they make many modern pens look like junk.
    Last edited by Tinker; 15th January 2015 at 01:57.

  39. #39
    Master
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    The only pens I have left now that I use are:

    A hybrid of my own composition. A 'rosso verde' Tibaldi celluloid cap & body and silver parts by the Belgian company Mercury. (The cap band was made by the lost-wax process, I think, and is of a very high standard.) The nib on mine is a Conway Stewart with no breather hole. The converter is Pelikan. Price? I can't remember, but it's irreplaceable, because the basic pen is 5 of a one-off run of 80 and there won't be any more Tibaldi celluloid, anyway.





    A Dunhill AD2000. Actually made by Namiki. a.k.a. Pilot, who have a long-standing relationship with Dunhill. Silver parts and an 18ct nib. The barrel band is numbered to the individual pen.



  40. #40
    Master
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    If I were going to buy a fountain pen tomorrow, I'd look for a Pilot 'Bamboo'.



  41. #41
    Master
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    And one I forgot, which I shouldn't, because it's in my briefcase all the time.

    A Reform 1745.
    A piston-filler.
    Made for German schoolchildren.
    They were US$5 when I bought mine a decade ago. I paid $5 more for a 'smoothed' nib. It's a very good pen.
    There are plenty on eBay


  42. #42
    Master Ian_O's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sara View Post
    ... and what were you searching for when you found that link?! :-)

    It says a lot for how much I trust you that I clicked on it!

    Ian

  43. #43
    Master aldfort's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    I got out of modern pens, primarily because almost all of them over, say, 200 can be stunningly poor value for money, particularly in terms of their materials. It's also a world of bullshit.
    As a WIS I am amazed you can say this when there are so many expensive watches out there with bog standard ETA internals.
    Shame Cilla is banned or he would explain Veblen to you (again!!!!).

  44. #44
    Craftsman Sara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian_O View Post
    ... and what were you searching for when you found that link?! :-)

    It says a lot for how much I trust you that I clicked on it!

    Ian
    Heheee. It's one of a group of amusing URLs that went round the internet some years ago, included was the website for "Experts Exchange" and "Therapist Finder"...

    Aha, here: http://www.boredpanda.com/worst-domain-names/

  45. #45
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by aldfort View Post
    As a WIS I am amazed you can say this when there are so many expensive watches out there with bog standard ETA internals ...
    There's nothing wrong with ETA movements. They're well-made, reasonably-priced and have a first-class track record.

    The fact that people are willing to pay high-end money for what are perceived to be low-end movements is a matter of ignorance, not quality.

    Actually, double ignorance.
    Last edited by Tinker; 15th January 2015 at 17:19.

  46. #46
    Master Ian_O's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sara View Post
    Heheee. It's one of a group of amusing URLs that went round the internet some years ago, included was the website for "Experts Exchange" and "Therapist Finder"...

    Aha, here: http://www.boredpanda.com/worst-domain-names/
    Brilliant! I can't believe some of those are not intentional.

  47. #47
    Master
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    The essential problem with pens, however, is not usually their quality of manufacture, but the materials from which they're made.

    OK, gold is gold and a good nib is worth its materials and the skill to make the machine that stamps it out.

    Beyond this, however, the plastics that compose the rest of the pen are cheap & cheerful. Cheap because they're inexpensive & cheerful because they're sold at humungous mark-ups.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattH View Post
    Hi,

    Many years ago when at school I used a fountain pen alot.. and I had very nice handwriting..
    Once I hit Secondary School and biros it all went to pot.

    So I am thinking of getting one and going back to a fountain.

    I have read the few threads we have here - and I am not looking for which best high end pen to buy :) (not yet)

    Honestly if I was to spend any amount of money on one I would like to get one of the carbon fibre Dunhill pens which would match the ballpoint I bought here a few years back.

    No I would like some suggestions on where to start - whats a good entry level pen and ink to buy - I may decide I will never use it or hate it now... but it would be good to try.

    I don't want to use cartridges - so a pen which can be filled from the pot.. and a recommendation for where to buy some ink (maybe in a nice brown or other slightly different colour)

    I think I would be looking at a medium nib... other than that I am all ears !

    Cheers

    Matt

    Agree, was getting tired of using bics and pilots at work. The best part is nobody will 'borrow' your pen as most people (I work with) find fountain pens a bit daunting! Ended up buying this:
    http://www.penshop.co.uk/products/pa...-fountain-pen/
    I personally don't think this is entry level but don't buy too cheap either, may put you off fountain pens. Comes with a piston filler as standard.
    I agree start with a medium nib first. It took a few days to get comfortable with using a fountain pen.

    Can try this too http://www.penshop.co.uk/products/cr...-fountainpens/

    If really cheap pick up a Parker Vector from any supermarket/WH Smith. Get a feel of writing again
    Enjoy!

  49. #49
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    I've been a pen collector almost as long as a WIS, so a long time.

    Like watches I prefer vintage so I usually use a Parker 51 and always buy them if I come across them at flea markets etc although the Juniors and even the Lady model can be a good cheaper buy for people used to using a thin biro.

    Old Conway Stewarts and USA Sheaffers are always a decent bet for quality although TBH most vintage pens are better quality than new.

    For new decent quality at a moderate price pens I would look no further than Pelikan personally.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  50. #50
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    What does everyone use for notepads with a fountain pen?

    Reading about the usually well regarded Moleskine appear to be inconsistent and poor for fountain pens. The Rhodia pads look nice, and I assume the TWSBI pads would behave with their Diamond pens (currently most likely what I will get first).

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