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Cheap Italic Pen Recommendation?


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#1 stevepoppers

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 09:51

So, I enjoyed my foray into italic pens with my $6, Target-bought Pilot Plumix. Now I want something that I might actually enjoy using. Basically, medium everything. I found that I would enjoy a thicker line than this medium, but I see it's a Japanese nib, so a Western medium might satisfy me. I'd like it smooth, too. This one's all scratchy. Hopefully there's something near or less than $50.

Sorry for not doing my own market research. I just have no idea where to start.

#2 RobertJ

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 09:58

Do a search for LAMY. Or, buy a used/vintage pen for around $25.00/$35.00 and send it to Pendemonium ( or other nib master, cost varies) for a grind to an italic nib. Or, look at Esterbrook J pens with the advantage swapping all sorts of nib styles. Or, goto www.oscarbraunpens.com, look for the
Pelikan Blue demonstrator with Italic nib for $69.98. The Pelikan Italic writes quite wide. But you can't beat the price for an entry level
Pelikan with a Piston filler.

Edited by RobertJ, 27 May 2010 - 10:49.


#3 cclewis76

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 10:51

Never having used an Italic nib before, I recently bought a Lamy Studio with a 1.1 nib. All my other fountain pens have F or even EF nibs on them. What a joy that pen is! It's a very different writing experience. The Studio is about $50 and the nibs are interchangeable. Enjoy!
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#4 Anes

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 11:24

Take a look at Pilot 78G with B and BB nib: cheap and solid product.

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Anes

#5 TangleCrafts

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 11:30

I've been on an italic nib quest, myself. I've just tried a Lamy Nexx (because it has a more comfortable grip section than the Safari or AL-Star) with the 1.1i nib. It is the smoothest italic nib I have tried, but also has the least thick-thin definition (with the exception of the Sheafer Viewpoint, see below). If the Plumix line is too fine for you, you will find this is, too, so go for the Lamy 1.5 or 1.9, instead. It is also possible/probable that the line variation would be more apparent with the broader nibs.

The only other italics I have tried are even cheaper:

Manuscript calligraphy (comes in a set with at least 3 nib widths) - sharp definition, but scratchy to write with, and horrible bumpy plastic grip section);

Parker Vector (comes in a set with at least 3 nib widths) - this is a smooth writer. The definition is not quite as sharp as the Manuscript or Pluminix but it still has good clarity. The fine is not quite as fine as the Pluminix, but you would probably want the medium or broad nib. I heard a rumour that the nib can be exchanged with the Parker Profile and Reflex pens but this has as yet proved to be unfounded. I'm hoping someone might jump in with a how-to, though, as the Vector is too narrow to hold comfortably (for me) but the others might not be.

Pelikan Script 1.0 - broader than the Lamy 1.1, with far better definition; I just find this one uncomfortable after writing a few pages). It also comes in a 1.5mm & 2.0mm nib.

Sheaffer Viewpoint fine italic - this has a distinctly broad stroke, despite being labelled fine nib, but this is coupled with a lack of clarity. Definitely least favourite!

Edited by TangleCrafts, 27 May 2010 - 11:33.

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#6 Dr Lopez

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 11:41

I would recommend lamy safari with 1.1 or 1.5 italic nib depending on the size of your writing. It is a cheap and nice entry model, It gets it share of time with me despite I have many expensive pens.
In my current rotation:
Pelikan 400 Brown Tortoise/14K Fine/J. Herbin Cafe des Iles
Lamy 2000/14K Medium/Lamy Blue-Black
Sailor 1911 Large burgundy/21K Naginata Togi Medium/Diamine Oxblood
Montblanc 146/14K Fine/Montblanc Racing Green
Rosetta blue/Steel Pendelton cursive italic/Pelikan Royal Blue
Delta Passion/18K Broad/Diamine Syrah

#7 SkooterNB

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 13:31

I would recommend lamy safari with 1.1 or 1.5 italic nib depending on the size of your writing. It is a cheap and nice entry model, It gets it share of time with me despite I have many expensive pens.


+1

#8 HelzBelz

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 14:23

I would recommend lamy safari with 1.1 or 1.5 italic nib depending on the size of your writing. It is a cheap and nice entry model, It gets it share of time with me despite I have many expensive pens.


+ 2. To be honest, with the exception of my custom Binder italics (which I very strongly recommend), the Pluminix has the best italic nib I've come across, and certainly the best cheap one. The Lamy 1.1 offers slightly less line width variation, or at least mine does, but it's still a good writer, and comes in under your $50 budget. Of other cheap ones, the finest Vector italic isn't bad, though.
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#9 Julio

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 16:55

Visit, "I sellPen" site and you will find an "inexpensive" good quality pen with the proper nib at your or near price.

#10 Silvermink

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 16:59

I quite like the Lamy 1.1 as well - it doesn't offer as much line variation as some, but it's still enough to look nice and it's smooth enough to be good for everyday writing. If you're looking for something with more variation, though, you might want to try the Lamy 1.5 or the Pilot Parallel 1.5.
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#11 Feanor

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 18:14

Pelikan Script. I've been disappointed with the line variation on my Vista 1.5.

#12 Randal6393

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 21:08

Love the Lamy pens with 1.1 or 1.5 mm italic nibs. Recommend reading about reshaping the tip of an italic nib -- sooner or later, one will get "roughed up" and will need a bit of smoothing or realigning to restore to its former greatness.

A nib that is a bit scratchy or doesn't quite perform well may be resuscitated/restored easily. Think that every user of fountain pens should know at least the basics of working on a fountain pen.

Best of luck to you, may you find that perfect italic nib soon.

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#13 SimonJamesLucas

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 21:36

I like the old screw top Sheaffer Nononsense pens with the American made italic nibs and my wife swears by hers, the only pen she uses.

Osmiroids used to be good too until Berol killed them but they can still be found on Fleabay if you shop around.

Manuscript make a huge range of great italic nibs too but then spoil things by putting them into one of the nastiest fountain pen bodies I´ve come across. However, these nibs will also fit the Classic American Style Flat Top kit pens with just a small amount of fettling at the end of the thread and then hey presto, one rather smart italic pen. I have an English Oak one that I run like this once in a while.

#14 stevepoppers

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Posted 27 May 2010 - 23:54

Wow! So many great answers. I've got a lot of research to do now. Thanks so much!

#15 stevepoppers

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 00:56


I would recommend lamy safari with 1.1 or 1.5 italic nib depending on the size of your writing. It is a cheap and nice entry model, It gets it share of time with me despite I have many expensive pens.


+ 2. To be honest, with the exception of my custom Binder italics (which I very strongly recommend), the Pluminix has the best italic nib I've come across, and certainly the best cheap one. The Lamy 1.1 offers slightly less line width variation, or at least mine does, but it's still a good writer, and comes in under your $50 budget. Of other cheap ones, the finest Vector italic isn't bad, though.


I looked up the Pluminix and it looks nicer than what I've got. Mine's a Plumix. They're similar, but the reviews for the Pluminix I saw looked better. Plus it won't take a converter. I'm looking at the Lamy Safari because of the multiple recommendations for it. It seems really well liked and certainly a good start. I'm wondering what ink to use because I also know nothing about that!

#16 sotto2

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 01:09

Waterman Deep Ocean Blue in my Lamy Safari 1.1 italic nib is a nice eye-popper, IMHO. This nib doesn't give a very striking line variation on Clairefontaine paper, but it will on the cheaper paper we use at work. (Edit 5/27/10: Sorry this ink color is Waterman's South Seas Blue rather than Deep Ocean Blue.)

With Clairefontaine paper:

Posted Image

And here is the same pen and nib with my work paper:

Posted Image

Edited by sotto2, 28 May 2010 - 23:43.

ekfh5f.jpg


#17 calvin82

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 01:14

Sheaffer Viewpoint/no nonsense Calligrapher (old model) would be a great choice for beginner. Im always use this pen for greeting card and diary writing and it turns out to be very good result. Its screw type cap is good enough to prevent the ink from drying up even keep for some time. Its great value for money too.

#18 Zenas

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 02:37

Love the Lamy pens with 1.1 or 1.5 mm italic nibs. Recommend reading about reshaping the tip of an italic nib -- sooner or later, one will get "roughed up" and will need a bit of smoothing or realigning to restore to its former greatness.

A nib that is a bit scratchy or doesn't quite perform well may be resuscitated/restored easily. Think that every user of fountain pens should know at least the basics of working on a fountain pen.

Best of luck to you, may you find that perfect italic nib soon.

Well this thread convinced me to buy a Lamy Al-Star 22 FP Coffee 1.1i from the writing desk (no affiliation)just a few minutes ago. Does that mean I can fairly blame my fellow FPNers on this thread for expanding my FP desires? What will I tell my wife?
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#19 sotto2

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 03:04

Good on ya', Zenas. :-)

ekfh5f.jpg


#20 Julio

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 04:48

I have a hand grinded italic nib pen, do not know the name, but very excellent looking pen. I will pass it to you fort 15 postage included if in the US.

#21 Sandy1

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 06:32

Hi,

For a pen that you may actually find useful for normal writing, not calligraphy, take a look at the Pendemonium site. There is a selection of Pens & Custom Nibs. You might well take a look at Item CG-1648D.

I bought a Sheaffer with a custom nib from them quite some time ago, and it has become a favourite. A lot more of a 'real deal' that the Lamy, Pilot (which I tried then gave away) or likely most other over-the-counter offerings.

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#22 dnb

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 06:36

[quote name='SkooterNB' date='27 May 2010 - 03:31 AM' timestamp='1274967072' post='1557319']
[quote name='Dr Lopez' date='27 May 2010 - 06:41 AM' timestamp='1274960517' post='1557244']
I would recommend lamy safari with 1.1 or 1.5 italic nib depending on the size of your writing. It is a cheap and nice entry model, It gets it share of time with me despite I have many expensive pens.
[/quote]

+3
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#23 medici

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 06:54

Depending on what you use your pen for, you might also consider a set of dip pen nibs. Brause makes killer crisp (calligraphy) italic nibs -- I love them!

For fountain pens, I agree with all of the Lamy Safari suggestions - great pens at great prices.

Edited by medici, 28 May 2010 - 06:58.


#24 oldstoat

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 10:59

+1 on the Pilot 78G stub. Speerbob. well-known and well-respected here has some.
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#25 TangleCrafts

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 11:59

Great, another to add to my wishlist.  Thanks... :(
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#26 jBeckett

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 12:31

I just bought a 78G broad stub from Speerbob, why? Because I didn't have one in red, but now I do and that's awesome.

#27 physicsgirl

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 19:06

I have the Hero calligraphy set it has 1.1, 1.5., and 1.9 nibs. I got mine for ~$12, and it is a really great pen set.
Posted ImagePosted Image Posted Image

#28 ehebert

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 23:01

I have also been looking at italic nibs, so I found this thread very helpful! One pen that I am surprised nobody has mentioned yet is the Pilot Parallel pen (available in 1.5, 2.4, 3.8 & 6.0). Jetpens has great reviews and writing samples of the cool color-changing effect when you use two pens. However, Amazon has them for around $8 and change.

#29 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 01:30

Do a search for LAMY. Or, buy a used/vintage pen for around $25.00/$35.00 and send it to Pendemonium ( or other nib master, cost varies) for a grind to an italic nib. Or, look at Esterbrook J pens with the advantage swapping all sorts of nib styles. Or, goto www.oscarbraunpens.com, look for the
Pelikan Blue demonstrator with Italic nib for $69.98. The Pelikan Italic writes quite wide. But you can't beat the price for an entry level
Pelikan with a Piston filler.



I bought a three-dollar Stypen, clipped it with a nail scissors, smoothed it with nail files and buffers.

And it writes REALLY well. I can hardly believe it myself.

#30 stine4115

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Posted 29 May 2010 - 01:56

Try "Isellpens". They have a HERO brand caligraphy pen for a very good price. I have one and it writes very smoothly.