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#1 xTwiinKy

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:58

Do pen nibs that dont write smoothly out of the box generally only out of alienment? Or is it common for there to be other issues like feed alignment, baby bottom etc?

#2 rochester21

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:40

On chinese pens, you can expect all sort of small issues, like the ones you mentioned. Otherwise, these problems are not that common. I just recently found out myself what "baby bottom" means.
None of the pens i purchased as new had the misalignment issue, but i did buy a couple of parker 75 and 51 that had this issue- i managed to fix the P75, but i left the P51 the way it is, because it`s not scratchy, i just have to alter the angle of writing a bit :)
Sometimes, the nib can be toothy or put resistance on paper without being misaligned, that`s partially why some pens are more expensive than others.

Edited by rochester21, 03 December 2012 - 12:46.


#3 nastyandy

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:52

The impression I've received is that the biggest issue with new pens put of the box is that they may need to be cleaned/ flushed, as oils used during production process may still residually remain in parts of the feed & nib.

#4 iamchum

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 13:01

to be honest, most pen manufacturers can have issues with their pens out of the box, just some have a better success rate than others, but there is always a chance for an unpleasant nib for any pen that you get.

In those cases, I wouldn't worry too much as, like andy said, after flushing the pen with warm soapy water and then cold clean water, if it is still writing unpleasantly, if you have the confidence and do it with care (common sense prevails, don't be stupid), you can check to see if your feed and nib tines are aligned (get a 10x + loupe for that), firstly, then check to see if the slit is properly wide enough or too wide for that matter, and check if there is baby bottom syndrome. I wouldn't recommend these correcting these issues unless you are confident in what you are doing and have the appropriate tools (as Richard Binder showed us earlier today... scalpels are best left to the medical profession). This will come with research, and practice on cheapy pens, you aren't too worried about.

If you are not confident in messing with your pen (because there is always the chance you can irreparably damage the nib) then make sure you send it to a reputable nibmeister and/or repairman. There are plenty of topics here that outline the best places to send it to depending on the pen you have.

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#5 iamchum

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 13:07

On chinese pens, you can expect all sort of small issues, like the ones you mentioned. Otherwise, these problems are not that common. I just recently found out myself what "baby bottom" means.
None of the pens i purchased as new had the misalignment issue, but i did buy a couple of parker 75 and 51 that had this issue- i managed to fix the P75, but i left the P51 the way it is, because it`s not scratchy, i just have to alter the angle of writing a bit :)
Sometimes, the nib can be toothy or put resistance on paper without being misaligned, that`s partially why some pens are more expensive than others.


I beg to differ on the blanket statement that all chinese pens are rubbish out of the box. One of my best writers is a chinese pen, which required no adjustment, and while that is an indicatively small sample size, there are plenty of posts on this website about people having quite good experiences with chinese made pens e.g. Heros Dukes Jinhaos and Kaigelus. If anything, they also provide a plentiful source of FPs for modding or practicing repair techniques on.

Also in regards to toothiness, that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and also depends on the paper and, sometimes, the ink you are writing with, so it is a very difficult quality to assess unless it is irrefutably scratchy, in which case, it may have something to do with an issue in the nib itself, rather than simply being toothy (I have written with Auroras, which you could class as at least middle to high end, which have been consistently toothy, although not unpleasant). So price does not factor into it, honestly. You will get your lemons with any manufacturer.

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#6 mhphoto

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 14:44

I've had to alter a Monteverde Jewelria, Parker Sonnet, and various Serwexes out of the box to make smooth. Interestingly, the Serwexes have all suffered from misaligned tines, and the other two had tine gaps that were too small, inhibiting capillary action. So far Sheaffers have been 100% reliable out of the box. And smoooooooooooth to boot.

#7 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 15:32


On chinese pens, you can expect all sort of small issues, like the ones you mentioned. Otherwise, these problems are not that common. I just recently found out myself what "baby bottom" means.
None of the pens i purchased as new had the misalignment issue, but i did buy a couple of parker 75 and 51 that had this issue- i managed to fix the P75, but i left the P51 the way it is, because it`s not scratchy, i just have to alter the angle of writing a bit :)
Sometimes, the nib can be toothy or put resistance on paper without being misaligned, that`s partially why some pens are more expensive than others.


I beg to differ on the blanket statement that all chinese pens are rubbish out of the box. One of my best writers is a chinese pen, which required no adjustment, and while that is an indicatively small sample size, there are plenty of posts on this website about people having quite good experiences with chinese made pens e.g. Heros Dukes Jinhaos and Kaigelus. If anything, they also provide a plentiful source of FPs for modding or practicing repair techniques on.

Also in regards to toothiness, that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and also depends on the paper and, sometimes, the ink you are writing with, so it is a very difficult quality to assess unless it is irrefutably scratchy, in which case, it may have something to do with an issue in the nib itself, rather than simply being toothy (I have written with Auroras, which you could class as at least middle to high end, which have been consistently toothy, although not unpleasant). So price does not factor into it, honestly. You will get your lemons with any manufacturer.


Amen to that!

#8 Snargle

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 16:39

The impression I've received is that the biggest issue with new pens put of the box is that they may need to be cleaned/ flushed, as oils used during production process may still residually remain in parts of the feed & nib.

I don't understand why a pen manufacturer wouldn't flush/clean a pen before packaging and shipping it. It'd be like an auto maker failing to put air in the tires of a new car before delivering it to the customer. With the price of many pens being what they are, it doesn't seem like a big deal to flush out any manufacturing oils and debris.

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#9 51ISH

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 21:42


The impression I've received is that the biggest issue with new pens put of the box is that they may need to be cleaned/ flushed, as oils used during production process may still residually remain in parts of the feed & nib.

I don't understand why a pen manufacturer wouldn't flush/clean a pen before packaging and shipping it. It'd be like an auto maker failing to put air in the tires of a new car before delivering it to the customer. With the price of many pens being what they are, it doesn't seem like a big deal to flush out any manufacturing oils and debris.


I'm with you Snargle....why would anyone sell something that is 'broken' before it even used ? I can't think of any other product sold where 'the market' would tolerate it. Of course....YMMV

#10 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 23:16

It would probably double the price of inexpensive pens.

#11 nastyandy

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 23:39


The impression I've received is that the biggest issue with new pens put of the box is that they may need to be cleaned/ flushed, as oils used during production process may still residually remain in parts of the feed & nib.

I don't understand why a pen manufacturer wouldn't flush/clean a pen before packaging and shipping it. It'd be like an auto maker failing to put air in the tires of a new car before delivering it to the customer. With the price of many pens being what they are, it doesn't seem like a big deal to flush out any manufacturing oils and debris.


For the profit margins that many of the higher end pen producers probably realize, I tend to agree with you.

But I imagine that many mass-produced items come fresh from the factory need to be cleaned or polished before first consumer use. If you bought a $500 set of cutlery, wouldn't you clean the blades before using in the kitchen? And while I'm sure that auto makers add tires before delivering to the dealer, I doubt they fill them to spec. I would expect the dealer to ensure proper air pressure, not the maker. (Though I know little about car sales.)

Not disagreeing with your sentiment, but when I think about it, seems like a lot of consumer products require some kind of initial maintenance.

#12 51ISH

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 18:16

It would probably double the price of inexpensive pens.



:eureka:

Good point.....never thought of that.... :headsmack:

#13 xTwiinKy

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 00:48

I think I complicated the issue that I had with the first pen, and all ajustments i did the first few hours of adjusting were without a magnification glass.
I got a new nib and noticed it was slightly out of aligntment and after tweaking (gently pressing 1 side 2x and checking), it writes in every direction with no effort altough thicker than my previous M nib.

I think it might also be the ink, because i had used Noodlers before and when my feed was watery from cleaning it would write smoothly for hours (though not in everydirection with dashing lines) but I switched to Waterman and it seems to be smoother and easier but lighter. It sloshes around my converter easier than my noodlers so its probably more watery.

#14 TimGirdler

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 02:06

Do pen nibs that dont write smoothly out of the box generally only out of alienment? Or is it common for there to be other issues like feed alignment, baby bottom etc?


It is VERY common to have nib issues right out of the box. In fact, many of the higher-end pens (Montblanc, Pelikan) have the biggest issues. The manufacturers want their pens to write smoothly so they put bigger balls of tipping material on the tip of the nib. The bigger ball holds the slit away from the paper so pens, even if properly aligned, will start hard and skip.

I've often seen people here claim that the greatest out-of-the-box issue is manufacturing gunk which requires a thorough cleaning. Undoubtedly this can be a problem. However, the greater issue is with the nib.

I have looked at many Pelikan nibs on pens that were presented for sale in many fine and reputable stores. On average, they were terrible examples of finely-tuned nibs. They nibs were, without fail, misaligned. Also, I've seen gold Pelikan nibs stamped to be "F," but the caliper tells a different story. Often times a "F" nib is actually as wide as a "B."

There is a reason than many reputable dealers of fine pens who are also world-class nibmeisters (think: Mottishaw and Binder) tune the pens they sell. Tuning the pens isn't a novelty gag; it is an absolute necessity for a properly-writing pen.

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#15 xTwiinKy

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 20:00


Do pen nibs that dont write smoothly out of the box generally only out of alienment? Or is it common for there to be other issues like feed alignment, baby bottom etc?


It is VERY common to have nib issues right out of the box. In fact, many of the higher-end pens (Montblanc, Pelikan) have the biggest issues. The manufacturers want their pens to write smoothly so they put bigger balls of tipping material on the tip of the nib. The bigger ball holds the slit away from the paper so pens, even if properly aligned, will start hard and skip.

I've often seen people here claim that the greatest out-of-the-box issue is manufacturing gunk which requires a thorough cleaning. Undoubtedly this can be a problem. However, the greater issue is with the nib.

I have looked at many Pelikan nibs on pens that were presented for sale in many fine and reputable stores. On average, they were terrible examples of finely-tuned nibs. They nibs were, without fail, misaligned. Also, I've seen gold Pelikan nibs stamped to be "F," but the caliper tells a different story. Often times a "F" nib is actually as wide as a "B."

There is a reason than many reputable dealers of fine pens who are also world-class nibmeisters (think: Mottishaw and Binder) tune the pens they sell. Tuning the pens isn't a novelty gag; it is an absolute necessity for a properly-writing pen.

Tim


So arent people a bit reluctant to buy used pens? And are they covered under warranties?

And do I have a baby bottom? My Lamy Studio writes very smoothly in all directions and keeps up, is very smooth however it is a hard starter especially in certain directions. Usually dipping the nib in ink solves the problem but only temporarily. (few minutes).

#16 rochester21

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 20:23

So if i combine the answers given so far, we can conclude that although nib issues are very common even on the big pen makers(like Tim Girdler stated), chinese pens are good writers out of the box(what iamchum and Sailor Kenshin said).
So we should all stop buying expensive pens from pelikan and parker and focus more on chinese pens, which are always quality objects.

Related to why people buy used pens, the answer is simple- some pens stopped being produced decades ago, so if you want one, you`il probably have to settle for a used one. +old/vintage pens are much cooler than the current models.
Second, there are people who can`t afford to buy new pens- like me! Yes, some arrive with various issues, but generally speaking, the used pens i bought so far were mostly alright and good to go. And they were way cheaper than the store alternatives.
Also, even badly damaged pens can be repaired, so it`s not the end of the world if you drop your pen and damage the nib, for instance. If you have a misaligned nib, you can usually fix it yourself, doesn`t take an engineer to do that.

Edited by rochester21, 05 December 2012 - 20:32.


#17 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 22:01

Almost all my Chinese pens write well out of the box, but they know I love them.....other people report various issues with QC, especially knock-offs.

I've had higher-end pens that wrote beautifully. Come to think of it, I must have some sort of mysterious power over fountain oens. :ninja:

#18 xTwiinKy

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 22:51

So if i combine the answers given so far, we can conclude that although nib issues are very common even on the big pen makers(like Tim Girdler stated), chinese pens are good writers out of the box(what iamchum and Sailor Kenshin said).
So we should all stop buying expensive pens from pelikan and parker and focus more on chinese pens, which are always quality objects.

Related to why people buy used pens, the answer is simple- some pens stopped being produced decades ago, so if you want one, you`il probably have to settle for a used one. +old/vintage pens are much cooler than the current models.
Second, there are people who can`t afford to buy new pens- like me! Yes, some arrive with various issues, but generally speaking, the used pens i bought so far were mostly alright and good to go. And they were way cheaper than the store alternatives.
Also, even badly damaged pens can be repaired, so it`s not the end of the world if you drop your pen and damage the nib, for instance. If you have a misaligned nib, you can usually fix it yourself, doesn`t take an engineer to do that.


Genrally do companies cover your failure trying to tweak a nib that came imcomplete?

#19 TimGirdler

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:02

So if i combine the answers given so far, we can conclude that although nib issues are very common even on the big pen makers(like Tim Girdler stated), chinese pens are good writers out of the box(what iamchum and Sailor Kenshin said).
So we should all stop buying expensive pens from pelikan and parker and focus more on chinese pens, which are always quality objects.


I don't think this to be a fair assessment about the Chinese pens. When we compare the "big" brands (Pelikan, Montblanc, etc.) to the Chinese pens, we are, basically, comparing apples and Volkswagens.

Most pen aficionados do stay away from Chinese nibs, and there is a reason for this. Most of the metal is thin and the quality control is very poor. On the Pelikans, and Montblancs, however, the quality of the nib itself is quite good. It's just that the finish job (the ball of tipping) is larger than what it should be, too much baby's bottom, etc. The quality of the Chinese nibs themselves, usually, don't hold a candle to the German nibs.

Any pen can have a misaligned nib. Perhaps a nib was aligned before it went on the feed and was placed in the pen. Depending how the nib sits on the feed, the tines can (and do) go out of alignment. Also, whomever is placing the nibs into these pens is not likely a nibmeister. Therefore, quality control in alignment is likely not a concern.

Many of the Chinese pens I have, after some work, have become quite good pens. I have a Kaigelu that I worked on to make a horrendously ugly broad, barrel-tipped nib into a beautifully writing fine-medium. I have several of the "Bulow" pens (one of which I really like, but it has an after-market nib in it). But, those Bulow nibs have been nothing to write home about.

Most of my current collecting is centered on vintage pens. I'm looking to start restoring and flipping Parker Vacumatics and "51"s. Those nibs, of course, are quite different than the modern nibs we're discussing here.

Also...and this is important, I think: Most Chinese pens do not come in anything other than a cartridge/converter filling system. While the c/c system is easiest--and therefore the most widely used--it isn't necessarily the best. A good, solid piston-filler is, likely, a much more reliable and durable pen. So, again, the apples-to-Volkswagens thing.

Tim

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#20 TimGirdler

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:04

Genrally do companies cover your failure trying to tweak a nib that came imcomplete?


I think it would depend. If we're talking tine alignment only, then it may not be an issue. However, if you, through tinkering with the tines, were to snap the ball off of one of the tines, then no, probably not.

Also, if in trying to smooth the nib you take it to your Black & Decker power rotating sander and you take the entire pellet of tipping material off, then no...probably not then either.

Tim

Edited by TimGirdler, 06 December 2012 - 02:05.

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#21 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 14:48


So if i combine the answers given so far, we can conclude that although nib issues are very common even on the big pen makers(like Tim Girdler stated), chinese pens are good writers out of the box(what iamchum and Sailor Kenshin said).
So we should all stop buying expensive pens from pelikan and parker and focus more on chinese pens, which are always quality objects.


I don't think this to be a fair assessment about the Chinese pens. When we compare the "big" brands (Pelikan, Montblanc, etc.) to the Chinese pens, we are, basically, comparing apples and Volkswagens.

Most pen aficionados do stay away from Chinese nibs, and there is a reason for this. Most of the metal is thin and the quality control is very poor. On the Pelikans, and Montblancs, however, the quality of the nib itself is quite good. It's just that the finish job (the ball of tipping) is larger than what it should be, too much baby's bottom, etc. The quality of the Chinese nibs themselves, usually, don't hold a candle to the German nibs.

Any pen can have a misaligned nib. Perhaps a nib was aligned before it went on the feed and was placed in the pen. Depending how the nib sits on the feed, the tines can (and do) go out of alignment. Also, whomever is placing the nibs into these pens is not likely a nibmeister. Therefore, quality control in alignment is likely not a concern.

Many of the Chinese pens I have, after some work, have become quite good pens. I have a Kaigelu that I worked on to make a horrendously ugly broad, barrel-tipped nib into a beautifully writing fine-medium. I have several of the "Bulow" pens (one of which I really like, but it has an after-market nib in it). But, those Bulow nibs have been nothing to write home about.

Most of my current collecting is centered on vintage pens. I'm looking to start restoring and flipping Parker Vacumatics and "51"s. Those nibs, of course, are quite different than the modern nibs we're discussing here.

Also...and this is important, I think: Most Chinese pens do not come in anything other than a cartridge/converter filling system. While the c/c system is easiest--and therefore the most widely used--it isn't necessarily the best. A good, solid piston-filler is, likely, a much more reliable and durable pen. So, again, the apples-to-Volkswagens thing.

Tim


Actually MOST chinese pens come with those metal-sleeve bulb squeezers. I wish more came with c/c because that is my preference.

#22 TimGirdler

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 17:15

Actually MOST chinese pens come with those metal-sleeve bulb squeezers. I wish more came with c/c because that is my preference.


Really?! That's interesting. I have not seen those "bulb squeezers," but I'll keep my eye out for them.

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#23 Gcouch

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 17:54

I've never had a missalignment issue with a brand new pen before, granted I only buy European pens. I once had a Waterman Hemisphere that was a bit rough, but it worked itself out in a few days. Used pens are hit or miss, but you should be able tto fix it yourself. Missalignment is easy to fix.
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#24 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 17:56

They (the Chinese bulb-fillers) aren't detachable, and are often (incorrectly, I'm told) referred to as 'aerometric.'

Standard issue on the Hero 616 and my trio of Guanleming pens.

Edited by Sailor Kenshin, 06 December 2012 - 18:05.


#25 51ISH

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 18:18



Actually MOST chinese pens come with those metal-sleeve bulb squeezers. I wish more came with c/c because that is my preference.


Really?! That's interesting. I have not seen those "bulb squeezers," but I'll keep my eye out for them.

Tim



They (the Chinese bulb-fillers) aren't detachable, and are often (incorrectly, I'm told) referred to as 'aerometric.'

Standard issue on the Hero 616 and my trio of Guanleming pens.


Actually all my Chinese pens bar one (Beijing Jinxing a metal sleeve bulb squeezer-without the metal sleeve :roflmho: ) are c/c .... :hmm1:

Edited by 51ISH, 06 December 2012 - 18:20.


#26 BrandonA

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 18:21

Do pen nibs that dont write smoothly out of the box generally only out of alienment? Or is it common for there to be other issues like feed alignment, baby bottom etc?


I'd expect a pen to write perfectly out of the box. I'd imagine when issues arise they could do though for a range of issues. Is there a particular manufacturer that you've had issues with?

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#27 tandaina

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 18:55

Cheap Chinese pens needing some adjustment don't bother me. (Though mine have all written very nicely without tweaking.) I expect something coming off a factory line that costs < $5 to have quality control inconsistencies.

Where I DON'T get it is in the high end lines. A brand new Montblanc (which cost minimum, what, $300?), Visconti, etc having issues? NOT acceptable.

Since I regularly live in the camera world here's an analogy. The cheap single use film cameras you can buy the grocery store sometimes have quality issues. People shrug and move on, they're cheap. But if I bought a hand made Leica camera and had to send it off to a "meister" to get it "adjusted" straight out of the box? I'd be sending the thing back to Leica instead and demand they made it right! And if it happened more than once, I wouldn't be buying another Leica, nor recommending them.

I just don't get it. For the high end luxury pens there's no excuse for not having them inked up, tested, and adjusted to a basic standard before they leave the factory. Just no excuse.

#28 TimGirdler

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 21:03

Cheap Chinese pens needing some adjustment don't bother me. (Though mine have all written very nicely without tweaking.) I expect something coming off a factory line that costs < $5 to have quality control inconsistencies.

Where I DON'T get it is in the high end lines. A brand new Montblanc (which cost minimum, what, $300?), Visconti, etc having issues? NOT acceptable.

Since I regularly live in the camera world here's an analogy. The cheap single use film cameras you can buy the grocery store sometimes have quality issues. People shrug and move on, they're cheap. But if I bought a hand made Leica camera and had to send it off to a "meister" to get it "adjusted" straight out of the box? I'd be sending the thing back to Leica instead and demand they made it right! And if it happened more than once, I wouldn't be buying another Leica, nor recommending them.

I just don't get it. For the high end luxury pens there's no excuse for not having them inked up, tested, and adjusted to a basic standard before they leave the factory. Just no excuse.


I (and many others, I'm sure) would agree with you completely. However, as we know, this isn't reality. As I said earlier, there is a reason those who are recognized nibmeisters like Mottishaw and Binder tune every pen that goes out of their shops, no matter who made it. It isn't a gimmick, it isn't a novelty, it is absolutely necessary for a properly-writing pen.

It shouldn't be this way, but it is.

Tim

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#29 XiaoMG

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:02

As far as I've been able to tell, imperfect nibs are the norm. The degree of imperfection varies, but is often more than simply alignment. This applies to the third-party nib grinders as well as the big impersonal manufacturers. The problems become more apparent as you get finer, but folks seem to be good at ignoring even quite large flaws. It can be a little frustrating at times if you have a discerning enough eye.

It's interesting how many quiet stories there are in the background--in emails and private messages--of mediocre results from some of the most esteemed public names, both "meisters" and manufacturers. It is a shame that much of it, which might be revealing and helpful to others, is not considered welcome here. I actually entertained the idea of collecting such stories and publishing them on a blog somewhere, but don't have the time for such an endeavor now.

Edited by XiaoMG, 07 December 2012 - 01:11.

Robert.

#30 TimGirdler

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:54

So arent people a bit reluctant to buy used pens? And are they covered under warranties?

And do I have a baby bottom? My Lamy Studio writes very smoothly in all directions and keeps up, is very smooth however it is a hard starter especially in certain directions. Usually dipping the nib in ink solves the problem but only temporarily. (few minutes).


It does sound, from what you are describing, that baby's bottom is a possibility. Baby's bottom is fixable, but one has to know what they're doing--otherwise the nib will die, usually quickly. Contact me, if you wish, through my website (link below).

Tim

Tim Girdler Pens  (Nib Tuning; Custom Nib Grinding; New & Vintage Pen Sales)
The Fountain Pen: An elegant instrument for a more civilized age.
I Write With: Any one of my assortment of Parker "51"s or Vacumatics