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Baoer 388


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#41 harry015

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 18:48

I just received a Baoer 388 in black lacquer finsh today from China, 8 days in transit to the East Coast of the USA. It is definitely lighter than my Jinhaos, 25 grams with an empty converter. I like the feel of the pen, and it writes very well, a bit wet, but with a nice medium line. Hopefully, mine will stand up better than the pics of one in an earlier post.

The only problem I encountered was with the converter. Initially, I thought it was much better than the typical Jinhao, but it won't take ink. I tried several times, but there is simply no vacuum. I'll try to use the drop of dishwashing liquid in plenty of water later today, and see if that improves the feed. I'm using a Cross cartridge, the Universal one, and it performs as expected. For the price,$4.88, shipped, it is a fair value, if it holds up. The cap is snug, but still pretty easy to remove, and has a definite positive click close. The nub was perfect without any tuning. As a lighter pen, I think it will make a nice daily user. Especially is I get the converter working properly.


Harry

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#42 Arkanabar

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 15:12

I recently got a stainless Baoer 388 from isellpens.com (with a green Pilot78G in fine, a dab of silicone grease, and four purple samples).  I am glad I went for brushed stainless rather than any of the lacquered finishes, given thepiman's photo in post 33 of this thread.  I have never much cared for lacquer over brass anyway.

I started by filling it with Noodler's VMail Midway Blue.  It was dry as all get out.  I did high pressure arm writing, which got me a decent line and scored the paper because the nib is a nail.  Once I had gone through a quarter of the converter, it was able to write almost entirely without pressure, though it has a bit of tooth.  The cap doesn't post securely unless you twist it on with quite a bit of pressure.  My grip goes over the section-barrel ring, and that doesn't bother me.  I have no trouble uncapping mine one-handed, but I still have most of the grip strength that comes from years of cycling.  I get about the same sort of line as from my fine Pelikan M200.  

I found the Pilot 78G to be a higher-quality pen, significantly lighter, and with a somewhat narrower section.  The cap threads are a bit delicate.  But it wrote like a champ immediately on its first fill, which came after its first flush.  The Pilot fine point is hairline fine with Noodler's Violet.  As I nearly always find myself pulling my EDC from a pocket, writing a line or two, and putting it back, the Baoer suits me quite well.



#43 penxade

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 17:58

 

Baoer 388 – Stainless Steel Gold trim, medium nib



Introduction
Apologies if reviewing conventions aren’t adhered to everyone’s satisfaction – this is my first review. This fp is a Baoer model 388, available – so far as I know – in black lacquer or stainless steel; I went for the steel version. Despite all the volcanic dust cloud disruption, the Baoer arrived here in Scotland just a fortnight after winning the auction on eBay, from Wuhan, China. On top of this, a free converter was included!

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Here’s the package as it arrived, on my recently restored antique burlwood desk.

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Packaging was a little light – bubblewrap around the pen, inside one of those bubblewrap-coated envelopes. The seller did make clear in the listing there was no presentation box, and the pen itself was totally undamaged.

Appearance and Design
IMG_1413_800x600.jpg

On first sight, I couldn’t fail to be impressed with the Baoer. I don’t usually go for pens where there’s a noticeable step between the cap and body – I prefer there to be a seamless transition – but on this Baoer it looks just great.The 338 also looks great against the grain of my exquisite, recently restored burlwood desktop. With the cap off, it looks even better – see the photo below.

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Oh no! I’ve been rumbled! As you probably guessed already, the only ‘burlwood desktop’ here belongs to my laptop. The genuine article is a little out of my price range! In my clumsily obvious way, I’ve arrived at my next point: the Baoer 388 is one of those nudge-nudge, wink-wink, Chinese ‘homage’ pens to the Parker Sonnet. I have no basis for comparison, so this review is conducted on the Baoer’s own merits.

Looks – wise, the brushed stainless steel body is very classy. Looking at my other flighters, it looks more like the 45’s body than my Targa’s, which is brushed a touch coarser. The gold cap band isn’t overstated, and is in perfect proportion to the rest of the pen.

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The clip and partially countersunk cap jewel are also very tasteful and at odds with 90% of the more ostentatious style of Chinese fountain pens I see on eBay.

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I think the photos speak for themselves - this is a very handsome pen, and looks far more expensive than it is.
Plating is very good overall – there is a tiny patchy area on the end of the cap clip, as shown below.

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There is also some evidence of plating loss on this ring. Bear in mind these are macros, everything looks good to the naked eye.

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The nib is two-tone, steel and gold, and this effect has been done quite accurately, shown in the following two photographs. It’s refreshing to see a generous amount of tipping on a Chinese pen.

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There’s a gold ring just behind the nib the cap secures to, but it’s not at all gaudy.

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Construction and Ease of Use
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As soon as you pick it up, this feels like a very solid, dependable pen. It weighs around 20 grams according to my wildly inaccurate scales – I have seen different eBay sellers claim anything from 27 to 38 grams. It feels heavier than my 45 flighter. It’s around 13.6 cm long; the barrel at its widest is 1.1cm diameter.

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This is one Chinese pen with a very European feel. For a pen that’s a decent size and weight, with Parker-style medium tipping, I was very surprised to find that I just can’t get used to writing with it at all. I have puzzled over this for a few days now, and have come to the conclusion that it’s a combination of balance and section size. To my large hand, it feels oddly top heavy, an effect exacerbated by posting. But principally, the reason we can’t get along is the tiny grip section (may I remind a certain member to return my snorkel grip section? Do the decent thing). At 2.5cm long, it’s simply too small for the thumb and forefinger, forcing you to hold the pen almost by the nib. Also, the section is very narrow, 0.8cm where your fingers are forced by the bevelling to grip it. The combination of these factors makes the pen very unpleasant for someone with larger hands to write with, but will probably suit most people. Shame! Comparative photo of the section below.

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The cap clip is tight. The cap itself snaps very, very securely on to the pen and has a very impressive action that’s hard to describe – sort of elastic to begin with, and then a very definite click. Unfortunately, it’s astoundingly difficult to then get the cap back off – it takes both hands and a lot of effort – usually enough to cause real irritation. I’m hoping this will get easier with use.

Unscrewing the barrel and section, I got a nice surprise. Both have metal threads, rather than metal screwing into plastic. I don’t see these stripping, cracking or losing tightness any time soon. Very impressive and actually a more robust design than most of my other fountain pens.

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Nib and Performance
The nib is two tone steel and gold plate, listed as medium tipped and lays a line as wide as my Frontier’s medium. Strangely, I’ve only seen these 388s available with a medium nib or as rollerballs. It’s wider than a Sheaffer medium, see the photograph below.

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Sorry about the handwriting – they are all medium nibs and all filled with Diamine Royal blue. The Baoer may be filled with Turquoise, it’s hard to tell from the free pack of carts Diamine sent with my last order. For a Chinese medium point it’s nice and wide. The nib is absolutely rigid by the way, and of moderate wetness. It’s as happy writing on 90gsm black & red notepads as it is on generic Asda A4 lined paper. I’d say its slightly less smooth than my Frontier, but only slightly. Considering it was approximately half the price, it’s certainly much more than half as smooth.

If the nib can be unscrewed/ pulled for ease of servicing, it certainly isn’t keen on the idea.

Filling System and Maintenance
Here’s a plus: the Baoer 388 takes international cartridges, so I’ve found a use for my free pack of Diamine samples. It comes with a free screw type converter – in the photograph below, you can see the converter has a tiny glass bead inside.

IMG_1469_800x600.jpg

I only used the screw converter to clean the nib/feed with water before first use, I have quite a few of these Diamine freebie cartridges. There is also enough space in the barrel to accept a Flounder converter.

Cost and Value
I bought the Baoer on eBay, for $6.90 - £4.70 – including shipping from Wuhan province, China to Scotland. Can you believe that price? This excellently put together, all-metal pen costs less than £5. Brand new. Including shipping across the planet. With a converter thrown in! It simply is unbelievably low priced for what you get. I believe the black version is lacquer over brass, at the same price.

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Parting Shots
If I had smaller hands, this pen would be ideal. It’s not for me, but it’s a seriously good looking, solidly made, high quality fountain pen at very, very low price. I’m suitably impressed!

EDIT: I forgot to add this cap off dry out test - I took the cap off, then left it lying on the desk for 5 minutes. Afterwards, it started up straight away.

 

 

Splendid and flawless review. Thank you for the information!



#44 Manalto

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 18:51

I agree; what a terrific review.

 

I see most Chinese pens as long-term disposables, mostly because of the inner cap that jar Antidogma and Flounder mention above. The 388 is a good-looking pen; it hits the right note of Western aesthetics. I also love the appearance of a well-worn thing, so plating loss and other forms of patina are welcome - if the pen continues to perform. I have a few 388s (I think - maybe I've given them all away) and like the brushed steel version quite a bit. To compare these pens that cost a few dollars to those that cost hundreds simply isn't fair; I'm predicting my 388 won't be around in a few years the way my 1952 gem of a Pelikan is. But, so what? It provides a real writing experience, it's refillable, it's aesthetically pleasing. Better to spend three years with a disposable than three months.


Edited by Manalto, 09 May 2015 - 23:39.

James


#45 ac12

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 06:07

The 388 is less than $3 each, individual purchase not bulk, on ebay.

Time to restock my supply of give-away pens..

 

BTW, if you do give-aways, be sure to get the bulk ink cartridges on eBay.  Otherwise the cartridge ink at the stationary store will cost you more than the pen.


Edited by ac12, 01 June 2015 - 06:08.

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#46 migo984

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 07:21

My Baoer 388, with a fine italic nib, does not look too out-of-place amongst the pens I have inked today.........




Baoer 388
Swan Calligraph
CS 286
Stephens 106
Waterman's W5

Verba volant, scripta manent


#47 JonSzanto

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 07:45

I recently had a friend offer to grind some inexpensive Knox nibs for me to try out. He hosted them in, not surprisingly, a couple of Knox pens. Fine, except that they were way too heavy. Nib size and feed seemed very like many Chinese pens, so I chose to host one in a pen I had, and went looking for another.

I settled on the Baoer 388. I have really, really stayed away from the Chinese pens, as they are usually so gaudy that... I'd rather not. Unless as a joke. Anyway, both of these pens (the other a Wing Sung <something numeric>) are understated and finished with great quality. They both have ended up being perfect hosts for a couple of really nice italic grinds, and the Baoer tops out at less than $15, figuring the cost of the pen and nib. Frankly, it is kind of insane. I wouldn't be ashamed to use this anywhere, and the sucker never seems to dry out. I've got some summer projects in mind! (Lame phone pic below, showing the two pens)

 

20150418_114309_zpsedojifwu.jpg


Edited by JonSzanto, 01 June 2015 - 07:45.

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#48 ammarmali

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 00:22

Awesome review! Thanks!



#49 oneill

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 09:45

Just in case any member is not aware of who makes BAOER  they are made by JINHAO,A company that I have always applauded for their overall quality at very affordable prices.One thing I would advise buyers to do is to wash out the convertor with a drop of dishwashing liquid and a tiny drop of Amonia,After that if the nib is a little harsh try writing figure eights with it on very fine sandpaper, don't use much pressure and roll the pen as you are smoothing.I myself at any one time have at least 30 Jinhao's in my posession and I reward any tradesman who does a good job for me with a boxed Jinhao upon completion of his task, I have never had a complaint as yet.Most of the pens are made of solid Brass, once you get them working you will never put them down.Did I say affordable I have a great collection of them and they only cost me about $300.00 



#50 hbdk

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 19:36

Nice review, thanks.

 

The 388s are great pens - you do get a dud now and then, and most of them will need a little tweaking (cleaning, adjusting tines and - if you prefer buttery smooth - a little micromesh). I use the 388s a give-aways; made a couple of converts that way. If you have one that is a particularly nice, you can reuse the feed and nib in a new body for less than a cup of coffee, if the cap starts acting up or the paint wears off.  


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#51 Flounder

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Posted 05 July 2015 - 17:21

That's a nice finish on the Wing Sung Jon, they seem to be channeling the Parker Premiere?


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#52 JonSzanto

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Posted 05 July 2015 - 17:51

That's a nice finish on the Wing Sung Jon, they seem to be channeling the Parker Premiere?

 

Of modern Parkers, I know nothing. For that matter, I'm only barely conversant on vintage Parkers!


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#53 Flounder

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Posted 05 July 2015 - 17:58

 

Of modern Parkers, I know nothing. For that matter, I'm only barely conversant on vintage Parkers!

 

Actually, looks like I got it wrong too - the one I was thinking of was the IM Premium, not the Premiere.


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#54 oneill

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Posted 06 July 2015 - 09:16

I have just received a Baoer 388 with the medium nib, and finished in dark green marble lacquer.

I agree completely with the reviews above, it writes beautifully with line slightly finer than a Parker Sonnet but not as fine as say the Pilot 78g. Flow is moderately wet and I had to align the feed by a fraction before inking the pen. Finish is rich looking with the usual caveat about Chinese plating not being very deep.

I also own two Parker Sonnets - one in gloss black lacquer and the other matte black. Both of them have feed problems and hard starts and in terms of ink management are not a patch on this Chinese pen.
I have the distinct impression that the Chinese have really upped their game on quality control and recent pens I have bought have been smooth and silky and very well finished.

At the price paid, the pen is an absolute steal and would pass anywhere as a luxury item.

If you type something like "How to realign a fountain pen NIB you will probabkly get someone on there who shows you just how to do anything you are stuck with,give it a try you can use any SEARCH definition you like solong as it asks the Question.I have been a lover of Jinhao and Baoer pens both made by the same company for years and always have some 35 or so pens which I use as my reward pens for tradesmen who do a
good job at my place, I have never had a complaint yet. Oneill
It is a lovely pen and feels great in the hand. My only complaint with mine is that the nib came misaligned to the feed, so it's hard to keep it writing. If it didn't look so nice, I'd have binned it months ago; but as it is, I hang on to it in hopes that I'll bump into someone who knows enough about such things to knock it apart and put it back together as intended.



#55 Flounder

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Posted 06 July 2015 - 17:03

M'learned lud, please expound!


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#56 fitz123

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 22:58

Is the Baoer 388's nib a #5? I swapped nibs with my Skilcraft Executive nib, which are the exact same size. 


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#57 oneill

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 07:14

Hi Flounder; FYI and many others who are not aware BAOER is made by the same company who make the excellent JINHAO one of my very own favourites which I write about frequently on this forum.The only real problem with these pens I find is that sometimes they stop writing, the problem appears to be the fact that when the pens are being machined because most if not all of them are made from solid Brass is that the machine oil is not always flushed out entirely by the machinists consequently a good flush with lukewarm water with a drop of Amonia plus a drop of dishwashing liquid generally does the trick, and I mean only a tiny drop of each will do. I have at any one time some 30 or more examples of their product which I use to reward any tradesman who does a good job at my place, some of the recipients have even had the nerve to ask me if I can spare another for the little missy, I have never had a pen returned.  I regard their nibs as some of the smooooothest you will ever use.For the price that you pay for them it is fair to say that they are very good value,TRUST me you wont get a better deal anywhere than from the Shanghai stationery company. Should you have any other problems with pens there is generally someone on youtube who can give advice as to how to fix them providing you know how to type in the right question. regards, oneill  



#58 dompred

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 08:58

Is the Baoer 388's nib a #5? I swapped nibs with my Skilcraft Executive nib, which are the exact same size. 

 

Yes, it's a #5. I have also swapped nibs with other #5



#59 oneill

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Posted 11 December 2015 - 07:03

Hi Members; in reply to Foowriter who has a misaligned nib  can I tell him that when he has a problem especially of this kind  go to Youtube and put in "How to replace a Jinhao which is the same company as Baoer Nib, I am sure I have seen very simple instructions on how to do just that on there, correct me if I am wrong,if at anytime at all you have a problem turn to you tube there is always some smart XXXX who knows just how to do that,Trust ME  oneill 



#60 chromantic

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 16:42

I have this pen and absolutely love it - looks great, very well-made and very smooth writer (smoother than the 801). Liked it so much I ordered 4 more of the SS and 2 black lacquer (will investigate the red).

I got the SS for $2.25 each, shipping included, the blacks were $2.07, shipping included.


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