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Kaigelu 316 Charcoal


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#1 richardandtracy

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 09:12

This is a review of the Pearlescent Charcoal Kaigelu 316 Pen.

I have done another review of an Amber & Grey Kaigelu 316, but as I forgot to add photos of the packaging, and want to show the Pearlescent Charcoal compared to the Duofold and Amber/Grey I thought I'd add this little fragment of a review. If you want a detailed review and comparison with the Duofold Centennial look here: http://www.fountainp...316-grey-amber/

Here's the pen itself:
Posted Image

As can be seen, the pen has beautiful pearlescence in the charcoal colour. This is especially visible in the cap:
Posted Image
It really doesn't look very different from a Grey Pearl & Black Duofold. Very smart. Very expensive looking.

The Packaging with the pen consists of a card outer sleeve and a faux leather box inside. It looks as if it is for the highest of high end pens, and the contents doesn't disappoint either.
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Very nice. You don't feel as if you have got some tatty little piece of Chinese junk when you look at and touch that.

Next to my Duofold and Amber & Grey Kaigelu 316:
Posted Image

Work Needed To get the Pen Working
Unfortunately this pen did not work properly straight out of the box. I did the initial fill of the c/c and drip... drip... drip.. drip.. came from the nib. I had screwed the c/c in properly, but it still didn't seal aganst the c/c spigot. So I had to apply silicone grease to the c/c threads to seal the c/c against the section. Once that was done, it no longer dripped.

The nib was too dry & was smooth, but not as smooth as I like. So, to increase the flow I pushed the nib shoulders up and slightly out relative to the point, which had the effect of opening he slit out a bit improving the flow, then the smoothness was addressed with about 30 seconds of writing on each of 6000, 8000 and 12000 grit micromesh. The net result, a pen that meets my requirements. It was usable before I fiddled with the nib, but now is a pen that people comment on favourably when they use it, and its writing feel matches the overall impression of quality.

Conclusion
This is a very good Kaigelu. What more praise can I give it other than to say this is not my first, and I'd recommend it to anyone?

The Pearlescent Charcoal is probably more luxurious in looks than the Amber-Grey and I think I prefer its look to any Parker Duofold except the Pearl & Black, and I think it's equal in attractiveness to that colour. It is, however a more sombre shade than the Pearl & Black, so may be more appropriate in a workplace than that very flamboyant Parker colour.

I am very impressed with the pen.

I hope this mini review is useful,

Regards,

Richard.




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#2 watch_art

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 16:15

Nice! How much?

fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#3 MR. PEN MAN

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 01:09

Wow, I am impress, the chinese could make a good pen if only they would now move up the food chain and come out with some high quality material and process control pens and under cut the brand name pens.

i love my hero demi and i consider it even more superior to my parker 51 signet, but it is still a cheap low quality material pen.

but the parker is definitely a high quality material pen, now if they could make a high quality material for the the hero at half the price i would snap up a couple without blinking a eye.

#4 richardandtracy

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 11:40

Shawn,

This cost me around $30 including the box, but a more common price is about $50.

Regards,

Richard

#5 K9training

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:03

I purchased 3 of the Kaigelu's from Todd (isellpens)- 1 in charcoal and 2 in white-veined. one of the white's was for my daughter. I inked up 2 of the 3 and they worked nicely right from the start. Nice pens!

#6 richardandtracy

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 15:26

The white & black swirl looks very much like a Norman Rockwell Duofold. The only problem is that it's very transparent. I'd be very tempted to paint the inside of the acrylic with white paint (like you have to do with some kit pen blanks).

Regards,

Richard.

#7 KrazyIvan

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 19:20

Just ordered a charcoal colored one. Now the wait for it to arrive.

#8 Atrata

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 19:57

Just ordered a charcoal colored one. Now the wait for it to arrive.

Me too! hope the guy still has some left .:)
Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna, in die illa tremenda.

#9 smodak

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 00:16

Hey I have one of these that I got from isellpens - I never inked it so far - perhaps I will next.

#10 Atrata

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:24

Hey I have one of these that I got from isellpens - I never inked it so far - perhaps I will next.


They seem to be a but thin on the ground just now... I checked Todd's site first, but he was sold out.

I suspect the Jinhao is probably a better fit for my hand, but with the good reviews and the beautiful charcoal color, I couldn't resist.
Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna, in die illa tremenda.

#11 manoloyloles

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 20:07

Thanks for the review.

I grabbed one recently and was also very impressed. Pen did not need any "additional work" to make it write, and functioned smoothly from the very beginning.

I just paid some 17 euros (Spain), shipping included. At this price range, it is more than recommended: it's a steal! :D

Regards from sunny Spain.

Edited by manoloyloles, 19 August 2012 - 20:08.

For those about to rock... we salute you!

#12 Gloucesterman

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 22:26

Just got one of these (Pearl/Grey/White) from Todd. I really liked the looks and when I called him he said that even though the nib wasa "M" it tended toward the fine. It was an accurate description and it was not as fine as I prefer. (I have the Monteverde Invincia Cold Fusion with a "F" nib and I really like it).

It writes very well and I am checking on the cost & potential to make the nib "F"er. Unless someone offers me what I paid, it's a keeper for a while. Smooth writer, nice substantial feel to it and it catches some people's attention aside from being an FP.

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”


#13 nagarjuna

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 23:25

I like mine but I don't ever use it so I'mma gonna sell it. It is a very good writer. Todd is great to deal with as well. :thumbup:
The world has certainly changed since I was a kid. Yikes!

#14 richardandtracy

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:21

Just to report back on how it's surviving after over a year and a quarter.

I have used the pen as a regular in my rotation. It hasn't been used every day, but regularly. When it's been used it has always been in my pocket with another pen, which are often all metal flighters, so plating wear could be higher than expected in less aggressive conditions.

Plating Wear:
The two cap bands have now worn through the gold in a ring around the centre cap of the band except in line with the clip. The plating has worn off the tip of the clip. The plating on the barrel finial ring is looking a little thin but hasn't worn through anywhere, and the plating on the metal ring at the top of the section is looking a bit silvery too. The main part of the clip looks slightly scratched, but isn't seriously marked.
Paint Wear:
The paint on the cap finial is completely intact, and on the barrel finial the paint has worn away over a width of 0.1mm at the corner of the finial, showing a copper colour underneath.

Other observations:
The cap finial has unscrewed once releasing the clip and clip ring. This was interesting as it means I might be able to make a new finial out of lighter weight black acrylic and get the clip re-plated with a more durable level of gold.
The acrylic barrel material is as smooth as it ever was, and the cap-barrel threads are beautifully smooth.

I still love using the pen, and the finish doesn't look weary, just well used - which it has been. I will say that it has worn worse than my Centennial though, which has had a similar level of use.

Regards,

Richard.

#15 wastelanded

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:50

I bought the same pen after reading your review about a year ago, Richard. Still in rotation regularly as well, it writes very well although it has a very particular sweet spot. The plating on mine has fared better, but it's in a case when it's out.

Let us know if you fabricate a new finial. I wonder if the end finial is also screw-on? I have tried to remove it, but not my hardest as I didn't want to break it.
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#16 richardandtracy

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:03

I've tried to take the barrel finial off, but it hasn't come off yet.

Glad you still like yours though. I am seriously thinking of getting another of this colour just to have a perfect one as well as a user.

Regards,

Richard.

#17 nicholasyeo

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 15:45

The main weakness in Chinese pens is mainly the filling system. TWSBI is an exception, but of course they aren't from the Mainland. I have a couple of Dukes and Kaigelus and they indeed write well! :thumbup:

#18 Flounder

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 17:38

'lo

The end finial is a press fit using a spigot, just as richardandtracy said. It is both glued in and a tight friction fit in the barrel. Without it in place the balance is quite neutral in the hand.

Edited by Flounder, 08 February 2013 - 17:38.

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#19 richardandtracy

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:33

Thank's Flounder, I'd missed that last deliberate finial removal. I shall have a go myself I think.

Regards,

Richard.

#20 richardandtracy

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 15:55

I have been threatening to make a barrel finial for my Charcoal Kaigelu 316 for some time now, and at last I managed to get both the time and workshop temperature high enough to allow me to do it over the weekend.

 

I removed the Kaigelu barrel finial in the way Flounder suggested in his 'accidental disassembly thread' (here - http://www.fountainp...assembly-photos ), by dipping the finial in nearly boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then pouring some of the hot water down the barrel & finally twisted hard with my fingers protected from the heat by a cloth. The finial was quite stiff, but came out in my fingers without the need for section pliars.

 

The brass finial weighed 12g (weighed on an old balance scale with an error of up to +/-0.5g), which is quite a remarkable weight for such a small item.

 

Anyway, I then measured it up, and came up with the cross section drawing below:
Kaigelu316Photo17_zps47b3871b.gif

After an hour or so on my lathe (that's right, I'm not very quick on first off's..!), I had a lovely little finial fully polished, which friction fitted into the Kaigelu and weighed 10 grams less than the old one. While I was modifying the pen anyway, I thought I'd also fit a JoWo #6 broad nib, as shown below next to the bits I took off:
Kaigelu316Photo16_zpsfd3d07e2.jpg

 

So, on to the big question: What difference has it made?

Well, I now have a self coloured finial (indistinguishable from the original) that will not change colour when it wears, and it has significantly altered the balance of the pen.
For the better.
The weight is now much closer to the nib. I did a couple of experiments to try to assess the balance point (Centre of Gravity, CG), and as I was balancing it on the rounded handle of a tea spoon, the dimensions may be up to a millimeter in error, but it gives a good idea of the modified pen balance point. The CG positions from the tip of the nib are as below:
Centennial Uncapped: 73mm
Centennial Posted: 98mm
Original K316 Uncapped: 83mm
Original K316 Posted: 110mm
Modified K316 Uncapped: 65mm
Modified K316 Posted: 105mm
You can see that the brass cap finial on the modified posted pen is still dragging the CG quite a lot higher than the Duofold, however as the K316 doesn't post very securely, I don't think it's a pen for posting, so it won't be a problem.

 

The uncapped pen is now weighs the same as the uncapped Duofold Centennial (to within 0.5g), and has a slightly lower CG, so it feels almost identical when writing. The revised finial answers the biggest gripe I had about the K316 - the high CG - and makes it into a pen that is just as good to write with as the Parker Duofold Centennial. I must re-emphasise that statement:
With the modified finial the K316 is just as good to write with as a Centennial.
For a price that is approximately £350 (US$525) less - if you compare it with the spectacular Pearl & Black Duofold RRP in th UK. Amazing.
 

The fact that a JoWo (or Bock) nib can be fitted also means that the nib size can be altered at little cost (I think around $10) to a fantastic quality Broad or Fine to go with the standard Kaigelu Medium - which isn't quite the same quality, but isn't far off. I didn't need to change the nib, I just prefer broad lines, italic if possible.

Now for another little report on the plating wear.
I've had the pen in pretty regular use since October 2011 - almost every other day paired with another pen. During that time the gold plating has worn on the K316, and the current defects are listed below.
Cap
Clip ring: Not noticeable.
Clip: A 0.5mm wide band at the top of the clip has worn away (dark line in the photo above), and a 1mm wide band across the tip of the clip.
Cap Bands: Upper band has a worn away ring averaging 0.5mm wide, and the lower band has a ring worn away about 0.75mm wide.
Section
Nib: From the photo you can see almost all the visible gold plating had worn away from where I wipe the nib during filling.
Section lower ring by nib: No wear visible.
Section upper ring at barrel: Totally worn away and looks silver grey now.
Barrel
Finial Ring: Wear not noticeable until the finial was removed and was able to compare with the unworn plating - then it seemed quite dull and silvery.

 

Just as an aside, I seem to be very hard on my pens - certainly in comparison with my colleagues; I managed to wear through the gold plating on a kit pen in 3 weeks, and it took a colleague just over 12 months to obtain the same level of wear on his EDC pen that I made for him from the same batch of the same kit. With any luck, the wear I have noted above in 19 months will be much more than a more careful user would expect in 5 years.

 

I hope this is of interest,

 

Regards,

 

Richard.








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