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Jinhao 250 Review


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#1 alexzxz

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 05:57

WARNING, THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS MAY CAUSE DISGUST AND DEPRESSION



This is my first review, and also my second pen. (after the platinum preppy eyedropper that came with BSB)
I got this pen from boli0000 just yesterday. Took a while to ship as this was from China. Here is a previous review.

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As the disclaimer says, the photos will cause much distress to your eyes. Not THIS one. This one is ok. Most of the others are were taken with a fluorescent bulb, so they look absolutely terrible. This was taken with an incandescent bulb so it looks warm and nice. One of the others was taken with flash, and at least that looked better. Only my living room has a nice big table to show the pen and inks, but my folks decided to switch to all fluorescent for that room. The only incandescent lamps are on my computer table and as you can see, there wasn't much space.
Also, I couldn't take any closeups, since my camera is an old 4MP that blurs up close.

Seller:
boli0000 from ebay. Great seller, I had Paypal bank issues and he had to wait almost a week for the payment. It was cool, since we had good communication. Shipping took about a week + 2 days or so, from China. Was packaged in a small padded envelope. Also, it came with some holder made of faux cloth along with a thin plastic bag (stuffed inside the holder) The packaging protected the pen pretty well.

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Aesthetics/Weight:
It looks GREAT. Don't trust me on that since it's only my second pen. But you should. From the ebay pictures, it looked ok, but I thought the plastic (red marble) looked a bit flat, dull, and cheap. Right now, comparing it to the ebay pictures, the blacks and reds look MUCH more rich and brilliant. The other reviewer was right in saying the contrast was much greater than expected. The stark black and red contrast really go well with gold. The gleam is not as flat as in the pictures. However, the glossiness of the pen is ensuring that it will pick up dust unless protected.

The pen does not look cheap at all. Maybe compared to some really fancy ones, it does, but not to me. I haven't tried using it in school yet, but I'd probably get comments about the price, and about it being too fancy, ostentatious. (cause everybody else uses a generic ballpoint or gel pen.) The plated gold would catch more than a few eyes. The engravings such as "Jinhao", "250", and some Chinese characters are detailed and look detailed even under a magnifying glass.

Right now, I absolutely love the pen design, the only problem is refilling dirties up the beautiful gold nib, and the dust and fingerprints, which is inevitable. Eventually with use, it would dull, and get dirty, since I never clean stuff for fingerprints and dust, though I should. Maybe twice a week, a quick rinse under the faucet?

The pen feels substantial, but not heavy. I'm used to capping, since this is common to cheap ballpoints, and the platinum preppy. Not doable with this pen. :o I'd say the cap accounts for 30-40% of its weight. You could cap it, but it'd be unbalanced. The weight of the cap could be a pro or con to different people. Feels nice, but less practical.

I think this pen is made of metal, but really can't be sure, could be heavy plastic. (You do NOT have to worry about the threads, they are solid)

Practicality:
Cap:

Initially, the cap was a pain. When it was capped, it returned a nice loud click, but then required two hands to open. Well, I dropped it by accident, and then everything became better :blink: . It now caps with a less satisfying click, but it opens EASILY! It's loose, but not loose enough to fall out..
I'm not sure what happened, but the impact must have been great, since the pen broke free of the extremely tight cap, and popped out when it fell.

Nib:
It DOES write upside down. I believe it is a fine, but I really can't tell, it should suffice for math though. The pen is extremely smooth, though it depends on the paper. In comparison to the preppy, there is no contest. And to think they are both just as cheap! The gold design looks great, and the name JINHAO is imprinted on the nib. My only con is that I really don't like the filling system. Once you dunk it to fill, it will be almost impossible to get ALL of it off the gold nib.


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Converter:
Low ink capacity screw-type, but it works.
This is my first time using a converter, but honestly, it isn't that great. Refills require dunking the pen, which wastes ink. Also, with all the mechanisms to move ink, it wastes valuable space for ink. There is a spring in there that is loose. Though it doesn't affect the performance at all, it shows that this is a rather cheap converter. I have read of people using Waterman long internationals to replace their converters, and refilling them with needles. I just might do that, since dunking is a personal irritation to me.


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This was taken with flash, terrible, but it can only get worse.

Included pen holder:
The holder looks...cheap. It isn't even real cloth or anything. After having in my pocket for day, you can see all the lint stuck on it already. However, practically, it is decent. The holder does what it does, protecting the pen. The plastic bag is slick, so the pen can slide easily in and out (because of the weight from the cap) With the bag, the pen's finish would probably last quite a long time. But it may be too slick. It felt like it could fall out REALLY easy.
Then it did. :gaah: After inspection, the top of the cap had been dinged a tiny bit, although only if you look closely. And then, only in a certain angle with the light. BUT, you can easily feel the rough patch. No biggie. It's an inexpensive pen. Now I insert the pen in cap first, so the weight of it won't have much of an effect. The cap became much more looser after dropping it.



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I will never use this light setting ever again, I promise.

Inks: Baystate Blue in the Platinum Preppy originally. Just bought Old Manhattan Black today from FPH. (My last bit of cash, too :crybaby: ) If anyone would like some writing using the pen, I can do it, but I do have atrocious handwriting. I think these two inks have tons of reviews, so I don't need to do one for them. For some reason, when I bought the OMB, I seriously doubted that it was 3oz. It just looked so much smaller that the BSB 4.5oz bottle. Not only that, the bottle was square which would hold less the a similarly sized circle cylindrical bottle. When I got home and compared, it looked like I might be wrong, but just maybe. But then again, they are made by Noodler's which has a reputation for being fair, so I probably got more than 3oz and 4.5oz.

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This costed about 3 bucks with FREE shipping. Best value for such a sweet pen! Never could reach that low price again, ebay has too many desperate people :crybaby: Waitaminute...by writing this review, I'd create even more interest and jack up the price even more.... NOOOOOO! :doh: I take everything back!





This is my first review, so I tried to add as much info as possible from 1 day of using it. If you have any questions that I haven't answered, feel free to ask. I'll add more info as it comes to me.

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#2 Tumbleweedtoo

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 06:14

Enjoyed your review and pictures! Thanks!

All the Best,
T

#3 Scrawler

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 06:36

Hello alexzxz the spring in the converter is to break the surface tension on inks that are low in surfactants, so that it does not stay at the back end of the converter and starve the nib. The pen is built on a brass tube, which is lacquered. The nib is eminently tweakable. They are often dry writers out of the factory, but a little shimming does wonders. This is the kind of pen I give to older school kids to rescue them from the horrors of drug store pens with folded tips. The usually have very decent "iridium" tipping and can be smoothed nicely. I predict that the little mishap you had will have you looking for others by this company.

#4 APHK

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 07:46

That looks a very substantial pen for USD3. Did you take any photos of the nib?

#5 Lorna Reed

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 07:49

Great review! Thanks. I have several Jinhao pens and like them a lot. As Scrawler says, don't worry about the loose spring in the converter - it's not a fault. Some converters have a little plastic ball instead of a spring, which does the same job. Enjoy your pen. :happyberet:
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#6 richardandtracy

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 21:32

I suspect the dropping of the pen cracked the inner cap around the area of the cap click ring (take a look down the barrel & you may see a grooved inner cap towards the far end of the cap) - sounds as if it were no bad thing on your pen.

I have a few Jinhao's, and agree with you on the posted balance (when the cap is on the end of the barrel when you write). My Jinhao Century pen tries to flip the nib up off the page when posted.

The only major problem I have with my Jinhao's is the thickness of the gold plating. There is barely any gold present, and what there is wears away fairly quickly. The net result is that the pen looks fairly tired quite rapidly, but the writing stays good for a long while. I use one of my Jinhao's (the Century) interchangably with a Parker Duofold International costing (at rrp) 30x more..

Nice pen & nice review.

Regards,

Richard.

#7 alexzxz

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 22:53

Thanks everybody to the replies on the review!

Hello alexzxz the spring in the converter is to break the surface tension on inks that are low in surfactants, so that it does not stay at the back end of the converter and starve the nib. The pen is built on a brass tube, which is lacquered. The nib is eminently tweakable. They are often dry writers out of the factory, but a little shimming does wonders. This is the kind of pen I give to older school kids to rescue them from the horrors of drug store pens with folded tips. The usually have very decent "iridium" tipping and can be smoothed nicely. I predict that the little mishap you had will have you looking for others by this company.


yeah, I think i'll try a couple more Jinhao's. I really like their nibs. Even though it is really smooth, I think it can get smoother.
Would a .0015-inch (.038mm)feeler gauge work? I couldn't find a 0.001 inch one. Any big differences, or is 0.0015 good enough for the medium-fine nib.

That looks a very substantial pen for USD3. Did you take any photos of the nib?


Sorry about that, but my digital camera (maybe 6 years old) blurred when it got too close, so any closeups turned out really bad.

I suspect the dropping of the pen cracked the inner cap around the area of the cap click ring (take a look down the barrel & you may see a grooved inner cap towards the far end of the cap) - sounds as if it were no bad thing on your pen.

I have a few Jinhao's, and agree with you on the posted balance (when the cap is on the end of the barrel when you write). My Jinhao Century pen tries to flip the nib up off the page when posted.

The only major problem I have with my Jinhao's is the thickness of the gold plating. There is barely any gold present, and what there is wears away fairly quickly. The net result is that the pen looks fairly tired quite rapidly, but the writing stays good for a long while. I use one of my Jinhao's (the Century) interchangably with a Parker Duofold International costing (at rrp) 30x more..

Nice pen & nice review.

Regards,

Richard.



It's rather hard to see the inner cap, even with a flashlight, so I'll have to take your word on that. It felt much more substantial when it clicked in really solid and tight, but I guess this is more practical now. I wish I could have my cake and eat it, too.... :blush:

It's actually quite hard to get used to a uncapped pen. The biggest problem: most school tables are slanted. I'm worried that the pen may roll off, whenever I put it down.

Yeah, I'm worried about the gold as well. It can't have that much gold to begin with, as a three dollar pen. I'm currently looking for cartridges (refilling) so that I don't have to fill it from the front and cause more wear and tear.

#8 Scrawler

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 00:00

<snip>

yeah, I think i'll try a couple more Jinhao's. I really like their nibs. Even though it is really smooth, I think it can get smoother.
Would a .0015-inch (.038mm)feeler gauge work? I couldn't find a 0.001 inch one. Any big differences, or is 0.0015 good enough for the medium-fine nib.


I used a razor knife on my first one, but I do not recommend it to newbies. The problem with feeler gauges (and razor knives) is that they are very hard compared to the plating and it is easy to scratch it off, leaving a nib prone to rust. You really should get brass sheet shims. On the first one I did, it went from horribly dry to just lovely. I also used 5 micron film for the first part of the smoothing, followed by 0.5 micron. When members of my pen posse tried it, some expressed surprise that such a cheap nib can be made so nice. If you are going to play with Chinese pens, you need to learn to clean them well and tweak the nibs, because of the very high variability in their quality control. However, if you get just a few minor items like the brass sheet and the film, you will soon be able to turn every one you buy into a decent writing instrument that you will enjoy using.

You can get both the correct brass sheet and film from Lee Valley Tools.

I personally like converters because they leave the nib wet and ready to use, unlike cartridges which do not wet the feed and nib immediately. I just wipe the nib after filling with tissue and have not yet had any issue with it wearing the nibs. I do not mind the small ink capacity of converters because it means I get to change pens more frequently.

#9 alexzxz

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 02:15

I used a razor knife on my first one, but I do not recommend it to newbies. The problem with feeler gauges (and razor knives) is that they are very hard compared to the plating and it is easy to scratch it off, leaving a nib prone to rust. You really should get brass sheet shims. On the first one I did, it went from horribly dry to just lovely. I also used 5 micron film for the first part of the smoothing, followed by 0.5 micron. When members of my pen posse tried it, some expressed surprise that such a cheap nib can be made so nice. If you are going to play with Chinese pens, you need to learn to clean them well and tweak the nibs, because of the very high variability in their quality control. However, if you get just a few minor items like the brass sheet and the film, you will soon be able to turn every one you buy into a decent writing instrument that you will enjoy using.

You can get both the correct brass sheet and film from Lee Valley Tools.

I personally like converters because they leave the nib wet and ready to use, unlike cartridges which do not wet the feed and nib immediately. I just wipe the nib after filling with tissue and have not yet had any issue with it wearing the nibs. I do not mind the small ink capacity of converters because it means I get to change pens more frequently.


I'll think there is brass shim at my local hardware store. What do you mean by "I also used 5 micron film for the first part of the smoothing, followed by 0.5 micron." Could you elaborate?

The part about the converters, do you mean immediately after refilling or do you mean every time you use the pen? Because I could live with a few seconds of waiting after refilling, if I don't have to deal with a messy nib. I just find it really hard to clean all of the ink off, there's always a little left after tissues. The little leftover ink darkens and dulls the otherwise beautiful nib.
However, if the cartridge causes delay every time I used the pen, that would be a problem.

I mainly need a larger capacity pen, because for schoolwork, it would be very dangerous to run out of ink during the middle of a test. I would keep a backup pen as well, but it would still interrupt my train of thought.

#10 Scrawler

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 02:29

I'll think there is brass shim at my local hardware store. What do you mean by "I also used 5 micron film for the first part of the smoothing, followed by 0.5 micron." Could you elaborate?

The part about the converters, do you mean immediately after refilling or do you mean every time you use the pen? Because I could live with a few seconds of waiting after refilling, if I don't have to deal with a messy nib. I just find it really hard to clean all of the ink off, there's always a little left after tissues. The little leftover ink darkens and dulls the otherwise beautiful nib.
However, if the cartridge causes delay every time I used the pen, that would be a problem.

I mainly need a larger capacity pen, because for schoolwork, it would be very dangerous to run out of ink during the middle of a test. I would keep a backup pen as well, but it would still interrupt my train of thought.


This is the abrasive film: http://www.leevalley...004&cat=1,43072

Items 54K94.02 and 54K95.01

You start with the 5 micron drawing figure 8 half a dozen times, then go to the 0.5 and repeat. Roll the nib from side to side, and up and down to round it nice and leave a nice big "sweet spot".

I was only referring to the first time the cartridge is replaced. Your usage is quite different to mine, so the small capacity of the converter is a very big problem for you. I always have multiple pens on my desk and easy access to ink. The biggest capacity ink reservoirs are Indian made eye dropper pens, but they have the disadvantage of burping ink when the pen is less than one third full, as the heat of your hand warms the air in the chamber. The big advantage of cartridges and converters is that there is an insulating layer of air between your hand and the ink chamber. From your description it seems like cartridges are your best option. You will not be experimenting with colours when writing exams, and you can easily carry lots with you.

#11 Skeet

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 06:58

I absolutely love Jinhao pens. They're great writers, most of the time. As far as wasting ink from dunking; get a syringe. Remove the converter from the "section" and use the syringe to fill the converter. Pop the converter back in the section and squirt the remaining ink back into the ink bottle. Viola! I'm sure other FPN members would agree, that you submitted a really detailed and impressive review; considering this is only your second pen. Well done young Skywalker!:thumbup:

Edited by Skeet, 11 December 2011 - 06:58.

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