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Review Of The Franklin-Christoph Model-14 Ef Nib


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#1 xuan87

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:14

More pen reviews can be found on my blog: http://inkoholicanonymous.blogspot.sg/

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INTRODUCTION: I first came across the Franklin-Christoph brand when browsing the FPN forum. After checking out their website, I was impressive by their products line-up and decided to try one of their lower-end pens. I finally decided on the Model 14 because of the magnetic cap ( I'm a sucker for novelties) and the interchangeable nibs. I wanted to get the pen in red, but it was already out of production at that time. Luckily, Lady Luck smiled down on me and I found that there were still a few pieces left sold on their eBay store. To make the deal sweeter, the price was $10 lower than what is being sold on their online store. In the end, I managed to score the pen in an out-of-production color, and at a lower price!

1. Appearance & Design (8/10) – The pen is simply designed, with a layer of red lacquer and chrome trimming. The 4 Franklin-Christoph diamonds are lasered onto the clip, and the Franklin-Christoph logo is lasered onto the pen bottom. The nibs used are stainless steel Schmidt nibs with the Schmidt logo on it. I would have preferred the nib with the Franklin-Christoph logo on it though. In addition, there are 2 more design flaws that I found: The pen cap is too short, giving the pen a chunky look, and the pen section is too short, to be elaborated on later. (PS: All steel and gold nibs now are available with the Franklin-Christoph logo on them.)

2. Construction & Quality (9/10) – The pen feels robust and well built in my hands. I believe that it's entirely made out of brass, hence it has quite a heft to it. Those who love heavy pens will like it, but more on that in the next section. All in all, there is no flaw I can find. I washed the entire nib unit in an ultrasonic cleaner a number of time and I found that a spot developed a discoloration. It doesn't look like rust and the pen is still usable but because of this, I'm taking a point off.

3. Weight & Dimensions (6/10) – This is where the pen disappoints. Personally I find the pen too heavy for long period of usage. I think it's because the entire pen is made from brass instead of your usual resin. The pen body is pretty long without posting, but the magnetic cap (the magnet is in the cap) can be posted using the same magnetic function. When posted, the balance is totally off as the cap is very heavy ( as it contains a strong magnet). Since I usually use my pens unposted, this isn't much of an issue, but for those who like to post, this may post a problem. To me, the main design flaw lies in the short, almost non existent pen section. If I use my normal gripping method, I'll end up gripping the area where the pen body and pen section meet, an area of a sharp step-down. Needless to say, it's extremely uncomfortable. If I adjust my grip down, my grip on end up on the threads, and I'll be holding too close to the nib, so it's extremely uncomfortable. So what I currently do is hold it abit higher, gripping the pen body. I haven't been using it often enough to get used to the sensation, so it's still abit uncomfortable, though not as uncomfortable as holding it on the threaded section.

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4. Nib & Performance (20/20) – I bought 2 nibs, the EF and F nibs, but I haven't gotten around to taking the F nib out of the packaging. Hence, the following only applies to the EF nib. The reason I've not used the F nib is because the EF nib is so perfect! The EF nib lays down a perfect Western EF nib line, and is smooth with a little feedback. I like my nibs to have a tiny bit of feedback which allows me more control over my handwriting. However, the problems with most EF nibs are too much feedback and too little smoothness. Hence I was pleasantly surprised with the smoothness of the nib. The nib is not too dry as well and I seldom experienced skipping with it. In addition, the nib section is easily changeable ( as simple as unscrewing the barrel) and the range of replaceable nibs is staggering, with Fine, Medium, Broad, Extra Fine, 0.9mm Cursive Italic, 1.1mm Cursive Italic and 1.1mm Stub. Needless to say, the nib deserved a perfect 10! (PS: The nib above is a 1.1 CI nib, not a F nib or the EF nib mentioned in the review.)

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5. Filling System & Maintenance (10/10) – The pen comes with a piston converter which works well and it's capacity is above average. Nothing special or wrong with it.

6. Cost & Value (9/10) – This pen is almost the perfect pen if not for its heavy weight and not-so-great design. However for $79.50 ( for normal nibs) or $89.50 ( for special nibs) you get a classy looking pen, with a magnetic cap, and the options to change the nibs ( which can be bought separately) to whichever suit your fancy. Furthermore, there are other Franklin-Christoph pens that use the same nibs, so there's plenty of potential mix-and-match.

7. Conclusion (Final score, 62/70) – In conclusion, I didn't regret taking a leap of faith and buying the Model 14. Now that I've experienced for myself how fantastic the steel nib fountain pen is, I'm on the lookout for a gold nib fountain pen for my next Franklin-Christoph purchase. Furthermore, the 2/3 pen pouches look outstanding as well. Franklin-Christoph may be a small company, but they are certainly not short on quality products. Look out for more Franklin-Christoph reviews in the future.

Edited by xuan87, 23 July 2012 - 18:15.

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#2 terminal

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 13:42

Great review... I learned that the step down would be totally intolerable for me...
"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#3 jar

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 14:19

Great review... I learned that the step down would be totally intolerable for me...


What step down?

If you ever get a chance to hold one in the flesh I think you will find that the internal section design is very comfortable. I'll try to do a couple pictures for you that may help with visualization.

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#4 terminal

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 14:27

Great review... I learned that the step down would be totally intolerable for me...

What step down?

To me, the main design flaw lies in the short, almost non existent pen barrel. If I use my normal gripping method, I'll end up gripping the area where the pen body and pen barrel meet, an area of a sharp step-down. Needless to say, it's extremely uncomfortable. If I adjust my grip down, my grip on end up on the threads, and I'll be holding too close to the nib, so it's extremely uncomfortable. So what I currently do is hold it abit higher, gripping the pen body. I haven't been using it often enough to get used to the sensation, so it's still abit uncomfortable, though not as uncomfortable as holding it on the threaded section.

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Great review... I learned that the step down would be totally intolerable for me...

If you ever get a chance to hold one in the flesh I think you will find that the internal section design is very comfortable. I'll try to do a couple pictures for you that may help with visualization.

Ok I'll wait and see before making my judgement FINAL, but this is a huge issue for me... even the threads on a TWSBI 540 annoy me and it's nowhere near this.
"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#5 jar

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 14:40

Ok I'll wait and see before making my judgement FINAL, but this is a huge issue for me... even the threads on a TWSBI 540 annoy me and it's nowhere near this.



Yup, but think "No threads" comfort. Internal section pens are designed so that you hold the body. I have quite a feww such designs so I'll try to get some pictures for you over the next day or so.

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#6 Biber

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 14:54

Your pics show a Schmidt medium nib. Can you elaborate on the XF you got? I've been looking for a XF for a Bexley that takes Schmidt nibs and this intrigues me.
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#7 raging.dragon

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 16:46

Ok, first a terminology quibble that had me briefly confused: what you're calling the barrel is more commonly called the section, while the term barrel usually refers to the part of the body between the section and end cap (the part which is red on this particular pen).

From your comments about the short section, I assume you normally hold you pens very close to the nib and that the design of this pen forces you to hold it further back from the nib than you prefere? So you'd want either a longer section that was comfortable to hold, or an even shorter section so that the barrel extended closer to the nib, thus allowing you to hold the pen closer to the nib.

#8 xuan87

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 18:28


Ok I'll wait and see before making my judgement FINAL, but this is a huge issue for me... even the threads on a TWSBI 540 annoy me and it's nowhere near this.



Yup, but think "No threads" comfort. Internal section pens are designed so that you hold the body. I have quite a feww such designs so I'll try to get some pictures for you over the next day or so.


You're right about this being an internal section pens. I'm used to pens which have a normal length of pen section, where the diameter of the section is slightly smaller than the pen body and sometimes, the section is molded for your finger and thumbs too. So holding the pen body is a weird sensation for me.

Your pics show a Schmidt medium nib. Can you elaborate on the XF you got? I've been looking for a XF for a Bexley that takes Schmidt nibs and this intrigues me.


Actually throughout my review, I've only commented on the EF nib. I even included a sentence to clarify that the nib shown in the photo is a CI (Schmidt Medium nib that has been regrinded) nib, and not the EF nib that I reviewed. Perhaps I should have mentioned but the EF nib is actually grinded down from a Schmidt Fine nib and I think the guys at FC did a wonderful job on it.

Ok, first a terminology quibble that had me briefly confused: what you're calling the barrel is more commonly called the section, while the term barrel usually refers to the part of the body between the section and end cap (the part which is red on this particular pen).

From your comments about the short section, I assume you normally hold you pens very close to the nib and that the design of this pen forces you to hold it further back from the nib than you prefere? So you'd want either a longer section that was comfortable to hold, or an even shorter section so that the barrel extended closer to the nib, thus allowing you to hold the pen closer to the nib.


Firstly, you're absolutely right. I don't use the term "pen body" instead of barrel and I have no idea why for this review, I decided to use the term "barrel" instead. I've gone back and edited out the wrong terms.

Actually, I normally hold the top half of the pen section, further away from the nib. In this case, that will be the bottom part of the pen section. What I was trying to point out in my review is that the pen section is so short that if i hold the pen by gripping the pen section (as I will normally do with other fountain pens), my grip will end up too near to the nib. Hence I will have to grip the pen body instead which is a weird sensation for me since I'm used to gripping the pen section (which is smaller in diameter to the pen body).
Please check out my blogshop for fountain pens and inks at http://inkoholicanonymous.blogspot.com/ Reviews of my pens can be found there too!

#9 jar

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 19:53

Okay, first I apologize for the pictures, particularly the second one but I was trying to hold and focus and shoot left handed and I can't even chew gum left handed (but can bat left handed and shoot left handed so go figure).

Here is an FC 14 (top), FC 29 (middle) and ST Dupont Gatsby (bottom). They are all internal section pens.

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and here is an almost normal grip on the pen.

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#10 terminal

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 23:57

Ohhh... gotcha. Thanks for the post!

So... I mean, how comfortable is that? Do you hold other pens closer to the nib?
"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

#11 jar

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 00:31

Ohhh... gotcha. Thanks for the post!

So... I mean, how comfortable is that? Do you hold other pens closer to the nib?


For me, very comfortable. In other pens where your fingers fall is pretty much driven by the design of the section. There's a review I did in the "Others" section IIRC on the ergonomics of section shape. If you look at this picture of some sections it might make more sense.

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If you look at the possibilities the PFM and Vanishing Point offer an almost unlimited range while the Montparnasse (another internal section design) limits how close you can hold it. The MB 149 has a very straight and short section while the Pelikan 1050 forces the user to hold the pen much further from the paper and the Pelikan 200 forces the user to hold the pen much closer to the paper. The OMAS 360 (second from the right) has a triangular shape the controls finger placement position but a fairly long sloping section so you can vary the distance from the paper.


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