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Seeking Reliability

yard-o-led london uk reliable small barrel gold nib

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#21 Fakie

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 15:45

Vintage pens are more fragile and are no longer in production.

It is not wise to lend them to neophytes because they might ruin a beautiful piece of manufacturing and history with their carelessness. Some vintage pens have flex nibs, and people might overflex it and damage the nib. This is especially true if they use a lot of force to write. However, if it's another fountain pen user experienced with vintage flex, I'd probably have no qualms lending them my vintage pens.

 



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#22 ColourFingers

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 15:56

Hello Abicadabra,
Firstly I'm really impressed with the level of customer service you received from Yard o Led. That kind of service is a very rare thing nowadays.

Secondly I'd try a different cartridge first I've never had a problem with Parker Quink or WH Smith cartridges.

Thirdly Coombe Stationers on Coombe Road in Raynes Park SW London has a very good range of Fountain Pens judging by their window. It's on the right hand side in the little parade down the slip road. I've yet to go in there though. Of course that's if you do get your refund.

Also may I say that you have a beautiful use of language and I wish you every success in your studies with your new pen.

Edited by DavidDecorator, 12 February 2014 - 16:00.


#23 Abicadabra

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 20:17

Also may I say that you have a beautiful use of language and I wish you every success in your studies with your new pen.

I can't tell you how lovely this is to hear! It really brightened up a rainy day :) Also Coombe is not far from my family home at all, so thanks so much for that recommendation. 

I'm very grateful for all this advice from everyone. What a lovely community! I managed to pop into town after uni, just before the shops closed, to get some ink. I flushed out the pen again and put through the Waterman ink. It showed slight promise (it kept flowing when the water had a tinge of ink to it, which I don't think happened before), but to no avail unfortunately. The flow stopped completely soon after the mark on paper was visibly pigmented. I've ordered some ammonia and Rapidoeze from Amazon, and I'll await those and see how they go.

When I was in the shop I also bought a Lamy 045, as I hadn't realised that they made slimmer pens and it really took me. It seemed like a good idea (perhaps for everything but my purse...) to get a reasonable pen that I like writing with whilst the whole saga plays out, especially after I've noticed my writing hand hurting at the end of long days of pressing hard to write with non-fountain pens. I'd still like to either replace or get working the really lovely pen, but it's nice to have something to write with. They only had the display one in stock, but she didn't think anyone else had tried it out, so I got it for £25 with some cartridges thrown in. It's nothing like the wonderful Yard-o-led, of course, but I am really impressed with it and I'm so happy that I picked it up! So nice to be back to using a FP.

The lady in the shop was very sweet and interested in the whole thing, as John Lewis (a major UK department shop, from where I actually purchased my pen originally) has just stopped selling Yard-o-led. She said that she particularly recommended Cross pens, and they tend to be slim. I don't think anyone's mentioned them here. Is there a reason? Anything I should be wary of?  

Thanks again for so many helpful comments,

Abi



#24 ac12

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 23:56

How slim a pen are you looking for?

Here are a few slimline pens in order of size.

  • The Cross Classic Century is quite thin at 8.1mm barrel diameter, compared to other contemporary pens. 
    The downside to this pen is it ONLY takes the slim Cross cartridge. 
    No one makes an ink converter for it, so to use bottle ink, you have to use an ink syringe to put the bottle ink into into a used cartridge.  While this is more of a bother to do, it is not that much more difficult.  I do that right now with one of my pens that also does not take a converter.
    Cross has other pens, but none as slim as the Classic Century.
    http://www.cross.com...T0086-79(Cross)
  • Cross Spire.  This is the predecessor of the Classic Century and the same size.
    This line of pens has been discontinued, but you can still find the pens listed in various sites. 
    The gold spire is quite a nice looking pen.
    http://www.fahrneysp...CFcNffgodMmcAfg
  • The old Parker Classic has a 9.5mm barrel diameter and 8.5mm grip diameter.
    Parker uses their own cartridge, but also has an ink converter so you can use bottle ink (I use bottle ink in my Classic).
    Tip, the older Parkers have thinner nibs than the current Parkers.  A Parker Fine nib is similar to a Lamy Xtra Fine nib.
    The Classic is no longer produced, so you have to look for one on the used market or eBay.
  • The old Parker 180 is the predecessor to the Classic, and same size as the Classic.
    It has a 2 sided nib, Fine & Broad or XtraFine and Medium.  So it is like having 2 pens in one.  Although the smaller side of the nib is not as comfortable to use as the wider side.
    It has a few quite nice laquer, gold and silver finishes.  The cost of the special laquer, gold and silver pens are usually over $100 USD on eBay.
    The 180 is also no longer in production, so you have to use the used market or eBay to get one.
  • The Lamy cp1 has a 9.6mm barrel diameter and 8.8mm grip diameter.
    I think they have black and platinum versions of the cp1.
    I think this is similar to your Lamy 045.  I can't find diameter specs for the 045.
  • The Parker 88 has a 10.5mm barrel diameter.
    The 88 is out of production, but I see it listed on Amazon.
     
  • The Parker 95 is about 10.5mm barrel diameter.
    The 95 is out of production, but I see it listed on Amazon.
  • The Parker 45 is about 11.5mm widest barrel diameter.  The diameter size of the 45 is sort of misleading because the pen tapers to the nib and to the end, so depending on where you hold it, you will probably not be holding the widest 11.5mm part of the pen.
    And the hood/section of the 45 Flighter is plastic, not metal.  Only the barrel and cap of the flighter are metal. 
    The term "flighter" refers to the finish of the pen, brushed stainless steel.  This is a nice and durable finish, I like it.
    Some of the gold finishes are quite nice.
    The Parker 45 is also out of production, so also used market or eBay.

There are others, but as you can see, most of the slimline pens that I know about are out of production.

 

I personally would NOT take a nice/expensive pen to school, even if it is med school vs. undergrad.  The chances of loss or theft is too great for me to chance it.  And the thought of loosing a special/sentimental pen scares me.  I would keep it at home and just use it there.  I would use something less expensive, like your Lamy 045 at school.


Edited by ac12, 12 February 2014 - 23:58.

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#25 Ghost Plane

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 01:11

Okay, let a YoL owner pop in. I've had 5 of them over the years, 3 Grands, 1 Viceroy so old it needed the original section replaced, & an Imperial Dragon. I've had section leaks a few times, but they're normally generous, wet writers and some of the least finicky pens regarding ink that I know.

Not being familiar with the pocket, I'm wondering if there's something about the design that's causing the ink to dry in the pen to clog it. My nibs are favorites and swift writers for long sessions of note taking, so you might see if you can borrow a standard-sized Viceroy, which is still a narrow pen (width of a #2 pencil) before giving up on the brand.

#26 A1979

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 17:40

Hello, 

I'm afraid I'm coming at this from a rather newcomer's perspective, as I only have one fountain pen to my name, but I'm really in need of help and this seems like a lovely, friendly, knowledgeable community from which to seek it! I'm afraid it's a rather long story, but I don't want to do it the injustice of not starting at the beginning.

I've always only liked writing with fountain pens, and used the same £10 Parker (Jotter) all the way through school. It seemed almost timely when it came to a sticky end just a few days after I finished my final exams. My Grandma took me to get a very lovely new pen to start medical school with. I have unusually small hands, and found that the small diameter barrel of the Jotter was rarely replicated in better pens. It sounds bizarre, I know, but I really don't like how the bulkier ones feel, and I can't control them properly. After much deliberating and traipsing between shops, I fell in love with a Yard-o-led Viceroy Pocket Barley pen. The nib was just unlike anything else I tried out - I think I really like the softness of the white gold. And it even had the lovely small barrel!

It just so happened that I really use it a huge amount. I'm studying in Cambridge, which is stuck in a bygone era, and I hand in 3-4 handwritten essays a week, as well as transcribing numerous lectures and supervisions. And I just loved it so much! It was so beautiful to write with, and such a generous gift. I loved writing with it for work and pleasure, and loved thinking of my Grandma and the continuity of only using one pen. Everyone knows me for always carrying it around in a little blue carry case. 

Unfortunately, just shy of a year, the pen started playing up. Eventually, it wouldn't ever write ink for very long, even when I cleaned it out in all the ordinary ways. I took it to the shop I got it from who agreed that something wasn't right, and we sent it back. Yard-o-led returned it some weeks later, and it seemed back to normal. A few months later, it happened again. I sent it back. And then it happened again. This time, I was eager to get in touch with them, but they're very hard to contact. I was frustrated that this unusual and generous expenditure was not working as it should, and I didn't know if I was doing something wrong. Eventually, when I got through (by writing longhand and sending it to the repairs address), it turned out that the main brothers are profoundly deaf, so cannot use a phone. Oops. 

Sobered by this, I was receptive. They said that something was, indeed, wrong and they'd replaced the nib and feeder. Yet again, it worked like a dream for the first few months. I only ever use yard-o-led cartridges that I buy off the filofax website, and I use the pen every day. I dont press hard when I write, and I never let anyone else use it. Over the last few weeks its began to play up on occasion. Sometimes it just needed to be left alone for a few minutes, nib down. Sometimes, washing it through with the converter until it ran clear and then putting in a new cartridge did the trick. Its got increasingly common, and eventually stopped in the middle of some writing. I washed it through 5 times, with increasingly warm water. Each time the same thing happened: it ran inky and I kept going until its clear. Then it flows across the page nicely with a very dilute, watery mark, and as soon as the water runs out it stops again. Ive tried several different cartridges, and left it over night, but all to no avail. 

Completely at a loss, and frustrated and disappointed, I e-mailed Yard-o-led yet again. I said that, with a heavy heart, unless they had other suggestions, a refund would perhaps be the best option if they were prepared to offer it. My £10 Parker was infinitely more reliable, albeit so much less a work of craftsmanship and lovely to write with.They were eminently lovely:

"I am the manager of Yard O Led and I am so sorry you are still experiencing problems with your pen. I can asure you we are just as frustrated as you with the quality issues we have been experiencing not just with your pen. I can assure you it is not something you are doing wrong. I have in the past returned nibs to the manufacturer to see if they can solve this kind of problem and unfortunately I have got nowhere."

This seems to suggest that I'm not the only case they've had. Has anyone else come across this problem with Yard-o-led? Anyway, John offered me a replacement nib unit, but later that day the director got in touch and offered me a full refund.

I've spoken to my grandma and she feels that it would be entirely appropriate to get the refund and go out to buy another pen from a different, more reliable brand. But I just wanted to do some research first, which brought me here amongst other places. So here are my questions:

Do you think it is worth refunding and going to another brand? Are other pens likely to be more reliable, or is this normal for a fountain pen? Should I stick it out and try a replacement nib one more time? (As an extra complication, they have none in stock so I'd have to wait some time).
Could you possibly suggest pens that have a small barrel and gold or white gold (soft) nib, for somewhere in the region of £260? It would be useful to see alternatives. I've had real trouble finding anything of this sort somewhere where I could try it out, except some vintage pens. I really do want to be able to go and try out a pen. Which brings me on to: 
Any particular recommendations of FP shops in London? (Ideally SW or central). There do seem to be several, but with my elderly Grandma I'd really rather only make one trip, and I don't know where exactly is best. I'm not quite sure enough what I'm looking for.
And with Vintage pens: I've heard so much that you mustn't let others write with your FP. I can't find anywhere clearly explained - how is this overcome with vintage pens? Are they any less pliable to write with, rather than collect?

Sorry about the Essay. 

Best Wishes

 
Abi

 


Im experiencing exactly the same problem with a brand new Viceroy Grand Barley, Fine nib. It is a gorgeous pen: so sad that it doesnt write properly!

#27 Kodiac136

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 19:53

Im experiencing exactly the same problem with a brand new Viceroy Grand Barley, Fine nib. It is a gorgeous pen: so sad that it doesnt write properly!

Very sad to hear about problems with Yard-O-Leds. My Viceroy Grand Victorian is among my favorite possessions and has never given me any issues at all.


Conid for business, Yard-O-Led for pleasure.


#28 A1979

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 21:16

Very sad to hear about problems with Yard-O-Leds. My Viceroy Grand Victorian is among my favorite possessions and has never given me any issues at all.


My YOL is probably (one of) the most beautiful pen I own. But the writing experience... atrocious ! Dry, skippy, inconsistent ink flow... :( I will send it to Mike Masuyama, but a pen in this price range should write flawlessly out of the box.

#29 almoore

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 22:19

Hi
I would suggest the Pilot Custom 74, mine is a Japanese medium nib, approximately a western fine and it floats across the page or possibly a Kaweco Dia2 again a very nice writer, unlike the Pilot this has a steel nib but it can easily be replaced with a good one.

Both are suitable for smaller hands, Paperchase sell some Kaweco as do Waterstones on Piccadilly, you might find something to try for size to see what you like.

Al

#30 flyingpenman

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 22:24

Hopefully the OP has found a solution since it has been 4 years...;)

Since the thread is alive again - I dont think Ive ever heard of a Yard-O-Led. Off to see what Google knows...

ETA: wow, quite expensive but the designs are something else. Not a silver pen fan but can see the appeal.

Edited by flyingpenman, 15 May 2018 - 22:28.

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#31 jar

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 01:04

Love my Pocket YoL personally but use several versions.  The Corinthian is another of the relatively slim YoLs as is the Standard.

 

Since even Zombie Threads deserve a life let's add some Eye Candy,

 

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#32 flipper_gv

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 03:13

My YOL is probably (one of) the most beautiful pen I own. But the writing experience... atrocious ! Dry, skippy, inconsistent ink flow... :( I will send it to Mike Masuyama, but a pen in this price range should write flawlessly out of the box.

 

Fat guess is that you might have an air bubble forming at the "mouth" of the converter / cartridge. It's somewhat common with international standard C/C filler. You gotta make sure the C/C is really pushed in good and maybe use a bit of soap while cleaning the converter as it might help with surface tension. The air gets in the C/C while you write to fill the space left by the ink on the paper, but on international standard C/C the "tube" at the end of the feed is very short, so that's why it is possible for a bubble to form there. Might as well try to flick the converter to dislodge the air bubble too.

 

Also, it might be worth flossing the ink channel of the feed with brass shims.



#33 A1979

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 05:10

Fat guess is that you might have an air bubble forming at the "mouth" of the converter / cartridge. It's somewhat common with international standard C/C filler. You gotta make sure the C/C is really pushed in good and maybe use a bit of soap while cleaning the converter as it might help with surface tension. The air gets in the C/C while you write to fill the space left by the ink on the paper, but on international standard C/C the "tube" at the end of the feed is very short, so that's why it is possible for a bubble to form there. Might as well try to flick the converter to dislodge the air bubble too.
 
Also, it might be worth flossing the ink channel of the feed with brass shims.


Thank you for the advice! I will try and let you know (having had problems since the beginning with the converter, I’m actually using a standard cartridge. But it does not work any better...).

#34 SpecTP

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 16:16

I have the viceroy pocket victorian and it's a wonderful writer. Mike Masuyama worked on the nib for me a few years back and it's been perfect ever since. I don't use YOL ink though. I simply use J Herbin ink cartridges or refill the cartridge with Iroshizuku ink. I would suggest the OP try different inks.


Edited by SpecTP, 16 May 2018 - 16:16.






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