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Clueless In Cleveland: Long Time Lurker, First Time Poster – Help!

cleveland ohio new member newbie beginner new to fountain pens

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#1 Fozziebear

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 00:27

Greetings FPN,

 

I am finally getting off my butt to introduce myself and beg your indulgences with loads of questions.  (Warning – long post)

 

My name is Matthew and I’m grad student in Cleveland, Ohio.  I have come to fountain pens through two routes: practicality/comfort & fun.  I’m currently studying for a pretty important exam that I’ll be taking in about a month.  As such, I have been (and will be) studying about 8 hours/day, everyday.  This involves a fair amount of writing and note taking.  I could probably go faster by using a computer, but I retain information better when I take notes by hand.  Up until recently, I had been using the Dr. Grip Ltd gel pens, but was developing a bit of tendonitis.  In the interest of making the process of studying more enjoyable and less physically painful, I decided to try out fountain pens.  Less pressure, easier writing and a little bit o’ fun.

 

And now I’m hooked.  It’s cruel, really.  I live on a very meager budget.  But studying effectively is very important to me, so I have a small but limited budget that I can devote to finding the right tools for the job.

 

Are there people in the Cleveland area (local to me) who can help me?  I’ve learned a lot about pens, inks and paper in the past two month, through trial and error, reading blogs, watching youtube videos and lurking here (lots of lurking). Unfortunately, I find myself no longer able to spend the time (or money) I need to research all that is out there.  Also, in chunks of $20-$50, I have spent about $150 looking for suitable tools in the short term.  Most of that money has been well-spent, but enough has resulted in disappointment that I’m reluctant to part with much more without a better clue.

 

For example, I generally prefer larger grip (10+mm) pens that come in around 15-25g and are well balanced.  I tend to prefer finer points, so I’ve focused my pen search on Japanese fine and European extra-fine nibs.

 

I currently own the following Pens, Ink and Paper:

 

Pens:  9-Pilot Varsities (converting them to eyedropper as I run out of ink), 1-Pilot Metropolitan, 1-Pilot 78g – broad (stub) – I had to try, 2-Platinum Preppies

 

Inks:  Noodler’s X-Feather (regular black wasn’t black enough and I was working with cheap paper), Diamine Red Dragon (oddly enough, I prefer this to Oxblood) and Noodler’s BSB (still using sample – I love the color and feel; I would only use this in cheap and/or dedicated pens).

 

Paper: Started with some Piccadilly notebooks I already had (lots of bleeding except with X-feather), now using Clairefontaine (A4 & 8.5x11) and Franklin-Christoph Firma-Flex (A5 & A6).

 

There’s more to the story, of course.  But, in a (large) nutshell, that’s it.

 

Any thoughts?

 

- Matthew


My ink-swap post(s) become out of date eventually.  My signature is always current.  If you want to swap some ink, here's what I have:  Diamine:  Ancient Copper, Oxblood, Poppy Red, Red Dragon, Sherwood Green; Iroshizuku: Kon-peki, Ku-jaku, Take-sumi; Noodlers:  54th Mass, BSB, Purple Martin, X-Feather, Widow Maker; Private Reserve: Blue Suede.  I'm partial to highly saturated inks, but am open to suggestions. PM if interested.


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#2 Sasha Royale

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:14

Welcome, Matthew !  

 

Enough money spent on fountain pens, for now.  Plenty of time to go broke, after exams.  

As soon as you can empty a Pilot Varsity, dose it with Noodler's xFeather ink.  Use it hard.  

You want to know for sure that it works.  If not, NOW is the time to find out.  Noodler's 

Heart of Darkness is also very, very black.  A half dozen "eyedropper" Varsity pens will get 

you through anything in writing.  Do you have a syringe and needle for filling ?  

 

Practice the fingers-extended,  relaxed grip of the fountain pen.  it is wonderful for fighting fatigue.  

 

Past this exam then reward yourself with a nice vintage Esterbrook.  

 

Give us a holler when it is done !  Good luck.  


Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn. 
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen: 
Verweile doch, du bist so schön ! 


#3 Fabienne

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:32

Hi, I am in Cincinnati, not close but still a Buckeye. I would invest in a TWSBI, they are fantastic with huge ink capacity and smooth nib they are hard to beat ($60). I second the Varsity idea, hard to beat them for capacity and goodness. A bit of silicon grease on the threads and you have a fine eyedropper there!  Been using them since I was an undergrad and love them...thank God they are still made. I have been super pleased with the Noodler's Ahab and their larger grip (don't flex it when you are out because that will use up beacoup of ink like an afterburner uses up jet fuel). But unflexed they have a mammoth ink capacity and great writing. You can get even more ink into them by converting them to eyedroppers (take out the converter/filler and grease the threads and it will hold a power of ink). 

 

Lamy is a great inexpensive pen but their converter does not hold a whole lot of ink. 

 

The broader the nib, the quicker it uses up ink. Fountain pens will need refilling far quicker than other pens, so be sure you have at least a spare on you at all times. Your ink choices are boss, my friend. X-Feather is wonderful stuff on cheap paper.

 

WELCOME FELLOW BUCKEYE! 



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#4 PAKMAN

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:40

Hello and Welcome to FPN!! Glad to have you as a member!!


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#5 Lou Erickson

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 01:56

The Clairefontaine paper is beautiful to write one, but kind of expensive.  For $15ish you can get 500 sheets of letter-sized instead of two or three 80 sheet A5 Clairfontaine pads.  Go to any Staples; there's a couple of reams of loose-leaf paper people will suggest.  I know there's a eco-friendly one folks suggest, but I haven't tried it.

 

I have tried the HP Laser Jet paper.  The 24#/100gsm in the wrapper with the blue heading is nice to write on, but bleeds through a little bit.  For a couple of bucks more, you can get the 32#/120gsm, which you can easily use both sides of.

 

I prefer the Hammermill Laser Print, myself, but it's a special order.  Costs a little less, but they won't have it in stock.  I've tried the 24# and 32#, but there's also a 28# in-between that might be nice.

 

Any of these work nicely with fountain pen inks, and a three-hole punch puts them in an any ordinary binder.  Or, of course, you can put them in your printer; they're lovely to print on.  :)


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#6 85AKbN

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 02:00

:W2FPN:



#7 Fozziebear

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 03:03

Wow.  Thanks guys.  These are great suggestions.

 

@Sasha:  As I'm using a fair amount of black ink, I splurged on a 4.5oz bottle of the X-feather.  Currently, I'm going through about 0.5-1.0 ml/day just of the X-feather (I like using lots of colors, too).  I refill my Metropolitan daily and one of my Preppies weekly.  I noticed HoD being recommended on different topic posts and a few positive reviews.  Possibly a foolish question, but how black is it?  Noodler's regular black (got the sample from GP) isn't strong enough for me.  It dries faster than the X-feather and works nicely on the cheaper paper, but just wasn't dark enough.  I had forgotten about HoD, though.  Now that I'm using better paper, I'll add a sample of that to my Goulet wish-list.  It would be nice to have a saturated black that dries a bit quicker than X-feather (and doesn't smear as much).  Also, where can I get more info about this relaxed, fingers-extended gripping style?  The cheapest and most durable way to prevent muscle injuries is to change what I'm doing (as opposed to buying a new tool).  Also, if I can improve my grip, then I might be able to entertain a wider variety of pen diameters.

 

@Fabienne:  I already have the TWSBI Mini with an EF nib on my wish list (also the Vac-700).  The Vac-700 has a larger grip and ink capacity, but the Mini is cheaper, much cuter and seems to have fewer cracking issues.  I'm not sure how a 9.8 grip will work.  I'll keep working on changing my grip.  I've looked at some of the $100+ pens, too ... just to torment myself.  In the meantime, yep, I'm makin' eyedroppers from my Varsities.  I'm getting pretty good at doing the refills, actually; a good set of pliers and I'm ready to go.  And I've discovered that 90% isopropyl alcohol takes off the Pilot branding without messing up the plastic (the way acetone does, sometimes).

 

@Lou:  Do you know if Staples carries FP friendly lined loose-leaf?  The 3-hole punching is easy, so I could get the 32# paper and print lines on it.

 

I've temporarily stopped most of my random research, but I'll keep checking in here.  Thanks again for all the suggestions ... very helpful!

 

Cheers,

Matthew


My ink-swap post(s) become out of date eventually.  My signature is always current.  If you want to swap some ink, here's what I have:  Diamine:  Ancient Copper, Oxblood, Poppy Red, Red Dragon, Sherwood Green; Iroshizuku: Kon-peki, Ku-jaku, Take-sumi; Noodlers:  54th Mass, BSB, Purple Martin, X-Feather, Widow Maker; Private Reserve: Blue Suede.  I'm partial to highly saturated inks, but am open to suggestions. PM if interested.


#8 Clancy

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 05:46

Greetings Mathew and welcome to FPN. Great to have you here.


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#9 RMN

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:00

Hi Matthew and welcome to FPN

 

Lots of good advice you got ^^^, so I'll just emphasise that the grip on your fountainpens is different from the ballpoint pens. It is a very relaxed grip.

search for tripod grip and death grip (which you should NOT use...)

 

enjoy the forum

 

D.ick


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#10 tbickiii

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:28

Hello and welcome from Baton Rouge.


Thomas
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#11 i4sgeorgiev

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 15:51

Hello and welcome!



#12 Wahl

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 16:33

:W2FPN:



#13 Lou Erickson

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 16:39

 

@Lou:  Do you know if Staples carries FP friendly lined loose-leaf?  The 3-hole punching is easy, so I could get the 32# paper and print lines on it.

 

 

I don't, and haven't looked.  I've been printing some lines on some of my own, which does work but is kind of a hassle.  It may also not work as well to use inkjet ink and then write over it with wet fountain pen ink - will the ink smear the inkjet ink?  I have a laser printer, so I haven't had problems.

 

Does anyone else know if there's lined, fountain pen friendly filler paper?


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#14 Fozziebear

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 17:15

Thanks for all of the warm greetings, everyone!

 

@Fabienne:  You mentioned the Ahab.  I had been looking at that.  If I spend my money wisely, I'm okay with going a little over budget.  To be honest, I have about $100 dollars left to spend.  This does NOT mean I need or intend to spend it all - rather, that I can't go much over that.

 

Does anyone know the diameter at the grip?  Also, how "flexible" is the nib.  Will it flex if one is not trying to flex it?  What are other folk's experience using it as a regular pen (without flex)?  Without flexxing, it seems (judging from I've researched elsewhere) to be close to a European fine.  I understand that sort of defeats the purpose, but it looks like a great pen in general and something that might work well for me (especially the grip size) until I'm able to splurge on something fancier.

 

Thoughts?


My ink-swap post(s) become out of date eventually.  My signature is always current.  If you want to swap some ink, here's what I have:  Diamine:  Ancient Copper, Oxblood, Poppy Red, Red Dragon, Sherwood Green; Iroshizuku: Kon-peki, Ku-jaku, Take-sumi; Noodlers:  54th Mass, BSB, Purple Martin, X-Feather, Widow Maker; Private Reserve: Blue Suede.  I'm partial to highly saturated inks, but am open to suggestions. PM if interested.


#15 Fozziebear

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 17:17

 

I don't, and haven't looked.  I've been printing some lines on some of my own, which does work but is kind of a hassle.  It may also not work as well to use inkjet ink and then write over it with wet fountain pen ink - will the ink smear the inkjet ink?  I have a laser printer, so I haven't had problems.

 

Does anyone else know if there's lined, fountain pen friendly filler paper?

 

The closest I've found is the Clairefontaine 8.5x11 spiral notebook.  I have enough of the Clairefontaine to last me about 2 weeks and I should be able to get to a Staples before that runs out.


My ink-swap post(s) become out of date eventually.  My signature is always current.  If you want to swap some ink, here's what I have:  Diamine:  Ancient Copper, Oxblood, Poppy Red, Red Dragon, Sherwood Green; Iroshizuku: Kon-peki, Ku-jaku, Take-sumi; Noodlers:  54th Mass, BSB, Purple Martin, X-Feather, Widow Maker; Private Reserve: Blue Suede.  I'm partial to highly saturated inks, but am open to suggestions. PM if interested.


#16 VirtuThe3rd

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 18:05

Hi! Welcome to FPN. :)
I'm really glad you've joined us.

 

Best wishes,
VirtuThe3rd



#17 Fozziebear

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 00:32

Wow. I think I'm glad the Goulets were out of stock on the TWSBI Mini Classic when I was most vulnerable. They just restocked them and I'm still sorely tempted but that would kill most of my remaining budget. I find the Metropolitan's grip is too small. I know I need to change the way I write, but I'd also like to find a pen I love to use now, rather than wait six months while I relearn how to write. For those who prefer a larger grip at about 15-25g, any suggestions on a decent pen under $100?

Edited by Fozziebear, 12 March 2014 - 00:41.

My ink-swap post(s) become out of date eventually.  My signature is always current.  If you want to swap some ink, here's what I have:  Diamine:  Ancient Copper, Oxblood, Poppy Red, Red Dragon, Sherwood Green; Iroshizuku: Kon-peki, Ku-jaku, Take-sumi; Noodlers:  54th Mass, BSB, Purple Martin, X-Feather, Widow Maker; Private Reserve: Blue Suede.  I'm partial to highly saturated inks, but am open to suggestions. PM if interested.


#18 dperez28

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:14

Hello and Welcome from Texas!!! Glad to have you!



#19 Fozziebear

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 21:47

Hi all, I have another newbie question.

 

My Pilot 78g (Broad/stub) seems to be a hard-starter and I have no idea how to fiddle with the nib to improve the flow.  Right now, I've got it loaded with Oxblood.  Before loading it, I thoroughly cleaned it, etc.  Once I get going, it writes fine, but if I stop for more than about 15 seconds, it'll be hard to get it going again.  Then I have to do a few O's.  It's a pretty scratchy nib, anyway, but when it writes, I enjoy using it for headers in my notes, etc.  I always make sure to keep it properly capped when I'm not using it.  I'm using a con-50 so I sometimes push a little ink into the nib if it's being particularly difficult.  I'm sure this is an age-old question, but a quick search of the forum turned up only very specific situations.  Can anyone help or, at least, direct to the proper existing topic that addresses this?

 

Thanks much.


My ink-swap post(s) become out of date eventually.  My signature is always current.  If you want to swap some ink, here's what I have:  Diamine:  Ancient Copper, Oxblood, Poppy Red, Red Dragon, Sherwood Green; Iroshizuku: Kon-peki, Ku-jaku, Take-sumi; Noodlers:  54th Mass, BSB, Purple Martin, X-Feather, Widow Maker; Private Reserve: Blue Suede.  I'm partial to highly saturated inks, but am open to suggestions. PM if interested.


#20 johniem

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 01:50

Don't rule out the ink. Oxblood is good ink, but I recent;y filled my Konrad (which had never given me a problem) with Chesterfield Obsidian. It would become hard starting after even less than 3-5 minutes with the cap on. Flushed it and filled it with Noodler's Zhivago. It now starts instantly even after sitting nib up overnight. Check the simple things first.


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