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Favorite Sub-$30 Pens

low cost cheap inexpensive fountain pens

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74 replies to this topic

#21 inkandseeds

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 04:46

Tonight i am writing and sketching with two preppies, a Noodler's Ahab and a Morriset dip pen.   



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#22 Kataphract

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 04:51

Pilot Prera ($29 shipped and with converter). Pretty much displaced everything on the lower end for me. Pilot Metro if you don't mind the step, the squeeze-me converter, and want a metal body.

#23 ac12

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 06:20

In alpha order

new:
- Baoer; 388, 801
- Lamy; Safari, Vista, joy
- Parker; IM
- Pilot; 78G, Metropolitan
- Rosseta; Explorer
- TWSBI; Eco

used/vintage:
- Esterbrook; J/LJ/SJ
- Parker; 45
- Reform; 1745
- Sheaffer; School Pen
- Wearever

Edited by ac12, 31 December 2015 - 06:22.

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#24 migo984

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 07:16

Pilot Prera ($29 shipped and with converter). Pretty much displaced everything on the lower end for me. Pilot Metro if you don't mind the step, the squeeze-me converter, and want a metal body.


How could I forget to include my Pilot Preras in my list! Brilliant pens & superb vfm. Thanks for reminding me.

Verba volant, scripta manent


#25 Ink Stained Wretch

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 11:47

This is a difficult question for me to answer. I have either an embarrassment of riches or an embarrassment of poverty!

 

I don't have any fountain pens that cost anywhere near $30. The most I've ever spent for a fountain pen was $22.95 for a Waterman Phileas.

 

I guess that among my favorites would be:

 

Waterman Phileas ($22.95  and $21 new, between $8 and $10 used)
Sheaffer Imperial IV cc ($10) :wub:
Sheaffer cartridge fountain pens (~$1 half a century or so ago, no more than $5 later)
Sheaffer Javelin ($12)
Pelikano Jr. (under $10, although newer caps are too fragile)
Stypen Ergo-Plume (under $10)
Parker Frontier (new ~$15, used for less than that)
Reform Student cc fountain pen (~$2.75 each) :wub:
Hero 616 (either about $1.50 or $4.29 depending)
Esterbrook Transitional J (~$10, I think, no more than $15)
Waterman Harley-Davidson Special ($15 and another at $17.50)
Pakistani "Dollar" fountain pen ($10)
Kaweco Sport ($5 to ~$12)

 

Currently being tested, but will probably join the above ranks:

Pilot Kakuno ($13.75)

 

I have recently fallen off the wagon and bought a bunch of fountain pens from China and Japan. I am still cleaning most of these out and have only begun to test a couple. So I may find some that I like among those.

 

The Reform Student cc fountain pens I got in a deal where I paid $10.99 for four of them, and I bought more than one pack. They have turned out to be almost all really excellent fountain pens.

 

The Hero 616 price depends on how one calculates it. The one I like came out of a 10 pack that I'd bought for $15 or so, which would make the pen about $1.50 or a little more. However, of those 10 Hero 616s only 7 worked. But I had previously bought three Hero 616s individually from a U.S. based vendor for $5 each, All three of those were very defective, and maybe counterfeits. So did I spend about $15 to get seven Hero 616s that worked, or did I spend $30 for seven Hero 616s that worked?

 

Some years ago the Parker 45 would have been on this list, but I fell out of like with it. I may soon be trying one out with a new nib and some silicone grease on those threads and I may like them again.

 

After I post this I may remember more pens that I really have enjoyed using. Maybe I'll amend my list at some time in the future, depending on medical issues :wallbash: .

 


On a sacred quest for the perfect blue ink mixture!
ink stained wretch filling inkwell

#26 Fabienne

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 12:41

TWSBI Eco 1.1 (smooooooth)

Pilot Petit1-Once that fine point is smoothed, it's got elan. Wonderful pen.



 It's for Yew!bastardchildlil.jpg

 


#27 junlon

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 13:30

TWSBI Eco (< $30)

Pilot Metropolitan (< $20)

Platinum Preppy (< $5)

Jinhao X450 (< $1. I paid $0.99)



#28 ScienceChick

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 14:09

The Dollar 717i, calligraphy version - how could I forget that? I bought a box, gave most away and all recipients have been quite impressed.

 photo 9a3c4b09-5684-4070-874c-d3e7313947e7.pngLife is too short to use crappy pens.  -carlos.q


#29 dogpoet

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 14:14

Waterman Phileas, Kultur and Hemisphere (the Expert II tends to be a bit more).

Parker Frontier (and, if you get lucky on ebay, the 45 and 51 as well).

Pilot Metropolitan/MR/MB and Prera. (The Birdie and Pluminix are gone now...)

Schneider Base.

Reform 1716.

Lots of Jinhaos.

The Pelikan Twist and Future.



#30 Munshi

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 16:07

Platinum Preppy is super convenient. I converted three of them to eyedropper and they just sit in my pen mug to be used when I write down my shopping lis



#31 dogpoet

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 16:31

Is eyedroppering them just a matter of adding some silicon grease to the threads, or do you need to put an o ring in somewhere as well?



#32 Munshi

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 16:52

Is eyedroppering them just a matter of adding some silicon grease to the threads, or do you need to put an o ring in somewhere as well?

 

Yes! You need an o-ring! I would recommend an 8mm X 1mm o-ring.



#33 dogpoet

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 17:01

Thanks. It's as well to check these things, it seems. ;)



#34 junlon

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 19:12

Is eyedroppering them just a matter of adding some silicon grease to the threads, or do you need to put an o ring in somewhere as well?

 

I converted two Preppy to eyedroppers. I did not use the o-rings; I only put silicon grease on the threads. Both of them work fine - no leak.



#35 Arkanabar

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 19:21

Merry Fifth Day of Christmas and Happy New Year's Eve, y'all!

Would it be horrible to say "most of mine"?

I am the guy who tries to make sure that when a recommendation for a starter pen is made, that Platinum's Plaisir is added to the inevitable Lamy Safari and Pilot Metropolitan.  I have two, and have given a third to my wife.  Obviously, it's a favorite; it has more section girth than the other two, no annoying step where the section screws into the barrel (like the Metro) and no annoying facets (like the Safari).

My Baoer 388 was intolerably dry when I first filled it.  I had to just about press hard enough to score the paper to get a decent line out of it, until that first converter's worth was about 1/4 gone.  Now it's a very well-behaved pen.

I have only used two of the 10-pack of Hero 616s my wife gave me a couple years ago on our anniversary, but they are both troopers.  I've also sold a couple to a coworker, and he's very happy with them.

I was PIFed a couple of Rotring Surfs, and the one is still a perfectly good pen.  I twisted the nib on the other, trying to cap it.

I have a fine Pilot 78G that writes very well, tho the section is a bit narrow for my taste.  I like the Pilot Crystal I was PIFed a lot more, because it has that girth.  Alas that the ring that retains the cap slides off the section each time you remove it from the barrel.  I'm using it with the CON-20 that came with my Pilot Parallel 3.8mm (another really reliable and well-behaved pen).

My wife has been very pleased with her Jinhao 250s.  They're both very smooth.

I kind of like my 1mm Sheaffer Viewpoint calligraphy pen as a stub, but it dries out after a couple days.  I am getting along with the rubber section covering in part because I use it with refilled cartridges only, and never try to fill it from a bottle.

I was given a Parker Vector calligraphy set for Christmas.  It's a bit slim for my taste, and the brushed stainless section is well-behaved (for metal), but it's been quite workable.  At least it's not covered with rubber, like the Parker Reflex.

Then there's the bad -- Noodler's.  I have three Ahabs, which have too much girth; I get pain in my right thumb, even with a nigh-slack grip.  One (medieval lapis) drips incessantly and will not flow well no matter how many times I heat-set the feed.  One (jade) runs a bit dry (I suppose I could hack the feed).  The third (mandarin yellow) is ok.  I have a Pequod's Smoke Konrad that will dry up so much in four hours of sitting capped that I have to dip the nib into water to get it writing again, which is a terrible shame, because I absolutely love everything else about the pen.  My wife has three Nib Creapers that all dry up from lack of use, but she isn't much of a writer.

I also have a Jinhao 599 that no longer caps securely, and its converter failed.  It was PIFed to me, and I loaned it out to people at work with the idea that they could find out before buying whether the Lamy Safari's section was for them.

 

edit:  I just had to take another look at the Pilot Kakuno, and it looks like it could be converted to ED pretty easily as well.  I'm just not quite sure about that faceted section, especially when I know I like Plaisirs, which can be had for a similar price.


Edited by Arkanabar, 31 December 2015 - 19:25.


#36 inkstainedruth

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 22:25

Merry Fifth Day of Christmas and Happy New Year's Eve, y'all!

Would it be horrible to say "most of mine"?

I am the guy who tries to make sure that when a recommendation for a starter pen is made, that Platinum's Plaisir is added to the inevitable Lamy Safari and Pilot Metropolitan.  I have two, and have given a third to my wife.  Obviously, it's a favorite; it has more section girth than the other two, no annoying step where the section screws into the barrel (like the Metro) and no annoying facets (like the Safari).

 

I didn't recommend a Plaisir.  I bought one when I first started buying pens, and after a while the color coating on the nib started flaking off.  Additionally, mine turned out to a very dry writer.  They're a decent price, though, especially if you can get a deal with the converter included, the way I did.  

My understanding is that they use the same nibs as Preppies, so that may be a consideration.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#37 Arkanabar

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Posted 31 December 2015 - 22:48

I didn't recommend a Plaisir.  I bought one when I first started buying pens, and after a while the color coating on the nib started flaking off.  Additionally, mine turned out to a very dry writer.  They're a decent price, though, especially if you can get a deal with the converter included, the way I did.  

My understanding is that they use the same nibs as Preppies, so that may be a consideration.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

I've had this same issue on my green Plaisir, and it's possible that my wife's red Plaisir, bought at the same time, will also develop this problem.  However, I think Platinum is dropping the colored plating on both the nibs and the clips.  My black Plaisir, for example, bought a year or so later than the red and green, doesn't have either.  The same goes for several colors as displayed on Goulet's website -- blue, frosty blue, red, violet, green, and gunmetal.  In fact, right now, only the pink and gold Plaisirs there colored plating on the nibs, and they also both have it on the clips.


Edited by Arkanabar, 31 December 2015 - 22:49.


#38 Randal6393

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 04:21

Recently took an eBay plunge on Hero 5028 pens. For about $15, including shipping, received a set of six italic fountain pens, from 1. mm to over 3 mm. With converters. To my pleasure and surprise, the pens were good, student grade and worked well. Not the greatest of pens but would do as good a job as any set of Manuscript pens. So have to add them to the list of cheap pens.

 

Enjoy,


Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?
 


#39 tragique

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 06:21

Esterbrook J with any common 9xxx nib.



#40 dogpoet

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Posted 01 January 2016 - 12:43

I was PIFed a couple of Rotring Surfs, and the one is still a perfectly good pen.  I twisted the nib on the other, trying to cap it.

I'd forgotten that one. Very good pen for the pittance it costs even now. Mind youy, there was a point when the Core could be found for peanuts as well, so that might not last long...







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