Modification of Kaigelu 316 fountain pen using Bock type 250 nib unit (EF, stainless steel, 2-tone) and Beaufort Ink premium Ink Converter.
Recently, I acquired two Kaigelu 316 fountain pens which I adore, one is ivory or pearl colored with black swirls and the other is brownish colored with orange waves. The pens seem to be imitations of the more expensive Parker Duofold fountain pens. I bought them without their box from an ebay store in China, for under 20euros each (1). Figs 1a-1b
However, I was a little disappointed by the nib of the Kaigelu pens, which although smooth, write too broad for my liking. My one option would be to grind the pen nib, which I am currently learning how to improve at, however I am not adept at it yet. My other option would be to find a high quality replacement nib. A little web search proved that it has been difficult to find a replacement nib for this pen.(2-4) It would be great if I could fit an extra fine (EF) Bock or Jowo nib into my Kaigelu 316.
4. METHODS AND MATERIALS
Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in seperating the nib from the feed in my Kaigelu, however in trying to do so, I managed to completely remove the nib housing from the inside of the pen barrel. Please note that the Kaigelu 316 nib housing does not have any threads on its outer surface, the nib housing and the section are actually held together by friction-fit. Interestingly enough, the Kaigelu pen section does have internal threads at approximately 10mm from its nib-end, which, alas, are not engaged with the nib housing at all. It could have been that I accidentally have torn the housing threads myself, in my attempt to remove it from the pen section, but there appears to be no remnants of torn threads on the external surface of the Kaigelu nib housing at all. For owners of other Kaigelu pens, which have the nib housings attached firmly in the pen sections, it is recommended to place the pens in hot water for 4-5 minutes, and then to attempt to unscrew or remove the two pieces apart. Fig 2a-2d
After measuring the nib housing dimensions, I contacted both Jowo and Bock companies. The Jowo nib housing dimensions (7.5mm in diameter) differed significantly from the Kaigelu one as pictured in the Fpnibs website (5), I was finally referred to Phil at Beaufort Ink (6), which is the Bock representative in UK (no affiliation, just a happy customer). Phil suggested that the Bock type 250 nib housing (8 mm in diameter), with a stainless steel, 2-tone nib, could perhaps fit this pen's barrel. He even emailed me a diagram with the dimensions of this nib unit which proved that this might be a good replacement option to try. Fig 3a-3c.
I ordered two Bock units type 250, in EF and F nib size, in stainless steel and 2-tone color. Furthermore, I ordered the Beaufort Ink's own-marketed ink converter, which in retrospect proved very thoughtful, as the Kaigelu screw-type ink converter dimensions would not match the Bock housing's ink inlet. When the package arrived, I saw that Phil was kind enough to include some other Bock housings so I could experiment in other pen modifications too. Fig 4a-4d.
Side by side comparison of the nib housings reveals that the original Kaigelu units are slightly shorter than the Bock ones. However, I was able to insert the Bock nib unit into the Kaigelu pen barrel, where it would fit perfectly. Even though the nib housing's and the barrel's threads did not engage at all, the two parts would be retained by friction fit in an excellent manner. Although Phil had suggested that I could use transparent nail polish to retrievably attach the nib housing to the pen barrel, I was amazed to find that the pen was secure enough to be used only with the two parts retained snugly together with friction fit. Alternatively, I guess I could have used shellac too, but I did not find this necessary, as it allowed me to change nib units at my own will. As far as the ink converter is concerned, it was also retained by friction-fit inside the top of the pen section in a perfect manner. The Beaufort Ink premium ink converter was not screw-retained as the original Kaigelu ink converter used to be, but it was tight enough and matched perfectly in size, so that I did not have any problem with ink leakage whatsoever. Although I am sure they had not intended on purpose, it seems as if the Beaufort Ink premium Ink Converter was perfectly crafted for this Kaigelu pen, I feel so lucky! Fig 5a-5f.
It might also be interesting to note that the Bock nib can easily be removed from the its housing and occasionally be replaced with a Jowo EF or any other size Jowo nib, if one so desires. Here is the same Kaigelu pen with a EF Jowo nib purchased from Anderson Pens (7) in Milwalkee (no affiliation, just a happy customer). I could easily interchange the Jowo nib taken from the pictured Jinhao x450 and transfer it, back and forth, to the Kaigelu 316. Fig 6a-6b.
In my experience, both EF and F Bock nibs write 'buttery' smooth, however the Jowo nib pleasantly gives a little more feedback which I personally like. This is consistent with similar findings by other fountain pen users on Fountain Pen Network (FPN) threads (8). One can write ever so slightly finer lines with the EF Jowo nib compared to the EF Bock one, using the same ink and paper, at least with the Bock and Jowo nibs at my hands. One explanation for why a Jowo nib writes a little crisper than a Bock nib might be the slightly different nib geometry at their tips. Under magnification, the Bock EF seems to have a slightly broader nib-paper contact area than the Jowo. However, if it wasn't for the Bock housing, no other high quality nib could be substituted for this pen. According to my personal experience, I can write easier with the Bock EF nib on plain paper, compared to the Jowo EF nib which somewhat “catches” on cheaper paper, and seems to write smoother on better quality paper only. Here are writing samples with the Kaigelu pen with EF and F Bock nibs and also with the Kaigelu original nib. I only wish I had a better macro lens so I could take better closeup shots of both Bock and Jowo nibs, the nib on the left is the Bock, the one on the right is the Jowo. Fig 7a-7b.
Finally, other users have described the Kaigelu 316 as a heavy pen, however, I personally do not find it cumbersome to hold, as it fits my style of writing perfectly. However, if one does want to modify the weight of the Kaigelu, richardandtracy's thread on finial replacement at FPN discussing this matter might be useful.(9) The modified Kaigelu pen also seems to be 1.5 to 2 mm longer with the Bock nib compared with the original nib but this, combined with the fact that the pen is slightly back-heavy, helps with the pen's weight balance more so than not. Fig 8.1-2
Here are a quick writing sample with the Kaigelu 316 with Bock 250 EF nib, please excuse my terrible handwriting... Fig 9
A 250 Bock nib housing could be fitted inside the Kaigelu 316 fountain pen section and a Bock or Jowo nib could used alternatively, along with a Beaufort Ink premium ink converter. I have been using my modified Kaigelu 316 for three weeks now without any issues. Now that the Bock or Jowo nibs has been proven that can be fitted into this pen, other high quality #6 nibs like Edison, Goulet, Anderson, Monteverde or Franklin-Christoph could potentially be fitted successfully into this pen. I hope this was useful to other pen enthousiasts possessing or interested in acquiring a Kaigelu 316 pen.
As quality control varies with chinese pens in general, no warranty is given that results can exactly be reproduced with all other Kaigelu 316 fountain pens. The techniques described above are given as a guideline and can be replilcated at each one's own discretion and responsibility. There is no commercial relation or affiliation with the pen brands / stores mentioned in this article. My respects goes to all pen enthusiasts, both professional and amateur, who have toiled for the improvement of the fountain pen experience.
(1) ebay store jewelry mathematics http://www.ebay.com/...elrymathematics
(2) Matt Armstrong / The Pen Habit http://penhabit.com/...iew-kaigelu-316
(3) Matt Armstrong / youtube https://www.youtube....h?v=5cDfBdjSaN8
(4) Stephen Brown / Writing with the Kaigelu Century Star 316, youtube https://www.youtube....h?v=X_kZKo-8Pyw
(5) FPNibs, Official Jowo representative in Spain, diagram with dimensions of #6 Jowo Nib Unit, and #6 EF Jowo Nib Unit, http://www.fpnibs.co...o-tamano-5.html
(6) Phil at Beaufort Ink / Bock UK representative, http://www.beaufortink.co.uk
(7) Anderson Pens, 10 E. College Ave. Suite 112A, Appleton, WI 54911 http://www.andersonpens.com/
(8) dsolmei at FPN thread, Jowo Vs Bock - Which Do You Think Is Better And Why? http://www.fountainp...better-and-why/
(9) richardandtracy's thread on FPN- http://www.fountainp...-barrel-finial/