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Opinions Wanted! A Good Starter Pen For Someone New.

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26 replies to this topic

#1 JDHudson

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 19:00

I just received a Parker soft grip that I ordered from eBay.  I have found this pen to be a hard starter.  It came with one parker cartridge.  I am thinking of going to a converter on it, but I am unsure of putting more money in a pen that, to me, is very light and not a great writer.  I want to try some Noodler's or J. Herbin ink, so I know a converter would allow that; but I am wondering if I would be better served with maybe a Lamy Safari or some such to launch my exploration in.  I intend to grab a Platinum Preppy and convert it to an eyedropper pen, but I want to get something decent to write with on a daily basis.  Any recommendations would be very welcome!!!!!!

 

I have just moved over to fountain pens from ballpoints.  I currently carry a Montblanc ballpoint in Bordeaux.  I love the weight and feel of the Montblanc, and would like to find something of comparable heft to learn writing with fountain pens. 



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#2 Old Salt

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 19:04


First of all, welcome to the group. Feel free to jump in on any conversation and ask questions.
With regard to starter pens, There are a lot out there. Give us a price range and it will be easier to recommend something.
You should definately put a converter in your Parker. You'll get better ink flow and as you know a greater assortment of inks to choose from. Some inks flow more freely, others write rather dry. Every pen is different in their tastes for ink. Even pens of the same make and model will sometimes write differently with the same ink. Only experimenting will let you match the right ink to your pen. But then, that's half the fun.
Find yourself a vendor that sells ink samples. They are really cheap and you can try a whole bunch of inks for very little money. Goulet Pens here on the east coast sells samples and there are others.

Also check out YouTube. There are thousands of fountain pen vids. Lots to give you an idea on cleaning maintaining and nib smoothing.

Just thinking of something to go with your burgundy MB. Take a look at a TWISBI classic in burgundy. It has some heft, will fit in your pocket, and they write really nice.
On the cheaper side, Pilot Metropolitans are excellent starter pens. The lamy Safari are popular all over the world. It's very easy to buy extra nibs of different sizes and change them out.
Then there are the Jinhao pens. The x450, x750, and 159 are good rugged pens that will give good writing service for super low Price.

Well that's all i can think of for now. Hope it helped. Good luck enjoy your pens.

Edited by Old Salt, 15 January 2017 - 19:23.


#3 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 19:45

I always recommend the Pilot Metropolitan. It's a metal pen (rock solid) with classic looks (the Safari is funky looking although it's grown on me) and Pilot nibs tend to write well out of the box. It's cheap and comes with a converter too. It's my goto pen when I travel for business. I don't care if I lose it ($15) and I don't have to worry about dropping it or any issues with it not starting or skipping.



#4 Wolverine1

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 20:09

The Pilot Metropolitan is a wonderful starter pen. And given the quality control that Pilot has, you will very rarely get a lemon. And it costs $15.00 at the  local college bookstore. You may find it ofr less on JetPens.com, or Gouletpens.com

Lamy Safari is also a good pen.



#5 crescent2

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 20:28

Let me join the group and absolutely recommend the Pilot Metropolitan.  I have five, had one more that I lost, and I've given several for gifts.  They've all written well right out of the box and continue to do so.  They come in many colors, finishes, and trims, in F or M nibs.  The colorful Retro Pops also come in a CM, which is a M stub nib that produces a little bit of line variation in your writing.  I like all their nibs.  They are Japanese nibs, so they run toward the fine side.  I'd recommend starting with the M unless you know you like very fine point pens or have very small handwriting.  The Metros even come with a squeeze converter which works fine.  If you want to see how much ink is in the converter, add a Pilot Con-50, a transparent twist converter.  They also use Pilot brand ink cartridges. The Metros run about $15.  

 

Lots of people also suggest the Lamy Safari.  I have one, and it's never written well even with a replacement nib.  The Safari is close to twice as expensive as the Metropolitan, and if you want to use bottled ink, you have to purchase a Lamy brand converter separately. Lots of people like the Safari, but mine's not a good pen. 

 

My Metros are still some of my favorite pens although I have some much more expensive pens now.  I love the things.

 

Have fun!



#6 BillH

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 20:53

Another vote for Metro for a first pen.  I have a handful myself and bought another one to give my wife for her birthday.  She really liked it and takes it to work with her (although I don't think she got addicted to pens, thank goodness.  We couldn't afford two habits in this house!  :lol: ).


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#7 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 20:59

Another vote for Metro for a first pen.  I have a handful myself and bought another one to give my wife for her birthday.  She really liked it and takes it to work with her (although I don't think she got addicted to pens, thank goodness.  We couldn't afford two habits in this house!  :lol: ).

 

Ha! I have two (a fine and a medium - will be getting the stub shortly) and also gave my wife one for her birthday last week! She has a Pelikan twist (which she loves!!) and I want to try to hook her on something a bit more grown up :)



#8 Bluey

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 21:39

I would suggest a Hero 616, Pilot Metropolitan, or Jinhao x450 as being excellent starter pens.


Edited by Bluey, 15 January 2017 - 21:40.

Mediterranean blue, Asa Goa, China blue, Royal blue, Sapphire blue, Indigo, Washable Blue....the colours of the rainbow.

#9 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 21:59

There are a number of good "starter" pens. The Pilot Metropolitan is right there. I don't use mine that much as I never fell in love with it, but I do like it. Mine is a Medium.

 

My first pen was a Lamy Al Star which is the aluminum version of the Safari.It is about $10 more than the Safari.  So if you want something with a little more heft than a Safari, that could work.

 

For a demonstrator in the same general price range, how about the TWSBI Eco. Choice of not less than 5 different nibs. (EF, F, M, B, 1.1), piston filler.

 

Solid every time is the Parker 45. You will have to go previously owned with this one. The first one I ever bought was a Flighter (stainless steel) and came with a 14k medium nib. Cost? $15.50.


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#10 sandy101

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 22:08

if you are not sure if an FP is right for you, then the Faber Castell Loom is worth a look - it is less than £30 and has one of the better nibs out there. It also seems to be more tolerant of the types of ink you can use. My Parker IMs hated J Herbin's ink.

 

If you have the courage (and the budget), try a Montblanc. You can get a decent Montblanc FP second hand and go with that. Start as you mean to go on, is what I'm thinking these days. It saves you filling a drawer with a load of pens you'll probably not use.  

 

Try a pen shop or a pen show. The advantage of a pen show is you can get some second hand deals and a bit more variety. 



#11 stephanos

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 23:45

+1 to the Loom. Excellent nibs (get a Medium to start with), very solid build, simple to use, and takes standard international cartridges (and can be fitted with a converter)... what's not to like?

 

Pens like the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan are good, of course, and cost a little less. But if you have a Montblanc ballpoint already, then I'm guessing that you wouldn't mind paying a little more to have a decent step-up in quality. And that's what the Loom offers.

 

So, if you have to buy online, I would go for a Loom. But if you can, visit a physical shop.



#12 SpecTP

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 23:50

I really enjoy my FC Loom EF nib.. it's very nice



#13 flipper_gv

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 00:43

Pay a bit more and get the Eco.



#14 jmccarty3

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 01:11

I would get a Pilot Metropolitan with a medium nib, to get used to writing with the lighter touch that a fountain pen requires, and I would use Pilot ink in it. Once you get the hang of it, attend a pen show near you and go nuts, as Brian Goulet says. You may end up finding a Montblanc that matches your ballpoint, or you may find something completely different, but the point is to expose yourself to as many kinds of pens and inks as possible. Speaking of Goulet, the videos on the gouletpens.com web site are great for beginners. Hang out here on FPN, join a local pen club, read the popular blogs, and pretty soon you'll be devoting most of your time and income to pens like the rest of us.  :D


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#15 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 04:03

Welcome,

Let me break it down to a simple list for your consideration:

- Pilot Metropolitan
- Lamy Logo / Al-Star / Safari
- Jinhao X-450 / 750.
- Faber Castell Loom, (does have a tight cap- not for those with CTS, etc.).
- TWSBI Eco / Classic

All of these are $50 or less and are a joy to use. Check em out on YouTube, Amazon and in the pen review section here. Good luck; I hope you pick a winner for yourself. :)

- Anthony

Edited by ParkerDuofold, 16 January 2017 - 04:07.

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#16 GJMekenkamp

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 04:38

I agree on the list made by ParkerDuofold.

 

But be aware that the Jinhao fountain pens are Chinese - therefore they may be needing some finetuning once you receive it.

 

Another great option: Parker I.M. A real workhorse pen.


Edited by GJMekenkamp, 16 January 2017 - 04:38.


#17 Bluey

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 04:57

 

But be aware that the Parker I.M may be needing some fine tuning once you receive it.

 

Another great option: Jinhao. A real workhorse pen.

That sounds more like it.

 

I wouldn't really trust the modern Parkers. At all! That includes the IM, Urban, Sonnets, and Vectors.

For the Jinhaos, after flushing to rid of oils they perform admirably and reliably.


Mediterranean blue, Asa Goa, China blue, Royal blue, Sapphire blue, Indigo, Washable Blue....the colours of the rainbow.

#18 Mastiff

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 05:18

May I suggest L2K?



#19 ac12

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 05:20

 


I wouldn't really trust the modern Parkers. At all! That includes the IM, Urban, Sonnets, and Vectors.

For the Jinhaos, after flushing to rid of oils they perform admirably and reliably.

 

My IM with M nib worked just fine 'out of the box,' and so did the replacement F nib.

It is only retired because the metal body pen is too heavy for me.


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#20 ac12

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 05:36

+1 on the Pilot Metropolitan.  For $18 you can't go too wrong.  Get the M nib, as the F nib is pretty fine, unless you like FINE nibs.

The pen has a step where the body meets the section, that may or may not bother your hand, depending on where you grip the pen.

The pen has a metal body which makes it a bit heavy at 26 grams.

 

The Parker IM is a good pen, but it has a metal body which makes it rather heavy at 30 grams.

Comes in M nib.  You have 28 days to send it back to Parker to exchange the nib for a F nib, which would be similar to the Pilot M nib.

 

The Lamy Safari/Vista/Al Star are good pens, and much lighter.  But they have a triangular grip that you either like or hate.  And they have a broad range of color options from fun colors to work serious black.

 

The TWSBI Eco is a nice pen, but it is bottle ink only, no option for cartridge.  I have had one inked and in use for a year and a half.

 

The P45 is a great pen, but only available in the used market.  So like any used pen, it may be out of adjustment, and most likely need a good cleaning.  Also the tipping on the older pens are not as smooth writing as the tipping on newer pens.  This is simply due to the older technology.  I used two of them thru college, and currently I use two of them on a daily basis, so I stand behind my recommendation.

 

gud luk with your selection, it will be a hard choice

...well not, just get all of them  ;)


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