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Smoothest Pen Under $50?

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75 replies to this topic

#21 corgicoupe

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 17:44

I second Ron's suggestion of the Ester brook with either the 9550 or 9556 nib. His price estimate is accurate, too. Check MidnightPens on etsy. And ask about getting a different nib than the one listed. He's quite flexible. (Pun not intended)

Edited by corgicoupe, 21 March 2017 - 17:50.

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#22 sandy101

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 17:55

The Faber Castell Loom is a great nib, but it does write on the wide side.

 

The Parson's Essential is a great buy too, and if you are ordering from the USA, you shouldn't have to pay the sales tax, which will make up for the postage. 



#23 cattar

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 18:35

A nib won't feel as smooth on low quality paper. Even among cheap composition books, there are smoother papers. Feel the paper before you buy.

A nib will feel smoother if you write with less pressure.

A nib will feel smoother if you write without roling your hand or the pen sideways.

A nib will feel smoother with a lubed ink

If you like the metro, get one with an M nib.

#24 voltron

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 18:39

Smoothest nib for under $50? It is none other than Faber Castell Loom



#25 Trom

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 19:08

My Jinhao X450's, around $ 2.75 each are very smooth.



#26 Ron Z

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 19:46

My Jinhao X450's, around $ 2.75 each are very smooth.

 

The question is, will they stay that way?  The answer I would contend, is no.  At that price even the Chinese can not afford to tip a nib with a hard material, which means that the nib will wear quickly.  A 9000 series Esterbrook nib has excellent tipping material that will last quite a long time. 


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#27 Trom

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 20:39

 

The question is, will they stay that way?  The answer I would contend, is no.  At that price even the Chinese can not afford to tip a nib with a hard material, which means that the nib will wear quickly.  A 9000 series Esterbrook nib has excellent tipping material that will last quite a long time. 

 

I have been using my X450's for more than a year now. They are smooth as ever.

For that price? Yes, for that low price. Sooner or later the common man will find out.



#28 Bluey

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 20:49

 

The question is, will they stay that way?  The answer I would contend, is no.  At that price even the Chinese can not afford to tip a nib with a hard material, which means that the nib will wear quickly.  A 9000 series Esterbrook nib has excellent tipping material that will last quite a long time. 

People have using Jinhaos as an EDC for years. A jinhao was one of the first I ever got and the tipping is as good as new.

 

What rationale makes you believe that they won't last? It sounds like you're just  speculating.

 

I would be more inclined to trust a modern Jinhao than an old banger like an Esterbrook.  The latter's exhaust will probably fall off within a week.


Edited by Bluey, 21 March 2017 - 20:50.

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#29 BradGad

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 21:22

A Pilot Prera would be a PHENOMENAL option, especially if you import one from Japan. The nib won't be butter on glass smooth, but will be incredibly smooth with just a touch of feedback. I have personally owned one for 3.5 years now.

Preras are $32 to $38 on jetpens.com. No need to import. Free shipping.

I have four because... well... because I want four Preras in different colors!

Great pen.

But, it won't be any smoother than the Metropolitan: they both use the same interchangeable "Super Quality" nib.

I have four Preras and two Metros... plus a Penmanship, a Kakuno, and a Plumex... all of which can interchange nibs. All the nibs are very good, but they're not all the same: they vary in both wetness and smoothness. As it happens, the smoothest of the bunch is the one that came on my first Metro.

So, I'd say, heck yeah, get a Prera! A wonderful pen. But don't count on it being way smoother. (Or get three Metropolitans and go with the smoothest one 😉 )

Edited by BradGad, 21 March 2017 - 21:31.

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#30 Maurizio

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 22:59

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#31 ac12

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 23:09

Back again,

 

It does not matter what YOU want.  If the surface of the paper is not smooth and hard enough, you will NOT get a smooth writing experience with an XF nib.  Depending on the paper, you will be limited in how fine a nib you can use and still have a smooth writing experience.

The analogy is a cart with a small wheel and another cart with a large wheel.  On an old road, the cart with the small wheel will bounce around a LOT more than the cart with the large wheel.

 

As was mentioned, you need to write with a LIGHT hand.  If you PRESS down on the pen, you will increase friction between the nib and the paper.  Friction = scratchy feel.

 

I use an Eco as one of my everyday pens, for the past 1-1/2 years.  If you take reasonable care of the pen, it will be just fine.  If you toss it into the bottom of a pack and dump your books on top of it, well . . . you may break it.

But you will want at least the F nib if not the M nib, not the EF nib.  The EF nib can be scratchy especially on the wrong paper.  Again matching the nib to the paper.


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#32 Ron Z

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 23:44

People have using Jinhaos as an EDC for years. A jinhao was one of the first I ever got and the tipping is as good as new.

 

What rationale makes you believe that they won't last? It sounds like you're just  speculating.

 

I would be more inclined to trust a modern Jinhao than an old banger like an Esterbrook.  The latter's exhaust will probably fall off within a week.

 

About 50 years of experience with fountain pens.  Lower end pend don't have a hard tipping material, so the nib wears more quickly.  Esterbrooks have proven their durability first by lasting decades. They were very well made, even though lower in price than Parkers and Sheaffers.  I have several that I've owned and used for a couple of decades.  I also have a Jinhao, and had to put shellac on the threads to build them up to keep the section from shifting while I write.  There is a significant difference in quality between the two.


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#33 Bluey

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 23:59

 

About 50 years of experience with fountain pens.  Lower end pend don't have a hard tipping material, so the nib wears more quickly.  Esterbrooks have proven their durability first by lasting decades. They were very well made, even though lower in price than Parkers and Sheaffers.  I have several that I've owned and used for a couple of decades.  I also have a Jinhao, and had to put shellac on the threads to build them up to keep the section from shifting while I write.  There is a significant difference in quality between the two.

I'm sure that the Esterbrook may have lasted for a little while, but unless there is a way to know their mileage there's no guarantee that it's going to last 2 years or 2 days longer. It's why I don't trust vintage.

For the Jinhaos I've not actually heard/read of anyone in the real world who's experienced any wear on the tipping. That would be the most concrete yardstick.


Edited by Bluey, 22 March 2017 - 00:00.

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#34 pajaro

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:34

The vintage market is a murky place if you don't have experience with it.  Newer person might be better off with a new pen.  Anything in the $25 to $50 range will work until the buyer gets more expertise.  Even restored vintage with a warranty is a an uncertainty, because if a problem occurs the buyer is penless while the pen goes back and forth.  Experienced members might remember that newer members don't have their wealth of experience and so might not trust old pens.  Lack of confidence in vintage is pretty reasonable.

 

There are the Asian pens and the European pens today, and they are different.  If you like the asian pens, the Prera might seem reasonable.  It is a small pen.  My fine Prera is acceptable.  I am one of those who prefer the European pens.  Lamy Safari times five with EF nibs worked better for me.  Esterbrook, which is easily restorable, is a bulletproof pen.  Nonetheless, I, with at least a couple of dozen Esterbrooks, with some uncommon and common 9xxx nibs, find Exterbrook a pen I never use any more.  After initial enthusiasm, I found Esterbrook to be a blind alley.  I have used pens for 59 years and I think Esterbrook feels cheaper than the Chinese pens.  It was in its time, and remains, a low end pen.  I can understand why many people don't want to go vintage.  The look and feel of pens today is entirely different from the 1950s, and people used to today's pens might shrink from the look and feel of 1950s, 1960s and 1970s pens, not to mention older pens.  I, used to older pens, prefer a lot of the newer pens.  When recommending a pen for a new writer, you have to consider their expectations of look and feel, and understand that recommending vintage to them might well be suggesting something they won't like the look and feel of, no matter how good a writer the vintage pen is.

 

I am going to add something.  When I was a kid, my mother had me go with her to look at new shoes for school.  I saw a couple I liked.  Unfortunately, I ended up with some hand me downs from a cousin.  These people get their expectations up for a new pen.  Here we might press vintage on them.  They might feel disappointed. 


Edited by pajaro, 22 March 2017 - 01:41.

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#35 IndianElf

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:00

Faber-castell Loom is my smoothest pen under 50 dollars. However, this does depend on where you buy it from.

#36 MuddyWaters

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:02

CW,

 

Understand that in general, the finer the nib the scratchier it will feel, all else being equal.

Because the finer the nib, the more sensitive it will be to the texture of the surface of the paper. 

So a F nib will feel scratchier than a M nib.

 

What has been said in parts is that the pen itself is a major variable in how smooth or scratchy the pen writes.

  • alignment of the nib
  • how much or little the ink flows

There are 4 variables that affect smoothness

  1. the pen
  2. the ink
  3. the paper
  4. you the writer

Change any one and you can go from smooth to scratchy or scratchy to smooth.

 

The pen has several sub-variables

  • the quality of the nib/tipping
    • Pilot pens normally have pretty smooth tipping (at least the few pens that I have seen), so do not just assume that polishing with micromesh will make it write smoother.  You may end up making it worse.
  • how much or little the ink flows
    • Ink acts like a lubricant.  Not enough ink and you get more friction between the nib and the paper.

 

re paper

You say "the paper I have available is usually pretty low quality."

  • You may have to buy better grade paper.  Because there is only so much that you can do to make up for the lack of quality of the paper.
    • Note that better paper does not have to be significantly more expensive.  There are decent papers at reasonable prices, if you shop for them.
  • You may have to go to a wider nib, to get a smoother feel.
    • I have used paper that I will NOT write with anything smaller than a Medium nib, because the finer nibs feel too scratchy on that paper.

 

I have to go now, so more later.

 

Excellent post. Thanks for posting this FP knowledge in such an organized fashion.


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#37 AL01

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:14

 

The question is, will they stay that way?  The answer I would contend, is no.  At that price even the Chinese can not afford to tip a nib with a hard material, which means that the nib will wear quickly.  A 9000 series Esterbrook nib has excellent tipping material that will last quite a long time. 

 

The cap sealing mechs and the finish and the threads won't last you more than 5 years TOPS. They are utter garbage in the long run. (I used to have a Sheaffer VFM.)

 

You could get a Sheaffer School pen or a good ole Estie. They kick way too much butt, I mean really.


Edited by AL01, 22 March 2017 - 03:16.


#38 Pensei

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:31

 

Which nib do you have for the Loom? The samples on Goulet Pens made the fine nib seem very thick, and I'm hoping to get a pen that writes about .5 mm. Thanks.

I don't have any means to measure a .5 line, but I just did some doodling with a Metropolitan F and and a F-C XF on different kinds of paper, and they are very close, but I would say the F-C produces just a slightly wider line. But I definitely like fine, clear lines, and I am satisfied with the F-C. It writes very smoothly and is attractive as well. (I have the Basic in Carbon,which I think is great looking, if you don't mind the slightly soft material in the section.)



#39 corgicoupe

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 13:03

It is quite possible to find NOS Esterbrook nibs still in the box. They will last a lifetime.

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#40 Mercian

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 13:52

...but unless there is a way to know their mileage there's no guarantee that it's going to last 2 years or 2 days longer. It's why I don't trust vintage.
For the Jinhaos I've not actually heard/read of anyone in the real world who's experienced any wear on the tipping.

That's an interesting take.
My own preference/prejudice is to be only willing to place my trust in products/manufacturers that have been proven to be reliable for decades.

But, a new company? In a country without a long history of mass-production of precision engineering to high standards of quality control?
Which is also famous for making knock-offs and outright fakes?
It's why I don't trust 'emerging market' companies that I've never heard of.

For Jinhaos I have not actually heard/read of anyone in the real world who's experienced decades of reliable use from one.

De gustibus non est disputandum :-D

Edited by Mercian, 22 March 2017 - 13:53.

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