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Smoothest Pen Under $50?

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75 replies to this topic

#61 Margana

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 02:10

 

Don't feel bad. There isn't a new pen from any manufacturer that I've bought hasn't had some adjustment made to the nib.  But then again, I'm fussy.  ;)

Adjustments are beyond me and so is sending every pen off for the ministrations of a nibmeister. I must make do with what comes out of the box. The inconsistency makes it hard to recommend any pen, but it also makes me appreciate the good ones when they do come along.

 

Your comment prompted me to review my rotation proving the pens I use the most were decent if not good from first use. The stinkers seldom see the light of day. On occasion, a new ink will show the potential to be a good mate for a disappointing pen and just like that I have a new duo.  :happy:


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#62 Pensei

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 03:36

I can't remember where I saw this, but someone said that many manufactured products (cars, pens, whatever) are like aquarium fish. I.e., more expensive means *less* reliable, not more. That's why they are expensive; they are harder to keep alive. With pens, the more expensive and the fancier, the more delicate and prone to failure. Not to say a MB 149 won't last a lifetime, but I would be equally confident that a Prera would. 



#63 mpennxr

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:33

I have a Lamy Al-Star and it writes pretty smooth for me.  I have mine in EF though so maybe you might want to get a F or a M depending on how large you write.

 

I don't know if the thickness and viscosity of an ink affects how smoothly a pen writes.  You should look around here to see if anyone has done any experiments with ink thickness and viscosity in mind (but I imagine it might have something to do with it).

 

Best of luck.



#64 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 11:49

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.

 

This is 100% spot on and should be "cut and pasted" into all discussions about smoothness IMO.

 

That's why it's almost nearly impossible to research and research and research and then buy the ONE PERFECT PEN for you. There are too many variables involved which need to mostly be worked through with trial and error.

 

Now - all that said - from my experience the Jinhaos I've purchased have been the smoothest writers for under $50. Of course as noted and debated above that doesn't mean they're the best pen for you - but rather that they tend to be SUPER WET and medium-ish in nib size which leads to a smooth writing experience. Frankly it's easy enough to smooth a nib with some micromesh - I would get a pen that fits your style (size, weight, materials, etc) and do a little smoothing if it's a bit too toothy for you.


Edited by TheRealMikeDr, 23 March 2017 - 11:51.


#65 pajaro

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 03:57

I have several Lamy Safaris with EF nibs.  The bright metal nibs are very smooth, and the black ones a little more variable and sometimes needing fine tuned alignment.  They are more expensive than Jinhaos mostly, but the caps post better and they are more satisfying and lighter.  Kaigelus seemed more overall useful to me, and the nibs are very smooth.  The Kaigelus were very inexpensive.


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#66 gluestick

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 08:41

Loom seems to have come up the most often here. I just got mine yesterday in the mail. A fine nib and my god it is smooth. Even on toothy paper it's smooth and on Gouletpens, I think the writing sample for it does look a little wider than mine, but it might be because I'm not using the same ink and paper. Anyways it doesn't even feel like I'm writing it just glides. It's actually a little too smooth for my liking. I much prefer Sailor nibs... The Lecoule is under $50 and it's smooth but has a nice, noticeable feedback that I really enjoy. I lost mine last week  :( I'm going to buy a new one, just can't decide if I want it the exact same color as my old one.



#67 wjeverly

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 21:28

I'm late to the party - normal for me - but I'm another Pilot Prera lover. I've got 4 of them, though I usually only have one in rotation at any given time.

 

And since no one has mentioned them (that I've seen) I wanted to give a shout to Fountain Pen Revolution, pens made in India. I have two - the Himalaya model and the Indus model, both extra fine nibs - and I'm astonished with how well they write. They're very smooth, and I'm guessing are pretty close to a .4mm line. The Himalaya is almost $30, the Indus under $20.

 

Another impressive budget pen is the Nemosine Singularity ($20 at Goulet Pens). Also a very nice writer!

 

Of course, as Ron has pointed out, pens in this price range simply can't be made with the same quality and care as $200+ pens, or vintage name brand pens that have been properly restored. My 1930's and 1940's era Parkers and Sheaffers are going to still be writing beautifully long after the budget pens have been tossed...

 

Cheers,

 

Walt



#68 Sasha Royale

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 22:18

Medium nibs are smoother than fine nibs.  (Yea-yea, here come the exceptions !)  Ugly duckling face notwithstanding,  LAMY Safaris have excellent ink feed.  Maybe load with a lubricated ink, and use smooth paper.   At least part of the solution lies in the technique of the user of the pen.   I call it  "adjusting the nut that holds the pen barrel".

 

Connect with fellow fp nuts, and try some pens.  

 

Good luck.


Edited by Sasha Royale, 28 March 2017 - 23:35.

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#69 TSherbs

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 23:21

Um, since forever. Because when you are churning out junk, you don't last long....

How do you explain this longevity, then?

"Hostess: The brand's history dates back to 1919, when the Hostess CupCake was introduced to the public, followed by Twinkies® in 1930. Today, Hostess produces a variety of new and classic treats including Ding Dongs®, Ho Hos®, Donettes® and Fruit Pies, in addition to Twinkies® and CupCakes."

98 years of junk and counting.

😜

Edited by TSherbs, 28 March 2017 - 23:25.


#70 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 23:29

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)


I have two Esterbrook pens with the 9550 and one with a 9450. All good, my perception of the latter is the 9450 is slightly finer. All are good though.

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#71 Mercian

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 00:09

How do you explain this longevity, then?
"Hostess: The brand's history dates back to 1919, when the Hostess CupCake was introduced to the public, followed by Twinkies® in 1930. Today, Hostess produces a variety of new and classic treats including Ding Dongs®, Ho Hos®, Donettes® and Fruit Pies, in addition to Twinkies® and CupCakes."
98 years of junk and counting.
😜

Because, as any fule kno, Twinkies were invented by the government/OSS/CIA as part of an Illuminati-sponsored programme of mass-population mind-control!

The ersatz 'cream' in them contains an entirely synthetic chemical agent whose metabolically bi-sterbile effect hyper-excites the area of the brain known to neurologists as Shatner's Bassoon.
For a brief time in the late sixties, underground counter-culture drop-out chemists managed to synthesise the active ingredient, and it was briefly sold under the street name 'Cake'.
The effects on consumers of prolonged use of/exposure to 'Cake' were extremely negative, and the behaviours it induced were alarming even to the idealistic hippie chemists who had started to sell it as a new 'consciousness-expanding trip' (man).

Rumours still persist down to this day of incidents in which Federal Authorities had to resort to Extreme Measures to pacify an inter-connected chain of Cake-addled 'alternative communities' in the geographically-isolated forested mountains of No-Cal.
These refuse to die, despite repeated denials by the Federal government (and, indeed, by anyone you might ask who was actually alive at the time). Such uniformity of blanket denials is too suspicious to be trustworthy!
The rumours will not die... amongst other things, claims persist that the crack teams of troops who were initially deployed to deal with the situation - soldiers who had already seen terrible things in SE Asia - were so horrified by the savagery that they encountered in this campaign (that had ironically been code-named 'Cake-walk'), that they refused to fight, and insisted that the Feds instead send-in squads of rabid wolverines to settle the issue.

The hippie chemists were also so freaked out that they all stopped producing Cake very rapidly, and even started a campaign to anathematise it among their contemporaries and potential customers.
In the first flowering of the Sixties movement back towards natural and organic products, they did so by popularising the slogan among their fellow 'heads' that, rather than being healthy and natural 'like the sacred herb', Cake is a completely made-up drug.
This was successful, but the horrors wrought by the Cake episode stayed in the public sub-conscious. They caused the complete disillusionment of an entire generation, and the psychic fall-out led to the collapse of the idealistic visions of an alternative, peaceful future.
The result was the Nixon government, a growing cynicism with (and rejection of) the American Dream by the American people, and the putting-in-train of a sequence of escalating unconscious self-sabotage of US civilisation has now, at last, finally culminated in an outcome that is surely unthinkable in any rational democracy - the bizarre spectacle of the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series :o

But I have said too much already!
In any case I see that Dr. Gonzo is waiting (along with our Samoan Attorney) to take me to our meeting with Mr. Chris Morris in London, in order to discuss increasing the strength of my medication....
;)

Edited by Mercian, 29 March 2017 - 00:10.

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#72 TSherbs

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:04

Dude, you be hangin too much with Randall and the Chief

#73 BillH

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 02:29

I think all of our eyes would be opened if we knew definitively whether the white stuff in Twinkies was the same as the white stuff in chem trails.  Just saying'.   :sick:


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#74 AL01

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 12:58

So can a twinkie write better than anything else on the market?

#75 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 13:15

Not to get too far out in the weeds here - but I read a book where they talked about how "cake" and pastries came to be sold as breakfast foods. Think Pop-tarts. Basically a bunch of smart marketing executives sat around in a room and said: "What do people like eating the most? CAKE! Great - so how can we package up cake and sell it as something they'll eat without guilt for breakfast?"

 

And thus the pop tart was born!



#76 TruthPil

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 12:00

 

Now - all that said - from my experience the Jinhaos I've purchased have been the smoothest writers for under $50. Of course as noted and debated above that doesn't mean they're the best pen for you - but rather that they tend to be SUPER WET and medium-ish in nib size which leads to a smooth writing experience. Frankly it's easy enough to smooth a nib with some micromesh - I would get a pen that fits your style (size, weight, materials, etc) and do a little smoothing if it's a bit too toothy for you.

 

+1 for Jinhao pens, especially the most recent models.

 

Most of their ultra smooth writers are extremely wet medium nibs, but lately they have some equally smooth fine nibs.

 

I just discovered how buttery smooth the fine nib is on the newly released Jinhao 992, but I'd imagine the newest version of the 599A would be just as smooth. The 992 is leagues smoother than my Pilot 78G in either medium or fine, but that's partly because Jinhao's fine is a western fine, rather than Japanese fine.

 

Several have also mentioned the Kaweco Sport. I've heard mixed reviews about these, but mine in EF is insanely smooth and perfectly wet. It writes about 0.5mm or smaller line depending on the ink.


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