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Join Me On My Grail Quest?

grail what to buy? recommendations help

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19 replies to this topic

#1 mrphyig

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 18:10

Hello, lovely penfriends!  Its been many years since Ive posted here, and it transpires that since Ive been away, Ive become an adult!  I have a real job (special education teacher) and a real wife (shes amazing A+++, quick response, would marry again) who is at present indulgent if not actively encouraging of my interest in writing instruments.

 

What all this amounts to is that, since I first sank into this hobby as an undergrad and obsessed over it as a penniless M.A. student, for the first time in my life Ive been able to save enough guilt-free, doesnt-need-to-be-spent-on-other-things money to consider a really high-end, comparatively expensive pen.  Im now in a position to buy one of my grails.  So, of course, indecision sets in.

 

Id be terribly grateful for some guidance.  If youre inclined, heres the obnoxiously obsessive information about my preferences I can give you for context.

  • I want a keep-at-home pen, which Im happy to pamper as long as its not too fragile to use.  Form must not compromise function.
  • (To that end) I want a comfortable writer for looooong sessions at my desk.  Metal sections and narrow sections are immediate deal-breakers for me.  (I wrote my thesis longhand with my beloved Cross Townsend, and nearly lost my index fingernail because of my death-grip.  Id enjoy something girthier.)
  • Given that my price range is higher, Id really like to use this opportunity to get a big, (ideally) two-toned gold nib with pretty scrolling.  Part of what inspires me to write is the hypnotic glint of the writing instrument.
  • Similarly, Id want to use this opportunity to try a larger pen with a construction material not normally available on less expensive pens; I know that plastics are tremendously varied, but even when I had a chance to hold a Montblanc 149, it wasnt making my heart sing the way my lacquered metal pens have done.  Briarwood or urushi-lacquered ebonite have been drawing most of my attention as Ive been searching.
  • For my hands, Ive found that the Cross Townsend unposted is a great length and weight.  Im happy to go longer, but Id prefer not to post unless the pen is specifically built for it.  (My metal Pilot Falcon is too short for me unposted, and I dont want to mar the lacquer by posting it.)
  • I dont mind bounce, but I would like a hard(er), medium-fine nibWet, with feedback, would be particularly nice.
  • I'd prefer not to spend more than $1000 if I can possibly help it.

Given all this, and after a lot of time spent reading and watching reviews, I have some candidates Id like to run by anyone whos still reading.

 

Visconti Homo Sapiens Maxi Bronze (EF) This has been my grail pen since it first came out, waaay back before I could imagine being able to afford it.  The size of the pen, the nib, and the unusual material were big draws, but over time, my enthusiasm has been ablated by reported issues with quality control, the hyper-wetness of the nib, the ink soaking into the section, and the inability to check the reservoir.  The EF nib would be to deal mitigate the reported Dreamtouch™ firehose.

 

Pilot Custom 845 (M) This pen seems large enough to use unposted, wide enough to hold comfortably, and the nib is enormous and lovely compared with what Im used to (Cross Townsend, Sheaffer Prelude, and Pilot Falcon being my chief reference points).  The aesthetics of the body are almost perfect for me (Id consider the Sailor ProGear series if they were larger and non-resin).  This would be my first ebonite and urushi pen, too, so my only hesitation here is that the section is still resin: Ive only ever used resin sections, and I have nothing against them, but part of me wonders, if Im spending the money, should I not spring for a pen thats urushi all the way down?  If you have experience with a lacquered grip section and have insight into the difference it makes beyond visual aesthetic, Id love to know.  This pen is otherwise likely the one Id go for.

 

Sailor King of Pen Briarwood (M) Huge, beautiful nib, beefy section, and I absolutely love the look of briarwood.  The expense breaks my ceiling, though, so itd be a pen that Id continue to save for over the next year, if this was the decision.  My other hesitations include the cigar-shape, which Im not crazy about, and my sense that it would be on the shorter side if unposted.

 

Nakaya Desk Pens (M) Ive been looking at these because of their length and ebonite/urushi build (I dont think Ive heard anyone say a bad word about Nakaya, either).  My hesitation here is that I dont know how large the nib would be compared with the other options, and the section is the same width as my Cross Townsend  If anyone has experience with long writing sessions using desk pens, Id love to hear about it.  These reasons are also why I hesitate around Nakayas Briarwood collection, since the light gloss on briarwood is probably my ideal body material, at least visually.

 

Aurora Optima (F) Auroras were always priced out of my range and seemed too flashy for me, regardless.  Ive been considering Optimas now because the toothy nibs intrigue me (and they seem large), the intricacy of the piston, ink window, and general fit and finish together seem amazing, and the depth of the auroloide helps me get over hesitation around plastic.  I appreciate that this would be a pen Id need to post for it to be usable in my hands, though it seems made for that?

 

Apologies in absentia to those who got tired of reading this along the way, and thanks very much to those of you who stayed, even if you dont have any advice.  I know this is also a weird market bracket to ask for help with: I get the sense that people who can afford high-end pens often collect several of them and may be impatient with my caution and baby steps, while those who cant (like me, a few years ago) often look on with envy and detachment.  If you have the patience and interest to follow me on this journey, Ill let you know how it goes, and again, thank you so, so much for your time.


Edited by mrphyig, 29 March 2017 - 18:13.


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#2 Bluey

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 18:23

That sounds like a Sailor KoP to me. One of the best writing instruments at any price. If you really want to splash the cash, try one of the LEs such as this (I think these are 2 tone nibs but not sure)

http://www.sailorpen...ed-species.html

 

Other Sailor options if you want to cast your net wider at the last minute. There's also some more exotic Pro Gears so that would be more up your street when it comes to shape. There's a Pro Gear made from weasel(?) hair in an MF that you may like such as this

http://www.ebay.co.u...507&rk=1&rkt=1

It's very warm to the touch.

Or these in wood

http://www.sailorpen...cious-wood.html

 

 

Visconti are very hit and miss. They may not even write at all. I wouldn't look in their direction unless it's for your eyes only. Or you could send it to a nibmeister to work on it if you really like the look of it.

Nakaya are basically home made Platinums, so the nibs are the same as you will find on a $70 3776 (not that that's a bad thing of course) - when one reduces things down to their essential parts like this, one questions whether it's worth it.

For the Aurora try some of their cheapest(around $90) options to see if you'll like their nibs. Many people don't but some people like their uniqueness.


Edited by Bluey, 29 March 2017 - 18:53.

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

#3 Mech-for-i

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 18:46

This request sounds like a call for a custom order to Nakaya over at Nakaya.org

#4 rwilsonedn

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 19:06

I also first thought of a Nakaya. You can explore them at nibs.com without having to go through the special-order process from Japan. There are some beautiful, if not over-ornamented, Cigars and others under your $1,000, although you can spend much more. I also, have never heard a discouraging word about Nakaya or, for that matter, nibs.com.

ron



#5 zaddick

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 19:09

Do you only want a new pen or a used pen?

 

If you are open to used, a Danitrio Mikado could be a good option, and if that is too big then a Densho or Takumi (though they have smaller nibs, more like the size of the Pilot 845 and the Visconti).

 

Also used it may be possible to get a Namiki Yukari Royale (except the nib is monotone).

 

Stylo Art makes some nice wood or urushi pens and uses all teh various Japanese nibs and they are in your budget.

 

There are some OMAS pens in beautiful celluloids that can be had in your budget.

 

Lots of options to consider. This is the hard part of shopping!


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#6 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 19:26

Wax your pens and you will have no mar worries.

The 146 is very light for it's size. I though like the vintage '50-60's medium large version, which is better balanced and has a better nib. Fancy one too.

 

All my .Pelikan metal pens...Celebry or 381) are too thin for you. .....Well there are the modern discontinued ones, that are large,& substantial. Starts with a D...ah ha....Ductus....and is never talked about even in Pelikan's sub-forum. Should be cheaper now that it is no longer made. Was made for some 5 or so years.

 

The 800 has nice girth for someone who wants some...is back weighted with brass guts. The 1000 is a huge pen....but is for someone who has a light hand in it has an 18k semi-flex nib, that because it is 18k, can bend and stay bent easier than 14K.     very good plastic.


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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#7 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 19:45

I'd say to have a look at a Nakaya. I've been using my Nakaya Portable Writer for the past few days as a matter of fact and have fallen in love with it all over again!



#8 Mulrich

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 22:56

It might be hard to find THE pen that checks off everything on the list. I've used variations of all the pens on your list except the Aurora and they're all good pens. Of your list my personal preference is probably the HS and KOP (again, they're all great). I really like the HS material, cap (really easy to take on and off), and palladium nib. Sailor KOP are probably better when sitting at a desk and they have great nibs. However, I wouldn't consider either of these nibs as hard. 

 

Nakaya's are great but are limited by smallish converters (as are most c/c pens). If this will be used for longer writing sessions a small capacity might be bothersome. I personally wouldn't want a desk pen but whatever floats your boat. 

 

Sailor King of Pen suffers from similar converter constraints (unless you can find a Realo version). Cartridges would have a larger capacity but some people don't like them. Sailor nibs are great – a Naginata-Togi MF is my favorite nib. The width of the pen is very comfortable for me.

 

The Pilot 845 has a larger converter (CON70) but the converter is hard to clean. Personally, I don't notice the resin section. 

 

Visconti's nib quality issues aren't as common, in my experience, with their EF or F nibs (things are dicey with M and up). If you're looking for a fine-medium I think a F would probably work. The only issue with the HS is the cap threads might be bothersome for long writing sessions, depending on how you hold the pen (not an issue for me). Even though a HS doesn't have an ink window (unless you get a LE demonstrator) the capacity is generous. As long as you wipe the section after filling you shouldn't have problems with ink sinking in. There are other Visconti's you might consider (Wall Street LE comes to mind) but those sometimes have other QC problems. 

 

I haven't used Aurora's but they're well regarded. I would have suggested the Aurora Sigaro based on it's material but you don't like metal sections. 

 

Have you thought about a Conid? Some of their LE pens use more visually interesting materials or you could go with a standard edition in ebonite or delrin. I think they use a mono-tone gold nib but you could use a different brand nib of your choosing (I think they'll even set the nib if you send it to them). The filling system and engineering are superb. 



#9 Barkingpig

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 23:21

Congratulations on being able to select your first "nice" pen; I won't say Grail because I hope there will be more in your future that you feel would be same!  I canceled an order with Novelli Pens once & thanked Mr. Parascenzo for his time & efforts in helping me.  He replied it was "nothing" & kindly stated that "there would always be another........"  Indeed in less than a year I ordered what could easily be my Grail Pen, as soon as he introduced the pen & took orders for it.  (That was more pens ago than I would want to admit!)

 

I would suggest you look up here, fellow member "jar"'s review on his purchase of the 845, a pen you mention as a candidate & one I have been interested in, with the finish he purchased.  I would also ask if you have handled an Aurora?  I ask because it is such a smaller sized pen than the others you mention.  I have an Aurora Africa, which I believe is their Optima, "all dressed up."  I have only wanted the Africa of all the finishes from Aurora I have seen & am happy with it's purchase, but was a bit shocked when it arrived & I compared it's LENGTH to other pens I owned.  It is shorter than a Pelikan M600 & altho it's girth is more, the length was shocking to me upon arrival.  

 

I am poor with measurements, since I have NO idea about metric equivalence, without constant Google conversion, so I tend to do better with comparison to other pens I am familiar with.  I am NOT disparaging the Optima in any way, I love mine & am quite happy with it's size.  Mine has a wonderful stub nib & I appreciate the minor feedback often referred to as it's toothiness.  I would just suggest seeing one in person, if possible.

 

Have fun & I am sure you will find a winner; there are so many wonderful pens from which to choose.



#10 hrant

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 00:05

My vote - using my ideas and your money - would be for the Sailor ebonite, King of Pen.  If you think the ebonite KOP is bland, I won't take any offense.   :)



#11 praxim

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 01:00

I have not used most of those pens. With that important caveat, I commend the Aurora very highly. In my experience of modern Aurora it meets critical criteria for writing, aesthetics, construction and practicality. It has deftly worked its way in front of a few other pens I think excellent among my modern group.


Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#12 tgoto

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 02:10

As you can see in my avatar, I love Aurora.
The one I have is a limited edition of Optima with medium nib, called Mare.
This medium nib has some feedback but is smooth. I love Omas' smooth nibs too, but I use the Aurora as is because that is a part of Aurora's characteristics.
If you ask me what I recommend as the first grail pen that you can spend some money, it will be Aurora Optima. It is also a gorgeous-looking pen.

The thing is...you might end up with multiple grails... I thought my Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 with broad nib was my grail...but then I got the Aurora Mare and that immediately became my next grail. Of course then I found Omas demonstrator with fine nib and it was super smooth and buttery. Then I ran into Scriptorium pens and saw Renee's beautiful work. I am now one of the lucky ones who got to order her awesome pens.

I think any one of the pens others posted here could be your first grail.
Then, I hope you will enjoy going through a long journey to explore more and more fountain pens!
Dream, take one step at a time and achieve. :)

#13 Mulrich

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 02:19

It's taken me a long time to decide things I like and don't like. Must of my pens have F nibs and as I mentioned previously I just discovered Sailors Naginata togi nibs and wish I could get more of my pens reground (NMF requires starting with a bold nib). This has made me think finding a pen body that can take multiple nibs may be my best course moving forward.

#14 mrphyig

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 05:00

Folks, thank you so much for your kind responses.  My heart expands with your encouragement and patience for my persnicketosity.  I love this place.

 

(Here we go...)

 

That sounds like a Sailor KoP to me. One of the best writing instruments at any price. If you really want to splash the cash, try one of the LEs such as this (I think these are 2 tone nibs but not sure)

http://www.sailorpen...ed-species.html

 

Other Sailor options if you want to cast your net wider at the last minute. There's also some more exotic Pro Gears so that would be more up your street when it comes to shape. There's a Pro Gear made from weasel(?) hair in an MF that you may like such as this

http://www.ebay.co.u...507&rk=1&rkt=1

It's very warm to the touch.

Or these in wood

http://www.sailorpen...cious-wood.html

 

 

Visconti are very hit and miss. They may not even write at all. I wouldn't look in their direction unless it's for your eyes only. Or you could send it to a nibmeister to work on it if you really like the look of it.

Nakaya are basically home made Platinums, so the nibs are the same as you will find on a $70 3776 (not that that's a bad thing of course) - when one reduces things down to their essential parts like this, one questions whether it's worth it.

For the Aurora try some of their cheapest(around $90) options to see if you'll like their nibs. Many people don't but some people like their uniqueness.

 

Thanks so much for your recommendations, Bluey!  Watching Goulet reviews, the Platinum nibs intrigue me for the same reason that Auroras do---I'm hearing that the writing experience is akin to using a mechanical pencil.  There's always been something about the shape and simple scrolling on Platinum nibs that's turned me off, though; if the Nakaya nibs are essentially the same, but nicer (and available in two-tone at a premium), that's encouraging!

 

I keep looking at the nib on the KOP, though.  At the moment, I think I'm saving up for a KOP briarwood.  Do you have any idea if the section is lacquered too?  (It didn't appear to be, from the pictures.)  (Also, thanks for the link to the wacky Pro Gear and Precious Wood series: the precious woods were actually my first choice for a while, but in the end I wanted something larger and longer.)  Thanks, Bluey!

 

This request sounds like a call for a custom order to Nakaya over at Nakaya.org

 

I also first thought of a Nakaya. You can explore them at nibs.com without having to go through the special-order process from Japan. There are some beautiful, if not over-ornamented, Cigars and others under your $1,000, although you can spend much more. I also, have never heard a discouraging word about Nakaya or, for that matter, nibs.com.

ron

 

Mech-for-i and rwilsonedn, you've sent me down a terrifying rabbit-hole.  If they produced a lacquered briarwood with the long body, I'd probably be sold even if the section was resin.  Do you think it'd be worth asking if they do custom briarwood bodies?  (Thanks very much for your responses!)

 

Do you only want a new pen or a used pen?

 

If you are open to used, a Danitrio Mikado could be a good option, and if that is too big then a Densho or Takumi (though they have smaller nibs, more like the size of the Pilot 845 and the Visconti).

 

Also used it may be possible to get a Namiki Yukari Royale (except the nib is monotone).

 

Stylo Art makes some nice wood or urushi pens and uses all teh various Japanese nibs and they are in your budget.

 

There are some OMAS pens in beautiful celluloids that can be had in your budget.

 

Lots of options to consider. This is the hard part of shopping!

 

Hi, Zaddick!  I wasn't really considering a used pen for this purpose, probably because I don't know as much about older/discontinued models, but also because I think I have a romantic niggle that I want to grow with and infuse a "tabula rasa" tool.  It's dorky and SO arbitrary---I appreciate that it would bring more options into my price-range.  I could probably get over it for the right pen, but I think I'd stick with something in modern production, regardless.

 

Looking at the Danitrios, I think my aesthetic tends towards there being some metallic furniture on the barrel or section of the pen.  For that reason, I hadn't really been considering the Danitrios and Yukari Royale (though I can absolutely see the appeal).

 

I didn't know about Stylo Art at all.  Oh, geez.  (Thank you!)

 

Wax your pens and you will have no mar worries.

The 146 is very light for it's size. I though like the vintage '50-60's medium large version, which is better balanced and has a better nib. Fancy one too.

 

All my .Pelikan metal pens...Celebry or 381) are too thin for you. .....Well there are the modern discontinued ones, that are large,& substantial. Starts with a D...ah ha....Ductus....and is never talked about even in Pelikan's sub-forum. Should be cheaper now that it is no longer made. Was made for some 5 or so years.

 

The 800 has nice girth for someone who wants some...is back weighted with brass guts. The 1000 is a huge pen....but is for someone who has a light hand in it has an 18k semi-flex nib, that because it is 18k, can bend and stay bent easier than 14K.     very good plastic.

 

Heya, Bo Bo!  I've tried to get into Pelikans, but their aesthetic just doesn't do it for me.  It's not the barrel material at all, I love the look of the nibs, and the integrated piston is fun.  Ditto for the Montblancs.  Thanks, though!

 

I wasn't aware that waxing pens was a thing, and will look into it!  (Thank you!)

 

It might be hard to find THE pen that checks off everything on the list. I've used variations of all the pens on your list except the Aurora and they're all good pens. Of your list my personal preference is probably the HS and KOP (again, they're all great). I really like the HS material, cap (really easy to take on and off), and palladium nib. Sailor KOP are probably better when sitting at a desk and they have great nibs. However, I wouldn't consider either of these nibs as hard. 

 

Nakaya's are great but are limited by smallish converters (as are most c/c pens). If this will be used for longer writing sessions a small capacity might be bothersome. I personally wouldn't want a desk pen but whatever floats your boat. 

 

Sailor King of Pen suffers from similar converter constraints (unless you can find a Realo version). Cartridges would have a larger capacity but some people don't like them. Sailor nibs are great – a Naginata-Togi MF is my favorite nib. The width of the pen is very comfortable for me.

 

The Pilot 845 has a larger converter (CON70) but the converter is hard to clean. Personally, I don't notice the resin section. 

 

Visconti's nib quality issues aren't as common, in my experience, with their EF or F nibs (things are dicey with M and up). If you're looking for a fine-medium I think a F would probably work. The only issue with the HS is the cap threads might be bothersome for long writing sessions, depending on how you hold the pen (not an issue for me). Even though a HS doesn't have an ink window (unless you get a LE demonstrator) the capacity is generous. As long as you wipe the section after filling you shouldn't have problems with ink sinking in. There are other Visconti's you might consider (Wall Street LE comes to mind) but those sometimes have other QC problems. 

 

I haven't used Aurora's but they're well regarded. I would have suggested the Aurora Sigaro based on it's material but you don't like metal sections. 

 

Have you thought about a Conid? Some of their LE pens use more visually interesting materials or you could go with a standard edition in ebonite or delrin. I think they use a mono-tone gold nib but you could use a different brand nib of your choosing (I think they'll even set the nib if you send it to them). The filling system and engineering are superb. 

 

Thanks, Mulrich!  Ink capacity isn't too much a problem for me---I love refilling my pens and don't find it disruptive.  I don't mind the CON70 in my metal Falcon, either.

 

It's good to know that the HS is easier to maintain if I keep on top of it (and it's good to hear positive things about it from someone who's had it for a while).  I'll try it out again.

 

I need to research the Naginata-Togi nib some more.  I don't have a lot of experience with shifting my writing angle intentionally, and was hoping for a western fine writing width---my impression is that the Naginata-Togi writes broader with a standard angle, and goes finer as you go steeper, though I'm probably wrong?  May I ask, if it's within your range of experience, would the nib on the KOP or HS be as soft as that on the Pilot Falcon?  I found that too mushy to write with for long stretches, but anything a bit harder would probably be fine...

 

I'd never heard of Conid.  Their giraffe model cracks me up.  I'll think about it...

 

Congratulations on being able to select your first "nice" pen; I won't say Grail because I hope there will be more in your future that you feel would be same!  I canceled an order with Novelli Pens once & thanked Mr. Parascenzo for his time & efforts in helping me.  He replied it was "nothing" & kindly stated that "there would always be another........"  Indeed in less than a year I ordered what could easily be my Grail Pen, as soon as he introduced the pen & took orders for it.  (That was more pens ago than I would want to admit!)

 

I would suggest you look up here, fellow member "jar"'s review on his purchase of the 845, a pen you mention as a candidate & one I have been interested in, with the finish he purchased.  I would also ask if you have handled an Aurora?  I ask because it is such a smaller sized pen than the others you mention.  I have an Aurora Africa, which I believe is their Optima, "all dressed up."  I have only wanted the Africa of all the finishes from Aurora I have seen & am happy with it's purchase, but was a bit shocked when it arrived & I compared it's LENGTH to other pens I owned.  It is shorter than a Pelikan M600 & altho it's girth is more, the length was shocking to me upon arrival. 

 

I am poor with measurements, since I have NO idea about metric equivalence, without constant Google conversion, so I tend to do better with comparison to other pens I am familiar with.  I am NOT disparaging the Optima in any way, I love mine & am quite happy with it's size.  Mine has a wonderful stub nib & I appreciate the minor feedback often referred to as it's toothiness.  I would just suggest seeing one in person, if possible.

 

Have fun & I am sure you will find a winner; there are so many wonderful pens from which to choose.

 

Thanks so much for your kind words, Barkingpig (and your stern warning of things to come).  I know the Optimas are substantially shorter than the other candidates; I have some time to pop out to Laywines in Toronto tomorrow morning (and try their seemingly unlimited patience and classiness) with the main objective of handling an Optima.  I really appreciate your attention to my preferences and cautioning advice.

 

My vote - using my ideas and your money - would be for the Sailor ebonite, King of Pen.  If you think the ebonite KOP is bland, I won't take any offense.   :)

 

Thanks, hrant!  I think I can appreciate the wabi-sabi, but I don't believe I share it yet.  At least, not to the degree where I'd spring for the ebonite KOP if I could wait longer get a briarwood version...

 

I have not used most of those pens. With that important caveat, I commend the Aurora very highly. In my experience of modern Aurora it meets critical criteria for writing, aesthetics, construction and practicality. It has deftly worked its way in front of a few other pens I think excellent among my modern group.

 

As you can see in my avatar, I love Aurora.
The one I have is a limited edition of Optima with medium nib, called Mare.
This medium nib has some feedback but is smooth. I love Omas' smooth nibs too, but I use the Aurora as is because that is a part of Aurora's characteristics.
If you ask me what I recommend as the first grail pen that you can spend some money, it will be Aurora Optima. It is also a gorgeous-looking pen.

The thing is...you might end up with multiple grails... I thought my Montblanc Meisterstuck 149 with broad nib was my grail...but then I got the Aurora Mare and that immediately became my next grail. Of course then I found Omas demonstrator with fine nib and it was super smooth and buttery. Then I ran into Scriptorium pens and saw Renee's beautiful work. I am now one of the lucky ones who got to order her awesome pens.

I think any one of the pens others posted here could be your first grail.
Then, I hope you will enjoy going through a long journey to explore more and more fountain pens!

 

 

Thank you, praxim and tgoto!  I'll write back after I've tried (or at least held) the Optima.  I'm more excited about it than I expected to be.

 

Heaps of gratitude to everyone, again, for your responses.  I'll keep you posted!



#15 ethernautrix

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:39

Before the Nakaya aesthetic completely won me over, I used an Aurora Optima that was (and continues to be) a perfectly perfect pen. But I favor using my favorite favorites (Nakaya Piccolos and Pilots).

I love the Nakaya Desk Pen. Mine is kuro tamenuri (black over red) and looks like a magic wand. It is unbelievably comfortable. Everyone who's held or tried my Desk Pen was amazed at how comfortable it was.

Even so, if you prefer briarwood or other wood (cocobolo is lovely, even lovelier as it's used and becomes burnished), then I'd go with Stylo Art. You'd have your choice of a wide variety of Japanese nibs, and if I didn't have other priorities, I'd order at least two - one with a Pilot PO nib and the other with a Pilot FA nib. (I'm settling for Pilot's Custom Heritage 912, a nice enough design, but it's no Nakaya; it's not Stylo Art. But Pilot's nibs! I like them so much!)

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#16 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 10:21

Take a look at the pens done by Ryan Krusak for some very nice wooden pens:

 

http://www.fountainpenstudios.com/

 

 



#17 Nail-Bender

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 16:23

I thought I had my grail pen & then tried my 1st vintage flexy.

 

Here we go again. :rolleyes:



#18 mrphyig

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 00:06

Ahoy, penfolks!  If anyones still interested, I wanted to share what wound up happening on this Grail Quest thinger, and apologize for my long silence work and lack of news and dithering conspired to make me boring and reticent.

 

Anyhoo, after investigating the custom options proposed by you kind people, I spent a while fiddling around and getting (further) overwhelmed by choice.  I also had a chance to hold an urushi-lacquered ebonite, and found that it wasnt enough of a transcendent experience for me to justify the premium of the Nakayas (I also seem to prefer the details of gold rings, so the exquisite simplicity of the upper-end Japanese pens wound up being more academic than visceral for me).  Likewise, I couldnt get excited about the other custom avenues for some reason: I think I wanted (what I perceived to be) the reliable solidity of brands like Pilot and Aurora in the end, and while the custom materials were spectacular, the shapes available always felt like compromises.

 

The Custom 845 remained my ideal in terms of shape and nib-size, but I kept finding myself drawn to the elaborate construction of the Optima, and after trying and loving the nib on an 88 at Laywines, I found myself pretty-well decided on an Italian miniature 845.  Peter, the ever-patient and enduring proprietor there, reported that he was waiting on a shipment of Aurora pens, so I settled in to wait for them to arrive.

 

And waited.  And bought a really nice clipboard-folio from him, and waited.  And browsed eBay, and looked wistfully at the Custom 845s there, and waited, and reminded myself that I didnt want urushi-lacquered ebonite even though the shape of those pens was sexy as heck.  And then I saw that Pilot made a large, wooden pen called the Custom Ichii with the form-factor of the 845, with the same large, two-tone #15 nib, and then I accidentally won an auction for one in my preferred nib size at around half the price others of the same variety were going for.

 

It arrived a few days ago (after Id read all the English-language reviews I could find about ten times each; you know how it is), and is by far the most exciting pen Ive owned.  It writes magnificently, the wide section helps me relax my grip, and the impossibly polished, iridescent wood grain looks and feels incredible.  As Bordeaux146 warned, this is probably not the pen to end all pens for me when Laywines does get those Optimas in, Ill still have some of the budget left over given my amazing online luck.  But, this thing Ive got is the unexpected, happy ending to a too-long, too-twee search, the arbitrarily-chosen symbol of my relative financial security, and the present culmination of growing up and exploring my aesthetic with you folks.  I love it.



#19 Driften

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:09

Congrats on your new pen! I expect it will not be your last higher end pen. 



#20 5Cavaliers

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 03:26

Congratulations on your new pen!  I am not in that price category yet.  


"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours.  When it is gone, it is gone.  Be wise, but enjoy!  - anonymous today

 

 

 






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