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Jinhao 991 Review

china chinese jinhao 991 fine smooth wet bargain review asia

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#41 TruthPil

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 11:16

Thanks for your contributions to this thread! So far I can only find the cream one available online here in China, so I guess I'll just have to keep waiting for a nice red one to add to my collection of bright red grading pens.

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#42 bob_hayden

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 23:44

Today I received four more of these -- orange, amber, smoke and frosty.  All write smoothly, but one is dry compared to the others.  It's OK but does not feel quite as smooth on printer paper, and though the line width seems the same as the others, it does not seem to be putting down as much ink and both inks I tried came out a bit faded.  I encountered this (and worse) with the similar nibs in some of the Jinhao Safari clones.

 

Speaking of which, I did order one of those with the supposedly XF hooded nib.  In side by side comparisons on the same paper it did not look any finer than the open nibs.  I think the 991 shares nibs with the Safari clones so I would be interested to hear if others are getting XF 991s that actually write XF.

 

I had filled my first two 991 from bottles.  This time I tried cartridges in three.  These take short international cartridges (like most Jinhaos, including the Safari clones).  There is also plenty of room for long international cartridges or for the Thornton cartridges sold as fitting Lamy pens -- but if you look closely you will see the non-Lamy end fits standard international.  I chose Thornton Black which had earlier proven very hard to get along with in the Lamy-type cartridges so this should give one 991 a real workout.

 

One thing those of you with good eyesight and loupes might want to watch is the open end of the barrel.  It looks to me like the "click" comes from there -- some bumps on the inside of the cap fitting over a raised ring on the section.  Thus we have the engineering cardinal sin of using plastic for something that functions as a spring.  There really should be a metal band around the open end of the cap on these, or the "click" should be at the stronger closed end.  My guess is that this "feature" was copied from the disposable Uniball that "inspired" the 991, and my hope is that it does not make 991s disposable.  But that seems like more of a long term problem than the cracking on the 992s, or the even worse cracking problems with the otherwise very nice Lion King pens.  Those crack at the open ends of both cap and barrel, and the cap cracks lead to the pen drying out too quickly. 

 

Since I hate heavy pens and the finger denters on Safari clone sections, these are my favorite cheap Jinhaos, and among my favorite cheap fountain pens overall.



#43 TruthPil

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 12:48

Thanks for sharing about the hooded EF nib. I hadn't read any impressions about it yet.

You make a good point about the plastic-on-plastic issue with the cap. Since the material of the cap flexes a little (not brittle at all like the 992 material), I don't suspect it will be a problem but time will tell.

 

I just filled this pen up again, this time using a TWSBI ECO 1.1 stub nib to try out a sample of Noodler's Mata Hari's Cordial. Performance is spectacular!

 

These are defintely going to be my go-to pens for getting some of my students into the FP world. 

 

I only wish they would start selling the other opaque colors originally advertised. 


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#44 Honeybadgers

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 07:13

Hello,

 

I just finished a little video review on the JInhao 991.

 

 

Thank you for watching

 

MontPelikan

 

Jesus dude, your little bite sized reviews are so comprehensive and impressively put together. You should approach Brian Goulet to produce videos like these for all the pens on his storefront. 


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#45 DigitalMedievalist

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:33

Mine is considerably better after a good rinse/cleaning. Still requires more effort to write than I like, and the ink is still a bit unpredictable in terms of flow. Currently inked with De Atramentis Petrol.



#46 TruthPil

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:45

Mine is considerably better after a good rinse/cleaning. Still requires more effort to write than I like, and the ink is still a bit unpredictable in terms of flow. Currently inked with De Atramentis Petrol.


Sounds like you got a dud, the same thing happened with the Lorelei I bought last month and a Kaigelu I got a few months back. They are so cheap, you might just want to get another one.

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#47 bob_hayden

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 14:06

I agree.  The seven I bought were still inked this morning so I gave them all a try and all wrote fine, though some seemed dryer than others.  That could be the inks, but I used the same paper for all of them.  Most impressive, the pen with an inverted Thornton Lamy-style cartridge was still writing fine.  Those cartridges have worked for me in only a very few pens.  I am happy to have a way to use up the remaining cartridges!-)



#48 DigitalMedievalist

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 15:40

Sounds like you got a dud, the same thing happened with the Lorelei I bought last month and a Kaigelu I got a few months back. They are so cheap, you might just want to get another one.

It was included in an iPen Store subscription box, along with a Lamy Petrol. I'd never even heard of Jinhao before. 

 

If I can get it to reasonable status with some care, I'll likely pass it on to someone who wants a knockabout ok to lose pen. 



#49 TruthPil

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 21:22

Oh I see, usually Jinhaos are great pens for trying out various nibs at minimal expense.

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#50 DigitalMedievalist

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 20:25

Oh I see, usually Jinhaos are great pens for trying out various nibs at minimal expense.

I confess that hadn't occurred to me; per your response, I've been reading and watching videos about #6 nibs, and switching. 

 

This has potential ! Thank you. 



#51 keybers

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 13:09

Great review. I like the Uni-Ball styling, and I prefer snap caps.



#52 RoyalBlueNotebooks

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 14:49

So it emulates the Uni-ball signo. I thought it was the Sailor HighAce Neo.

 

Unfortunately my Jinhao 991 sported a defective nib. In comparison to my 992 and 993, the 991 was terribly scratchy and dry. I have tiny hands but the grip section is way too narrow for me to hold comfortably after 5 minutes of continous writing. Moreover, the metal of the clip was very unpolished and its sides cut into my hands as I kept it posted. Since sometimes I need to write on public transports or take notes in front of professor on tiny desks or without any desk at all, this feature made me reconsider the 991 as a carry-around pen.

 

In contrast, the 991 was the first pen I tuned the nib of, it started every morning without fail for as long as I had it inked (3-4 weeks), and the snap cap is very secure.


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#53 TruthPil

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 21:41

So it emulates the Uni-ball signo. I thought it was the Sailor HighAce Neo.
 
Unfortunately my Jinhao 991 sported a defective nib. In comparison to my 992 and 993, the 991 was terribly scratchy and dry. I have tiny hands but the grip section is way too narrow for me to hold comfortably after 5 minutes of continous writing. Moreover, the metal of the clip was very unpolished and its sides cut into my hands as I kept it posted. Since sometimes I need to write on public transports or take notes in front of professor on tiny desks or without any desk at all, this feature made me reconsider the 991 as a carry-around pen.
 
In contrast, the 991 was the first pen I tuned the nib of, it started every morning without fail for as long as I had it inked (3-4 weeks), and the snap cap is very secure.


Thanks for your input and sorry to hear about the nib! That's one of the risks of inexpensive Chinese pens (although the same could possibly be said for Lamy and Kaweco nibs as well).

The narrowness may be an issue for some, but the 991 is not as narrow as a lot of other pens out there like some of the Pilots or the slim Pelikan models.

You are right about the clip being a little rough and sharp. I just have to make sure I post the cap away from the flesh of my hand and don't notice it after that.

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#54 bob_hayden

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 23:59

I have several of these and have never had a problem with the edges of the clip and I have always had desk jobs so it can't be because my hands are so tough;-)  So I just examined six 991s and then compared the clip to other metal clips.  The big difference is that all the other metal clips (including the 992) have the metal folded at the edges so that the real edge faces the pen rather than you.  Then I realized my roller ball pens are also unfolded and when I compared with  the roller ball it had a smoothly polished edge.  So this sounds like it might be remedied with a file or sandpaper or maybe emery cloth wrapped around the clip.  



#55 TruthPil

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 13:20

I have several of these and have never had a problem with the edges of the clip and I have always had desk jobs so it can't be because my hands are so tough;-)  So I just examined six 991s and then compared the clip to other metal clips.  The big difference is that all the other metal clips (including the 992) have the metal folded at the edges so that the real edge faces the pen rather than you.  Then I realized my roller ball pens are also unfolded and when I compared with  the roller ball it had a smoothly polished edge.  So this sounds like it might be remedied with a file or sandpaper or maybe emery cloth wrapped around the clip.  

 

Exactly, what he said.  :) 

I think whether or not the lack of polished sides on the clip causes discomfort depends on how tight one's grasp is. 

With a somewhat light grip I've never even noticed it.


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#56 RoyalBlueNotebooks

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Posted 27 October 2017 - 13:35

Thanks for your input and sorry to hear about the nib! That's one of the risks of inexpensive Chinese pens (although the same could possibly be said for Lamy and Kaweco nibs as well).

The narrowness may be an issue for some, but the 991 is not as narrow as a lot of other pens out there like some of the Pilots or the slim Pelikan models.

You are right about the clip being a little rough and sharp. I just have to make sure I post the cap away from the flesh of my hand and don't notice it after that.

Yes I was unfortunate about the nib. The nib of my Jinhao 992 was good out of the box, while my Lamy, for instance, was dry since the tines where too close together. 

I retract my statement about the grip section actually, sometimes I mind, sometimes I don't mind it.

Thank you for the suggestion about the clip, I've learned to be careful and face the clip the other way around when I post the pen. It doesn't bother me as long as the edge of the clip doesn't touch the curve of my hand.

 

 So this sounds like it might be remedied with a file or sandpaper or maybe emery cloth wrapped around the clip.  

I think I will try with sanding paper since many times when I'm around at uni I need to take a quick note and I don't have much time to pay attention to where the clip is facing.


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#57 sapient

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 18:01

So, to follow up my previous post, as I see more people experiencing dry nibs on the 991:

I had a pretty extreme case in one of my two 991s, but I managed to address it completely and now it writes very well. All I did is hold the pen against paper @ the angle I write (or a bit lower) and push down to force the tines open. The nib metal is rather malleable and easy to bend, as I found out later, while experimenting, so go slow, and repeat 4-5 times until it flows as wet as you like.

Having corrected this problem, I slowly fell in love with the pen. I have the completely transparent demonstrator version, that I prefer because I can use with any color ink I like (I am a bit anal about matching pen and ink color). I like the minimalist aesthetic, the light weight but relatively sturdy construction and the section width that feels just right in my hands. I like that the cap seals well enough to prevent the nib drying for up to a month with most inks (I had some premature drying with Pelikan 4001 inks). I also like the feed (wet but not gushing) and the smooth nib that produces more shading than all of my other fine nib pens. I also like that it is very easy to remove the nib for cleaning or changing. I found out that the nib (and the feed) of the Hero 5028 fit perfectly in the Jinhao 991, so I now have the 1.1 Hero nib in one of my 991s, as I much prefer this pen's body to the 5028; paired with Noodler's Apache Sunset, it is my favorite cheap pen to show off. 

I eventually bought 3 more identical 991s and didn't have a problem with any of them. So 1 bad - but correctable - nib out of 5 is pretty good for a pen that costs 1€ delivered! I am now thinking of buying 5 more; I am even thinking of buying an extra Hero 5028 set just for the italic nibs to use in 991s.


Edited by sapient, 28 October 2017 - 21:47.


#58 bob_hayden

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 18:52

Of the seven 991s I mentioned five weeks ago (inked two months or more ago) six were still inked this morning and had seen little or no use in the interim.  I just tried them.  One wrote immediately.  One failed to write immediately after some shaking but then wrote immediately a minute later without any additional shaking.  The other four needed a little help such as a squeeze of the cartridge or a twist of the converter to get things going again.  In all cases, it was an easy fix.  None of the pens fought back :) I considered this pretty good.  The only pens in my own experience that I would expect to do better are a Pelikan M200 I used to have, and any of the dozen or so cheap plastic pens I still have made by Reform and sold under the A&W brand in the US c.1990.

 

I experienced more ink flow problems with the Jihnao Safari clones.  Since the nibs seem common to those and the 991 and 992 (I don't know about the feed) I wonder if it is really more common with one of these than others or if it is just the luck of the draw. 

 

I too have long used the method of just bearing down on a nib to improve flow.  (And I agree one should go slowly!) That works more often than not.  It did not help much with my Jinhao Safari clones which I think had partially blocked feeds.  It wasn't a question of how much flow there was but whether there was any flow at all.  They went in the parts bin.

 

The 991 is my current top pick as a pen to give someone who wants to know what it is like to write with a fountain pen.  I think I would pretest any such gifts, though, to eliminate duds. 



#59 sapient

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 21:27

The only pens in my own experience that I would expect to do better are a Pelikan M200 I used to have, and any of the dozen or so cheap plastic pens I still have made by Reform and sold under the A&W brand in the US c.1990.

 

We may be getting off topic, but my Pilot V-pens and Petit1s are way better at starting up after prolonged idleness. I have found them to stay ready to write after more than a year idle. It is probably due to a combination of a well sealing, stepped, inner cap and the wick feed.


Edited by sapient, 28 October 2017 - 21:46.


#60 bob_hayden

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Posted 28 October 2017 - 23:40

Ah, yes, the Varsity pens will write after a long period of disuse.  I don't know what kind of feed those have.  They are another great cheap option to introduce people to fountain pens. 







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