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Jinhao 991 Review

china chinese jinhao 991 fine smooth wet bargain review asia

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#61 TruthPil

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Posted 29 October 2017 - 00:42

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.

 

Thanks for the update about your experiences with these pens. 1 bad out of 5 seems to be a somewhat standard ratio for the quality control with Chinese pens. I also have a Hero 5028 1.1 stub nib in my 991. I tried using the 1.9 stub but there wasn't enough ink flow. I can also confirm that the seal on the cap is decent. I've only had hard starts with those finicky Noodler's inks that like to dry on the nib anyway. The ability to completely disassemble and scrub the feed assembly is a huge plus for those kinds of inks. 

 

 

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. 

 

I agree, I would choose a 991 over a Pilot Varsity of Platinum Preppy any day as a pen to casually introduce someone to the FP world. If it was for a gift though, I think one of Jinhao's metal options like the 165 or 500 would be more classy. The 500 I got last week has become one of my all-time favorite pens.

 

 

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.

 

It's definitely the wick feed that keeps those pens from drying out. They are one step ahead of Platinum's slip-n-seal cap mechanism in that regard. I cleaned my Petit out many, many months ago and today there are still water droplets in the cap! However, the downside is that it's tricky to change inks with a wick feed, especially if you had some permanent ink in it previously. 


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#62 sapient

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 21:11

 

I also have a Hero 5028 1.1 stub nib in my 991. I tried using the 1.9 stub but there wasn't enough ink flow.

 

I, too, noticed that the 991 seems a bit dryer than the 5028, which is curious, as the feeds look identical to me. Could the different grip sections matter? It is possible that the fit of the feed in the 5028 section lets more air in. Or it could be the different converters. I might swap them to see if it makes a difference.



#63 TruthPil

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 00:35

I, too, noticed that the 991 seems a bit dryer than the 5028, which is curious, as the feeds look identical to me. Could the different grip sections matter? It is possible that the fit of the feed in the 5028 section lets more air in. Or it could be the different converters. I might swap them to see if it makes a difference.


The Hero pens use a proprietary converter with a different opening which may account for it. Also the new Jinhao converters tend to have a tight fit which I've noticed can create a vacuum effect in some of their pens (my 165 was basically unusable for writing anything more than a sentence until I put one of old cheapie Jinhao converters in it).

I also suspect that the overall shoddy craftsmanship of the 5028 may allow for air leakage in the section which would also increase flow.

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#64 WarrenB

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 17:36

Glad the 991 meets with general approval. I've made it my second step into the FP world, after hearing satisfied noises about Jinhao overall. I guess I'm a still-uncivilised newbie because the looks didn't bother me too much! Although I'd agree the 992 looks better, except for maybe one thing.

That fat band around the midriff of the 992 is a real turnoff for me.


Yup! That's the one thing. I don't know if I'm maligning decades of FP design and engineering traditions, but to me it almost spoils the streamlined cigar shape. It's something that makes me hesitate to progress to the 992 or Platinum Plaisir, and so on.

(But who am I kidding. They're both practically in my online shopping cart already.)

Back to the topic: I bought a 991 from Pure Pens, with a bunch of inks. Most of them wrote well, if a little dry (as far as I can tell at this point) but with the last one, Noodler's Xfeather... things just ground to a halt with a near-audible screech. I was getting results very much like Sapient's photo on page 2.
But I could see from the start that the tines were crammed together too tightly, and I stumbled on The Pen Habit's trio of 'adjusting your fountain pen' videos on youtube at the same time. I tried out some of the advice in those. I set up a magnifying stand and ran the tip of a fine scalpel blade between the tines, pushing them apart, and pressed out a slight misalignment. That was all it needed to start writing with a broader, wetter line, with all inks. Simple enough, for a £3 pen.

Now, it's St. Patrick's Day and Ireland just beat England for the Six Nations Grand Slam. I'm off to ink it with Pure Pens 'Glens of Antrim' green...

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#65 bob_hayden

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 19:38

WarrenB, if you want to look at alternatives to the 992 in the same price range you can find a couple dozen here:

 

http://www.fountainp...ens-under-2-us/



#66 WarrenB

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 18:44

Thanks Bob! I've had a good lurk, reading about esoteric names like Hero and Wing Sung, and ogling the photos and ebay prices. I might go to Pure Pens for a couple more Jinhaos first, though. (I like to try to support local businesses, especially when bigger businesses try to mess them about...)

Still on the 991, from the perspective of a newbie: I've heard some comments of 'more like a medium' about the fine nib, but it does seem to write just a little more like the fine nib of the only other frame of reference I have - a pair of F and M Preppies. Perhaps still a bit drier, too. Might try tinkering a little more, though I won't lose sleep over it.

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#67 TruthPil

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 00:47

Back to the topic: I bought a 991 from Pure Pens, with a bunch of inks. Most of them wrote well, if a little dry (as far as I can tell at this point) but with the last one, Noodler's Xfeather... things just ground to a halt with a near-audible screech. I was getting results very much like Sapient's photo on page 2.
But I could see from the start that the tines were crammed together too tightly, and I stumbled on The Pen Habit's trio of 'adjusting your fountain pen' videos on youtube at the same time. I tried out some of the advice in those. I set up a magnifying stand and ran the tip of a fine scalpel blade between the tines, pushing them apart, and pressed out a slight misalignment. That was all it needed to start writing with a broader, wetter line, with all inks. Simple enough, for a £3 pen.


Because X-feather is designed not to feather, it can also have flow problems. It's telling that Nathan increased the flow of the free pens that come with the large bottles of X-feather. So it sounds like you ran into a case of dry nib with sticky ink bogging it all down.

I have had a couple Chinese pens with the tines too close together, but I found SBRE Brown's video about using the thumb trick to spread the tines to be really helpful. The Pen Habit method didn't work too well for me with these extra stiff Chinese nibs.

I hope you're enjoying your pens!

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#68 bluebellrose

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 00:06

I have to say if this is jinhao 's answer to the preppy then Platinum responded to this challenge by making their preppys out of stronger plastic. The newest specs list show that they changed their plastic for the cap and the body to polycarbonate, literally indistructable plastic.Good call Jinhao.

#69 TruthPil

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 03:28

I have to say if this is jinhao 's answer to the preppy then Platinum responded to this challenge by making their preppys out of stronger plastic. The newest specs list show that they changed their plastic for the cap and the body to polycarbonate, literally iindistructable plastic.Good call Jinhao.


Platinum's new line of Preppies is definitely a step in the right direction. The 991 is still a better deal though because you get a converter included and the pen can take standard international cartridges instead of those expensive proprietary Platinum cartridges, all for like half the price of a Preppy. Of course, that assumes you like the wet and broader line of the 991.

Edited by TruthPil, 21 March 2018 - 03:29.

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#70 WarrenB

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 15:27

Because X-feather is designed not to feather, it can also have flow problems... So it sounds like you ran into a case of dry nib with sticky ink bogging it all down.


I wondered about that, after reading of the higher saturation of Noodler's blacks. Thanks for confirming.

I found SBRE Brown's video about using the thumb trick to spread the tines to be really helpful.


I'll have a look.

I hope you're enjoying your pens!


I am, thanks!

I have to say if this is jinhao 's answer to the preppy then Platinum responded to this challenge by making their preppys out of stronger plastic. The newest specs list show that they changed their plastic for the cap and the body to polycarbonate, literally indistructable plastic.Good call Jinhao.


I'm watching in fascination as a big crack runs down the barrel of a Preppy, received less than a week ago. :) (and restocked at the retailer the day before) When was the new spec list released?

If this wasn't highly unscientific, and if not for the fate of many a 992, I'd say the Jinhao plastic feels less brittle. Though maybe the matt finish makes me see it as more 'rubbery' and flexible than it is.

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#71 TruthPil

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 23:39

If this wasn't highly unscientific, and if not for the fate of many a 992, I'd say the Jinhao plastic feels less brittle. Though maybe the matt finish makes me see it as more 'rubbery' and flexible than it is.


I agree, my 991 doesn't feel as brittle as my 992s and I wonder if it's just because of the matte texture. I know nothing of plastics, but I wonder if the process used to change the finish affects the flexibility of the plastic itself.

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#72 sapient

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 07:59

Unfortunately, it seems that the 991's plastic isn't that durable either. This week I noticed cracks on 2 of the caps.
I have only been using these pens in my house, I 've never taken them out of my office or dropped them. Yet, ...cracks.

IMG_20180331_103201.jpg



#73 TruthPil

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 11:46

Unfortunately, it seems that the 991's plastic isn't that durable either. This week I noticed cracks on 2 of the caps.
I have only been using these pens in my house, I 've never taken them out of my office or dropped them. Yet, ...cracks.

IMG_20180331_103201.jpg

 

Thanks so much for posting this! I guess these weren't as sturdy as I had thought. 

 

When it comes to Jinhao, perhaps it's best to stick to their metal pens for the time being.


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#74 WarrenB

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 22:07

Aw. :( Pity. I just got another - with a bit of nib tweaking and Pure Pens Cadwaladr, it's the best-writing pen I have right now (perhaps not saying much) - and was planning on at least one more. They fit in my hand pretty comfortably too.

Do you think it might be a similar apparent problem to the 992 - a slightly-too-big peg on the finial putting pressure on the cap? I wonder how easily that's popped off, and if it's worth the adjustment?

Well, you get what you pay for. I often think that the more money saved, the more time and effort to pay. But then I enjoy tinkering...

Thanks for the warning, in any case.

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#75 bob_hayden

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 22:46

I just checked the five of mine I could find and no cracks on any of them.  These were purchased mostly last summer starting in July and have seen but light use. 

 

I could not see what holds the finial on.  From inside the cap it looks like a very small round bit of metal like a rivet.  From the photos in the OP it looks like there is a short plastic tube just below the finial.  I can't tell if it is part of the cap or the finial.  Nowhere do I see a sign of anything being a force fit.  Perhaps eventually someone will do an autopsy on a cracked one.  I will be eager to see how the opaque cream colored model fares as it may be made from a different plastic. 



#76 sapient

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 08:00

If you notice from my photos, the cracks on the caps correspond exactly to the vertical "beams" at the top of the inner cap. I think they are to blame. Only 2 out of my 10 pens have them. Unfortunately they are not the only cracks on my 991s:

  • At couple of them have micro-cracks at the end of the section. I think that is from capping and uncapping.
  • A couple have micro-cracks on the nib housing. I think these are from removing and re-inserting the nib and feed (for cleaning). These are even more annoying because they allow ink to leak between the nib housing and the section, which I really hate. I actually ended up super-gluing the worse cracked nib housing.

(photos at a later date)


Edited by sapient, 03 April 2018 - 08:04.


#77 WarrenB

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 14:48



Perhaps eventually someone will do an autopsy on a cracked one.

 

How about exploratory surgery?

 

Neither of mine are cracked, but I'd planned on popping them apart at some time anyway. Seems like a good excuse.

 

Can't pop the finial out from inside, thanks to the inner cap, but it was easy enough to slide a hobby knife blade between cap and finial and shoggle it out that way. There's a snap-fit ring on the peg of the finial. (apologies if that's the incorrect term; see the photo) I'm not sure how much pressure it exerts once the ring is past the hole in the top of the cap, but I thought it couldn't hurt to pare it down anyway. After that, the peg didn't put any stress on the cap.

 

Also, the finial is the only 'glossy' part of the pen, but the way the ring crackled and flaked off made me doubt the notion that 991 plastic is less brittle than 992 plastic. As if Sapient's experience wasn't proof enough...

 

The clip doesn't want to pull out of it's slot without more persuasion than I was willing to apply. I'm not sure it's glued - I had to push it back in, just a hair's breadth, to let the finial sit flush again. Otherwise, I left it where it was. We'll see if that comes back to bite me.

 

But I think the culprit in this case is the inner cap. It popped out easily when I stuck the end of a paintbrush into the cap hole, but the upper, narrower part was still a pretty tight friction fit against the beams or fins that Sapient pointed out. I'll say this is what caused the stress marks and what looks like cracking around the top of the inner cap, even though it is a more flexible plastic, and perhaps what caused the cracking on Sapient's caps. (Perhaps wiser heads can confirm or deny) Easily seen in the first photo; close-up in the second.

 

Cap disassembled:

 

Jinhao991fix01.jpg

 

Inner cap:

 

Jinhao991fix02.jpg

 

So, I filed and whittled at the narrow end of the inner cap (good thing the pen's almost all frosted plastic), aiming for a comfortable slide between those fins, but not more loose than necessary. Finial and inner cap, feeling dazed and confused:

 

Jinhao991fix03.jpg

 

... and out came the clear epoxy. I capped the pen as normal, to hold the inner cap in place. I planned to drop epoxy through the top hole, and you probably could, but the mixed stuff I had was a little stiff for that. Instead I spread a little epoxy around the narrow end of the inner cap, balanced it on the pen, and capped. Once you get the wide end into the cap, it'll go straight with no tipping and smearing the glue inside the cap. The finial got the same treatment at the other end of the cap. Here's the damage:

 

Jinhao991fix04.jpg

 

Sorry for the glare, but you can still see the blob of epoxy filling the top of the cap. This might seem a little conspicuous in daily use, even looking past the frosting and the lines of the inner cap and fins. Limiting the epoxy to the very top, or following Jobodine's example, might make it less noticeable. I'm fine with this as an initial attempt, anyway. Dollar pen and all that...

 

Now I sit and wait to see what happens to the section and nib housing.  :unsure:


Edited by WarrenB, 03 April 2018 - 15:06.

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#78 bluebellrose

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 01:28

Has anyone tried the metal versions of the 991? Looks like Jinhao released their version of the preppy plasir. they call it Jinhao 991 metal version



#79 loubapache

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 02:14

Among all the Chinese pens I tried (many), the 991 with the hooded nib has the best nib.  Smooth and wet for an extra fine.  I have inked two so far and both write exactly the same.

 

The nibs on the 911, on the other hand, are not as smooth and consistent.  I have 10 of these pens and got frustrated with them and finally decided not to play with them. The inner cap came out too easily and then the nib just dries up if you do not use for a day.

 

991 is too small so I use the hooded nib in 992 body and i like them that way.  I never liked the regular F-M nib in the 991 and 992. They are smooth but feel lifeless to me.

 

On another 992, I have a Knox EF and it writes superbly, a bit thicker and wetter than the hooded 991 nib.


Edited by loubapache, 19 April 2018 - 02:15.


#80 sapient

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 12:01

@loubapache

How did you remove the hooded nib from the 991? Or am I not understanding you correctly? I have a 599 with a hooded EF nib and I have not been able to remove it.


Edited by sapient, 19 April 2018 - 12:02.






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