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Hi-End Pens Are A Lot Of Trouble


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#41 praxim

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 00:18

A cartridge converter is a piston mechanism in modular form. There is nothing intrinsically advantageous in the mechanism. Rather, it adds a leakage point and potential ink flow problems compared with an integrated piston system. An integrated piston system can be more of a problem to repair compared with throwing away a C/C for a new one but in my experience using both, the integrated system is more robust and reliable, with better ink flow and, for those that need it, much higher capacity.

 

I have no idea why people seem to treat cartridge converters as if they were not a straightforward piston filling mechanism. Have a look while working the piston. :)

 

edit: moved a comma


Edited by praxim, 10 November 2017 - 00:18.

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

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#42 sdbruder

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 01:45

Wow. I go from cheap Chinese pens to the $50-60-ish range. 

 

And I have a small number of ‘my high end’ pens and a lot of cheap Chinese ones :P

 


more than 40.



#43 Ted A

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 03:56

Right now, two threads away from this one is a thread with some complaining about Chinese pens, the complete opposite of Hi-End, are the worst and most troublesome
To hold a pen is to be at war. - Voltaire

#44 inkstainedruth

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 16:58

Right now, two threads away from this one is a thread with some complaining about Chinese pens, the complete opposite of Hi-End, are the worst and most troublesome

 

That's because there are people who are going to complain about *something* no matter what....

I have pens that are probably worth about $5 US.  I have one pen for which I paid over $300.  Am I glad I bought them?  Yes.  All of them.  Because every time I learned something. 

This is why, for all the 51s and Snorkels I've accumulated over the past 4-5 years, I'm still a sucker for Parker Vectors and my Noodler's Konrads.  And for 2nd-tier brand vintage pens like Esterbrook and Morrison.  You'd have to pry my Plum 51 out of my cold dead fingers -- but it doesn't actually see as much use as the Red Shadow Wave Vac Junior....  I love the M405 Stresemann -- but am thinking about maybe having the B nib reground to something like a cursive Italic because I think I like the B nib on my TWSBI 580-AL just a tad better (although size and weight-wise the M405 is a better for my hand -- the TWSBI is now my gauge for pen weight limit :rolleyes:).

The great thing about this hobby is that there is something for everyone.  The guy who runs the mailing list for my local pen club hates hooded nibs.  Some people don't like saturated inks.  There are people who wouldn't buy anything that didn't have a "splat" on the finial -- and those of us who would buy anything BUT (although I've liked a couple of the inks).  There are the so-called "c-worders" who have display cases on their walls -- and people who only have a couple of pens and don't understand why anyone who would want more than that, since you can't use them all over the course of a week.  A couple of months ago at a pen club meeting we were trading away inks that we didn't like (and Ron Zorn, who only uses 4001 Royal Blue -- and 4001 Brilliant Black to be wild and crazy  :D -- was kinda rolling his eyes all evening about having joined an "ink club"  ;)).  There are "posters" and "non-posters" and each side looks askance at the other...  but in the long run we're ALL FP people....  :thumbup: 

And in spite of my friend Karl blaming his new hobby on me, I keep saying "Nope, you can NOT blame me for the desk pen sets!  The Burgundy 51 Aero with the lovely stub nib?  No, it's Burgundy, not Plum, but the nib is still pretty awesome.  And yeah, that's a fair cop...."

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#45 Precise

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 21:53

As I've already posted in this thread, I regret naming specific pens because it diverted my message to specific complaints.  My intent was to say that high-end pens were often more trouble, and I gave some specific examples to add substance to my message.

 

Shortly after my original post, I received a friendly message from Conid asking if there was anything they could do.  That's impressive customer service.  Their message motivated me to fill my Minamilistica and resume using it. 

 

I had already communicated with Conid about the section design.  The section is made from acetal (Delrin) which is a slippery plastic.  The section also has no flare.  These factors make for poor grip and I tire of having to hold the pen tightly.  To the best of my knowledge, they have not corrected this issue, despite my communication. 

 

I attempted to remedy this on my pen by stippling a small patch under my forefinger.  This was somewhat helpful to the grip, but the stippling is a trap for ink, which gets in when filling the pen.  It's hard to clean the stippling after filling so despite careful cleaning, the inked stippling stains my forefinger blue.  But, of course, this is my own fault, my "grip fix" has disadvantages.

 

Alan


Edited by Precise, 14 November 2017 - 22:49.


#46 jar

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 12:11

I attempted to remedy this on my pen by stippling a small patch under my forefinger.  This was somewhat helpful to the grip, but the stippling is a trap for ink, which gets in when filling the pen.  It's hard to clean the stippling after filling so despite careful cleaning, the inked stippling stains my forefinger blue.  But, of course, this is my own fault, my "grip fix" has disadvantages.

 

Alan

After filling simply swipe the nib & section under running water and wipe dry.  No more inky fingers.


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#47 max dog

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 18:16

Visconti these days seem to have high reports of nib issues, so they are not a good example to use to represent high end pens. I dont find my higher end pens to be less reliable or more problematic than lower end ones.

Edited by max dog, 15 November 2017 - 18:18.


#48 thiagojp

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 23:25

My 2 cents: buy Japanese pens. They have a insane high level of quality control and consistency, and can cater to all tastes. If you preffer a smooth nib I recommend Pilot custom 74 with a soft medium fine nib, it will blow your mind, I promess. If you preffer fine nibs with a bit of feedback try a Sailor 21k F, it is a joy to write with ( my personal favourite pen of all time ). If you have money to splurge you should try a Namiki imperial or maki-e, THOSE will break the bank but are a work of art, both in looks and in performance.
I have a couple of Visconti, and agree with the opinion of most people here: overpriced, lousy QC, usually bad nibs.
Theres nothing wrong with liking steel nibs rather than gold nibs, but I think gold has some qualities steel doesnt, it lasts forever and tends to be more springy than steel nibs.
About the Conid... well, I may be interested in buying it from you, as is... been curious to try it!
Keep writing!

#49 minddance

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 18:00

I guess as prices increase with any product, the problem perceived becomes more substantial. If it was a $2 pen, problems can sometimes be forgiven or negligible. The problematic pen could be perceived as a $2 mistake. If it was a Visconti or MBlanc, it could have been a $500-few thousand mistake.

#50 sidthecat

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Posted 24 November 2017 - 19:35

In my experience, owning a high-end anything is an ordeal. My dad ran a vintage Mercedes that he described as his mistress: “It’s beautiful, I love it very much, and it’ll let you down when you need it most.”

#51 Tresconik

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 13:55

Sometimes pens that just work get boring, and you find you long for pens that need a little TLC.



#52 mitto

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 14:40

Sometimes pens that just work get boring, and you find you long for pens that need a little TLC.


...and when are finished with them you look for another one or two to tnker with. :)
Khan

#53 overwriter

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Posted 25 November 2017 - 20:23

I am sure Rochester21 did think twice. Like I have. I can’t speak for Delta as I have little experience with them and the experience I had with their US distributor was quite good. But that was for a $200 pen.

Omas on the other hand was not very good on my two experiences and I think that if you are spending hundreds of dollars on a pen any service experience has to be sublime. I know people will pipe in saying their experience was good but people should rave about it every time.

#54 Precise

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 03:26

Good News About Conid

 

Earlier in this thread I mentioned fatigue in gripping the slippery acetal section of my Conid Minimilistica.  I've also complained about the filling process, which is more complex than ordinary pens.

 

Conid contacted me about that post, and sent me a body (and section) made from acrylic.  It's not slippery and being transparent, the filling process is also "transparent".  I wrote to Conid that if this were my product, I would only sell it with transparent bodies.

 

So, a pen which I'd put in storage is now serving me very well indeed.  Thank you Conid for taking the trouble to remedy my problems.

 

Alan


Edited by Precise, 11 December 2017 - 03:26.


#55 Inkling13

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:31

Id say Visconti is a load of bunk, but I have not heard of a case where Conid didnt do right to fix the situation. Every Visconti seems to need at least 2 trips to the factory and 3 trips to the nibmeister to work halfway decent. The lack of attention to detail with Visconti was appalling. I HAD a HS. The screen printing on the clip was only 1/2 there, and the nib wasnt even masked right before it was plated with gold resulting in gold accents that dont match the engravings.

#56 mrp100

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 05:30

 

That's because there are people who are going to complain about *something* no matter what....

 

There are "posters" and "non-posters" and each side looks askance at the other...  but in the long run we're ALL FP people....  :thumbup:

 

Ruth's post captures one of the coolest aspects of this hobby - there is a fountain pen for every taste, personality, budget and writing style.  E.g., some won't buy a vintage pen with an engraving; I say, as long as it's done artfully, it gives the pen character.  It would be boring if we all wanted the same pens, the same inks, the same nib grinds...

 

As for the topic of this post, I stay away from pricey pens where the manufacturer seems to have spent more time on appearance than function - I'm not interested in jewelry with a nib (I reserve my overpaying for "holy grail" vintage pens like MB 139s and Waterman Patricians).  That said, I do have a couple of Viscontis and, like others, have had frustrations with them.  However, when I sent my 10-year old Wall Street to Visconti because ink was leaking through the blind cap, they fixed it for free and polished up the silver bits to boot.  And while my Homo Sapiens dries up faster than I would like, writing with it (and using that unique cap locking mechanism) still brings me great joy.

 

The only other modern "high end" pens I have are Japanese pens: two each of Nakayas, Eboyas and Danitrios and one Sailor King of Pen.  Never had an issue with any of them.  In a couple of weeks I should receive my first Conid Bulkfiller.  While Alan's experience gave me pause, I went back and reviewed the many positive reviews that prompted me to order it in the first place.  I'm confident I am going to enjoy it.

 

Marc



#57 Hauriant

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 15:15

 

If that was true, why are companies like OMAS and Delta are going belly up? Could it be that their hand crafted products, requiring tens of hours of skilled workmanship, simply can't be sold with a profit even though they cost $500? Think twice, please. And yes, some companies I won't name do mass produce pens sold for very profitable prices.

 

This is a good point. Hand crafting, whatever our romantic associations with it, is a horribly inefficient way to produce anything in which the raw materials are predictable. 



#58 sub_bluesy

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 12:20

I agree with this sentiment whole heartily! My first experience with a high end pen was a Visconti Wall Street LE that needed work. I picked it up from an estate sale and the E clip holding the piston in the rod of the vac filler was broken. This began the search for E clips in 302 stainless. I analyzed all of the metals on that pen at work to make sure I picked the right replacements. I didn’t know much about pens at the time! It was a daunting task. Trial by fire if you will. Even broke a feed but Coles Of London was beyond excellent in their assistance! Years later and several high end pens on the map, I can safely say I’m batting 1000 with Jinhao’s and not so great with Omas or Visconti and especially Montegrappa! Don’t get me started with Montegrappa. I’ve had to work on about 9 of 10 of my Omas pens. Sent one new Visconti back. Probably should have send two but I made the second work. I should have sent 90% of my Montegrappa’s back but made them work too. Sent several back though due to build and QC issues that I could not reliably fix though. Most of these have been Italian pens for the record. A few Faber Castell’s though also. All high end while the cheap Chinese pens keep on writing and look great!
Cause if your eyes on the ground when the night comes around, youll only see the stars when they fall like rain.

#59 richardandtracy

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 15:18

The poor QC of high end pens is something I have seen with some of my pens.
Other problems occur with the rest.

Utter rubbish and virtually incapable of writing a complete word when new:- Stipula Etruria FPN LE.
Nibs not writing properly: Both my two Parker Duofold pearl and blacks didn't write well when I got them due to poorly ground nibs.

With a little problem of gurking ink into the cap and as a result are rather messy: All my three Modern Onotos and my YOL Viceroy Std.

And that is my complete list of luxury pens. I rarely have a problem with my cheap Chinese pens, of which I have a good few more.

So, I have to agree with the OP.

Regards

Richard.

#60 inkstainedruth

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 17:02

 

This is a good point. Hand crafting, whatever our romantic associations with it, is a horribly inefficient way to produce anything in which the raw materials are predictable. 

 

Absolutely.  To take a non-pen example:  William Morris vs. Gustav Stickley.  Morris had this somewhat grandiose idea about how people should only have beautiful and functional possessions in their homes.  Thus the Arts and Crafts Movement.  Only his company went belly-up.  Why?  The cost of manufacturing his products -- all done by hand -- made the items too expensive for his targeted market (he was apparently something of a Socialist and wanted to "better" the lower classes) to be able to afford.  

Stickley, OTOH, used machine work for stuff like drilling holes, and only had the finish work done by hand.  So still high-end furniture -- but way more affordable.  And the company still exists to this day.  Not of course that I could afford any of it without winning the lottery.  

A number of years ago my husband and I went to an auction, just on a lark -- a Stickley pipe stand went for something like $600 US.  And a table, which my husband deemed as worth five bucks (as firewood!) went for a four-figure price on the grounds that it MIGHT be a Stickley piece as well (the auction house said they didn't know for sure right at the outset).  And we just looked at each other completely agog at what that table sold for....  

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."






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