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First Fp For A Real (And Perplexing!) Writer


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24 replies to this topic

#1 kaspian

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 23:49

I'd be grateful for any wisdom from the community on this family matter.

 

My son is about to finish his second novel, and I thought it might be nice to give him a decent pen as a way of acknowledging this achievement — and also perhaps of addressing the issue, which is a long-running family laughing-point, of his handwriting, which is bizarre.

 

Here are the main considerations:

 

  • I don't know whether he'll like a fountain pen at all. At present, he schleps around a pocket-sized Moleskine notepad and a stubby pencil which, as far as I can tell, he never sharpens. This is a mystery. I'm not sure I've actually seen him use a pen of any sort.
  • He is a lefty.
  • He has developed over the past decade+ a style of penmanship that his mom calls his Secret Handwriting, on account of the letters being so tiny and queerly formed that no one but himself can possibly read it.

My own penmanship is nothing to brag about, but I did begin to care about it a little, and to rediscover the pleasure of writing by hand, when on a whim I bought my own first fountain pen at roughly my son's present age. It was a little green-and-black Pelikan 1xx something, for about $38 US. So I've thought about waiting for the sexy new blue M120 to come out ... but then I think, Nah, no telling whether he'll ever actually use the thing, and the price is silly anyhow. (And I fully intend to get one for myself, silly or not.)

 

Likewise, the Pilot E95 seems like a rather elegant replacement for a stubby pencil, but it's an appreciable investment that might live out its sad life in a drawer.

 

So I'm thinking now of something in the ca.-$50 range — nice enough to regard as a serious pen, but not so precious that he feels guilty if he finds no use for it whatsoever. E.g.: a Lamy LX, Pilot Prera, Platinum Cool or Balance, TWSBI Mini (again with the stubby pencil in mind). I've never used any of these, nor any other Lamy, Pilot or Platinum. I just recently discovered TWSBI which I'm mildly enraptured by — but really all I know about personally are Pelikans, and somehow I acquired a Sailor 1911 and a Parker 51, so my own experience is not much help.

 

Thank you so much for any thoughts!



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#2 dcwaites

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 00:50

Look up PenBBS 323 or 308 on eBay. They are quite nice pens, in the $20, and come in a range of colours from the discreet Black or White to the "OMG it's so bright".

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

I already have two of their models (323 and 267) with a 308 on the way.


Edited by dcwaites, 05 March 2018 - 01:03.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

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#3 Maurizio

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 01:42

Youre on the right track by thinking Pilot Elite since your son seems to like to carry something compact (the stubby pencil). But also correct that the Elite, with its 14k gold nib, is too expensive for this experiment since you dont know if he will take to a fp or not.

I therefore recommend a Pilot Lucina. These are much nicer than a Pilot Metropolitan or a Prera and cost, on Amazon, shipped from Japan, btw $38 - $42. depending on what you chose ( you can also get them from USA seller Jetpens for $80.00 ). These have a steel nib either medium or fine, are available in 4 colors, and are really nice for the price. They are a little smallish but would seem to fit right in with your sons penchant for small writing tools. They take Pilot cartridges or the Pilot Con-40 converter if he decides he wants to use bottle ink. I suggest you get the medium nib because Japanese nibs run finer than a Western nibs and you want the nib to feel nice and smooth as he writes with it and a fine may be too much of an adjustment for a new fp user.

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Edited by Maurizio, 05 March 2018 - 11:37.

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#4 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 01:46

You could probably find a Pelikan M150 for $50 (plus or minus) on ebay. I don't believe it is made anymore, so you will need to go previously owned/used. I just saw one for $35 - without a nib. But you can buy a nib for probably $20-25. I also saw several in the $100-140 range. I wouldn't pay that much for one. A new M200 - yes, a 140 from the 50's - yes (have done both recently)  I got my 140 from Rick Propas. He guarantees the pens he sells. Even those that are over 60 years old.


Edited by Runnin_Ute, 05 March 2018 - 01:47.

Brad
 
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain
 


#5 Lloyd

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 02:13

Not a FP but a Pentel Kerry mechanical pencil or a Faber Castle Perfect Pencil.


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#6 SoulSamurai

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 02:59

Kaweco Sports are popular "carry" pens.

#7 theLorekeeper

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 03:11

You can find NOS Pilot Elites on ebay for around $30-$40.

#8 chromantic

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 04:29

Kaweco Sports are popular "carry" pens.

 

The Sport is a good choice. I've got 3 Fs and an M but you'd probably want to go with an EF.

 

However, you might consider a J. Herbin roller - takes standard short cartridges and lays down a very thin, precise line well-suited for your son's tiny handwriting; $12-15 on Amazon.


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#9 JotterAddict62

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 04:35

The two of you should go to a pen show, that way when he sees the pen that he can not live without. :D



#10 SoulSamurai

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 07:29

You can find NOS Pilot Elites on ebay for around $30-$40.

 

That's very tempting! I think I might have to grab one myself!



#11 kaspian

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 11:57

Thank you all very much for these well-considered suggestions! It's a lot of information to digest, but I'll certainly follow up on these leads — and luckily there's no hard deadline for making the choice.

 

JotterAddict's idea of going to a pen show would actually be fun and perhaps feasible, as my son lives in the D.C. area (though as I recall, that show is months away, if it still happens). Maybe if he does get hooked on the pen habit...

 

I should have brought up the nib question, and I'm grateful that some folks have gotten there ahead of me. I'm inclined toward fine or extra-fine in view of his small handwriting (though my personal bent is to the broad side) but I have some concern about scratchiness or skipping. And of course it's pure guesswork whether he'll care much for a fine line after years of using a pencil. 

 

Anyhow thanks everyone! Back to the plotting now.



#12 Inkdot

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 22:03

A  Pilot  Vanishing Point may be worth considering.  Always a conversation piece. 



#13 Torrilin

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 22:03

I’d ask him why pencil. A lot of us lefties hate pencils for smearing, so if he likes pencils there will be a reason. And his reasons matter.

As for the Moleskine, is it the regular side bound one or the top bound or the cahier/volant style? Because we also tend to hate the ridge in a notebook that doesn’t lay flat. What ridge is or isn’t intrusive will vary based on your lefty. So if he can explain why the notebook is comfortable, that tells you a lot.

I’d also ask him whether he uses both sides of the paper. I’ve got a longstanding habit of not because of the notebook jabbing me when I write on the wrong side. But he’ll do it his way, not my way. Moleskine paper is pretty varied, but a lot of it can be hostile to liquid ink. Whether it’s hostile in a way that is a problem for him or not I dunno. Testing can help.

What I’d actually suggest is a e&m or Kaweco 5.6mm lead holder. Small, light, resistant to breaking, doesn’t need much sharpening. There are lead holders that take thinner leads too. But it seems like he’d like the fat leads given your description. Not the Kaweco Al or brass holders, the regular plastic sport ones. A short pencil is really light, so it’s unlikely he will want heavy writing tools.

If a lead holder writes too fat for his taste, I’d try him on a Sakura sumo mechanical pencil or a Pentel Twist Erase or maybe a Zebra Del Guard or Kokuyo Fit Curve. The sumo you can get leads as big as 0.9mm, not sure about the others. The Zebra seems to have a tiny eraser, but the others all are a decent size. And erasing is a favorite reason for using pencil...

You can also try him on boxes of nicer pencils if he strongly prefers wooden ones. There’s a whole pencil fandom out there, and while their way isn’t my way it’s not a bad way. A box of cheap pencils can have a lot of variation in between pencils and erasers. A more expensive box will have less if it’s designed for using.

If he likes fountain pens when he tries them out, I’d suggest grey ink, or his favorite color. Try before you buy is a huge factor with hooking people on pens, and that includes the ink.

#14 minddance

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 23:25

May I suggest a piston filler pen (possibly a Chinese Caliarts Ego or Wing Sung 3008 or 698 or TWSBI Eco or 580, Pelikan M200 or M600) and Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa or Salix ink or Diamine Grey for writing on Moleskin.

A piston filler would quite possibly reduce the need for constant filling up ink or throwing away ink cartridges and this allows him to concentrate on writing. No distraction at all :)

Edited by minddance, 05 March 2018 - 23:29.


#15 tvradio

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 23:57

I'm a lefty with tiny, squirrelly handwriting. The pens I thought I'd like were NOT the ones I ended up liking.

 

Nib size is an important issue to pleasurable writing, and I honestly am not sure that your choosing a nib size would necessarily result in your son's liking it and wanting to use it. For example, although I write tiny with extra fine gel pens I disliked the XF Japanese nib Pilot pen I bought, and ended up preferring a European M[edium] nib size (which is the equivalent, more or less, to a Japanese B[old] nib size). 

 

Alternate suggestion: get him a set of inexpensive Platinum Preppy pens in .02, .03 and .05mm sizes - they're just $3-$4 apiece - and let him decide if he likes the pens (and, if so, which nib size); tell him if he finds himself liking fountain pens and their advantages (including ink coming out by capillary action, so you don't have to press down, letting one write longer without fatigue) you will buy him a good one as a gift after he determines the nib size he prefers. (Or if he gets bitten by the bug, let him choose the pen within the budget you set.)

 

Note: writers I know have distinct, sometimes curious writing preferences that work for them and which they do not want to change.

  • George R.R. Martin writes all his books on an antiquated DOS word processor.
  • Vladimir Nabokov preferred the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 for outlining his novels on index cards.
  • Hemingway alternated between a pencil and a typewriter.
  • Neil Gaiman uses TWSBI, Visconti, Pilot, Delta, & Lepine fountain pens
  • John Steinbeck used 300 pencils to write East Of Eden
  • Judy Blume: pencil and paper

There are worse things than a well-meaning present that someone doesn't use, but why not broach the topic with your son so as to get him the best acknowledgement of his achievement.


“We could be heroes/Just for one day” ― David Bowie


#16 Mister5

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 01:49

Though it's not a FP you might consider the Faber Castell "Perfect Pencil." I think it's more like a high end stubby kind of pencil your son might end up using but with a fancy holder. As for a FP the e95s might do it or something on the shorter side... Maybe a Pelikan M200. Possibly an Aurora if he likes the feedback of a pencil?

I'm finishing my second novel and I'm all over the place with what I use, sometimes dictation, sometimes longhand with a FP, sometimes straight into the computer. Glad to see your son has been able to stick with one method and run with it!

Edited by Mister5, 06 March 2018 - 01:51.

Inked:  Aurora Optima EF (Pelikan Tanzanite); Franklin Christoph Pocket 20 Needlepoint (Sailor Kiwa Guro); Sheaffers PFM I Reporter/Fine (Diamine Oxblood); Franklin Christoph 02 Medium Stub (Aurora Black);  Platinum Plaisir Gunmetal EF (Platinum Brown); Platinum Preppy M (Platinum Blue-Black). Leaded: Palomino Blackwing 602; Lamy Scribble 0.7 (Pentel Ain Stein 2B); Uni Kuru Toga Roulette 0.5 (Uni Kuru Toga HB); Parker 51 Plum 0.9 (Pilot Neox HB)


#17 sandy101

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 07:58

Since he uses small writing & Moleskine journals - Parker Quink ink and Platinum's black ink are the ones that play nicely with Moleskine journals.

 

So, I'd recommend something from the Parker/Platinum stable.

 

 

The Platinum Balance/Cool which I believe comes with the slip & seal mechanism which means there are fewer hard starts. That & a box of cartridges might be a good start.

Another alternative would be a second hand parker 45 -- they are rugged writers and take the ubiquitous Parker cartridge, so they are easy to maintain on the road.

 

Another option, which is not an FP, would be a box of Palomino Blackwing 602 pencils. They are not cheap but are some of the nicer pencils which writers use.   



#18 pseudo88

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 15:34

Many variables make it risky... If you visit you could take him to Fahrney's in DC so he can choose and try them; if a fountain pen doesn't work out an interesting mechanical pencil is the Kuru Toga, perhaps with a special lead, like a 4B (don't know if that's messy too for lefties); that and a few of his favorite notebooks could do the trick.

 

For a potentially nice surprise for that budget, there's the Lamy Studio in steel, which has a rubber section.


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#19 sidthecat

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Posted 06 March 2018 - 16:34

I’d get him a fistful of Pilot Petits - they’re small, cheap, pleasant to hold and easy to clip to a Molekine. I’d call it an excellent gateway pen.
And if he doesn’t care for them, he can discard them with minimal guilt.

#20 SoulSamurai

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 10:05

if a fountain pen doesn't work out an interesting mechanical pencil is the Kuru Toga

I love the Kuro Toga. Funnily enough it was my metal Kuro Toga that got me back into fountain pens... which doesn't really make much sense I know...






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