Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies






Photo

First Gold Nib Pen - The Lifelong Workhorse

gold nib workhorse carene custom heritage 91 falcon karas kustoms ink first journaling all-around under $200

  • Please log in to reply
72 replies to this topic

#21 Olya

Olya

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 715 posts

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:20

Out of your list I recommend the Pilot CH 91.

 

It has the best cartridge out of those you listed. You can refill one infinitely and it has a large capacity, and due to its large opening good flow. The con-70 is the largest size converter on the market available.

 

Also, right now you have a good window for the CH91: Either buy one in the new colours, or the old ones. Unless you fancy a black pen, then it's almost moot. (Only almost, as the clip has changed a little, so even the black pen varies).

 

I have no experience with the Falcon, but am eyeing it too.

 

Next up I like the Carene, I think it's gorgeous, but I never came around to buying one.

 

Pilot and Waterman nibs are very smooth.

 

I suggest a look at Sailor (and their MF nibs, or maybe F if you really want to go for an F).

 

Gold vs steel... Neither is better, as you write with the tipping, which is a whole other material yet, and the smoothness of the tipping depends on the manufacturer as well as the softness of a nib.

However, the markup on gold nibs from Western pen companies is ridiculous, and given the choice I rather buy the cheaper pen with the more precious material than an expensive with less precious material (ie gold vs steel). This of course only applies on overall quality being good and design according to taste.

 

Oh and it depends also on liking heavier or lighter pens.

 

Depending in where you are, it can be a pain to acquire Cross stuff (carts & converters) and their carts are rather dingly.. (very small capacity, small opening, I think they have the potential to wear out easily).

 

"Self-fillers" are a thing.. I like my piston Pelikans, I also like aero Parkers, but I think c/c is the best system and would choose it always over any self-filling system.



Sponsored Content

#22 shadrickjr

shadrickjr

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:21

I'm going to be the odd man out: go with the Karas. They use Bock nibs which will likely (no guarantee) be a bit smoother than the Japanese nibs and you're getting a metal body which is going to stand up to a lifetime of abuse much better. This is particularly true if you're actually considering throwing it in your pocket, etc. It's just going to take the abuse and develop character better than the plastic body pens. Just my two cents.

 

Which is why I want the all copper body if I go this route. The thing looks like a tank, and the patina would compliment my style of having a "through the years" type pen that tells a wonderful story. The only thing that I worry about is if it will be too heavy for those long writing sessions when i'm at the coffee shop with my journal. 



#23 CatHerder

CatHerder

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Location:Hampstead
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:29

Another vote for the pilot ch 91 - I have 2 ch 92's (same nib, but piston fill). Both are good, reliable writers. The 91 looks to be running around $100 on Amazon. For a slightly larger pen, look at the Pilot 912 (also excellent), Jetpens.com has these for around $190 to $200

#24 the-smell-of-dust-after-rain

the-smell-of-dust-after-rain

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:40

How well do the resin bodies last over decades of daily use (and abuse)?  I've only ever had metal bodies for my daily pens. 


petrichor


#25 shadrickjr

shadrickjr

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:41

I've been eyeing the Pilot Falcon for a while now.

 

One main pen is how I've been most of my life.  One main pen and one back up so I don't have to stop and refill mid-sentence.  Having a single, everyday pen is a tremendous comfort and really helps me get in the flow when working on long projects (more than a few months).

 

Now that my waterman's gold nib is kaput, I am trying to decide if I want to repair it or switch to a new pen.  To be fair, they tell me the technology for waterman's nibs has improved tremendously.  But even still, I'm pretty bitter about the whole experience as I'm not hugely keen on learning how to fix and tune the pen to write so well again.  I miss having a local pen dealer who can just swap the nib for a new one.

 

That's the main thing I'm looking for in my new every-day pen: easy repair.  

 

It has to be comfortable for my hand, write smoothly and quickly.  I'm leaning towards a screw top and a fine nib, but none of that matters if I can't fix the pen when (not if!  WHEN!) I drop it nib down on a stone floor.  

 

Do any of the pens on your short list have a replaceable nib or other repairable parts?  

 

Oh wow, we are very much alike. I'm a big fan of replaceable, swappable, easy to repair parts. Could you share with me the story of your waterman's gold nib? What caused it to ultimately fail?

 

I think the Karas Kustoms has a nib that is very easy to swap out. It also has a screw top, which is why it's on my list. The thing is built to last! Check out a couple reviews on it and you'll see why it's on my list. I'm just a little worried about the weight for long-term use. I also wonder if the nib is as good as on the other pens. 



#26 shadrickjr

shadrickjr

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:43

If you get a CH91, choose the nib wisely. I got a soft-fine (SF) nib thinking I would enjoy the extra bounce in the nib. It was pleasant and interesting, but I didn't love what it did to my handwriting. I ended up selling my CH91 fairly early out of my collection. It is a great, unassuming pen with fantastic value (especially if you import from Japan) but I couldn't change the nib out and hated seeing such a good pen not get used.

A soft nib may be exactly what you want (and the 91 has plenty of those options), my point is I would choose a nib width/type that you know you already like if you want it to be your workhorse, since it's difficult to find/swap nibs around with Pilot pens.

 

I haven't experimented with soft nibs, and I don't plan on flexing or getting much line variation. I will probably get a Fine-medium, regular nib if I go with the CH91. 



#27 sandy101

sandy101

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,754 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:48

How well do the resin bodies last over decades of daily use (and abuse)?  I've only ever had metal bodies for my daily pens. 

 

I have a 60 year old plastic/resin Parker 51 - and it is still intact and going strong.

 

I also have a 60 year old plastic/resin MB254 - and it is still intact. 

 

They do not like being crushed - so you wouldn't want to step on it, or put it in a bag with a ton of heavy books.

 

But in normal use, they seem to be very resilient. 



#28 CatHerder

CatHerder

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • Location:Hampstead
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:51

Fine-medium (FM) is probably a good choice for the CH91 - about the same as a "western " F in my experience

#29 shadrickjr

shadrickjr

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:52

Out of your list I recommend the Pilot CH 91.

 

It has the best cartridge out of those you listed. You can refill one infinitely and it has a large capacity, and due to its large opening good flow. The con-70 is the largest size converter on the market available.

 

Also, right now you have a good window for the CH91: Either buy one in the new colours, or the old ones. Unless you fancy a black pen, then it's almost moot. (Only almost, as the clip has changed a little, so even the black pen varies).

 

I have no experience with the Falcon, but am eyeing it too.

 

Next up I like the Carene, I think it's gorgeous, but I never came around to buying one.

 

Pilot and Waterman nibs are very smooth.

 

I suggest a look at Sailor (and their MF nibs, or maybe F if you really want to go for an F).

 

Gold vs steel... Neither is better, as you write with the tipping, which is a whole other material yet, and the smoothness of the tipping depends on the manufacturer as well as the softness of a nib.

However, the markup on gold nibs from Western pen companies is ridiculous, and given the choice I rather buy the cheaper pen with the more precious material than an expensive with less precious material (ie gold vs steel). This of course only applies on overall quality being good and design according to taste.

 

Oh and it depends also on liking heavier or lighter pens.

 

Depending in where you are, it can be a pain to acquire Cross stuff (carts & converters) and their carts are rather dingly.. (very small capacity, small opening, I think they have the potential to wear out easily).

 

"Self-fillers" are a thing.. I like my piston Pelikans, I also like aero Parkers, but I think c/c is the best system and would choose it always over any self-filling system.

 

Getting a lot of recommendations for the CH91, and I will most definitely be going with an all black, black/silver, or black/gold for my pen....unless I get the Karas Kustoms Ink. 

 

You're the second person to suggest taking a look at a Sailor....I guess I have to do some research now. 

 

Thanks for your input on the gold vs steel. I guess I mainly wanted to see if there was actually a difference, as I only have steel nibs right now. 



#30 shadrickjr

shadrickjr

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:53

Fine-medium (FM) is probably a good choice for the CH91 - about the same as a "western " F in my experience

 

That's exactly what I was thinking! Thanks for your input!



#31 pajaro

pajaro

    Amblin along like I had good sense.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 12,340 posts
  • Location:Tecumseh, MI
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:53

I have three Carenes.  Nice pens.  I have been using a Parker 51 daily for 48 years.  Still looks new and it is the standard I compare other pens to.  Plastic body looks nice.  Cap looks nice and still frosted.


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#32 sandy101

sandy101

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,754 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 15:59

 

I haven't heard much about Cross in the fountain pen community. It seems as if it might be one of those hidden gems.

 

 

The Pilot 91 seems like the best choice for what I want. I'm glad that I ran into someone that has used my top two considerations. Thanks so much for your input!

 

Cross produce solid reliable writers that do the daily job of writing without any fuss.

 

Their pens (apart from the Peerless) do not quite have the flair of Montblanc, Sailor, Platinum or Visconti.

 

Their pens are metal, they post, have hard nibs that produce a reliable line. As such it is a robust. practical everyday carry. 

 

Their cartridges are expensive, and limited to black, blue-black or blue - so a convertor will save you money.

 

The Townsend is in my rotation and so far has taken every ink I've thrown at it. It is a straightforward writing tool - that needs the occasional flush to keep on writing. An unfussy, workhorse - no more, no less.

 

Cross pens can usually be found with generous discounts with online retailers - so if you do want one - do not pay the list price. 



#33 shadrickjr

shadrickjr

    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Silver

  • PipPip
  • 13 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 16:03

I have three Carenes.  Nice pens.  I have been using a Parker 51 daily for 48 years.  Still looks new and it is the standard I compare other pens to.  Plastic body looks nice.  Cap looks nice and still frosted.

 

Three Carenes?! Did you just want different nib sizes?



#34 Olya

Olya

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 715 posts

Posted 05 April 2019 - 16:03

How well do the resin bodies last over decades of daily use (and abuse)?  I've only ever had metal bodies for my daily pens. 

Very well. Just look at all the vintage pens still going strong after decades.

 

Pilot's gold nibs are softer and smoother than Sailor's. But the smoothness isn't much of an issue for F & FM/ MF, as it's less noticeable below M.



#35 the-smell-of-dust-after-rain

the-smell-of-dust-after-rain

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 16:23

... so you wouldn't want to ... put it in a bag with a ton of heavy books.

 

 

oh dear.  That's pretty standard behaviour for me.

 

What about for daily use?  1 to 5 hours, 350 days of the year?  I know there's a lot of beautiful old pens made from resin that last well.  But are these pens in active service for decades?  Some plastics don't do well with frequent contact with oils and warmth (like a hand).  Other plastics don't mind.  I don't know enough about pen body resin to know if this would be a problem after 20 years of daily use.

 

The book thing might just mean I had better stay away from these pen bodies.  I really do need my pen to be something of a tank given my lifestyle.  

 


Edited by the-smell-of-dust-after-rain, 05 April 2019 - 16:23.

petrichor


#36 the-smell-of-dust-after-rain

the-smell-of-dust-after-rain

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 245 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 16:25

 

Oh wow, we are very much alike. I'm a big fan of replaceable, swappable, easy to repair parts. Could you share with me the story of your waterman's gold nib? What caused it to ultimately fail?

 

 

http://www.fountainp...-nib-do-i-need/


petrichor


#37 flyingpenman

flyingpenman

    We see in a mirror dimly...

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 639 posts
  • Location:Mississippi
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 17:38

 
oh dear.  That's pretty standard behaviour for me.
 
What about for daily use?  1 to 5 hours, 350 days of the year?  I know there's a lot of beautiful old pens made from resin that last well.  But are these pens in active service for decades?  Some plastics don't do well with frequent contact with oils and warmth (like a hand).  Other plastics don't mind.  I don't know enough about pen body resin to know if this would be a problem after 20 years of daily use.
 
The book thing might just mean I had better stay away from these pen bodies.  I really do need my pen to be something of a tank given my lifestyle.  
 


You could also get a hard pen case or clip it to your shirt/pants. I keep several pens in a Franklin Christoph 3-pen case in my duffel bag daily, including a vintage Vacumatic, and have had no issues.

But if you want to throw your pen loose into a bag with books and other large items I'd stick to an inexpensive, easily replaceable workhorse or get your Karas Kustoms or something made of metal. Or be okay with scuffs, scratches, and the possibility of damage to the body over time.

Edited by flyingpenman, 05 April 2019 - 17:40.

Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I found out long ago.
~C.S. Lewis
--------------
Current Rotation:
Edison Menlo <m italic>, Lamy 2000 <EF>, Wing Sung 601 <F>
Pilot VP <F>, Pilot Metropolitan <F>, Pilot Penmanship <EF>

#38 Honeybadgers

Honeybadgers

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,865 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 17:55

If I could only have one gold nib forever, in the $80 price range, it'd be a pilot custom 74 (the 91 in your case is the same pen with rhodium trim and a flat top design, but otherwise exactly identidal nib and section and size) with a soft fine nib. 

 

The falcon is nothing super special. it can be with about $200 in modification, but for the price, you'll get just as much out of a 74 or 91 with a soft fine nib.

 

If you can swing a little more, a lamy 2000 will last you the rest of your life and then some. it's classic and timeless, though the nib isn't flexible.


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


#39 bemon

bemon

    Brent

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 418 posts
  • Location:Toronto
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 18:01

I'm going to be the odd man out: go with the Karas. They use Bock nibs which will likely (no guarantee) be a bit smoother than the Japanese nibs and you're getting a metal body which is going to stand up to a lifetime of abuse much better. This is particularly true if you're actually considering throwing it in your pocket, etc. It's just going to take the abuse and develop character better than the plastic body pens. Just my two cents.

I agree. No piston to repair, and the metal body can stand up to anyone's daily grind. 



#40 bemon

bemon

    Brent

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 418 posts
  • Location:Toronto
  • Flag:

Posted 05 April 2019 - 18:04

I have three Carenes.  Nice pens.  I have been using a Parker 51 daily for 48 years.  Still looks new and it is the standard I compare other pens to.  Plastic body looks nice.  Cap looks nice and still frosted.

I've had 4 Carene's over the years. I've got 3 left as well. If OP were to go for the Carene I'd suggest a gunmetal contemporary finish. Each of my black lacquered Carenes have chipped under light use and careful storage. But my gunmetal finishes hold up. 







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: gold nib, workhorse, carene, custom heritage 91, falcon, karas kustoms ink, first, journaling, all-around, under $200



Sponsored Content




|