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Getting Into Fountain Pens Cheaply (As Much As One Can) In India.

affordable fountain pens india

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35 replies to this topic

#1 Dimy

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 08:57

Problem in India with starting with fountain.

 

I won't tell why one should try and use fountain pens, there are enough content on this point. I am assuming one knows why you want to start and are on very tight budget and can't really afford the starter pens (as was in my case) cos lets be honest in India a student is dependent on family and he can't really say that I want 2000 Rs for pen and Ink. No family I know will allow this. I mean one can get 3 Rs dot pen and 5 Rs gel pen, who in sane mind will allow their kid to get something expensive which might be lost, broken or worst stolen on day 1 of school. Just see the number gap one can get literally 1000 dot pens for 1 Metropolitan and 1 bottle of Lamy Ink. Then is the famous reputation of leaky piles. ( false one but still exists).

 

My past experience.

 

My starting with fountains began with goal of improving my non-legible writing to at least legible one. Fountain pens do help in improving writing and if you have any goal of trying to improve it do try them. Back in the day fountains were readily available for cheap 30 to 40 Rs which were worst at best they leaked all over, concept of convertor and cartridge was non existing and nib width and feed was kinder joy surprise.

And this is what makes the reputation of fountain pens as leaky mess which should not be used and I too started to think the same.  Until a shopkeeper gave me Camlin trinity and said that if this leaks he will change it for free. The pen then was 70 Rs and this was the turning point. Trinity never leaked and I used Trinity and for next 5 years eventually switching to dot for various reasons for next 5 or so years. Ink pens never really got out of my life though and was always used from time to time until in my university where I shifted to full time fountain and ditched dots. mainly cos I felt my writing degrading to bad and more flexibility with work which allowed me to use the pens to full. This was also time when I was exposed to "starter pens" namely Metropolitan and Lamy safari. they were big investments for me but I decided to go ahead and take the plunge and it was totally worth plunge.

 

Main point of cheap fountains and which to choose and which to avoid and why.

 

First a disclaimer I have no Intention of hurting any brand or maker I am just writing my personal experience with the pens I used.

 

Now lets divide Budgets-

Cheapest I can suggest-

Pen-  Camlin Trinity ( Price around 100 Rs)/ Camlin Trinity Elegante (Rs 200 around).This is the cheapest I can suggest to anyone with a fact that it won't have the issues of leaks and will have solid body and OK to good flow. My first trinity is still with me abid with broken nib. Then pen is plastic and metal at cap. The pen is small in hand and very narrow and will be perfect for kids and people with small fingers.

Trinity Elegante is larger pen with better look and finish and comes in larger nib size then tiny nib of Trinity. This also writes a bit better. Both have convertor with them.

 

Ink- Parker quink (around 60-80 Rs) / camlin ink there is issue with both of them. Last time I used parker it was too light and got lighter still with time. My 5 year old writings are now quite faded. Not disappeared but fading is there. Camlin on other hand has issue of not being available everywhere and I can't say much about fading as I did not have much experience with it.

 

total cost 180-300.

 

what to avoid here

My experience with Pierre Cardin's  cheapest fountain of 100Rs has been worst of all. The nib was good and flow was nice with fine lines but body was so flimsy that it actually broke when I tried to remove the snap cap which it comes with....how can I write with a pen which breaks in process of removing the cap. 2nd one did survive the opening of cap (wow what a criteria) but broke eventually and I could bend the body with 2 fingers. So no this is no from me.

Other one is classmate octane fountain pen. As good is octane gel and dot the Rs 40 octane is very poor flow pen with paper scratching action. Don't go for this.

3rd Parker Beta, again too scratchy on paper to point one can hear it scratching on paper.

3rd are assortment of who knows what pens of 20 to 50 Rs. got too tired of them in my starting days to ever look at them.

 

for those with a bit budget (under 1000Rs)

 

Pens- Parker Vector GT ( around 400Rs) / Parker Frontier (around 500 Rs) and Kanwrite Desire (around Rs 700) Parker's have same same story as camlin here Vector GT is smaller pen best for small hands and comes with tiny nib while Frontier is larger pen with larger nib size. Both will come with convertor. This will be first proper smooth fountain pen experience and these both don't scratch or give much feedback. they will be good for anyone.

Kanwrite is different cup of tea and is proper fountain pen and is all a fountain should. The pen will come with convertor and separate nib sizes of #5 and #6 with options of width. These were absent until now you were stuck with whatever nib you have but here is where things will change. the pen is not without flaws abid need for silicon grease if one wants to convert eyedropper and even for feed when pre coated grease is over else it will leak from convertor. (at least in my case it did). Still this is best I can say to start with fountains under 1000Rs.

 

others one can look at ---

ASA Pens have great reputation for making good pens. Never got to try one personally but rarely have I seen bad writing experience (this matters most to me) from anyone who has used them. (will get myself a ebonite pen from them after this lockdown, my First ebonite).

Jinhao personally never got to try one so can't say but again they have good reputation for the price point.

 

Ink- Waterman serenity blue (around 450 Rs) this is non-waterproof ink but will work perfectly with any pen and will not bleed or feather on any paper ( never tested on that brown rough registers) and is easy to clean both on cloths and in pens ( you will understand this properties worth after ruining a couple of your shirts).

 

 

this is my first attempt here so I hope this helps to those who are struggling with starting and are wondering how to get 2000Rs for starting the hobby or as normal pens. pls put any questions You have I will answer them to best of my ability and will try my best to push you in this rabbit hole. PS do point things that I missed or your own experiences would love to hear them.



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#2 OCArt

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 19:35

Thanks for writing this, it will be helpful to many novices. If I were writing the same I'd probably list several Chinese pens--- are they not available or not inexpensive in India?


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#3 Dimy

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 04:38

Thanks for writing this, it will be helpful to many novices. If I were writing the same I'd probably list several Chinese pens--- are they not available or not inexpensive in India?

They are available true. Its just that I don't have as much experience with them and as much I would want to the odd thing about them is any good one starts at around Rs 400 to 600 which throws them into Parker category....and by my use of most of them, as much as Parker has fallen in India in terms of quality, it still is tad bit better then most of them. Jinhao's are good though but decent ones go in 700 Rs. so I kept that cost factor in account. Also most Brick and Mortar stores in most of India keep Parker, Sheaffer and waterman but when it comes to Chinese pens many either keep the absolute lowest segment (the monster of sub Rs 60) or don't is smaller cities. Parker and others have developed a class category in many common masses eyes and are thus backed by availability which others lack sadly....I mean most shopkeepers don't know that Pilot Metropolitan is a pen its only available online...imagine that.


Edited by Dimy, 23 June 2020 - 04:39.


#4 Yohaanrods

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 05:12

Yes that is true... They keep the 50rs hero pens... (I don't think these are real heros)... But jinhaos are available these days... Pretty good for starting.
Nice post Dimy!

#5 Aditkamath26

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 07:57

I would also suggest two pens under 500 that are much better than the entry level Parkers like Beta, Vector, Frontier and even the IMs and Urbans. The first one is Click Aristocrat which comes with a nib unit in fine, medium and broad (might have other options too like extra fine or double broad, I have to check) and takes cartridges, converters and can be eyedropper filled too. The second one is Wality/Airmail 71JT or 69T which are eyedropper only and the medium nabbed versions are quite decent. Might require a heat set to avoid leakage. Also there are several Jinhaos on Flipkart and Amazon for under 500 and are decent too. I like x750 and 159 the most.



#6 Dimy

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 10:19

I would also suggest two pens under 500 that are much better than the entry level Parkers like Beta, Vector, Frontier and even the IMs and Urbans. The first one is Click Aristocrat which comes with a nib unit in fine, medium and broad (might have other options too like extra fine or double broad, I have to check) and takes cartridges, converters and can be eyedropper filled too. The second one is Wality/Airmail 71JT or 69T which are eyedropper only and the medium nabbed versions are quite decent. Might require a heat set to avoid leakage. Also there are several Jinhaos on Flipkart and Amazon for under 500 and are decent too. I like x750 and 159 the most.

I love Airmails too, they are very good writer no doubt on that. Click Aristocrat is one which I never managed to get myself would love to though and yes you are right they are much better then parkers of same range I just thought people might get worried when eyedropper gush a little when last drops are left and that most might not really be prepared for extra care in eyedroppers...love the capacity of them though. Also sadly as with most Indian brands these days they are very rare to find...even on most online shopping sites (Amazon and flipkart which most use here).



#7 Dip n Scratch

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 16:18

Aditkamath: I never came across a Wality / Airmail pen with a Medium nib.  not on ebay anyhow.

The Fine ones all need the 'mesh before they are usable. I think that the only Medium nibs that I have are a few Ambitious chromed steel examples.



#8 sansenri

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 17:35

Well, you have the advantage of living in the country where fountain pens are still made by hand by exceptionally skilled craftsmen.

If I were you I'd immediately check out ASA pens. I discovered them later in my passion for Ebonite pens, but I am certainly satisfied with my Genius.

Gama also makes some very nice pens that should still be reasonably affordable but good quality, my Eyas is a lovely pen (Asa pen sells them, so one shop you get to see several interesting offers). I'd love to recommend Ranga to you but fear these may be in the too expensive range (but keep them in mind when you plan to upgrade...).

Buying locally may give you some pricing advantage I hope.

Note that some of these pens - particularly the cheaper offers - are eyedroppers, when well made however, they are not messy pens.

 

Two cheap Chinese pens in the 5-6$ range that work well in my experience: Jinhao X750, Baoer 388.

They will not give you the same satisfaction as some of the good Indian pens though.



#9 Dimy

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 21:43

Aditkamath: I never came across a Wality / Airmail pen with a Medium nib.  not on ebay anyhow.

The Fine ones all need the 'mesh before they are usable. I think that the only Medium nibs that I have are a few Ambitious chromed steel examples.

Interesting information sir. I did not face same issue with my Airmail and apparently neither did Aditkamath sir. Will do some personal research about them on this specific point as these are issues that might draw some potential candidates away. Thank you for sharing information sir, much appreciated.



#10 Dimy

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 22:07

Well, you have the advantage of living in the country where fountain pens are still made by hand by exceptionally skilled craftsmen.

If I were you I'd immediately check out ASA pens. I discovered them later in my passion for Ebonite pens, but I am certainly satisfied with my Genius.

Gama also makes some very nice pens that should still be reasonably affordable but good quality, my Eyas is a lovely pen (Asa pen sells them, so one shop you get to see several interesting offers). I'd love to recommend Ranga to you but fear these may be in the too expensive range (but keep them in mind when you plan to upgrade...).

Buying locally may give you some pricing advantage I hope.

Note that some of these pens - particularly the cheaper offers - are eyedroppers, when well made however, they are not messy pens.

 

Two cheap Chinese pens in the 5-6$ range that work well in my experience: Jinhao X750, Baoer 388.

They will not give you the same satisfaction as some of the good Indian pens though.

You are absolutely right on this sir we are really lucky in respect of having the craft still alive by really skilled craftsman with price range which actually make many question how. Its just that we are land of diversity with masters on one end and unaware on others and common masses stuck somewhere between, this is especially true for central India where the art is very hard to come by. South India has fared better at least from what I understand(many of Indian makers are from south India).

ASA pens are great sir and so are Gama they really are beautiful pens both to own and write...its just that they will exceed most peoples starting budget here...odd to say considering these are one of the lowest and yet extremely good ebonite pens.

Ranga is yes expensive as pointed out...

Chinese ones are well mostly my lack of enough experience with Jinhao but yes I rarely see negative about them considering the price range.

The feeling is one factor which is close to all of our hearts here and I think they will matter most to us....not sure of kids but student of 13+ might just look for that ( I sure did) and yes Indian pens have the charm which many lack...probably to do with that handmade work which gives each a personal taste.



#11 sansenri

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Posted 24 June 2020 - 18:32

Yes I do understand you needs, I know that several Indian makers also make cheaper plastic pens, some are rather good, but I'm not an expert in the very low range pens, besides owning a few Oliver pens that are not so bad, but they do have more problems like scratchy nibs and ink burping problems.

Scratchy nibs can be cured rather easily using micromesh, as dip n scratch mentions above. Read on in the forum, you can gradually learn to do it yourself. After some smoothing out for example Wality nibs are not so bad.

Perhaps some of the Indian FPNers can point you to some of the better cheap Indian Pens.

Also check the thread http://www.fountainp...18-2019/page-22

there is a wealth of info in there!



#12 Dimy

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Posted 24 June 2020 - 22:56

Yes I do understand you needs, I know that several Indian makers also make cheaper plastic pens, some are rather good, but I'm not an expert in the very low range pens, besides owning a few Oliver pens that are not so bad, but they do have more problems like scratchy nibs and ink burping problems.

Scratchy nibs can be cured rather easily using micromesh, as dip n scratch mentions above. Read on in the forum, you can gradually learn to do it yourself. After some smoothing out for example Wality nibs are not so bad.

Perhaps some of the Indian FPNers can point you to some of the better cheap Indian Pens.

Also check the thread http://www.fountainp...18-2019/page-22

there is a wealth of info in there!

thank you sir for the information it helps many here....well I hope it does at least. Yes sir I agree micromesh is a lifesaver in many cases and sorts many issues on many pens (my case being with my cheap ones which actually forced me back then to look for something to help with issues).

I never faced any issue with wality nibs but then I only ever used 2 so not the best one to say about them but I will really look into the issue of its scratchy nib.

The page link is great help thank you for that sir much appreciated and yes it really has tons of info for many.....who might go a tiny bit high...



#13 Dimy

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 08:48

Camlin Trinity which I found in the closet after looking for it last night...this is third attempt of posting this with pictures last 2 are oddly not getting posted will try with less pictures in this post this time and will see how it goes.

Anyways the pen is tiny without cap, with cap it is a tad bit larger than metropolitan but it is very narrow pen and will be good for small hands and people with small fingers not so much for larger hands. Good for giving to children in my opinion. The pen does post and is OK at it. It will however tip the balance of pen as most weight of pen is in cap, that to at end of cap, while pen itself is very light.

 

PS can anyone tell me how to add images this is 3rd time and I can't seem to be able to get it. It says I am not allowed to use the image extension. Image is JPG file and currently I am trying to copy it from PC and using ctrl+c or drag drop method. Help appreciated.



#14 Dip n Scratch

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 09:39

I had a bad first ED experience with a Wality pen & realised that they needed working on from this Forum.

I tossed a pen that could have been rectified & felt rather foolish about it.

The second Wality was one of the thin examples. It was soon given the nib from a Pilot Tank.

I got some micromesh soon after and a box of Wality nibs to practice on.

Burping is an effect of air inside the pen expanding with the heat from your hand. With a simple ebonite feed you just have to keep the pen pretty full.

I prefer the fatter Wality pens that take the 28x6mm nib & I have no problem swapping nibs.

I particularly like the Acrylic Wality 69 that look like paint splatters or a really freaky Koi Carp.



#15 sansenri

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 17:37

Camlin Trinity which I found in the closet after looking for it last night...this is third attempt of posting this with pictures last 2 are oddly not getting posted will try with less pictures in this post this time and will see how it goes.

Anyways the pen is tiny without cap, with cap it is a tad bit larger than metropolitan but it is very narrow pen and will be good for small hands and people with small fingers not so much for larger hands. Good for giving to children in my opinion. The pen does post and is OK at it. It will however tip the balance of pen as most weight of pen is in cap, that to at end of cap, while pen itself is very light.

 

PS can anyone tell me how to add images this is 3rd time and I can't seem to be able to get it. It says I am not allowed to use the image extension. Image is JPG file and currently I am trying to copy it from PC and using ctrl+c or drag drop method. Help appreciated.

easy (sort of...) use the upload tab at the top of the page

 

on the PC, do this

-top of the page: click the upload tab (a new tab opens called manage uploads)

-click browse

-browse to your image on you HD (pic not larger than 2 Mb otherwise it won't load - before selecting it you can if needed open it in an image modifying app - which needs to be installed on your PC -  and resize it)

-select it and click "open"

-click add image

-when the image loads, scroll to the bottom of the image, right click BBCode, copy

-now go back to your post (it's the previous tab)

-position the cursor where you want your image to show, right click, paste

you're done

before posting, click more reply options, the message will show and you will be able to see if your image has loaded correctly



#16 BaronWulfraed

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 17:42

PS can anyone tell me how to add images this is 3rd time and I can't seem to be able to get it. It says I am not allowed to use the image extension. Image is JPG file and currently I am trying to copy it from PC and using ctrl+c or drag drop method. Help appreciated.

Scroll to the top of the page,

Click "Upload" -- this should open a new tab/window (at least, I get a new tab in Firefox)

Click "Browse"; locate the file on your computer.

Click "Add Image"

 

After the image is uploaded, you should have a preview and, below it, three URL styles (I normally use the top format). Select and <ctrl-c> copy it.

 

Go to the window with the post you want to put the image in...

Click the "monitor" icon (the square with a "tree" landscape showing), <ctrl-v> paste the URL into the pop-up window.

 

I believe having 10+ posts are enough to qualify for posting images.



#17 brokenclay

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 18:32

 

 

PS can anyone tell me how to add images this is 3rd time and I can't seem to be able to get it. It says I am not allowed to use the image extension. Image is JPG file and currently I am trying to copy it from PC and using ctrl+c or drag drop method. Help appreciated.

 

I don't know the specifics, but you need a certain number of days after registering and a certain number of posts to reach the membership level required for being able to post images.



#18 Dimy

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 19:55

Thank you that helps a bunch...I thought I got stuck somewhere and was doing something wrong....well will wait a bit till then will have some writing samples of the pen till then. Now time to check if pen is cleaned....

#19 Dimy

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 08:01

Camlin trinity, pen and nib size comparison with others.

I will be adding a number few pens under Rs 300-400 Range to keep them aligned with ethos of "as cheaply as one can". I will do some research on some and for those which I will have lack of first hand experience I will mention them and would love to hear opinions of others on all of them and also if experience of others differ from what I felt with others. ( Airmail needed micro mesh for many, which was very different from my experience of them). I will also stay away from Micro-mesh and silicon grease as most who this post is targeted at will likely not be into tuning the nibs or applying silicon grease to prevent leaks. If anyone had other pens at such range and I miss ( cos really too many when one gets to it) pls do share your experience with them.

I will try to also add source to get them cos it helps.

 

camlin trinity in hand

nib size comparison to--

From left to right

Trinity,Platinum Preppy, Kanwrite desire 35, Pilot Metropolitan and Lamy safari.combine 1.jpg


Edited by Dimy, 26 June 2020 - 08:06.


#20 Pen-Man

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 20:56

The cheapest fountain pens are BRIL pens Rs 15 each available in some indian online shops  and nowadays from their own website brillindia dot com. Bril pens are very bad but cheapest. Cheapest is 15 costliest is rs 30.

 

 

WHAT ELSE YOU WANT IS YOU LOVE THE WORD  "CHEAP"


Edited by Pen-Man, 26 June 2020 - 21:03.






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