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Sheaffer Javelin and Prelude


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21 replies to this topic

#1 Pariah Zero

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 05:39

Until very recently (as in this week), I've used low-cost pens almost exclusively, so all comments should be seen in that light.

The Sheaffer Javelin comes in four colors: Argent Silver, Cranberry, Midnight Black and Azure. I've got two:


The Sheaffer Prelude comes with several models, mine is a brushed chrome with nickel trim.


All of mine are in a fine nib.

The Javelin and Prelude come with a stainless steel nib. The nib is (at least to my eyes) identical between Sheaffer's Prelude and Javelin, as well as the nib in my first fountain pen - a Sheaffer that I picked up in a university book store for ~$10.

Javelin Materials: The barrel and cap are metal. The nib unit is plastic, with a round, soft rubber 'grip'. The threads for both the nib unit and barrel are plastic. The cap fits very tightly on the pen, requiring a substantial amount of force to remove the cap. At least for the time being, there's no danger of the cap ever coming loose. The cap posts well. Overall, it's a very solid pen.

Prelude Materials: Similar to the Javelin, the Prelude's barrel and cap are metal. Unlike the Javelin, the Prelude's nib unit is a simple gloss black plastic, molded with flat points where the thumb and index finger rest for most writers (I'm not among them). As with the Javelin, the threads for both the nib unit and barrel are in plastic. The cap fits much less tightly on the Prelude than the Javelin, with less force required to work the cap.

Writing: These pens write all feature a nib that looks identical between the two models. It writes fairly well, though it isn't without problems. It may just be the paper I write with, but the nib does seem to pick up its share of paper fiber between the tines. This inevitably affects the performance of the pen - by either drying it out, or making the pen far too wet. Both of my Javelins have been prone to 'dry spells' in which the ink doesn't flow well - sometimes drying the nib out entirely. I've seen this behavior with Skrip Black, Noodler's Old Manhattan Black, and Aurora Black.

That being said, the Sheaffer stainless nib does have some flex to it, which can be used to your advantage when it decides to run 'dry' - adding a bit more pressure to the tines to spread them when pulling towards you seems to help clean out any fibers stuck between the tines, restoring proper function. Because of the small amount of flex, there is a difference between line width with different amounts of pressure.

The nib is about as smooth as a fine point roller ball; it's not silky, but it's not something someone accustomed to ballpoints or rollerballs would reject. There is some scratchiness to the nib, but it's far from sandpaper, and as mentioned, it feels quite a bit like a fine point rollerball. This nib is what convinced me to change from rollerballs to fountain pens a decade ago. (The Javelin and Prelude hasn't been around that long, but the nib at least appears and feels identical).

Truth be told, I was wondering where the 'nail' description of some pens came from until I tried the Lamy Safari. The Safari's 'fine' point is more broad than the Sheaffer's, and the pen glides across the paper with less friction than the Sheaffer. The Safari's nib feels entirely inflexible; the Sheaffer is stiff, but there is some flex to it. I'm sure I can spring the nib in the Sheaffer with a bit more force. I'm not sure it's even possible to spring the Safari.

Conclusions: The Javelin has been my workhorse pen for a few months. It isn't as smooth as a Lamy Safari; the 'fine' Sheaffer nib is narrower than the 'Fine' Safari nib. The Sheaffer nib does have some flexibility that the Safari doesn't have.

The Sheaffer pens are comfortable to write with for several hours at a time, and have been my workhorses for a few months now. The occasional dry spells are an annoyance, but may well be more from the cheap notepad paper I've been writing with than a fault of the pen. The nib is not particularly wet, which no doubt makes the pen feel more 'scratchy' than other nibs.

The Javelin offers a solid, metal-bodied for about the same cost as a plastic Safari.

The Prelude offers a more formal pen for a few dollars more than an AL-Star Safari, which only differs from the plastic safari in its cap and barrel material.

The Sheaffers have a rougher nib with more drag than the Safari, but the nib also offers some flexibility that you don't get in the Safari. These metal Sheaffers seem more durable and have more heft than the plastic Lamy Safari. The styling of both Sheaffer pens is geared to a more formal audience than the Safari, which is targeted at a younger audience with its almost toylike appearance.

While some haven't spoken well of the smoothness of these low-end Sheaffer pens, I find these Sheaffers to be smoother than their rollerball and ballpoint peers, and have more flex in their nib than the well-regarded Lamy Safari.

The Sheaffer Javelin and Prelude are great workhorse pens for those who want an inexpensive pen that is more formal in appearance, or has more flex in the nib than the Lamy Safari family.

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#2 RLTodd

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 16:49

The Prelude and the Javelin use the same nib, it will only differ in plating.

Saying that, the nibs vary all over the place. Mine range from "smooth as glass" to pure (bleep). I've gone through four pens with eleven nibs to get the pens to write well. I am very pleased with what I have finally arrived at.


YMMV

#3 hatherton_wood

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 20:23

Yes if you get a good one the nib on the Pelude takes some beating and I have been lucky with mine. The Javelin nibs are not as well finished and tend to be rougher in my experience. The more expensive looking the trim on the Prelude the better I have found the nib - probably more quality control care taken. I have gold plated and two tone nibs that are excellent.

#4 Pariah Zero

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 22:10

QUOTE(hatherton_wood @ Oct 27 2007, 02:23 PM) View Post
Yes if you get a good one the nib on the Pelude takes some beating and I have been lucky with mine. The Javelin nibs are not as well finished and tend to be rougher in my experience. The more expensive looking the trim on the Prelude the better I have found the nib - probably more quality control care taken. I have gold plated and two tone nibs that are excellent.

you'll notice that my pen (pictured) is identical between the javelin and prelude. I don't like the color of gold much, so I don't have a two tone nib.

#5 randyholhut

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 23:00

Ink also makes a difference in the writing quality. I have one of the original translucent plastic barrel Javelin models, a fine point, that was a mediocre writer. I turned it into an eyedropper filler, put Waterman's Havana Brown ink into it, and it writes like a champ.

Unfortunately, the ED trick won't work with the metal pens, but if you come across a plastic Javelin, it's worth trying.



#6 RLTodd

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 00:18

QUOTE(randyholhut @ Oct 27 2007, 04:00 PM) View Post
Ink also makes a difference in the writing quality. I have one of the original translucent plastic barrel Javelin models, a fine point, that was a mediocre writer. .....


That is what my Javelin is. One of the brown translucent plastic ones. The nib was not satisfactory so I swapped it out for a good Prelude gold plated version of the same thing. Now it is a very good writer and a extremely comfortable pen to use.

My Preludes are also very nice writers but just a tiny bit on the heavy side. Between the two designs, I grab for the Javelin first. YMMV
YMMV

#7 Bradley

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 00:51

I like the Sheaffer Preludes and own four, two medium and two broad. The Prelude mediums are more akin to the Parker fines, in my humble opinion. You might try the medium nib, as no doubt you will find it smoother while still on the fine side.

I don't regard the Sheaffer Prelude as that "low-end" of a pen, myself. It is a well-made, mostly metal pen, and most models retail for just under $100 (although you can certainly get a better price), and I don't necessarily consider this cheap.

Also, I believe that you will find with time that the nibs become smoother and wetter. This has been my observation. I often use a Prelude as my daily writer, because -- in addition to writing well -- it is very durable.

I believe the Sheaffer Prelude is an underrated pen. I know of another member on this board who really likes the Prelude, although his name escapes me at the moment. Perhaps it is Mr. Wood.

Thank you for your time.
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#8 PenTieRun

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 01:34

My Prelude (Fine point) has such a smooth nib you almost don't feel like you're writing. I thought I hit the fountain pen lottery. The nib does leak quite a bit on top (and this can build up in the cap if you're not careful) but the ink always flows smoothly from the tip. Odd. Anyway, the smoothness elides all other concerns (nib feeling too narrow, cheap plastic grip). Overall, it's a great writer, and the converter seems to hold more ink than most. Am I right on this? Maybe it's the fineness of the nib that conserves ink.

#9 Bradley

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 02:33

I just want to say, PenTieRun, that I love your picture of Henry James.
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#10 Pariah Zero

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 03:06

QUOTE(Bradley @ Oct 27 2007, 06:51 PM) View Post
I don't regard the Sheaffer Prelude as that "low-end" of a pen, myself. It is a well-made, mostly metal pen, and most models retail for just under $100 (although you can certainly get a better price), and I don't necessarily consider this cheap.


I didn't mean to imply that the Javelin or Prelude are a "low end" pen. But the Javelin is Sheaffer's lowest cost fountain pen currently in production (that I'm aware of), and the Chrome/Nickel prelude I reviewed is the 'cheapest' of the Preludes.

The Javelin and Prelude aren't at the same end of Sheaffer's line as the Legacy Heritage or Valor, or the 'limited edition' pens, which is all I meant to say - that they are at the low end of Sheaffer's line, not that they are low-end pens from Sheaffer.

#11 PenTieRun

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 15:41

QUOTE(Bradley @ Oct 27 2007, 10:33 PM) View Post
I just want to say, PenTieRun, that I love your picture of Henry James.


Thanks! If you're looking for a great new book (novel) on James, then check out "Lions at Lamb House " by Edwin Yoder, a story of an imagined meeting of James and Freud in Sussex in the early part of the 20th century. Great story, but the voice the writer uses for James in some of the letters seems rather fluffy. The encounter reveals a playful side of James, though, that many people aren't (weren't) aware of.

#12 CharlieB

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 17:06

I love the higher end Sheaffer pens (Connaisseur, Legacy) but think that the lower end pens (Prelude, Javelin) are (bleep). The last decent low end pen made by Sheaffer was the stainless steel Targa.
CharlieB

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#13 gp42

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 06:20

I have a fine nib. It wrote rather scratchy with the Sheaffer ink. I bought a converter for it and tried it with Aurora blue and it is much improved. It lays a thin, wet line, starts up right away, and while not buttery smooth, isn't a nail either. For $20 I think it's a good deal, and it's the pen I travel with.


#14 Goodwhiskers

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 07:14

I sort of liked my Javelin with the fine nib (if I remember the size correctly) until I destroyed it in a cleaning experiment. It skipped annoyingly on more absorbent paper (cheap writing pad) with the saturated Levenger Cobalt, but it performed better with the new Skrip Black. The nib also picked up paper fibers often. I decided not to replace the pen.

I like how my more recent Sheaffer Prelude, with the two-tone, engraved fine nib, feels and writes. It is smooth and predictable. It only rarely picks up paper fibers. Unfortunately, the cap's seal is not as airtight as the seals of other pens in the price range, and the pen makes every ink I've tried in it collect and stay on the top side of the nib (or should I say it makes them all creep?):

new Skrip Blue
Pilot Red (Japanese market 30 ml bottle)
Noodler's standard (not waterproof at all) Red
new Skrip Red
1:1 red mix of N's and Skrip
new Skrip Turquoise
N's Brown (the only creeping-by-definition ink on this list)
Namiki/Pilot Black

My Prelude also drips little drops of ink from the side of the nib when I lay the pen down sideways with anything less than the most delicate touch. This puts ink inside the cap or, when the cap is off, onto unwanted spots on paper.

I use my Prelude only for markup.

#15 wolfen42

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 15:07

At the moment I have two pens I'm happy with and am using Diamine Woodland Green with them.
My Pelikan 200 and my Shaeffer Prelude.

Of course it probably helps that I bought my prelude from Richard Binder so it came pre-adjusted...

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#16 dpmahon

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 15:58

QUOTE(Pariah Zero @ Oct 27 2007, 12:39 AM) View Post
Until very recently (as in this week), I've used low-cost pens almost exclusively, so all comments should be seen in that light.

The Sheaffer Javelin comes in four colors: Argent Silver, Cranberry, Midnight Black and Azure. I've got two:


The Sheaffer Prelude comes with several models, mine is a brushed chrome with nickel trim.


All of mine are in a fine nib.

The Javelin and Prelude come with a stainless steel nib. The nib is (at least to my eyes) identical between Sheaffer's Prelude and Javelin, as well as the nib in my first fountain pen - a Sheaffer that I picked up in a university book store for ~$10.

Javelin Materials: The barrel and cap are metal. The nib unit is plastic, with a round, soft rubber 'grip'. The threads for both the nib unit and barrel are plastic. The cap fits very tightly on the pen, requiring a substantial amount of force to remove the cap. At least for the time being, there's no danger of the cap ever coming loose. The cap posts well. Overall, it's a very solid pen.

Prelude Materials: Similar to the Javelin, the Prelude's barrel and cap are metal. Unlike the Javelin, the Prelude's nib unit is a simple gloss black plastic, molded with flat points where the thumb and index finger rest for most writers (I'm not among them). As with the Javelin, the threads for both the nib unit and barrel are in plastic. The cap fits much less tightly on the Prelude than the Javelin, with less force required to work the cap.

Writing: These pens write all feature a nib that looks identical between the two models. It writes fairly well, though it isn't without problems. It may just be the paper I write with, but the nib does seem to pick up its share of paper fiber between the tines. This inevitably affects the performance of the pen - by either drying it out, or making the pen far too wet. Both of my Javelins have been prone to 'dry spells' in which the ink doesn't flow well - sometimes drying the nib out entirely. I've seen this behavior with Skrip Black, Noodler's Old Manhattan Black, and Aurora Black.

That being said, the Sheaffer stainless nib does have some flex to it, which can be used to your advantage when it decides to run 'dry' - adding a bit more pressure to the tines to spread them when pulling towards you seems to help clean out any fibers stuck between the tines, restoring proper function. Because of the small amount of flex, there is a difference between line width with different amounts of pressure.

The nib is about as smooth as a fine point roller ball; it's not silky, but it's not something someone accustomed to ballpoints or rollerballs would reject. There is some scratchiness to the nib, but it's far from sandpaper, and as mentioned, it feels quite a bit like a fine point rollerball. This nib is what convinced me to change from rollerballs to fountain pens a decade ago. (The Javelin and Prelude hasn't been around that long, but the nib at least appears and feels identical).

Truth be told, I was wondering where the 'nail' description of some pens came from until I tried the Lamy Safari. The Safari's 'fine' point is more broad than the Sheaffer's, and the pen glides across the paper with less friction than the Sheaffer. The Safari's nib feels entirely inflexible; the Sheaffer is stiff, but there is some flex to it. I'm sure I can spring the nib in the Sheaffer with a bit more force. I'm not sure it's even possible to spring the Safari.

Conclusions: The Javelin has been my workhorse pen for a few months. It isn't as smooth as a Lamy Safari; the 'fine' Sheaffer nib is narrower than the 'Fine' Safari nib. The Sheaffer nib does have some flexibility that the Safari doesn't have.

The Sheaffer pens are comfortable to write with for several hours at a time, and have been my workhorses for a few months now. The occasional dry spells are an annoyance, but may well be more from the cheap notepad paper I've been writing with than a fault of the pen. The nib is not particularly wet, which no doubt makes the pen feel more 'scratchy' than other nibs.

The Javelin offers a solid, metal-bodied for about the same cost as a plastic Safari.

The Prelude offers a more formal pen for a few dollars more than an AL-Star Safari, which only differs from the plastic safari in its cap and barrel material.

The Sheaffers have a rougher nib with more drag than the Safari, but the nib also offers some flexibility that you don't get in the Safari. These metal Sheaffers seem more durable and have more heft than the plastic Lamy Safari. The styling of both Sheaffer pens is geared to a more formal audience than the Safari, which is targeted at a younger audience with its almost toylike appearance.

While some haven't spoken well of the smoothness of these low-end Sheaffer pens, I find these Sheaffers to be smoother than their rollerball and ballpoint peers, and have more flex in their nib than the well-regarded Lamy Safari.

The Sheaffer Javelin and Prelude are great workhorse pens for those who want an inexpensive pen that is more formal in appearance, or has more flex in the nib than the Lamy Safari family.

Many have observed how great the Sheaffer school and No-Nonsense writing instuments work. The feed on the Prelude is the same as on these other pens. I look at the Prelude as a "Deluxe No-Nonsense Pen". Really like the Stainless one I have.

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#17 DeaconKC

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 20:39

Just got an Argent Silver Javelin in the mail today from Pendemonium. Medium nib, got the converter, flushed it out and tried it with PR American Blue. WOW! A great combination that writes wonderfully. I am looking forward to this pen as a daily user.
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#18 simonrob

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 18:51

QUOTE (hatherton_wood @ Oct 27 2007, 08:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes if you get a good one the nib on the Pelude takes some beating and I have been lucky with mine. The Javelin nibs are not as well finished and tend to be rougher in my experience. The more expensive looking the trim on the Prelude the better I have found the nib - probably more quality control care taken. I have gold plated and two tone nibs that are excellent.


One way to avoid nib inconsistency may be to get one from pendemonium, especially if it's been reground - I bought a Prelude and a Javelin from them (cursive italic and left oblique respectively). Neither is my favorite pen to look at, but I doubt any firm-nibbed pen I've encountered writes better.

Simon

#19 DeaconKC

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 03:09

Quick update on the Javelin. It has become, in the last month, my workhorse pen. My daily user that has displaced a Pelikan in my shirt pocket as my "go anywhere' pen. Smooth, well balanced and very reliable, it is an excellent little workhorse.
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#20 TallDarkStranger

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 05:30

I have two Javelins; A Cranberry (medium nib) and an Azure (fine nib). Both are excellent writers, with the medium being smoother than the fine. The fine is more akin to an XF of competitors and is hence "scratchier" as expected. I absolutely love the finish of both pens, and they write well too, never skipping or suffering from starting probmens. My only complaint is that the medium nib suffers from nib creep; it is always stained, but doesn't ever leak.






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