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Haolilai 801


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#1 kadymae

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 23:35

I am largely utilitarian when it comes to my pens. I don't care how pretty it is -- does it write well? Is it smooth enough for me to use for page after page of longhanding a story or article idea when I can't get to a computer and/or my wrists are hurting too much type for extended periods?

embarrassed_smile.gif I have to admit however, "the pretty" is what drew my eye repeatedly to this pen when I first stumbled across it at isellpens.com




Simply put, this is an amazingly beautiful pen. I love the way the ribbons of black snake their way through the slightly translucent, shimmering orange resin. So evocative of a tiger.

Despite the mixed reviews in the thread that followed the initial writeup on this pen, I decided to roll the dice and order one. Everybody agreed that though the lacquer on the grip may chip, that some of the brass plate flakes away, that the piston converter quality is iffy, the nib wrote smoothly and the ink flow was good.

Yes, I had a quality control issue of my own -- the pen arrived with a broken piston converter. The bottom seal was cracked. Todd at isellpens.com promptly shipped out a new one, and I've had trouble free writing ever since. This is my home office daily driver.

Like most asian nibs, this medium is on the finer end of the spectrum. Its glide across paper is as smooth and effortless as my Pelikano Jr. And while I wouldn't consider it particularly flexible, I can tell it's not nigh-bulletproof like my Lamys.

It's noticibly bottom-heavy, especially if you prefer to write with the cap unposted (I do), but not so much that it impedes the writing process.

I'd bring it to work, or get another to use at work, but a few "vicious gravity surges" have convinced me that only Varsitys, Safaris, and low end Pelikans will accompany me there. Todd at isellpens.com no longer lists this pen on his website, so a replacement/repair would be hard to come by (and I would probably cry and be extremely mad at myself if I dropped this pen and bent the nib).

The cap snaps really tightly with a loud clicking noise. I prefer snap on caps to screw caps, and with this pen, I have no fear of it ever coming uncapped at the worst possible moment. (As happened with one of my Safaris the other day -- I had it clipped to my notebook and it fell out of the cap. Tip down -- of course -- onto bare cement at work. Still writes fine.)

The upshot --

If you see one of these knocking around on "e(vil)Bay", at a pen show, or your favorite "pusher" starts stocking them, consider taking a shot and buying one. I know I'm glad I did; best $45 I've spent in a long time.

And I'll leave you now with a few shots of it resting in the velvet lined box it came in. Really, it's so pretty -- especially when sunlight hits it -- that I feel inspired.





Edited by kadymae, 08 December 2007 - 23:40.

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#2 lmederos

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 02:30

I have a Haolilai (different model) and must admit they are smooth writers. And unlike the Hero or Wingsung pens, the nib looks more like European nibs do (two-tone, nice smooth finish, etc.).

I have thought of getting an 801 but it is more than I would probably spend on a pen like this. Thanks for the review.
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#3 lovemy51

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 07:10

congrats kadymae!

i was sad to see that isellpens doesn't carry that model any more!!

i'm a fan of haolilai myself. i got two of their models but i dont remember the series number of one of them. it is almost like yours in size and looks but it is red and gold and it's made out of laquer over brass, i think... and the nib is not gold.

the other one is the 611, chrome cap with black laquer barrel, very elegant!!!! ... this one writes more like a true medium, i have inked with PR DC supershow blue... i love the way it writes.

they're very smooth writers. isellpens doesn't have these any more either.

anyways, enjoy your pen, it's quite beautiful!
best,
peter paul

#4 lmederos

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 07:34

QUOTE(lovemy51 @ Dec 19 2007, 11:10 PM) View Post
congrats kadymae!

i was sad to see that isellpens doesn't carry that model any more!!

i'm a fan of haolilai myself. i got two of their models but i dont remember the series number of one of them. it is almost like yours in size and looks but it is red and gold and it's made out of laquer over brass, i think... and the nib is not gold.

the other one is the 611, chrome cap with black laquer barrel, very elegant!!!! ... this one writes more like a true medium, i have inked with PR DC supershow blue... i love the way it writes.

they're very smooth writers. isellpens doesn't have these any more either.

anyways, enjoy your pen, it's quite beautiful!
best,
peter paul



I think you have the exact 2 Haolilais I have; the red is very nice with a very smooth nib. Although I like the black one, the nib has given me some problems with alignment.


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#5 lovemy51

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 08:21

hello luis,

the only issue i have with the black one is when i cap it... one has to push and twist at the same time to get it to snap.

the cap on the red one use to be very tight, like kadymaed mentioned about hers... it has gotten better though.

did you have any of these issues?

not that i mind too much, like i mentioned before i think these writing instruments are both beautiful and good writers!!!



#6 Maja

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 20:21

"vicious gravity surges"

I love that phrase! laugh.gif laugh.gif

Thanks for the great review, Kadymae. I have a Haolilai 801 that I got from an eBay vendor a few months ago. It's an excellent writer with a nice soft nib. I love the patterns on the pen, too---it's a real looker smile.gif
(issues with the black section rubbing against the inner cap liner aside).

Edited by Maja, 20 December 2007 - 20:21.

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#7 FrankB

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 13:17

Thank you for a good review, kadymae. Somehow, I missed this one until today.

I agree that focusing on the writing properties of a pen is important, but "the pretty" is important, too. Pretty has drawn me to many a good pen, and I so much enjoy having the combination of a good writing pen and aesthetic enjoyment.

I have not had awfully good luck with Chinese pens, so I did not get an 801. Your review reminds me that I might have made a mistake.






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