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Duke 209 calligraphy pen


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#1 troglokev

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 09:31

After reading another review of asian calligraphy pens, I thought I'd try one. I went for the Duke 209, purchased from His Nibs. It seems to have disappeared from his website, however you might be able to find one somewhere else.

The pen is a cheap and cheerful chinese pen, made from stainless steel, and using an aerometric-style press-bar fill system. It appears well-made, and fit and finish is very good for the price.

The nib is the thing that differentiates these from a normal pen. The end is upturned, and the iridium is quite flat on the bottom side. It is this that gives the brush-like variation to the pen, provided that you use it properly.

IMG_0114.JPG

Writing with the pen is somewhat finicky. If you hold the pen too steeply, it provides a thin and scratchy line. If you hold the pen too low, you get a broad-brush splodge, without the variation that you are looking for. Somewhere in the middle, you find a place where the brush-like variation is available. You need a pad handy to write a few 永 kanji on, to find the right spot before writing for real.

To show what I mean, here's a comparison between a normal fountain pen, the Duke 209, and a Pentel brush pen.

IMG_0118.JPG

The Duke provides a nice brush-like variation, but a brush is still better. The Mont Blanc 149 EF is a great pen, but this is not its forte.

In terms of value for money, it's a bit hard to evaluate. It's something of a specialist: if you have a use for it, for $25 it represents pretty good value. If you don't need a pen for asian calligraphy, it's hard to see a use for it.


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#2 wvbeetlebug

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 11:47

I don't write Asian calligraphy, but I'd say that for someone who does this might be a good bet for them. How is the grip of the pen?

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#3 troglokev

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 13:49

QUOTE (wvbeetlebug @ Sep 20 2008, 09:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't write Asian calligraphy, but I'd say that for someone who does this might be a good bet for them. How is the grip of the pen?


Well, the section is polished and the barrel is brushed stainless, so it's pretty shiny. It's also very much on the thin side for me (but I normally write with the MB 149, so my judgement of what constitutes thin is somewhat skewed). Nevertheless, I don't find it particularly slippery to write with.

They do make a similar pen with a more normal nib for a similar amount of money, but I don't have one of those to test.

#4 lovemy51

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 08:12

thanx for the review. i've been thinking about getting a chinese calligraphy nib like yours and use it with Noodlers firefly highlighter ink!!!

Edited by lovemy51, 21 September 2008 - 08:13.


#5 troglokev

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 08:39

Thanks. It took me a bit of experimentation to figure out how to write with it, hence the review.

These are easy to find for not much money, but information about how to write with them is somewhat harder. From my attempts, what you are trying to do is get a very small angle between the bent part of the nib and the paper, so that a bit more pressure will increase the contact area with the paper. This is what gives the brush-like variation, but it only really happens at a particular angle: you have to adapt to the pen. That's why I suggest having a practice pad handy. It takes me a few goes to get it right.

Edited by troglokev, 21 September 2008 - 08:39.







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