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  1. truthpil

    Kaco Sepia Informal Ink Review

    Here's a brief review of an ink from another Chinese manufacturer. Their inks are some of the most expensive Chinese-made inks in China, but this one is too dry for most of my pens. Please pardon any grammar mistakes or nonsensical remarks. I wrote this all at once without stopping to think. SDG
  2. "My First Love" Several years ago, a black version of this pen was sold in the US as the "College Cartridge Pen". I had discovered fountain pens in my freshman year of college with the Sheaffer Reaktor from Walmart. It was night and day compared to the Bics I used up to that point. This was night and day compared to the Reaktor - the nib was buttery smooth, the feed even and reliable, and it was a joy to write with. For more than half a decade and most of a pen worth of replacement parts, it was with me in my pocket nonstop. I put most of a bottle of Sheaffer Turquoise through that thing. When I sat on it and broke it, I was crushed. (Interestingly, the screw-on cap protects it nicely; I had somehow managed to unscrew it in my pocket before I could break the pen) So was it. I spent an inordinate amount of time and money tracking down the last few of these left on the market, and absolutely did NOT regret doing so. Now I find they're available at Hobby Lobby, for half the price I paid for my first two, and I'm ecstatic. This is probably the best cheap pen on the market. I highly recommend an ink cartridge converter and buying ink by the bottle - you'll like this thing enough that you'll find any excuse to write with it, and if you do any appreciable amount of writing before, well… Also, there are far more shades and colors of ink available in bottles than cartridges; you're sure to find one that suits you. If you prefer the convenience of cartridges, Waterman long cartridges will fit, one at a time; short international cartridges will fit with room for a spare. Cheap generic ink cartridges are available on eBay in bulk for a price that you won't mind paying; they're not quite as cheap as bottled ink, but the difference is pretty small. While this can be considered a "gateway" fountain pen, it stands up to the more expensive pens you may be tempted to upgrade to nicely. Because the cap screws on, it does not dry out quickly; it can be left in a desk as an occasional pen. Because it's so cheap, it makes a wonderful gift for those considering trying a fountain pen, or a loaner you won't cry about losing. You want this pen - trust me. Maybe more than one.
  3. angusj101

    Bril Inks

    Hi all, I was wondering if you had any experience with the Bril line of inks, do you recommend them and would you use it in your pens.
  4. Review of the Hero 711 A gold nibbed offering from the brand behind all the Parker Clones you know and love… or hate. The Shanghai Hero Pen Company is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting fountain pen brands in the world. They do not make the highest quality pens, and they are almost never recommended as a “first” pen for beginners. They make gold nibbed offerings which are compared only to steel nibbed cousins. Hero pens are either loved or hated, and their discussion always brings some who believe they are a great value for the cost and some who believe they are foolish, low quality knockoffs who shouldn’t even be considered. I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Their low-end pens are just that, low-end, and are interesting for nib-grinding experiments, cheap giveaways, and that’s about it. Hero’s high-end, gold nibbed offerings, however, warrant some consideration on their own merits as real, useful, enjoyable pens. The Hero 711 is one of these gold-nibbed Hero’s, and despite some fixable flaws I think it is a very interesting, compelling, and ultimately worthwhile pen. Due to the recent discussions about reviews and some of the flaws with them, along with my own thoughts on the nature of this pen, I will not be providing number scores with this review, because I believe that using quantitative observations for such a pen would introduce even more subjectivism. I will only be providing my own qualitative observations, with the hope that you will be able to draw your own conclusions from them. Initial Observations/First ImpressionsThe Hero 711 arrived, shockingly, in a box. I say shockingly because every other Hero I’d ever ordered had arrived in an envelope, so I wasn’t expecting much in terms of packaging. Inside the box, to my great surprise, was another box! Although it probably matters very little to most of you, the Hero 711 did indeed come with its own Green 70’s-style case, branded with the Hero logo. Once I opened that second box I got to finally see the pen. Small. That’s the first word that came to my mind. The pen is rather small. I uncapped the pen to find an even smaller nib, smaller than I would expect even for a small pen. It isn’t pocket pen small, in fact it’s nearly the exact length of a Noodler’s Konrad, but it is much thinner. Also, the Konrad comes with a big, mighty #6 nib, the minuscule thing on the 711 just adds to feeling that the Hero is a shrunk down version of a pen that was always intended to be slightly larger. An initial view of the capped Hero 711 Build Quality/Feel in the HandDespite being small the pen is not light. The barrel is painted, not made of black plastic, and the entire pen is made of metal. This made the pen feel of higher quality than any other Hero I’ve tried before I even had a chance to put nib to paper. Despite the problems I will get to in a later section, despite the frustrations the pen gave me, the one thing I never once had a problem with was the build quality. It really is a very nicely made pen. The cap is shiny, polished steel. It itself weighs more than an entire Hero 616 yet it doesn’t feel overweight. The clip is springy, durable, and just entirely excellent. The cap closes onto the pen with a satisfying click, and the only cap I know that’s more satisfying to put on is the Pilot Prera’s. (Side note: I LOVE the cap on the Pilot Prera. I could literally sit there clicking the cap on and off for hours on end.) The Hero 711 with its cap. The metal threads of the section screw nicely into the metal threads of the barrel, and the pen feels very sturdy. My one complaint with the pen body is that the section is rather slippery, and gathers fingerprints easily. Pen manufacturers, if you’re reading this, which you almost certainly aren’t, please stop making pens with chrome sections. Chrome sections are just the worst. Everything else on the pen’s body, however, is excellent, and the 711 has the unique distinction of being the most well-made Chinese pen I’ve ever held. A profile view of the 711. Nib/Writing PerformanceThis is where things get a little dicey for the Hero. The 711 comes with a 10k solid gold nib, albeit a tiny one. I was very excited to see just what the folks in Shanghai could do with gold, as I had in the past enjoyed the steel nibs on their cheaper offerings. For the first few lines, just after being dipped in ink, the Hero was brilliant. Smooth, dark, medium line, an overall enjoyable writing experience. Then the problems began. Within a few lines the Hero’s nib showed its true nature, that of a horrible, horrible hard starter. Nearly every word would have half of its first letter missing, and although it was smooth after that, it was an immense irritation. The problem was temporarily solved by flooding the feed, and that fix lasted for a couple lines at best, but it just isn’t practical to have to flood the feed every twenty seconds when you write. (I have a feeling I wouldn’t have been a pen lover in the era of only dip pens). So, the 711 was banished to the pits of my desk drawer. Several months, tens of pen acquisitions, and the purchase of a loupe and some micromesh later, I remembered the little gold-nibbed Chinese wonder sitting in my desk drawer. I diagnosed the pen with a case of “Baby’s bottom”, and sorted it out with micromesh rather quickly. Now, the pen is a wonderful, smooth writer, and I have not had any issues with skipping or hard starting, nor have I had to flood the feed. Despite being made of gold, the nib is a nail, and there is no line variation whatsoever. The nib on this pen almost made it unusable, but with a little adjustment it can be an enjoyable writing experience. A close up of the nib of the Hero 711. Filling System/MaintenanceThis is always my least favorite part of a review for these types of pens. It’s a cartridge converter pen. It comes with a converter, which works. The pen can be flushed with the converter or a bulb filler, which also works. Not much else to say here. Moving on… CostFor the excellent build quality of their high-end pen, a 10k nib, and a nicely made box/carrying case, the folks at Hero charge an immense, wait for it… $16. That’s it. $16. For a new, gold nibbed pen, this is an immense bargain. Yes, there are vintage 45’s for cheaper if you shop around, and yes, the pen didn’t technically work at first, but it is a bargain regardless. If you don’t mind using micromesh a little bit (and that’s even if my pen wasn’t an unfortunate mistake that doesn’t represent the norm), the pen is a good, gold nib on a well-built pen for under $20! The Hero 711 posted. Would I recommend the pen?Only if you have small hands. Despite the build quality, despite the (now) excellent gold nib, the pen will likely not get much use from me. I have rather large hands, as I mentioned before, and the Hero is uncomfortable for me to use for long periods of time. I have lent the pen to people with smaller hands, however, who found the pen very comfortable. So, if you have small hands and a bit of micromesh, then yes, I would absolutely recommend this pen. There is excellent build quality and once tuned the nib really is enjoyable. It has been low-maintenance, the converter it comes with works well, and it is durable enough to take around town and cheap enough to not be an immense tragedy if lost. This pen did have some problems, but ultimately I think it was more than worth the price I paid for it. The higher end Hero’s really can be nice pens at bargain prices, and we shouldn’t let the low quality of their cheaper cousins delegitimatize them.
  5. I got this, along with a rollerball(which .i could get a refill for and use, if I wanted to....it's been used, the fountain pen had not)for very little....can't remember exactly, but certainly under £10 Well, the pen writes beautifully....smooth, glides over the paper, using a universal cartridge. Heavy, which I like. No idea what it's made of, but actually feels like stone, or cement: it has a logo, which is EL Business services So I suspect it was a corporate gift. Must be from a while back, as the nib says "Iridium point W. Germany" So, has anyone else ever got a nameless, brandless, slightly odd pen, for not a lot of cash, and found it to be a pretty good one? Alex
  6. This is the third part of a series of reviews I’m doing on Chinese Boss inks. So far I’ve found this brand of ink to be the most prevalent in China, but totally unknown in the West. They are great cheap inks and all are scented as well. Boss Enterprise “Laoban” ink (not to be confused with the Boss line of inks made by Ostrich in Tianjin) is produced in Guiyang by Guizhou Boss Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. More information about the company can be found here [http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/gzboss/companyinfo/Guizhou-Boss-Enterprise-Guiyang-Boss-Chemical-Industry-Co-Ltd-.html] and their descriptions of their inks here [http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/gzboss/product-detailsxmJCnEToQlW/China-Handwriting-Ink.html]. Boss inks are available in the following standard colors: 1. Black 2. Carbon Black 3. Blue-Black 4. Blue 5. Red Close up of ink comparisons taken in natural light: Close up comparing Boss Carbon Black and Noodler’s Black (B = Boss, N = Noodler’s): As you can see, it's completely waterproof: Boss Carbon Black is deep, dark and permanent. It also flows well and lays an excellent line. The only drawback to this ink what's typical for carbon pigmented inks: its ability to stain refilled cartridges or converters and potential clogging if left to dry in the pen. This ink requires regular use and cleaning of whatever pen it is in. If you need a decent permanent black and can find this ink for sale, it’s worth your consideration. Boss inks are only 4 RMB (US$0.62) per 52ml bottle in China. Thanks for reading!
  7. Hi Everyone, Just wanted to say that for those of you looking for quality copy/looseleaf paper the Double A paper sold in Amazon is incredibly smooth and reasonably priced (35$ per case). As a student I needed a cheap solution for looseleaf so I printed the college ruled template (found on Incompetech website) on it and you can even print and write on both sides (very little shadow)
  8. Hi guys, I'm looking for paper that is lined and could be classified as "school use". My only complain with my current composition books is that they bleed and feather the heck out of me. It didn't originally bother me, but eventually it got so bad that I went back to ballpoints for a while. Another major concern is that I'm not a fancy person, I go through paper very quickly so I don't want to get the expensive paper like Rhodia or some other fancy brand. So any suggestions?
  9. Hi, folks! I just joined here and decided to make a small post which might act as an introduction. A month ago I finished off with my undergraduate studies and didn't have much to do before I go abroad for my Master's studies next January. My handwriting, which has always been cursive needed some serious improvement and hence I decided to do just that. The shop near my place had a pretty cheap fountain pen, the Flair Inky Executive which cost me Rs 50 ($ 0.75). It came with two cartridges and I decided to make the most out of them before trying out any other ink. As soon as I started writing, I realized the pen had a medium nib and my handwriting was never legible unless written with an extra fine nib. I couldn't return the pen so I decided to play along with it for a while. I tried to follow some of the rules of the Spencer script which resulted in a minor improvement in my handwriting. In my pursuit to improve my writing, I came to know about italic nibs and the line variations they have to offer. After a lot of fooling around on the internet, I decided that I should grind my round-nibbed Inky to an italic nib. I had a small block of granite laying around and began grinding the tip of the nib. I never really expected any results but it turns out, that I did manage to do something to the nib. Now as it stands, it's not an italic nib, but one could argue it's almost a stub and surprisingly enough, it isn't as scratchy as I imagined it would become. A stub nibbed FP here in my city would cost me around 4 times the cost of the Flair Inky that I used. I observed that after grinding, the lines have become much finer and I do get a bit of line variation. I am still trying to improve my handwriting every day (been at it for 4 days now). I am posting some images of the pen and a sample of my writing in it. This is the nib after grinding, not sure one can make out much of it since I took the pictures with my phone camera. Finally here is a sample of my ugly handwriting using the grounded nib. Comments, views and suggestions are most welcome! Cheers!
  10. phillieskjk

    Jetpens Chibi 2 Review

    The Jetpens Chibi 2 is the second iteration of the pen marketplace’s homegrown fountain pen. It features a steel nib, a colorless demonstrator body, and a cartridge convertor filling system. The Chibi 2 retails for $2.99, and is available only at Jetpens. ​A view of the nib of Chibi.​​ First Impressions (6/10) I bought this pen to push me over the free shipping limit on my Jetpens order, and I actually forgot that I had ordered it until it arrived. It is an unassuming pen, pretty much the definition of a “pocket pen”, and I set it aside for later. The pen came with a black ink cartridge in the barrel, which is always nice. The capped Chibi​​Appearance (7/10) The demonstrator pen is decently attractive for what it is, but it couldn’t compete with the likes of a TWISBI or a Pelikan demonstrator. The pen has a clear feed, so you can see the ink flow into it. The nib is small and steel, marked with “Iridium Point Germany.” The pen has a rounded, clear plastic clip with “Jetpens” written on it. The Chibi Posted Design/Size/Weight (10/10) Jetpens really nailed this in my opinion. In the second iteration of the Chibi, they were able to pin down exactly what a “pocket pen” should be. The pen is small, (3 7/8 inches uncapped, 4 1/2 inches capped, 5 3/8 inches posted) but easily usable when posted, and is so light you don’t even notice that you have something in your pocket. It is cheap enough to take anywhere, and feels sturdy enough to be taken anywhere. The barrel and section of the Chibi, separated. Nib (8/10) The nib is a fairly standard steel nib. The nib is marketed as Fine by Jetpens, but I found mine to be a little bit on the wide side, a barely noticeable amount wider than my Pilot Vanishing Point M Nib. The nib is a teensy bit dry, but there is still ample ink flow, and the pen does not skip at all when writing quickly. The nib is mostly smooth, but you can feel some feedback now and then. It’s a nail, so don’t expect anything in the flex department. Filling System (N/A) It’s a cartridge. It works. You can’t fit any convertor I tried into it. Not much else to say here. Cost and Value (10/10) This pen is a great value at $2.99, especially if you need to reach that free shipping line like I did. It compares favorably to pens like the Pilot Petit and the Platinum Preppy, its two main competitors, and unlike them accepts international cartridges. If you need a pocket pen, or a cheap pen to keep in your glove compartment, this one fits the bill nicely. Conclusion (8/10) The pen is a great value, but it has some flaws. It isn’t going to turn any heads when you pull it out, for instance, and it won’t accept a convertor. Despite this, it’s a neat little pen that’s well worth the price, and I would recommend trying it out. If you hate it, you could always give it away to a newcomer to the Fountain Pen world, it’ll still be many times better than the best ball-point. (In my opinion, obviously not a fact, don’t mean to insult any ball-point fans out there). ​
  11. Fellow Australians (and co-interested citizens of the world), In the short time that I have returned to the fountain pen game, it has become abundantly clear that we Australians are at a particular disadvantage when it comes to sourcing fountain pens, inks and supplies at a reasonable price which we can all afford (particularly considering the current value of the Australian dollar against the US dollar). As such, I have decided it would be useful for those who, like myself, are having difficulties in this regard to have a list of suppliers we can go to. It's particularly hard to source waterproof and premium inks at a good price. Depending on the brand however, this may or may not be a problem. For instance if your after Jinhao's the cheapest option is generally eBay, although the shipping takes a long time from China. Our brethren in the People's Republic really must do something about their postal services. Anyway, if you're after pens from brands like: - Twsbi; - Pilot; - Platinum; - Kaweco; - Moteverde; - Pelikan; - Blackstone; - Lamy; and so on and so forth Or inks from brands like: - Diamine; - J. Herbin; - Faber Castell; - Pelikan; - Pilot; - Waterman; - Rober Oster Signature; - Blackstone; - Platinum; - Caran D'Ache; - Lamy; and so on and so forth Then the following suppliers will be of assistance to you. These are in no particular order, but websites are first, followed by eBay sellers. Websites A special mention to user Drone for introducing me to the Singapore based sites, and my thanks once again for their assistance. 1. www.overjoyed.com.sg These guys are brilliant, firstly because they display all their prices in Australian dollars automatically (or in your local currency, wherever you live), and secondly because shipping is generally free and only takes about 1 week. They supply popular pen brands like those mentioned above, as well as ink, notepads and other supplies. Certainly for inks like Diamine and pens like Twsbi and Pelikan, their prices are the best I have come across so far as an Australian buyer. Same goes for Pilot Iroshijuko inks. Fountain Pen Inks: http://www.overjoyed.com.sg/lifestyle/fine-writing/ink.html?p=1 Fountain Pens: http://www.overjoyed.com.sg/lifestyle/fine-writing/fountain-pen.html 2. aws.straitspen.com/shop These guys supply fountain pens and inks as well, but have a more limited range than the above site, in addition to other products. Prices are very good but they seem to generally charge for shipping. For instance when I inquired about shipping for the Twsbi Vac 700, I was told it would be about $17 AUD. However, they do generally charge Australian customers in Singapore dollars, which are roughly the same value as Australian dollars, so this is a big advantage. I imagine the shipping is not so bad if you order multiple items. 3. justwrite.com.au So here's a local site which sells pens, inks (such as Blackstone) and TUNING SUPPLIES! You can get a complete kit for around $18.00 delivered here: http://justwrite.com.au/Fountain-Pen-Tuning-Kit. Disclaimer that using those products to tune your pens voids warranty and should only be done if you know what you're doing. I am not responsible for any damaged pens or voided warranties and neither are they! Prices are generally good, for instance a complete set of Blackstone's colours of Australia will set you back only around $35 AUD (5 x 30ml bottles) which is great value. They also sell a wide range of fountain pens, including Blackstone, and they carry both economy and premium brands at a decent price. eBay Sellers 1. osteralia Sells the full range of Robert Oster Signature inks at a great price (less than $10 AUD for 50ml bottles). Highly recommend this seller, as they are highly communicative and respond quickly to inquiries and suggestions. Also sells a lot of other FP related products. http://www.ebay.com.au/usr/osteralia?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754 2. engeika Great price for Platinum waterproof inks, such as their Carbon or Pigment ranges. Best price I have found as an Australian buyer. Reasonably quick shipping from Japan and pleasant to deal with. http://www.ebay.com.au/usr/engeika?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754 Conclusion So that, dear readers, seems a good start but please do add your own sources! Many thanks. Cheers!
  12. The bottle is very cheap plastic and funny looking. But i think for the capacity of 500 ml its expected. They do have 60 ml bottles too.
  13. Tailbiter

    Kaigelu 382 M

    Ah, time for yet another cheap pen review! This time it's one of my favourite Asian fountain pens ever - the Kaigelu 382 (intl. c/c) (Manufacturer's website entry http://www.kaigelu.net/Z.asp?ID=16&SID=170&ZID=62 in Chinese). I had previously bought this model quite some time ago and thought of writing a review but long-story short: party, pen got given away. However, today, I received my second order from eBay! Wohoo. Today, I will be reviewing the blue model. The pen also comes in a red and a black finish (all with gold trim) and I purchased it off the seller jewelrymathematics on eBay (no affil.) for $8 with free intl. shipping. My parcel arrived very well-wrapped (ridiculous amounts of bubble wrap) and within two weeks. Looks The finish is glossy with the golden trim shiny. It's not a flashy pen but it's not a dull pen either. I find it to be a simple and elegant design with no overdone bands or gaudy, large and misplaced logotypes. The cap has a golden band with two black lines framing the word KAIGELU on one side and the model number 382 on the opposite side. http://i.imgur.com/yFsI0Aw.jpg The overall look is very stylish and the tolerances on my pen are excellent, better than pens many times more expensive, such as say, my Conklin Duragraph. http://i.imgur.com/g8BM2HK.jpg Construction The pen is solidly built out of some metal (brass?), like most other Kaigelu pens. The section is black plastic and provides a nice grip, although it may look a bit slippery, I've not had this issue at all. It's a very decently weighed pen - not heavy enough to feel clumsy but not light enough to feel flimsy. Clumsily enough, I have already dropped this pen from a height of ~ 1 metre onto a hard rubber floor. It hit itself on a few things after it hit the ground but it remained whole, capped and without any damage. The cap is made out of the same material and lacquer as the rest of the pen and is quite heavy. It also comes with an insert of sorts inside made out of what looks like plastic. It does snap on pretty securely however. If anything, it is a bit too secure for my own taste. The clip is extremely stiff out of the box but I know from experience it gets slightly better with time and use. It comes with the standard Kaigelu twist converter which to me feels much less flimsy than any Jinhao converter I've ever received. It works pretty good and sucks up the ink easily. To access it, just unscrew the body while holding the section, which takes 3-4 turns. Dimensions Fully capped, the pen measures 137 mm (~ 5.4 in) of which the cap is 57 mm (~2.2 in) and the body with nib 122 mm. The nib looks to be a 5 mm nib (measured at base). http://i.imgur.com/dKvCxVD.jpg The pen weighs 30 g ( ~1 oz) capped and inked; 19 g without the cap and inked. Like many other chinese fountain pens, the cap is a bit heavy in proportion to the rest of the pen. Does it post? Yes, the pen posts very securely.The good old thermometer shake does nothing to it. The pen does however end up being around 160 mm long and just a sliiiight amount of top-heavy which kind of kills it for me personally. It's not directly uncomfortable but I get the quick impression I'd rather not write with it posted for an extended period of time. http://i.imgur.com/yWWN5iO.jpg?1 Nib Unfortunately, like very often with these Chinese fountain pens, only one nib option is offered. In this case, a medium nib. I suspect it's a #5 nib as stated above. It is a two-tone gold(?)-plated steel nib with the adorable Kaigelu kangaroo logo stamped. There is a very decent amount of tipping material. Overall, the nib looks pretty decent. There is no flex on this nib. You can force it a tad and get a B, but this feels cruel and you can tell the nib isn't very happy. As for disassembly - I've had no luck. If it's a friction fit, it will take a much stronger person than I to pull it apart. If it's not, (oh god I'd feel terrible), I can't seem to unscrew it in any direction. http://i.imgur.com/YwWFH7S.jpg It is a lovely nib. It writes extremely smooth with little feedback at all and the feed has no issues keeping up with even really fast writing. Caveat: I have only tried it with Montblanc Königsblau and Waterman Serenity Blue. It has worked super well with both. Here is my little corner paper where I tried out some of my pens for comparison. As you can see, the Kaigelu M is quite comparable to the modern Waterman M. http://i.imgur.com/paEXIb2.jpg Filling / Maintenance Filling is easy with the included converter and the pen takes standard international short and long cartridges. The converter is not threaded, holds a not huge amount of ink (~0.6 ml ± 0.1ml) but it works pretty well. I am a tad concerned about possible nib and feed maintenance since I have so far been unable to disassemble those. If anyone's had any success, I will gladly take any tips or suggestions. It's possible I just got a dud that's very, very stuck. Anyway, for $8 and a so-far very nice experience, I'm not willing to risk damage-from-curiosity to it just yet. Cost The pen cost me $8 with free shipping on eBay from the seller jewelrymathematics, who also sells many other Kaigelu models. The MSRP on Kaigelu.net is 79 RMB which for 2016-03-30 equals 12.22 USD or 10.79 EUR per Google's currency converter. I have not found it being sold for cheaper on eBay. I own a few other Kaigelus and this is basically my favourite. This was a new pen and I have to say, it's one of the best value-price pens I've gotten. It's really just pleasant to use. Final remarks I love this pen. It has superseded my expectations and I would totally buy it as a gift for someone. I was carrying the previous pen of the same model I had as a daily carry, and I will continue carrying this new one as well. The only major issue I find is that the nib doesn't seem to disassemble too easily, beyond that, I'm a fan. If Kaigelu makes the cap less heavy and solves the nib disassembly bother, this would be an excellent, excellent pen both for its price and its quality. It punches way above $8. Final score? 9.5/10. Final photo: here it is with a few other beloved fountain pens. Bottom-to-top: Pelikan 400, Kaigelu 382, Montblanc Classic, Jinhao 500 http://i.imgur.com/E8cC4GM.jpg PS.I was unable to get the forum software tags to resize the pictures. If anyone can point me to the correct way of doing it in fpn-approved BBCode, I will adjust.
  14. So just thought I'd ask other users, since I find myself using very cheap pens more and more. What is your favorite low budget fountain pen? My collection consists almost completely of Jinhao's Baoers, and free noodlers pens. I find myself using them more than my pilot metro, ahab(though it leaks and replacement is on the way) and others. So, please post what your favorite or favorites are in the low end of the price spectrum, what nib, and why they're your favorite cheap pens or even favorite pens. If you can post pictures that's even better.
  15. This is the second part of a series of reviews I’m doing on Chinese Boss inks. So far I’ve found this brand to be the most prevalent in China, but unknown in the West. They are great cheap inks and scented as well. Boss Enterprise “Laoban” ink (not to be confused with the Boss line of inks made by Ostrich in Tianjin) is produced in Guiyang by Guizhou Boss Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. More information about the company can be found here and their descriptions of their inks here. The scan of my review doesn’t capture the color properly, so I’ve also included some photos taken in natural light. Close up of ink comparisons taken in natural light: A writing sample comparing Boss Red and Platinum Pigment Rose Red (I didn’t have the Platinum ink when I wrote the review): Close ups comparing Boss Red and Platinum Pigment Rose Red (Boss on top and Platinum on bottom): Boss Red has a pinkish hue similar to Hero 201, but is more saturated than the Hero ink and Platinum Pigment Rose Red. Like Hero 201, it flees at the sight of water. It is very easy on the eyes and some might consider it less “offensive” than a screaming bright red for grading. I like it for quick editing of documents that will soon be thrown away because it is not only cheap, but behaves well, dries quickly, and stands out on the page more than Hero ink. If you need a decent non-permanent soft red and can find this ink for sale, it’s worth your consideration. Boss inks are only 4 RMB (US$0.62) per 52ml bottle in China. Thanks for reading!
  16. Looking over the pens on my desk I realize that very few of them are expensive pens. Most of the pens that I use on a regular basis are actually pretty inexpensive (even with the price of an after market stub or italic nib factored in). This got me to thinking about why we so frequently equate price with quality. Is a $200 pen really worth ten times more than a $20 pen? When I look at how well my inexpensive pens perform, I have to admit that I have a hard time seeing the value in more expensive pens. So, let's see some love for those low cost pens! The ever-ready pens that fill out your pen cups, the workhorse pens that rattle around in your briefcases, the knock-around pens that you shove into your backpacks or pockets. What are your favorite pens under $30? The pens that inspired this post: --Jinhao X750 (frosted black with a Knox 1.1 nib) total cost: $15 --Pilot Metropolitan (silver zigzag with medium italic nib from a Pilot Plumix) total cost: $19.45 --TWSBI Eco (white with 1.1 nib) total cost: $28.99
  17. I'm helping plan a high school prom and it has been discussed to use a wax seal on our ticket envelopes. Is there any recommended kits and brands? It's probably only going to be used once, but we something simple and reliable. Any suggestions?‹
  18. Hello everyone, Any recommendations for cheap fountain pen-friendly journals? (Under 10USD) Just something that is not super soft cover, and will hold up well and doesn't look like a composition book/school notebook. Thanks!
  19. My new favorite inkwell's a baby-formula holder: $3.99, spill-proof, with a lid, three compartments, and a pour-spout that rotates among the compartments: http://www.amazon.com/Nuby-Milk-Powder-Dispenser-Colors/dp/B000MQQR7W
  20. PenovertheSword

    Hello And How Do I Help This?!?

    How's it going everyone! MY name is Jon and I just got into fountain pens about 6 months ago. I have always liked writing with rollerballs more, and was curious about fountain pens before deciding to just get a cheap one. So far I have 6 pens: A Lamy Safari Neon Yellow limited edition with a Fine nib A Jinhao x450 Red/Black that leaks from the section and I don't use anymore A Jinhao x750 Shimmer Sands that I absolutely love A Waterman Kultur Demonstrator Fine nib that despite being the hardest starter in the world, is still my favorite A Kaweco Sport Ice Green medium nib and a Noodler's Charlie eyedropper that came with Noodler's Heart of Darkness. I HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM I DO NEED YOUR HELP WITH!!! To all those who purchase/ have purchased expensive fountain pens, how do I justify buying a $400 dollar pen when my most expensive one so far has been a Lamy Safari? How do I justify $400 by itself for a single pen?!? I really want an Omas Ogiva cocktail before they disappear in a few months...
  21. Hi all, Backstory: I've recently changed job location and gave away the pens I had to my colleagues. Now I need another pen at my new location and thought it a good idea to try a fountain pen in the lab. But which one?!? Needs: - The pen really needs to have an extra fine nib and be able to take some pressure. - Preferably by a C/C filler.... never thought that I'd say that, but the contained environment that I work in means that things go into the lab... and not out. A cart filling pen is just going to make things a whole lot easier. - The pen needs to be cheap too, no higher than £20, what's that... $25 or so. I'm normally careful with my pens but damage to the nib and barrel is quite possible and my budget is shockingly low at the moment. - A demonstrator would be good, or any other barrel colour that would show up contamination... Any brands that would meet these needs? The obvious choice would be for a Lamy Vista, but I'm open to suggestions! Thanks for the help, Badger
  22. Armand.D

    Scabiosa Or Not ?

    Hello all, I am currently hesitating between wide posibilities about a great ink/pen combo for crappy paper. In fact I am planning to work everyday with this set : FPR Triveni Jr / Sailor Jentle BlueLamy Safari F / PR Fiesta red (to underline)Pilot parallel / ...? (for big titles) (at home) + This for crappy paper, and I woud like also for less big titles, so like this I will be able to have a pen for two different purposes (better for me and my wallet, mostly more convenient if the ink will be with the Parallel). The inks : I am here to ask you if Scabiosa would be a great competitor, but what annoy me is that it will be very dry (I've tried Salix for comparison) among with a narrow-nibbed pen... My crappy paper → Cheap feathering-prone school copy paper, and it is more to make little notes on texts with highlighting. Otherwise I wondered about blacks before, and I have currently Perle noire but not tested in narrow-nibs (I thinked to a 78G but with con-50 I think that for the price there are better options).I can also order some samples of X-feather or Noodler's black for example. I don't know if there are more to consider, maybe more polyvalent about the flow or drying time, I am open to other colour than black/ "classic" colours, I want it to be distinguable and readable easily. Scabiosa interested me because before I was thinking about Herbin PDL, I would love to use it everyday ! You will surely recommend me basic inks like watermans, pilot.. (no judgments) I guess. About pens : I am talking about narrow-nibs (F,EF) because this is what I am used to (western F), and because I think that for this purpose it is more adapted. I have thinked about the Nemosine Singularity, not very expensive but I don't need/want to spend really much more, this might be good because of the nib choices : Does 0.6/0.8 Italic on this would work well (flow) with Scabiosa ? (also Knox K35 possible) If yes, super good, otherwise does my Safari with a 1.1 would be too wide for this purpose, I have not tested the nib yet ? If Scabiosa is that dry maybe with a western M nib the line will be not too big and the flow good ? Or do you have other pens to recommend ? Finally : Maybe I am confused, but there are a lot of options and I hope that you will be able to help me in this choice. Hoping this thread is readable, Thank you !
  23. gmcalabr

    Cheap Pen Shootout

    Cheap Pen Shootout I've decided to do a shootout of my lower-cost new normal writing pens. I've wanted to review most of these before, but haven't been up to giving each one its own review. I will be reviewing these in approximate price order, from $0 to $30, and scoring them in these categories (each from 0-10 points): Aesthetics, Functionality, Value, Desire, respectively. Pilot Varsity: A: 4, F: 6, V: 8, D: 3 These pens are the cheapest fountain pen money can buy, and are available in most office supply stores. The pen feels cheap, but sturdy. The nib is reasonably smooth and writes a nice medium wet line. Unfortunately, it's only available in a medium nib, which is fatter than I usually like to use. Some users remove the nib/feed and refill the pens, but I’ve tried this and won’t be doing that again after snapping one of the feeds. These are highly reliable pens. Platinum Preppy: A: 5, F: 7, V: 9, D: 5 This is a great little, nearly disposable pen. It's the only commonly available pen at this price with a proper fine nib (and also medium). Aesthetically, it's a modern clear plastic-y pen, but it still feels nicer than any blister-pack BP or RB. The nib is slightly on the dry side, but extremely reliable, and the price can't be beaten considering that it takes cartridges or converters. That, combined with a removable nib/feed make it worth cleaning and refilling. I have also eyedropper-converted one, and it’s awesome and has probably about a month’s worth of ink in it. I've marked the Aesthetics category a 5 instead of a 6 for the annoying graphics wrap on the barrel. *note, the free Preppy that comes with Noodler’s Ink at Gouletpens does not have this wrap and looks MUCH better. Pilot Petit1: A: 6, F: 8, V: 8, D: 7 This is functionally a Varisty (same nib/feed) with the following differences: mini-size, removable nib/feed, cartridge/eyedropper. These make a big difference to me. Also, the feed is made of clear plastic, so you can see the ink in/under the collector and feed. Well worth the $4 price tag, and available in many colors. Extra points to Pilot for molding small bumps on the back of the barrel so that the cap clicks firmly on the very back of the pen, extending its size and sturdiness. Hero 626: A: 5, F: 3, V: 4, D: 5 This is an interesting Parker 61 quasi-knockoff. Much thinner and lighter than the original, and the little hood arrow isn't nearly as pretty. It feels like it's more expensive than it is, but not by a ton. Very light, and the nib is a tiny little pin. When it works, it's not terribly smooth, but writes a wet EF line. Unfortunately, it often doesn't write at all in my experience. I've only been able to make Parker Quink Black to work, not Noodler's black, or other inks. That said, with the Quink, it writes fine and even started up just fine after I forgot about the pen for a couple of months. It's cheap enough to play around with, but a pen that doesn't write and isn't worthy of a display case isn't generally worth having. Hero 159: A: 7, F: 8, V: 9, D: 8 This thing is phenomenal. For $9 shipped from China, this is a great deal. It’s such a big, heavy pen that I cannot write with the cap on for more than a couple of minutes, but it feels perfect with the cap unposted. The nib is glassy smooth, even on cheap paper, and although the nib is a wet medium, I enjoy it enough to still write with it regularly even though it’s a bit too broad. The threads that hold the cap on are a hair rough, but that's a small gripe for a cheap pen. This is clearly a MB 149 rip-off, but it’s so well done for so little money. Overall, this is one of my best purchases. Also, if you don't like the nib, replacements can be found fairly easily. Hero 001-360: A: 5, F: 3, V: 4, D: 4 This is a very interesting low-cost pen. Aesthetically, the pen is simple, and although not expensive looking, it is nice to look at. It has a lightweight aluminum body which is on the thin side. The cap clicks firmly on both ends of the pen, and the pen is best balanced with the cap posted. The section is a slick chrome, which is a little slick, but not bad. The clip is spring- loaded, which is a nice feature on such a cheap pen. Then there's the writing. This pen has been less than reliable for one big reason: the spring cap does not have an inner cap liner, so the ink can dry out through the slots cut in the cap for the clip. I haven’t figured out how to deal with this yet, but silicone, wax, and rubbery glues will be tested. When it’s working, the nib writes a very wet line, and I imagine that it would be nearly impossible. Aerometric Filler works best when the steel guard is removed. Overall, I imagine that the trident is a much better pen as the 90 degree slit angle in the 360 produces some starting or writing issues, but as a ~$10 alternative, it's a good carbon copy pen. I understand that there is a newer version of this pen that looks a bit different, so there are options there too. Dolce Vita Naranja: A: 9, F: 7, V: 8, D: 9 This is a great, albeit a knockoff. This is easily one of my best looking pens at any price, and it's a reasonably smooth and reliable writer. Like most cheap/knockoff pens, it's only available in a medium nib, but again, I’m told it takes a standard #5 nib (not verified). It's a heavy pen, though not nearly as much as the 159, but it still feels good to write with. The nib is a bit small, but not totally disproportionate. Other users have complained about the cap taking a lot of force to pull off, but I've had the opposite problem. The cap doesn't slip off for no reason, but it has dropped the pen in my pocket, which is no good. Best for shallow shirt pockets, not pants pockets. Pilot 78G: A: 5, F: 8, V: 7, D: 4 This Pilot is a wonderful pen. The nib/feed is the same as many other Pilots in the $10-$50 range, but the rest of the pen is very cheap in look and feel. I very much enjoy writing with the slightly dry, very fine F nib. The stub nib is a great medium for the price. The design of the pen makes it look like it’s trying to keep up with an MB or something, but the cheap plastic and gold trim rings and clip are gaudy and cheap looking. I've even tried sanding the pen down to give it a matte finish and make it look more honest about its price range (which helped). If you don't mind the looks, this is an incredible pen for the money, but I can't get over the looks and will either retire or give away at least one of mine. FYI, my Prera is in my top 5 rotation. Nemosine Singularity: A: 8, F: 8, V: 9, D: 7 This is definitely a great pen. Good size, good looks, good writing. I don't like how this looks in anything but demonstrator (I normally don't like demos), and is a light, slightly above average sized pen. The plastic body and cap are very crystal clear and don't feel cheap at all. The nib is very large, but properly sized for the pen. I have the EF and 0.9mm stub nib, both of which are great. The EF is a proper EF, (think Pilot/Sailor F), and the stub is very smooth. Both write a hair dry, but adjust easily. This uses standard INT cartridges and comes with a converter. ED conversion looks like a strong possibility. Replacement nibs are available all over and for cheap. This pen is an incredible value that I would recommend to anyone. Lamy Safari: A: 6, F: 9, V: 5, D: 6 Probably the #1 default newby pen, the Safari has earned the title. It's a perfect tool; it's reliable, writes a fairly smooth wet line no matter which one of the many available nibs you have, and is a cartridge/converter. You’ll need Lamy-specific cartridges or converters. It's also quite comfortable; slightly larger than normal girth, fairly long pen, but light enough that the cap feels good posted on the barrel. The triangular grip section is very comfortable in my hands. On the down side, there isn't much to look at. Weight distribution is good, and although the plastic is a hair on the cheap side, it feels sturdy. This is a true German no-frills tool of a pen and a perfect workhorse. Also, they come in many colors, including the Vista demo and Al-Star aluminums. Despite everything, I have a hard time taking this over one of the other pens as it makes no fashion statement whatsoever. $30 isn't steep as pens go, but it's almost 3 times the price of everything else here, and I don't think that I can justify that. One last thing, the EF nib is unusably broad for small hand writing; I would probably rate this a medium, MAYBE a fine. Oddly enough, the 1.1mm stub that I now use regularly writes much more legibly in my hands. In general, I'd say that I have a hard time deciding between the Preppy ED and the Petit1 ED if I'm limited to $5, and either the Dolce or the 159 for under $15. I've heard that some people don't have such QC luck with those two Chinese knockoffs, but that's slightly less of an issue if you don't mind fiddling and polishing the nibs and feeds.
  24. Hello , Decided today to upload my first pen related video to Youtube ( Please watch in HD). It's a writing sample of the Jinhao X750 pen, am using Pelikan's 4001 Brilliant Green ink. So, what do you think ? (next video will be with audio and in English, although it's not gonna be easy since my native language is Hebrew ) ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyxVVbGtdhg
  25. As most High School students know, Mead and all those other American brand looseleaf paper, just dont work with fountain pens. It can be difficult to find the right paper for High School note taking that is friendly to F.P users without spending $10 per notebook such as Clairefontaine. There is nothing wrong with this paper by anymeans, it just that some H.S students like myself don't feel like investing that much for each subject, which can be up to 5 notebooks, and there's $50 which can be spend on a new pen for example. I'm Happy to announce I FOUND THE SOLUTION! After doing some research I saw that people really like the Target brand filler paper (Up and Up). First stop was there. I grabbed said paper in wide and college ruled and also grabbed a Tops brand packet which was on sale. Next stop was Walmart. I grabbed every brand, ruling, and style I could grab to do a "official" review to help people out, who have the same problem as me. Here is a list of every brand I grabbed; Tops wide ruledUp&Up wide ruledNorcom wide ruledA Norcom sprial bound notebook ( 97 cents at Walmart)Exceed wide ruled with punch hole protectorsExceed College RuledPLEASE NOTE: I am NOT a professional, these results are only based on my High School experience, and is meant to help said people The chosen ink was Noodlers Baystate Blue, which is a very heavy thick velvety ink. The chosen pen was a High School favorite, the Platinum Preppy with a Fine Nib Here are the results: Up and Up Wide ruled. Little feathering, does show through a small amount, not ideal for two sided work2. Norcom Notebook Paper (from the 97cent notebook) no feathering, little bit more show through on back, same as Up and Up, good for one sided note taking.3. Tops Wide ruled Nearly no feathering, I was shocked how well it preformed so I pulled out my Jinhao X450, (another popular student pen) With a medium nib and Noodlers X Feather, just to see if I could make it feather and show through. Still no! This Paper works great, although it has an off white-yellow color to it, which isnt personally to me appealing.4. Norcom Filler Paper Noticeable feathering, massive bleed through. Not a good paper for Fountain Pens.I was starting to get sad, as I couldn't find a paper that worked for note taking, when I realized I still had the Exceed in the Walmart bag. Let the Results explain it to you; 5. Exceed wide and college ruled Only feathering noticed is when you get the paper about 3'' from your eyes, No see through, even on a Jinhao with a Medium nib and Baystate Blue, which is a strong ink. This paper feels like you are writing with a stick of butter on a hot pan, even on a Preppy. This Paper is 110% capable of double sided notes. This paper is also very smooth and the dry time is pretty quick. Conclusion: For double sided notes in High School with any nib and ink combination, Exceed will not let you down, I tested this result by writing a short biography of me with my Jinhao M nib and Baystate, I wrote front and back and it still appears to be legible. I would recommend this paper for High School students, or anyone who writes on a daily basis. Exceed will work better on finer nibs, which is more sutible for notes. I Hope this review helped anyone trying to find a good, cheap paper for note taking.





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