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  1. I just got a couple of Cross Bailey Light fountain pens (£10 on sale, WH Smith UK) and 3 Cross refill converters (£7 each, buy two get one free, from same place). They were advertised as "Fine Nib", but now I have them, there's no word "Fine" on the packaging, and there's an "M" on the front. I'm not familiar enough with Cross or fountain pens in general to be able to tell a Fine tip at a glance. The "M" could stand for "medium girth", according to their website. Can anyone advise? Should I send them back? Come to think of it, are Bailey Lights bad pens; should I return them while I have the chance? All I know about Cross is they made some beautiful 1980s (?) gold pens and pencils that a friend of mine has, and some equally awesome gold fountain pens. I don't know how well their more modern, Chinese-made, lower-end models compare. I can't afford one of their older/higher class pens yet, so was hoping a Bailey Light would serve me as an alternative until that day. Anyone know the thickness of line that Cross Fine nibs are supposed to draw? (I've heard Western "Fine" = 0.34mm)
  2. peroride

    takenote

    From the album: peroride_pen_pics

    Relatively affordable note taking pens
  3. Metalinker

    Jinhao 992 Review

    I've searched the forum review index and didn't find a review, so I decided to make one. Images: https://imgur.com/a/JDIUWms I ordered this pen from AliExpress for €1, with shipping and after it came and I tried it, I ordered another one for a friend. The pen is too good for it's price, and the only issue I've had is that one of the pens came with a small crack that made it leak when shaken forcefully. The cracked pen has been in my backpack and my pocket, and it didn't leak even a tiny bit when carried around and it hasn't leaked while writing. It's a demonstrator pen, that comes with a rubber ring, so that you could use it as an eyedropper. Although you don't have to use it as an eye dropper, because you can use international standard cartridges or use the international standard converter, which it does come with I've tried using it as an eyedropper too, and it worked without any issues. It doesn't leak from the barrel or anything like that. The nib is pretty stiff, even for a steel non flex nib, but it writes pretty smooth, although not as smooth as a Pilot Metropolitan. I expected it to be a lot toothier for that price, but I was very surprised when I started writing with it. The nib says F on it for fine, but it is a fair bit thicker than a Metro M nib. The nib and feed are inside a plastic barrel (that plastic barrel is the thing that cracked a bit), and that plastic barrel is screwed into the plastic where you hold the pen while writing. The pen posts wonderfully because it's pretty lightweight. I haven't had any problem with the cap falling off while posted, but I don't really shake my pen a lot while writing. The only marking on the pen is the Jinhao etching in the metal part of the cap which can hardly be seen, and the Jinhao block letters on the handle of the ink converter that it comes with. All in all a pretty nice pen, especially for the price, even tho one came with a crack it still wrote nicely and I haven't had a problem with it. I'm still stunned, that it's cheaper to buy this pen that comes with a standard international converter, than to buy a standard international converter from AliExpress. Even if the pen is broken when you get it, you get a converter for €1, and that's very nice.
  4. A quick search on the forums didn't reveal an easy answer to this question. I recently saw a post in which someone indicated that a "cheap" fountain pen was any pen less than $100. This seems relative to me given that any pen that is more than $25 would be an expensive pen for me currently. Question: What criteria do you use to establish whether or not a fountain pen is cheap/inexpensive?
  5. Hi everyone, As a fountain pen collection and restoration enthusiast it has been very hard in my city to come across more affordable pens, after exhausting the selection of easily available ones (I have a tight budget as I am a student) However, a few days back I went to a stationary shop for some work and say that they had some old chelpark inks on display (ofcourse I bought all of them), curiously I asked the man if he had fountain pens, he told me that he had many old unsold ones and didn't know where they were, after a lot of persuation he agreed to look for them and have them ready in a few days. So the next day I went and he said he didn't find them and to come back a few days later. So I did, again and again. (was pretty desperate to get a hold of some childhood oens) Fortunately, after a week or so, he finally had them ready. They were not exactly vintage, but old pens indeed, some quite damaged. I got a few Camlin No. 6 pens, some Flora Pens (the model number is not known) and a couple Hero 323. All of them were more or less usable atleast after some repairs. This brings me to my question, if this man had old stocks, probably other shops do too, and it would be great to have a few tips on how I can get these shops to sell me their old stocks, even if they're broken or damaged, how do I persuade them to dig them out for me, because every other shops I've asked, have said 'no we don't have fountain pens" to my face. Btw I'm new to FPN (this is my first thread) Regards, Anurag.
  6. Hi all, today I was in my local branch of the UK chain of discount stores ‘Home Bargains’. I chanced to walk past their stationery section, where my eye lit upon a sales pack that contained a cartridge-fill fountain pen and two cartridges, for the price of 59p For those of you who do not live in the UK, that bricks-and-mortar store price of £0.59 includes my country's sales tax of 20%. At today's exchange rate, £0.59 = 0.69€ = $0.77. As a ‘purchasing power’ comparison, at the time of typing this the price of a 2-pint bottle of whole milk in my local supermarket is 80p. The ‘huge’ investment outlay gets you a "MADE IN CHINA" transparent plastic pen that has a completely-unmarked nib (which I assume is steel and ‘medium’), and also two cartridges of ink that the packaging describes as black. The cartridges are slightly shorter than standard ‘Short International’ cartridges (I measured them at 34mm long, whereas an SIC is 38mm long), but their nipples look like they might be the same size as those on a SIC. The pen's grip section looks as though it might be slightly too-small for my paws (I am 6'1" tall), but I am certainly curious enough about it to ‘risk’ the sum of 59p to find out Bon; after I have run some dish-cleaning water through it to remove any manufacturing residue, I shall run one of its cartridges through it, and then some Waterman ‘Serenity Blue’ for comparison, and a SIC of ‘WH Smith’ branded black ink too. Once I have collected and collated all this ‘data’, I shall post a review of it on the relevant board here. After all, I wouldn't want to inadvertently be the cause of any FPN user ‘wasting’ their hard-earned 59p on one of these if it turns out that the thing doesn't write very well Cheers, M. [Repeatedly edited to correct FFE's ]
  7. I love me a cheap pen. I mean a really cheap pen. I recently went to order a couple new pads from my favourite supplier only to find that I was under the minimum threshold for free postage. So I scoured the site for something cheap and useful to bump it up. Would rather get something for my money than just end up throwing it into the ether on postage. Enter the Monami Olika. This pen cost me £3.50, that's 50p cheaper than the Preppy from the same site making this possibly the cheapest refillable fountain pen on the market. It has a couple advantages over the Preppy and one huge disadvantage, but we'll get to that later. First off, the 11.4mm section is rubberised with a slight central swell, gives great grip and comfort. The barrel also has a narrowing approximately mid way along it's length which I think is much more aesthetically pleasing than the Preppy. Secondly, the Olika uses standard international cartridges and converters, another huge plus in my (someone who doesn't have at least one of every converter for every brand) opinion. It is also available in a myriad of colours, the body colour you order defines the ink colour you get, of which three short international cartridges are included (for £3.50!) Writing is smooth but the nib is quite squat & very stiff, I believe the correct term would be a "nail"? It's going to get the job of basic writing done but you're not going to be able to get anything but the most minimum of line variation out of it. When I first saw the Olika I looked it up to see if it could be eyedroppered like the Preppy, the article I stumbled across said that it could, no problem. This leads me to my main gripe. It can't. In my haste I didn't check this. Put a new o-ring on, greased the threads, filled up a syringe with De Atrementis Document Black &...covered myself in ink. There is indeed a small hole in the end of the barrel, perhaps this is a newer addition than the article I read? Undeterred but slightly inky, I dripped a couple dollops of Araldite Crystal into the offending hole & sealed it up, giving myself an eyedropper for £3.50. All in all, I really like the Olika and will absolutely be buying additional colours in the future, the green is particularly nice!
  8. jacobgmusic

    Serwex 1362

    Serwex 1362 Red, FPR 1.0mm Stub nib The Serwex 1362 is a cheap ($6), Indian made pen sold by Fountain Pen Revolution. This pen is actually a pretty nice writer. I am always looking for new pens to review!
  9. Background: I travel a lot, and write professionally. (When the local stationery store sees me walk in, they start stacking bottles of ink on the counter.) My go-to instrument has therefore been the Pilot V-Pen, a brilliantly smooth-writing disposable fountain pen that holds enough ink to last even me for a while. However, it has one flaw: refilling it is a pain in the derriere. You need two syringes, which always makes me feel like the pen addiction has crossed some kind of line. (When a girl sees empty syringes on your nightstand, pen refilling isn't what comes to mind.) Therefore, my quest for a replacement. What I'm looking for: A pen that's... Cheap, so I can buy a couple and knock 'em around.Widely available, or at least can be easily mail-ordered in Asia.Writes astonishingly smoothly. Trust me, when you're putting industrial quantities of ink to paper, you want it to be easy.Has an ink capacity measured in liters, or at least feels that way. This almost certainly means no converters... since they take up space that could be used for holding ink!
  10. Hi everyone, I was wondering what the cheapest site to get ink samples in Canada is. Is it Goulet Pens, where the only downside is the 10$ shipping fee? Are there sites that ship for cheaper or for free even? Thank you all very much in advance!
  11. Hi everyone, Does anybody know of a brand of not too expensive paper (for a student) that is FP friendly and that comes in notebooks and/or loose leaf and/or pads that is easy to find in Canada (through places like Amazon or Staples). So far I have had to resort to buying Hilroy notebooks but they are very inconsistent so I'm looking to upgrade to something better for my everyday writing without breaking the bank on something like Rhodia or Clairefontaine. Thank you all very much in advance!
  12. Hello, I'm fairly new to the world of fountain pens. I've picked up about 10 now, and I keep buying more and enjoying tinkering with them. I have purchased high priced pens for my g/f (high-priced for me), like the vanishing point and the Lamy 2000. For myself, though, I can not imagine spending that amount on a pen. Up to this point, I have been doing the frankenpen thing with Jinhao pens and Anderson / Edison / Goulet nibs. I went to the Dallas Pen Show, and I purchased a Franklin-Christoph nib assembly. I had to remove the nib and feed from the F-C section / collar. However, even as just the nib and the mismatched feed it is amazing. I would love to find an inexpensive pen body that will accept the Franklin-Christoph nib assembly. It's my understanding, that it is a common size; a jowo #6 screw-in unit. So far, the most humbly priced pen body I have found has been the MrPen's Parson's Essential at about $45, plus another $15 for shipping. Any help finding an inexpensive pen body that will take the entire screw-in jowo / Franklin-Christoph nib assembly would be appreciated. I apoligize in advance if I used any incorrect terminology. Thanks!
  13. alecs

    Montblanc Greta Garbo Box :d

    Hello ,guys ! I am new to the forum ,just purchase my first montblanc for myself ,I have bought a 145 for my friend as a gift for doing the surgery on my mom ! So I am digging the montblanc, I have bought the Greta(mint condition) but is missing the box that it came though .I still have to wait for the pen to arrive. I am looking for the box in new or pristine or mint condition.Of course I will pay for it ,reasonable prices of course .I really wanted a nice pen .Since I bought the pen for my friend I fell in love with the pen. Hopefully some of you guys have a box that is just laying around !! Thank you very much for your time !!!
  14. Hey there, I'm going to buy a Lamy 2000 most probably (https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/326594-decent-capacity-first-gold-nib-fountain-pen/page-2?do=findComment&comment=3906816) and I have some extra money remaining with me. So I was wondering which pen should I get, the Pelikan M215 lozenge or the Diplomat Excellence A (steel nib). Both of them are used pens and both are in Medium nib. I am getting M215 for $61 (INR.4000) and Diplomat for $38 (INR.2500). Which one of them would have a smoother writing experience for everyday use?
  15. I'm looking to buy a second fountain pen that is a smooth as possible, and under $50. I currently have a Metropolitan with a fine nib and have considered the Pilot 78G, but I have heard the nib on the 78G is about the same as the Metro. I'm hoping to find a very smooth pen with minimal feedback that writes about as thick as a .5 mm rollerball. I've researched some pens, and I'm considering purchasing a Faber Castell Loom with a fine nib since I've heard its the smoothest writer at this price point. Other options I have thought about were buying some micro mesh or mylar paper and smoothing out my current pen, or purchasing another metropolitan with a medium nib. I know paper affects the smoothness of a pen, but the paper I have available is usually pretty low quality. I have also heard good things about the Twisbi Eco, but I'm not a fan of demonstrators, and the Eco looks too fragile to be an everyday pen. Thank you for any suggestions.
  16. AD43

    Sheaffer Vfm

    First ideas: I got mine in neon blue, a vibrant colour, like every other one exept black. It is small and thin and cheap, great as an entry level pen. Very annoying band and clip, whuch show fingerprints, colour can come off with polishing and is very thin. Writing performance, It can post but you need to shove the cap really hard on or it will wobble. The nib I used was medium, which I belive is slightly broader than a cross and slightly finer than a LAMY. It is a little scratchy and a little dry for me, I tried an method that worked well on a Cross Dubai but didnt seem to work here, it was by sbrebrown, and is called how to wetten a nib in seconds, or something on the lines of that. You can get a tiny amount of flex but don't spring the nib ( I have first hand experience). It uses cartridges only, standard international, not Sheaffer. Summary A great pen for starters, but not very pliable.
  17. This review and others can also be found at my website: www.pensinksandpaper.com At first glance, the Deli S677 might appear to be a cheap marker, a plasticky bit of mass-produced unpleasantness that has no place in the hand of a fountain pen user. One would be surprised, then, when removing the cap to find not a ballpoint tip or a marker’s felt but a nib. Appearance & Design (3/10) – I’m not entirely sure what the creators of this pen were trying to do in terms of visual appeal. They look rather unusual. The caps are a solid pastel color, with a white clip that says “deli” on it. The body of the pen is the same pastel color as the cap, but with small white hearts dotting the area. In the center of the bodies of the pens are cartoon animals, under which there is text that reads “Here is a More Lush Forest.” Your guess as to what they mean is as good as mine. Just before the section on the top of the body there is a white ring with an “inspirational” quote on it. The pink pen reads “I am to grow strong and tall”. The green pen reads “My skin is the most beautiful of all”. The most inspiring of all, though, is the blue pen, which gives us the truly beautiful line of “The squirrel is a typical arboreal mammal”. Running alongside the body of the pen is the model number of the pen and a barcode that my barcode scanning app did not recognize as a product available here in the states. Construction & Quality (6/10) – Compared to other pens of the same price level/target audience, the S677 isn’t terribly built. The plastic feels solid enough, and after some time using the pen and carrying it around in a messy backpack I have not experienced any paint chipping or scuffing. The cap posts very securely, and snaps back onto the body securely and satisfyingly. It actually feels excellent in the hand, if a bit light, as long as you don’t look down at it. The pen is about the length of a Lamy Safari, but a bit lighter and thinner, and if you removed the silly paint it looks and feels remarkably similar to a Pilot Varsity. Nib & Performance (6/10) – The nib us also suspiciously similar to that of a Pilot Varsity. Apart from the S677’s being stamped “Deli” rather than “Pilot”, the nibs are virtually indistinguishable in terms of design, size, and performance. It is smooth and reliable, but don’t expect anything except a nail. The pen writes a tad bit dry, but not dry enough to impede the smoothness or cause any skipping problems. The feed also differs from the Pilot Varsity, as I believe the S677 has a traditional plastic feed rather than a wick one like the Pilot. Filling System & Maintenance – There isn’t all too much to say here, the pen is a Cartridge/Convertor filler. The pen comes with some blue ink cartridges, which work nicely. One point of interest here: the pen does not accept international sized cartridges or convertors, but works perfectly Lamy’s alternatives. Cost & Value (8/10) – The pen was purchased from China for a mere dollar and eighty cents for a pack of three. At that price point, I think that these are a far better buy than Pilot Varsity’s if you can stand their design choices. I wouldn’t use these on a regular basis, because I have much more interesting and good-looking pens that I use and rely on. As pens to give away to people, or to lend as first fountain pens, though, they’re just about perfect. (Again, if the person receiving them can stand the design) Their nail of a nib is smooth and can withstand the pressure of a ballpoint user, and they accept cartridges, putting them a notch above the Pilot Varsity in my book. Conclusion (Final score, 5.75/10) – To be brutally honest, I will not be using these pens again for a while. I have, however, already given two of them away to first-time fountain pen users, both of whom love them dearly and are already looking at more expensive, better pens. As tools for someone who has many fountain pens already, I’d steer clear of these guys. But for a first fountain pen, or giveaway pens, at $1.80 for three these make a pretty great alternative to Pilot Varsity’s, Platinum Preppy’s, and the other cheap “disposables” on the market.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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$0.62) per 52ml bottle in China. Thanks for reading!
  22. Hi, folks! I just joined here and decided to make a small post which might act as an introduction. A month ago I finished off with my undergraduate studies and didn't have much to do before I go abroad for my Master's studies next January. My handwriting, which has always been cursive needed some serious improvement and hence I decided to do just that. The shop near my place had a pretty cheap fountain pen, the Flair Inky Executive which cost me Rs 50 ($ 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!
  23. truthpil

    Schneider Bk406 Review

    Schneider BK406 Review Introduction & First Impressions I was looking for a cheap EF pen to dedicate to Baystate Blue and wanted something blue to match the ink. I had been leaning toward getting a blue-capped Pilot Kakuno (F) for this purpose, but when I came across this Schneider pen for less than half the price here in China (under US$5), I thought it was worth a try. I couldn’t find any reviews online for this model and the closest equivalent for sale in the West seems to be Schneider’s Zippy which is still quite different. Schneider makes several inexpensive pens for sale in China that have the same feed and general design as the BK406, but this is one of the few pens in the family that comes with an EF nib, something I felt essential for minimizing BSB’s infamous feathering issue on cheap paper. I was quite underwhelmed when it arrived. It came in a cheap plastic sleeve (see photo below) and had no instructions. Everything about the packaging screamed “disposable ballpoint.” I was still grateful that upon unscrewing the barrel I found a complimentary blue international standard ink cartridge (which I discovered after some testing to be quite waterproof) and a strange empty cartridge inserted into the nipple, perhaps to show the new owner that the pen was cleverly designed to have one cartridge in use and a spare behind it inside the barrel. This is quite clever and explains the length of the pen. Appearance & Design True to its German origin, this pen is as utilitarian as it gets. Everything from the ribs on the cap for ease of removal to the matted section with grip indentations says that this pen is designed for quick and easy use in the trenches of the office or classroom. There are no bells or whistles whatsoever. Even the nib is so plain that all it has on it is an encircled “EF.” If the appearance hadn’t convinced you, the two places where the cap tells you it was made in Germany leave no room for doubt. Like disposable pens, its cap is unfortunately marred by the brand logo and “Schneider Made in Germany” along the side where it can’t be missed. There is a rounded grip section with subtle indentations like is often found on student pens. This section’s matte finish and smooth corners make it quite comfortable to hold and allow for more variation in grip than on something with sharper angles like a Lamy Safari. The flat grooves are even less prominent than on a Pilot Plumix. I was very thankful for this feature because the nib and feed are not aligned with these grips like they usually are on other pens. Since the nib and feed are very tightly in place and appear immovable, I have to disregard the grooves in order to hold the pen the way I usually do. Thankfully, the unobtrusive nature of the grips makes this easy. At first I thought the odd alignment was a quality control issue, but my other Schneider pens have the same alignment, so I suspect it may be some ingenious German design feature. The pen writes perfectly if you hold it according to the grooves, but the alignment just looks odd. Construction & Quality Despite the impression given by the packaging, the BK406 is not a flimsy pen. The plastic barrel and cap have a slightly soft surface (just a little harder than on those disposable Bic ballpoints they have at a bank teller), but the material is thick and looks like it could easily take a beating in a purse or book bag. It feels soft but solid in the hand, certainly more so than similarly priced pens like the Platinum Preppy. Holes at the end prevent the roomy barrel from being used as an eyedropper. The pen has a molded plastic feed which is quite thin and fragile at the tip but seems adequately protected by the rolled steel nib that partly wraps around it. The nib is thick and looks like it could take some tumbles without any repercussions. I used the pen as my daily carry for over a week and it met the floor a few times and survived unscathed. I’m sure you can treat this pen like any cheap ballpoint and expect it to hold up admirably. As for manufacturing, the only flaw I found is the slight misalignment of feed and nib which doesn’t affect writing. The only visible external seam is on the grip section which isn’t really an issue with a pen this cheap and would be covered by one’s hand anyway when in use. Weight & Dimensions Measuring about 14.5cm capped, its length is just between that of a Pilot 78G and a Plumix. This makes it just a little too long to fit neatly in my T-shirt pockets, but a decent fit for the pockets on my dress shirts. It’s too long to fit in the pen pockets of some backpacks and messenger bags. In one bag I tried it stuck so high out of the pen pocket that the clip couldn’t grip the pocket. It measures 13cm uncapped, and 16cm posted, which for my smallish hands means this one is not a poster. Weighing in at 11.6 grams capped/posted and 7.2 grams uncapped, the pen is light and allows for prolonged writing sessions without any fatigue. Writing with it feels like a dream compared to the cramps I was getting from my chunky clunky Jinhao X750. Nib & Performance The BK406 is only available with an extra fine nib, but Schneider makes several similar pens in this price range in fine (e.g., BK400, BK402, Zippi). Some may scoff at using a rolled steel nib, but I find the BK406’s nib to be surprisingly smoother than the dubiously labeled “iridium point” nibs on many of my Chinese pens. It glides across the paper and only gives a little feedback if pressure is applied on rough paper. As can be expected for this price, it’s a true nail with no flexibility whatsoever. The nib and feed work well together to provide perfect flow which I would describe as moderate. I never once experienced skipping or hard starts, although I’ve only tested it with the juicy Baystate Blue and nothing drier. The line is a typical German extra-fine, which becomes somewhere between a Japanese fine and medium when using such a wet ink like BSB. BK406 with Baystate Blue vs. Pilot 78G (F) with Luxury Blue: Filling System & Maintenance The BK406 comes with a single blue Schneider international sized cartridge, but a converter can be purchased separately for nearly the same price as the pen. The converter is great and holds a lot of ink. This pen and converter combination creates a perfect workhorse for extensive writing. Although the pen functions well, it’s regrettable that the nib and feed cannot be removed for cleaning. This inability limits the pen to being used with low-maintenance inks that can be easily washed out or dedicating the pen to just one high-maintenance ink. Cost & Value As far as I know these pens are not available in the States, but here in China they are a little more expensive (32RMB=$4.87) than Chinese pens like the Duke 209 or Hero 359 (both 25RMB=$3.81). The Chinese pens may be better deals because they are often mostly metal and have a removable nib and feed. Nevertheless, I find the nib on the BK406 and other Schneider pens in the same price range to be sturdier and more reliable. For me it’s worth it to pay a little more for an all plastic pen that writes reliably and is more comfortable to use than the cheaper alternatives. Conclusion I’m completely satisfied with this pen and believe I got what I paid for. Although plastic, the BK406 feels sturdier than a lot of lower end Japanese pens that cost much more than it. It isn’t stylish or pretty by any means, but it feels great to write with and suits my needs—an ideal bright blue pen for Baystate Blue (it’s also available in black or white). That being said, I’d never give it to someone as a gift because it lacks eye appeal. If you want an inexpensive and extremely practical pen, this is a great choice.
  24. 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). ​
  25. 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!





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