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  1. I'd appreciate any insights/feedback about cost-effective German replacement nibs... I've purchased about a dozen Jinhao x750 and x450 pens and have enjoyed swapping out the stock medium nibs for fine. I was going to buy some Goulet nibs from Jowo but then found Knox and Nemosine nibs for half the price. They are also German-made and I have been pleased with how they write. I've also read about Bock nibs but haven't tried any. Does anyone have experience with these various brands/makers of nibs and how they compare? Thanks! Najeeb
  2. Full disclosure: I have no affiliation with Birmingham Pens beyond being a happy customer. Birmingham is a small Pittsburgh-based concern — apparently a one-man operation, in fact. Based on my dealings, all very positive, I would like to see the proprietor, Nick, get the support that he needs and deserves from our community to maintain and grow his business. Back when Birmingham Pens was known as “XFountainPens,” I became a fan of their custom Chesterfield line of inks, and especially the “antique” colors. In truth, I wasn't initially interested in the new Birmingham ink line when it appeared. I had, however, ordered a TWSBI 580-AL turquoise from Nick, who was offering a bottle of his ink as a promotion. Based as much on its name as anything else, I selected Fred Rogers Cardigan Red — henceforth, fRED for short — as my freebie. Unfortunately, Nick quickly ran out of inventory on the TWSBI and was obliged to cancel my order. I think it speaks to his integrity that he nonetheless sent me a full 30 ml bottle of fRED. My most recent purchase from Birmingham included two Knox Avicenna pens, one 'Slate Gray' with an oblique double-broad nib, and one 'Deep Red' with an EF nib. I prefer finer Japanese nibs, so for me the OBB was a novelty, and ordering it a caprice catalyzed by the pen's affordability — it being at the time on sale for $9.99. I first tried out Birmingham fRED with a Delta Unica and greatly enjoyed it. So once I received my Avicenna in 'Deep Red,' the temptation to pair it with fRED proved irresistible. The Avicenna belongs to a line of metal, cartridge-converter pens — all named after renowned men of learning*, and all sporting German-made Knox nibs. Avicenna is a fairly heavy pen, around 35 grams filled, of which 13.5 g resides in the cap. So, it is probably just as well that the pen does not post. Unposted, it is long enough (~125 mm) and light enough to fit most hands comfortably (size comparison photos, capped and uncapped, attached). I've not used the other Knox pen models, but they seem to differ from the Avicenna, and from each other, merely stylistically. In fact, the Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, and Galileo have perhaps more in common than do Platonism, Aristotelianism, or any four randomly chosen schools of philosophy. Available colors do vary by model, but all the Knox pens are about the same size and weight (though the Aristotle and especially the Plato are somewhat heavier), all come with a converter and a three-year warranty, all offer the same wide choice of nibs, and all (as of this writing) regularly sell for $14.99 at Birmingham. My Avicenna seems very well constructed, with due attention given to the fit (good tolerances, a satisfying snap of the cap) and finish (a deeply rich and lustrous red). My only reservation has to do with the threads mating the metal barrel to the plastic section. This attachment feels loose as one assembles the pen, but becomes secure enough once fully tightened. The Knox steel nib (photo attached) is gold plated and etched (possibly stamped?) with attractive scrollwork and a rampant lion logo. Both the EF and the OBB nibs proved smooth, wet, skip-free, and pleasant to write with. It appears to be a #5 nib, and it is more than good enough so that no one is likely to buy this pen with the intent of swapping in a better nib. All told, the Avicenna is well worth its retail price, especially if you consider that you can get two of them, ready to write, roughly for the cost of one Lamy Safari, sans converter. “Now let's talk ink, shall we?” As nearly as I can tell, red inks fall into two categories. (For the purposes of this review, I am excluding the 'light reds,' such as carmine, rouge, magenta, and pink. I am also leaving aside particulate inks such as J. Herbin's Rouge Hematite.) On the one hand there are the 'pure reds,' which cannot be mistaken for any other color. While indubitably vivid, these inks tend to have the disadvantage of shading very little or not at all. When read back, many also assault the eyes with a near-thermonuclear intensity. In this category, I include inks such as Shaeffer Skrip Red, Diamine Wild Strawberry, Noodlers Dragon's Napalm, and De Atramentis Poppy Red. I happen on occasion to enjoy some of these inks, but let's face it: Their chief advantage is their ability to stand out, which best suits them for applications such as grading papers. A second category includes the 'hybrid reds,' of which there are too many to shake a nib at. These are predominantly red admixtures with blue, black, orange, or brown. They include shades such as burgundy, crimson, maroon, brick, terracotta, burnt sienna, oxblood, and black cherry. These inks are often very lovely, and provide decent shading, but vary widely in the redness of their identities. That's how I see it, anyway. If anyone does have experience with a 'pure red' that isn't in some measure a combination of flat, loud, and obvious, I would very much like to hear of it. Absent such a wunderkind schreibtint, if one wishes to choose a red ink for more than annotation, it seems that the practical question is not whether the chosen hue will shift away from some Platonic essence of red, but rather in what direction. Now, this is a supremely subjective matter. But to my mind, Birmingham Fred Rogers Cardigan Red manages to walk the tightrope between 'pure' and 'hybrid' red as well as any ink I have used or known. And I believe the reason is that it is such an interesting hybrid. On the one hand, I can see a slight overall leaning toward orange, though much less so than with, say, Noodler's Habanero. On the other hand, fRED is darker than most orange-reds, and shows strong traces of burgundy in more heavily inked strokes. And in its very lightest traces, there are hints of pink. While it would not be confused with Skrip or the other pure reds, fRED manages overall to retain an unambiguous red identity. To my eye, it is as unshakeably red as is — say, Diamine Matador — but within that, offers much more in the way of richness and nuance. In Fred Rogers, Birmingham has produced a red ink that is interesting, solid, versatile, and legible. Like its namesake, it is also calm and dignified, perhaps not quite to the point of being work appropriate, but at least to the point of being congenial and companionable. Indeed, whole pages written with this ink read back ..... wait for it ..... readily. (Writing sample attached.) The ink's flow was perfect in both of the pens I tried it with. And, bucking the tendency of many reds to overstay their welcome, fRED cleaned up in a jiffy with no more than water. I tend to be fickle and impatient with ink, usually itching after a few days to exhaust my pen's converter so that I can rotate in a new color from my collection. But I have to say, I was so enjoying this ink in my Delta Unica that I was genuinely sorry when it ran dry. As I later wrote to Nick, my sole complaint about Fred Rogers Cardigan Red is that it comes exclusively in 30 ml bottles. As with my other favorite ink colors — J Herbin's Lie de Thé, for example — I would hate to run out of fRED now that I have so latched onto it. I'm hoping that eventually, Nick will see fit to, as J Herbin does with Lie de Thé, offer this color in 100 ml bottles as well. [ * It is a fine thing naming a pen so as to honor erudition above political station, athletic achievement, or mere celebrity. But, though classical philosophy is not exactly replete with exemplars, one still hopes someday to see women among those so named. Not to teeter overlong on this soapbox, but if there are any penmakers within the reach of my voice, how about Marie Curie or Emmy Noether, for starters? For that matter, wouldn't it be lovely for someone to craft a pen — assuming her family's consent in the matter — Wirthy to be named after our late friend Susan? ]
  3. phillieskjk

    #5 Replacement Nibs

    I was looking to buy eleven number five loose nibs. Does anybody have a list of all the people who sell such nibs? Also, is there any way to get #5 JOWO nibs without the feed? Thanks, Phillieskjk
  4. Some of you may remember the short Jetpens Chibi 2 Review I posted several days ago. (Here's the link if you want to read it https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/310064-jetpens-chibi-2-review/ ). I liked the pen a lot, and it was a good size for me, but I was itching to do some sort of modification to it. At first I did some research on going full on crazy and buying a gold nib for it, but at that price point I could have simply bought a Japanese pen with a gold nib, and couldn't really justify the purchase. Instead, I took the broad nib from my Knox Avicenna (I have an EF that I prefer in it, as it is mostly used for school) and put it in th Chibi. Maybe it was just in my head, but it actually seemed like the nib wrote better in the Chibi! Inspired by my nib swapping success, I then removed the clip and changed the finish of the pen from clear demonstrator to frosted. It looks great, and writes great with the smooth broad nib. Here are some pictures, please refer to the original review for befote pictures. Note: sorry the pictures aren't the best, they were shot from my iPhone.
  5. Miles R.

    Knox Galileo

    The Knox Galileo is a slim, steel-nibbed, metal-barreled fountain pen. It is sold by xFountainPens.com (with which I have no affiliation) for $14.99. I do not know of it being sold by anyone else. It is available in four colors: cherry red, midnight black, navy blue, and Galileo orange; and in four nib sizes: EF, F, M, and B. It has been available for some time, but, so far as I can find, the only discussion of it on this Web site has been in a thread that I started about a year ago inquiring whether anyone had experience with any of the three models of Knox pen sold by xFountainpens, which elicited a couple of reports. 1. Appearance and design I bought the pen in so-called cherry red, which is absolutely nothing like the color of any cherry that I have ever seen. As you can see from the photograph immediately below, it is more like the color of a Ferrari. The specks that you can see on the barrel are dust particles, not blemishes in the finish. The finish is perfectly even and well-polished. All the parts of the pen that are visible when it is capped are of metal: the barrel and cap, which are painted; the end-pieces of the barrel and cap, the clip, and the band at the base of the cap, which are of chrome finish; and the little black bit below that on the cap, which I believe is just painted on. The band has "KNOX" engraved in it. The clip, you will notice, is quite robust and is of a somewhat unusual shape. You can see that more clearly in the next photo. The nib is done in two tones—rather unfortunately, it seems to me, as a plain chrome finish would have agreed better with the chrome trim of the rest of the pen. It is on the small side, in keeping with the rather slim profile of the pen. (More on the nib below.) 2. Construction and quality The pen comes with a convertor. One nice feature of the design is that, as you can see in the next photograph, the base of the grip section is of metal, so that when you screw the grip section back into the barrel, you are screwing metal into metal, so that there is no danger of cracking the threads, as can happen with all-plastic grip sections. And now I come to the one flaw of construction in the pen—at least in the specimen that I got. The first thing that I did with the pen when I got it was to remove the cap and try to post it on the barrel. It would not go on. I could set the cap on to the end of the barrel, but it would simply perch there loosely and would rattle around or fall off if the pen was used. I found this rather exasperating, as I strongly prefer to use my pens with the cap posted. I tried applying a bit of pressure and heard a snap, whereupon the cap fit into the proper posting position. However, when I replaced the cap on the writing end of the pen, I found that its fit was looser than before. I believe that the plastic inner cap cracked when I posted it. I have had no problems of the nib drying out since then, and the cap will stay in place, but it comes off more easily than I think it should. It would not be safe, for example, to wear this pen clipped into a pocket, for fear of the barrel coming out of the cap. Neither of the two persons reporting on their own Galileo pens in the thread that I cited earlier (posts #21 and #23) reports having any such problem as this. 3. Weight and dimensions The pen is rather slim, which in general is not agreeable to me; however, I find that my thumb and index finger tend to stay in place at the widest point of the grip section, just below (if the pen is held in writing position) where the barrel begins, so that I can hold it comfortably. The balance is comfortable for me. Length, capped: 13.9 cm; uncapped (body only), 12.4 cm; posted, 15.3 cm. Width at narrowest point of grip: approx. 0.85 cm; at thickest point in barrel, approx.1.1 cm. Weight: 23.6 g; body, 16.4 g; cap, 7.2 g. 4. Nib and performance I ordered the pen with a broad nib. With it I ordered a second nib in medium. (The nib is the Knox K26, not the larger K35 that fits into the "Bülow" or Jinhao X450.) This turned out to be very fortunate, as the broad nib proved unusuable for me. The photograph below shows a sample of some writing done with the broad nib, in J. Herbin Bleu nuit ink, with the addition of a note in the margin made after I had replaced the B nib with the M nib. Some might find the writing with the B nib to their taste, but to me it seems a soppy mess. To be sure, the writing was made on the back of a page of a composition book that already had writing on the other side, not on Clairefontaine or the like. And, I should confess, getting a B nib was a bit of an experiment for me, as I don't generally use them. Still, this nib laid down more ink than I like. I much prefer the M nib, and now use it exclusively in the pen. Knox is already well-known, I believe, as a manufacturer of nibs. These nibs are well up to their standard, writing very smoothly and evenly, with no problems of skipping. They seem to be on the wet side, but I have not tried them with a great variety of inks (I think Bleu nuit is on the wet side itself). Also, the pen is an easy starter. So far, it has always begun to lay down ink immediately for me—though I have not yet left it unused for more than a day or two at a time. 5. Filling system and maintenance I have mentioned the convertor, which, as far as I can tell, is just the standard sort. The pen also takes cartridges. It is easy to remove and replace the nib and feed for cleaning. 6. Cost and value It's fifteen US dollars, people! That's for a metal-barreled fountain pen with a convertor. And you can get all the additional nibs you want for $9 each or the EF, F, and M nibs together for $18. 7. Conclusion The one flaw that I reported in this pen may be peculiar to my specimen, and my experience with the vendor has been that they would immediately send me a replacement if I were to ask for one, so if you could possibly have a use for a fountain pen of this description, I think it is worth it to get one of these. There are, however, two other models made by Knox that are also available on the xFountainPens site, whose designs some users may prefer.
  6. fitz123

    Knox Aristotle?

    Has anyone done a review on the Knox Aristotle? I heard good things about the Knox nibs but cant find a well complete review on the Aristotle Pen. It is really a pretty pen! Thanks
  7. KreepyKen

    Knox Galileo Review

    Knox Galileo Fountain Pen Price: $15.00 Nib: Extra Fine Filling System: Piston / Cartridge (International Standard) Knox is an interesting brand. They're only available from one retailer (XFountainPens out of Pittsburgh, PA, USA). They appear to be commissioned from a Chinese manufacturer, but outfitted with German nibs. I heard some great things about the Knox nibs and noticed that the Galileo came with a free bottle of ink. For $15, I figured I'd take a chance on it (okay, the fact that it comes in a nice, shiny orange may have had something to do with it, too). With the exception of one rather large flaw, I absolutely love this pen. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/galileo_01.jpg Appearance I find the pen to be beautiful, if not a little simple in design. It's a sleek, clean design that has just enough chrome accents to give it a little sparkle. I have two pens, each with a different finish. The orange pen is glossy and shiny; the black pen has a matte finish. Both finishes are extraordinary, although the glossy one is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. The cap and barrel are metal, and the pen has a bit of heft to it, although I wouldn't say it's heavy. It feels solid; sturdy. The finial and endcap are simple chrome adornments, as are the clip and cap band. The clip reminds me a little of Pelikan in style, but it's shaped in a wave pattern that adds a little bit of flare to it. The nib is gold colored, which I think is a strange choice, given the pen's silvery chrome accents. It would have looked much nicer with a silver-colored nib instead of gold. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/galileo_02.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/galileo_03.jpg Build Quality (5/5) The Galileo feels like a solid, well built, good quality pen, and it performs very well. Both the glossy and matte finishes are beautiful and feel durable. The snap-on cap secures tightly in place with a loud and satisfying click. Although sometimes the cap doesn't close. You can push on it pretty hard, but it won't snap shut. I don't know if it's slightly misaligned or if I'm pushing at a minute angle that it doesn't like. When this happens, I just separate the pen and cap and try again, and it always snaps into place the second time. The section is very smooth and somewhat slippery. I can't tell if it's plastic or metal, but the threads on the section are metal and well machined. The section screws and unscrews from the barrel very smoothly; the metal-on-metal feel of the coupling makes the pen feel nice and solid. The converter is a standard screw-type piston filler that slides in and out of the section. It would be nice if it screwed into the section, but the hold is pretty firm. I have no fear that the converter will dislodge from the section accidentally. And the converter comes with a small plastic or glass ball in it to agitate the ink for better flow into the section & feed. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/galileo_07.jpg http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/galileo_05.jpg Dependability (5/5) I had quite a few skips early on, but the pen seems to have settled down quite a bit. I generally don't have any problems with it writing. I've noticed that if I let the pen sit open for more than a few seconds, it may take one or two strokes for the ink to start flowing to the paper, but otherwise, the writing is beautiful and consistent. The cap is very secure on the pen. I have no worries about it coming off by surprise. And I have had absolutely no issues with the pen leaking or dripping, although I've found nib creep to be pretty prominent. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/galileo_09.jpg Comfort (3/5) The pen is pretty comfortable to write with for short periods of time, but I've found that my hand tends to cramp up when writing with the Galileo for an extended period of time. The section is very slick, and it's not uncommon for my fingers to slip around a little bit when writing. It hasn't been a huge problem, but it's noticeable. One gripe of mine with the pen is that the cap doesn't post. I'd very much like to try writing with the cap posted to see if it changes the balance of the pen and alleviates the hand cramping. I've heard of other people successfully posting this pen by forcing the cap onto the end of the pen, but I'm afraid if I push too hard, I'll break the plastic sleeve inside the cap. I'd rather have a pen that doesn't post than a pen that doesn't close. And speaking of the cap, because it's a push-on cap, there is a slight lip where the section meets the barrel. These lips tend to be a little sharp and can cause discomfort if you hold the pen higher up the section. But honestly, I don't notice the lip at all when writing. I think they did a great job of designing it to not be a nuisance. The slick section and hand cramps are enough for me to dock the pen a couple points for comfort. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/galileo_04.jpg Writing Experience (4/5) Now that the skipping business is out of the way, I have to say that I'm very impressed with how this pen writes. The nib is fantastic: super smooth and consistent. There is no line variation, but the flow is great. It's a pretty wet writer. My only problem with the nib is that it's supposed to be an extra fine, but writes closer to a medium. I have very tiny handwriting and am dying to find extra fine nibs that are actually extra fine (I wish Pilot sold standard #5 and #6 nibs!). The pen writes awesome, but it's a bit too thick for my taste. I did try a bit of reverse (upside down) writing. The line is super fine...just beautiful, in fact. But the nib is wicked scratchy in that orientation. It makes me nervous, so I don't do it. http://www.gizmosauce.com/img/galileo_10.jpg Value (5/5) This pen is an amazing value for $15. When I ordered it, it came with a free bottle of ink. It comes with a converter, but also takes international standard cartridges. One thing I really like about the Galileo is that there are a ton of nib options available. It takes a Knox K26 nib, which comes in EF, F, M, B, OB, and OBB for under $10 each. So for a pretty small price overall, you can get a solid, dependable pen and various sized nibs to swap out. If the EF nib was a true extra fine, the Knox Galileo would rival the Pilot Metropolitan for value and sheer awesomeness. Best Qualities: Solid Build Great Nib Attractive Design Worst Qualities: EF nib is not an EF Cap does not post Cap does not always snap into place Overall Score: 22/25
  8. I've been wanting for ages to getting hold of a Noodler's pen to fiddle with. Now I have a Konrad in 'Narwhal'. I always intended it as a replacement holder for my Knox 1.1mm stub, but I left the flex nib in it to see how I liked it (it didn't last the day before I swapped it out). I'd only seen pictures before and I thought it was quite a big pen, but it's actually a really nice size for me. The resin feels warm and 'soft' to the touch with just a little bit of drag when I move my fingers over it, nice, I don't mind the smell either. The quality of the finish is good for a pen of this price, can't complain about that. From reports I'd read I was expecting to have to do some major tweaking to get it to write, but i just flushed it and filled it and away it went. It flexed with firm pressure and wrote with just discernable variation with light pressure, but the nib wasn't doing anything for me so out it came. The Knox went straight in and it wrote pretty well but there were hard start and skipping issues. I had a closer look and saw there was a gap between the nib and feed so I thought I'd try my hand at heat setting it. It was disappointingly simple, only took about 30 seconds (took longer to boil the kettle). Perfect, neat set, it hasn't skipped once since then and starts as soon as it touches paper. The one thing I miss from the Jinhao X450 that the nib was in before is the sound. The nib used to make tiny squeaks and growls as it moved over the paper, probably because of the hard plastic feed with lots of fins. The sound added another level of satisfaction. The X450 is actually a very good pen, very solid and reliable, but it's too heavy and cold for my personal taste. I've put the Noodler's flex nib into it so it might get some use (probably not though). I have to say that I'm impressed by the Konrad, I think I'd get another one, or maybe an Ahab, but I'd probably spring for the ebonite version since I hear they're finished a bit better.
  9. Gotta say, I love my Noodler's Konrad. Has anyone here has replaced the standard Nooodler's Flex nib with another nib (Like a Goulet nib or a Knox nib) and would be willing to share pictures of it? I have a Goulet <F> in my Konrad right now, and though it writes well, the nib is set do far into the section that it just looks ugly to me. I was wondering if a Knox or even Nemosine nib from xfountainpens.com would look better (as in less far set into the section)





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