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  1. Hello, lovely penfriends! It’s been many years since I’ve posted here, and it transpires that since I’ve been away, I’ve become an adult! I have a real job (special education teacher) and a real wife (she’s amazing – A+++, quick response, would marry again) who is at present indulgent if not actively encouraging of my interest in writing instruments. What all this amounts to is that, since I first sank into this hobby as an undergrad and obsessed over it as a penniless M.A. student, for the first time in my life I’ve been able to save enough guilt-free, doesn’t-need-to-be-spent-on-other-things money to consider a really high-end, comparatively expensive pen. I’m now in a position to buy one of my grails. So, of course, indecision sets in. I’d be terribly grateful for some guidance. If you’re inclined, here’s the obnoxiously obsessive information about my preferences I can give you for context. I want a keep-at-home pen, which I’m happy to pamper as long as it’s not too fragile to use. Form must not compromise function.(To that end) I want a comfortable writer for looooong sessions at my desk. Metal sections and narrow sections are immediate deal-breakers for me. (I wrote my thesis longhand with my beloved Cross Townsend, and nearly lost my index fingernail because of my death-grip. I’d enjoy something girthier.)Given that my price range is higher, I’d really like to use this opportunity to get a big, (ideally) two-toned gold nib with pretty scrolling. Part of what inspires me to write is the hypnotic glint of the writing instrument.Similarly, I’d want to use this opportunity to try a larger pen with a construction material not normally available on less expensive pens; I know that plastics are tremendously varied, but even when I had a chance to hold a Montblanc 149, it wasn’t making my heart sing the way my lacquered metal pens have done. Briarwood or urushi-lacquered ebonite have been drawing most of my attention as I’ve been searching.For my hands, I’ve found that the Cross Townsend unposted is a great length and weight. I’m happy to go longer, but I’d prefer not to post unless the pen is specifically built for it. (My metal Pilot Falcon is too short for me unposted, and I don’t want to mar the lacquer by posting it.)I don’t mind bounce, but I would like a hard(er), medium-fine nib. Wet, with feedback, would be particularly nice.I'd prefer not to spend more than $1000 if I can possibly help it.Given all this, and after a lot of time spent reading and watching reviews, I have some candidates I’d like to run by anyone who’s still reading. Visconti Homo Sapiens Maxi Bronze (EF) – This has been my grail pen since it first came out, waaay back before I could imagine being able to afford it. The size of the pen, the nib, and the unusual material were big draws, but over time, my enthusiasm has been ablated by reported issues with quality control, the hyper-wetness of the nib, the ink soaking into the section, and the inability to check the reservoir. The EF nib would be to deal mitigate the reported Dreamtouch™ firehose. Pilot Custom 845 (M) – This pen seems large enough to use unposted, wide enough to hold comfortably, and the nib is enormous and lovely compared with what I’m used to (Cross Townsend, Sheaffer Prelude, and Pilot Falcon being my chief reference points). The aesthetics of the body are almost perfect for me (I’d consider the Sailor ProGear series if they were larger and non-resin). This would be my first ebonite and urushi pen, too, so my only hesitation here is that the section is still resin: I’ve only ever used resin sections, and I have nothing against them, but part of me wonders, if I’m spending the money, should I not spring for a pen that’s urushi “all the way down?” If you have experience with a lacquered grip section and have insight into the difference it makes beyond visual aesthetic, I’d love to know. This pen is otherwise likely the one I’d go for. Sailor King of Pen Briarwood (M) – Huge, beautiful nib, beefy section, and I absolutely love the look of briarwood. The expense breaks my ceiling, though, so it’d be a pen that I’d continue to save for over the next year, if this was the decision. My other hesitations include the cigar-shape, which I’m not crazy about, and my sense that it would be on the shorter side if unposted. Nakaya Desk Pens (M) – I’ve been looking at these because of their length and ebonite/urushi build (I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say a bad word about Nakaya, either). My hesitation here is that I don’t know how large the nib would be compared with the other options, and the section is the same width as my Cross Townsend… If anyone has experience with long writing sessions using desk pens, I’d love to hear about it. These reasons are also why I hesitate around Nakaya’s Briarwood collection, since the light gloss on briarwood is probably my ideal body material, at least visually. Aurora Optima (F) – Auroras were always priced out of my range and seemed too flashy for me, regardless. I’ve been considering Optimas now because the toothy nibs intrigue me (and they seem large), the intricacy of the piston, ink window, and general fit and finish together seem amazing, and the depth of the auroloide helps me get over hesitation around “plastic.” I appreciate that this would be a pen I’d need to post for it to be usable in my hands, though it seems made for that? Apologies in absentia to those who got tired of reading this along the way, and thanks very much to those of you who stayed, even if you don’t have any advice. I know this is also a weird market bracket to ask for help with: I get the sense that people who can afford high-end pens often collect several of them and may be impatient with my caution and baby steps, while those who can’t (like me, a few years ago) often look on with envy and detachment. If you have the patience and interest to follow me on this journey, I’ll let you know how it goes, and again, thank you so, so much for your time.

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