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Jinhao 599 Tuning



grahamtillotson

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grahamtillotson

I know a lot of people have been interested in the Safari clones, the Jinhao 599 series, and I thought I'd post some comments about the tuning process I've gone through with these pens. I picked up several of them out of curiosity and have been using them to practice my nib grinding and smoothing skills.

 

The first ones I picked up did not fare well. I got two of the blue demonstrators, and when doing an initial cleaning I reinserted the converters and pushed the nib/feed sleeve out of the section. Not sure if these are friction fit or tacked in there with a little bit of cement, but this is clearly a big issue when a normal push on a converter pops the whole nib/feed unit up and out.

 

I moved too quickly and assumed that the sleeve unit was round, and I cemented the sleeve back into the section. A couple of problems with this -- 1) the sleeve has ONE alignment position and 2) using cement to lock up a sleeve in a transparent section leads to some ugliness. Obviously, because the grip is formed, the sleeve has to line up EXACTLY with the top of the section or the nib alignment will be off. And, if I were to cement the sleeves in again, I'd use a very small amount of cement and try to keep it out of the inside of the section.

 

Having tossed the first two into the parts bin I bought three more and found myself going through a similar tuning process for each. First off, EVERY pen had a really bad nib with way too much ink flow. Not one of the five had a nib that was usable from the start. Fortunately the nibs/feeds are easy to pull out and work with, so I went through the following steps to get them working:

 

  • Ground them down closer to fine
  • Adjusted the tines
  • Smoothed the inner edges of the tines (this was critical)
  • Closed gaps on the tines to get the right alignment and pressure
  • Corrected a few "inverted Grand Canyon" problems

 

Once these changes were made the flow was better, and I managed to turn all three of the pens into really good writers:

 

fpn_1398626910__599_02.jpg

 

The next weirdness to correct was how the section screwed into the barrel. Each one of the pens seems to do this strange thing where right as it gets tight it turns slightly back to the loose position. It is almost like the body can't make the final 1/16 of a turn to cinch it down completely. To correct this I put a very thin layer of Shoo Goo on the threads to prevent movement. Clearly this is a silly solution because I'd have to repeat it every time I filled the pen, but for now it works. Maybe I'll try setting one up with a sac and then using the side window and a bent paperclip to fill it.

 

The last thing I did was to take 400 grit sandpaper (lightly) to the bottom of the cap. The plastic had a slight edge to it that I didn't like, so I smoothed it out, and because it is right on the edge you don't have to worry about scratches in the plastic.

 

I have some solid colored ones on the way, so we'll see if those have the same issues. Overall the pens are decent for the price, but only if you have some fairly solid nib tuning skills.

 

Graham

Edited by grahamtillotson
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disillusion

Were they that bad?

I got them in all the demonstrator colours too, and they all worked straight out of the box for me. One nib was quite scratchy, the other two were okay. They put down a medium line and were pretty wet writers, but I wouldn't say they gave too much ink flow. The black plastic sleeve that holds the nib and feed inside the section in all the pens were glued, so they didn't fall out, but the small amount of glue is visible and takes some points off from the appearance.

I have the opposite problem with the way the section screws into the barrel. In the last quarter of turn or so before it gets tight, it takes quite a bit of effort to turn it either way because of the friction between the threads, but it is pretty secure once I screw it tight. I suppose the QC isn't very good so it can be too tight or too loose.

I got all three pens for $5 shipped and they are all usable so I can't really complain.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

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My experience is similar to that of 'disillusion': I received two 'free samples' of the Jinhao 599, metal body with black lacquer finish, and both of them were smooth writers from the moment I inked them up.

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The first ones I picked up did not fare well. I got two of the blue demonstrators, and when doing an initial cleaning I reinserted the converters and pushed the nib/feed sleeve out of the section. Not sure if these are friction fit or tacked in there with a little bit of cement, but this is clearly a big issue when a normal push on a converter pops the whole nib/feed unit up and out.

 

For a pen that takes so much inspiration from the Safari, I'm surprised by that. The Safari/Vista section has an integral support and stop for the cartridge/converter. It's part of the section's molded shape, making it impossible for the cart/converter to push out the nib and feed. You can just about see this feature in the clicky thumb below (ignore the green arrows)

 

http://i773.photobucket.com/albums/yy19/flounder2009/Lamy%20Safari%20Grip%20Adjustment/th_LamySafariVistaNibRotation06.jpg

 

If as you say the Jinhao is also as much of a hassle to tailor the nib rotation as the Lamy is, then my overall reaction the clones is a resolute "meh."

Edited by Flounder

Latest pen related post @ flounders-mindthots.blogspot.com : vintage Pilot Elite Pocket Pen review

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Gloucesterman

 

For a pen that takes so much inspiration from the Safari, I'm surprised by that. The Safari/Vista section has an integral support and stop for the cartridge/converter. It's part of the section's molded shape, making it impossible for the cart/converter to push out the nib and feed. You can just about see this feature in the clicky thumb below (ignore the green arrows)

 

http://i773.photobucket.com/albums/yy19/flounder2009/Lamy%20Safari%20Grip%20Adjustment/th_LamySafariVistaNibRotation06.jpg

 

If as you say the Jinhao is also as much of a hassle to tailor the nib rotation as the Lamy is, then my overall reaction the clones is a resolute "meh."

 

It may take "visual" inspiration from Lamy BUT the quality is still a variable. They also probably have more than one factory or production line producing these pens. Each line, each factory has it's own quality variances.

 

Finally, all that glitters is not gold!

Think "iron pyrite"!!!!

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”

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grahamtillotson

Were they that bad?

 

 

They were pretty bad. Two had alignment issues and all three needed squeezing to correct the inverted Grand Canyon problem. And for me the ink flow was super wet, but that could have been related to the tine alignment issues. My plan was to grind them down anyhow, so I didn't try to tune them up in their original medium form.

 

Graham

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  • 3 weeks later...
grahamtillotson

Quick update that I've been working on some of the extra fine versions. Seems like that black plastic hood is cemented on, and the feed is more or less fixed in place. It is possible to pull the nib straight out (pretty much the tubular version like a Parker 51/21), though I've only done it after shredding the black hood part.

 

So far these nibs have been in better shape than the regular ones. I think I still prefer the regular nib versions though for ease of work and tuning.

 

Graham

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Quick update that I've been working on some of the extra fine versions. Seems like that black plastic hood is cemented on, and the feed is more or less fixed in place.

 

Thanks; I received one of the EFs today and that is information I was looking for. I guess I'm glad I didn't try to pull the feed and nib prior to using it.

 

I don't suppose you have any photos of the section and nib with it apart, or as far apart as you got it?

 

Mine writes well with no tuning, and is just as smooth as best EF/XF nib I have.

Edited by mrcharlie
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  • 4 months later...

If we will remember that these are not the Lamy Safari, and were not made to be toyed around with--removing nibs and other such things. When you get the pen ink it up and put it through some paces. If you need to smooth the nib a bit, do so, but that is all the "fixing" you will be able to do. If you enoy "fixing/working with/tweaking" your pen, then purchase the Lamy Sarfari and have fun. I have (3) Jinhao 599s, and each one of them worked well right out of the box. I smooth the nib just a bit, and they are doing the job. The Jinhao does not perform or look like my $150 pen, but I do not expect it to. I use it for class notes and studies; message taking; generating lists, etc.I get a consistent line with no dripping of ink, and no skipping. I fill the converter to the full, and it will last me up to 2 days before I have to top off the converter. For the price, you can't beat it.

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  • 1 month later...

Can we convert any other variant(not this one with hole) of Jinhao 599 in to Eye Dropper FP ?

Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.

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Can we convert any other variant(not this one with hole) of Jinhao 599 in to Eye Dropper FP ?

None of the 599s can be converted; the plastic & demonstrators because of the holes, nor the metal because ink causes corrosion of the metal.

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