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Hey Guys,

I am currently a Junior at high school and a big fan of fountain pens, as a student I only use fountain pens with the exception of a Rotring 500 for math. My experience with some fountain pens has been great, others not so much. I started out with a Lamy Safari in Medium, accidentally dropped it after a couple of months and broke the nib. I then got a Lamy AL Star (M), which had an incredibly smooth nib, at the same time I got a new Safari (M) to put another ink in, and it had a very bad nib, straight out of the box the tines were very uneven, and the bead at the end was beyond fixing, and there was absolutely nothing that can be done to fix that nib. I received a Parker IM for Christmas, which was a complete disappointment, very scratchy, and generally low quality nib same with another Parker Jotter I got.

I take very good care of my pens and frequently wash them and clean them and my ink of choice is the Pelikan 4001.

I want to invest in a new pen, one that I can keep for years as a daily pen, price is not the biggest issue, since I intend to save for it. I want something that has consistent quality, ruggedness, and smoothness, basically an everyday pen. I want it to be a step up from my Lamys and Parkers.



A Student looking for a reliable, high quality, rugged, smooth, and utility pen. Price is no issue.


Through trials on lower end pens:

Lamy Steel nibs, Can be very smooth, but can also be terrible. Generally non consistent quality.

Parker IM and Jotter: Complete and utter disaster, even when changing inks, papers, and frequent washes.


I want a pen to invest in, what are my options?

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Zouz99
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Preferred price range? I'll go with the upper half of the below $100 range.


Twsbi 580 AL. Aluminum bits to make it sturdier, holds lots of ink in a dedicated piston filler. $60

Platinum 3776 Century. Gold nib, the Chartres Blue and Bourgogne are beautiful, and the slip'n'seal cap really works - never, ever a hard start with mine. Be aware that Japanese nibs are about one order finer than European nibs. Around $70-80 on Amazon (pricing fluctuates by nib, color, and just plain daily whim).

Pilot 74 or 91. Just slightly different bodies, otherwise the same pen. About the same price as the Platinum (all three are much more expensive through official US distributor channels). Seals pretty good, if not quite as awesome as the 3776 Century, but you can get the larger con-70 for it. Also gold nibbed.

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A couple of things:


If you got the LAMY with the bad nib from new, the nib will be changed for free under warranty.


Pelikan 4001 is a good ink, but rather dry (not as lubricated and free flowing as some inks). So you could start by trying another ink. A good choice in inks would be Waterman inks - they are what we call "well behaved".


LAMY pens are normally very good (you can get a dud but not very often), other alternatives could be: Pilot 78G and Parker Frontier (better nibs than on the Jotter and IM, IMHO). A step up - I'll second the Platinum 3776.


Part of the fun is experimenting ;) - so have fun!

Edited by hbdk

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them - Dave Berry


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Hi Zouz99,


the usual question for recommendations:


What is your preference in weight/diameter/length/filling mechanism/nib size/etc.


You get the idea, if you can be more specific, we may be able to give you more useful pointers. Nevermind the whole new vs. used/vintage thing and color options etc.


Also, is your focused on prolonged writing (exams and the like) or intermittent note taking?


Best of luck on your quest,



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I second trying Waterman ink. The Parker IM may be scratchy because the Pelikan ink may be too dry for the pen, and you are not getting enough ink flow. I put Waterman ink in my Parker IM and it worked just fine, out of the box, no fiddling with the nib.


You are still in high school. I do NOT recommend getting an expensive pen. In my experience, school is a high risk environment for damage, loss or theft. So I recommend a pen under $50, and the lower the better, as long as it is a GOOD writer. I used a pair of Parker 45s through college. If you really want an expensive pen, keep it at home.


You do not need to clean the pen often. Every 2 months is more than enough, for me.

If the ink is diluted with water from cleaning, it is a poor lubricant for the nib. So you should DRY the pen well before inking it up.


The Lamy Safari is about the most rugged fountain pen that I know of, but only so if the pen is capped. ANY fountain pen will be damaged if you drop it on the nib.


The Safari may write dry, especially with Pelikan ink, requiring nib adjustment to get better ink flow. Lamy nibs are available and easy changed. I suggest you get a replacement nib for your first Safari, and get it working again. For your 2nd Safari, I suggest contacting the Lamy distributor for a warranty replacement of your defective nib.

Edited by ac12

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California


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The Sheaffer Imperial 330 was the pen that got me through Penn. I would suggest looking for one of those Sheaffer school pens. They are tough as nails and the Sheaffer cartridges hold a lot of ink and they are everywhere.

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As a college freshman who's used FPs since middle school, I would suggest a higher quality pen, rather than something in the 'beginner' range. I've used TWSBIs in school, and they don't come close to other pens in terms of quality, feel, and reliably. From personal experience, I highly recommend a Parker "51" Aerometric--very reliable, rugged, easy to use in a pinch because of the slip cap, and it holds a good deal of ink. The Sheaffer Snorkel is perhaps equally as rugged and relaible, but the screw cap and thinner diameter are detriments for many. Another option, if you want ultimate leak prevention, would be a vaccum filler with an ink shutoff valve (namely the Pilot Custom 823, or, in vintageland, Onoto pens) I think comfort is imperative though, so all of these recommendations are unsound as I can't know what will fit your hand well.

My personal favorite for school use, for no objective reason, is the Pelikan 400, but it is not as resistant to bumping and temperature changes as the "51", and again, the threaded cap is not as practical. However, piston fillers, especially those with removable nibs, are MUCH easier to flush than the "51", so if you want to change inks often and can treat the pen a little more gingerly, the 400 might be a great fit (do note that some find it a bit small).

Edited by ele
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Can thoroughly recommend Lamy 2000. Large ink capacity, pretty sturdy, smooth wet nib which I've found pairs well with 4001. Most brands QC can be a bit hit or miss. The key is to having the patience to keep exchanging until you get a good one. That said my Lamy 2000 was perfect first time.


Bit more expensive then other options, but sometimes you can find a steal online.

Edited by superglueshoe
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Pelikan Stola 3 - It's a new pen from Pelikan. it doesn't cost the earth and comes with a nice medium which works well enough, and being a Pelikan it should work well with the inks you already have.


Alternatively, a Platinum Plasir is a good pen.

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Why not just pick up some more Lamy nibs for your Lamy pens? The nibs are sold separately from the pens, e.g. at Goulet Pen Co. The Safari and Al-Star use the same nib and they're totally swappable. So you could get a nib in every size from extra-fine to 1.9 mm stub, and swap them in and out of your Safari whenever you're in the mood for a change in nib size. Check YouTube for videos on how to swap the nib and you'll see it's quite easy.

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The Platinum Plaisir is worth considering. Low priced. Nice nib's of varying sizes and has an Aluminium body and cap. Has a air tight seal inside the cap that keeps the nib wet and ready to write even after long periods of non use. The Platinum medium nib is equal to an European Fine nib. You can buy a piston fill converter for the pen if it does not come with one.

My daughter has used one in school since she was 11 years old and it still works well

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Don't to lured by price as price of a pen is determined by many factors. Durability is just one factor. Additionally, higher quality pens do necessarily write better than less expensive pens and different writing styles work with different pens.


I have found Noodler's Ahabs to be both durable and good writers though it took several flushings to get them to write well. One of my Ahabs rolled off the kitchen counter where i was writing and tried to stab the floor. Unfortunately, the floor is ceramic tile, so it won. The result was that the nib bent but writes wonderfully not as a wet extra-fine instead of a flex nib. I actually like it better now. When i was in grad school, my Cross Solo did yeoman duty even when traveling in the pocket of my cargo shorts or on backpacking trips. Unfortunately, i somehow lost the body and only have the cap left. My Esterbrooks have worked well though i find the ink supply does not last long in them. There are many vintage pens including the Parker 45 Flighters that would probably meet your needs.


My heavy Rotring 600s fared less well as the section loosened and fell off over time. They also were poor writers for me. My Sheaffer Preludes are fairly durable, but tend to be scratchy writers and slow starters. I also found my Pelikan M205s hard writers though one survived five months of winter in my garden. We did get a lot of snow that year, so it has certain time of durability.



-I use Noodler's ink mostly.

-I print mostly and do not write much cursive.

-In my job, i mostly write on low quality copier paper. At home, i use more vintage pens on higher quality paper.

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No one has mentioned them as yet, but you should try a couple of the Hero 616 series. I would suggest a 616-2. They are nice, reliable, quality pens for a low price. Plus, it doesn't hurt much if they get dropped, lost, or stolen!

You can still save for something nicer in the meantime.

Welcome to the forum, enjoy your stay!!

Edited by Zookie
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Would suggest a Parker 45 because it's cheap, yet has a classic look which is something you cannot find at that price range. I use a Prera for school and I find it pretty nice too. I have to refill it every day or so though.

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Hey guys,

Many thanks for your input.

I should mention that I changed lately from the Pelikan 4001 to Mont Blanc ink, the difference is quite substantial may I say.

I think I found the pen for me, the Lamy CP1 in black, the pen allows me to swap nibs, so if anything happens at school i can just replace the nib, and if i want to take it to the next level I can fit it with a gold nib.

How does the CP1 preform? would it be a good idea to get it in a Fine nib? is the writing wet enough?

Thanks again for your input.

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Pelikan ink is a dry ink, MB is probably a bit wetter, so it would flow better.


I have the cp1, well I have 3 of them. I hope you realize that the cp1 is a somewhat slim pen. According to my notes, the grip is 8.7mm in diameter and the body 9.4mm in diameter. I have one cp1 because the prior owner could not write with it, it was too thin for him.

I found the caps of ALL of my Lamy's to be too heavy for the pen. When I post the cap, the pen becomes too tail heavy for me. This is puzzling because several Lamys (including the cp1) are specifically designed for posting. I use ALL of my Lamys, including the cp1, unposted.


I personally prefer the Lamy EF nib, but nib size is a very personal preference thing. I have a really good F nib on my Lamy joy.

The finer the nib, the more sensitive it will be to the texture of the surface of the paper. So wider generally = smoother.


As for wet enough, it depends on the specific nib you get, and the ink you use. I have had Lamy nibs from wet to DRY, and in between. I have learned to adjust the nib on most all my pens so that the ink I use flows how I want it to. It really isn't too hard to make it write wetter, more difficult is to make it write dryer.

Edited by ac12

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California


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I found for smooth writing, the TWSBI is delightful. The demonstrator design means you can see ink level. I love my Al-Star from Lamy, but I have to say that the TWSBI nibs are smoother.


If it were me, I'd probably go with a TWSBI.


My normal pen is a clear green one for work. I carry the Al-Star in my purse and at home I have my "better" pens. However, none of them writes as beautifully as the TWSBI except for a very plain white Pelikan.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll also stick with the under $100 price range.


I'm in college now and I think the TWSBI Eco (or any clear demonstrator they make) is an ideal choice that offers outstanding features at a bargain price.


The price is such that if you lose the pen or someone "borrows" it forever, then it's not a huge deal to replace it.

It has a reasonably good nib with good flow.

It can be taken apart to make maintenance easier.

In my experience it's more reliable than the Lamy, with fewer known issues (nib creep only one of them).

TWSBI's customer service is outstanding.

It's a demonstrator so you can keep track of your ink level at one glance rather than taking the pen apart to check or trying to look through a murky small window. That's a huge time saver for busy college students.

It's a piston filler, so it holds a ton of ink--again that saves time for college students who use a lot of ink every single day.


Some other pens that are perfectly good pens for $100 or less:


* Aurora Ipsilon. A beautiful introduction to the famed Aurora line.

* Faber Castell Loom. If you like chunky pens, this is the FP for you.

* Levenger True Writer. Great pen at its price point.

* Parker Sonnet. Some models are under $100, but be careful here. The nibs have a notorious tendency towards baby bottom. If you can get one that isn't ground within an inch of its life, it's a terrific pen.

* Pilot Prera Iro Ai. A workhorse of a pen at a great price. Get a fine nib, load it up with Namiki Blue ink and be amazed at how well this pen writes on even junk American paper.

* Platinum 3776 Century is readily available now for under $100 online. One of my very favorite pens. I love everything about it--and I mean everything. I have a fine nib, but I'm considering getting an ultra-extra-fine, just to see if it will pass my nasty Mead paper test. No FP has done that, thus far, but I have a feeling that this particular nib will.

* Sheaffer Prelude. I don't like that it's made in China; however, I have a fondness for Sheaffer from when I was a girl in the 70s and it was the only affordable fountain pen I could find anywhere. They were the last to give up on the student market. I like them for that, and I still like how most of their pens write.

* Waterman Expert. It can be tough to find one for $100 these days, but it's too good a pen not to keep an eye out for bargains or sales. Keep looking. It's worth the investment of time and energy.

* Waterman Hemisphere. Cheaper than the Expert, so more accessible for most college students. The barrel may be on the too thin side for some people, but it's a much nicer entry level Waterman than the Kultur. This is where you can get a good idea of why this particular brand has such an outstanding reputation. Well worth the extra expense.


Now all that being said, my everyday writer is a Pilot Custom Heritage 92 inked up with Asa Gao. I normally don't recommend a pen like that as a college student's everyday writer because it's expensive enough to make that not a good idea; however, I'm at an age where I'm vigilant about keeping track of my pens. I don't leave them lying around if I must walk away from my desk, and I'm careful with handling and maintaining them, too. I don't let other people borrow my FPs at all. I keep some nasty ballpoint pens on me to pass out to people who can't be responsible enough to bring a working pen to class. If they absolutely want to try an FP, I have a Dollar pen tucked into my Midori Traveler, and I won't lose any sleep over not getting that back.


I always have a variety of FPs in my backpack, a few of them in the $100++++ category. Mostly I use them for color coding agendas, or simply as a change of pace from Asa Gao. I keep them in a dedicated case that I'm never more than about a foot from at any given time, and the case is never out of sight or in my hand, purse or backpack. I had a pencil case stolen during my second semester of school, and the loss still stings, because I had my first favorite FP in there (a Pilot Prera Iro-Ai that wrote spectacularly well), along with several quite expensive Japanese import school supplies that were not cheap to replace. Ever since then, I've been downright paranoid about keeping track of all of my school supplies.

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