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First Fountain Pen


KARD
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Hello,

 

I'm sure you've heard this question plenty of times, but I'm curious for those who have recently started using fountain pens and their experience.

 

What were you first choices of fountain pens? Which ones did you end up getting and why? I'm currently deciding between the pilot metropolitan, lamy safari and the twsbi eco. Opinion?

 

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First FP years ago was the beginner FP du jour, Hero 616, quickly followed by the very decent Lamy Studio, Kaweco Sport and a few months later Sailor 1911.

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What were you first choices of fountain pens? Which ones did you end up getting and why? I'm currently deciding between the pilot metropolitan, lamy safari and the twsbi eco. Opinion?

 

Get the Eco or the Al-Star which is a nicer version of Safari aimed at grown-ups. ;)

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All 3 that you've listed are a good introduction. The key will be how they feel to you.

 

I too, would recommend out of the three either the Lamy or the TWSBI, then the Pilot.

 

Why?

 

I love the Lamy nibs better than Pilot. They just seemed smoother and more consistent to me. The grip also felt more natural in my hands.

The TWSBI is good because I like the ink capacity and the nibs are excellent. It too felt good in hand, but I do like a bigger section to my pens.

 

If you can get some to hold or test all the better.

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I restarted with fountain pens in 2016 (after a 20+ year break). I got an Eco. Love it so much I immediately bought a second one. Later I got a Pilot Metropolitan and then a Lamy Al-Star. (Can't remember if I got other pens in between.) Anywho, all three are good choices. I say watch / read reviews and choose the one which you think you'll like the most. If you can, try them out first. I didn't have that choice.

 

I got the Eco because of positive reviews and I loved how it looked - the whole idea of a piston filler and demonstrator were totally new to me - loved everything about both. No regrets.

 

I think I probably got the Metro and Al-Star because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. The Al-Star was a package set with a mini notebook (I'm a sucker for mini things), and on sale, so it kinda tipped me over the edge. I love all three nibs - for different reasons. I think I must have lucked out because:

 

* My Eco EF is very EF (for a western) and writes really smoothly

* My Metro F was smooth as can be right out of the box (don't know what all these people who complain about feedback and scratchy are talking about)

* My Al-Star EF is EF (if fatter than the Eco's) and tends to give fabulous shading, and it's also really smooth

 

(Not that you have to get F or EF, just saying, I got three great nibs with these guys - though the Al-Star nib was not the original, I bought it separate.)

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Another pen I’ve seen reccommended for beginners here recently is the Faber Castell Loom. Two things about the Lamy Safari: the shape of the section is designed for it to be held in a particular way that people either like or dislike, and it is easy to change the nibs without buying another pen. There is a fairly wide range of Lamy nibs available, including several stub nibs, which is a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to try some different nibs to find what you like. Lamy pens are not the only pens with interchangeable nibs: I’m not sure about the Pilot or the Eco. Others may comment on this.

If you are a newbie, you might look at the Reference Pages on a website called Richard's Pens: it has a wealth of info about the basics of fountain pens, their use and care, and it will help you avoid making some mistakes. A couple of other websites with useful information for newbies include PenChalet, Jetpens and the Goulet Pen Company. Goulet has made quite a few videos available on their website and on YouTube, which are helpful with some procedures related to FP use. Bear in mind that how your writing appears on the page is a complex interplay of pen, paper, nib, ink, and handwriting, so be patient as you experiment with these variables. Enjoy, and good luck.

Mike

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My first was a Lamy Al Star many years ago. (1998) I still have and use it, although it is currently uninked. Every few weeks or so I pull it out. Until 2012 it was one of two, so was used a lot. The triangular grip is actually one of the reasons I bought it. Helped me learn the correct way to hold a pen.

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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I just got a Pilot Metro M - first FP ever since messing around with Shaeffer calligraphy cheapies several decades ago. $13.00 on amazon.

I absolutely love it. . . on cheap grocery store notebooks, it dries quickly with a small bit of feathering, but nothing terrible. You can get ink replacement cartridges at staples easily enough.

I'm currently pondering the Lamy Joy set to try out something different.

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Thank you for all your suggestions and quick response!

 

You have to report back, let us know what you decided to buy, and how you like it! :D

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Of the three, I'd choose the ECO. I like a lightweight pen with a round section about 9.3-10.5mm in diameter.

 

The Safari has a surprisingly narrow section, given how big the pen is overall. This is in part because of the cutout facets. You have a local pen shop where you can try one. I am glad I do too, because after about a third of a page, I remembered why I don't like the Safari. For those who don't, consider picking up a Jinhao 599, which is made with a section as much alike that of the Safari/ Vista/ Al-Star/ Joy as the Chinese can make, and can be had for about the same cost as a single Pilot G-2.

 

Those few who dislike the Pilot Metro generally cite either its narrow section (under 8.5mm diameter) or the sharp step between section and barrel.

 

There's another starter pen I like to recommend, which is the Platinum Plaisir. It has a tough, lightweight anodized aluminum barrel and cap, with a large chrome-trim ring. The section is just over 10mm in diameter, and is almost perfectly flush with the barrel. I've used both the 0.3mm nib (toothy) and the 0.5mm nib (just a touch of feedback). The cartridge is easily refilled using a disposable pipette like Anderson Pens and the Goulet Pen Co. both sell. And Platinums are known for not drying out -- my wife left her Plaisir sitting unused, point up, for months, and it wrote on the first stroke.

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My first was a Metro, which I don't find myself using often anymore. The Eco to me is a much better choice IF you are okay with using bottled ink. I recommend the Metro to beginners purely for price point and convenience as a cartridge pen. The Eco is a better writer and all-around pen. I'm not a big fan of the Safari personally, but if you prefer the look/feel of ABS and don't mind the grip then it's a great choice.

 

Another decent starter is a Nemosine Singularity, if nothing else quite fits the bill for you.

 

Let us know what you decide!

 

~AK

Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I found out long ago.

~C.S. Lewis

--------------

Current Rotation:

Edison Menlo <m italic>, Lamy 2000 <EF>, Wing Sung 601 <F>

Pilot VP <F>, Pilot Metropolitan <F>, Pilot Penmanship <EF>

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Like a lot of others i started with a Pilot metro and TWSBI Eco. I first got the metro and quickly grew out of it and got myself an Eco and it has remained my primary pen a little over a year later. Though my Pilot vanishing point is slowly taking that spot.

 

I loved the clear demonstrator aspect of it, as well as the large ink capacity and piston filling mechanism which makes it really nice for taking notes in class.

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Of the three I would prefer the Safari for first pen.

PAKMAN

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Bear in mind that both the Lamy and the Pilot use (different) proprietary ink cartridges, so it might be worth checking on the local availability of those cartridges to see which pen is more convenient overall. If you're planning on using them with cartridges anyway; if you're planning to go with converters and bottled ink then obviously it doesn't matter very much.

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My first was actually a 70's Sheaffer school pen.

PAKMAN

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I'd go with the Metro based on value, you get a well tuned Japanese nib and a converter (something which Lamy does not provide free of charge). With the pricing of around thirty dollars with pen and ink, it is nearly unbeatable.

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After feeling the three different types of pen in my hand. Lamy was the winner for me. It just felt smoother when writing for me. I'm excited to use it! Thanks all.

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