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The Writing Desk in the UK test pens before they send them out & make sure you'll get one that will write out of the box.

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Thank you everyone for your advice, and my apologies for the outburst of frustration.

 

The final straw was the two new PenBBS items I received, having watched and read many a review singing the praises of how good they were for the money I decided to grab a couple 350's as my 'daily writers', a black & a red to correspond to the ink colours I use most in my journaling where I, at least for now, exclusively use De Atramentis Document inks for archival purposes (though that could change to KWZ's iron gall offerings shortly, since my last De Atramentis Document ink I purchased, their dark green, feathers & spreads something atrocious on even the finest nib I have...but I digress).

 

While I haven't tried one of them, the one I did try, sold as a 'fine' easily wrote more like a broad. With the ink being of the 'document' variety and already having some quite heavy feather & spread 'qualities', a faux-broad nib is nigh on useless for my purpose, add into that the hard starts and...well, you saw the result. Thankfully I had a spare Jinhao 'medium' gold plated nib that I swapped it over with that puts down a line half the width of the PenBBS 'fine'.

 

I love Jinhao pens, or at least the ones I have had experience with (X450 and X750), however the un-plated steel nibs tend to write a lot thicker than I would like and, thus, always need replacing with a Bock of which I have purchased several (not even every one of those replacements were good writers, two had to be sent back & swapped). There is something about the heft of the X450/750 that just feels 'right' to me.

 

I'd love to be able to fix some problems and stop having to have a miniature mental breakdown every time I want to write and my pen refuses to cooperate, but a big worry is that I'll turn a nib that 'more or less' works into a "If it ain't broke? Fix it until it is!" situation.

 

I was leaning towards not buying any more eBay 'bargains' and since a lot of you have suggested that I only buy from reputable places that has pushed me over the edge. No more! I notice places like PurePens and TheWritingDesk offer free tunings on request of any purchased fountain pen, that certainly does sound like it would iron our some problems.

Arguing with people on the Internet is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are at chess, the pigeon will just knock the pieces over, s**t on the board and strut around like it's victorious.

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am assuming - but really only guessing - that Ruth's comment about the 'baby's bottom' implies some large degree of smoothness in the nib tip - and I know there is an English language expession 'smooth as a baby's bottom'.

I seem to have a memory from my days of pipe smoking that there was a tobacco with that name too.

 

In days of yore, when nibs possessed more flex, tipping was perhaps less in quantity than current habits - nibs that flex offer some smoothness due to this very feature of resilience - whereas modern firm/nails perhaps need more tipping to create the same degree of smoothness.

The frequent problem - especially when buying older pens based on screen details only - is that tipping/iridium is often too worn, making writing less than smooth.

Again, this difficulty can be overcome if you test drive before buying.

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am assuming - but really only guessing - that Ruth's comment about the 'baby's bottom' implies some large degree of smoothness in the nib tip - and I know there is an English language expession 'smooth as a baby's bottom'.

I seem to have a memory from my days of pipe smoking that there was a tobacco with that name too.

 

Aha! Now this is something I do know of, since that Karas Kustoms K I mentioned had this problem. Babies bottom isn't to do with the smoothness but rather the shape. It means that instead of the tipping meeting the paper in a perfect round like () <-- this, it does it more like )( <-- that, where the bottom of the brackets would be the contact point of the nib to paper. It means the ink is there, but sitting so far into the nib tipping that it doesn't touch the paper & requires extra pressure to get things to flow.

Arguing with people on the Internet is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are at chess, the pigeon will just knock the pieces over, s**t on the board and strut around like it's victorious.

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Thankfully I had a spare Jinhao 'medium' gold plated nib that I swapped it over with that puts down a line half the width of the PenBBS 'fine'.

 

I love Jinhao pens, or at least the ones I have had experience with (X450 and X750),

That's interesting. While PenBBS 'Fine' nibs (on the 308 and 309, anyway), in my experience, write nowhere near as finely as I would like, they still do much, much better in that regard than the gold-plated 'Medium' nibs on my Jinhao X450 pens, which are practically 'unusable' to me. I just tried regrinding one of those X450 nibs, and while I managed to get it to write a bit finer than before, it's still too broad to be of much use.

 

I was leaning towards not buying any more eBay 'bargains'

I bought plenty of Fine and Extra Fine gold-nibbed Platinum, Pilot and Sailor pens on eBay at 'bargain' prices (for those products), and not a single one has written too broad out-of-the-box for me. Buying from Cult Pens, La Couronne du Comte, Pen Chalet, etc. has neither been worse nor better in that regard.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Thank you everyone for your advice, and my apologies for the outburst of frustration.

 

The final straw was the two new PenBBS items I received, having watched and read many a review singing the praises of how good they were for the money I decided to grab a couple 350's as my 'daily writers', a black & a red to correspond to the ink colours I use most in my journaling where I, at least for now, exclusively use De Atramentis Document inks for archival purposes (though that could change to KWZ's iron gall offerings shortly, since my last De Atramentis Document ink I purchased, their dark green, feathers & spreads something atrocious on even the finest nib I have...but I digress).

 

While I haven't tried one of them, the one I did try, sold as a 'fine' easily wrote more like a broad. With the ink being of the 'document' variety and already having some quite heavy feather & spread 'qualities', a faux-broad nib is nigh on useless for my purpose, add into that the hard starts and...well, you saw the result. Thankfully I had a spare Jinhao 'medium' gold plated nib that I swapped it over with that puts down a line half the width of the PenBBS 'fine'.

 

I love Jinhao pens, or at least the ones I have had experience with (X450 and X750), however the un-plated steel nibs tend to write a lot thicker than I would like and, thus, always need replacing with a Bock of which I have purchased several (not even every one of those replacements were good writers, two had to be sent back & swapped). There is something about the heft of the X450/750 that just feels 'right' to me.

 

I'd love to be able to fix some problems and stop having to have a miniature mental breakdown every time I want to write and my pen refuses to cooperate, but a big worry is that I'll turn a nib that 'more or less' works into a "If it ain't broke? Fix it until it is!" situation.

 

I was leaning towards not buying any more eBay 'bargains' and since a lot of you have suggested that I only buy from reputable places that has pushed me over the edge. No more! I notice places like PurePens and TheWritingDesk offer free tunings on request of any purchased fountain pen, that certainly does sound like it would iron our some problems.

 

I wager that's the result of how one write , especially with all the Chinese petite calligraphy nib ( yes that's the term used in their home language ) if you tend to hold your pen and write cursive most casually at ( relatively ) shallow angle you can have this effect since the nib really are tuned to write , well , of course Chinese , a reason why they now offer instead nominal F and M ( what PenBBS termed round tip ), the slight tipping part turned upward means one can be writing on the wider flat end of the tipping which now you would write more like a B or even wider depending .. generally to use these nib as Fine you want to hold it might be a bit more vertical and apply as little force as possible. Most Chinese calligraphy nib are tailored to write is home language and using it to write latin based cursive really require re learning the proper posture, technique, and rhythm , its just how these nibs are.

 

if you are after fine as in fine fine , the non expensive option is the Delike EF nib unit equipped models any of them or a 0.2 Platinum Preppy ( but its known for its toothness ) .. PM me separate in private if you got Q about those Chinese pens needing some tuning, hacking etc .. I think I had most of them and had hack most of the enough cases to offer up some ( and equally destroy many too ... lol )

Edited by Mech-for-i
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Thank you everyone for your advice, and my apologies for the outburst of frustration.

 

Nothing wrong with being frustrated - I've had a similar experience - 50% of vintage come ready to write, and 50% do not. What appeared to be a £30 "bargain" cost an extra £30 in spare parts - and then there's the time fiddling with it to diagnose the problem and wondering why your hands are covered in ink! (Hairline crack to the feed that was only visible under a loupe.)

 

For example a P51 that is a nice writer and that has been refurbished or whatever starts at £85 and goes north of that.

 

An "in the wild, found in the back of a drawer" one goes for (on average) from £30-£50 - but it the condition of the nib and the body is unknown. A new sac will cost £30-40 and nib work is more - so if you are lucky - you'll get a nice writer for £35 - if not, you'll get some scratchy writer - that leaks - and may not even have a nib (yes, look at those photos carefully folks - nibs are optional!)

 

Condition, condition, condition is the mantra for vintage - and sometimes the extra £££ to get something that will work out of the box is worth more than one that costs £. (I am not a patient tinkerer).

 

I've had a coupe of new pens go wrong, but I sent them back and got replacements. Part of the cost of a new pen is the guarantee - and aside from cleaning the feed - I don't do much else.

 

I have shared your frustration - so I only buy Visconti from The Writing Desk - yes, I don't get the discount e-tailers offer, but I know I'll get good one, without the hassle.

 

I also try stuff at pen clubs. I tried some Japanese broad nibs at the pen clubs, before committing to buying one.

 

If you are close to London, the next club meet ups are on 6th July.

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A new sac will cost £30-40

 

:yikes: Where do you get your re-sacking done? Harrods?! :P

"Every job is good if you do your best and work hard.

A man who works hard stinks only to the ones that have

nothing to do but smell."

Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

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am assuming - but really only guessing - that Ruth's comment about the 'baby's bottom' implies some large degree of smoothness in the nib tip - and I know there is an English language expession 'smooth as a baby's bottom'.

I seem to have a memory from my days of pipe smoking that there was a tobacco with that name too.

 

In days of yore, when nibs possessed more flex, tipping was perhaps less in quantity than current habits - nibs that flex offer some smoothness due to this very feature of resilience - whereas modern firm/nails perhaps need more tipping to create the same degree of smoothness.

The frequent problem - especially when buying older pens based on screen details only - is that tipping/iridium is often too worn, making writing less than smooth.

Again, this difficulty can be overcome if you test drive before buying.

I know more about Pelikans than other brands. Not tipping was perhaps less in quantity... less fat and blobby and baby bottomed butter smooth..

..stiffer nibs, semi-nail, and nail outside the 1000; once a semi-flex now a regular flex. Still fat and blobby....'butter smooth'.

 

My vintage and semi-vintage nibs are on the whole, good and smooth, the level under butter smooth. I don't have to worry about sliding off of slick paper......actually can feel the paper.....mostly feel the paper after having ranted against butter smooth at all costs. (Yes, I do have a couple pens I kept at toothy.....the feel of using a pencil.....in one should have all extremes toothy & butter smooth.

 

But if all your nibs are the same....where is the fun of matching an ink, nib and paper???

 

The shape of the tipping of semi-vintage (regular flex) more a tear drop under '82-97 nib rather than the double round ball of modern 400/600/800&1000 nibs.....which has a thicker tip, a ball under and over the top of the nib, so one can write still holding a fountain pen like a ball point.

 

Vintage Pelikans (and many German pens) (outside the 120) was flat....stubbed...........no not a ball at all. Semi-flex. Nibs that gave you flair with out you doing anything.

There were K nibs....Kugel....ball nibs, flat and stubbish on the bottom, with a ball on top of the nib with a thicker tip, for those who liked holding a fountain pen like a pencil, or one of those newfangled ball points.

Today's 'post '97 (outside the 200/100) are double kugel/ball so are fat, blobby, lack character, and don't have as clean a line as semi-vintage or vintage nibs.

 

Tipping was perfected in WW2.................it's just for Pelikan in 1998 they went over to butter smooth in many noobies insisted the nib be that, along with fat enough to be used by ball point users with out three minutest to learn how to hold a fountain pen.

 

One of the 'advantages' of a double ball tip, is it don't matter if you cant(rotate) your pen, like a ball point, the nib is round.................wider MB nibs are a bit stubbish.....so try not to cant the nib with them.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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well, there goes my interpretation of the meaning of baby's bottom then :D

 

I think there's a good diagram of the issue on Richard Binder's site. Hit the red button at the top of the page for the Glossipedia, and/or do a search for the term and you should find it easily enough.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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thanks for that. Thanks Ruth - seen it now - in cross section the tipping is visually likened to a baby's bottom. :)

Edited by PaulS
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Can't repeat often enough - the way to avoid those kinds of problems is the buy from reputable sellers who will test the pen before they ship. If you communicate with them what you want, they will do it.

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Stipula Adagio "F" nib running PR Pearlescent Blue-Silver

Diplomat Aero "M" nib running Private Reserve Plum

Narwhal Nautilus "F" nib running Montblanc Racing Green 

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The best thing you can do is to learn how to adjust the nibs. There are many instructional pages and videos to be found on the net. It is not rocket science but it does take a little practise, so start with your cheapest/less loved pen. A couple of places to start:

 

http://edisonpen.com/ipgnibs2 - scroll down till you come to the pictures. Or take a look at this video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITLKV0Rx5vc

Edited by hbdk

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

 

Min danske webshop med notesbøger, fyldepenne og blæk

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A surprising number of issues can be remedied by changing inks. Before you buy a ton of bottles of ink, buy a few samples, to ensure that the bottles you get will be inks you like.

I think you might use some of the time you have to spare while job hunting to look over nib tuning and tweaking videos and help/how-to sites. The sad fact is that most fountain pens arrive a bit misaligned. Fortunately, the skills and tools needed to correct such issues can be acquired with relative ease. Practice on your cheapest and least satisfying pens first.

His Nibs (hisnibs.com) sells a lot of cheap Chinese pens to very happy customers; he ensures that all nibs are tuned before he ships any of his pens, which adds anywhere from $10 to $30 to the unit price.

I'll agree with the others who have said that, barring use of a tuning service, you're most likely to get a good new pen from a Japanese manufacturer (Pilot, Platinum, Sailor).

Edited by Arkanabar
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You should not experience problems with a cheap or expensive pen. A pen meant to write should at least ... write.

 

That being said, stuff happens (I've got a Kaweco that's about to go to a pro because there's nothing more I can do to get it to work). But .... one new pen, it sucks. Two pens, it is bad luck. But if this is happening with three or more pens, it may not be the pen.

 

What kind of ink you using?

How promptly you capping the pen?

Are you flushing the pen every couple ink fills? (That normally isn't necessary, but if you have problems, I'd ask)

What kind of paper?

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Also, I forgot to say, pressure is a factor. Essentially the fountain pen is not a ball point - it doesn't have a ball to roll on. Rather it "skates" on a layer of ink - a bit like how a hovercraft moves on a cushion of air. If you press too hard, you don't allow the pen to skate, and it can appear scratchy. You barely need to touch the paper - in fact the ink wants to "jump" off the pen.

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I’ve never had any luck with Parker, so I now avoid the brand. With Visconti, I buy from sellers who I can ask to test the nib before they ship it. Otherwise, I guess otherwise I’ve been lucky or maybe I’m not critical enough. Granted, I’m skewed toward German and Japanese pens, with the exception of an obsession with Leonardo.

 

I long ago decided cheap, like really cheap, Chinese brands weren’t worth the hassle, but they’re nice to fool around with outside of real use. I enjoy PenBBS and, to a lesser extent, MoonMan, but they’re more expensive than Jinhao etc.

 

Funnily, the one pen that really bugs me is an expensive classic DuPont I got as a gift and would like to love, but it just doesn’t suit me. No money involved for me, but still...

No signature. I'm boring that way.

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I’ve never had any luck with Parker, so I now avoid the brand. With Visconti, I buy from sellers who I can ask to test the nib before they ship it. Otherwise, I guess otherwise I’ve been lucky or maybe I’m not critical enough. Granted, I’m skewed toward German and Japanese pens, with the exception of an obsession with Leonardo.

 

I long ago decided cheap, like really cheap, Chinese brands weren’t worth the hassle, but they’re nice to fool around with outside of real use. I enjoy PenBBS and, to a lesser extent, MoonMan, but they’re more expensive than Jinhao etc.

 

Funnily, the one pen that really bugs me is an expensive classic DuPont I got as a gift and would like to love, but it just doesn’t suit me. No money involved for me, but still...

I’m with you on that. I have a Visconti I had a problem with. I just mentioned it to one of their reps and they took it, changed the nib, tested it, and sent it back gratis.

 

And I own two Parker 51’s which are absolutely horrible writers. I was about ready to sell them but a couple people have convinced me to send them to someone to look at before I give up on them. I’m hesitant because it means I’ll be putting more money into something I may potentially hate, but willing to do to give it a chance. They were among my first pen purchases and they didn’t turn me off anything except Parkers, but still I know how frustrating it can be. That one bad experience with the brand may last you a lifetime.

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obviously here is a person who is keen on writing, and not filling a mahogany cabinet with expensive models purchased for the sake of their sparkle, fashionable collectability or antiquity. Neither do I sense an inclination to tinker - which can be one way to cure some problems.

As most of us discover big money doesn't equate to satisfaction, especially when buying from the screen - and one way to cure this problem is to buy in person from whatever outlet you have access to - test the nib, even dry, and most problems will be short-circuited. I bet most of us here at one time or another have bought a dud from ebay.

Pens that I have used - albeit for dip-testing only - and for which there seems almost nothing to complain about are P25 - P45 - P.Vector - these seem to be acclaimed universally as value for money pens that write out of the box, and none will break the bank.

 

Most of the Newhaven aerometric Duofolds made in the '50s and '60s are also very good value for money, and not expensive - vintage yes, but proven over many years to be reliable, though you will need bottled ink for these pens, whilst the Parker's are all cartridge jobs.

 

None of the above pens pretends to offer antique copperplate handwriting - their tipping is almost invariably without flex, so don't expect line variation,

but get a good one and you should be able to take a break from heartache for a while. Best of luck. :)

There is a lot of wisdom in Pauls words. I too recommend the Uk made Parker Newhaven Duofolds, or even a TWSBI Eco. they are well made pens designed to work for you everyday. Not expensive, headache free.

 

Let me also add that at some point you will have to learn to tune your own nib. Having a collection of Chinese pens is a great starting place to learn on. But, now is not the right time. you have way too much going on in your life and dont need any more frustration. Even today. When im Working on a difficult nib, i will sometimes set it down and not come back to it for a day, sometimes two. I find that with a short break, my perspective changes completely. Upon resuming, I can see clearly what the nib needs and frustration had blocked out. Soon the nib starts writing like a dream.

My point is to take a deep breath. deal with the things you need to now, and those you want to, later when there is less stress in your life.

Good luck to you. Keep us posted...

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