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Penbbs 355 Vs 456?



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boulderchips

I think my next purchase may be a PenBBS, and these two pens are the ones that call to me the most. Does anyone have both and could comment on how they compare?

 

I know the big difference is the filling system, but I'm curious if they're substantially different writers. Do the weights or sections make much of a difference? Is the 355's filling system really that persnickety?

 

I know the 456 can take other #6 nibs, but can the 355 as well?

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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Honeybadgers

the 355's system is not very hard to use, it just takes some getting used to. And it does hold a monstrous amount of ink.

 

Personally, I think the best way of deciding is whether or not you want to post the pen. If you like to use a pen posted, the 456 wins, If you don't, go for the 355.

 

The 355 has SLIGHTLY less cap clearance than ideal for nib swaps. You have to push the nib in DEEPLY to make sure it doesn't hit the cap. Jinhao #6 nibs fit well, as do bock. JoWo nibs really do not fit the 355. I have fit a bock titanium nib in the 355 as well.

 

 

 

I love my 355. I also love my 456. I have custom jinhao nibs in both (an XXXF PO in my 355 and a semiflex medium cursive italic in my 456) and use them both a lot.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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boulderchips

the 355's system is not very hard to use, it just takes some getting used to. And it does hold a monstrous amount of ink.

 

Personally, I think the best way of deciding is whether or not you want to post the pen. If you like to use a pen posted, the 456 wins, If you don't, go for the 355.

 

The 355 has SLIGHTLY less cap clearance than ideal for nib swaps. You have to push the nib in DEEPLY to make sure it doesn't hit the cap. Jinhao #6 nibs fit well, as do bock. JoWo nibs really do not fit the 355. I have fit a bock titanium nib in the 355 as well.

 

 

 

I love my 355. I also love my 456. I have custom jinhao nibs in both (an XXXF PO in my 355 and a semiflex medium cursive italic in my 456) and use them both a lot.

This is super helpful, thank you. I'm a switch hitter as far as posting goes, but it's definitely not mandatory for me. I like the way the 355 looks, too, though it's a shame that it doesn't take Jowo nibs well.

 

Where do you buy these in the US?

Thanks

I think the most common source is the PenBBS Etsy store. They also have an eBay store, and various other eBay sellers have their pens as well.

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Karmachanic

My impressions

456 - vacuum filler, which is difficult to clean. Inconvenient if you frequently change inks. Didn't care for the shape of either the section or the piston knob. PIF'd.

355 - prefer the aesthetic, and the section better suits my hand. Easy to clean. Bock nib fits without issue.

Edited by Karmachanic

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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JollyCynic

Where do you buy these in the US?

Thanks

 

There are two official distributors to the West. One is Beini, a core member of PenBBS, and she sells direct from China over official Etsy and eBay shops. (There are various other unofficial resellers from China. Etsy, eBay, and AliExpress all have regular resellers.)

 

The other (confirmed on Beini's Instagram account) is Gold Spot Pens. Stock is what it is, though. They don't do huge production runs, and have to split them between their official Chinese and western distributors.

 

In the for-what-it's-worth category, the 456 is my favourite pen, but I've been using the 355 recently as an inexhaustable workhorse. They have the same nib units (though there has been more variety of nibs on the 355 in the past), so the writing experience is largely the same.

 

The filling system on the 355 does take a while to get used to, so I don't recommend getting an opaque colour if it's going to be the only one, and definitely practise with water the first time. The 456 is straight forward.

 

If you're a tinkerer, there's an easy hack of shaving the finial screw of the 355 a few millimetres to get longer nibs in it. I had a Bock B on one that didn't fit the first time I tried, but seating it deeper in the nib collar got it to work without shaving down the finial screw.

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penzel_washinkton

For me a slight nod to the 456, easier to swap nibs and a simpler filling method.

355 got the edge in capacity and ease of cleaning though.

Edited by penzel_washinkton
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sirgilbert357

I voted with my wallet and chose the 456. I wanted to try a vac filler and enjoyed it so much I bought a Pilot 823. My 456 is for sale in case anyone is interested. In general, I find the Pen BBS pens to be an excellent value for the money, even more so if you aren't paying inflated eBay reseller prices on hard to find colors.

 

I'll just leave this here *cough* ;)

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/classifieds/item/53635-penbbs-456-67sf-mocha-swirl/

Edited by sirgilbert357
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boulderchips

 

If you're a tinkerer, there's an easy hack of shaving the finial screw of the 355 a few millimetres to get longer nibs in it. I had a Bock B on one that didn't fit the first time I tried, but seating it deeper in the nib collar got it to work without shaving down the finial screw.

Is this hard to do? I've also heard you can sand down the base of the nib, but I'm not sure I trust myself to do either one.

 

Thanks for all the input. I think I'll land on a 355 first, but somehow I doubt that a 456 will be too far behind.

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JollyCynic

No, not hard. When I say "finial screw" I just mean the acrylic threads at the end of the screw-in finial. You can sand it, dremil it, shave with hobby knife, etc. It's been reported to work a few times, and nobody's said it hasn't worked, but looking at the cap, there does seem to be a small chance that a nib might still catch the clip ring if the nibs angle is wrong.

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MuddyWaters

Ergonomically they're quite different. The 456 with a narrow barrel end will sit less securely in the web of your thumb and index. For me, that is where I secure the pen so that the section group can be a bit looser and glided across the page. The 355, I imagine, would be easier to handle this way.

 

I would say the general drawback with these penbbs nibs are that they are often dry and need swapping, and a number 6 nib swap costs money. But I could pull the trigger on a 355 if it comes with one of their new round extra fine or fine nibs (not upturned).

Edited by MuddyWaters
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I have both but like the 355 feel of writing with the 355. My 456 also dries out faster between uses of the two. Both seem to be good pens that hold way more ink then I need...

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Honeybadgers

Is this hard to do? I've also heard you can sand down the base of the nib, but I'm not sure I trust myself to do either one.

 

Thanks for all the input. I think I'll land on a 355 first, but somehow I doubt that a 456 will be too far behind.

 

 

 

the 355's fineal screw is plastic, so sanding it down is insanely easy.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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woleizihan

The hourglass shaped section on the 456 makes it a winner for me. Also the filling system takes less force to operate. Overall, 456 feels more polished to me.

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boulderchips

Interesting to hear all these — crowd seems to be pretty much split? Thanks for all the input.

 

I have a 355 on the way! It's good to know about the finial screw. If I feel like swapping nibs that's probably what I'll end up doing.

 

Now I'm afraid I'll want a 456 just to compare myself...

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  • 3 months later...

I just did a video on my new 355 gifted to me by a viewer. I compare my much-loved 456 (which I have dropped and cracked :( ) with the new 355. I'm really torn between them and I'm thinking of doing a head to head comparison of both models in a video. After months of using the 456 almost every day and only a few days of writing with the 355, the 456 is a sleeker design with the concave section and the tapered barrel. It makes the 456 a joy to hold and write with. However, the 355's classic Duofold type style is winning me over. I'm comparing it favourably with my Moonman M600S.

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know 'till he takes up the pen and writes."

- William Thackeray

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