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New to FPN; life-long FP user in need of a recommendation



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a_writer

Hi!

 

I started using fountain pens when I started middle school, because I had heard that often help people improve the legibility of their writing; in my case, this was true!  I was fortunate enough to receive a Waterman Expert a couple of years later, and have been writing with it ever since, for 95% or more of my writing needs, and I used to go through more than 60ml of ink a year.  In 2019 my pen wore out; the tip is visibly asymmetrical, the cap had loosened to the point where it popped off in a bag, and the nib received some extra damage...in a slightly fuzzy camera phone photo the tip looks like a shiny jagged rock rather than a sphere :-/

 

I'm looking for an alternative replacement to that Waterman Expert: something as reliable as that pen, similar grip angle, and more neutral balance.  By "grip angle" I mean I found: The Kaco Edge too conical/steep; the Platinum Préfounte too cylindrical/flat (both are painful for me...I'm pretty simple, just looking for a comfortable tool)  ...and finally, something about my light touch and/or the angle I write doesn't work with Lamy nibs.  Ergonomics are my #1 concern, because I have tendinitis in my hands.  If it helps, here's what I've tried:

 

Lamy: Safari-type nibs don't write for me; I write with a 40° to 45° vertical angle relative to the desk and a light touch, neither of which seems "special", so it baffles me why these don't work for me; also, feels too stiff.

Diplomat: I haven't tried the Magnum, but the others were too cap-heavy when posted, and too short when not.

Waterman Allure/Graduate: I own one, and it could be workable with some nib tuning, but the grip is too slippery.  Similar relative balance to the Expert when posted (a bit cap-heavy)

  * I find the nib side of the grip/section too thin (~9-to-9.2mm), and need to slide up to the 10.8 to 9.7mm area for comfort, but then I feel disconnected from the paper.

Visconti Van Gogh: super slippery grip (polished stainless or chrome), too cap heavy when posted, too short when not, defective feed on the one I tried; the nib was unexpectedly soft, which was interesting.

Platinum Préfounte: I love the feeling of neutral balance, but find the cylindrical grip painful.  The bearings in the cartridge are a nice feature (shake to prime if the feed is a bit dry).

  * Also, I find this nib feels a bit too stiff...would using a sheet of leather provide the the cushion I seem to need for long writing sessions?

  * Given my long fingers at ~40° to 45° angle on the top of the index relative to the pen, with 18mm of fingertip in contact with the grip, I'm not sure if the Procyon is an option...optimistically speaking, does this mean the steep drop-down on Metropolitan would be a non-issue?

  * How does the Procyon's allegedly bouncy nib compare to the Préfounte?

Pilot Vanishing Point: way too stiff, from what I remember.

  * Is the Prera any better?  What are less expensive options to the Custom 74 and 91 to see what larger size Pilot nibs feel like?  Should I eliminate them from my consideration on the grounds of "too stiff"?  How does the feel of the Prera's nib compare to the Préfounte?

TWSBI: from the ones I tried, meh...I don't think I'm the target market...my impression was that they were big, stiff nib, I didn't love the balance, and they seemed overpriced for the writing experience, which I found Lamy-like given my limited points of comparison.

 

So in summary, my ideal pen would be neutral-balanced like a Platinum, have a section and grip with a moderately decreasing size (not as steep as the Kako Edge or Lamy 2000, but more steep than the cylindrical Préfounte/Preppy/Plaisir), would write well with a soft touch, have a grip that's not slippery, and have a bit of cushion...not line-variation/flex per se, but a bit of cushion for ergonomics reasons--I have tendinitis.

 

Looking forward to your recommendations!  Please let me know if another of the sub-forums would be more appropriate.

 

Thank you!

Nick

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A Smug Dill

Hi Nick! Welcome to the forum.

 

Sorry to hear about your affliction. Tendinitis in my writing hand put me mostly out of action for some six to nine months, and now after nearly a year and a half of mostly being free from it, it has just started threatening to come back with the first hints of stabbing pain.

 

If you're after a cushiony writing experience, Pilot offers lots of options... but in gold nibs only, and so the Custom Heritage 91 (of which I'm OK with the pen body ergonomically) and Custom 74 (with a pen body I just couldn't get along with) are entry-level as far as that is concerned. As far as I'm aware, there is no equivalent to the Custom line's #5-size 14K gold SF, SFM and SM nibs in stainless steel; you can only go up to a #10-size or #15-size, which may feel different on account of the longer tine length. There are also the #10 and #15 FA nibs (aka Falcon nib), which are softer (but, for my purposes, are worse not better) than the SFM nib; the (SEF, SF, SM and SB) nibs on the Elabo (aka Falcon for authorised distribution in Western markets); and the (F, FM and M) nibs with adjustable softness on the Justus 95. I'm afraid you'd really have to get your hands on a Custom Heritage 91, Custom Heritage 912, Custom 74, Custom 742, Custom 743, Justus 95, resin-bodied Elabo and metal-bodied Elabo to know which ones work (better) for you ergonomically.

 

Platinum offers Soft Fine as one of the standard nib options on the entry-level #3776 Century models. They also make Soft Medium nibs, but those are more difficult to come by. The form factor and weight of all the models that sport the SF and SM nibs are about the same. Platinum's 14K gold SF nib is a lot finer than Pilot's equivalent, though, and the latter writes more smoothly and softly.

 

Aurora has a 14K gold Flex nib option for some models, which from what I've read is not flexy flex, but akin to a Soft Fine. Older models of the Aurora 88 are said to have nibs with longer tines that make the writing experience softer.

 

Santini Italia makes its 18K gold nibs in-house, and offers a Flexy nib option on a number of resin and ebonite pen models; one of them may suit you ergonomically, but you'll probably have to review its catalogue and then ask more detailed questions. Its customer service is stellar, and Katrina has always been very responsive to my questions and my requests.

 

If you're looking strictly at steel nibs, Pelikan M20x nibs have a reputation for being bouncy, and their pen bodies are light. I think they're excellent nibs and very good pens, but you'll have to decide whether they're too small and/or lightweight for you. For what its worth, I personally think the M200 steel nib is superior to the gold nibs on the Souverän (M4xx/M6xx/M8xx) models for both writing precision, and ‘expressiveness’ premised on softness or bounciness.

 

The steel nibs on the Leonardo Momento Zero and Furore are reputedly bouncy. I have an early Leonardo Momento Zero, and the nib was rather imperfect and I end up regrinding it myself, so I can't really comment on whether (a perfect unit of) the stock Leonardo steel nib is any good. However, the pen body is nice, and as much as I have no faith or trust in the brand any more, it is one of the pens that came to mind when you started talking about the importance of girth and balance to you.

 

Alas, I don't write with the pen cap posted on the barrel (except for pocket pens), so I can't comment meaningfully on the balance of any of the aforementioned models premised on the cap being posted, since they all feel top-heavy or back-weighted that way to me, maybe with the exception of the Pelikan M20x.

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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northstar

Hello and welcome to FPN.

Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous  Who taught by the pen

Taught man that which he knew not (96/3-5)

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Hello and Welcome to FPN!! So glad to have you as a member!!

PAKMAN

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mizgeorge

Hello Nick and welcome - ASD has given you some great options there, I would echo the suggestion of looking at Pelikans in particular.

 

The one thing you haven't told us is whether there's a particular 'look' you'd like.

 

Given the grip issues, I wonder also whether an ebonite pen might be a good option - I've had some very good experiences with some of the Indian brands - take a look at Ranga, who have a huge range of shapes and sizes, and are able to customise to suit you. A handmade pen is a lovely thing to hold, and the feel of ebonite is very pleasant and a little easier in terms of grip. They offer an excellent range of nib choices as well, with JoWo fittings that make it very easy to swap out to a different nib unit if you prefer.

 

 

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A Smug Dill
7 hours ago, a_writer said:

I write with a 40° to 45° vertical angle relative to the desk and a light touch, neither of which seems "special", so it baffles me why these don't work for me; also, feels too stiff.

 

By the way, as far as the Japanese (pen manufacturers and user base) are concerned, 45° would be an usually shallow angle at which to hold one's pen to write, irrespective of the language being written. Pilot only recommends the SF, SFM and SM nibs for users who hold their pens at a shallow angle.

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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peroride
8 hours ago, a_writer said:

I'm pretty simple, just looking for a comfortable tool

 

Welcome to FPN @a_writer 😊

 

When i think of ergos, larger easy to grip pens come to mind.

 

Sensa sells a fountain pen line but then again my first thought was what about another Waterman Expert since it worked so well in the past? 

 

I really like the Procyon over the Prefounte and it is a girthier pen quite comfortable with a bigger nib that may impart a relatively softer feel. Unfortunately the second Procyon was not as smooth as the first medium that gave a remarkable impression. 🤨The Procyon by shape is more akin to the Waterman Expert than the tubular Prefounte. The only redeeming feature of the Prefounte is the affordable nib swaps with the Preppy. If you like Platinum, perhaps the larger President may be worth a look.

 

Other comfortable pens of late in varying price points include:

  • Karas Pens Co. Vertex - very ergo, lightweight, sleek and a sleeper
  • Opus 88 pens - particularly the ones that support the bigger Bock 250 or Jowo #6 nib - Bela, Omar or Jazz. The wider section girth of the Omar and Jazz make good ergonomics.
  • Scribo Feel - despite the facetting which i didn't think I would like, is one of the most pens comfortable modern pens I've ever come across especially with the soft flex nib; a few multiples more expensive than a Waterman Expert though. 

Enjoy your search!

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hbquikcomjamesl

Welcome to the squirrel-cage, and look out for the nuts.

 

I've been happy with my flock of Pelikans (a dome-top M200, a dome-top M150, and three crown-top M200s) for decades. Very comfortable for me, and like "A Smug Dill," I like the steel nibs.

--

James H. H. Lampert

Professional Dilettante

 

Posted Image was once a bottle of ink

Inky, Dinky, Thinky, Inky,

Blacky minky, Bottle of ink! -- Edward Lear

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Welcome here and best of luck on your search for me the perfect pen. Good advice above.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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Wolverine1

Nick- sorry about your tendonitis problem. I have a problem too, i.e., I suffered a bunch of strokes, so, my right hand was paralysed for a while, and though I have relearnt to use it to write, I still have a bunch of issues to deal with. What I have found is that the girth of a pen, is really important for my being able to use that pen comfortably. I have therefore gravitated towards larger pens. If you can try out a bunch of pens of different sizes, and see if larger pens work out for you.

Best of luck, Nick.

-Sid

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Bisquitlips

Welcome!  Glad you are with us!

 


:W2FPN:

 

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  • 1 month later...
a_writer

Hi everyone!  Thank you very much for the info and suggestions, I felt (and feel) very welcomed 🙂  Sorry this reply has taken so long--it was a combination of lack of free time, the need to research so much, study all the little details of writing that are usually unconscious, sore hands, prioritising music practise/studies over typing a reply, plus difficulty typing due to long classical guitar playing fingernails on the right hand.  Switching back to paper correspondence will be necessary if I stick with classical guitar (covid confinement "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" project), so I hope to figure out this replacement pen issue soon 🙂

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

Hi Nick! Welcome to the forum.

 

Sorry to hear about your affliction. Tendinitis in my writing hand put me mostly out of action for some six to nine months, and now after nearly a year and a half of mostly being free from it, it has just started threatening to come back with the first hints of stabbing pain.

 

Hi @A Smug Dill, thank you for your solidarity, and I'm sorry to hear I'm not the only one with this limitation!

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

If you're after a cushiony writing experience, Pilot offers lots of options... but in gold nibs only, and so the Custom Heritage 91 (of which I'm OK with the pen body ergonomically) and Custom 74 (with a pen body I just couldn't get along with) are entry-level as far as that is concerned. As far as I'm aware, there is no equivalent to the Custom line's #5-size 14K gold SF, SFM and SM nibs in stainless steel; you can only go up to a #10-size or #15-size, which may feel different on account of the longer tine length. There are also the #10 and #15 FA nibs (aka Falcon nib), which are softer (but, for my purposes, are worse not better) than the SFM nib;

 

Wow, you really know you Pilot pens 🙂  Why do you find the softer Falcon nib worse?  Are there other pens (possibly large groups of pens with similar nibs) that this is the case for?

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

the (SEF, SF, SM and SB) nibs on the Elabo (aka Falcon for authorised distribution in Western markets); and the (F, FM and M) nibs with adjustable softness on the Justus 95. I'm afraid you'd really have to get your hands on a Custom Heritage 91, Custom Heritage 912, Custom 74, Custom 742, Custom 743, Justus 95, resin-bodied Elabo and metal-bodied Elabo to know which ones work (better) for you ergonomically.

 

Aiiie.  This might be a bit of a catch-22 situation...  Needing a pen to stay in touch, but everything is shut down locally (it might be possible to book a private demo session with one of the local store owners, none of whom will have the full lineup you've suggested, but it's hard to say...) and money is tight.  P.S. The adjustable softness on the Justus is a cool feature!

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

Platinum offers Soft Fine as one of the standard nib options on the entry-level #3776 Century models. They also make Soft Medium nibs, but those are more difficult to come by. The form factor and weight of all the models that sport the SF and SM nibs are about the same. Platinum's 14K gold SF nib is a lot finer than Pilot's equivalent, though, and the latter writes more smoothly and softly.

 

Hmm, it sounds like Platinum might be eliminated as a possibility, because I wasn't able to find any SM nibs, plus the the section on all the models looks like it would feel about the same; I'm guessing the fairly linear cylinder is necessary for the "slip & seal" to work well?  I'm not sure if it's because the section isn't conical nor hourglass shaped enough, but it kills the third knuckle on my index finger...both the Préfounte and a Sheaffer Pelikan'ish-style italic pen do this; the latter has less than a millimetre change between smallest and largest part of the section (in the 10mm to 11mm range).  For Platinum the Procyon is the most I'm willing to risk, because the impression I've gotten from this thread (and related research) is that Japanese pens aren't for people who write reasonably fast informal cursive at a 45° vertical angle (relative to the desk), unless the pen has been sent to a nibmeister for modifications.  Did I misunderstand?

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

Aurora has a 14K gold Flex nib option for some models, which from what I've read is not flexy flex, but akin to a Soft Fine. Older models of the Aurora 88 are said to have nibs with longer tines that make the writing experience softer.

 

That sounds nice.  Probably the ≥300USD ones though, eh?

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

Santini Italia makes its 18K gold nibs in-house, and offers a Flexy nib option on a number of resin and ebonite pen models; one of them may suit you ergonomically, but you'll probably have to review its catalogue and then ask more detailed questions. Its customer service is stellar, and Katrina has always been very responsive to my questions and my requests.

 

Sadly these gorgeous Santini pens are definitively not in the budget.

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

If you're looking strictly at steel nibs, Pelikan M20x nibs have a reputation for being bouncy, and their pen bodies are light. I think they're excellent nibs and very good pens, but you'll have to decide whether they're too small and/or lightweight for you. For what its worth, I personally think the M200 steel nib is superior to the gold nibs on the Souverän (M4xx/M6xx/M8xx) models for both writing precision, and ‘expressiveness’ premised on softness or bounciness.

 

It's possible they're too lightweight (more on this later).  Given that the Préfounte and a Pelikan-style Sheaffer Italic I have cause pain and cramping.  It's either that or too cylindrical (and not conical or hourglass shaped) of a section.  The distance between the interior crease of my third index knuckle and the tip of the finger is 31mm...which is to say it may be that I have long fingers that make finding a comfortable section difficult.  It seems like an M215 ought to solve the weight issue though.

 

How have you found the "new Pelikan nibs"?  The comparison to Visconti quality really worries me.  I imagine the new steel nibs are also affected, but maybe the steel nibs have improved while the gold ones have regressed?

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

The steel nibs on the Leonardo Momento Zero and Furore are reputedly bouncy. I have an early Leonardo Momento Zero, and the nib was rather imperfect and I end up regrinding it myself, so I can't really comment on whether (a perfect unit of) the stock Leonardo steel nib is any good. However, the pen body is nice, and as much as I have no faith or trust in the brand any more, it is one of the pens that came to mind when you started talking about the importance of girth and balance to you.

 

Thank you, this one I can afford, and the unusual angles in that feed look like they'll work well.  the 22.68 to 25g I've read they weigh is in the range that I think is probably what I'm looking for.  Why did you lose faith or trust in the brand?  The only things that worry me about this pen are a) the lack of a flare at the end of the section, which I use on my Waterman to vary my grip while keeping my hand relaxed;  b) my experience with Visconti, which makes me wonder if the generalisations people make about the spotty QA of Italian pens are true rather than unfair.

 

On 3/2/2021 at 8:19 PM, A Smug Dill said:

Alas, I don't write with the pen cap posted on the barrel (except for pocket pens), so I can't comment meaningfully on the balance of any of the aforementioned models premised on the cap being posted, since they all feel top-heavy or back-weighted that way to me, maybe with the exception of the Pelikan M20x.

 

I took a long time to research this, and to study my own writing style.  Briefly, I had forgotten that I rotate the cap so that the clip provides a small amount of gravity-powered outward rotation force to fight the tendency of the pen to rotate inwards without needing to tension the hand with an outwardly rotating stabilising force.  Of course, if the clip is light enough then this trick won't work.  So a postable pen that doesn't become back-weighed from the cap is a requirement.  Maybe this is impossible, because a pen that doesn't become back-weighed when posting would have an ultra lightweight clip?

 

On 3/2/2021 at 9:22 PM, northstar said:

Hello and welcome to FPN.

 

Hello @northstar, thank you!

 

On 3/2/2021 at 9:30 PM, PAKMAN said:

Hello and Welcome to FPN!! So glad to have you as a member!!

 

Thank you @PAKMAN!  I'm looking forward to learning more and eventually asking the right questions 😉

 

On 3/2/2021 at 9:47 PM, mizgeorge said:

Hello Nick and welcome - ASD has given you some great options there, I would echo the suggestion of looking at Pelikans in particular.

 

The one thing you haven't told us is whether there's a particular 'look' you'd like.

 

Thank you @mizgeorge!  Hm, well, for my #1 productivity pen looks are secondary to all the other tricky considerations, add my modest budget to this and I suspect I won't have much of a choice.  That said, if possible, I'd like to avoid anything that says Bauhaus or Brutalism, or flashy jewellery pens, preferring something more understated and classic.  What I like about my worn out Waterman Expert is its elegance, and the contrast between different curves and flat surfaces, but for me a good tool is one that I mostly lose awareness of when I'm "in the zone".

 

On 3/2/2021 at 9:47 PM, mizgeorge said:

Given the grip issues, I wonder also whether an ebonite pen might be a good option - I've had some very good experiences with some of the Indian brands - take a look at Ranga, who have a huge range of shapes and sizes, and are able to customise to suit you. A handmade pen is a lovely thing to hold, and the feel of ebonite is very pleasant and a little easier in terms of grip. They offer an excellent range of nib choices as well, with JoWo fittings that make it very easy to swap out to a different nib unit if you prefer.

 

That's a cool idea, thank you for the suggestion!  Do you know if any Ranga pen is postable without the cap cracking?  Do you live in a humid climate?  If so, how is the ebonite rubber and sulfur smell on your hands after a few hours of writing?

 

On 3/2/2021 at 11:41 PM, A Smug Dill said:

By the way, as far as the Japanese (pen manufacturers and user base) are concerned, 45° would be an usually shallow angle at which to hold one's pen to write, irrespective of the language being written. Pilot only recommends the SF, SFM and SM nibs for users who hold their pens at a shallow angle.

 

Ah, that's interesting.  Of course it makes sense that a pen manufacturer will manufacture pens that facilitate easier writing.  This is probably also a factor in why the Japanese pens I've demoed have never worked well for me...that and the fact that I write in cursive, giving the feed no time to catch up.  To be fair, I haven't yet tried one of these soft nibs...  P.S. it seems strange that they would work with a more shallow angle, unless they also have a bigger rounder tip (based on what I've read about flex and semi flex nibs, they're more sensitive to sweet spot angle, but I have no idea if it's true), and I'm also concerned the feed can't keep up with moderate speed cursive.

 

On 3/3/2021 at 12:44 AM, peroride said:

 

Welcome to FPN @a_writer 😊

 

Thank you @peroride! :-)

 

On 3/3/2021 at 12:44 AM, peroride said:

When i think of ergos, larger easy to grip pens come to mind.

 

That makes sense, because a neutral hand position (in an open c) usually has more than a 1cm gap between index and thumb.

 

On 3/3/2021 at 12:44 AM, peroride said:

Sensa sells a fountain pen line but then again my first thought was what about another Waterman Expert since it worked so well in the past?

 

It worked well, but it had three interrelated significant issues.  1) the back-weight, whether posted or not, makes the pen want to lay at a 30° angle due to my long fingers, and shortening this angle with a crab grip hurts my fingers  2) this means my whole hand is under tension to fight this tendency, fighting to keep the pen at a reasonable angle, which causes burning pain along the top of the inside of my hand  3) the direction of writing also needs to be rotated counterclockwise to make the pen lay in between the first and second knuckle instead of the thumb and index webbing, and the paper ends up needing to be rotated in the same direction by an additional ≥45°.  The end result makes for poor posture and a sore neck haha.

 

On 3/3/2021 at 12:44 AM, peroride said:

I really like the Procyon over the Prefounte and it is a girthier pen quite comfortable with a bigger nib that may impart a relatively softer feel. Unfortunately the second Procyon was not as smooth as the first medium that gave a remarkable impression. 🤨The Procyon by shape is more akin to the Waterman Expert than the tubular Prefounte. The only redeeming feature of the Prefounte is the affordable nib swaps with the Preppy. If you like Platinum, perhaps the larger President may be worth a look.

 

How does the relative softness of the Procyon nib compare to any of Pelikan m2xx steel, Bock, Jowo, or Schmidt nibs?  The marketing seems to indicate it's a semi-flex, which I'm guessing probably makes it something like a Pelikan steel one not marketed as a semi-flex?  Do you know if it's comparable to Pilot's SF SFM or and SM series of nibs?

 

On 3/3/2021 at 12:44 AM, peroride said:

Other comfortable pens of late in varying price points include:

  • Karas Pens Co. Vertex - very ergo, lightweight, sleek and a sleeper

 

That's a cool pen, and I like the shape of the section!  It's a shame that there's not a clip on the cap I can use to fine-tune the balance when posting.

 

On 3/3/2021 at 12:44 AM, peroride said:
  • Opus 88 pens - particularly the ones that support the bigger Bock 250 or Jowo #6 nib - Bela, Omar or Jazz. The wider section girth of the Omar and Jazz make good ergonomics.

 

Agreed these look nice.  My primary concern is that they post on the piston knob like TWSBYs, making them super long.  Do you know if the cap bites onto the body to help guard against a piston malfunction and moderate ink spill?  It seems like there should be a blind cap on the body of the pen for posting to this location.  Do the end up back weighed when posted?

 

On 3/3/2021 at 12:44 AM, peroride said:
  • Scribo Feel - despite the facetting which i didn't think I would like, is one of the most pens comfortable modern pens I've ever come across especially with the soft flex nib; a few multiples more expensive than a Waterman Expert though. 

 

Oh yes, sadly too expensive me for me 😞  Really nice pens though! 🙂

 

On 3/3/2021 at 12:44 AM, peroride said:

Enjoy your search!

 

I wish it was still possible to go to a pens store to try some out, or for pen meets to still exist, or to have enough money for a "survey of pens" project.  Have you had good experiences buying used pens?  For many of the pens being discussed, the only way I can afford to experiment would be to buy used (already devalued) and then sell to recoup the buying cost.

 

On 3/3/2021 at 1:39 PM, hbquikcomjamesl said:

Welcome to the squirrel-cage, and look out for the nuts.

 

Hi @hbquikcomjamesl!  Thanks, and haha, oh my goodness, so true...What kind of nuts 😉  Other than the M215 and Watermans, do you know of any pens that have a brass sleeve in the body's barrel to offset the weight of the cap when posting?  I've been going a bit nuts trying to find alternatives.

 

On 3/3/2021 at 1:39 PM, hbquikcomjamesl said:

 

I've been happy with my flock of Pelikans (a dome-top M200, a dome-top M150, and three crown-top M200s) for decades. Very comfortable for me, and like "A Smug Dill," I like the steel nibs.

 

Any experience with the "new" Pelikans?  From what I've read they went from in-house, to (Bock?), to in-house during this time.  At this point the this is the primary reason I hesitate to order an M215--which appears to be unavailable in my country so will need to be ordered, either used, or new from Germany.

 

On 3/3/2021 at 1:56 PM, OCArt said:

Welcome here and best of luck on your search for me the perfect pen. Good advice above.

 

Hi @OCArt, Thank you, and yes, it really is 😄  Sadly with most of the pens being discussed (the viable ones, not the super expensive ones) I can't afford the buy new, try it and see, accumulate more pens method, so it's going to be super tricky, especially since it appears that I have a bunch of coping mechanisms for the long fingers plus tendinitis combo that rely on undocumented pen features...I'm sorry to be difficult 😅 

 

On 3/3/2021 at 3:09 PM, Wahl said:

:W2FPN:

 

Thanks @Wahl!

 

On 3/4/2021 at 3:21 PM, Wolverine1 said:

Nick- sorry about your tendonitis problem. I have a problem too, i.e., I suffered a bunch of strokes, so, my right hand was paralysed for a while, and though I have relearnt to use it to write, I still have a bunch of issues to deal with. What I have found is that the girth of a pen, is really important for my being able to use that pen comfortably. I have therefore gravitated towards larger pens. If you can try out a bunch of pens of different sizes, and see if larger pens work out for you.

Best of luck, Nick.

-Sid

 

Hi @Wolverine1 , Wow, I feel bad for complaining, strokes are way worse.  Do you have any suggestions for a girthy postable pen that remains balanced when posted?  Some of the Franklin Christoph models look like they might be comfortable (eg: the model 02's grip is 11.18mm thick at its thinnest point).

 

On 3/5/2021 at 4:36 AM, Bisquitlips said:

Welcome!  Glad you are with us!

 


:W2FPN:

 

Thank you @Bisquitlips ! P.S. biscuits & tea, or biscuits & gravy? 😉 

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mizgeorge
1 hour ago, a_writer said:

That's a cool idea, thank you for the suggestion!  Do you know if any Ranga pen is postable without the cap cracking?  Do you live in a humid climate?  If so, how is the ebonite rubber and sulfur smell on your hands after a few hours of writing?

 

Yes, I live for a chunk of the year (back in the days when we could travel) in a very hot and humid climate, and I've not had any problems with my ebonite pens, nor have I found that they smell unpleasant - which is not the case (for me) with metal pens. Many of the Range models are postable and as each one is handmade, they're incredibly accommodating in making sure the pen is just as required. It's well worth having a conversation with them via email or whatsapp. 

 

ps. for me, biscuits and tea :)

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, a_writer said:

Why do you find the softer Falcon nib worse?

 

The line width broadens too quickly with little pressure, but does not return to anywhere near the minimum as quickly when the pressure is removed. (Some would call it poor ‘snapback’ in the context of discussing ‘flex’ nibs.) That aspect of the FA nib's behaviour is the opposite of what I want, for the shapes I want to ‘draw’ when I write — in Chinese, Japanese and even Latin-based writing systems. Classic Chinese pen strokes in the kaishu script end with sharp points and/or tiny ‘ticks’ more often than not; and, because of that, my personal/preferred style of handwriting in English also has some of that characteristic. To produce those sharp points, I need nibs that are tipped for no broader than “Japanese Fine” at rest, i.e. when no downward pressure is applied, and with rapid ‘snapback’ from any elastic deformation of the tines.

 

1 hour ago, a_writer said:

Are there other pens (possibly large groups of pens with similar nibs) that this is the case for?

 

I haven't tried any ‘vintage’ flex nibs that some would describe as ‘wet noodle’ in their writing behaviour, but I would imagine they would be equally as disagreeable to me.

 

With ‘modern’ flex nibs, it seems that there are two main types of complaint from users aspiring to ‘flex’ writing: 1. the tines require too much (sustained) hand pressure to put down a broad enough shade on a stem or bowl in a letter, or 2. the nibs are too ‘mushy’ and not responsive enough to deliberate modulation in hand pressure. The latter would make for unusable nibs for my purposes.

 

1 hour ago, a_writer said:

Hmm, it sounds like Platinum might be eliminated as a possibility, because I wasn't able to find any SM nibs,

 

You'd either be looking at an increasingly overpriced special edition (in the tradition of the Fuji Five Lakes series), or getting an Platinum #3776 Century Oshino that is in the regular catalogue but nevertheless significantly pricier than the ‘basic’ #3776 Century models (e.g. Black in Black, Laurel Green), if you want an SM nib.

 

1 hour ago, a_writer said:

I'm guessing the fairly linear cylinder is necessary for the "slip & seal" to work well?

 

No.

 

1 hour ago, a_writer said:

the impression I've gotten from this thread (and related research) is that Japanese pens aren't for people who write reasonably fast informal cursive at a 45° vertical angle (relative to the desk), unless the pen has been sent to a nibmeister for modifications.  Did I misunderstand?

 

I'm not sure how to answer that. Japanese fountain pens and their nibs are designed to cater to Japanese writing (which also has different scripts and styles that may require, or at least benefit from, different nib types and characteristics), and not primarily for “reasonably fast informal cursive at a 45° vertical angle”; but they weren't designed specifically to hinder or frustrate those who do the latter per se (cf. “aren't for”). If a user can make a Japanese pen work for him/her doing the latter, I'm sure the ‘Big Three’ brands' manufacturers (and everyone else) won't mind at all; and if he/she can't, nobody else is really going to care either.

 

1 hour ago, a_writer said:

How have you found the "new Pelikan nibs"?

 

I have no idea what that means. All my Pelikan pens are bought brand new as (then) current production models. I like the steel M2xx nibs; they may be bouncy, but has good ‘snapback’ if that's an applicable concept to non-flex nibs. The steel F nib on the M120 I have is ‘wetter’ and softer, and I don't like using it, so my wife charitably took custody of that pen. The 14K gold M4xx nibs are stiffer (which isn't a problem) and broader than their M2xx counterparts of the same nib width grades; and don't let an M8xx or M10xx nib come near me.

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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  • 2 months later...
a_writer

Hi A Smug Dill,

 

Sorry for the delay, I thought I had replied to this thread.  Mainly I wanted to thank you for taking the time to share this information--it's truly appreciated 🙂

 

It's also cool to learn about those sharp points/"ticks".  I find stuff like this interesting, because they seem like rest strokes on classical guitar, or glottal stops in speech, or unvoiced vowels...or maybe a consonant sound at the end of a word is a better analogy (a coda)...  In kaishu are they stylistic elaborations, or do are they like a muted continuation of the flow of the stroke, or maybe it's like semi-cursive flow and contains evidence of what order the strokes were placed?  Given the importance you place on snap-back I'm guessing not just elaboration!

 

On the topic of writing culture, I would imagine there are several well-known very old Chinese texts on "good writing" 🙂  The most positive experience I had with a Japanese pen was a mid-range Pilot (no idea what model, but if I remember correctly 2x to 2.5x the cost of a M200), and like my Préfounte it wanted to write more vertically...in the same way that a bad-weighed pen will tend to drift lower the more you write with it, the way the nib tracked on the paper was like the pen saying "hey, you're not using me in my sweet spot, let me help you!"  The Pilot was a beautiful and wonderful pen, but this tendency interfered with my awareness of where (and with what lateral/yaw angle during turns) the nib was tracking along the loops of my letters.  If most people are right handed, and Japanese is written from right to left, than a higher angle would be required to not smear the ink, similarly to writing left-handed in left-to-right languages.  If I ever go to a pen show I'd love to find a pen with a specialised left-handed ground nib to see if it has that same tendency.  If this hypothesis is correct, then a pen that writes this way is a basic requirement for the Japanese domestic market--to not smear ink with the writing hand...and it would only bother the small niche of people who want to write right-handed fast European cursive with a Japanese pen at a low angle without sending the pen to a nib meister.  At the same time, I hope no one's insulted by my search for a pen that is likely unusable by lefties...perfection would be a low-cost grail pen usable by everyone, for all styles of writing but as far as I know such as thing is impossible in the "there are three categories, but you can only pick two" sense.

 

Thanks again for the information about Pelikans; I have to admit that I was previously biased against them as something hyped, overpriced, with QC issues.  The strangest thing is I now remember that I have written with an M2xx series, about five years ago, in a pen shop, and I remember liking the way the pen felt, but also that the feed was clogged and that it didn't write...of course that reinforced my negative bias.  After spending some time reading about them, something that impresses me about Pelikan is that even their lowest-end products (the Pelikanos) allegedly have springiness, and slight line variation...and left vs right hand specialisation?  Wow!  I also really appreciate learning that the M2xx series meets your standards for snap-back.  This info would have saved me from an expensive experiment with a Pilot Falcon, had I been able to afford one...it sounds like I'd have negative results when writing quickly because I'd need to give the nib time to spring back with every stroke...and likewise, I appreciate the wisdom of being cautious about modern flex pens for the same reason 🙂

 

Oh, and what I meant by "new Pelikan nibs" is that 1997 seems to have been a cut-point for the feeling of writing with Pelikan steel nibs.  With the info I've been able to find I can't say anything more about this with any kind of confidence.

 

Anyways, here's the plan I came up with:  1. An M205 Olivine, while they're still available, to test a 15g pen and the standard M20x experience, and because that discontinued model is only going to become more expensive...and that's the only model I saw that the Pelikan's Perch that elicited a strong emotional reaction--yes, that's a slippery slope that I'm wary of...  2. A FPR Himalaya v2 flex (actually a springy or semi-flex from what I've been able to gather), to simultaneously test a slightly larger section size and #6 nib, as well as testing to see if the softer and grippier ebonite reduces tension and pain in my writing hand.  3. Maybe later a 20g M215, for a slightly more front-weighed experience, to see if that reduces tension and pain in my writing hand.  After COVID, maybe the thing to do will be travel to a pen meet to try these out, and maybe to see what other people think of my amateur nib tuning (successful!) on a couple of cheap pens.  I hope to luck out and stop at step #1 😅

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A Smug Dill
17 hours ago, a_writer said:

Mainly I wanted to thank you for taking the time to share this information--it's truly appreciated 🙂

 

You're most welcome.

 

17 hours ago, a_writer said:

In kaishu are they stylistic elaborations, or do are they like a muted continuation of the flow of the stroke, or maybe it's like semi-cursive flow and contains evidence of what order the strokes were placed?

 

Kaishu was developed to be written with a brush, and character-forming brush strokes don't just end abruptly at the end of (the equivalent of) a stem or bowl. So, those ticks are in effect implied instructions to learner writers where, when, and how to physically execute the different pen strokes. At the (right-hand) end of horizontal strokes, there are usually slight swells (as in small globs) because the writer would press the brush tip down slightly to brake the movement, before lifting the brush tip off the paper; whereas at the end of vertically downward movements, an abrupt change in direction facilitates the termination of the stroke. Rapidly lifting the brush immediately upon the change in direction is what produces the ticks, which aren't exactly the sort of elaborations that serifs are to Latin-based scripts, but nevertheless aids pattern recognition and identification of each character when reading. There are Chinese fonts these days that are akin to sans-serif Gothic fonts for English; the characters will still be recognisable on account of the length, direction and placement of each stroke in sum, but they look odd, and would actually require special effort for the average Chinese writer to reproduce by hand (to avoid producing the ticks, line variations, etc.)

 

17 hours ago, a_writer said:

If most people are right handed, and Japanese is written from right to left, than a higher angle would be required to not smear the ink, similarly to writing left-handed in left-to-right languages.

 

The normal way to wield a brush for writing in Chinese and Japanese is to hold it vertically, with one's hand high above the page. Even though almost everyone has had to adapt to writing with a pointed pen with a hard tip, I suspect that culturally writers of Asian ideogram-based languages moved away from the vertical position only by as much as is necessary to be able to see what the tip of one's pen is doing (since one hand is now much closer to the paper surface and obstructing the line of sight).

 

18 hours ago, a_writer said:

This info would have saved me from an expensive experiment with a Pilot Falcon, had I been able to afford one...it sounds like I'd have negative results when writing quickly because I'd need to give the nib time to spring back with every stroke...and likewise, I appreciate the wisdom of being cautious about modern flex pens for the same reason 🙂

 

The Pilot Falcon (aka Elabo) pen models with the springy nibs are relatively OK in that regard. It's the Falcon (designated FA) nib on Pilot Custom pen models that are somewhat mushy with retarded snap-back. The Elabo takes a lot of pressure to ‘flex’, and will fight you every tiny step of the way with elastic resistance; that's actually why a lot of pen users who want ‘flex’ don't like the Elabo.

 

18 hours ago, a_writer said:

Anyways, here's the plan I came up with:  1. An M205 Olivine, while they're still available, to test a 15g pen and the standard M20x experience, and because that discontinued model is only going to become more expensive...and that's the only model I saw that the Pelikan's Perch that elicited a strong emotional reaction

 

Interesting. Each to their own. :) I'm not really into demonstrator pens, especially lighter coloured ones, so my wife now has the M205 Olivine and M205 Star Ruby; I kept the M200 Smoky Quartz, but that was just the Pelikan fountain pen I got started because it was offered at a good price at the time. I've since acquired a few more, and I think I prefer every single one of those to the SQ, not that I dislike it; but more so now than ever it's dedicated to being filled with Platinum Khaki Black iron-gall ink.

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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