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TWSBI - Why so popular?


Claes

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Hi all,

 

Why has TWSBI become so popular -- or hyped?

What makes it so special?

 

Wonderingly Yours,

Claes in Lund, Sweden

 

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Let's see if I can try to answer this:

 

1) It is an inexpensive piston filler

2) It is easy to fiddle with the pen, adjusting it as you like

3) Service is very good and the owner is willing to take care of the customer if things go awry

4) The pens are attractive and have their own distinctive style

5) The nibs are nails and some people like that

 

Erick

 

Using right now:

Visconti Voyager 30 "M" nib running Birmingham Streetcar

Jinhao 9019 "EF" nib running Birmingham Railroad Spike

Stipula Magnifica Miele Selvatico"F" nib running J. Herbin Caroube de Chipre

Sailor Profit "B" nib running Van Dieman's Night - Shooting Star

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, langere said:

Let's see if I can try to answer this:

 

1) It is an inexpensive piston filler

2) It is easy to fiddle with the pen, adjusting it as you like

3) Service is very good and the owner is willing to take care of the customer if things go awry

4) The pens are attractive and have their own distinctive style

5) The nibs are nails and some people like that

 

Erick

 

I would agree with this assessment, especially 1,2 & 4.  Fortunately, I’ve had no experience with #3.  I just bought my first TWSBI, a Grape Diamond Mini.  I’ve admired the pen since I got to try one at the SF show last summer.  It’s a reasonably solid pen and I really think TWSBI’s anodized parts are very well done with rich colors and nice finishes.  I also like that it writes very smoothly, feels great in my hand, has a nice weight and balance for sketching, holds more ink than my other pocket pens, still small enough to fit well in a pocket, very clearly displays how much ink is left (like most demonstrators),  and, if I lose it, I won’t be completely devastated at that price point ($60 usd).  I thought I had lost my Schon P6 recently and was crushed.  I had spent extra for a copper section and the color I have was discontinued.  Fortunately, it turned up.  If the same thing happened to the TWSBI, I don’t think I would have the same reaction.  Therefore, I don’t feel so precious about it and will take it anywhere to do urban sketching.  It has already become a great pen for that purpose.   So far I think this is a great bang for your buck pen.  It’s very new so I hope I feel the same in a year or two.

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I have a few TWSBIs and they have some good points and some bad points.  The 580-AL and 580-ALR are piston fillers (good) but the piston does NOT extend to the back of the feed, so you can get air bubbles blocking ink flow (bad -- to the point that I think it's a design flaw).  In addition, the ribbed section on the 580-ALR is hard to wipe ink off of after filling -- the ink catches in the ribbing.  In addition, the 580-AL has some discoloration on the section from soaking it during flushing the pen out (basically caused some of the color to fade).  The 700-Vac I have is attractive in that it's got the rainbow coloration on the metal trim.  But that pen is hard to get liquid out of it after flushing.  And while in theory the nib and feed can be removed, I'm hesitant to do so unnecessarily (whereas, with my Noodler's FPCs and Konrads, I don't think twice).  And honestly, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not overly enamored of "demonstrator style" pens in general.

I have not tried any of the smaller Ecos and Eco-Ts, but fear that there would be the same issue with the piston not extending all the way -- even though I'm REALLY tempted by the look of the Indigo/Bronze one.  The Swipe?  Doesn't interest me at all.

There are people on here who LOVE their TWSBIs.  There are also people (especially who have older ones) who had problems with the barrels cracking on them (that hasn't happened with mine, BTW -- I got all of mine after the company changed the material used).  

It's a case of YMMV....

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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A lot of TWSBI pens are demonstrators. It’s fun to see the ink sloshing inside. The Eco is at a price that it’s fun to see which new colors come out.  But you can’t wait too long, like I did, for a certain color. I let the cement gray slip by. Darn. The 1.1mm stub nib is a very nice nib. The Swipe, the most recent addition to the line, is a nice way to get introduced to TWSBI. 

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I love TWSBI pens. They write wonderfully smooth, like my more expensive gold nibbed pens. They use Jowo nibs made to their specifications. They fit my large hand very well. I like the modern, but not austere look. I have five TWSBI's and I have had zero problems, nor have I had issues with cleaning them. Easy. Another plus is that these pens will write the first time, every time, even if they've been sitting for a long while. I could go on, but let me say this. I'd rather put my money into a TWSBI that I know is going to work and work well than into more costly pens I might have to fiddle with. 

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I have TWSBI pens, I like those colors and the design. Besides that, they write very smooth. Perfect for me. The ink capacity is great as well. 

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On 1/10/2024 at 7:05 PM, langere said:

Let's see if I can try to answer this:

 

1) It is an inexpensive piston filler

2) It is easy to fiddle with the pen, adjusting it as you like

3) Service is very good and the owner is willing to take care of the customer if things go awry

4) The pens are attractive and have their own distinctive style

5) The nibs are nails and some people like that

 

Erick

 I agree with 1. 2. 4. 5.

 

I have had a couple of problems with the service. I sent one TWSBI back to them, they insisted that I sent the pen to them by Recorded Delivery and pay for the same return postage, which was almost as much as the pen was worth. They sent it back to me in the same condition with the comment, as you have been using Diamine ink, it was Diamine Grape, we are not going to replace the stained barrel or section,

 

Another TWSBI had a cracked section, I had removed the nib and feed in accordance with the instructions to try and clean the stained section, I put the parts back together, next morning there were two long cracks in the plastic.

 

My advice is to leave the nib and feed where they are and resist any temptation to take them apart. I have also heard of the plastic wrench on the Eco rounding out on the filler unit.

 

There was a lot of hype about TWSBI when they first came out, at least 10 years ago due to the transparent barrel and piston filler plus the bright colors,

 

The Eco was good value and had an easily available stub nib.

 

 

On 1/10/2024 at 7:05 PM, langere said:

 

 

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On 1/11/2024 at 12:11 AM, Doc Dan said:

I love TWSBI pens. They write wonderfully smooth, like my more expensive gold nibbed pens. They use Jowo nibs made to their specifications. They fit my large hand very well. I like the modern, but not austere look. I have five TWSBI's and I have had zero problems, nor have I had issues with cleaning them. Easy. Another plus is that these pens will write the first time, every time, even if they've been sitting for a long while. I could go on, but let me say this. I'd rather put my money into a TWSBI that I know is going to work and work well than into more costly pens I might have to fiddle with. 


I finally got my thumb strength up enough to get my TWSB Go to work.  All is well except I can not tell what nib size it is.

My latest ebook.   And not just for Halloween!
 

My other pen is a Montblanc.

 

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Just now, Sailor Kenshin said:


I finally got my thumb strength up enough to get my TWSB Go to work.  All is well except I can not tell what nib size it is.

That is a problem on the Eco as well. You have to pull the nib out a bit to see and then shove it back in. Have you tried an Eco? I guess you have. Sometimes the twisting knob is stuck. I find the Go more intuitive, but the spring is very strong. I have not tried the plunger on the Swipe. Have you?

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16 minutes ago, Doc Dan said:

That is a problem on the Eco as well. You have to pull the nib out a bit to see and then shove it back in. Have you tried an Eco? I guess you have. Sometimes the twisting knob is stuck. I find the Go more intuitive, but the spring is very strong. I have not tried the plunger on the Swipe. Have you?

 

I am used to pulling and resetting vintage nibs, I assumed that an Eco nib would be much of a muchness.

 

My Ecos, the design may have changed, has a recess on the feed where the nib fits, the nib and feed will go back in the feed in any position but people have said that this could lead to cracking in the section, I assume due to increase in the diameter.

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1 hour ago, Doc Dan said:

That is a problem on the Eco as well. You have to pull the nib out a bit to see and then shove it back in. Have you tried an Eco? I guess you have. Sometimes the twisting knob is stuck. I find the Go more intuitive, but the spring is very strong. I have not tried the plunger on the Swipe. Have you?

 

I don't have a Swipe, but three Ecos…an italic, a fine, and…?  
 

I'd have to go ALL the way upstairs to see which the third is, and whether I can see the size.  But I pulled the nib on the Fine when the piston stuck, and after reinstalling, it dripped all over.

 

Though eventually, it cured itself.

My latest ebook.   And not just for Halloween!
 

My other pen is a Montblanc.

 

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I've got 2 Go (M and Stub), 2 Diamond 580 (Stub), and an Eco (F). All of them write superbly. When the new month comes around I plan to buy a GITD Eco. My only quandary is do I want green GITD or Purple (glows blue) GITD? That is a hard choice. I like the green better when not glowing, but the purple better when glowing. 

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I stoped buying TWSBIs a while ago.  I have two 540s, a Micarta 2, and a Vac 700.  My favorite one, by far, is my Micarta.  It is too bad they don't make them anymore!  It is built like a tank and great for trips or other uses where it might get banged around.

 

Erick

Using right now:

Visconti Voyager 30 "M" nib running Birmingham Streetcar

Jinhao 9019 "EF" nib running Birmingham Railroad Spike

Stipula Magnifica Miele Selvatico"F" nib running J. Herbin Caroube de Chipre

Sailor Profit "B" nib running Van Dieman's Night - Shooting Star

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/10/2024 at 7:00 PM, inkstainedruth said:

... air bubbles blocking ink flow (bad -- to the point that I think it's a design flaw)...

Could this be my problem? I've had issues with two TWSBI pens lately (both gifts). I tried flushing the pens with water and even cleaning them out with dish soap. No luck. I have other pens that I have used with the same ink (Waterman, Lamy, Parker) that seem to work just fine. Is there anything else I can try?

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I have several TWSBIs. I've loaned out/given away my Eco, but I really like the 580 ALRs I have. Because it's a piston and you get such a large fill, wiping the ink off the grip doesn't both me - it's not like I have to do it often! I like the texture of the ALR. More generally, TWSBI has fun colors, an approachable price point, and the demonstrator is fun (if you like those, and I do). I also like that the 580 offers easily swapped nib units, so I can switch while color pen has which nib as I please.

 

Yes, they are stiff nibs, but I find this handy for note taking on variable quality paper. Soft nibs are much more fun when I can take my time writing. As others have said, they also don't feel too "precious" which makes them good for handing around for non-fountain pen people to try.

 

I kinda feel like you like them or not and either way is fine. I don't use mine for everything - not my favorite journaling pens.

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I've not heard of much trouble with TWSBI ink flow, but I also don't go looking for it, either. All of mine work wonderfully with every ink. However, anything man made can have flaws from time to time. I had a Waterman that had dry starts and often skipped strokes. I had a Pilot that experienced that, even after changing the nib. Weird. It is writing fine, now. I flushed it inside and out and then started writing with it, a lot. That seems to have fixed it. It was like the pen needed to learn what it was supposed to do. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Swipe has a terrible flow. The more you write, the less that the feed keeps up with the nib. My writing gets lighter and lighter as I go. The tines of the stub 1.1 are too far apart at the tip. I agree with @Beechwood when he refutes @langere about the customer service. Beechwood's experience is the norm. The only part of Beechwood's explanation that was news to me was the idea that TWSBI's customer service requires a certain level of postage. Another testament that circulated the internet included details where the US customer refused to pay that much for the requested postage, so customer service told them to drop it in an envelope. When the customer said that an envelope wouldn't protect the pen well enough for TWSBI's evaluation of the pen to determine whether or not the damage was caused by transit, customer service just agreed and shrugged. In my mind, TWSBI has made it clear that they will make it difficult for them to be held accountable for their less-than-perfect lemons.

 

I once ordered a bottle of ink and when it arrived the cap had split and spilled a handful of mL of ink. I took a few pictures showing the minimal damage and requested a new cap if they had one lying around. It was just some cheap Noodler's so even if they didn't have a cap available I could manage. I wouldn't miss the lost ink and I could find another vessel. Instead, the company had a new bottle in the mail the following morning with an apologetic email.

 

I don't expect every company to bend over backwards like that, but TWSBI's idea that the customer is guilty until proven innocent at their own expense is a ridiculously low standard. A retailer recently posted TWSBI's contract and the retailers have to jump through hoops to get support, too.

 

So I tried to adjust my nib myself, which I enjoy doing, but (by no fault of my own) the nib/feed was jammed and the fragile fins easily bent over. I've used pliers on jammed cheap Chinese feeds which held up better. The TWSBI fins fell over just by hand pressure. Luckily the fins are so flimsy that I was able to, more or less, stand them back up with (literally) a toothpick. TWSBI might usually make easy-to-disassemble pens but that has not been my experience. A mug of almost-boiling water helped loosen the feed/nib but that is not something I would normally suggest.

 

I don't much care for the spring-loaded converter, mostly because I like having the option of priming my pens or pulling some ink away from the nib if I know that it is going to get banged around. Despite rarely using it (mostly to test the appeal) with ink, the plunger doesn't work well any more. I can push it down and it sticks for several seconds. But I can't just release the pressure entirely because when it decides it doesn't want to stick, it'll instantly snap all the way back. So I degraded the plunger to "cleaning use only" purposes but even that became annoyingly slow. I've since lost it and don't miss it.

 

Having the twist converter is exactly why I paid more for the Swipe than the Go. Otherwise I would have preferred the Go. The Swipe's clip is useless and the turquoise plastic makes it look as cheap as a Preppy. I will give TWSBI credit for adding some flat edges to the barrel. The clip is not enough to prevent the pen from rolling off a table so those facets are very necessary. Even so, it rocks back and forth annoyingly every time I set it down. Imagine someone spinning a coin on your desk next to you and letting it spin all the way until it is flat and motionless—that's the Swipe's personality.

 

I do appreciate the feel of the nib when writing. JoWo's contribution is the only nice part. It is better than a Jinhao 992 stub, which is also very smooth but so smooth that the line variation between thick and thin becomes muddled. Even so, the crispness of a Sheaffer No Nonsense and Pilot CM nib are much better options than the Swipe. Both are cheaper (and in the eye of this bee holder, better looking) than the Swipe. It shouldn't surprise anyone that I prefer my Monteverde Rodeo Drive stub to TWSBI's, because it is a JoWo nib surrounded by a better pen (and I got it on sale for less than the cost of a Swipe).

 

I certainly see the appeal of the more expensive options in the TWSBI lineup. I purchased the Swipe precisely because I was interested in a Diamond and wanted to get my toes wet with the brand. But since the nibs and feeds are the same (and my work and ink rotation makes large quantities of ink a gamble), the Diamond's good looks are not enough for me to play roulette with TWSBI vs my cash again.

 

My Swipe has been demoted to a home desk pen/cat toy. It gives me something I can use for a quick post-it. It gives my cat something to swat at and chew on when he's on my lap. I'd rather he mar the Swipe than a Prefounte or Jinhao.

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16 hours ago, AmericanMonk said:

My Swipe has a terrible flow. The more you write, the less that the feed keeps up with the nib. My writing gets lighter and lighter as I go. The tines of the stub 1.1 are too far apart at the tip. I agree with @Beechwood when he refutes @langere about the customer service. Beechwood's experience is the norm. The only part of Beechwood's explanation that was news to me was the idea that TWSBI's customer service requires a certain level of postage. Another testament that circulated the internet included details where the US customer refused to pay that much for the requested postage, so customer service told them to drop it in an envelope. When the customer said that an envelope wouldn't protect the pen well enough for TWSBI's evaluation of the pen to determine whether or not the damage was caused by transit, customer service just agreed and shrugged. In my mind, TWSBI has made it clear that they will make it difficult for them to be held accountable for their less-than-perfect lemons.

 

I once ordered a bottle of ink and when it arrived the cap had split and spilled a handful of mL of ink. I took a few pictures showing the minimal damage and requested a new cap if they had one lying around. It was just some cheap Noodler's so even if they didn't have a cap available I could manage. I wouldn't miss the lost ink and I could find another vessel. Instead, the company had a new bottle in the mail the following morning with an apologetic email.

 

I don't expect every company to bend over backwards like that, but TWSBI's idea that the customer is guilty until proven innocent at their own expense is a ridiculously low standard. A retailer recently posted TWSBI's contract and the retailers have to jump through hoops to get support, too.

 

So I tried to adjust my nib myself, which I enjoy doing, but (by no fault of my own) the nib/feed was jammed and the fragile fins easily bent over. I've used pliers on jammed cheap Chinese feeds which held up better. The TWSBI fins fell over just by hand pressure. Luckily the fins are so flimsy that I was able to, more or less, stand them back up with (literally) a toothpick. TWSBI might usually make easy-to-disassemble pens but that has not been my experience. A mug of almost-boiling water helped loosen the feed/nib but that is not something I would normally suggest.

 

I don't much care for the spring-loaded converter, mostly because I like having the option of priming my pens or pulling some ink away from the nib if I know that it is going to get banged around. Despite rarely using it (mostly to test the appeal) with ink, the plunger doesn't work well any more. I can push it down and it sticks for several seconds. But I can't just release the pressure entirely because when it decides it doesn't want to stick, it'll instantly snap all the way back. So I degraded the plunger to "cleaning use only" purposes but even that became annoyingly slow. I've since lost it and don't miss it.

 

Having the twist converter is exactly why I paid more for the Swipe than the Go. Otherwise I would have preferred the Go. The Swipe's clip is useless and the turquoise plastic makes it look as cheap as a Preppy. I will give TWSBI credit for adding some flat edges to the barrel. The clip is not enough to prevent the pen from rolling off a table so those facets are very necessary. Even so, it rocks back and forth annoyingly every time I set it down. Imagine someone spinning a coin on your desk next to you and letting it spin all the way until it is flat and motionless—that's the Swipe's personality.

 

I do appreciate the feel of the nib when writing. JoWo's contribution is the only nice part. It is better than a Jinhao 992 stub, which is also very smooth but so smooth that the line variation between thick and thin becomes muddled. Even so, the crispness of a Sheaffer No Nonsense and Pilot CM nib are much better options than the Swipe. Both are cheaper (and in the eye of this bee holder, better looking) than the Swipe. It shouldn't surprise anyone that I prefer my Monteverde Rodeo Drive stub to TWSBI's, because it is a JoWo nib surrounded by a better pen (and I got it on sale for less than the cost of a Swipe).

 

I certainly see the appeal of the more expensive options in the TWSBI lineup. I purchased the Swipe precisely because I was interested in a Diamond and wanted to get my toes wet with the brand. But since the nibs and feeds are the same (and my work and ink rotation makes large quantities of ink a gamble), the Diamond's good looks are not enough for me to play roulette with TWSBI vs my cash again.

 

My Swipe has been demoted to a home desk pen/cat toy. It gives me something I can use for a quick post-it. It gives my cat something to swat at and chew on when he's on my lap. I'd rather he mar the Swipe than a Prefounte or Jinhao.

 

 

I only have experience of the Eco, I bought two Ecos when the first came out being a Stub and a Medium.

 

Must admit that the hassle they caused could be interpreted as my own making. I used an ink that stained the pen and then took the pen apart to try and clean it, I didnt want a stained demonstrator pen. Putting the nib and feed back into the pen caused the section to crack on one and turned an ok fit on the other into a loose fit, the feed and nib would fall out. I didnt think that the TWSBI customer service was as great as others had experienced.

 

Given my time over I would only use a washable ink and leave the pen just as TWSBI set it up, just because the instructions say that you can does not give you free rein to mess around.

 

But, YMMV, I was I----I this close to putting the pens in the trash, I blame myself for being an early adopter and believing the hype.

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