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Advantages of a fountain pen

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by ERCCRE456, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. ERCCRE456

    ERCCRE456 Loaded Pockets

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    I'm getting a little tired of using a ball point pen, and I was wondering if a fountain pen would do better. Are these pens really expensive? I have both a fisher bullet and a countycomm embassy pen, and I found that the fisher refills tend to "skip" a lot. What are the advantages to using a fountain pen, and are there any disadvantages?

    Edit: This question has been answered. Scroll to the next couple of pages because a couple people (including myself) have a few more questions.
     
  2. leeenricoso

    leeenricoso Loaded Pockets

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    Been a fountain pen user since college (and that's many-many moons ago!). The advantage for me is that a fountain pen's ink flow smoother and fluid when writing to paper. I don't feel that when I'm writing and I'm using an ordinary ball point. Fountain pen don't necessary need to be expensive. Look for Lamy Safari http://www.lamyusa.com/lamy_fountain_L17_safari.php. Its very much affordable. You can even get lower prices from Amazon. Pair that with a good ink -- example, Noodler's Blank ink, and writing becomes a wonderful and pleasant experience.
     
  3. scríbhneoir
    • Administrator

    scríbhneoir Uber Prepared
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    The Lamy Safari is a great pen to start with. You can also check out JetPens for lots of pens and ink, including Noodlers. They have both disposable and refillable fountain pens that start at $3.00 and go on up. They always have some on sale, too. Spend $25, and you get free shipping in the US. I just placed an order with them today, sigh.

    I also find that writing with a fountain pen makes me slow down and writer more neatly. Cons? No good for any sort of carbon/duplicate forms, and if you don't check your ink, you will run out at the most inopportune time. Some folks have problems with leaks, but I can't remember the last time I had a pen leak. And you can't let others borrow them. I grew up with fountain pens, and I still have the one I received when I graduated high school eons ago.
     
  4. artaxerxes

    artaxerxes Loaded Pockets

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  5. marsos52

    marsos52 Loaded Pockets

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    using a fountain also gives the user no writing fatigue.. because you dont grip the pen hard and you dont use any pressure when writing..the modern fountain pens when properly maintained should not give any leak problems or problems to start the ink flow..

    you do need to use a quality paper thats thick.. and you need to clean the pen well after two or three fills.

    if you are not going to use the pen for a period of time the pen should be emptied and cleaned...

    a nice fountain can last a life time or more..they become your friend..i wish i could use mine more often

    the fisher refills should not skip..the only time i have had that happen to me is if i dropped the pen and it affected the ball point

    i have been using these refills for years and years
     
  6. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    Advantages of using a fountain pen? From a pragmatic perspective . . . None. And that's coming from someone who has owned and used several fountain pens over the years. (Best one being my gold Cross Century II with a medium nib that I still have.)

    Compared to a ballpoint with a very smooth refill or a decent rollerball pen, fountain pens are horribly outdated for EDC purposes.

    I used to use fountain pens while composing my tales as an amateur writer. But the thoughts would flow too quickly from my mind down to my wrist and hand. The fountain pens I was using just couldn't keep up with the speed of my writing. Had to stop using fountain pens for that purpose.

    There is one advantage . . . If the world falls apart, fountain pens will become popular again 20 years or so down the road. With a ballpoint or rollerball, the pen itself is a nice shell for the refill. With a fountain pen, you really do get a self-contained writing instrument. Ink can be homemade. But just like an automatic watch has the advantage of still working after an EMP blast, this End-of-the-World advantage of a fountain pen really isn't all that realistic.
     
  7. dimeotane

    dimeotane Loaded Pockets

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    They don't have to be expensive. I've bought a few different ones that I really liked under $20. I got one type I use daily for about $6. It's a different kind of pen. I carry and use my Zebra 701, but I use my fountain pen just as often. Using a fountain pen and paying attention to my cursive improved my handwriting 200%. I write cursive better on a chalkboard better now as well. It helped me to understand why I was taught to write cursive the way I was. It feels much more relaxed because there's no pressure needed and the angle is less perpendicular to the page.

    A Lamy safari is a nice pen, and you can chose from many different types of nibs.
    A Parker Vector is a nice cheap fountain pen, and they make them with an all steel look.

    I recommend bottle filling with a converter. There are many different cool types of inks to enjoy, some which are waterproof (Noodlers). Check out fountainpennetwork.com if you're into this. People there will have tons of advice for you and they sometimes mail 'trial' pens to newbies. PM me if you want to talk pens more.

    You want a design that won't leak in your pocket...carried nib upright. Leaking ink is a royal disaster and one of the main reasons people moved to other types of pens.
     
  8. grayman

    grayman Loaded Pockets

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    So I admit I like nice things. I don't mind spending money on a nice watch, a pocket knife, or a nice pen for that matter. I also find I take better care of nice stuff as well. I'm in IT for a large oil and gas company, so I'm constantly scribbling notes in a ruled notebook throughout my day. I'm not taking speed notes or anything. Would a fountain pen be practical for me? If so, what size nib is best, extra fine, fine, medium, etc...? Also, I see they are cartridge refillable, but I get the impression, from other threads as well, that refilling your ink is the way to go. Can you guys set me straight?

    Not that it really matters, but I bought myself what I considered a nice pen last year and I use it daily. It's a Montblanc Starwalker rollerball. Unfortunately my office is next to our largest conference room. The Montblanc is usually on my desk. I've found people pilfering pens and pencils on numerous occasions.
     
  9. ERCCRE456

    ERCCRE456 Loaded Pockets

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    Well, due to the responses in this tread and reviews on the internet, I decided to buy a Lamy Safari AL-Star because it's a safari with a aluminum exterior. I also bought a converter and Noodler's bulletproof black ink along with Lamy black ink. I'll see how that goes.
     
  10. Russ Prechtl

    Russ Prechtl EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    I bet you'll like it if you do a lot of writing. I've found one other advantage that hasn't been listed yet. If you bear down when you write (or even have arthritic knuckles), the "flex" of the nib will make life less painful at the end of the day. It did for me.
     
  11. shrap

    shrap Loaded Pockets

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    I use fountain pens daily, and all throughout most of my education.

    I've only found one advantage of fountain pens - they don't require any downward pressure to make a mark on the page and basically glide across the paper, unlike rolling balls or (ick) ballpoints that require you to press down to force the ball to roll. I can write faster with fountain pens and with less stress on my hands. I guess fountain pens are also more interesting, with a variety of different nibs, feeding systems, history, and finishes - but those aren't clear advantages.

    I think Monocrom had a fountain pen with a defective feed or a flow problem - I can't outwrite my good pens. Some of my lousy ones, combined with the wrong ink, have flow problems.

    Alas, I think the Lamy Safari isn't a good writer. Somehow I have three of them, but they have slow feeds, stiff and scratchy nibs, and a weird finger cutout. Cool industrial design though, and you can get calligraphy nibs.

    I would instead recommend the Pilot 78G at Hisnibs.com. Incredibly smooth, even the slightly squared-off B nib. Bottle filler only. The fine nib is super fine and I would recommend it.

    The disadvantages of fountain pens are many:

    non-water resistant ink (except for the special Noodler's ink)
    sometimes pen/ink incompatibilities due to flow
    low ink capacity
    horrible things happen on airplanes I hear
    messy if not careful
    expensive

    I still love them and wish I could use them more often.
     
  12. grayman

    grayman Loaded Pockets

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    I hit a specialty shop today and picked up a Lamy Al-Star to try. The lady I bought it from said she had been selling them for 30+ years.?.? I'm going to give it a try.
     
  13. jehan60188

    jehan60188 Loaded Pockets

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    if you want smooth flow, get a pilot precise v5
    you can get a fountain pen for $3; or for free, if you order certain bottles of Noodler's
    they're cheap (noodler's big selling point; they say that a $20 bottle of noodler's has as much as $60+ worth of "good" pens)
     
  14. ERCCRE456

    ERCCRE456 Loaded Pockets

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    Well, "skipping" isn't the word I'm looking for, and I don't know how to describe it. It's the "speckling" or something like that, the white dots that appear in the middle of the line when you write with a ballpoint pen.
    Here's an example:
    http://officesupplygeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/OXO-Good-Grips-Retractable-Ballpoint-Pen-Writing-Sample.jpg
    The line isn't really consistent, and the fisher is better, but it still does that like all the ballpoints I've used.

    That's a pen I might try if I like this one.

    That's a pen I also might try if I like the Lamy.

    Reply back after you test it. I'm quite excited about this pen because it's my first fountain pen!
     
  15. Monocrom

    Monocrom Loaded Pockets

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    Nope. Not defective. I used to earn my living as a high-end pen salesman. Good customer service meant knowing your products to a high degree. I've seen pens with defective nibs and other ink-flow problems. My fountain pens never suffered from any of that. My gold Cross Century II just happens to be my favorite out of the bunch. I write very quickly. My fountain pens just couldn't keep up. (Even when switching to an inexpensive Parker with a Broad nib.)

    Also, an excellent refill requires very little downward pressure. This is especially true of rollerball pens. If you find that you cannot write with a rollerball pen without as much pressure on the paper as a fountain pen, then the RB refill is defective.
     
  16. jehan60188

    jehan60188 Loaded Pockets

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    monocrom has a point, every time i play around with super-fancy pens, they're really smooth. you can't skimp on refills!
    that being said, a fountain pen is cheap to dropper-refill. you can get set up for a $3 pen, and a $.25 o-ring. 4 oz of ink costs <$20. my $3 pen has been working very reliably. BUT it can't be stored horizontally (you know, laying on a desk...)

    if you're looking for cost-effectiveness, FP can get the job done. if you're looking for post-apocalypse reliability, use a pencil.
     
  17. grayman

    grayman Loaded Pockets

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    Can fountain pens be left laying (horizontally) or do they need to be stood tip up? I plan on putting this Lamy to work tomorrow, are there any fountain pen tips/tricks I need to know first?
     
  18. shrap

    shrap Loaded Pockets

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    It might just my lack of familiarity or angle of the ball. Been using fountain pens so long that roller balls are the odd ones.
     
  19. jehan60188

    jehan60188 Loaded Pockets

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    lick the tip.
    i store my pens horizontally, and licking the tip + scribbling on paper gets them started just fine
     
  20. Mister Scribble

    Mister Scribble Loaded Pockets

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    Eccch! Who wants ink on their tongue? I'm sure it works for you, but I'll use tap water, thank you very much.

    I don't use fountain pens in the field. Just at home. Ballpoints win the day for durability and readiness when I'm outside.

    But when I worked in an office I did like to occasionally carry one with me. Be careful about putting it in a nice suit pocket
    (leaks!). Many will leak on an airplane in a pressurized cabin; some have features to prevent that.

    Lamys are supposed to be well made so they may not have a leak problem. But I don't know, have no experience with
    them.

    They're on my list for sometime to buy, though.