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Cheap pen rules?

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by jackknife, Aug 29, 2021.

  1. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    I've been quite disillusioned by many things in my EDC life, like over priced and over hyped knives, guns, and watches, and now pens. I've tried most of them and very few ever came up to the level of pure reliability of the Bic pen. Like the Bic lighter, they always work. Now I have great respect for the cheap Paper Mate stickpin that is their take on the Bic round stick pen.

    This morning I was walking my dog. Not an unusual thing, we do this several times a day. This morning I was taking a short cut through an ally in back of a shopping center. Like most alleys, there was trash around, litter on the ground. It had thunder stormed last night, so some fresh wash down gravel was here and there.

    As I was walking, there sticking up out of some fresh sand/gravel was a dark gray pen. I thought it was a Bic round stick but I pulled it up and saw the Paper Mater brand on the translucent body. Just for yuks, I shook it off and took the pad out of my shirt pocket, uncapped the pen and drew a line. I was amazed. From the first contact on the paper, the pen made a nice clear, solid black line. Unreal. laying in the trash of an alley after a thunder storm it still wrote smooth and fine. I guess the Paper Mate pens are as good as the old standby Bic. If Paper Mat starts making lighters, Bic could be in trouble.

    With the unreal reliability of the modern cheap pens, is it worth it to spend more than a few cents per unit for the bulk pack of Bic or Paper Mate pens? Has modern production technology made the expensive stuff not worth it, like a 14.95 Casio watch vs an expensive Seiko?
     
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  2. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Depends on what you want in a pen doesn't it?

    If what you just experienced is what is important to you and nothing else matters then maybe you are in luck.

    If your needs go deeper and you want and expect a different cheap pen experience then why does it matter if it is worth it to you to pay for that experience?

    Like anything else choice is good,buy what you like.
     
  3. jackknife

    jackknife Loaded Pockets

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    I expect the pen to write. I expect any object to function at its intended task within fiddling needed. I've had the more expensive pens, like Cross Parker, Zebra, and others. I hate ha ring to scribble to get it started, or skipping of blotting. With a watch I expect it to tell me the time in a reliable manner with no trouble. I had a very nice looking Seiko that looked like a million bucks, but after a few years wasn't worth a damm. It needed cleaning and very time the back came off it cost more than two Timex or Casios just to see what was up. I gave it away and went with Casio plastic analog watch that lasts great. Ten years flawless service for 12.95 and still going great.

    When I go to make out. check, I demand the pen write. If it won't complete that task, then its worthless to me. Like a Colt Python that looks great but can't digest a steady diet of full house .357 loads. Sold off the over hyped gun. I've got a Ruger service six from 1972 that has seen gobs off full house .357's over the past 49 years and is still showing great. The Ruger won't win any beauty contest, but it shoots great and thats what I demand from it.

    Any object needs to function at what it was designed to do, and if it won't, then its a fail. I don't have time in my life for stuff with snob appeal or 'cool' factor.
     
  4. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    Pretty sure that you missed my point mostly but you seem to be suggesting that only the cheapest pens are worth buying for the reasons that you site along with stories. My experience has not been even remotely the same though and I really prefer the way the Zebra in general perform and handle which is what I like in a pen and am willing to pay for.

    I too have little time in my day for what you will call "snob" appeal items that do not work.

    My favorite is my "Lucky" Rotring pen that somehow I have not lost in maybe 20 years or more and it also feels like I want a pen to feel if I have my choice and I do. Several refills and never missed a beat or a beating and was anything but a cheap pen from the start.

    Like a lot of things we EDC here some pens are a joy to own whether that goes beyond the thrill of how cheap and functional they ,ight be.
    Now of course I am scared to take it out too for obvious reasons.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    I have a bulova watch that cost double what any of my timex watches cost and I've had it run reliably for 12 years without service, in fact it's running right now in my watch box.
    I recently gave my stepson an ecodrive watch I've also had for 12 years also still running perfectly.

    My fisher space pen that I use nightly for receiving two to three orders at my job has worked flawlessly for two years now and It makes me happy to have it because
    1. It is super compact and fits in an elastic slot attached to my wallet so I always have it in my pocket, there is no easy way to carry a normally sized pen in a pants pocket and work a job where you have to constantly bend or squat or take to the knee to stock shelves or pack boxes from low areas, you either break the pen or get stabbed.

    2. I don't have to worry about all the crap I went through with cheap and crappy bic stick or paper mate pens that I know haven't improved since my school days, like intermittent flow, lost caps, ball point falling out and ruining my pants.


    .
     
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  6. SOS24

    SOS24 Loaded Pockets

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    Your experience falls in line with mine. Cheap pens like Bic and PaperMate have broke or stopped working numerous times. I have also had the leaking issue as well. This is also not to mention the PaperMate ink smearing so whatever your writing on became unreadable.

    My favorite two pens, both of which have been my trusty companions for over a decade, are a Fisher Cap-o-Matic and a Skillcraft B3 Aviator. All I have had to do for either is replace ink. The Fisher would probably have been even longer if someone hadn’t borrowed then lost my previous one. The Fisher “write anywhere” ability is invaluable when needing to write on things at various angles that may be wet or have grease/grime on them. Fisher ink is also reliable in extreme temperatures, which other pens do not always do well with. The Aviator gave me a black pen with Fisher ink plus 2nd color ink and pencil, which were frequently used, in one tool vice 3.

    So the question of “value” really comes down to what you need or want from a pen, as well as experience. Bic, PaperMate and others may be great for many people’s edc needs, but for my uses I’ll stick to Fisher.
     
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  7. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    I think you’ve brought up a valid point…that is that there comes a point in which increasing price does not necessarily equate with increasingly improved function…whether it be cars, guns, pens, etc., and the divide between price and value can be surprising sometimes.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    Back when I was working people would often borrow my pens or I’d lose them in the middle of wrestling with someone that didn’t want to go to the “Gray Bar Hotel”. So I started buying Skilcraft Pens. Specifically, the Skilcraft U.S. Government Retractable Ball Point Pen, Fine Point, Black Ink, with a box of 12 costing about $12, shipped free on Amazon.

    These are the same pens I used on active duty and I found the quality surprisingly good. These pens were developed in the mid-1960’s and had to meet 16 pages of specifications. Here’s a look at some of those requirements:

    1. The pen barrels had to withstand temperatures as extreme as a North Pole winter and a Death Valley summer — from negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees.

    2. The pens had to write for nearly a linear mile — about 5,000 feet of paper — before the ink cartridge needed to be refilled.

    3. The ink had to dry within five seconds and be guaranteed not to smear or blot.

    4. Printed on paper, the ink had to withstand being submerged underwater for 48 hours and two doses of chemical bleach.

    Again, I am surprised at the quality of these pens (I also own, use, and admire the same company’s B 3 Aviator pens that SOS24 mentioned.).
     
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  9. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    I’m going to check those out. Sound like a nice pen. Thanks for the info.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  10. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    I must admit that although I like the cheap Bic and Papermate pens and pencils, that if I had to choose one pen for edc, it would be a Fisher Bullet.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  11. SOS24

    SOS24 Loaded Pockets

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    After having my one Fisher borrowed then lost, I started always carrying a gov’t issue Skillcraft as a loaner. They are good compared to many others, but I still had some issues usually associated with them coming unscrewed.
     
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  12. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    I just had a look at the skilcraft gov. issue pen at amazon
    Price $39 with free shipping, some negative reviews:
    10 pens in box of 12.
    Blue ink when box and listing said black.
    Another listing $34 for one pen...
    I'll stay with my fisher x-mark thanks.


    .
     
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  13. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    I just ordered a box of 12, black ink, medium point for $11.89 on Amazon.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    #13 dmattaponi, Aug 30, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2021
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  14. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    In this situation a link would be helpfull
     
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  15. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    Found them
     
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  16. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    Ox71, yeah, negative reviews … what can I say. Overall the Skilcraft pens are, in my opinion, a good deal.

    Have I ever had a problem with them … sure. I remember one box I bought that when I tried the first pen it just flat out wouldn’t write. The second one, the same. I sent them back and got a new box. Those worked just fine.

    The one thing that I always disliked about them was that these are ‘skinny’ pens. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I like a ‘fatter’ pen. They just seem easier to hold when writing a lot.
     
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  17. ox71

    ox71 Loaded Pockets

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    Being a Canuck, I've never tried this model of pen and you've piqued my interest.
    I'm going to try a box and put them in the usual places around the house and maybe give a few to my stepson to use at school.

    .
     
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  18. Cobra 6 Actual

    Cobra 6 Actual Loaded Pockets

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    Let us know what you think, ox71. And, you, too, dmattaponi.

    The other thing I like about these pens is that they are made by Industries for the Blind, employing ~100 vision-impaired people.
     
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  19. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    Received the pens yesterday. I like them. They write nice.[​IMG]


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  20. dmattaponi

    dmattaponi Loaded Pockets

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    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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