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Educate me on fountain pens

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by jzmtl, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Rocket Jones

    Rocket Jones Empty Pockets

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    The Lamy Vista is basically the same pen as the Safari, just in clear plastic. There are minor differences like the threads being on the barrel instead of the section feed, but the overall design and form is identical.

    I have both and like them very much. If you can, try one out in person before buying because the triangular grip bothers some people until they get used to it.
     
  2. shrap

    shrap Loaded Pockets

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    The two kinds of filling mechanisms in vintage 51s are aerometric and vacumatic. You can't unscrew the filler, you unscrew the barrel so you can see the filling mechanism.

    Vacumatics are more difficult to fix.

    My aero 51 (bought ~5 years ago) was purchased on eBay for $40. Dented chrome cap, single jewel, scratched up barrel, super-common color, always writes.

    Although now I would just get a Pilot Knight or 78G. Same price, writes just as boringly well.

    After > 10 years of fountain pens, $50 is where diminishing returns kicks in. I've used a $30 Waterman Phileas more than all my other pens combined.
     
  3. Akilae

    Akilae Loaded Pockets

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    The triangle grips on Lamy Safari/Al-Star/Vistas do take bit of getting used to. I just told myself it was there to make sure I actually gripped the pen at a more correct angle and got used to it.

    A little addendum on fountain pens: they work well with certain types of paper.

    This sounds intuitive, but you'd be surprised at how many people become very unhappy about smudges and smears simply because they're using the wrong paper. Moleskines, despite the overpopularized cult-like aura surrounding them, are very poor choices for fountain pens. The paper is too smooth to absorb fountain pen ink. They work very well with pens, but not fountain pens. I've found that if the paper seems glossy and smooth, chances are your ink will bead on the paper before slowly seeping in. If the paper is texturized, then you'll have a much better writing experience.

    Personally, I like Cavallini notebooks over Moleskines. The paper is wonderfully rough and texturized, just right for fountain pens.
     
  4. jzmtl

    jzmtl Loaded Pockets

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    I ended up getting a lamy vista in fine point. However it's still thicker than I'd like, looks like I'll have to go back to the store and see if he has any extra fine points.
     
  5. scríbhneoir
    • Administrator

    scríbhneoir Uber Prepared
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    I use Clairefontaine papers (also found in the Rhodia Pads) and G. Lalo papers--some of my favorites for fountain pens. Here is an excerpt from the Ink Facts page of Pendemonium:

    "Paper and Feathering

    There are a wide range of papers available in the world today. Fountain pens can be very persnickety about which paper they perform best on. Most expensive does not necessarily equate to better paper for fountain pen writing. Ink may feather on paper for several reasons including the humidity level in your particular geographic area. The moisture can draw ink further into a piece of paper thus causing feathering. Broad or wet writing pens may be more prone to feathering. Certain inks seem to agree better with certain papers for no obvious rhyme or reason. The bottom line is you are going to have to experiment a little to find which of your pens and inks are compatible with which paper...."

    I have the same problem that others have with Moleskine, but it's no big deal to me. I still prefer to write with the fountain pen. :)
     
  6. Hookpunch

    Hookpunch Empty Pockets

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  7. Styerman

    Styerman Empty Pockets

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    Think long an hard before getting into fountain pens , they are very addictive , I now don't like writing with anything else . It will lead you into a fetish for good paper , not to mention trying out all the cool inks out there . On the plus side it will prevent your hanwriting from deteriorating into a total scrawl .

    Chris
     
  8. Minotaur

    Minotaur Loaded Pockets

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    The petit has a fine nib.

    Apprently it is a very good nib. The best pilot one at any rate.
     
  9. PenRx

    PenRx Loaded Pockets

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    Pilot v pens are refillable, albeit not designed to be. I have refilled mine a couple of times and reground the nib into an Arabic Italic. A fun pen to be sure.
    I prefer Rhodia paper for fountain pens. It has a smooth hard finish and will still absorb ink well. I use it to tune all my clients nibs and to test any new pens on. It is consistent and relatively easy to find.
    I prefer stub nibs in the 1mm range so my paper has to absorb a fair bit of ink.

    Cheers
    Sean
     
  10. xizzy

    xizzy Empty Pockets

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    What kind of ink does work better with vpens?

    And in wich way you can improve a nib by hand-grinding it?
     
  11. PenRx

    PenRx Loaded Pockets

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    I have used Noodlers bulletproof inks in my Vpens and had no issues at all. Refilling the pens is a bit of a chore, but they hold a ton of ink and write really well for the price.

    As for grinding nibs, I am a left handed overwriter. So for me to use a standard ball nib is no problem, but if I want to get some line variation while writing I have to resort to an Italic nib. Italic nibs are ground so that they are wider than they are thick, like this,

    ___________
    [__________]

    when viewed on the end. This will give the writer a wider vertical line than the horizontal line will be from that nib. There are various Italic nib forms out there, Stub italic is the easiest for daily use, but gives the least line variation. Cursive Italics give more line variation, but are more critical on how you hold the pen to ensure that you are on the sweet spot of the nib. Straight Italics are very sharp and one cannot rotate the wrist or change the angle of attack of the nib to the paper or they will dig in and plow paper.

    Now getting back to my handwriting, as a leftie overwriter a standard stub will give me thin vertical lines, and wide horizontal lines which is not really all that attractive. An Arabic Italic is ground so that the thickness of the nib is long but the width is thin, essentially a standard italic turned 90 degrees. It would look like this.

    ___
    | |
    | |
    | |
    | |
    |__|

    so when I twist my wrist over the top of the written words on the page to write, I end up with standard Italic letters with wide verticals and thin horizontals. I twist my wrist almost 90 degrees to the right when writing. Kind of hard to explain, but it works for me.

    Grinding nibs can reduce the width of the line, or provide line variation, or in some cases provide different line thickness' on the same nib. Some nibs can be ground with say, a medium when held normally and an xf when the nib is flipped over and the feed is showing.

    Additionally I can remove any defects that the factory left on the nib, like what is referred to as baby's bottom, where the slit edges are rounded and the meniscus of the ink is held high off the paper so the pen will not start immediately. I can also ensure that I have the nib smooth as the user prefers by polishing it with 12000grit mylar or micromesh.

    Cheers,
    Sean
     
  12. xizzy

    xizzy Empty Pockets

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    Sean, i really have to thank you for you extended answer.
    I _DID_ learn something from it.

    For example i started to look closely to my nibs and wonder how they work, why the ink doesn't dip when you don't write and more about the physics involved.

    And i'll search Noodlers bulletproof inks for signing important documents like checks.
     
  13. PenRx

    PenRx Loaded Pockets

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    xizzy, no problem. I have been restoring pens for years now and grinding nibs for about a two years. I pretty much learned all of my nib grinding from looking at others nibs and just copying them. Smoothing and aligning nibs is the single biggest change one can make to a pens performance. I have had clients who were ready to sell pens for huge losses because of the way that they wrote, 10 minutes after I got my hands on them the pen was tuned to the clients liking and the pens were going nowhere.

    I will have to do some macro images of my nibs and show you the differences in the writing characteristics.

    Cheers,
    Sean
     
  14. xizzy

    xizzy Empty Pockets

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    It would be great! :roof:
     
  15. gern_blanston

    gern_blanston Loaded Pockets

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    I love my EDC pen, a Pilot MYU, but if you want a good reliable daily user that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, try a Parker 25. You can always find 'em on eBay, they're super reliable, and they take converters.
    WARNING! You may become hopelessly addicted to fountain pens!
     
  16. wolf

    wolf Loaded Pockets

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    For inexpensive pens I really like the Lamy Safaris. Oscar Braun Pens has great prices and Pam is a good person to deal with. Oscar Braun Pens
     
  17. El Verbo

    El Verbo Empty Pockets

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    I thought I would bump jztml's excellent fountain pen thread. DemskeetSkeet and us boys were all in a frenzy of a fountain pen brought on by Hedgehog's Tribute to Crocodilo.

    It looks like the Lamy Al-Star was the star of that thread.

     
  18. yoyosma

    yoyosma Loaded Pockets

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    Ah, PenRX, you are my newest bestest friend! :highfive:

    Yes, once you get hooked on fountain pens it's really hard to ever pick up a ballpoint again. My fav is the simple fine nib sterling silver Slim Targa by Sheaffer. Similar to #5 in the link.

    Lovely and reliable and makes you feel good just to use it.
     
  19. El Verbo

    El Verbo Empty Pockets

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    I had mine taken away from me in the 4th grade because I spilled ink in the house. That thread has my curiosity all piqued so I ordered the Lamy Al-Star based on Hedgehog's postings! Will definitely keep you guys posted!
     
  20. PenRx

    PenRx Loaded Pockets

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    Lamy Safari's are great pens, but the grip is not for everyone. There is also an aluminum version of that, the All Star. They are a little tougher and probably better for EDC. The other pen which you might want to try is a Rotring 600 or a Rotring Core. Both are tough, stylish and write well. That said, the Core is usually maligned as THE UGLIEST PEN EVER MADE, but I kind of like them, I have two of them and they are great writers for lefties. For EDC the 600 is probably a better choice as it could probably kill a polar bear with one stab, but they are discontinued and occasionally somewhat hard to find.

    I love the Namiki VP which is a nice click activated fountain pen. It is pretty stealthy and can have more than one nib insert so that you can change the writing characteristics to your wants.

    My favorite writing pen is probably my Aurora Optima but it is a little fragile for everyday carry. The material they were made from is similar to celluloid and can be prone to cracking. Of course it sports a 0.9mm stub nib that I ground on it, so I could be seen as slightly partial to it. I have pens in any vintage from about 1890 to 2008, and some of the vintage pens are such amazing writers.

    cheers,
    Sean