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Recommend a Fountain Pen

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by Six String, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Six String

    Six String Loaded Pockets

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    My wife wants a Fountain Pen. Can someone recommend one? And does the ink used in the pen make a big difference? Thanks!
     
  2. gilliu

    gilliu Loaded Pockets

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    fountain pen questions

    have you looked at the fountainpennetwork forum?

    http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/

    I really like my Pelikan Polar Lights -- writes very well and distinctive body -- good size for me as well. My only dislike is the absence of a window so that I could gauge ink level

    There are many good inks -- again, the forum above has abundant reviews. I like Pelikan blue; lots of folks like Noodlers

    I would strongly recommend trying some out -- the nibs are very much an individualized preference and you can't tell a good match without writing

    Good luck -- nice gift idea
     
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  3. PBJS II

    PBJS II Loaded Pockets

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    As a test (or proof of concept) a 3 pack of Pilot Disposable Fountain Pens Black, Blue and Purple can be had at Office Max (and likely at Depot or Staples as well) for about 8 bucks. They CAN be refilled, just ain't super easy.
     
  4. mooshi
    • In Omnia Paratus

    mooshi Loaded Pockets

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    They're actually pretty easy to refill since they're friction fit, so just use pliers and pop off the feed/nib section. Do it over the sink though; residual ink may spit out at the "pop!" hehe :) And do cover up the section with a hankie or the like so that the pliers don't damage it. :)

    And yes, ink does make a difference in writing performance. As does paper.

    ETA: I agree with gilliu - FPN is a great forum for fountain pen information. :) I'm a part of it myself.
     
  5. mhphoto

    mhphoto Loaded Pockets

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    Refilling a Pilot Varsity is indeed an experience. And one that should not be gone through in nice clothes.

    What's your wife's personality? Will she be willing to refill her pen from a bottle (much cheaper in the long term and many more inks to choose from)? What's your budget? Is she usually rough on her pens (if so then a gold nib should be passed over in favor of a steel one)?
     
  6. gstojinovic

    gstojinovic Loaded Pockets

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    Kaweco...

    My favorites....
     
  7. mhphoto

    mhphoto Loaded Pockets

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    Oh, and to answer your questions about the ink, yes, it does make a difference. Buuuut, that's a good thing. :) There are so many inks of so many colors with different characteristics across so many brands it'll make your head spin. The FPN has a fantastic review and comparison backlog.

    I recommend getting her a "black" black, like a Noodler's Bad Black Moccasin or Heart of Darkness. You can see a huge collection of ink swaps on the Goulet's website. The Goulets also just released a big learning center on their website for people just getting into fountain pens called the *snicker* Fountain of Knowledge.
     
  8. TIM_I

    TIM_I Loaded Pockets

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    2 fp's that are great starters are the LAMY VISTA and Platinum Preppy.

    http://www.lamyusa.com/lamy_fountain_L12_vista.php
    http://www.jetpens.com/Platinum-Preppy-Fountain-Pen-Fine-03-Nib-Black-Ink/pd/1454

    both are 'see through' which is fun. they're inexpensive to start, that's nice in case she doesn't like it. i put the converters in both and so refill with various fun ink colors.
    that's what attracted me most to fp's initially, using all the various ink choices. paper choices becomes key. good luck.
     
  9. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    I have the Lamy vista here which is a lovely pen - also available in solid colours as the Safari or as a metal bodied version as the al-star. Great pen, relatively inexpensive and fillable either with cartridges or by adding a converter and using bottled ink (which is what I have been doing.

    For similar money there is also the Parker vector fountain pens - I only have the rollerball version here which I rather like, but the FP should be a great everyday pen.

    As for the ink, yes it can be a bit more fiddley than with a ballpoint - certain inks will have different characteristics such as waterproofness, fade resistance, thickness (ie how viscous, and how 'quickly' it will flow from a pens nib) and colour. Beyond that some will also react better to certain paper stocks - receipt paper for example is notoriously bad, though most normal paper should be decent enough.

    As mentioned, if you want a whole wealth of information, check out the fountain pen network where you should be able to search out or ask the answer to pretty much any fp related question you have.
     
  10. Kilted1

    Kilted1 Loaded Pockets

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    For starting out, you can't beat the Pilot Varsity. For less than ten bucks you can get three of them and see if you (or your wife) like the way they write. Of course you can spend more on a higher quality pen that will write even better but now you're talking the difference between a grocery bag and something from Kifaru or Maxpedition.

    I love my fountain pens. My favorite thing about all of them is I can mix my own custom ink colors. Just make sure the ink you get is designed for fountain pens as some other inks will gum up the works something fierce.
     
  11. bigdean

    bigdean Loaded Pockets

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    I've tried different fountain pen but my alltime favourite is my Mont Blanc Meisterstuck.


    sent with regards from switzerland!
     
  12. mhphoto

    mhphoto Loaded Pockets

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    If you like to give her a little variety of ink, the Platinum Preppy is the same price as a Pilot Varsity, but takes cartridges instead of being one time use. But it also takes the Platinum converter, which is around $7-8. With that you can spend ~$10 plus get some fun ink for her to try. I swear I'm not affiliated with the Goulet Pen Company, but they have a great ink sample selection. Most are $1.25 for 2 mL of whatever ink you wish to sample, enough to fill a pen twice, give or take.
     
  13. edjelley

    edjelley Loaded Pockets

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    How much are you looking to spend?

    The platinum preppy is cheap, I have had two, both leaving me wanting more. One stopped working all together, ended up in the garbage.

    I would recommend checking out a Lamy Safari, Vista, or Al Star. Also, Goulet Pens offers a bunch of great sample packages of ink (not affiliated, great company though) that allow you to try ink without committing to entire bottles. Just make sure you pick up a Z24 converter too.

    Also, I would recommend picking up a Rhodia or Clairefontane notebook, they both use high quality, FP friendly paper.

    Hope this helps
     
  14. sungame

    sungame Loaded Pockets

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    I have a Lamy ALstar myself, and I must say I just love it!

    Pretty enough to make a nice gift without being overly expensive.
     
  15. PBJS II

    PBJS II Loaded Pockets

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    If it means anything a Lami Al-Star is on my short list.....
     
  16. Denix

    Denix Loaded Pockets

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    My best writers are my Pilot Vanishing Point and my Lamy 2000. Relatively expensive at about $130 for the VP (not sure how much the 2000 goes for these days but probably in the same range). For about $55 the TWSBI Diamond 540 is pretty good. I like mine, but it's not quite in the same league as the VP or the 2000.

    Guy
     
  17. mhphoto

    mhphoto Loaded Pockets

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    Heck, I just received an Indian-made $6 fountain pen yesterday and it writes as good as my $90 Sheaffer does. Fine tip, too. You could get her a few of those. They might actually still have some free ones.
     
  18. Learnin

    Learnin Empty Pockets

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    I have a couple of fountain pens I use regularly. One is a Waterman Opera, the other is a Noodler's flexnib pen I purchased for $15 from gouletpens.com. The Waterman is fatter, can use cartridges or bottled ink, and the nib is much smoother; the flexnib only uses bottled ink, writes less smoothly, but gives a lot of variation in line width as I write. The flexnib is also designed to be adjusted by the user if need be, whereas the Waterman isn't.

    I tend to keep the Waterman at home, or carry it on more formal occasions. I'm rarely without the Noodler's flexnib pen. It's fun, a handier size, and I can be much more expressive with it.

    There are a bunch of inks on the market, and yes, I find that some are "flowier" than others in the same pen. One of the reasons I purchased my flexnib from gouletpens.com is that they offer ink sampler kits. They also have a page that tries to show the inks they carry as they would actually look on paper -- they try to use the same paper and lighting for each ink. Also, they are a small, family business and give the kind of personal service that larger companies can't seem to manage.
     
  19. mhphoto

    mhphoto Loaded Pockets

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    I love my two Noodler's flex pens (one the original, the other an Ahab, both demonstrators). They're so darn addictive.
     
  20. Kripto

    Kripto Evil Sid

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    This is SUCH a loaded question... :)

    I've been on FPN for YEARS now and have personally owned more fountain pens than I care to think about :)

    When it comes to fountain pens, FPN is the place to go for research.. You will spend thousands of hours there getting LOTS of great information..

    If I were buying a fountain pen for a new user, I would probably aim towards some of the mid range pilot, sailor, or platinum pens which can be purchased for $25-$2500 :) The lower end models are great pens and will out perform lots of $$$$ pens.

    If you want a German pen, Lamy makes some decent pens also in the $35 range. The good thing about Lamys is that you can easily get different nibs on them by sliding the pressure fit nibs off and replacing them.. This is important because most people don't know what line thickness they like and line thickness is dependent on Ink, Nib and Paper. So there is lots of room to explore.

    If your range is a bit higher and she has experience with fountain pens in general you can't go wrong with Montblanc, Pelikan, Conway Stewart, Yard-O-Led, Stipula, etc.. Many of these pens will start at $250 and easily go up to $1000

    My personal collection at the moment is :

    Montblanc 149, 146, 145 (149 is the flagship, 146 is the next size down both with piston fillers, and the 145 is a cartridge/converter)
    Conway Stewart Wellingtons (2) both are convertors
    Pelikan Polar Lights, Mt Everest, Sahara, Niagra, 640 with a OBBB ground to a cursive italic, 400 vintage Brown Tortoise, 120..
    Pilot Elite Vintage
    Yard-O-Led Grand Viceroy
    Twsbi (2 clear, 1 one of a kind black proto)
    Shaeffer PFM and the re-release
    Stipula Erutria

    And lots of other vintage pens... (Parker 51s etc)

    I would happily recommend ANY of the above list. :)

    As for inks, well that's another ball of wax.. One day I might even take pix and post them.. I think I've got well over 200 bottles (some rare like MB Racing Green)
    Lots of pen makers for example won't warrant their pens if you use Noodler's inks in them.. Not that it's a big deal, it's a hard thing to prove..
    I generally recommend that people stay away from Noodlers and Private Reserve until they get comfortable with inks and cleaning their pens.. These companies tend to make very saturated inks that can be a pain to clean. I usually recommend companies like Shaeffer, Pelikan, Parker, Stipula, and Diamine for beginners, they are less saturated and tend to flow well..

    Papers are also a HUGE factor for fountain pens.. Avoid Moleskine for example, they make nice notebooks, but their papers are complete crap.. Leuchtteurm, Clairefontaine, and Rhodia make GREAT paper and awesome notebooks..

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head..
     
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