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Fountain pens-- I get it now!


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#1 Guest_Pete_*

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 09:48 PM

I have to say, when I saw that some of you were EDCing fountain pens, I thought you were all off your rockers.  From what I remembered of the fountain pens that I'd used, they were splotchy and leaky.  Ugh.  Carry one around?  In my pocket?  Hell no.

 

While at the big-box office supply store today, I happened upon a Sheaffer VFM in matte black with a medium nib, for about $15.  Okay, so it's not a Kaweco, but it is a lot nicer than the garbage I remember using years ago.  It's got a good weight and feel to it, and even as inexpensive as it is, it flows across the paper nicely.

 

I'm aware that my budget-minded pen will probably not give me the same bliss that a better, more expensive one would.  I just didn't wanna blow a mess of cash on my first one.  Time will tell how functional it is for me as an EDC pen, and I'm using a pocket protector of sorts just in case.

 

All that being said, I get it now.  You've made a believer out of me.


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#2 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 10:28 PM

Shaeffer pens are great for their price. And Kaweco is far feom the be all to end all, but a good entry level pen is all.

Pretty great writing though eh?

#3 Guest_Pete_*

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 12:09 AM

You bet.  It's weird, because there's something about the fountain pen that just feels more... I dunno... authoritative.  Formal.  Like a boss, as they say in the memes.  :)

 

Now that I think about it, my earlier failures with fountain pens may have been user error as much as anything else.  I was a kid trying to learn calligraphy with Sheaffer fountain pens, and failing miserably.  When I tried again in high school, I went straight for the Speedball dip pens, which I've been using ever since.  It may have been less a crappy pen than my crappy technique.

 

So... two questions.  Is it normal for the nib to develop droplets of ink after the pen sits capped for a while?  Which notebooks do you know to work well with fountain pens?  My Rite in the Rain ain't gonna do it.  I can get my hands on Moleskine, Field Notes, and a selection of Rhodia.


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#4 Hugo Luis Costa

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 02:22 AM

It isn't normal for the nib develop droplets, unless it stays very long periods of time bottoms up.

Try first of all change the brand of ink, sometimes it solves the problem because diferent brands have diferent viscosity.

I use my fountain pens with moleskins without any problems.



#5 Heather

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Posted 27 June 2015 - 11:41 AM

I second what Hugo said about the droplets and trying different inks.  I have a bunch of vintage Shaeffer pens and I use  Private Reserve inks often.  They are cheap and really solid inks for the basic colors.  When they try to get into the fancier subtle colors they end up looking dirty, but for a nice blue or blue black they are great. They also make quick-dry inks which is the best thing ever if you are sucker for punishment like me and using fountain pens as a lefty.

 

Moleskines are fine.  You might get a tiny bit of bleed through if you have a broader nib, but it really isn't much of an issue.  Rhodia is always a great choice for fountain pens.  I've not played around with Field Notes much to say how fountain pens fair on them.

 

Glad you are enjoying your fountain pen!



#6 Rob Hamilton

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 11:18 AM

You bet.  It's weird, because there's something about the fountain pen that just feels more... I dunno... authoritative.  Formal.  Like a boss, as they say in the memes.  :)

 

Now that I think about it, my earlier failures with fountain pens may have been user error as much as anything else.  I was a kid trying to learn calligraphy with Sheaffer fountain pens, and failing miserably.  When I tried again in high school, I went straight for the Speedball dip pens, which I've been using ever since.  It may have been less a crappy pen than my crappy technique.

 

So... two questions.  Is it normal for the nib to develop droplets of ink after the pen sits capped for a while?  Which notebooks do you know to work well with fountain pens?  My Rite in the Rain ain't gonna do it.  I can get my hands on Moleskine, Field Notes, and a selection of Rhodia.

Rhodia every time IMO



#7 Guest_Pete_*

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 02:30 PM

Rhodia is always a great choice for fountain pens.

 

 

Rhodia every time IMO

 

Thank you both, I'll grab a Rhodia next time I'm at the Container Store.  Heather, I'll look into those Private Reserve inks, too.  Do they make cartridge ink or just bottled?



#8 Heather

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 02:29 PM

Thank you both, I'll grab a Rhodia next time I'm at the Container Store.  Heather, I'll look into those Private Reserve inks, too.  Do they make cartridge ink or just bottled?

 

They make both!



#9 Gia

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 08:09 AM

I think it's time for me to get a fountain pen...


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#10 Guest_Pete_*

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 01:43 PM

I think it's time for me to get a fountain pen...

 

Do it!

 

Little bit of personal experience... the Sheaffer VFM that I mentioned above (and pictured below) isn't bad for fifteen bucks, but mine developed a small leak from under the metal band just behind the nib.  My fingers got a little inky.  I fixed it with a bit of acrylic clear-coat around the band, but I doubt that's a normal part of fountain pen ownership.  I did email Sheaffer customer service about a replacement writing unit, and haven't heard back from them.  I don't think I'd personally recommend buying one of these.

 

sheaffer-vfm-unposted.jpg

 

I do hear a lot of people recommending the Lamy Safari, the Pilot Metropolitan, and the Kaweco Sport series as good entry-level fountain pens.  Jetpens.com sells all of them, and our friend Stupendous Walrus has mentioned that Jetpens is a reputable retailer.  I'm thinking I'll invest in a Kaweco Classic Sport or a Lamy Safari as soon as I get a few dollars freed up.

 

As luck would have it, a friend gave me a few Field Notes books, and they seem to be doing all right with the fountain pen.  Minimal feathering, and no bleed-through so far.  Haven't gotten to the Private Reserve ink yet, but that'll probably wait until I get a better pen.

 

UPDATE:  I did finally get through to someone at A.T. Cross, and the replacement writing units (the plastic screw-in part that holds the nib and the ink cartridge) are $4 USD each.


Edited by Pete Joseph, 20 July 2015 - 05:57 PM.


#11 Lori Lee Bravo

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 04:04 AM

Jet pens is ok, but the real FP education is to be found at gouletpens.com. Brian Goulet will initiate you into all things fountain pen / EDC. I'm not affiliated, just a happy customer. It took me awhile to find what I liked best, and the Goulets sell sample packs to experiment with. De Atrementis document inks are my favorites because they are water resistant, archival, and quick drying. Second favorite inks to mess with are Noodler's inks because the guy is a genius crank, and he has spy ink in his line as well as other inks with unique properties and back stories.

For pens, I like to recondition early 19th century Esterbrooks; but for EDC (high end), it's Pelikan, and at the lower end, Noodler's, Lamy and Kaweko. There are some extremely affordable eastern Euro pens, and some Chinese imports that should (like all things Chinese) be approached with caution. (They might transmit everything you write with them or otherwise leak all over you and your stuff.)

Paper? Best overall - Rhodia; most affordable - Bandit Apple or Moleskin (some bleed through); most luxurious and lightweight to mail - Tomoe River.
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#12 Guest_Pete_*

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Posted 10 July 2015 - 10:44 AM

And once again, this is precisely why I love this place.  Moral support from fellow beginners going through similar "growing pains", all the way up through excellent advice from the more experienced colleagues.  I have been over to Goulet Pens for a browse, but I'll make sure I give them a closer look.  Thank you for the ink and paper recommendations as well.


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#13 Guest_Pete the Machinist_*

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 10:12 AM

Okey dokey...

 

Sheaffer VFM started leaking again, and I'm up against their stellar customer service again.  I do like the way the pen feels, but a $15 pen just isn't worth all this hassle.  I just went ahead and ordered a Kaweco Classic Sport from Jet Pens.



#14 Bill Givler

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 02:34 PM

I've enjoyed writing with fountain pens for many years.  About a year ago, I started using one as my everyday carry pen.  While I have found sheet paper that is great for fountain pens, I have yet to find a commercially-made notebook or pad that really took fountain pen ink well.  So, I make my own.  If you have access to a paper cutter and a decent stapler, it is not difficult to create what you need.  It does take a little time and patience, but for me, the positives outweigh the negatives.  FYI, my favorite FP paper is Southworth's 25% cotton fiber Granite.



#15 Guest_Pete the Machinist_*

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 04:22 PM

I've enjoyed writing with fountain pens for many years.  About a year ago, I started using one as my everyday carry pen.  While I have found sheet paper that is great for fountain pens, I have yet to find a commercially-made notebook or pad that really took fountain pen ink well.  So, I make my own.  If you have access to a paper cutter and a decent stapler, it is not difficult to create what you need.  It does take a little time and patience, but for me, the positives outweigh the negatives.  FYI, my favorite FP paper is Southworth's 25% cotton fiber Granite.

 

I'm actually in the process of experimenting with this... excellent timing!  I'm taking more of a cost-savings approach to DIY notebooks, but might as well make them nice in the process!


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#16 Heather

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 03:47 PM

For pens, I like to recondition early 19th century Esterbrooks

 

I have a 1942 (I think) Esterbrook that I keep meaning to recondition. It looks pretty straightforward, but the pen belonged to my husband's grandfather, so I'm nervous about botching it. Any advice?



#17 Mattallen

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 07:02 AM

I have been using a fountain pen (Parker Vector, like the look and the price) for a short while now.  Recently, as part of a training course, I had to provide a demonstration on how to change the ink cartridge in one.  Everyone else in the room was shocked that I use a fountain pen, but I find it so easy to write with, having to place no pressure on the paper to get the ink to flow.

Despite ending up with ink on my hands every so often, it is very relaxing to use.



#18 Nolan

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Posted 14 September 2015 - 08:15 PM

I have a 1942 (I think) Esterbrook that I keep meaning to recondition. It looks pretty straightforward, but the pen belonged to my husband's grandfather, so I'm nervous about botching it. Any advice?

I have been restoring Esterbrooks for several years and would caution you about removing the section from the barrel. It is all to easy to crack the barrel at the threads if you don't use a little heat and be sure to pull straight out without rocking the section side to side.

I would suggest reading the pinned articles on replacing the sac that you'll in on "the fountain pen network". Would probably be wise you go on ebay and buy an inexpensive Esterbrook to pratice on. Would hate to see you have problems with something with a personal connection.



#19 Marc

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 02:58 PM

Been thinking about buying a fountain pen now for a while.  Just catching up in the forum in the various threads on the subject and got the itch....so just order a Sheaffer 100 and some black ink. Can't wait to try it out and experience the good things that others have reported here! 


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#20 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 07:59 PM

Been thinking about buying a fountain pen now for a while.  Just catching up in the forum in the various threads on the subject and got the itch....so just order a Sheaffer 100 and some black ink. Can't wait to try it out and experience the good things that others have reported here! 

A great jumping off point. Like most EDC and EDC related items, it can be a slippery slope.

 

I know some folks in the business world set their career goals in terms of being able to get a Rolex...My goal is to work towards a high end Mont Blanc pen. :D

 

A nice fountain pen you feel comfortable with makes mundane tasks quite enjoyable.


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