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Murfie
April 8th, 2015, 09:09 PM
Since returning from the U.K. I have been reunited with my Dremel and have been grinding a few more nibs to keep my skills up to scratch. Two Chinese made pens that have received attention are shown here. While working on them I was reminded how good they are in relation to their cost.

The brown pen is a Kaigelu 316 in tiger eye celluloid. The other is an unknown Jinhao model in black celluloid with inlaid pearl shell diamond shapes. I am not attemtping a review here, just some pics and a broad overview of my perceptions.

The Kaigelu 316 is one Chinese pen that nearly gets it all right. For me, it only has two shortcomings - its total weight (47gms filled with ink) and the two and three quarter turns needed to remove the threaded cap. Offsetting this is that the weight is evenly distributed and the balance is good. It's a large pen that is not intended to be posted. Its design is very similar to that of the modern Parker Duofold Centennial. It is filled using a good quality screw converter with a threaded fit, something rare on an inexpensive pen. The celluloid used in the pen body is attractive and of high quality. The nib is steel but is two-tone and as good as steel nibs get in regards to smoothness and ink flow. I've had the one shown here for a couple of years and I have just ordered another one in charcoal. The cost - the eBay seller accepted a US$17 offer for a brand new one. Can't beat that for value. Nib and feed are friction fit and can be easily removed. Germany Knox nibs of similar size can be used to replace the stock standard nib, though I don't think much would be gained other than to have a gauge that you would prefer over the standard medium that comes with the pen.

The Jinhao is somewhat similar in quality. I've had this one for around three years and it appears not to be available any more ... pity. Not to be confused with current pearl shell models. It also was an under $20 buy. It is slightly slimmer than the 316 but at 46gms it weighs similar, but again well balanced. There is a posting thread but posting throws the balance way out and I can't imagine anyone wanting to do that. The cap is also a screw fit and only takes one and three quarters to remove, an improvement on the 316. The pearl shell celluloid is stunning. The nib is also steel and one size smaller than the 316's nib. It has no hole, just the slit but the smoothness and ink flow are very good. The pen came with a bog standard medium nib which I have ground to a cursive italic.

Neither migo984 or myself have been great fans of Chinese made pens in the past, but these two certainly break the mould and we enjoy writing with them. If you would prefer an italic nib for one and don't grind your own then buy a replacement German Knox 1.1mm nib for them. Fitting is very easy.

There's a photo with the two pens alongside a Pelikan M400 to give some idea of sizes.

Lady Onogaro
April 8th, 2015, 09:51 PM
Hi, Murfie,

The Kaigelu looks a lot like the Rosetta Magellan, don't you think? I love the abalone one. I like these Chinese pens, but I normally do not like the nibs. I traded the nibs on my Jinhaos out for Goulet ones. Would that work on the abalone Jinhao that you have?

tandaina
April 8th, 2015, 10:25 PM
I would love both those pens if they didn't have those dang brass linings that make them *so* dang heavy. :( I gave up on Chinese fountain pens because of the weight.

Murfie
April 8th, 2015, 11:20 PM
The Kaigelu looks a lot like the Rosetta Magellan, don't you think?
I'm not familar with the Magellan, Denise. Maybe someone else can comment on that aspect.


I traded the nibs on my Jinhaos out for Goulet ones. Would that work on the abalone Jinhao that you have?
I'm not 100% sure, but I think any number 5 size nib would go into the Jinhao OK.

cwent2
April 8th, 2015, 11:20 PM
Kaigelu 316 - Although it is a bit of a project, there is an individual in the UK that makes a finial for the rear of the Kaigelu 316 that when substituted results in a much lighter pen.

I have done this to my Kaigelu 316 and love the resulting weight and balance.

Murfie
April 8th, 2015, 11:22 PM
I would love both those pens if they didn't have those dang brass linings that make them *so* dang heavy. :( I gave up on Chinese fountain pens because of the weight.
That's usually the most common problem. And it is far worse when the pen is not balanced. Mind you, you can back over them in the driveway without causing too much damage ...

Murfie
April 8th, 2015, 11:23 PM
Murfie can spell Porsche. It's his typing that is the problem ... :cry:

Murfie
April 8th, 2015, 11:27 PM
Kaigelu 316 - Although it is a bit of a project, there is an individual in the UK that makes a finial for the rear of the Kaigelu 316 that when substituted results in a much lighter pen. I have done this to my Kaigelu 316 and love the resulting weight and balance.
Found the FPG thread on this. Thanks for the head's up.

migo984
April 8th, 2015, 11:29 PM
Murfie can spell Porsche. It's his typing that is the problem ... :cry:

Yeah, right. Deluded again :noidea: :)

Murfie
April 8th, 2015, 11:32 PM
Murfie can spell Porsche. It's his typing that is the problem ... :cry:

Yeah, right. Deluded again :noidea: :)
And as well as not being able to type, he has very thick skin!

Potter
April 9th, 2015, 12:19 AM
I've got two of the Kaigelu 316s, a white/black one and the amber one, I've brought new lightweight acrylic finials from Richard to replace those heavy brass ones and the pens are now marvellous, not quite up to the standard of the Duofolds they so clearly copy, but for 15 who'd complain. All I need to do now is to get competent enough with a dremel!

Jon Szanto
April 9th, 2015, 12:22 AM
Murfie can spell Porsche. It's his typing that is the problem ... :cry:

Yeah, right. Deluded again :noidea: :)
And as well as not being able to type, he has very thick skin!

Ok, you two, get a room!



Oh, wait...

Jon Szanto
April 9th, 2015, 12:28 AM
I would love both those pens if they didn't have those dang brass linings that make them *so* dang heavy. :( I gave up on Chinese fountain pens because of the weight.
That's usually the most common problem. And it is far worse when the pen is not balanced. Mind you, you can back over them in the driveway without causing too much damage ...

It's been a crazy workweek so far, so I haven't been able to post a pic. However, the pens that DNeal sent me, with Knox nibs personally ground to italics, were Chinese pens that weighed in at 37 grams. I happened to be buying some sample vials and holder and started looking at smaller Chinese pens.

I ended up buying a Baoer 388 that was on sale for $6.00. It is, most obviously, a Parker Sonnet clone, but in almost all respects, the fit and finish is higher than I've come to expect with the low end Chinese pens. Save for the barrel threads being just a bit coarse, this pen looks a feels as good as the Pilot Metropolitan and matches looks with an older Sheaffer 444XG. (These will all be in the photo).

The bottom line is that the feeds are all pretty much the same, so I popped in the nib, and this pen - now only causing me to lift 25 grams - is a remarkable little pen. Honestly, having it inked up on the desk, I've had a hard time not using it. $6 pen with a $9 hand-ground nib in it? GET OUT!

Murfie
April 9th, 2015, 12:34 AM
All I need to do now is to get competent enough with a dremel!
If you haven't already read it, see dneal's thread on grinding nibs here on FPG. Excellent stuff and very helpful, especially the Dremel guidance.

Murfie
April 9th, 2015, 04:00 AM
I ended up buying a Baoer 388 that was on sale for $6.00.
Jon, you must be slipping. I just ordered a 388 on eBay for AU$2.85 and that equates to US$2.15 at the current exchange rates - and the price included shipping!

Cob
April 9th, 2015, 04:21 AM
What caught MY eye Murfie was the De Havilland ruler...

Now what I'd really like is a DH Hornet with a pair of souped-up Sabres installed.

The Napier Sabre - The Visofil VT of the aircraft world!

Rgds

Cob

Murfie
April 9th, 2015, 04:46 AM
What caught MY eye Murfie was the De Havilland ruler. Now what I'd really like is a DH Hornet with a pair of souped-up Sabres installed. The Napier Sabre - The Visofil VT of the aircraft world!
Well spotted, Cob. I got that one at the De Havilland Museum where I bought that fabulous book on the Hornet for which you were the recipient of a photocopy thereof. After coming together over our mutual love of fountain pens, we discovered that we both had a soft spot for the same aircraft - the Hornet. On the same day I bought a very rare 1/48 scale Hornet at the Museum that needs construction which will have to wait until I get back to Blighty. Ummm, maybe one pen photo session in the future should include the Hornet as a backdrop instead of the Porsche (migo - note ... Porsche is spelt correctly!).

migo984
April 9th, 2015, 04:51 AM
Ummm, maybe one pen photo session in the future should include the Hornet as a backdrop instead of the Porsche (migo - note ... Porsche is spelt correctly!).

Well that just goes to prove that you're never to old to learn.........:)

Murfie
April 9th, 2015, 05:02 AM
Well that just goes to prove that you're never to old to learn.........:)
I don't think I'd better respond to this ... Jon might be watching ... :)

Chrissy
April 9th, 2015, 05:04 AM
I like the Kaigelu pen Murfie, it looks very classy. You did a great job with the Dremel. :)

I have a Jinhao Pearl Windows (that's what it's called on the box). It's like yours only it has a thicker barrel and the inlaid pieces are rectangular. Maybe the nib sizes are different too.

I also like your mother's sentiment. She sounds like a wise lady :)

kaisnowbird
April 9th, 2015, 08:59 AM
I ended up buying a Baoer 388 that was on sale for $6.00.
Jon, you must be slipping. I just ordered a 388 on eBay for AU$2.85 and that equates to US$2.15 at the current exchange rates - and the price included shipping!

Please stop. Do you two know how long and how many ridiculous ebay sales (where I was the seller) it took me to kick the cheap Chinese copycat addiction?
I've been sorely tempted by the Kaigelu 316 for years. Still hurts.

Mr Murfie, very nice cursive italic grinds. :cool:

Murfie
April 26th, 2015, 12:19 AM
Just an update. After learning about the replacement Kaigelu 316 finials I contacted the maker and was able to buy three of them which should reach me from the U.K. later this week. In the interim I've managed to remove the finials from the two 316's that I now have. The earlier one popped out with just a roll or two over the steam, but the later manufactured one was really tough. It took numerous immersions in boiling water and steam to get it to budge and I'm quite amazed that there was no damage done to the celluloid barrel given the heat that was applied. But it eventually came out. They weighed in at 13 gm each - a really large proportion of the total weight. I'll post a further update when the jobs complete.

Murfie
April 28th, 2015, 12:18 AM
The replacement finials arrived in the mail from the U.K. today. It took just minutes to insert them, using some two part epoxy resin adhesive. What a remarkable difference to the feel of these pens. Yesterday I also ground the second 316 to an italic cursive nib. I did this after removing the nib to see if it could be replaced by another type. I have several spare nibs including no. 5 and 6 German Knox steel nibs, but neither of these fitted, as didn't several others. The nib seems to be an odd size in between 5 and 6. So I put the original back on the feed and ground it instead.

I'm very pleased with the result and thank you to those who gave me the 'heads-up' about the replacement finial.

Flounder
April 28th, 2015, 11:41 AM
Murf, a lot of eBay sellers advertise the 316 as celluloid, but it's really made from a sensible, strong rod of stable acrylic. Kaigelu themselves never felt the need to pretend it was celluloid, back when they had an English language website. And the pens look so good - your photos of the tiger eye colour are the best looking I've seen in that finish - I'm sure we really don't mind!

Also - great nib work!