Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 131

Thread: New pen suggestions.

  1. #1
    Member DumDum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Warwickshire, England
    Posts
    65
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 20 Times in 16 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default New pen suggestions.

    Hope this is the right place to put this.

    So, suggesting the possibility of getting a new pen in me introduction, and based on some of the stuff on the forum, could anyone offer the advantages/disadvantages of:

    1. A brand new pen.
    2. A vintage pen.
    3. A custom pen (material choice only, as full custom looks real spendy).


    Tryna get some sense of where to go with this. A brand new pen has a warranty, no previous users, and prolly from a big reputable company. Vintage, not sure of reliability, availability, price range is all over the place from the little I've read about them, but some interesting nibs and filling systems too. Custom pens, some interesting off-shelf designs and material choices, even so the price is over $150 from what I've found online so far.

    Any road up, what should a fellow be focussing on?

    ta muchly,

    Simon

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Posts
    51
    Thanks
    21
    Thanked 8 Times in 7 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Is this your first time trying fountain pens? I would recommend going with Lamy Safari, Jinhao, Wingsung—cheaper pens so you don’t spend a lot and figure out your preferences


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to pocky For This Useful Post:

    amk (January 3rd, 2020)

  4. #3
    Senior Member silverlifter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    256
    Thanks
    125
    Thanked 237 Times in 108 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    1. Brand new is the cautious choice. Doesn't have to involve much expense, and can easily be on sold if you don't take to it.

    2. Vintage is where it is at, from my perspective. Write with a piece of history. Entry level prices are higher, and you would only want to purchase from a reputable outfit (check out Redeem Pens or Peyton Street Pens: both will look after you).

    3. Custom will be the priciest and, IMO, should only be an option when you know exactly what you want. Most will also involve a long queue, averaging around 8-12 months.

    What is your budget, and what is your intended use case?
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to silverlifter For This Useful Post:

    penwash (January 3rd, 2020)

  6. #4
    Senior Member VertOlive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    The Island
    Posts
    3,723
    Thanks
    3,798
    Thanked 3,485 Times in 1,519 Posts
    Rep Power
    10

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    It definitely depends on where you are in your pen hobby. If you’re new, bespoke is the last thing to consider. New is safest, but, if you educate yourself well enough and like vintage, go vintage.
    "Nolo esse salus sine vobis ...” —St. Augustine

  7. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    13
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    I think you need to tell us more about what you like.

    Personally, I like larger pens which rules out a lot of vintage models entirely.

    Also, what do you like about your pen? The material and feel? The way it writes? Line variation in your writing? All of those are going to be factors.

    As for custom, until you can clearly articulate I would absolutely agree with what silverlifter said and you should not consider looking at them. That said, if you happen to be at a pen show, for example, do check out the custom makers have on their tables because you might find something you love but wouldn't have known you would love until you picked it up. I will disagree that they will be the priciest. Once you know what you want, a custom pen from someone like Jonathon Brooks or Shawn Newton will actually set you back less than the offering from many of the brands regularly discussed on these forums.

  8. #6
    Member DumDum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Warwickshire, England
    Posts
    65
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 20 Times in 16 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Oookay, some Q's to answer.

    No, not new to using fountain pens, though it's not been a hobby, so in that sense just sniffing around the entrance to the rabbit burrow. Intended use is for most daily writing, with exception of when the paper choice is not mine. Budget, that one is tricksy. Put in USD terms, prolly anything up to about $200?

  9. #7
    Senior Member countrydirt's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado
    Posts
    382
    Thanks
    467
    Thanked 249 Times in 136 Posts
    Rep Power
    10

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Lamy 2000 or Pelikan M200 are safe choices and are good quality
    I use a fountain pen and a paper planner - paperinkplan.wordpress.com

  10. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Posts
    66
    Thanks
    7
    Thanked 39 Times in 26 Posts
    Rep Power
    3

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Beware the rabbit hole
    And shun the Frumious Bandersnatch!

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to although For This Useful Post:

    Stands on Feet (January 3rd, 2020)

  12. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Posts
    51
    Thanks
    21
    Thanked 8 Times in 7 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by countrydirt View Post
    Lamy 2000 or Pelikan M200 are safe choices and are good quality
    I agree, my Lamy 2000 is a great daily driver. Good ink capacity too.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #10
    Senior Member silverlifter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    256
    Thanks
    125
    Thanked 237 Times in 108 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aurelius View Post
    I will disagree that they will be the priciest.
    I was benchmarking entry level. Entry level new or vintage will be significantly cheaper than the most basic true (not boutique) custom pen.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

  14. #11
    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Berkshire UK
    Posts
    6,100
    Thanks
    2,984
    Thanked 5,093 Times in 2,044 Posts
    Rep Power
    14

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    For someone located in England, talking about buying pens in US$ is already an expensive way to start.
    There are plenty of good pen sellers in the UK: our own Deb at Goodwriter's for Vintage pens, The Writing Desk, Cult Pens, Hamilton Pens, etc. etc.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

  15. #12
    Member DumDum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Warwickshire, England
    Posts
    65
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 20 Times in 16 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Understood. US dollars was used cos this looks like a mainly US-based membership (could be wrong there) and thought it may be simpler than asking peeps to do conversions.

  16. #13
    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Highlands of Scotland
    Posts
    1,521
    Thanks
    906
    Thanked 1,424 Times in 697 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Thank you for mentioning my business, Chrissy. DumDum, there are quite a few British people here.
    Regards,
    Deb
    My Blog
    My Pen Sales

  17. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Norwich UK
    Posts
    837
    Thanks
    1,571
    Thanked 573 Times in 316 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Hi DumDum, if you can wait for a pen show and manage to get to one, I think that's a really good way to go. You will have fun, get to buy some ink probably, and meet people. Both new and vintage are represented at most pen shows, though the % varies, and you'll see enough of each to get some feeling on whether you're primarily going to focus on one or the other.

    Right now, go for a new pen. Use a retailer and buy a brand that's known for good QC and good support if you can.

    I would highly recommend buying a pen that has easily swappable nibs. Pelikan and Lamy (Safari, AlStar, Studio but not alas the 2000) both fit the bill, so do pens like Edison's and Franklin Christoph's that have regular size nibs and feeds (Jowo I think). That gives you options eg if later on you want a different width of nib, want a flex or an italic. And also, for M200/400 size and the Lamys, you have a choice between steel and gold nibs so you can upgrade at any time or simply buy some cheapish steel spares for sizes you might occasionally want to use.

    Vintage Pelikan has the same swappability as modern! (though not interchangeable with modern nibs AFAIK)

    Don't let me put you off the Lamy 2000. It can be a marvellous pen and it is at the same time stylish enough to rejoice the heart, and sober and understated enough to take into a conservative office environment should you need to do so.

  18. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    93
    Thanks
    28
    Thanked 69 Times in 42 Posts
    Rep Power
    2

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    1/ A brand new pen comes with a warranty. If something goes wrong with it, you can return it for a repair or a replacement. Warranties range from 1 year to a lifetime (Cross).

    2/ A second hand pen (pens that may still be in production), unless purchased from a specialist retailer/repairer, do not come with a warranty. So, if you get one that works, everything will be fine & dandy and you will be on cloud 9. I have several 2nd hand pens (Montblanc, Parkers & Watermans) which have been great. A 2nd hand pen with a gold nib can usually be bought for a fraction of the price of a new pen with a gold nib (note steel nibs can be just as good as gold nibs - I don't want to go into the debate here).

    However, I have also bought 2nd hand pens that have not been in such great condition - and not being a patient tinkerer - they can be a source of frustration and expense. Sometimes the cost of a repair, or even the spare parts to make a repair can be as much as the initial cost of the pen itself.

    3/ Vintage pens are similar to 2nd hand pens. Not all vintage pens have got a ready supply of spare parts or consumables. A Waterman CF for example takes cartridges that have not been manufactured for generations. The joy of vintage pens is that there are a range of nib options that are not easily, or cheaply found on new pens. Most pens in current production come with hard nibs - vintage pens can come with flexible nibs which give you different line widths depending on how you use it.

    Again, with vintage pens condition is everything. A restorer/specialist will sell you one, sometimes with a 3-6 month warranty, but it will usually cost much more that a random online find. A random one might work, but it might not. Many of them turn up, long forgotten, in a relative's drawer, the seller doesn't quite know what it is, hasn't filled it or checked it for cracks, so you may well be the 1st person to use this pen for fifty years - and find out why it has been languishing in a drawer for fifty years.

    An excitement that can end in tears (fill and use the pen over easy wipe surfaces, with an ink that is easy to clean up (just don't ask)).

    Finding the parts, purchasing them - or sending a pen off to a restorer may end up costing more than buying a pen from a restorer in the 1st place. You pay your money and take your choice.

    A good or great vintage pen is heaven - a duff one can be hell (unless you like fixing them).

    4/ Custom pens - someone else will have to help you with that.

    It would help if you decided what you want the pen for. If you want to write all day, every day with no fuss - then a new pen will be as good as any. I got seriously annoye din the summer after spending ages trying to get some vintage pens to work. I'd spent more time trying to get the pens to write, than actually writing. These pens were getting in the way of my main objective - which is to write - so I set them aside and got on with the task with one of my old reliable pens.

    If you want to write with a flourish - and try some old calligraphic styles, then a vintage pen, with a flexible nib might be more your thing.

    If you want a lovely pen with a solid gold nib and a bit of bling, then a 2nd hand pen will give you more bang to the buck, if it is in great condition.

    It might be worthwhile to see if there is a pen club or meet up close by where you can try a variety of pens. This an guide you without a huge outlay - and you might even be able to buy a pen you want there.

  19. The Following User Says Thank You to Sandy For This Useful Post:

    amk (January 6th, 2020)

  20. #16
    Member Ron Z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    71
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 110 Times in 39 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    I started a long answer, and deleted it. Not sure that attempt #2 will be more coherent.

    To some degree, the answer comes down to your preference. I will admit that with over 50 years of using fountain pens, and over 30 years of repairing, I have a somewhat jaundiced view of modern pens. Then again, some of the pens I started with are considered to be vintage. I bought my first red Esterbrook J in a stationery shop in high school.

    I like the seemingly infinite variety of models, colors, and the filling and nib options in vintage pens. There is a lot more to choose from because they were made in such great numbers, with so many manufacturers, over so many decades. Most are repairable because we can still find parts, or make replacement parts, or can make parts fit. Granted, prices have gone up as the number of pens to be found in the wild goes down, but you can get some great pens for around $150, restored, with a warranty.

    OTOH, I find many modern pens to be boring. Many times you find the same basic designs using the same acrylics, with nibs made by Bock, Schmidt, and Jowo. Nice nibs, no character. I sometimes find myself looking at a modern pen, and ask myself "Do I really want another Schmidt/Bock/Jowo nib?

    There's also the problem of service down the road. The warranty or serviceability only lasts as long as the company. Think Marlin, Delta, Krone and some others that have gone under in the last 5-10 years. Vintage pens were made to be repaired, many moderns are not. The service manuals say "replace X." Try getting parts for a modern pen! Try repairing a modern pen or getting parts to repair a modern pen that has been glued or riveted together, or one on which the celluloid has crumbled. Good luck.

    ...and the weird designs. "Captive converters" i.e. gluing a converter into a pen, gluing the parts together, but using a converter to make it look like the pen is a piston filler. Or gluing the sac to the nib collar, and then gluing that into the section, and the section into the barrel. ...or machining the parts in such a way that the external and internal barrel threads overlap, and making the dimensions so thin that the barrel breaks just below the end of the section threads.

    This happened with a very expensive, very exclusive line of pens that was sent to me for repair. The pen was discontinued, but wasn't more than 5 years old. I called the manufacturer's "service" department asking about what they could do for the customer. Their response was "They can buy another pen."

    There are exceptions to the rule of course. I think that Pelikans are very good pens, and they can be repaired. Montblanc makes some very attractive pens, but most of the time you have to go to their service department for service on modern pens. Pilot, Namiki, Sailor - well made pens. I rarely see them come in for repair. Parker? Declining IMHO. Waterman too. I can't get parts for a modern Waterman, and they may not have them either.

    I guess all that means that I have a preference for vintage pens. The point made about buying one from someone who specializes in vintage sales and/or repair, and offers a warranty is a good one. I don't have many pens come back because I try to be very careful to make sure that the pen is working as it should, and writes well. But if something happens the buyer is covered.

    Of the 6 really nice writing pens sitting next to me and that I am carrying these days, 4 are vintage. Two OS Balances, a Duofold Sr, an Aurea (20s Italian), a Pelikan 800, and a Sheaffer Valor. That one is a fluke...

    You asked. There's one person's opinion.
    Last edited by Ron Z; January 6th, 2020 at 06:12 PM.

  21. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Ron Z For This Useful Post:

    amk (January 6th, 2020), catbert (January 5th, 2020), penwash (January 6th, 2020), Sandy (January 6th, 2020), silverlifter (January 4th, 2020), stub (January 14th, 2020)

  22. #17
    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Berkshire UK
    Posts
    6,100
    Thanks
    2,984
    Thanked 5,093 Times in 2,044 Posts
    Rep Power
    14

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Z View Post
    Of the 6 really nice writing pens sitting next to me and that I am carrying these days, 4 are vintage. Two OS Balances, a Duofold Sr, an Aurea (20s Italian), a Pelikan 800, and a Sheaffer Valor. That one is a fluke...
    I have a regular ebay search set up for Sheaffer Valor.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

  23. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Tennessee USA
    Posts
    256
    Thanks
    148
    Thanked 126 Times in 81 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Z View Post
    Of the 6 really nice writing pens sitting next to me and that I am carrying these days, 4 are vintage. Two OS Balances, a Duofold Sr, an Aurea (20s Italian), a Pelikan 800, and a Sheaffer Valor. That one is a fluke...
    I have a regular ebay search set up for Sheaffer Valor.
    Good for you, but I never find the best offerings by being so specific with eBay searches.

  24. #19
    Member Ron Z's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    71
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 110 Times in 39 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Yeh, well, the first Valor I had wouldn't write no matter what I did. Sent it back. Others had the same problem.

    Last fall I ended up with a burgundy Valor cap, and black barrel, both with rhodium trim. I picked up a nib unit at the Ohio show, ground it finer and plated it to match the trim. Nice nib, but not as nice as the Pelikan, Aurea or the black OS Balance who's nib is one that I have done absolutely nothing to.

  25. #20
    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Berkshire UK
    Posts
    6,100
    Thanks
    2,984
    Thanked 5,093 Times in 2,044 Posts
    Rep Power
    14

    Default Re: New pen suggestions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Z View Post
    Of the 6 really nice writing pens sitting next to me and that I am carrying these days, 4 are vintage. Two OS Balances, a Duofold Sr, an Aurea (20s Italian), a Pelikan 800, and a Sheaffer Valor. That one is a fluke...
    I have a regular ebay search set up for Sheaffer Valor.
    Good for you, but I never find the best offerings by being so specific with eBay searches.
    I search for "Sheaffer" too.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •