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Thread: The Allure of Cheap pens

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    I have a lot of pens including some very nice ones, and yet iíll still buy a Lamy Al-Star or a cheap vintage pen every now and then. I do have a problem with losing pens, and the Al-Stars are my sacrificial users. I wonít say itís entirely rational, though.
    Last edited by guyy; July 12th, 2020 at 06:30 AM.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    The allure of cheap pens can be found at sales, too; I have a collection of Waterman 'cheapies' like the Forum, Kultur and Reflex found at sales, in multiple different colour combinations. Yes I love it when I find a Waterman pink nib Red Ripple or a Parker 51, but a Forum in a colour I haven't got sparks just as much joy!

    I love cheapie demonstrators too. If you have a penchant for pretty inks, having a Dollar or Airmail demo to hand is really neat. I can get about 400 Dollar demonstrators for the price of the Pelikan M800 :-)

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    I have a lot of pens including some very nice ones, and yet iíll still buy a Lamy Al-Star or a cheap vintage pen every now and then. I do have a problem with losing pens, and the Al-Stars are my sacrificial users. I wonít day itís entirely rational, though.
    There is nothing about the Lamy Al-Star that is cheap except the price. It is perfectly designed to function well and be easily maintained. Even changing out to a more preferred nib is a task anyone can easily perform. I prefer the metal AS over the Safari and especially since dropping mine a few times on a hard surface. That such a well made pen exists, it put to shame all those $500 pens which leak and crack.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by amk View Post
    The allure of cheap pens can be found at sales, too; I have a collection of Waterman 'cheapies' like the Forum, Kultur and Reflex found at sales, in multiple different colour combinations. Yes I love it when I find a Waterman pink nib Red Ripple or a Parker 51, but a Forum in a colour I haven't got sparks just as much joy!

    I love cheapie demonstrators too. If you have a penchant for pretty inks, having a Dollar or Airmail demo to hand is really neat. I can get about 400 Dollar demonstrators for the price of the Pelikan M800 :-)
    Pen shows once used the Dollar Demos for ink testing stations.

    Oh, Chuck...? ^ To me, 'cheap' in price is under $20!
    My other pen is a Montblanc.

    And my other blog is a tumblr!


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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    As I mentioned in another thread, I just broke a long period of non-pen-buying with a cheap, well, inexpensive, Chinese pen.

    Well, it's a Faber-Castell Neo, and that's a German brand, but there is a very discreet , rather hard to see tag on this one, underneath the top of the pocket clip, that says "China". Which technically isn't the same as "made in China", but I doubt that they just felt like mentioning a country for no reason. And although I didn't know for sure, in this price range, I expected it.

    And it's a pretty nice pen, which I bought for reasons that seemed good enough to me. I'd told myself that when I did eventually buy myself another pen it would be something vintage, and indeed, shortly afterward I talked myself into a semi vintage American pen which I'll discuss elsewhere. But I decided I could afford this one too.

    I'm not tempted, though, by any more Jinhaos, Heros (I guess in this special usage one would not spell it "Heroes", what do you think?) Wing Sungs, or Haolilais,
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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by VertOlive View Post
    I must be choosing the wrong cheap pen. Out of the dozens Iíve tried, Iíve kept 4 ...
    Wow, 4/12 sounds good to me.
    Except that there were multiple dozens in play for a while...
    "Nolo esse salus sine vobis ...Ē óSt. Augustine

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by VertOlive View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by VertOlive View Post
    I must be choosing the wrong cheap pen. Out of the dozens Iíve tried, Iíve kept 4 ...
    Wow, 4/12 sounds good to me.
    Except that there were multiple dozens in play for a while...
    At least now you know which ones to buy next time.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    I have a lot of pens including some very nice ones, and yet iíll still buy a Lamy Al-Star or a cheap vintage pen every now and then. I do have a problem with losing pens, and the Al-Stars are my sacrificial users. I wonít day itís entirely rational, though.
    There is nothing about the Lamy Al-Star that is cheap except the price. It is perfectly designed to function well and be easily maintained. Even changing out to a more preferred nib is a task anyone can easily perform. I prefer the metal AS over the Safari and especially since dropping mine a few times on a hard surface. That such a well made pen exists, it put to shame all those $500 pens which leak and crack.
    Right on Chuck! I have two Lamys - Safarie and All-Star. I respect all pen collectors/users. To each his own. My pride and joy pen (gift from parents in 1960) is one I used in college.
    Itís a Parker Ď51 Specialí Med. nib. It still writes like a charm. Iíve considered collecting some vintage pens but chose not to go that route. The joy I get from fountain pens has little to do with a high price tag on the pen. Just call me cheap but Iím happy to still write the old fashioned way - with pen and ink.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Do people still treat cheap pens the same as expensive ones? Do you put it in a case be careful not to put it in a bag with e.g. keys?
    Last edited by top pen; July 22nd, 2020 at 11:22 AM. Reason: typo

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by top pen View Post
    Do people still treat cheap pens the same as expensive ones? You do put it in a case be careful not to put it in a bag with e.g. keys?
    Yes, they are still possessions that I own and use, even though my Jinhao only cost coffee money it is still looked after.

    Having said that, I have a 750 Jinhao that is aging a little too quickly, the cap seems to be scratching the section, I don't mind a little wear and tear whereas if it was an MB I would be hurrying along to get it fixed.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by top pen View Post
    Do people still treat cheap pens the same as expensive ones? Do you put it in a case be careful not to put it in a bag with e.g. keys?
    I try to treat all my pens with care. Must admit if I had an MB, Iíd probably only use on days that it didnít rain. :-)

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by top pen View Post
    Do people still treat cheap pens the same as expensive ones? Do you put it in a case be careful not to put it in a bag with e.g. keys?
    If I like a pen well enough to buy it, I like it well enough to take care of it. Mind you, I may still damage through stupidity or thoughtlessness, but I intend to take good care of it.
    "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly."
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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    All "things" are valuable to me. I take care of all I own.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by top pen View Post
    Do people still treat cheap pens the same as expensive ones? Do you put it in a case be careful not to put it in a bag with e.g. keys?
    I keep certain pens around as beaters/rough users. Often it's a cheap Chinese what-have-you, but it could be a sturdy German pen in metal or a Pilot Prera clipped to my t-shirt.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Appreciate this may not be cheap to some, so please bear in mind that I am aware of this. My most expensive pens are in the $150 to $250 range (just one or two), and regardless of age I've felt a bit leary about driving them hard. This has me thinking about getting something that doesn't engender that feeling, and currently my eye is on a Sheaffer Imperial of some type. Most Sheaffer pens do not fit my hand, but I know the imperial with the conical nib does (don't care for the inlay nib). I think they used to be available (pre-pandemic) for about $50, though haven't seen a clean example for a while at that price.
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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by top pen View Post
    Do people still treat cheap pens the same as expensive ones? Do you put it in a case be careful not to put it in a bag with e.g. keys?
    I try to treat all of my possessions well and am always careful with them, regardless of their monetary value. I would never put any of my pens in a bag without it being in some sort of a case. The top might come off and it might leak, and yes it could get scratched by keys. Or, heaven forfend, I could even potentially have to put my bag on a floor and stumble onto or tread on it by mistake.
    Therefore my pens need to be in some sort of a case when they are taken out of the home.
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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    I try to treat all of my possessions well and am always careful with them, regardless of their monetary value. I would never put any of my pens in a bag without it being in some sort of a case. The top might come off and it might leak, and yes it could get scratched by keys. Or, heaven forfend, I could even potentially have to put my bag on a floor and stumble onto or tread on it by mistake.
    Therefore my pens need to be in some sort of a case when they are taken out of the home.
    same here

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    I've been playing around with cheap pens quite over the last several months. Mostly this is because it's better to learn with cheap instruments than by ruining expensive ones. (I consider over $40 to be expensive.) Part of this is also a self-imposed budget of $30 per month. I have to save up for anything significant.

    I've gone through phases of pens-pens-pens, then inks-inks-inks.

    Cheap pens:
    • Pilot V-Pens: I've used these for years; they got me (back) into fountain pens
    • Platinum Preppy: I've had four, and all of them had some problem or other that made me discard them (two were because I tried to turn them into eyedroppers but they leaked, the others because the consistently skipped badly)
    • FPR Jaipur v1 (F, EF): These pens were on clearance. Excellent nibs, ebonite feeds. They both leaked from the section. I discarded the pens and kept the feeds / nibs.
    • FPR Muff (F): Free eyedropper pen, great nib, leaked from the section... discarded.
    • Jinhao x750 Shimmering Sands (M): Great pen! I've recently upgraded it with a Goulet fine steel nib, it's even better now. This is in rotation, and I consider it one of my better pens now.
    • FPR Darjeeling (F): Good pen, lots of threads between the section and body (suitable for eyedropper use, though I haven't tried). FPR fine nib is very tight, probably needs tuning to open the tines a touch. I just use wet inks in it. Still in rotation.
    • Noodler's Ink Charlie (F/M): Excellent eyedropper pen, can handle thick inks. The nib is a pleasure to use. Ebonite feed. The pen is slim, so it is less comfortable for extended use for me. Requires some up-front work (cleaning, heat-setting the feed) to work properly. Still in rotation.
    • Pilot Metropolitan (F): Wow! All-around good. Regular use.
    • Parker Frontier (F): Someone had this laying in their closet and gave it to me as a gift. It is from the 90s, I think. Just a good, cheap pen.
    • Noodler's Ink Ahab (Flex/Goulet B): This pen... It's great and awful at the same time. I had a really hard time getting it working. I never got the hang of using the Flex nib. I switched it to a broad. As it feeds, it coats the underside of the exposed feed with ink. One touch and you have the ink on your fingers, or on the page, or your shirt... gaaah! But the way it can handle ink and lay it down on the page... I keep filling it back up and using it in spite of that. Wish I knew how to fix it. Still in rotation when I'm feeling adventurous.
    • TWSBI Eco (F): Excellent. Used every day for work. Just get one.


    I still need to add a Lamy Safari and Kaweco Sport to this list... and maybe a few Moonman or PenBBS pens.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    The only thing I know of is "Cheap Pens". I'm actually thankful that all of these expensive pens are out of my range of desired items. I don't like cigar pens, I don't like pens that aren't metal or Ebonite (without substantial benefits to using acrylic) and the thought of carrying a celluloid pen doesn't sit well with me as they're extremely extremely flammable.
    I've also never held, written with or actually SEEN an expensive fountain pen so...I'm completely satisfied with my relatively low-cost modern pens.

    This time...Ignorance is bliss.

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    Default Re: The Allure of Cheap pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    The only thing I know of is "Cheap Pens". I'm actually thankful that all of these expensive pens are out of my range of desired items. I don't like cigar pens, I don't like pens that aren't metal or Ebonite (without substantial benefits to using acrylic) and the thought of carrying a celluloid pen doesn't sit well with me as they're extremely extremely flammable.
    I've also never held, written with or actually SEEN an expensive fountain pen so...I'm completely satisfied with my relatively low-cost modern pens.

    This time...Ignorance is bliss.
    You know that your "bliss" won't last long if you stay in this hobby

    Plus, there are plenty of *very* expensive pens made out of ebonite.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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