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kyle cassidy

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A reader writes..... [Jan. 3rd, 2013|06:00 pm]
kyle cassidy
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[music |brainclaw: dang! this cheese is on fire!]

A reader writes:

Hi Kyle! any fountain pen recommendations for a neophyte? linkage to previous LJ posts would be welcome too. Thank you!

Of course. There are lots of inexpensive fountain pens, a lot of them write like crap, there are lots of expensive ones that write like crap too.

There are two schools of thought here -- one is to just buy something new and well respected like a Lamy Safari which every fountain pen snob on Earth will not so much admit as rather gleefully tell you is a nice pen. Or you can find yourself a vintage pen that's been restored, or restore it yourself. You really can't go wrong with an Esterbrook -- it probably represents the very pinnacle of fountain pen technology. Esterbrook made millions of pens that were made to be writers -- today fancy companies like Montblanc make $5,000 pens that are meant to sit in a box and accrue value (to some extent, they also make pens they expect people to write with, but nobody writes a novel with a Montblanc, but lots of people wrote them with Esterbrooks) (Que someone emailing me to point out that they wrote their novel with a Montblanc -- find me five friends who did and we'll talk.) Mostly todays expensive fountain pens are used to sign contracts and jot down quick notes like "Ms. Bagpipe, do not ever transfer another call from that bozo."

I'd say get yourself a restored, vintage pen on ebay for $20 and enjoy the ink stains on your fingers. And go to your local fountain pen show when it rolls through town.

And here are some blog posts:

Erin Morgenstern writes about my fountain pens, her fountain pens and The Night Circus

In which I discuss my favorite fountain pens

Monteverde demonstrator (plus geeky rangefinder camera pr0n.)

trillian_stars' Fancy antique dip pen and mechanical pencil combo.

fountain pen photos a-plenty! plus journals and a portable ink well.

I gave away a Montblanc to a promising writer includes geeky pen photos.

my Delta Dolce Vita.

Last winter I gave away a whole bunch of fountain pens to promising writers (includes geeky photos).

I gave away most of my pens because I only use about four of them, photos of my favorite four pens and lots of writing about them, this, I must say, is a pretty good post about pens.

There's only one tiny shot of a pen in this post but it includes photos of Roswell.

Part something-or-other of the story of my Esterbook which does include pretty pixtures.

And some talking about journals.

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From: gaminette
2013-01-04 12:10 am (UTC)
You, Sir, are all kinds of awesome. Thank you so very, very much! I've been working on weaning myself off social media and getting back to keeping a handwritten journal. Fountain pens make writing even more exciting! Thank you, thank you!
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[User Picture]From: inkista_
2013-01-04 01:19 am (UTC)
Agree completely that one cannot go wrong with an Esterbrook pen. However, one CAN go wrong with an Esterbrook nib. The first Estie I ever got had one of the 2000-series nibs on it—it had no tipping; the end of the nib was just folded over and soldered down—sharp sharp edges, and it scratched like mad. If going for an Estie, highly recommend making sure the nib is a tipped 9000 series, or testing for writing smoothness in hand. However, given that these puppies have interchangeable nibs, like Pelikans, if you do get a bad one, it's super-easy to replace.

And yeah. Nothing beats finding an old beat-up vintage pen someone else is tossing as worthless, and bringing it back to life. But I must respectfully disagree with you on the very pinnacle of fountain pen technology: everyone knows that was the Parker 51. >^)
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[User Picture]From: leesalogic
2013-01-04 02:26 am (UTC)
I just can't bring myself to spending money on a vintage/restored. I do have a vintage student pen that was gifted to me. It's a delicate writer, and I like beefy, heavy fountain pens.

I love bright, colorful, in-your-face fountain pens. I love my Lamy Safaris and Al-Stars, love the Pelikan Pelikano/Pelikano Jr and Future; I love my Platinum Preppies; Pilot Minis; but my true loves are my Pilot Vanishing Point (in my favorite color yellow) and Pelikan M205 (in the translucent blue). Close to those is a Pelikan calligraphy writer that lays down the most beautiful blue-black line.

But even beyond those, I love the color shading with a good fountain pen and good ink. A nice wet gradient line.

I have not yet found the perfect journal, but I do have a lot of love for Clairefontaine paper.

My goal for this year is to review books I read not only on Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Amazon (and sometimes Smashwords), but start using my journals I've accumulated over the years and use my many fountain pens that have been dormant for the past couple of years. Need to get back into holding a lovely writer with lovely ink and enjoy those simple pleasures.

ETA: I am currently looking for a big, beefy orange pen. I do like the Parker 51s I've seen.

I try to go to the DC Super Pen Show every year. Last year I came home with a couple of Noodlers Inks and two Noodlers pens with the flex nibs. I like them quite a bit.

Edited at 2013-01-04 02:31 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: thiscafe
2013-01-04 12:00 pm (UTC)
Haven't added anything to Memories in LJ for quite sometime. This entry goes there. Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-01-04 08:59 pm (UTC)
woohoo. go me!
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[User Picture]From: fidelioscabinet
2013-01-04 03:42 pm (UTC)
I have a warm spot in my heart for Pelikans. Like a lot of the large European pen makers, they make sure their inexpensive 'student' pen lines are reliable, smooth-writing pens. I always figure that a company that can't make a good inexpensive pen can't make a good pen period. They can make shiny pens for display, but that's not the same thing at all.

I'm fond of Parkers but if you use cartridges you can't use a standard cartridge with a Parker, which is annoying.
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[User Picture]From: kylecassidy
2013-01-04 09:00 pm (UTC)
yeah -- the one fancy pen that I still want I don't have is a pelikan 800 or so.....
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[User Picture]From: sweetandsnarky
2013-01-04 09:35 pm (UTC)
I have been trying to find a fountain pen that suits me perfectly for ages. Over the course of several fountain pens, I have discovered one minor inconvenience: My hands are really small and most pens are too bulky and begin to hurt my hand after extended periods of writing. Embarrassing! haha My dream pen has a narrow body, a fine yet flexible nib (possibly exchangeable?), and is a piston filler. The Montblanc that you gave away which you linked looked like it might fit my criteria, and imagine how disappointed I was to discover that they are not only discontinued but model was unknown! haha I know I may never find exactly what I want, but I thought you might have some ideas. It also sucks because I live in Idaho and the only shows we have around here are of the gun variety. >.
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From: rcmckee
2013-01-04 09:52 pm (UTC)
Check with Brian Goulet, http://www.gouletpens.com ... There are a couple of options you might like, some even usefully priced....
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[User Picture]From: sweetandsnarky
2013-01-04 10:06 pm (UTC)
That was very helpful, thank you! I have found a few options that may work well for me. I am excited!
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[User Picture]From: fabricdragon
2013-01-07 02:39 am (UTC)
try a vector by pilot....
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From: rcmckee
2013-01-04 09:45 pm (UTC)
My current favorite, which lives on the desk and never goes anywhere else, is a red and gold VP Pilot. Another, that I love the look of but doesn't write for squat, is a kit that a friend turned for me out of a Brazilian lacewood... but it's got a proprietary converter that's cracked and an owner who won't pay $15 for a new one because the nib, on its good days, is like writing on sandpaper. With a dull drill bit. It sits and looks pretty.

Most of my knockabout pens are Chinese - Jinhao and a couple of others - which I picked up for prices varying from the mid-to-high single digits. There are several scattered around; they look like hell because the finish was junk from the beginning, but they write nicely.

My "there are lawyers" pen is a platinum preppy. Came with an ink bottle, writes more or less clearly but isn't pleasant to hold. Good enough for signing things, though. It's the only pen loaded with permanent blue ink (on advice of the lawyer who chewed me out once for signing my will in permablack because there was no good way to tell the original from a copy.)

The carry pens are Noodlers (one flex and one Ahab flex). They're nice users, a little scratchy but not so expensive I'm going to be devastated if they disappear. Likewise they're a nice fine line, which is important to me. Dad and granddad were doctors, so my handwriting took years to evolve into marginal legibility (!) and I just naturally write a very small hand. Anything above the finest of medium nibs looks the chimpanzees got loose with the Sharpie shipment.

My preferred inks at the moment are Heart Of Darkness and Xfeather - I found that the parchment paper and the high-rag 24-lb bond I use in the journals tends to feather out and, again, fine writing; inks that don't feather make for easier work. Noodlers has some gorgeous colors that I'm someday GOING to play around with, but for now I want black black BLACK.
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[User Picture]From: kuroshii
2013-01-05 05:03 pm (UTC)
My current workhorse "everyday" pen is a Lamy Al-Star fountain pen. It's a berry-ish purple metallic. I would call it burgundy, but Lamy calls it purple so there you go.

Only problem I've ever found with Lamy is that they tend to start skipping when they get down to about 1/3 full. I solved that problem by switching to a converter and bottled ink.

For looks, I've always had a soft spot for older Watermans.
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[User Picture]From: fabricdragon
2013-01-07 02:35 am (UTC)
its a inexpensive, functional, and solid fountain pen. some of them are a tad too scratchy, but you dont worry about them like you do about the expensive pens.

other than that? well.. like any hand tool (or artisan tool) what works for ME isnt always what works for YOU

do you have a heavy hand? a light touch pen will blot and blorp on you... if you have a light touch , that heavy hand pen will just scratch and sputter.

do you like a really flexi nib? a stiff one?

and some pens that are fabulous in their wide or medium nib, sck eggs on their fine tip... and vice versa (i like fine tip, which makes me a rarity in the fountain pen world... and i like a slim barrel.. which is why i love the old vectors)
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[User Picture]From: fabricdragon
2013-01-07 03:02 am (UTC)
added to memories...
i adore fountain pens, and i PROMISE to give a loving home to anyone's unloved fountain pens...

i used to get the Levenger catalogs just because they always had fountain pens.... sigh
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[User Picture]From: kuroshii
2013-01-12 06:54 pm (UTC)
If you want a good Fountain Pen Catalog fix, try Fahrney's. That's all they sell are pens and ink. I think I got on their list because of Levenger. I've yet to buy anything from them, yet they continue to send me pretty pictures every few months or so.
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