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Fountain Pens

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 1:01 pm
by jww
As a teen in high school more than 45 years ago, I tried all sorts of things to try to improve my handwriting, including fountain pens. They were not very leftie friendly to use, and while I loved the feel in my hand, my writing style dragged my hand along parallel to the lines on the paper and - you guessed it - smudge city all over the side of my hand. Eventually I gave it up, but have always missed the feel of a quality nib rubbing across paper.

A couple of weeks back, motivated by a colleague at my current client engagement, I ordered not one, but two fountain pens along with some ink, and inkwell and a converter for one pen as one is a demonstrator model with a conversion mechanism built into the pen itself. How rewarding it has been to go back to hefting a decent fountain pen in hand.

Here's what I picked up:
Lamy Safari LX gold, w/fine nib
Lamy Safari converter
Lamy medium nib
Lamy Black and Black/Blue ink (50ml bottles ea)
Monteverde Napa Burgundy and California Teal (30ml bottles ea)
TWSBI Eco White
TWSBI inkwell

I have been using the Lamy exclusively this past week with the fine nib and oh my what a great writing and feeling pen it is. As I have aged, my writing style has migrated to a leftie-underline writer, which means I am no longer dragging my hand across the writing plain so ink doesn't get on my hand. The LX which I purchased was on sale for 55% off, so it was as cheap as if I had purchased the standard Safari in plastic - no brainer to me as the LX comes in a fabulous aluminum carry tube with a slick rubber gasket to set the pen into.

The problem with all this is -- that fountain pens and ink and supplies are a bit like wet shaving -- or so I have found out quite quickly. You get one, and you want more. A pen for each ink colour you want to use. An everyday pen. A signature-only pen. And so on .......

To enhance my collection, I procured a couple of Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks. I have been an exclusive Moleskine guy for years, however, heard that their paper tends to bleed with fountain pens a fair bit. While that may be true, the Lamy ink I am using does not run or bleed at all. I think that has to do with the light touch I have with my writing (I have used rollerballs for years and barely touch the paper when I write), together with the fine nib.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 2:29 pm
by Rufus
Wendell, congratulations on taking up fountain pens again. I’ve been avid collector of vintage and modern fountain pens for many years. At the moment I have over 100 of the beasties; I don’t like to count them as this triggers an urge to calculate how much money I have tied up in them. My collection is not overly focused and comprises Bexley, vintage and modern Pelikan, vintage and modern Parker, vintage and modern Conway Stewart, vintage and modern Sheafer, Esterbrook, Wahl, Lamy, Onoto, and assorted others. All my pens are in working order, even the ones that are +100 years old, and I have 2 or 3 inked all the time. I’m a member of a pen club that meets once a month in Cambridge. There is a pen club in Ottawa that meets regularly if you’re interested. A good pen forum is the Fountain Pen Network, but it has a very large membership.

BTW, I too think that the Lamy Safari is an outstanding pen.

PS How are you making out with the flooding in the Ottawa area?

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 6:12 pm
by Kyle76
Enjoy your new pens, Wendell. I bought a Montblanc diplomat from someone online about seven years ago and sent it to a fountain pen repair guy, Mikeitwork to adjust the flow and nib size. I keep it in a penholder on my desk and use it for signatures and writing short notes to clients. It’s always special to pick it up. I hope you get as much pleasure from yours.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 6:17 pm
by EL Alamein
Wendell, good on you and I am happy that you have found joy in this. I am glad that you have found a way to use them successfully as a lefty.

I have loved fountain pens since my days in High School. I went to a private Catholic Prep School for boys and got my first fountain pen from the trunk of a dearly departed priest. He was a man amongst men (the phrase we used for him) more like a Marine (from his days in the service). Anyone that had him as a teacher will probably never forget him, I know I won't. He taught us how to be men, even in the modern world.

A group of us were assigned to clean out the travel trunks of passed of priests in the basement of the chapel to clear room for storage. His was among them. Anything that could still be used was packed for other priest to use. His fountain pens from the 1950's were among his belongings and they were offered to us. I took one and used it for the next three years of high school and for all four years of University. I loved it. I even used it for many years beyond.

I still use one today just like it and my eldest daughter has taken a fancy to using one just like it as well. She is fifteen.

They are a pleasure to use and lay down a line unlike any other writing instrument. They will never break under normal usage. They will last as long as this Universe.

I still have his old fountain pen but I don't use it anymore as it will probably become a relic because he has a cause for Sainthood.

Use and enjoy in good health.

Chris

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 7:28 pm
by brothers
It is always enjoyable for me to read these shared experiences, even though my fountain pen related interest was short-lived. I was in 5th grade and at that time the dime stores had a special department filled with fountain pens and ink, etc. As a 12/13 year old student my allowance at that time was spent on fountain pens. In looking back to those happy times, I seem to recall that was about the time it became popular to use fountain pens that had little plastic refill cartridges full of ink, a challenge to the old bottles of ink that had a little glass depository inside where the ink would pool into a shallow restricted area that helped with the refilling process. For whatever reasons I drifted away from fountain pens. Probably related to a shift of attention toward things such as girls, bicycles, coin collecting, and rock and roll music. :oops: I distinctly remember turning in some school work that I thought looked pretty good, but the teacher called me up to her desk and told me to quit using my fountain pen because of all of the unsightly smudges and other ink-related mishaps that were evidently far more noticeable to her eye, than they were to mine. That was embarrassing to me at the time.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Thu May 02, 2019 9:29 pm
by CMur12
I used hand-me-down fountain pens from an early age, later buying nice ones when I was able. The writing experience varies greatly from one fountain pen to the next, so certain pens work especially well for me and some less so. They are truly lovely instruments and I still have my eye on some new fountain pens, but, so far, I have been able to resist the urge to buy.

I prefer a medium nib to a fine one, as the writing is smoother.

- Murray

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Fri May 03, 2019 2:20 pm
by jww
Rufus wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 2:29 pm
PS How are you making out with the flooding in the Ottawa area?
None of our family is affected (thank goodness). This is something that happens every year we have heavy snow or high amounts of freezing rain as the ground get over saturated (mostly clay in Ottawa), and can't hold the water so water levels in the rivers rises exponentially. I am managing a large relief effort right now through our church's international humanitarian aid program and expect a sizable shipment of goods to arrive in Gatineau PQ next week.

It's brutal to see people just give up on their homes and hope for the best. Only so much you can do with sand bags and plastic sheeting. And the army and city aid workers all go home at 7pm.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Fri May 03, 2019 2:43 pm
by Rufus
jww wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 2:20 pm
Rufus wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 2:29 pm
PS How are you making out with the flooding in the Ottawa area?
None of our family is affected (thank goodness). This is something that happens every year we have heavy snow or high amounts of freezing rain as the ground get over saturated (mostly clay in Ottawa), and can't hold the water so water levels in the rivers rises exponentially. I am managing a large relief effort right now through our church's international humanitarian aid program and expect a sizable shipment of goods to arrive in Gatineau PQ next week.

It's brutal to see people just give up on their homes and hope for the best. Only so much you can do with sand bags and plastic sheeting. And the army and city aid workers all go home at 7pm.
That’s good to hear Wendell and it’s very commendable of you to be involved in he relief effort. It’s all very sad especially for the people in Gatineau, who were also struck by the tornado a short while ago. I lived in Ottawa for 10 years, moving to Hog Town in 1980, but I don’t remember experiencing such extreme weather in the area. I apologize for high jacking the thread.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 7:16 am
by Gene
I have a modest collection of pens - and love all of them (although some more than others). The Safari is a model I have long lusted after - they are so affordable I really should try one - especially now that my airplane days are behind me.

I like a thinner line of ink myself - so a Fine or even Extra Fine (depending on the pen) are my preference. Japanese pens have a slightly different nib or rating system - my Pilot pens are labeled as Fine, but write like an Extra Fine.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 7:32 am
by jww
Gene wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 7:16 am
I have a modest collection of pens - and love all of them (although some more than others). The Safari is a model I have long lusted after - they are so affordable I really should try one - especially now that my airplane days are behind me.

I like a thinner line of ink myself - so a Fine or even Extra Fine (depending on the pen) are my preference. Japanese pens have a slightly different nib or rating system - my Pilot pens are labeled as Fine, but write like an Extra Fine.
The fine nib on my LX is perfection -- and it's a thing of beauty to boot. It's been etched and the aluminum storage tube is a very nice touch. I'd have gone for a simple base plastic Safari if it hadn't been so well priced. Pen Chalet still has them on sale, I believe. They still have stock in the gold with the fine nib for $49US. You can also pick up the paster Safari line fountain pens for less than $30USD at the moment as well. Don't wait, you'll love this pen. With the molded grip is't an absolute dream/breeze to write with.

I haven't filled the TWSBI Eco yet -- waiting for some more time with the Safari before I do so .... think I'll go with the burgundy ink for starters ..... choices, choices ...... like I said - it's just like wet shaving and choosing a brush, razor, blade and soap/cream.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Sat May 04, 2019 7:34 am
by jww
Rufus wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 2:43 pm
That’s good to hear Wendell and it’s very commendable of you to be involved in the relief effort. It’s all very sad especially for the people in Gatineau, who were also struck by the tornado a short while ago. I lived in Ottawa for 10 years, moving to Hog Town in 1980, but I don’t remember experiencing such extreme weather in the area. I apologize for high jacking the thread.
No worries, Bryan.

This is the 3rd major natural disaster in Ottawa in the past 2 years -- and if you go back as far as I do here -- the winter of 97 and the ice storm still remains in memory. We live in an area that may be conservative and stodgily government, but we sure get our fair share (and then some) of inclement weather and natural threats to our homes.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Sun May 05, 2019 4:11 am
by fallingwickets
smf enabled: https://postimg.cc/ThyXH0vz

im not reading any more posts on this thread....ive already checked the lamy in and out of a cart 12 times!!!!!!!!!

clive

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 12:58 pm
by jthomas1264
I am officially done collecting fountain pens now that I have found my holy grail. My grandfather carried a tan colored Parker 51 on 27 missions in a B-29 bomber in WWII. He carried it until he died, and I have it safely stored away because I am afraid of losing it. Well, I found the same pen, never inked and in its original box, and it is now me everyday pen!

Jay

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 3:54 pm
by brothers
Jay, that's remarkable! Congratulations on having such a precious artifact. Not to mention having your own everyday pen just like the other one.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 5:37 pm
by EL Alamein
jthomas1264 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 12:58 pm
I am officially done collecting fountain pens now that I have found my holy grail. My grandfather carried a tan colored Parker 51 on 27 missions in a B-29 bomber in WWII. He carried it until he died, and I have it safely stored away because I am afraid of losing it. Well, I found the same pen, never inked and in its original box, and it is now me everyday pen!

Jay
An awesome way to celebrate your family history.

Chris

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 7:45 pm
by CMur12
EL Alamein wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 5:37 pm
jthomas1264 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 12:58 pm
I am officially done collecting fountain pens now that I have found my holy grail. My grandfather carried a tan colored Parker 51 on 27 missions in a B-29 bomber in WWII. He carried it until he died, and I have it safely stored away because I am afraid of losing it. Well, I found the same pen, never inked and in its original box, and it is now me everyday pen!

Jay
An awesome way to celebrate your family history.

Chris
It's also a wonderful pen!

- Murray

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Tue May 07, 2019 1:27 pm
by jww
Somehow I knew that this community would have a shadow fountain pen sub-group. 8)

I do not plan to build a large collection, but do aspire to a Visconti Rembrandt Dark Forest or Van Gogh Starry, Starry Night. Both beyond belief gorgeous.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:55 pm
by John Rose
My collection was shrinking until tonight.
I just ordered a Pilot Metropolitan (medium nib) in the "White Tiger" colour & pattern. (from stylo.ca)
Image
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Image

This is to replace the gold Metropolitan that I lost (I'm sure it's still in the house) a few months ago.

Meanwhile I'm using my Nemosine Fission in Gunmetal finish, with a 0.8 mm italic stub.
Also an old Rotring Art Pen with a 1.1 mm italic, and a Borghini V110 with a medium nib.

I'm not so crazy about the Borghini because the nib is a bit dry and scratchy, and I have not been able to pull the feed and nib out for a deep cleaning. I was hoping I'd be able to replace the nib with a nicer one, because it's comfortable to hold.

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:02 am
by John Rose
fallingwickets wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 4:11 am
smf enabled: https://postimg.cc/ThyXH0vz

im not reading any more posts on this thread....ive already checked the lamy in and out of a cart 12 times!!!!!!!!!

clive
Here we go...
Image
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How do you like those Pilot (or Namiki?) Vanishing Point pens? They look pretty cool, in a Buck Rogers sort of way.
The nibs don't dry out?

Re: Fountain Pens

Posted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:47 pm
by John Rose
John Rose wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:55 pm
My collection was shrinking until tonight.
I just ordered a Pilot Metropolitan (medium nib) in the "White Tiger" colour & pattern. (from stylo.ca)
[snip]
Yay - It arrived today!
I popped in the cartridge of blue ink that came with it, gave it a flick into the sink, and it started writing on the first try \:D/ .
It was delayed because the bottle of ink that I ordered to bring the purchase price up to get free shipping was out of stock.
So, the 80 ml bottle of Diamine "Red Dragon" effectively cost me only $2 or so.
Image
I figured it would be a good colour for blending with other colours for a rich brown, or even as is.

Oh, and the pen itself has a bit of pearly sheen, which was a pleasant surprise.