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Tag: Fountain Pen 101

Fountain Pen Series + Updates

Posted in Fountain Pens

Since I finished my last Fountain Pen 301 post in October of 2018, I’ve written several updates to the different installments. To make life easier for those looking for a “one-stop-shop” I’m collecting all of the posts here. I’m also including some informational posts I’ve since written that aren’t updates to the original series. I hope it serves as a good resource for many.

I plan to keep this page updated if/when I write future updates or related posts. You can also access this page from the Fountain Pen Series link on my Tags by Category page.

My blog is not monetized, nor do I currently have any intention of monetizing it. So, point people here for information. To make it easier for you, I’ve shortened the page link for better sharing: https://bit.ly/fp-series-update. In the various installments, I link to resources from all over, including Goulet Pen Co, Jet Pens, Pentorium, Nibs.com, Vintage Pen, and quite a few more.

Now, enough preamble, time for the round up.

Another “Step Up” Pen

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

As I stated in my TWSBI post, the Kaweco Sport series is another contender for best “step up” pen. I know several people who absolutely adore the Sport series, and I’ve come across photos of truly impressive collections.

I really like the non-satin finish metal-bodied Sports for their weight and durability. The nibs for the entire series are decent and come in a wide range of sizes, but the TWSBI nibs are definitely better.

Pen Opinions Change

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Reviews

DISCLAIMER UPDATE (6/24/22): TWSBI and Narwhal have released a joint statement which I cover in my most recent TWSBIgate post. While not completely satisfied with TWSBI’s response to the situation, I no longer feel the need to dissuade people from purchasing their products.

DISCLAIMER (5/1/22): Since writing this post, TWSBI has been involved in some unsavory actions, and I am currently boycotting them. For more information, refer to the #twsbigate tag page.

Nearly 3 years ago, I wrote the third installment to my Fountain Pen 101 series: Where to Start (With Pens). In it, I recommended the Pilot Metropolitan and Platinum Preppy as the best starter pens. I also promoted the Lamy Safari as the best “step up” pen.

While I stand by my assertions about the Preppy and Metropolitan, I’ve changed my mind about the Safari. This is because 2 years ago, I tried a TWSBI Diamond 580AL. In my opinion, it is by far the better “step up” pen. I now own 11 of the 580 series pens (full sized and mini), and I love them! In fact, if some freak occurrence were to lose me my collection, I’d likely just buy a few 580s and call it quits.

A quick note before jumping into the meat of this post. There is a third contender for best “step up” pen: The Kaweco Sport series. I’d put it as the second best, due to price and nib selection, and should have a post about it in the next week or two.

Fountain Pen 101: Stores

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 101, and happy Fountain Pen Friday. Sadly, this is the final issue. But fear not, pen enthusiasts! I’ll be back in a few weeks with Fountain Pen 201. If you missed any of the previous issues, you can check them out here:

Why Fountain Pens | Anatomy of a Pen | Where to Start | Nibs | Ink | Ink Reservoirs | Cleaning & Filling | Paper

For now, however, I’ll be discussing the benefits of brick and mortar stores. While online stores are fabulous, there are some things they simply can’t provide. To aid you in your brick and mortar store search, I’ve compiled a map of stores known to sell fountain pens. But before I get to that, let’s discuss brick and mortar store benefits.

Most important, in my mind, is the ability to handle a pen before you purchase it. You can see it from every angle and learn how it feels in your hand. Depending on the pen, and the store, you may be able to dip-test it, meaning you dip the nib in ink to test the writing quality. This is probably the only thing that is absolutely impossible for an online store to replicate, making it a HUGE point in a brick and mortar store’s favor.

Fountain Pen 101: Paper

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 101. We’re down to the last two issues. This week I’m covering paper.

As a fountain pen user, you’ll have to give thought to what paper you use. You’ll want to make sure you use “good” paper, often referred to as “fountain pen friendly”. This term references paper that “behaves well” with fountain pens, and is, to some degree, personal preference.

In this particular case, it will be easiest to discuss various properties paper is judged on, rather than the paper itself. If you’re only interested in overviews of different paper and notebooks, then feel free to jump ahead to that section below.

Bleedthrough

Bleedthrough is considered a negative trait. As I mentioned before, this is how much an ink bleeds through paper. Particularly “bad” paper will cause bleed-through with nearly every ink, but some ink will bleed through on nearly every paper. Keep in mind that you can make virtually any paper bleedthrough if you lay down enough ink.

Examples of bleedthrough.
An example of minimal (left) and major (right) bleedthrough.

Fountain Pen 101: Cleaning & Filling

Posted in Fountain Pens

Welcome back to Fountain Pen 101 and happy Fountain Pen Friday. This week, I’ll be discussing cleaning and filling your pens. However, because videos can explain cleaning WAY better than words ever can, I’ll be linking to videos for a decent portion of this post. I’ll also provide you links to good pen cleaning supplies. NOTE: The prices listed below are in USD and don’t include tax or shipping.

Cleaning is one of the down sides to fountain pens, especially if you can’t disassemble the pen. However, it is vital to preserving the quality and prolonging the life of your fountain pen.

As a rule, you should thoroughly clean your pen every time you change inks or before you store your pen for an extended period of time (think more than 2 weeks without use). If you are simply refilling your pen with the same ink (some people always use the same ink in a specific pen), then you should clean your pen every 1-2 months.

Looking for something specific? Jump around this post with these links: Tap Water vs Distilled Water | Pen Flush | Ultrasonic Cleaner | Good Tools | Cleaning Instruction | Tips & Tricks

Fountain Pen 101: Ink Reservoirs

Posted in Fountain Pens

Last week I covered ink, this week I’m covering it’s holders, namely ink reservoirs. The reservoir is what makes a fountain pen a fountain pen. Without one, it would be a dip pen. Essentially, there are two categories of ink reservoirs: removable and built-in.

The ratings you’ll find below are averages and based on my opinions. Each pen is different, and every person has different preferences, so don’t discount a pen just because of a rating; research it first. Ink capacity is rated ★☆☆☆☆ (least capacity) to ★★★★★ (most). Ease of cleaning is specifically for cleaning the reservoir itself, not the entire pen, and is assuming you do not disassemble the pen at all (e.g. removing the nib unit).

If you want video instructions or step-by-step photo instructions of how to utilize some of these ink reservoirs, check out these guides: JetPens | Goulet Pens

Fountain Pen 101: Ink

Posted in Fountain Pens

It’s impossible to cover ink in a single post. For one, I don’t know every ink brand, and new brands are popping up every day. For two, there are all sorts of properties that people like to discuss and/or include in their reviews. However, what I’m going to try to do is give you an overview of the ink properties I’ve heard discussed most often and the “best known” ink brands.

As a side note for newbies, make sure you only use fountain pen inks. Ink for dip pens could destroy your pen.

Ink Properties

As you start exploring inks, you’ll hear about various properties, including shimmer, shading, sheen, wetness, feathering, and bleeding. Most ink properties are at least partially dependent on the paper you use. Basic copy paper, for example, will negate almost all ink properties, while Tomoe River paper is well-known to enhance most ink properties. To enhance ink properties, you want to write/draw on “ink resistant” paper.

Fountain Pen 101: Nibs

Posted in Fountain Pens

Another Fountain Pen Friday, another Fountain Pen 101. Welcome back! This time I’m covering nibs. Let me start out by saying that this is an introduction to nibs. I’ll cover nib customization (yes, that’s a thing) later.

Overview

Your average fountain pen is going to be available in one of the following nib sizes: Extra Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), Broad (B), Double Broad (BB), and Stub (usually 1.1mm or 1.5mm, although 1.9mm does exist). You do occasionally come across Oblique nibs (similar to a stub, but cut at an angle), but they’re far less common and typically found on specialty pens.

Some pens, especially from indie pen makers, utilize standard #5 or #6 nib units from Bock or Jowo. That means you can purchase other nib units of the same size and manufacturer and swap them out. It’s like giving your pen a mini makeover.

Jowo Nib Unit
A Jowo nib unit. Photo from Nibs.com

Something to keep in mind when selecting a pen is the origin of its manufacturer. Japanese nibs tend to run 1-2 sizes thinner than Western nibs. So if you like a M Lamy, you’d probably want a B Platinum. JetPens (yep, them again) have a great post on the various nib sizes and differences between Japanese and Western nibs.

Nib width comparison
Comparison of Japanese and Western nib widths. Photo from Pentorium.com