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Unpopular Fountain Pen Opinions

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Paper

Alright, I’ve got a potentially (probably) divisive post for you today. I’m sharing opinions I have that seem to be unpopular based on what I’ve seen and heard in fountain pen groups and gatherings. Let’s jump in, shall we? I’ll start slow, leaving the doozies until the end.

“Rainbow”/”Iridescent” Finish

It’s been on a lot of pens in the past couple of years, and I think it’s ugly and overpriced. From Visconti’s Rainbow Watermark to TWSBI’s Vac 700r Iris and Conklin’s Duragraph Rainbow, pens at all price points are using the colorful finish.

I don’t know what to call it. It’s not a proper rainbow — the colors aren’t in order and there isn’t a good red or purple. It’s not iridescent — the colors don’t change, or even appear to change, at different angles. Regardless, I bought a seven piece cutlery set with the same finish about 3 years ago for $11 thinking it would be super cool and ended up woefully disappointed. I definitely won’t be investing in a pen with it.

EF/F Beats B/BB

I’m well aware this one is entirely down to personal preference and writing style, rather than backed by any kind of data. That said, with the size I write, anything wider than a standard medium is too wide for me to comfortably write with. My letters become a jumbled mess.

I much prefer the cleanliness of a F or EF. Everything is crisp and clear. But, I still want wet nibs and shading. That’s why I love the TWSBI 580 series, if you didn’t already know.

The Vanishing Point is a Pain

OK, so this one maybe isn’t unpopular. I know a lot of people dislike the Vanishing Point. However, I don’t dislike it because of the clip placement. I hate it because it’s a pain to clean.

I change ink colors each time I fill a pen (with a couple of exceptions), and the stupid trap door in front of the nib holds ink like a sponge. So I had to deal with mixed ink for a bunch of “clicks” until the new ink cleaned off the old ink. Definitely not a fan.

Plastic Kaweco Sports are Too Light

The plastic Kaweco Sports, including the ART Sport, are too light. I wanted to like them, I really did, but they’re so light as to be insubstantial. Honestly, I have pencils that are heavier.

Logically, I can understand where it could be useful to someone whose hand tires easily. Unfortunately, I find myself gripping the pen even tighter because of the lightness, which tires my hand quicker.

Modern Beats Vintage

Hear me out. My pen collection is at least half based on the appearance of the pens. And I love bright colors, which weren’t exactly a thing with vintage models. Vintage pens, with their muted colors, just aren’t as attractive to me as modern pens.

In addition, bulb/sac fillers are a point to clean out enough to change colors, and that’s a major strike against vintage as well. For all you vintage lovers out there, look at it this way: more for you.

Leuchtturm1917 Isn’t Fountain Pen Friendly

I don’t like Leuchtturm. Honestly, I don’t consider it fountain pen friendly. The one I purchased gave me tons of trouble. I had issues with bleedthrough and feathering, even with fine and medium nibs. Worse than that, the ghosting was so bad I could only use one side of the paper.

Tomoe River Paper Shouldn’t Be In Journals

Tomoe River paper is not bad in and of itself. It does offer some of, if not the, best shade, sheen, and shimmer visibility among papers, which makes for some fabulous letter-writing paper. But, and it’s a big but (and I cannot lie 😉) the ghosting, even on the 68gsm variety, is intense. I can easily read what I wrote through it. To me, that’s not acceptable in notebooks. I should be able to comfortably use both sides of paper in a notebook.

Do You Agree or Disagree?

What do you think? Do you share any of my opinions or do you disagree? Do you think these are actually unpopular opinions, or am I off base? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Mark

    Leuchtturm is a bit hit and miss and I believe the paper quality also varies between sizes and journal types. Fairly annoying, however, if you manage to get one of the good journals they’re extremely fountain pen friendly and arguably better value for money than most competitors.

    May 20, 2021
  2. I totally agree on everything, except on the vintage pens.

    My taste is a bit more classic (or boring) and I find that some vintage pens are really awsome. Also some the nibs from 40’s and 50’s are just amazing, soft with real flex.
    I’m not going to use them for daily writing because then I prefer a good modern F. But somem days I just want to write for a moment with a soft en flexy pen.

    March 23, 2021
    • I do like some old nibs. They can be fun to “play” with when I want to see some flex. But the “wet noodle” ones are definitely not for me.

      March 23, 2021
  3. Corinne Litchfield
    Corinne Litchfield

    100% in agreement on Tomoe River paper. Love it for letter writing and playing with inked pens to see the sheen, shading or shimmer, but for daily use, big nope.

    March 12, 2021

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