I tried a reader recommended $31 fountain pen

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/02/i-tried-a-reader-recommended.html


Besides writing davinci style, or cranking your wrist so high it feels like light yoga, any fountain pen options for us lefties?




I like yer style :grinning:


may upset tiny hands

Excellent. Let’s send a crate of these things to the White House.


Any suggestions for a beginner fountain pen for someone who has always written with ball-point? Preferably something that isn’t so crappy that I’d hate it no matter what, nor something that isn’t so expensive that if I didn’t like it I’d feel like I lost my money.


For carrying around, jotting, losing track of, and being thin like many ballpoints, I enjoy my cheapo plastic Parker Vector pen. (even has a super-handy plunger reservoir in it.) The tip works well enough, though I find paper and ink can make a big difference.

If you want something a little closer to the big ol’ fountain pen experience with a similar commitment level, the Pilot Varsity pens are way affordable, though the ink in them tends to be on the bleedy side. (though for the same reason I don’t think I’ve ever had one not write) I’ve seen them down at the drugstore even, so they can be pretty easy to get a hold of.

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This is a large writing instrument and may upset tiny hands.

Whether or not it upsets Trump probably depends on what you write with it.


The TWSBI is an excellent pen, I own two, but if you don’t want scratchy, then don’t order an EF nib. Order a Medium. Fountain pens need to be regularly flushed and cleaned, especially when switching ink colors. Most of the time, all this means is running the pen parts under a stream of lukewarm water. Cleaning the TWSBI piston mechanism may be a bit complicated for absolute beginners. However, there are fantastic videos on Youtube and Vimeo which show step-by-step how to disassemble and reassemble the mechanism. Once you realize what a joy and pleasure are fountain pens, you will become as hooked as the rest of us. Nowadays there are so may fabulous pens for $30 and under, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Lamy Safari, Nemosine Singularity, Platinum Preppy, Faber Castell Loom, Noodler’s Ahab are just a few of my other favorites. Believe me, there are plenty more including several Jinhao and Hero pens that can be had for $10 or less.

For lefties, try a Pilot Metropolitan with a Fine nib and fill it with a relatively dry ink such as Pelikan 4001. Pilot Varsity is another good choice because these pens are not refillable. The ink supply is closed. You can get used to the writing feel before committing to a first purchase. There are “nibmeisters” out there who can grind nibs to individual lefty requirements but they are not cheap but most lefties will have no problem at all with any of these pens. There are videos on youtube from other lefties which give good advice.


in case anyone is looking for ballpoints, these are my favorite new black ballpoints:

I draw as much as a write, so i need single pen to carry that works well for both.

These have large ink reserves and lay down a darker black that is crisp edged and doesn’t easily bleed. once dry it resists light stokes of water/alcohol/acetone so you can watercolor or use various other inks over a pen drawing without worry of smear or bleeding into colors. the texture of the rubber-ish pen surface makes them feel nice in the hand. A few bucks for a workhorse pen that does it all really well. Also comes in like 14 colors.


My favorite general purpose pen these days is the Pilot Kakuno. Cheap (about $10) and a nice feel – it reminds me of the original Pilot Varsity from the mid-1990’s (not the recent iteration of the Varsity, which is lower quality).


I second the Pilot Varsity. Platinum Preppy pens are very inexpensive and very good value, under $5 USD. I started with a Lamy Safari, and have three. Only when they are lost is the ‘waste of money’ a factor.

Pilot Metropolitans are recommended as entry-level pens, and as long as they don’t leak–some do, even the proprietary converters don’t all perfectly conjoin with the pen–they are very good!


I have three TWSBIs with EF nibs, one of them an Eco, and they’re all smooth writers, so what you have there is a nib that needs to be tuned. Google “nib tuning”: it’s not that hard and will give you a better write.


Thanks! I have been writing more on paper as opposed to the compy, it helps me slow down and compose what I am thinking a bit better. I’ve been carrying around a pencil case (no, really), and a beginner’s leftie fountain pen sounds like a perfect addition.


I’m a lefty. I don’t write DaVinci style or crank my wrist and the Lamy Safari is my go-to writing device. Got me through 12 professional examinations—easily 30,000 words. Won’t write with anything else.


[quote] a beginner’s leftie fountain pen sounds like a perfect addition.

According to Richard Binder there is no such thing as a left-handed fountain pen.

Both left-handed and right-handed people who learned to write without formal instruction in penmanship, especially if they learned with ballpoint pens, tend to hold their pens at very high angles of elevation above the paper. For lefties this situation presents a slightly greater degree of difficulty than it does for righties.

It turns out that most people, both lefties and righties, can write perfectly well with standard nibs. In looking through 606 nib questionnaires from my clients, I find 78 left-handers, of whom 59 hold the nib straight at an average angle of elevation. This is the specification for a standard nib. Moreover, of these 59 people, 25 are overwriters. It would seem that most left-handers don’t need left-handed pens after all. Which is a good thing because, Left-handed overwriter (high elevation)as I said a few paragraphs back, there isn’t any such animal.


You’re absolutely right…there is no such thing as a left-handed fountain pen but many lefties (and I have several in my immediate family) are convinced they can’t write with fountain pens because they might’ve got ink all over themselves once or the angle of the nib seems to throw them. That’s why I suggested a “drier” ink and a very inexpensive but high-quality Pilot Metropolitan. They can be had for approximately $15 and they write beautifully. That way you can get comfortable before you invest in more expensive pens…and believe me once you get hooked, you will! LOL.

If you’re a beginner, I’d stay away from tuning nibs, at least for a while You can ruin a pen very easily and never really understand the joys of fountain pens. Extra fine nibs by definition don’t leave a lot of ink on the page and depending on the quality of the paper, drag along the page. For a southpaw, that is an immediate turnoff.


I second this recommendation. I use this one everyday:


It’s about 90 degrees for me.

I always got told off in penmanship classes.