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Thread: Recommend a Fountain Pen

  1. #1
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    Default Recommend a Fountain Pen

    I will be returning to school next month after a 15 year hiatus, and I'd like to get myself a nice(ish) fountain pen to celebrate and to take notes with.

    Can anyone recommend a pen that comes in the $25-50 range? I have zero experience with this, and therefore no biases.

    I am a lefty who can be slightly heavy-handed if not paying attention, and I'd like to improve my penmanship.

    Also, I don't like a really scratchy pen, like the tiny roller balls.

    Otherwise, you tell me....

  2. #2

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    I love my Lamy Safari with an EF nib.
    - Dave

  3. #3
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    First, congrats on returning to school!

    You'll get plenty of Lamy recs, and nothing wrong with those, but a vintage Parker 21 or Esterbrook J would serve you quite well.
    Chad

  4. #4
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    Check out fountainpennetwork.com. There is a lot of information and recommendations. Their selling forum has some real gems at reasonable prices. Make sure you inquire pens for lefties. I believe there are pens for guys like you.

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    My dad's a lefty, and he really likes the Waterman Laureat I gave him. It was his first FP. It's a medium nib and is easily the smoothest pen I've ever used. I would recommend getting a modern pen for your first. You'll find the old Esterbrooks and 51s can be scratchy and don't respond well to a heavy hand. They're also, in general, a lot finer nibs (even though Esterbrook offers a huge variety of interchangeable nibs). I recommend starting with something a little more user friendly, then try some vintage pens later on.

    The Laureat has a gold nib, a lacquered body, is on the slim but heavy side, and can be found on the bay for around $40. You can also use cartridges or a converter. If you can't find the Laureat, try a Waterman Phileas, which can be had for less than $30. It has a fatter body, weighs less (plastic), but is really great. I have 3 of them. That's one of the best starter pens on the market and is often overlooked for some reason. It'll never leak or otherwise let you down. It's a workhorse.

    I've never had a waterman that had an issue out of the box, but I've owned Cross and Parker FPs that were problematic from day one. That's part of why I'm such a die hard waterman fan. I've owned vintage and new pens from all the major brands, ranging in price from $10 to $150. These days, I like reasonably priced, modern pens, and I've reduced my large collection to about 12 pens that I really enjoy using. Oh, and the Parker frontier is also a nice first pen, but I've never found a converter that works with that pen.

    Good luck, and enjoy whatever pen you choose. You'll probably end up with more than one. Beware this expensive AD.

    -Andy

    EDIT: Just ran across this pen, which can be purchased as right or left hand specific. Don't know if it's available in the US, though. That website is trouble.
    Last edited by andrew98; 06-13-2010 at 10:40 AM.
    New to Fountain Pens? Check out the B&B Nib Wiki for loads of great information!

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  6. #6
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    I love my Parker 51s (I have five) and Parker 21s (2). I also have a Lamy Safari and it's an excellent pen. However, if I were first starting out, I think I'd choose my Rotring Initial. It's a heavier pen with a very substantial nib. Either the Initial or the Safari will be more forgiving as you learn the proper pressure for writing with a fountain pen.

  7. #7
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    I would agree with Andrew.
    The modern Watermans are really nice. I have a Lamy, an old Cross, a vintage Parker 51, and a new Waterman Expert (medium nib, Dune Green).
    Everything considered, I like the Waterman the best. It is just the right weight and balance, and it flows ink smoothly and accurately. I write with either hand and so does this pen. I also use Waterman's Florida Blue ink. Excellent stuff.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails waterman_49830s.jpg  
    Albuquerque Mike

  8. #8
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    After reading good vibes about the Parker 51 and 45, i picked up a couple off the bay. Very nice pens.
    Merkur 12C & Simpson Chubby 1 tend to be my main tools.

  9. #9
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    I have a chinese made fountain pen that I picked up off of ebay and it writes super smooth , feeds ink just right and it is big enough in your hand . http://stores.ebay.com/Chinese-Pen-Supplier
    this pen is called the Leonardo,and it has become my go to every day pen.

  10. #10
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    Here ya go! What should be a great pen for a great price. I think the sale is still active.

    http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/fo...new-old-stock/
    Craig/Inky|If you love B&B,[URL="http://www.badgerandblade.com/vb/payments.php"] please contribute[/URL]

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by craig87c View Post
    Here ya go! What should be a great pen for a great price. I think the sale is still active.

    http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/fo...new-old-stock/
    Those look pretty good to me. Thanks for the link. I actually registered with that forum earlier yesterday at Andrew's suggestion.

    Anyone disagree with this pen as a good starter for me?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    I believe there are pens for guys like you.
    They make special pens for troublemakers?

  13. #13
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    I'd recommend increasing your budget a little for an aerometric Parker 51 in a common color (gray, black or navy) with a stainless cap. Collectors don't lust after those (yet) and they're incredibly fine writers that almost never have issues.

    I've collected fountain pens since '94 and have been through a lot of them. Still, my daily carry is a gray 51 aero with a stainless cap. It goes everywhere with me and never lets me down.

    One of these might cost a little more, but they're worth it. Also consider the resale value. Most new pens depreciate fast after purchase. But a 51 can always be sold
    for about what you paid and it'll gradually appreciate as you own it. So it might cost a little more, but you'll always get your money out if you want to.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by thubbard76 View Post
    Those look pretty good to me. Thanks for the link. I actually registered with that forum earlier yesterday at Andrew's suggestion.

    Anyone disagree with this pen as a good starter for me?
    Super 21's are supposed to be good, but I'm a complete newb to this game. They're NIB, so they should last a while. I want one of these to take notes with as well- hopefully you'll end up being my guinea pig!
    Craig/Inky|If you love B&B,[URL="http://www.badgerandblade.com/vb/payments.php"] please contribute[/URL]

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by craig87c View Post
    Super 21's are supposed to be good, but I'm a complete newb to this game. They're NIB, so they should last a while. I want one of these to take notes with as well- hopefully you'll end up being my guinea pig!
    Aha! So you've been exposed!

    They look pretty good to me; I might give one a go.

    Oh, and I believe the preferred nomenclature is "Italian-American pig".

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
    I'd recommend increasing your budget a little for an aerometric Parker 51 in a common color (gray, black or navy) with a stainless cap. Collectors don't lust after those (yet) and they're incredibly fine writers that almost never have issues.

    I've collected fountain pens since '94 and have been through a lot of them. Still, my daily carry is a gray 51 aero with a stainless cap. It goes everywhere with me and never lets me down.

    One of these might cost a little more, but they're worth it. Also consider the resale value. Most new pens depreciate fast after purchase. But a 51 can always be sold
    for about what you paid and it'll gradually appreciate as you own it. So it might cost a little more, but you'll always get your money out if you want to.
    This is great advice, but I don't plan on selling whatever I pick up. I'm pretty impervious to ADs and only buy what I use. I'll definitely check out your suggestion though. Thanks!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbl-haul View Post
    I have a chinese made fountain pen that I picked up off of ebay and it writes super smooth , feeds ink just right and it is big enough in your hand . http://stores.ebay.com/Chinese-Pen-Supplier
    this pen is called the Leonardo,and it has become my go to every day pen.
    Also check out the Jinhao 757, that one has become my every day pen. The 750 and 450 are nice too.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by thubbard76 View Post
    Anyone disagree with this pen as a good starter for me?
    I did already (similar to 51).

    -Andy
    New to Fountain Pens? Check out the B&B Nib Wiki for loads of great information!

    Steward for The Nib.

    "From the crescent city to the Great Salt Lake; It ain't what you got, it's what you make." - Shovels and Rope

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew98 View Post
    I did already (similar to 51).

    -Andy
    Settle down Andy, I'm still looking!

  20. #20
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    Honestly, you really can't go wrong with any of these suggestions. Kinda like the vintage vs. modern razor debate. Pick one, then try the other!
    Craig/Inky|If you love B&B,[URL="http://www.badgerandblade.com/vb/payments.php"] please contribute[/URL]

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