Pen suggestions

Discussion in 'The Nib' started by Ufgoodies, Apr 3, 2019.

    my First fountain pen was a pilot metropolitan with a con-50 converter. I loved the heavy feeling of the metal construction, wider (than some) barrel width and smooth writing. I liked the ease and cleanliness of the con50 but that’s now discontinued and costs 4x what I paid back then.

    I’ve recently lost the metropolitan, and the main complaints I had was it was a very firm nib and a dry writer. I’m in the market for a new inexpensive pen, and and wondered if I should reacquire a metropolitan or if there was something else anyone suggests.

    If I decide on the metropolitan should I suck it up and get a con50 at the discontinued price, or would I be satisfied with the con40?
  1. I use a Metro with a M nib and I find it to be wet. So much so, my hands are always inked up. My F nib gets better with time.
  2. I'm not going to be an enormous amount of help I'm afraid. But I have tried the CON-40 converter and dislike it very much. It's not that the capacity is so bad, as that, when I've tried it, I could never get it to fill more than about half way. And it just looks cheap. My favorite Pilot converter is the CON-70, but of course, that will only fit some of their larger (and more expensive) pens like the Custom 74. The CON-20 is a good converter for the smaller Pilot pens but surprise, it's been discontinued too.

    One option is to buy Pilot cartridges, and, when the time comes, to refill them. They have wide mouths and can even be filled with an eyedropper. If the little plastic disc that originally seals them gets turned so as to block ink flow, you can pull it out with tweezers. And if the ink isn't reaching the feed quickly enough at the start, you can prime it by dipping the nib and feed in the ink bottle.

    As for other good, low priced pens, if you can extend your price range a little, you could look at the Pilot Prera. For me, it's more comfortable to hold than the Metropolitan, although the nib isn't going to be much different. Others will no doubt stop by to recommend the Kaweco plastic Sport, or the Lamy Safari. And, well, there really are lots of other possibilities, but I haven't tried them all, and I do tend to use more expensive pens these days.
  3. The German brands usually have wetter nibs. Also brands that use German nibs, like TWISBI. If you’re willing to stretch your budget up to $30ish, there a lot of well regarded options. $30 is also where you can find restored Esterbrooks, which are quite juicy writers in my experience. Though like vintage razors, vintage pens trade mountains of cool factor for some finickiness.
  4. I have a handful of vintage ester brooks, and parkers, and i just don't think i'm knowledgeable to understand what's wrong with the nibs. I appreciate that ever so smooth feeling a good nib has, but it seems the vast majority of my pens are too dry, or have a nib malformation that grips the paper.

    If i were to get a metropolitan i would end up getting it at close to 30-35 dollars anyways, I'm just not sure what would be a good pen. I enjoyed the piston converter, and smoothness of the metropolitan with the con50, but mine wrote dry for some reason.
  5. Your Esties run dry? Wow, mine are so wet they leak like crazy into the caps if I’m not careful to keep them upright. I acknowledge vintage pens aren’t the most consistent in performance. What ink are you using? That might help. Also, you can get NOS or near-NOS nibs from Anderson Pens for like $10-15. Estie nibs are super easy to replace.

    The Metro is a fine pen for what it is, but I wouldn’t pay $35 for one. I’d probably use mine more if it had a wider nib. If I lost it, I probably wouldn’t replace it.

    You can take my thoughts with a grain of salt because I’m pretty new to fountain pens. I’ve amassed a nice little quiver of steel-nibbed pens. And, of course, the Esterbrooks in particular are cool and fun. But for daily use, pretty much all my fps pale in comparison to my Platinum 3776 Century. By that I mean it’s entirely fuss-free, has perfect ink flow, and is fun to write with. It looks great to boot. For $70 ordered directly from Japan, you can’t beat it. If I “had to do it all over again”, so to speak, I should have skipped the cheaper pens and just got the 3776 first. So if you know you like fps and you can ethically stretch your budget, that would be my recommendation. The Pilot Custom 74 and 91 are in a similar price bracket and also highly regarded, but I don’t have any personal experience with those pens. Platinum 3776s and Pilot Customs don’t have edgy modern styling, swirling colorful acrylic, piston-fill mechanisms, interchange nibs, or extreme pocketablity. So if you want any of that, these ain’t it. And of course the usual on-line caveat emptor applies. But for a workhorse pen, the sub-$100 Japanese gold nib pens are sure tough to beat.
  6. I've got about a dozen different inexpensive (Sub $20) pens in my arsenal. My Pilot Metro with medium nib is my absolute best writer...with one caveat. It's awful with the squeeze and the CON-40 converters. It works great with fresh, or refilled cartridges. The converters just don't hold enough ink and the feed seems to struggle to flow well when using them. The other inexpensive pens that I really enjoy are below. For about $25 you could get all of them.

    -Yiren 878 (I continue to be surprised by how much I enjoy this nib)
    -Wing Sung 3008 (Fine nib is a bit sensitive to ink selection, but works great with wetter inks)
    -Jinhao 51A (my only hooded nib)
    -Wing Sung 3003
  7. I agree, for the fine nib metropolitan it's gotta be a wetter ink or I don't like how it writes. Sometimes the medium nib seems too wet though.

    The one cheap pen the CON-70 does fit in is the Kakuno. I have a couple CON-50s, but haven't tried the 40.
  8. One thing that i may be saying wrong is that the pens are too dry. I'm not super experienced with this, but this is the impression that i get. All of my pens except the misplaced metropolitan are vintage, so the nibs are in dubious condition at best.
    The feeling that i get when writing with most of them is that there may not be enough ink, but mostly that it feels scratchy. My Parker 51 is smooth as all get out, but the rest seem to have the nibs misaligned or something, a few of them even rip the paper. None of them are dry to the point of railroading (is this just something that happens to flex nibs?) but with the tamoa river paper it just seems like it prefers wetter lines.
  9. Not sure where you stand with this, but do you have a decent 10X loupe? I say "decent", but cheaper loupes can be usable, it's just that they can add some distortion, and the labeled magnification may be higher than it actually is. If you do have one, or are willing to buy one, you may want to check nib alignment, particularly on any that seem to catch the paper. Don't necessarily take corrective action right away; there are videos on YouTube on nib alignment, as well as online articles.
    If all seems well there, make sure you are using a light touch. Pay attention to the angle of the pen to the paper, and whether you are rotating the nib to one side or another. Try making little adjustments in your writing angle and the rotation of the nib until you get the best results. If you have to press down to write, or if you can't find a good angle, then you may indeed have a flow problem.
  10. I had one for straight razor shaving, but seem to have misplaced it...well i have had two, but both seem to have gone hiding somewhere..."Safe" i imagine lol
  11. If you liked the weight of an all metal pen, take a look at the Jinhao x450 or x750. They are all metal and pretty inexpensive. You can normally get them off of ebay pretty cheap (a couple bucks shipped from China) but it could take a little bit of time. If you want to try one sooner, you could try getting one from someone like Goulet, JetPens or any of the other fine vendors.

    Maybe we should put together another passaround box.
  12. Pilot Prera! Everything great about cheap pilot nibs, but a step up in overall materials. Plus, it's got the best click (when capped) in the business.
  13. Id grab another pilot (I have two I think; the 623 and 743 and can recommend both if you are willing to go to that price level) and just open the channel a bit.

    Almost no pens are as wet from the factory as I personally like them, so I find it best to just solve the problem myself.

Share This Page