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Worth spending more than a tenner?

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I got confirmation today that it's en route, so by Saturday, or maybe Monday, I should have my first springy nibbed, non-modern filling, days of old, plastic fantastic.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
While I'm waiting for the Slimfold to arrive, I've been using the two other acquisitions a fair bit. Both are very nice pens. I can't say they offer me anything that my cheapos didn't, in terms for smoothness and reliability, but I do enjoy using them all the same. In fact, I liked using this Parker IM Premium so much, that I've tracked down the matching ballpoint pen, with the same geometric texturing. That was also on sale, at £20 down from £50, so that is now on the way too (I've done too much spending this month).

img_20210904_111831-jpg.1322421


I did manage to resist a Parker Urban fountain pen at the same price though. It looked quite nice, but again, is it going to offer me something that I don't already have? Not really. So that leaves me at six fountain pens when the Slimfold arrives, not counting duplicates, and the ones that need rehoming. Time to start culling the other pens (ballpoints etc) down to the same level of simplicity.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
More time spend with the Parker IM and Parker 45. One thins I can say with reasonable confidence, is that I've learned how to shop for pens I like.

Whether quick notes, or extended writing spells, both of those pens work very well for me. The IM is significantly drier than the 45, although I haven't pulled the nib and feed, and given them a clean to shift any factory detritus. I'll try to remember to do that, before I give it its first full fill. Aside from that, I have no regrets whatsoever about buying them.

My early impressions are that I like both of these two pens very much. Probably about as much as my previous sub-£10 favourites. As much, but not more. To me, that matters. However, they aren't really competitors, for the simple fact that my previous ones can take my array of Std Int'l carts, and the Parkers cannot.

Looking at the six pens I'll have, there's the piston filled demonstrator, and three Parkers. Two of the Parkers having converters, but also able to take Parker cartridges, and the third having its own aerometric reservoir. That's four pens that take bottled ink, but only two - the Baoer 388 and Ohto Tasche - that take Diamine cartridges. I use the blue Tasche for blue spectrum inks (including green and purple), and the stainless Baoer for reds and browns. I don't need any more pens for bottled ink, but don't really have any alternate options yet for the cartridges. Well, I do and I don't. I have a Lamy Safari clone, and a Jinhao 250... neither of which won me over.

So having final broken through the £10 threshold, but not having broke through £40, which pens did I start looking at to give me more standard cartridge pen considerations? To be honest, and probably not a surprise, I veered back to Cheapy McCheapo. Specifically Helix Oxford, Pelikan Jazz, and Sheaffer VFM. While I dare say I'd enjoy a slightly more costly pen, like I have done so far with the Parkers, the simple truth is that I don't necessarily need to aim higher, to get a pen that works great. If I do decide to grab a couple more Std Int'l cartridge pens next month, to double my options on those, I'll still need to chuck something extra on the order, to get it over £25 for free shipping. A nice problem to have :biggrin1:

I'm glad I waded out into very slightly deeper waters, but I think I'll wade back into the shallower waters again now. Truth is, I'm perfectly happy there, and sampling these other pens has confirmed that. The Slimfold may yet shift my perspective when it arrives, but I genuinely can't see it stopping me liking the other pens as much as I do today.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
The Parker Slimfold has arrived.

IMG_20210911_133122.jpg

It's in excellent condition, with no discernible plating loss, or other cosmetic damage, cracks, scratches etc. Yet. Give me time :biggrin1:

I like the dinky size for quick notes, and the threads aren't as uncomfortable as I thought they might be. They are however, definitely in awareness, and I can see them being rather irritating if I was spending any length of time writing with it. It's OK for quick notes and shopping lists though.

The nib has some flex if asked for, but can also write with line consistency, and doesn't feel intrusively spongy, or in any way distracting. In fact, the threads are the only aspect of the pen that can get in the way of thoughts and writing content, and even that might fade a little, given time and familiarity.

There is certainly an undertone of embarrassment, and a feeling of foolishness, from having spent nearly £40 (including shipping costs) on something plastic. The gold nib doesn't do much to lessen that, as for me, it doesn't add anything over other nibs. It write well, but no smoother than my others. In fact, on first impressions, I see no advantage at all from it being gold.

It works though, and does look kind of cute. Not that looks matter really, as I'm the only person who'll ever see it. Having plastic construction, and a sac reservoir, this will not be a pocket pen. Home use only. Metal pens with tougher cartridges and converters will be the ones I leaver the house with.

I think this, the IM, and the 45, conclude my adventures beyond the £10 threshold. Other folks may feel physical or intangible benefits from gold nibs, things built in different eras, artistic flair, or some other price elevating attribute, but they're certainly not making themselves apparent to me. As I've said before, I don't think my brain came with the wiring module that lets folk get all mushy about that stuff. :001_tongu
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I managed a page of A4 writing with the Slimfold this morning, but then I absolutely had to stop.

The nib seems fine, although being gold doesn't seem to add any benefit to the experience whatsoever. None! My cheap steel nib pens write just as well. Seriously. The flow is reasonable, but I do wonder if the feed is as clean as it could be, or if I've not found the sweet spot on the angle, as it does seem to fade out after a while, particularly if writing several lines without pausing. The ergonomics though, are pretty much as I expected. Absolutely appalling. It's mainly due to the first thread adjacent to the section, feeling sharp and scratchy against the fingers. Especially on the inside of the middle finger. I tried gripping on the threads instead of the section, and even gripping above the threads, and although the grip gets more comfortable with each, I'm gripping further and further away from where I should be, which affects both control (neatness), and the angle of the nib on the paper. Short of taking some abrasive to it, and truncating that first thread somewhat, it's never going to be even close to being a comfortable pen.

All my cheapo pens sub-£10 are vastly superior in terms of in-use ergonomics, including the rarely used ones that I'll give away at some point. That includes the Wing Sung 3008(?) demonstrator, which also has a threaded cap. The threads on that demonstrator are at a diameter between that of the section and of the barrel, making them far less intrusive. The Parker 45 Flighter and IM Premium are superior too, and not just in terms of ergonomics. The steel nib on the 45 Flighter is smoother in use than the Slimfold's gold nib. Both feel like substantial items, which should last the rest of my life, whereas the Slimfold feels like a cheap kids pen, which will probably fail spectacularly at some point...

Two winners, one loser. In fairness, I did forsee the issues on the loser, but had to stomach those to try out the gold nib.

Now, are the benefits of the 45 Flighter, and IM Premium, enough to warrant the higher cost?

Tough question. I'd probably have to say no, but with a rider. Like with the Slimfold, I probably overpaid for the 45, but I did so to be sure of having a pen that had been fully checked out, and not have any surprise maintenance issues to deal with before I used it. The 45 Flighter is a great pen, but not significantly better than the Baoer 388, certainly not to the extent of costing many multiple times more than the Baoer. I will keep the 45 though, and I'm sure I'll get my money's worth from it eventually. Same with the IM Premium. The IM Premium should have been 3.5x what I actually paid for it, for no apparent reason beyond the geometric texturing (other IM models had significantly cheaper retail pricing, but not the heavy discount). At the price I got it for, I'm perfectly happy. Had I paid full retail, I would have been very disappointed. However, it does look more expensive than what I paid, and (along with the ballpoint version I ordered afterwards) is a nice looking "accessory", as well as a decent enough writer. If I had an event where I had to wear a tie, I can see the two IM Premium pens as being a good choice to stick in the inside pocket of the jacket. Reliable, durable, and sufficiently attractive and eye catching, without being gaudy. So while not worth the extra as a writer, it does have a little extra panache as an accessory, which does make it worth slightly more to me.

So, do I get rid of the Slimfold?

No. Two reasons. Firstly, I overpaid (as described above), and might not get my money back anyway. Secondly, it's a good reminder of what not to buy in future. If I'm ever tempted by anything similar, I can go and use the Slimfold for a while, and very quickly talk myself out of the temptation. If I let the pen go, and lose that reminder, it's too easy to think "maybe it wasn't that bad", and then end up repeating the mistake again later. Besides, it's OK for quick notes, or short tasks. Maybe that's the pen to use for highlighting/editing inks, so I don't tie up one of the favourite pens with an occasional use ink?

What about future purchases then?

Well I have just made some. :001_tongu As mentioned before, I have thrown another £20 at the matching ballpoint pen to make a set of the IM Premiums. I also ordered a plain stainless Parker Jotter, and plain stainless Zebra Expandz. Neither were over £10, and both will plenty of use over my remaining years. On top of those, and following on from me saying earlier that I don't have alternative options for using Std Int'l cartridges, I just ordered two more cheapo fountain pens. A £7 Helix Oxford, and an £11 Sheaffer VFM. Both metal, and both look very good ergonomically. I could have gone for a Kaweco, or other higher priced pen, but why? I genuinely don't think I'd get any extra benefit for the extra outlay, and the feeling of having paid more than I need to, to get what I want, is not something I'm eager to repeat.

The only other thing that I'm looking at "upgrading", is some of the G2 inserts in the lesser used ballpoint pens. A few of my pens have meaning beyond just writing. Two were gifts from family, and two are advertising of companies that I have fond memories of working at. I very rarely use the pens, but would never part with them, and the standard G2 inserts dry out before they're anywhere near finished. I'll probably upgrade these to pressurised inserts (either Fisher or Schmidt), which will reduce the amount of ink held in them, but mean they'll always be ready to use, on the days where I'm feeling a little nostalgic. I think this is a rare example, of where there genuinely is a benefit to paying more than a bargain basement price, just to keep that pen operational, pretty much indefinitely.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I appreciate that my conclusions here may be disappointing to some, if not entirely predictable. I did try to keep a fairly open mind though, and I have learned and gained from my little experiment.

The IM Premiums may look too modern to the traditionalist, but I think they make a very nice set, which I got for a fraction of retail price. I'm genuinely glad to have them. If for any reason I decide to carry "nice" pens, it will be those. The Flighter 45 has a little perk to it too, in that it's probably as close to a birth year pen as I'm likely to find within my purchasing capacity. While it's the "wrong" cartridge system for me, the converter and slim profile, will let me use the 30mm Diamine bottles far easier than the somewhat rotund Wing Sung demonstrator will. It is also a very comfortable and smooth pen in use. The Slimfold may have disappointed me as a pen, but at least I now have appreciation of a semi-flex nib, and the converter seems pretty much the same as the ones I was made to use in the classroom, about 38 years ago, when I first experienced fountain pens. I'll take those lessons and memories as compensation.

I'll update this with the final (?) acquisitions when they arrive. They may indeed be final, at least for some time, as I appear to have all the boxes ticked on my wishlist, assuming the final two meet my needs. Two blue metal pens, for blue spectrum (green, blue and purple) international cartridges. Two plain silver metal pens for red spectrum (red, orange and brown) carts. Three pens (two of them metal) for consuming the ink in the 30ml Diamine pots (the two "good" Parkers, and the demonstrator), and that quirky little Slimfold, for occasional use and memories of those abysmal school pens that frequently vomitted Quink in my school books. :)

As for the ballpoints, I'll have those down to two primaries, three compact pens for pocket use, and crossing the eggs and milk off the shopping list in the supermarket, etc. The rest hold their own memories of people and places, and will be used occasionally, just for the heck on it. I went the circuitous route, as is often the case, but I think I ended up in the right place, and can consider it a job well done. :biggrin1:
 

Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
I'm glad I waded out into very slightly deeper waters, but I think I'll wade back into the shallower waters again now. Truth is, I'm perfectly happy there, and sampling these other pens has confirmed that. The Slimfold may yet shift my perspective when it arrives, but I genuinely can't see it stopping me liking the other pens as much as I do today.

If ... maybe not "when" but "if" ... you decide to get another pen(s), I suggest if at all possible you do so at either a brick-n-mortar pen store, or preferably at a "pen show". Either probably means a trip to The Great Wen (a.k.a. London) so maybe this is not an "easy" thing depending on where you are and your transportation limitations but ...

... given your very long and specific list of "must have" characteristics, this is how you will find a pen that you actually like and (inasmuch as one can say this of an inanimate object) love. Hold it in-hand. Dip the nib and write a few lines. BTW, having such a long list of "must have" characteristics just means that you are discerning, and more power to you. It just means you have to work harder before the purchase.

no discernible plating loss, or other cosmetic damage, cracks, scratches etc. Yet. Give me time :biggrin1:

tick tock ... tick tock ...

There is certainly an undertone of embarrassment, and a feeling of foolishness, from having spent nearly £40 (including shipping costs) on something plastic.

To each his own.

Owning many "plastic" pens, I can say that for me, there is a definite difference between a "cheap plastic" pen and an expensive "resin pen" or whatever the fancy name for expensive plastic is. Different hand-feel, different durability, and so forth. And then ebonite pens are another beast altogether (and IMHO a "better" material as well.)

But if you are sold on the metal pen ... IMHO it's kind of like the guys who debate between the heft of a cast-iron frying pan and a lighter carbon steel frying pan. There's nothing wrong with you liking the stuff you like and disliking the stuff you dislike. I just encourage you to experiment and try some out (sans purchase) when you get a chance to ... maybe you will like them and maybe not.

If your plastic pen experience is limited to those "under a tenner" then ... yeah, I can see why you wouldn't be impressed.

Good luck!
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
If ... maybe not "when" but "if" ... you decide to get another pen(s), I suggest if at all possible you do so at either a brick-n-mortar pen store, or preferably at a "pen show". Either probably means a trip to The Great Wen (a.k.a. London) so maybe this is not an "easy" thing depending on where you are and your transportation limitations but ...

My avatar is a big clue :001_tongu (well, I'm very near there anyway)

... given your very long and specific list of "must have" characteristics, this is how you will find a pen that you actually like and (inasmuch as one can say this of an inanimate object) love. Hold it in-hand. Dip the nib and write a few lines. BTW, having such a long list of "must have" characteristics just means that you are discerning, and more power to you. It just means you have to work harder before the purchase.

I did that once in Sheffield city centre. There was a well renowned pen shop there, which only closed down fairly recently. They let you handle the pens, and try them out. After a few goes with several clunking great fountain pens, mainly Sheaffers if I remember correctly, I walked out with a nicely turned bamboo ballpoint pen. :D All the fountain pens felt clumsy, uncomfortable ... and yes, plastic. I was working in engineering at the time, and can remember thinking that every pen he handed me, felt like a very poorly designed tool. It was kind of like they were too busy trying to be pretty, and forgot to be practical.

That shop has now gone now, but I can still remember the disappointment that we both felt - me, and the guy I kept telling about the design and comfort issues of his expensive pens... He was probably very glad when I left ...

So, I'm not convinced a pen show would help me. Not that it wouldn't be beneficial to hold pens and try them, but I seem to have a good eye for what might work for me, and what really won't. I have ordered the Helix Oxford and Sheaffer VFM in full confidence. The nibs might need tweaking, but ergonomically, everything looks like it should. Plus they're metal, plus they're Std Int'l cartridges, etc. etc.

Owning many "plastic" pens, I can say that for me, there is a definite difference between a "cheap plastic" pen and an expensive "resin pen" or whatever the fancy name for expensive plastic is. Different hand-feel, different durability, and so forth. And then ebonite pens are another beast altogether (and IMHO a "better" material as well.)

But if you are sold on the metal pen ... IMHO it's kind of like the guys who debate between the heft of a cast-iron frying pan and a lighter carbon steel frying pan.

I'm not necessarily "sold on metal". I've owned several wooden pens over the years too. I think it's more about feeling that the tool is lifeproof. Things get dropped, jackets get sat on, bags jostled or kicked... and I fall over a lot. Some pens just seem like a crisis waiting to happen. I actually bought four of the demonstrator pens, expecting one of them to have cracked beyond useable by now. I think it's only through having a few metal pens instead of all plastic, that I haven't totally mangled one yet :lol: I don't want to buy something and be frightened of throwing life at it. If anything needs tender loving care, it's not the tool for me. ;)

There's nothing wrong with you liking the stuff you like and disliking the stuff you dislike. I just encourage you to experiment and try some out (sans purchase) when you get a chance to ... maybe you will like them and maybe not.

If your plastic pen experience is limited to those "under a tenner" then ... yeah, I can see why you wouldn't be impressed.

Good luck!

Cheers. That's kind of what this exercise was about. Straying a little outside the comfort zone, but not so far that a big disappointment would hurt too much.

Also, some things need to be owned to try them properly. My opinion of the Slimfold actually went up a couple of notches when I filled it. The ease of operating the converter one handed, leaving the other free to stabilise the bottle. Having a clear line of sight down the neck, to see how far into the ink I'd dunked the tip, even in a narrow necked 30ml Diamine bottle. Conversely, it was only after writing a full A4 sheet, adjusting the grip as I went, before I had to concede that the ergonomics were not going to get any better with familiarity, and just acclimatising to it. These aren't really the kind of things you discover with someone else's pen.

Also, and this might not compute to the fans of "nicer" pens, but I actually really like some of these cheapos. Genuinely. Great ergonomics, clear and simple yet stylish looks, decent durability. To me, the Ohto Tasche is an ingenious little pen, tiny capped, yet posts full size, and the long unimpeded section gives great flexibility in how it's held and manipulated. The nib is simple, but took very little refining to write wonderfully. It's a delight to use, and from my "non-traditional" perspective, I really can't see how it isn't the go to pocket pen for fountain users everywhere. Yes, it uses an O ring to post, but I think there's real beauty in that simplicity, and it's so easy to address/remedy if it starts losing grip. To me, it costs a fraction of the swirly marbled acrylic wallet killers, and is far more comfortable, drop proof, and more easily stowable too. It baffles me that they aren't more popular.

The Baoer 388, is the same. Sleek, sensible, practical, durable, comfortable, affordable. I don't much care how artistically something unwieldy was made, or what exact polymer the threads are that are digging into my fingers. I want to know if the cap or barrel looks like it might crack if I overtighten it, or if it's in my pocket when someone bumps into me. I might want to be able to poke a grubby looking lift button with it, or stuff it through a ball of string to act as a spindle. It's there to serve me, not the other way around, and should simplify my life, not complicate it. I don't see pens as pocket jewellery, or desk treasures, and don't want anything that needs treating as such. I want to be able to hold together long enough, for me to rescue it from my young autistic nieces grasp, before she turns herself Ancient Copper. 🤣
 

Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
I'm not necessarily "sold on metal". I've owned several wooden pens over the years too. I think it's more about feeling that the tool is lifeproof. Things get dropped, jackets get sat on, bags jostled or kicked... and I fall over a lot. Some pens just seem like a crisis waiting to happen. I actually bought four of the demonstrator pens, expecting one of them to have cracked beyond useable by now. I think it's only through having a few metal pens instead of all plastic, that I haven't totally mangled one yet :lol: I don't want to buy something and be frightened of throwing life at it. If anything needs tender loving care, it's not the tool for me. ;)
Why the deuce did I not yet recommend Kaweco???

Small-but-sturdy pen that comes in durable "German quality" plastic and ... dum dum dum ... brass.

Dude!
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Why the deuce did I not yet recommend Kaweco???

Small-but-sturdy pen that comes in durable "German quality" plastic and ... dum dum dum ... brass.

Dude!

Don't worry, Doc. I'd already considered it... kind of

On top of those, and following on from me saying earlier that I don't have alternative options for using Std Int'l cartridges, I just ordered two more cheapo fountain pens. A £7 Helix Oxford, and an £11 Sheaffer VFM. Both metal, and both look very good ergonomically. I could have gone for a Kaweco, or other higher priced pen, but why?
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I've just checked, and the Brass Quacky Sport costs £65.99.

I currently have an order on the way, for two better (for me?) metal construction (barrel and cap) fountain pens...

HX61962~Helix-Oxford-Premium-Writing-Fountain-Pen-Blue_P1.jpg SF22709-ZZZ~Sheaffer-VFM-Fountain-Pen-Strobe-Silver_P1.jpg

plus a stainless steel ballpoint pen,
plus two bottles of ink,
plus a pressurised G2 refill,
plus three other refills...

...all for HALF the cost of the uncomfortably threaded pen that doesn't even have a clip :p
 
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I've just checked, and the Brass Quacky Sport costs £65.99.

I currently have an order on the way two better (for me) metal (barrel and cap) fountain pens...

View attachment 1327330 View attachment 1327331

plus a stainless steel ballpoint pen,
plus two bottles of ink,
plus a pressurised G2 refill,
plus three other refills...

...all for HALF the cost of the uncomfortably threaded pen that doesn't even have a clip :p
What about a Pilot Metropolitan? It's metal, no threads.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
What about a Pilot Metropolitan? It's metal, no threads.

I was actually looking out for those, but Cult Pens (my supplier of choice) didn't have any in, which is why I ended up with the VFM. Actually, there were three choices that potentially fit the bill. The two I ordered, plus Pelican Jazz Elegance. If the Pelikan had been in a silver body, I'd have probably ordered that instead of the Sheaffer. I only needed two (one alternate each for the Baoer 388 and Ohto Tasche, and I kept the colour coding the same so I know which pen gets what ink), and so the Metro has missed its chance... unless either of these aren't actually a good fit for me.

EDIT: The Metro on a different site, is three times the cost of what I paid for the VFM, so I probably wouldn't have gone for that anyway
 
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EDIT: The Metro on a different site, is three times the cost of what I paid for the VFM, so I probably wouldn't have gone for that anyway
Wow! In the USA, the Metro is fairly inexpensive, $19.
 
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