More Cheap (but good) Pens

16 11 2008

Next under the looking glass is a beautiful little gem I recently purchased on eBay. Ok, I have to admit, I spend WAY too much time perusing the fountain pen auctions on eBay. I could have a deadline for a pro forma on a $100m project due in an hour, and there I’ll be at my desk – clicking merrily away. For some reason, it’s even worse when I have no money to be perusing the fountain pen auctions on eBay. But over the last couple of weeks, I’d seen an auction for a no-name ‘presentation’ pen. Normally, I immediately cull those auctions out. Don’t look at ’em. But the picture on this one….it drew me in. Played with my psyche. The picture wasn’t even all that clear, but was, never-the-less…enticing. It was orange and looked like cracked ice. In fact, the effect looked quite similar to one of the Levenger True Writers I have (that one, a deep blue). Anyway, knowing that it couldn’t possibly look as good for real as it did in the picture, AND knowing that it was going to be a cheap, piece of crap writer, well below ‘Bic’ pen quality, I broke down and bid on the auction. What did I have to loose? The opening bid was $5 and there was 2 minutes left to go. Placing my bid for $5.25, I was rewarded with a message congratulating me for winning the auction, just under two minutes later. I’d just wasted about $11 dollars (auction price plus shipping) on a pen that I was sure I’d be dissapointed with. And so I waited (the pen would take a while to ship as it was in Great Britan), cursing my addiction all the while.

About a week later, the package arrived in my mail box. Looking to anyone else like a crack addict, sweating and with shaking hands I tore the package open. Obviously, I needed to ink it, but upon my initial first inspection, I was struck with – this is NOT a crappy pen. The fit and finish were good. Very good. So good, in fact that I could find nothing wrong with the naked eye. It’s a ‘snap cap’, and does so with just the right amount of effort. The cap posts nicely, with no ‘wobble’. Now for the ink test. Long story short, it writes as well as it looks. A nice wet medium line. This is a cartridge or converter filler, but comes only with a cartridge. Black ink, unknown manufacturer, but uses an international style cartridge. One drawback (there had to be at least one, didn’t there?) – It’s tough to get the ink flow started once it’s been capped and sitting for more than a couple of hours. Once started though, it doesn’t skip or dry out. The nib is very smooth and a pleasure to write with.

After some research, I found that the pen is of Chinese origin (big surprise given the price), a Fuliwen. The eBay seller I bought this from is PDL Trading. I had a very positive transaction with this seller.

Well I guess it’s time to sign off; The Godfather is coming on TNT.

Will Isaac

LAMY Safari

12 11 2008

Well, I have to admit, this pen IS all that everyone says it is. As mentioned previously, my latest genre of pen interest has been cheap. But to the point – cheap in price, not cheap quality. For some time, I’ve been researching opinions on the various Pen boards as to peoples views on inexpensive pens. Several pens are mentioned, but in new pens, the Lamy Safari and several of the Hero pens are most frequently discussed. In respect to the Safari, it’s just tough to find any bad reviews of it.

I can see why.

To the point, this is an AWESOME pen. The Safari line comes in several bright, eye-catching colors, mine in bright yellow. So for someone that wants a pen that draws a bit of attention to itself, this definitely covers that base. It’s a nice size for me too, as I have large hands. The nib on mine is a fine point; by today’s modern standards, I guess it is a fine point, but compared to several of my older Esterbrooks, it’s pushing the medium boundary. The section of the pen has the shoulders cut at angles, I’m sure to make the pen more ergonomic and easier to hold. This is the one design aspect of the pen that I’m less than thrilled about. It’s not bad, but I just think I’d have liked it better with a more traditional round section.

More on the nib. Besides writing a nice wet line every time it’s uncapped (regardless as to how long it’s been sitting idle…), it just looks really cool. Kind of a matt black steel, and buttery smooth to write with. Maybe that’s the best way to describe this pen, it’s a writer. It’s comfortable and just light enough. It begs to be used, not just for a signature here or there, but for letters, chapters, novels.

A note before closing. I’m all for promoting those within the pen community that are helpful, offer good deals, and are generally good to deal with. I bought my pen on eBay from an outfit called Pens&Leather. Nice outfit to deal with!

Das Vadanya

Cheap Pens in Tough Economic Times

3 11 2008

My pen collection is small and quite eclectic. It’s up to about 55 “Good” pens (those in working order, that I can actually use, should I choose one) and another 25 or so “Junk Pens” that are all in a box waiting for parts in order to be restored, or, waiting to become parts for another pen’s restoration. At first, my collecting process was very simple. Buy/get whatever I could. As time went on, I became a bit more conceited. I was only into “vintage” American pens, and at that, pretty much only those with Parker or Sheaffer (also the occasional Eversharp – ’cause they looked cool….) written on the side of them.

Since that time, I have come to the point where I appreciate pretty much ALL fountain pens, though I do have some favorite brands and individuals. I’ve also come to a place where I no longer turn my nose up at ‘newer’ pens or to those pens made outside the USA (ie China, India, Japan, etc…). And given the current economic climate we find ourselves in, I’m currently REALLY into cheap-in-price-high-in-value pens. So look for some coming reviews of low cost (and what I consider to be – ) reletively high quality pens from Lamy, Parker, Esterbrook and others.