My Top Five Pens

My Top Five Pens…..For Right Now….

Ok, this is just for fun. I’m interested in what your favorite pens are. Please, if you read this, leave a comment below as to what your current (up to 5) favorite pens are. Mine are kind of fluid. If I had made this list 5 or 6 months ago, it would have probably all been different. Here are my five (in no particular order)……for right now:

Kaigelu 316

There were sev20150213_212031.jpgeral Chinese pens I considered for this list, but right now the Kaigelu comes up on top. A copy of the modern Parker Duofold, it features a super smooth #6 size two-tone nib, that is very smooth and wet. One of the higher quality Chinese pens and one of the more expensive ones (for Chinese pens that is). You can find these from $18 to $30. But easilly comparible to $75+ pens.

Pilot Metropolitan

Pilot is a Ja20140827_144914.jpgpanese company and produces a wide range of pens from economy (like the Metropolitan) to high end. Just my humble opinion, but I would label this pen as the finest economy penmoney can buy. It does have it’s faults, but they are mainly opinion based and not materially relevant (i.e. the fact that it takes a proprietary cartridge and converter instead of standard sized ones). I have two of these pens and based on them, I would pit the writing experience with their nibs (fine & medium) against ANY other pen. Easily the best fine point I’ve ever used. VERY high quality pen.  For $15. You can’t beat it.

Blue Esterbroo2014-08-24 17.39.30.jpgk Dollar Pen

My only vintage pen in my top 5. Which, if you knew me, is quite surprising. Esterbrook is probably my favorite of the vintage pen companies (followed closely by Sheaffer) for collecting. Their pens were/are beautiful, durable, and of high quality. This is a “Dollar” pen which preceeded the more common “J” pen. This has a 9668 nib. Smooth, firm writer. Dependable and beautiful.

2014-05-12 14.35.53.jpgNoodlers Konrad in California Tortoise

 I picked up 3 Noodlers pens last year, an Ahab and two Konrads. The Ahab I was so-so about, but this Konrad was a different story. Piston fillers, they hold a lot of ink, and that’s needed. Because as they are flex nibs, these things DRINK the ink. I don’t really utilize the nib’s abilities too often in terms of coaxing a lot of line variation when I write. However, it’s still a superbly smooth writer for everyday work.. And cheap too at about $20.

IMAG0387.jpgPelikan M200

 I only have 2 pens from “high end” companies, a Mont Blanc and a Pelikan. Both are the entry level pens for their companies, the MB 144 and this pen, the Pelikan M200. This is a FANTASTIC pen. The Mont Blanc…is not. My only quibble about this pen is the aesthetics of the nib. It’s a steel nib (and it’s awesome) with gold plate or electroplate. And it looks like electroplate. I have a lot of other far less expensive pens with plating, but they look like gold. Other than that, there is nothing I can say negative about this pen.

Well, that’s my top five for now. Next month may be different. Let me know what yours are!

Noodler’s Ahab Flex Nib Review (It stinks…..Well, smells bad)

I finally took the plunge and picked up a Noodlers pen. I’ve been a fan of their ink for years but I haven’t taken the next step of getting one of their pens.

To be honest, when the first generation of pens hit the market, I wasn’t super excited about their looks. more importantly, the reviews I was reading online were decidedly mixed. The second generation hit, and though they looked the same, the reviews definitely got better. Then came the Ahab….


This is a completely new pen. Aproximately 5.5″ capped, just a hair ove 9/16″ in girth (capped) and 6 ¾” posted. It’s light, but substantial. Two negatives almost immediately struck me. First, it stinks. No, I mean it stinks – it smells bad. Really bad. It’s made from something called “vegetal resin”, and….it stinks. Everything I’ve read is that this occurs with new pens and that the smell eventually dissipates. I sure hope so. did I mention that it smells really, really bad? Second, the cap posts, but not completely securely. I’ve had other pens where the cap didn’t post well, but those were always due to a lack of friction. That’s not the problem here. The cap will post, and seems like it will stay in place, but it doesn’t easily post straight and correct. It wants to be angled if you’re not careful. (Oh my gosh this thing stinks. Hard to concentrate on writing here…)

This is the first “modern” flex nib pen I’ve ever owned. I like it! I like it a lot! (Dumb & Dumber. Anyone? Anyone?) I have some vintage pens with flex nibs and I’ve just been ok with them. I tend to exert just a bit too much pressure and thus tend to get a lot of railroading (the tines spread too much and instead of getting a wide wet line, you get two thin ones at each tine tip). This one has railroaded on me but I was able to quickly figure out just how much pressure to use. Basically I don’t have to bear down really, but I do have to use considerably more pressure on this pen than my vintage ones if I want to achieve flex (that is, wider) strokes. The nib is large, stainless steel and very smooth. There’s no breather hole, instead a line running the entire length of the exposed portion of the nib. It’s very attractive I think.

Another really cool aspect (just one of many), it that the pen is designed from the get-go to be easily converted to an eye drpper fill pen. You simply remove the included piston filler (which holds a lot of ink on it’s own, by the way), slap some silicone grease around the body threads, fill ‘er up, screw the section back in and you’re ready to go. It holds probably a pint of ink. Finally, no special tools needed! for cleaning, for anything really. All parts are either thread together or friction fit together. Sweet.


Overall, Other than the horrible, awful, terrible, unholy, eye-watering, nauseating, bung-hole oder that this thing currently gives off, I give it two BIG thumbs up! This is a whole lot of quality and good looks for very little $. I’ll do an odor follow up in a few weeks.


There are a lot of really good, informative reviews on this pen out there. Here are a few I really liked (some video):