Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
psteinx
Posts: 3570
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by psteinx »

Was recently in Las Vegas and stopped in a Montblanc shop - looked at some nice writing instruments costing a few hundred and up. Hadn't really been thinking about this issue, and didn't buy anything at the time. Now back from Vegas, so can't easily re-shop that same store.

I don't journal or do a TON of handwriting, but I do use pens and pencils a decent amount. For pens, I generally use rollerball or gel pens (have occasionally used fountain pens, but not a big fan). For pencils, either old school wood pencils or inexpensive mechanicals. i.e. What I use NOW *is* of the $0.20-$6.00 price range. Losing or breaking one is no big deal.

I have a nicer set I got years ago (graduation present maybe?) - I think Cross brand, gold-hued (probably not real gold), pen and pencil set. But they're pretty slim, and not actually that good to write with.

I prefer a fairly fat pen/pencil - easier to grip. But cheap/disposable stuff is mostly varying degrees of thin.

I would consider something nicer - Montblanc or the like, but have some Qs, especially for those who like this sort of thing.

1) Where does one find an assortment of reasonably nice pens to try out? Not sure it's a typical jewelry store thing. Big box office supply store seems to have only/mainly <$10 stuff (mainly ~$1-4 stuff). I'm in a decent sized midwestern city, but it ain't NYC or Las Vegas.

2) I assume that there's little qualitative difference between whatever actual writing element (the ball point/gel tip/roller ball/etc) that's in a "luxury" pen versus what you can get in a nice $5 pen. Valid assumption? Are the cartridges generally widely interchangeable, so I can easily replace when my tastes change or it runs out of ink?

3) I mostly haven't cared because what I use is cheap, but if I had something nice and I generally didn't take it outside of the house, I assume I'm not so likely to lose/misplace it, correct?

4) Pencils for me have been less satisfactory than pens. I *like* the sensation and the practicality of using a well sharpened pencil (or a mechanical with a relatively fine lead), and the ability to easily erase with a soft eraser on the top of the pencil. But in real-life usage, the leads dull quickly (if wooden pencil) or break often (if mechanical), and the rubber at the tip hardens fairly quickly and/or is used up. Perhaps I write heavily. Are higher end mechanicals better on these issues? (Maybe not the eraser, but at least holding the lead well and having it not break frequently).

Any other thoughts from those who like and use a nicer pen/pencil?

FWIW, while my Qs are mainly about functional issues, the aesthetic appeal of a nice writing instrument is not lost on me.
Capsu78
Posts: 367
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 10:30 am

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Capsu78 »

I have both had, and lost some nice pens over the years so I am more value pen oriented now.
I would suggest looking at a more middle tier pen. I enjoy my Conklin pen quite a bit after finding it "lost" in a drawer with a bunch of hotel pens when we moved last year. Nice long history, American made and stylish enough without being ostentatious.

https://conklinpens.com/rollerball-pen/

They even have a retail store finder that maybe has a retailer nearby where you could test drive Conklins and probably other brands as well.
https://conklinpens.com/pen-retailers/
ironman
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:55 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by ironman »

The Rotring 600 is a fine mechanical pencil. I am not sure how you could wear it out from normal usage. I can not use normal mechanical pencils due to hand pressure breaking the lead.
adamthesmythe
Posts: 3780
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by adamthesmythe »

Can't beat a $5 0.5 mm mechanical pencil. A few years supply of leads might run another $5.
Dottie57
Posts: 9210
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Dottie57 »

What price point are you looking at? The conklin pens above are very pricey for me.
tm3
Posts: 166
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:16 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by tm3 »

Aesthetic appeal counts for a lot. Otherwise, a Uniball Jetstream is hard to beat.

A nice, properly functioning fountain pen is unique. With good quality paper, the nib kind of floats on the cushion of ink and the feel is unmatched as it glides across the page. However, hitting this sweet spot can be tricky. In my experience, there is zero correlation between how much one spends on a fountain pen and how well it writes -- although if you prowl around you will hear stuff like a 24k gold nib writes the best, etc. My $25 Lamy Safari with a steel nib runs (writes?) circles around more expensive pens that I have used.

As far as pencils, I usually like mechanical pencils and the writing experience of them is dependent on the kind of lead you load. I like 2B but YMMV. It is easy and cheap to try different kinds. Just pick a pencil ie lead holder that you like the look/feel of. Recently I have gravitated to Palomino Blackwing #602 wooden pencils which are really nice -- John Steinbeck was a big fan, and Disney illustrator Shamus Culhane loved the Blackwing so much he asked to be buried with one.

For more info than you can possibly digest, head over to http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/
Jags4186
Posts: 5135
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Jags4186 »

Somehow this is even more ridiculous to me than the watch thread.

My favorite pens are the ones given out free at TD Bank.
User avatar
Bogle7
Posts: 655
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 9:33 am

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Bogle7 »

psteinx wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:10 pm1) Where does one find an assortment of reasonably nice pens to try out?
In my fair city—an art supply store.
DavidW
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:14 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by DavidW »

Art supply store might be a good place to check out the items are you are interested. The fineliners are very nice and has different widths for the tips, based on your preference. The price is not overly expensive so you can experiment....

The pencils also have different lead types so you can figure out which works best for you.

Like others, I have lost of share of pens and so I try not to spend not too much.
User avatar
Quirkz
Posts: 385
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:32 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Quirkz »

I've occasionally sampled a (mid-range) "nice" pen, and never gotten much out of it. The ink seemed to be much like other rollerballs, which for me are usually less pleasant than gels.

The one I have really liked is the G2 Limited by Pilot. It's got a metal body and the rubber grip is just a little bit thicker and firmer than their plastic pens. The extra weight is nice, but the insides are the standard G2 gel ink. I think they're $20.

I believe some of the fancier brands do have distinctive/proprietary shaped and sized ink dispensers, so you can't always drop any old refill into your expensive pen. Though I do think there might be knockoff alternatives, or if you know which ones are similar you might be able to get by with a cheaper one, but it takes a little research/matching. Just go look at a rack in Office Depot or the like, and you ought to be able to see.

I am admittedly very low-frills. A little extra weight in a pen is nice, but I don't put any stock in fancy names, and care more about the actual writing output (smooth, easy rolling, no blobbing) than the style. If that doesn't match your needs, take my advice with a grain of salt.
TomCat96
Posts: 1040
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:18 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by TomCat96 »

psteinx wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:10 pm Was recently in Las Vegas and stopped in a Montblanc shop - looked at some nice writing instruments costing a few hundred and up. Hadn't really been thinking about this issue, and didn't buy anything at the time. Now back from Vegas, so can't easily re-shop that same store.

I don't journal or do a TON of handwriting, but I do use pens and pencils a decent amount. For pens, I generally use rollerball or gel pens (have occasionally used fountain pens, but not a big fan). For pencils, either old school wood pencils or inexpensive mechanicals. i.e. What I use NOW *is* of the $0.20-$6.00 price range. Losing or breaking one is no big deal.

I have a nicer set I got years ago (graduation present maybe?) - I think Cross brand, gold-hued (probably not real gold), pen and pencil set. But they're pretty slim, and not actually that good to write with.

I prefer a fairly fat pen/pencil - easier to grip. But cheap/disposable stuff is mostly varying degrees of thin.

I would consider something nicer - Montblanc or the like, but have some Qs, especially for those who like this sort of thing.

1) Where does one find an assortment of reasonably nice pens to try out? Not sure it's a typical jewelry store thing. Big box office supply store seems to have only/mainly <$10 stuff (mainly ~$1-4 stuff). I'm in a decent sized midwestern city, but it ain't NYC or Las Vegas.

2) I assume that there's little qualitative difference between whatever actual writing element (the ball point/gel tip/roller ball/etc) that's in a "luxury" pen versus what you can get in a nice $5 pen. Valid assumption? Are the cartridges generally widely interchangeable, so I can easily replace when my tastes change or it runs out of ink?

3) I mostly haven't cared because what I use is cheap, but if I had something nice and I generally didn't take it outside of the house, I assume I'm not so likely to lose/misplace it, correct?

4) Pencils for me have been less satisfactory than pens. I *like* the sensation and the practicality of using a well sharpened pencil (or a mechanical with a relatively fine lead), and the ability to easily erase with a soft eraser on the top of the pencil. But in real-life usage, the leads dull quickly (if wooden pencil) or break often (if mechanical), and the rubber at the tip hardens fairly quickly and/or is used up. Perhaps I write heavily. Are higher end mechanicals better on these issues? (Maybe not the eraser, but at least holding the lead well and having it not break frequently).

Any other thoughts from those who like and use a nicer pen/pencil?

FWIW, while my Qs are mainly about functional issues, the aesthetic appeal of a nice writing instrument is not lost on me.
I spent years exploring the pen market.
In my opinion, you're only going to end up in the fountain pen category at some point.

Simply put, your options with fountain pens in the long run will be far higher.
I use a sailor pro gear, lamy safari, namiki falcon, etc.

Each of them has its own unique feedback and tactile sensations. All of them have a sense of quality.

Initially I wasn't interested in fountain pens because I thought the idea of refilling ink to be unappealing. But in end, I was won over because the particular tactile feedback I was looking for couldn't be found in regular pens. The same goes for the feel and quality of the writing instrument I was using. I was looking for perfection in a discount store.

I think you might be doing the same. The combination of what you might be looking for can probably be found in the fountain pen category. Don't write it off as a singular category though.
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11768
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Sandtrap »

Pelikan Fountain Pens. . . (price ranges from $100's to $800+)
Inks: Diamine, Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan, Waterman, etc.
Paper: Rhodia, Tamoe River, etc.
Style: Your choice. . . .

Also. . . vintage fountain pens, fully restored, nibs tuned and polished. Outstanding! :D
j :D
Image
Closeup of Pelikan Fountain Pen nib.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
rk6
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:32 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by rk6 »

Japanese-made Japanese-branded retractable pens/pencils are stylish and excellent deals for the money in addition to being cool gifts or conversation pieces. I use nothing but. You can do pretty well for $15-$20 USD each including shipping, get a few, pick the one(s) you like, give the rest away as gifts. You can search - in addition to Amazon there are various places selling import pens on line.
BuddyJet
Posts: 610
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:56 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by BuddyJet »

Pens are very much a touch and feel item. I’d look through Penchalet.com or jetpens.com to see which pens seem to meet your size, shape, weight and visual needs. Then look for a local dealer to see in person. If no local, look at return policy if you don’t like after mail order.

FWIW, I’m a Yard O Led fan.
People say nothing is impossible. I do nothing all day.
Westwing
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:43 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Westwing »

Not really upscale but I buy the Staples OptiFlow Black ink by the box and leave them all over the house and car. Less than a buck apiece at Amazon.
TomCat96
Posts: 1040
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:18 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by TomCat96 »

I used to goto jetpens.com

Now I buy from Brian Goulet. Seems like a decent fellow, and local to my neck of the woods.
They were extremely supportive when i returned a pilot metal falcon, providing me with excellent customer service.

https://www.gouletpens.com/

Here is a video from his youtube channel, where he is testing the pilot soft extra fine on a rhodia pad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX1Ad2lSxtw
Nicolas
Posts: 2231
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 am
Contact:

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Nicolas »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:32 pm Pelikan Fountain Pens. . . (price ranges from $100's to $800+)
Inks: Diamine, Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan, Waterman, etc.
Paper: Rhodia, Tamoe River, etc.
Style: Your choice. . . .

j :D
+1. I’m a Pelikan FP fan also. I have five of them, a green striated M800, a blue striated M600, a Smokey Quartz M400, a white Tortoise M400 (not real tortoise), and a transparent demonstrator M200.
mindboggling
Posts: 459
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:35 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by mindboggling »

I am new to using fountain pens, but, as Sandtrap alluded to, the quality of the paper counts. I think this is because fountain pen ink is more watery than the ink used in ballpoints. Fountain pen ink will often bleed through cheap paper. Also, the quality of the paper affects how the ink disperses when you write. I currently use a Pilot Cavelier pen. Bought it at jetpens.com.
In broken mathematics, We estimate our prize, --Emily Dickinson
Jags4186
Posts: 5135
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Jags4186 »

https://www.jpeterman.com/item/nhg-6033 ... script-pen
The Lost Art.

When’s the last time you actually wrote down something substantial? And no, that obscure movie reference you continually use for online passwords, the one ending in “1” and “!,” doesn’t count.

Maybe all you need is a reason to sit down with an idea and put the fine nib to paper, to hear the sound it makes, to see the poetry poetically delivered.

English Fountain Pen (No. 6033). Constructed by 5th-generation nib pen makers in the West Midlands. Shipped in a stand-up box with fine nib and ink cartridge. Roughly 5 ½” long (precise measurements are 14 cm L x 1.5 cm W). Looks stellar on your desk, used and unused.Made in Shropshire, England.
TomCat96
Posts: 1040
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:18 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by TomCat96 »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:32 pm Pelikan Fountain Pens. . . (price ranges from $100's to $800+)
Inks: Diamine, Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan, Waterman, etc.
Paper: Rhodia, Tamoe River, etc.
Style: Your choice. . . .

j :D
The Pelikans are gorgeous pens. I couldn't decide on size m400, m600, m800 even though those are pretty different.

I used Diamine Ink. Good Ink. No complaints.

Used Iroshizuku as well. Also a good ink, beautiful bottles. This is my go to because I primarily use pilot/namiki. The inks run thinner than say Noodlers, but I still found it an enjoyable experience. Better thinner and free flowing, than thicker and clogging the feed.

Paper. Rhodia and only Rhodia for me. Never used Tamoe River. Tried Clairefontaine and was disappointed.

Style: my personal bastardized version of Spencerian.
User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 2303
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by jabberwockOG »

During a 38 year career I had a number of very fine expensive pens - some bought, some gifts, and invariably they were lost, misplaced, or seemed to disappear. Other folks I worked with had presentation style or otherwise expensive pens also ended up losing their pens (or in a couple of cases stolen).

These days we rarely use ink pens, but when required, go for a large supply of swag pens - hotel/bank/Dr/dentist/convention/conference/trade show provided stick pens of various types - no preference on type as long as they work.

My writing instrument of choice for years is a Pentel Twist-Erase QE517 in black with .7 lead. Approx. $40 for a 12 pack box on Amazon. Indestructible, not the least bit flashy, but look relatively professional in use.
User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 3212
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by F150HD »

I use these red Bics at work but the recent bag of 10 I bought the package says "35% smoother" and they write like complete crap. The new tip takes more effort and pressure to write on the paper then the original ones. Anyone else have that issue?

Image
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11768
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Sandtrap »

TomCat96 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:37 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:32 pm Pelikan Fountain Pens. . . (price ranges from $100's to $800+)
Inks: Diamine, Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan, Waterman, etc.
Paper: Rhodia, Tamoe River, etc.
Style: Your choice. . . .

j :D
The Pelikans are gorgeous pens. I couldn't decide on size m400, m600, m800 even though those are pretty different.

I used Diamine Ink. Good Ink. No complaints.

Used Iroshizuku as well. Also a good ink, beautiful bottles. This is my go to because I primarily use pilot/namiki. The inks run thinner than say Noodlers, but I still found it an enjoyable experience. Better thinner and free flowing, than thicker and clogging the feed.

Paper. Rhodia and only Rhodia for me. Never used Tamoe River. Tried Clairefontaine and was disappointed.

Style: my personal bastardized version of Spencerian.
Awesome!
Here is the website for "Fountain Pen Network" (all things writing instruments and styles and corresponding via snail mail)
http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/
There are a number of folks on the forum that correspond.

j :D
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11768
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Sandtrap »

Nicolas wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:10 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:32 pm Pelikan Fountain Pens. . . (price ranges from $100's to $800+)
Inks: Diamine, Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan, Waterman, etc.
Paper: Rhodia, Tamoe River, etc.
Style: Your choice. . . .

j :D
+1. I’m a Pelikan FP fan also. I have five of them, a green striated M800, a blue striated M600, a Smokey Quartz M400, a white Tortoise M400 (not real tortoise), and a transparent demonstrator M200.
Terrific!
Here's a great website with all things writing instruments, snail mailing corresponding via fountain pens, etc.
http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/

j :happy
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11768
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Sandtrap »

Here are some excellent sources for all levels of fountain pens, new and vintage:
Peyton Street Pens (restored vintage fountain pens)
https://www.peytonstreetpens.com/vintage-restored/
The Nibsmith
https://nibsmith.com/
(Dan will also tune and polish nibs on pens he sells.)

Both of the above sources have a great reputation for quality, price, and service.
j :happy
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
anon3838
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 11:54 am

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by anon3838 »

I while back I used a pen at a store to sign a credit card slip, and became obsessed with the pen, so much that I took a pic of the pen and found them online. I didn't realize it when I was ordering the pens, but they were being shipped from India and took about 2 months to receive. Still my favorite pen https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006S ... UTF8&psc=1

I love this mechanical pencil https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001C ... UTF8&psc=1
Jags4186 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:31 pm Somehow this is even more ridiculous to me than the watch thread.

My favorite pens are the ones given out free at TD Bank.
I have a feeling this topic won't be nearly as entertaining as the watch discussion. :D
User avatar
rob
Posts: 3328
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:49 pm
Location: Here

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by rob »

As you can see... this obsession goes deep :-)

I actually like this for around $20 and this for around double.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11768
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Sandtrap »

This is an image from a fellow that sells restored vintage pens on Ebay.
It did not buy from him, but, it took me over a year to find one of these in perfect condition and writes effortlessly.
I write every day, journals, correspondents, etc. Something about the timelessness of these (pre plastic) works of art and the hidden history of each pen.
Who knows how many "Dear John letters" a vintage pen has written?

(There are also vintage typewriters to be had but that is for another thread) :happy
j :happy
Image
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
Nicolas
Posts: 2231
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:41 am
Contact:

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Nicolas »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:08 pm
Nicolas wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:10 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:32 pm Pelikan Fountain Pens. . . (price ranges from $100's to $800+)
Inks: Diamine, Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan, Waterman, etc.
Paper: Rhodia, Tamoe River, etc.
Style: Your choice. . . .

j :D
+1. I’m a Pelikan FP fan also. I have five of them, a green striated M800, a blue striated M600, a Smokey Quartz M400, a white Tortoise M400 (not real tortoise), and a transparent demonstrator M200.
Terrific!
Here's a great website with all things writing instruments, snail mailing corresponding via fountain pens, etc.
http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/

j :happy
Thanks — I’ve been a member there eight years. :)
WildCat48
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:28 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by WildCat48 »

These pens are not super flashy, and honestly they are pretty eccentric but nothing is better. If you have a morning glory store in your area, you can even try them out before you buy. I use them everyday, and people in my office try to steal them from me all the time:

http://morninggloryus.com/school-office/pens
TomCat96
Posts: 1040
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:18 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by TomCat96 »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:04 pm
TomCat96 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:37 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:32 pm Pelikan Fountain Pens. . . (price ranges from $100's to $800+)
Inks: Diamine, Pilot Iroshizuku, Pelikan, Waterman, etc.
Paper: Rhodia, Tamoe River, etc.
Style: Your choice. . . .

j :D
The Pelikans are gorgeous pens. I couldn't decide on size m400, m600, m800 even though those are pretty different.

I used Diamine Ink. Good Ink. No complaints.

Used Iroshizuku as well. Also a good ink, beautiful bottles. This is my go to because I primarily use pilot/namiki. The inks run thinner than say Noodlers, but I still found it an enjoyable experience. Better thinner and free flowing, than thicker and clogging the feed.

Paper. Rhodia and only Rhodia for me. Never used Tamoe River. Tried Clairefontaine and was disappointed.

Style: my personal bastardized version of Spencerian.
Awesome!
Here is the website for "Fountain Pen Network" (all things writing instruments and styles and corresponding via snail mail)
http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/
There are a number of folks on the forum that correspond.

j :D

Lol i am a member of FPN. never posted, just use it for the pen reviews.
saveinvestbecomefree
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:06 am

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by saveinvestbecomefree »

I've recently had a minor obsession with mechanical pencils. I recommend the Pentel Graphgear 1000 in 0.7mm or 0.9mm lead, especially if you're prone to press hard and break lead (common problem with 0.5mm or smaller) like me. 0.7mm is more common and a little cheaper but both are around $10 and are really nice to write with. It also has a retractable tip for long-term durability and if you put it in your pocket.

I also recommend trying a 2B hardness lead vs the standard HB lead. The softer lead writes nice and smooth although can smear a bit more (so probably not the best choice for lefties). I find 2B to be my favorite in terms of smooth writing and minimal smearing. A nice mechanical pencil can bring a nice bit of joy for a very low cost. Definitely a luxury and not a need but a low cost luxury that many people feel is a great enjoyment/$ value.
User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5230
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by lthenderson »

psteinx wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:10 pm 2) I assume that there's little qualitative difference between whatever actual writing element (the ball point/gel tip/roller ball/etc) that's in a "luxury" pen versus what you can get in a nice $5 pen. Valid assumption? Are the cartridges generally widely interchangeable, so I can easily replace when my tastes change or it runs out of ink?
I think that is a very invalid assumption. There was quite a bit of difference going from ball point to roller ball and there was a big jump going from roller ball to a nice fountain pen. I use a Lamy 2000 for my everyday pen and it is such a joy to write with. Cartridges and more expensive than buying ink in bulk, vary between manufacturers and many places don't stock them anymore so you are left to ordering online. Changing a cartridge takes about the same amount of time as reloading my Lamy 2000 from a bottle of ink and it much much cheaper than buying cartridges.
WhyNotUs
Posts: 1770
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 am

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by WhyNotUs »

I was given a Montblanc rollerball pen by a client several years ago and it was a delight to use. I tend to write meeting notes and to do's in a moleskin notebook and the combination was perfect. The MB did have its own refill cartridge that was required to maintain the feel.

I also tend not to carefully clean out my pockets and about a year into enjoying my gift, the pen succumbed to my washer. It was never right again. I returned to office supply pens and mechanical pencils but I still remember that pen fondly. Probably will not spend that kind of money on a pen but felt that it was a very gracious gift.

The big office supply stores have fatter pens and MB knock offs.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11768
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Sandtrap »

saveinvestbecomefree wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:41 am I've recently had a minor obsession with mechanical pencils. I recommend the Pentel Graphgear 1000 in 0.7mm or 0.9mm lead, especially if you're prone to press hard and break lead (common problem with 0.5mm or smaller) like me. 0.7mm is more common and a little cheaper but both are around $10 and are really nice to write with. It also has a retractable tip for long-term durability and if you put it in your pocket.

I also recommend trying a 2B hardness lead vs the standard HB lead. The softer lead writes nice and smooth although can smear a bit more (so probably not the best choice for lefties). I find 2B to be my favorite in terms of smooth writing and minimal smearing. A nice mechanical pencil can bring a nice bit of joy for a very low cost. Definitely a luxury and not a need but a low cost luxury that many people feel is a great enjoyment/$ value.
+1 on the .7 mm lead. Doesn't break as often. Easier to read.

I was doing architectural drafting (back in the days of "manual CADD") and had a set of german made mechanical drafting pencils. The end stem is long and even, not tapered, so they ride on the straightedges evenly. We used the softest lead we could find because it was easier to erase and didn't leave a dent on the thin velum paper.

j :happy
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11768
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Sandtrap »

Still looking for ink pens that do not smear when drawing lines.
Tried many.
Still looking.
Suggestions???

j :happy
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
Glockenspiel
Posts: 1096
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Glockenspiel »

F150HD wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:04 pm I use these red Bics at work but the recent bag of 10 I bought the package says "35% smoother" and they write like complete crap. The new tip takes more effort and pressure to write on the paper then the original ones. Anyone else have that issue?

Image
Those pens have always been bad for as long as I can remember. Whenever I see one of those pens, I will never choose it to write with because they never work.

At my work, as a civil engineer, most people at my office consistently like the Pilot G2 pens. They come in 0.5 mm or 0.7 mm, and I like the 0.7 mm better. I've been using these for at least 10 years and can go about a year before running out of ink. It looks like they are about $1-$1.50 per pen. I know these aren't upscale.
User avatar
JoMoney
Posts: 9787
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:31 am

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by JoMoney »

I go the opposite direction. I like semi-cheap ball-point pens, less likely to bleed on paper, cheap so I don't care if I lose it, and bonus points if it has that spring-loaded clicky button on top to play with while I'm thinking and writing.
I also like carpenter pencils that I can whittle into a variety of fine or thick points.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham
User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5230
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by lthenderson »

Glockenspiel wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:37 am
F150HD wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:04 pm I use these red Bics at work but the recent bag of 10 I bought the package says "35% smoother" and they write like complete crap. The new tip takes more effort and pressure to write on the paper then the original ones. Anyone else have that issue?

Image
Those pens have always been bad for as long as I can remember. Whenever I see one of those pens, I will never choose it to write with because they never work.
+1 I shudder at the thought of having to write again with such a crude instrument. To me, this pen is like going back to the wooden wagon wheel for your daily driver.
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 6680
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Kenkat »

Glockenspiel wrote: Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:37 am
F150HD wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:04 pm I use these red Bics at work but the recent bag of 10 I bought the package says "35% smoother" and they write like complete crap. The new tip takes more effort and pressure to write on the paper then the original ones. Anyone else have that issue?

Image
Those pens have always been bad for as long as I can remember. Whenever I see one of those pens, I will never choose it to write with because they never work.

At my work, as a civil engineer, most people at my office consistently like the Pilot G2 pens. They come in 0.5 mm or 0.7 mm, and I like the 0.7 mm better. I've been using these for at least 10 years and can go about a year before running out of ink. It looks like they are about $1-$1.50 per pen. I know these aren't upscale.
I didn’t want to be the one to bring up the common pens, but I’m on team Pilot G2 as well. I also have a Jetstream Uniball. That’s about as fancy as I get.

My wife likes those Bic style pens for some reason. I don’t get it (I think they are horrible) but there’s a pen for every taste I suppose.

I do remember in grade school we had to use a cartridge style fountain pen for penmanship class (cursive, I know, right?). Occasionally there would be a spectacular malfunction or explosion...
User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 3212
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by F150HD »

Well, I've had good luck w/ the red Bics, until this recent issue.
Last edited by F150HD on Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
MP173
Posts: 2142
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by MP173 »

I have a variety of pens and mechanical pencils.

I have a Mont Blonc pen - love it, but seldom use it. My go to pen for work is a pen made by a wood worker and purchased for about $50. I have used it for about 10 years.

Mechanical pencils - my go to for work and daily journal writing (on my 41st year of continuous nightly writing) is a Pentel Twist-Erase III with 7mm lead. I have several handy and even a couple of unopened packs of two. A two pack will run about $10. The 7mm lead is much better than 5mm.

I collect old mechanical pencils with advertising, particularly those from 1960 and prior. Railroad pencils are the biggest in my collection, but if i am at an estate sale I will rummage for anything old with advertising. The lead used in these are quite thick and the 11 or 13 mm will not fit properly.

Ed
User avatar
LilyFleur
Posts: 1533
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by LilyFleur »

Sandtrap wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:35 pm This is an image from a fellow that sells restored vintage pens on Ebay.
It did not buy from him, but, it took me over a year to find one of these in perfect condition and writes effortlessly.
I write every day, journals, correspondents, etc. Something about the timelessness of these (pre plastic) works of art and the hidden history of each pen.
Who knows how many "Dear John letters" a vintage pen has written?

(There are also vintage typewriters to be had but that is for another thread) :happy
j :happy
Image
Love this! Especially the calligraphic swirls in the bottom row of the writing samples.
stefan_lec
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:43 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by stefan_lec »

I take lots of handwritten notes at work, and the Uni-ball PowerTank is my absolute favorite pen, been using them for years now:

https://www.amazon.com/uni-ball-PowerTa ... B078JL7FJN

They're pressurized (like space pens), they're comfortably cushioned and not too thin, the ink doesn't bleed or smear, and they have a really long shelf life. I forgot one in the dash of my car in Central Florida for over a year, and it immediately started working smoothly again even after all that time cooking in the heat.

Best of all, they're only about $20 for a box of 12, so losing one isn't a big deal.

Not very aesthetically pleasing, though, they just look like a normal disposable pen.
User avatar
sunny_socal
Posts: 2289
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by sunny_socal »

Another vote for Lamy! Excellent, comfortable pen for about $20. I think I have five now, one at work and several around the house. :beer
They have a huge color selection.

Image
Leemiller
Posts: 1345
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:42 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Leemiller »

rk6 wrote: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:40 pm Japanese-made Japanese-branded retractable pens/pencils are stylish and excellent deals for the money in addition to being cool gifts or conversation pieces. I use nothing but. You can do pretty well for $15-$20 USD each including shipping, get a few, pick the one(s) you like, give the rest away as gifts. You can search - in addition to Amazon there are various places selling import pens on line.
I was intrigued so I did a search. Any specific recommendations? I’m seeing lots of pens with cats....
apex84
Posts: 173
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:51 am
Location: Chicago

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by apex84 »

Not sure where you're located. If you can come to Chicago, I recommend going to Atlas Stationers. For any pen, I pay attention to the overall weight, the diameter, and the balance point to find something I find comfortable.

Most luxury ballpoint pens use Parker-style refills which are also known as ISO G2 (nothing to do with the Pilot G2 gel pen). I recommend those pens since many brands make refills for them. My personal favorites are the current model Parker Duofold or anything from Graf von Faber Castell. My refill of choice is the Uniball Jetstream Prime Twist refill in 0.7 mm. You can get these refills from Amazon. They are made for the Uniball Jetstream Prime Twist pen which costs a fraction of the higher end pens and is a nice pen too.

Montblanc ballpoint and rollerball pens only take their own refills and they aren't my first choice. There are other brands which also use proprietary refills including Waterman and Caran d'Ache.

https://unsharpen.com/pen-refill-guide/

To get a nicer pen at a lower price, sign up for the emails from Endless pen. If you pre-order pens before they're in stock, you pay less and can use an extra coupon. Then you wait for a few months and they send you the pen. This is a great place to get a pen if you know what you want and if it happens to come up as a pre-order. They also have weekly deals.

https://endlesspens.com

For gel or rollerball pens, I prefer the Japanese brands. My personal picks are the Pilot Juice and Pilot Juice Up refill. They can be used in their native pens or in a Pilot Metropolitan pen for a nicer pen (inexpensive on Amazon). For a much fancier pen, the Pilot Sterling rollerball takes the same refills. Jet Pens has an enormous number of choices and offers sampler packs. I value water resistance, so I limit my choices. The Uniball Signo DX, Signo 207, and Signo 307 are all great gel pens with the best solvent resistance on the market.

https://www.jetpens.com

Fountain pens are their own universe. I enjoy using one sometimes, but most often I end up cleaning it and putting it away again in a little while. I used to journal more and then I preferred fountain pens. For normal work notes, I prefer more practical choices. Recommended brands include Pelikan and Pilot (many models are only from Japan which means eBay). Sailor is a pen nerd favorite. You can get disposable fountain pens at low cost to try one out. Our local Michaels craft store has the Pilot Varsity. If you want a fountain pen, I prefer water resistant inks, my preferred options are Sailor Kiwa Guro for black and Souboku for blue-black (not to be confused with the lighter Seiboku).
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11768
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by Sandtrap »

TWSBI (twiszby) are excellent fountain pens for the money. Large ink capacity. And, fill system similar to Pelikans.
And, excellent return or exchange policy because when you get a good one, great. Return not so good one's if they leak or the nib is scratchy.
Despite having a stable of fine and vintage pens I use daily, I still use 3 inked TWISB's for journaling because of the large ink capacity, fill mechanism, and easy color and fill verification through the clear plastic.

j :happy

Here's a TWSBI Diamond 580 ALR (AL=aluminum components) at Amazon.com
https://smile.amazon.com/TWSBI-Diamond- ... 22ANXTV36R
Image
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
TimDex
Posts: 936
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:27 pm

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by TimDex »

For old school pencils, general pencil co. Is the place to go. Buy their cedar pointe, made in USA, very high quality. Dixon pencils sold in Wally can’t come close. There actually is a difference. Tim
"All man's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone. " -- Pascal
User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 7858
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: Nice/upscale pens and pencils

Post by bertilak »

I have purchased from Jet Pens

I got a fountain pen I like (https://www.jetpens.com/TWSBI-Diamond-5 ... ns/ct/2347) for about $55. This is what's called the "demonstrator" style: you can see the ink level and the built-in pump action for loading ink into the pen.

They have many other pen styles at a wide variety of prices.

(I just noticed they don't sell Montblanc.)
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet
Post Reply