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Sam Gamgee

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 24, 2022
648
1,685
49
DFW, Texas
I'm a hobby calligrapher and recently started selling some of my work. I've been using Sharpie pens for years, and while I love them and they work well, I have always longed to get the clean, sharp lines only a good fountain pen can give. I've tried various fountain pens in the past but never found one that worked well for me. I had a couple Lamys and some other brands I can't remember.

The thing I disliked about them all were the blunted nibs which made it impossible to get the clean lines I wanted. Someone told me I could file down the nibs and get them the way I wanted, but I wanted to buy a pen ready to use, not fiddle with it. I eventually gave up on fountain pens altogether and just stayed with my beloved Sharpies.

But this Christmas I was given a set of fountain pens as a gift. They aren't very good quality but it was enough to start the itch again. I'd love to find something in the 1.00mm (or maybe slightly larger) with a very sharp chisel tip. I have a set of dip pens but that's just too much work, and it makes it impossible to write when away from home (I do a lot of my calligraphy during down time at my day job).

I'm open to recommendations. I don't care how much the pen costs either. I just want a good one.
 

K.E. Powell

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 20, 2022
525
1,904
37
West Virginia
My handwriting still has a long ways to go, but it has improved a great deal, and switching over to a good fountain pen has helped tremendously in that regard. I'm not expert in calligraphy, but I can say that my Waterman pen is a pretty darn good fountain pen for the price (about $80, give or take). The one I have is one of their more standard models, but they have ones that are higher-end if that is what you want.
 
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El Capitán

Lifer
Jun 5, 2022
1,176
4,851
34
Newberry, Indiana
I use a cheap dip pen I got on Amazon. I like to hand write letters (need some new pen pals since my old ones stopped writing). I personally like dip pens better than fountain pens even though you have to dip consistently. I don't know if that helps.
 

ChonkyTonks

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 14, 2022
790
5,821
Philly
Oh, you are about to go down a rabbit hole, good sir. I was into fountain pens a few years back. Still enjoy them, but they just do not serve as much of a purpose for my these days (more digital note taking now). I have various brands, but the following are the ones that I stuck with because of their form, function, and overall performance:

1. Pilot Vanishing Point - This narrowly beats out number 2 in this list. I love the way it writes and the nib retracts, so I do not have to worry about it getting fouled if I drop it. One negative is how much ink it holds. It is hard to get it full-full. That being said, though, I do love that pen.
2. Lamy 2000 Makrolon - Everything about this pen is just classic German engineering. It holds a good mount of ink. It is solidly weighted for your hand. The cap clips in with a nice haptic feedback that is genuinely part of the experience (odd, I know, but that is what it is for me). Only caution is which ink you use. If you put Baystate Blue in there, just know the little ink view window will always be blue thereafter. Then again, if you use Baystate blue, you have to assume it will stain anything that gets near it. That is the equivalent to the forever ghosting your favorite pipe. The first one I bought was my favorite. Then I had an architect grind put on it and it just was not my favorite. The second is good, but just not what I remember from my first.
3. Franklin Christoph - They make pens and I have a number of them. The great thing about them is you can buy extra nibs to swap out. If you can, get anything with a Masuyama grind on them. He is a master nib smith and they write wonderfully.

For Inks, I prefer the following:

1. Robert Oster - Such beautiful inks that have wonderful depth to them. Great for wider nibs where you can see the sheen and shading.
2. Pilot Iroshizuku - Just read up about these inks. Lovely in how they write (flow, etc.) and the shading you get from them.

I normally buy samples from Vanness or any of the other online pen shops. You get a few ml to test things out and see if you want to buy a full bottle.

I forgot to mention nib smiths. If you buy a pen, but the nib is not exactly what you want (too wet, too dry, scratchy, does not work at the angle you like), find a nib smith to make some modifications. There are some great ones out there. They can make an "eh" pen into your favorite, gollum precious pen.
 

Sam Gamgee

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 24, 2022
648
1,685
49
DFW, Texas
Good info, all. I've been reading about fountain pens a lot today (and Amazon surfing) but rarely do I get the info I'm actually looking for. There are pics of the pens but hardly ever pics of what the pens produce. I bought several pens years ago and they usually had a ball-end making them useless to my purposes. I need something flat and sharp that would make lines like you'd see in "medieval" type writing. Do any of you have pens like this? The felt-tip ones you get in sets at Walmart, office shops are pretty much junk.
 

ashdigger

Lifer
Jul 30, 2016
11,391
70,126
61
Vegas Baby!!!
Good info, all. I've been reading about fountain pens a lot today (and Amazon surfing) but rarely do I get the info I'm actually looking for. There are pics of the pens but hardly ever pics of what the pens produce. I bought several pens years ago and they usually had a ball-end making them useless to my purposes. I need something flat and sharp that would make lines like you'd see in "medieval" type writing. Do any of you have pens like this? The felt-tip ones you get in sets at Walmart, office shops are pretty much junk.
Try this


They have a nib nook that is very helpful.
 

NomadOrb

(Nomadorb)
Feb 20, 2020
1,674
13,663
SoCal
I also use the Lamy Safari. I've been using it for the last 6 or so years for my Journaling. My handwriting isn't great, I tried practicing calligraphy for a while, but lost interest. I just enjoy using a fountain pen more than a ball point.
 
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Sam Gamgee

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 24, 2022
648
1,685
49
DFW, Texas
Use whatever pen you want, but what you're referring to is the difference between a "stub" and an "italic" nib. Stubs have rounded corners, whereas italics have sharp corners.
EXACTLY what I was hoping to learn... and I had to learn it on a pipe forum and not a pen forum (like I've been reading this AM). Funny!
 
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