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jimp, to fountainpens avatar

A little lunchtime Kakuno family portrait.

Bottom arc of pens are from the Kakuno "family" set, each color has a different nib face design (L-R Pink, Blue, Green, Red, Cyan). Top pen is a typical Kakuno EF.

What can I say, they're fun. The world needs more fun. What's life without whimsy?

Unfortunately the "family" pens aren't available with EF nibs but this does let me finally branch out and try the other sizes.

penfount, to random avatar

of the day:
What was the worst experience you ever had with pens, ink, writing, or stationery? How would you advise people to avoid having a similar experience?

jimp, avatar

@penfount I have a long (>30 year) love/hate relationship with Parker Vectors. When they work, I really like how they write, feel, etc. They are also ubiquitous and affordable.

But they have so many problems.

They dry up super fast so there is a lot of wasted ink, or it is empty when you need it. They can be fragile, I've broken a few over the years, usually the caps but sometimes the body. I've had a couple leak mishaps that ruined some clothes but thankfully that was much more rare.

jimp, avatar

@penfount tl;dr there are many better pens out there and much easier to get things now online, avoid Parker Vectors if at all possible.

jimp, avatar

@paradoxmo Platinum Plaisir probably, about $20 or so USD. Excellent seal, light metal body, decent nib (and can swap nib+sections with Preppy). Only downside (for me) is that it doesn't have an italic or stub option. The Prefounte ($11) is in between Preppy ($6) and Plaisir and may be OK but I haven't tried it.

Preppys are good and inexpensive, too, but they can feel a little frail in the hand at times compared to the Plaisir.

All three have slip-and-seal so no worries about drying out.

jimp, avatar

@paradoxmo I really like Kakunos but they dry out fast. Pilot Lightive (Also $20) is OK but I've had some drying issues with it as well but it may be something I did.

Honorable mentions to pretty much any Hongdian or Jinhao, plenty of good options but uneven QC. Some dry out, others don't, same models even.

grayrattus, to drawing avatar

Recently I started to travel a lot again and I don't really have motivation and time for drawing practice.

Today though I managed to get some:
This time I was experimenting with quick sketch. Instead of really looking at proportions between shapes I started with one shape and based whole drawing on circles with specific ratios.

That's why the nose it too big :bongoCat: It's easy to get lost when you loose reference and try to go faster with

jimp, avatar

@toga @grayrattus Another vote for Platinum pens with slip-and-seal (which is most of them, even the super inexpensive ones like Preppy), they seal exceptionally well.

jimp, to fountainpens avatar

I used some clear UV cure resin to block the safety holes on a few Kakunos to hopefully stop them from drying out as quickly. It wasn't happening too fast but faster than expected. Too early to tell if the resin helped, especially since two are not inked at the moment (waiting on more CON-70s I ordered to arrive).

Have to look close to even see the difference visibly.

Now I just need to remember not to swallow them.

timixretroplays, to random avatar

Building computers continues to be harder than it should be. Gigabyte didn't label the front panel connector pins on my motherboard, likely because they ran out of space in which to do so, but it seems like their support website has also run out of something today.

jimp, avatar

@timixretroplays That was one thing I appreciated about one of the recent Asus boards I built a system around a year or two ago. It had a separate loose connector block piece with labels that you plug all the front panel connectors into and then that block in turn plugged into the motherboard FP header. It was one of the easiest methods I've ever seen.

paradoxmo, to random avatar

Anyone know anything about this pen, OSOA A016? it’s on Bobby’s ChinesePen store. Seems to have decent user reviews, but I’ve never heard of this thing

jimp, avatar

@paradoxmo I haven't seen that one before, but I have to wonder about the clip being on the back. Usually the retractables have the clip near the nib so it points up in the pocket and is less likely to be a problem if it leaks. I find the clip gets in the way of my grip on my Majohn A1, but I like having a clip, so this is an interesting alternative.

For $10 it may be worth a shot at least.

jimp, to fountainpens avatar

It's no secret the Pilot CON-40 is not a great converter for fountain pen ink, but once you learn the trick to filling them almost full it's not quite so bad. I still don't like them, but this makes them a little more tolerable.

This video is one of a few I watched when trying to figure it out:

jimp, avatar

@aeberbach I have one as well (and some eyedroppers) I just haven't felt compelled to go that route yet. I prefer the way converters work and how they prime the feed when filling. I also like how converters tend to have a rubber or similar seal instead of relying on friction fit plastic alone.

Plus with my luck I have little confidence that I'd be able to syringe fill cartridges without making a mess with my clumsy hands.

YmirFP, to random avatar

I've got an idea for the community here. Lets show everybody our best writers! I mean the pens that you reach for when you need to write with absolute confidence, those that will never skip a stroke, has perfect flow and the exact amount of feedback you like.

jimp, avatar

@YmirFP I don't have pictures of them all handy but the pens I have which most fit the criteria are:

  • Any Platinum pen I have with slip-and-seal caps (Century 3776, Plaisir, Desk Pen, Preppy). They all seal perfectly so they don't dry up and always write well.

  • Any TWSBI pen (Diamond 580, ECO), they also never miss a beat.

Honorable mention to Hongdians

As much as I like the inexpensive Pilots (Kakuno, Prera, Lightive, Metropolitan) they all seem to dry up on me if left unattended.

jimp, avatar

@paradoxmo Currently I have it inked with GvFC Carbon Black (dye-based, not pigmented). It doesn't completely dry out like some but if it sits a while (stored flat) it takes some scribbling to get it going again.

jimp, avatar

@paradoxmo It's possible I've been unlucky in some way there, too. I only recently got the hang of getting a CON-40 completely full and I need to re-ink that pen soon so maybe it'll behave better with a full converter.

jimp, avatar

@paradoxmo I didn't have a spare CON-70 at the time I got this pen and the shop I ordered from was out of stock, but I'll grab another next time I order more ink/pens/whatever. Though once you know how to fill up a CON-40 nearly full it does work a lot better. It just takes some effort.

jimp, to fountainpens avatar

Latest "Inexpensive pen with a little critter on it" acquisition: Kaigelu 316A EF. Not bad so far. Looks nice and writes well for ~$27 USD.

Short clip showing the color better:

jimp, to Indiana avatar

Here's my obligatory blurry phone camera totality shot. I told myself after the last eclipse that I would not attempt to turn into an astrophotographer for this one, even though I was in 100% totality for >3 minutes. I kept to that and I didn't drag out the "good" cameras or buy/make filters. I snapped a couple pics on my phone and a took a short video and spent most of the time just observing. Was very cool (literally and figuratively)!

jimp, to fountainpens avatar

Here's a fresh-ish grid comparing a variety of EF and similar fountain pen nibs. I tried to limit it to pen+inks with thinner lines to keep it manageable.

Still some variance by ink but not a ton in this group. I tried to use more Diamine Sapphire Blue, which is a bit on the dry side compared to Pilot Iroshizuku inks.

The Platinum UEF is still the best. Kakuno is still the next best. Penmanship is nearly the same as Kakuno.

paradoxmo, to fountainpens avatar

Update on Kaweco trademark shenanigans from a real intellectual property lawyer on Reddit:

Summary: they are trying to get an international trademark registration on the design of the Sport, and faceted pens in general. So far, they’ve been denied, and are appealing.

jimp, avatar

@paradoxmo I used to not buy them because of so many complaints about nib inconsistency, but now I also don't buy them because of these sorts of tactics.

I 100% understand they need to take measures for trademark/IP protection but they keep going a bit too far and overreaching each time I read something new.

olivvybee, to random avatar

I still can’t believe £70 video games are just A Thing now

jimp, avatar

@olivvybee Current AAA game prices are quite high but I also remember new Sega Genesis games being $60 USD in the early 90s which would be something like $150 USD today (~120 GBP).

It sucks, but it could be so much worse if those prices had kept up with inflation.

jimp, to fountainpens avatar

HongDian 1861 Black Forest Pro in Raw Brass with Long Blade nib.

Had this for a week or two now, it's been great so far. Has a bit of heft to it since it's brass, but not so heavy it's a problem for me. The long blade nib writes very smoothly and has an interesting variation to the line width depending on the angle of the nib when writing. The nib also has an engraved image of a planet with a ring and a rocket ship, which is fun.

Close up photo of a fountain pen nib viewed from the top down. The nib has an engraving of a planet with a single ring around it, and a rocket ship underneath. The company name "Hong Dian" is under the rocket. The are additional lines engraved around the image.
Close up photo of a fountain pen nib viewed from the side. The nib has a uniquely shaped tip that resembles a blade that protrudes in line with the center of the nib. The feed is visible under the nib.

jimp, to pens avatar

HongDian sure seems to love putting cats and birds on their pens. And from what I'm told, they also have a bunch of other designs out there including rabbits, and various shapes and drawings

For inexpensive fountain pens (~$10-26) they look, feel, and write great. These are metal, too, which means they can put up with a fair amount of banging around, though that does increase the weight.

Details about each one in the alt text.

jimp, to fountainpens avatar
jimp, to fountainpens avatar

Once again I must resist drinking the forbidden Kool-Aid.

jimp, to pens avatar

Figured out a slightly better way to compare fountain pen nibs but it takes much longer!

Most interesting new bit is that I grabbed a four pack of cheap Yongsheng 3008 EF which makes it possible to see the difference between inks in the "same" pen.

Also realized it would help to try nibs both forward and reverse (upside-down) as that tends to produce an even thinner line.

It almost looks like a flannel pattern.

Best performers are the same, though!

jimp, avatar

@paradoxmo Good to know about how Wing Sung handles their models/brands. I'll be sure to stay far away from anything Paili/3000-range!

And yes, the Kakuno EF is the best price/performance in EF out there, it's near the top of my image there. Followed closely by Jinhao's UF/03 nib and Asvine EF.

The Platinum UEF is the best all-around but so expensive it's not a fair comparison to $10-30 pens.

I have a couple more pens on the way already but now trying different size/shapes/colors not nibs.

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