Showing posts with label fountain pen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fountain pen. Show all posts

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wing Sung 612 Fountain Pen

chinese fountain pen wing sung 612
Wing Sung 612 fountain pen
     Today I will share with you my very old Wing Sung 612 fountain pen, which is a Chinese Parker 51 look alike fountain pen. The one I have features a plastic body in teal, a hooded nib that is not perfectly centered to the body, a metal cap and the trim that are plated in gold color. The filling system is an aerometric sac. And the most important thing is that you can get it for peanuts, or a similar one similar as this one is a classic.


But this is not all to it. It is actually the fountain pen I had and used during the first years of school when writing with a fountain pen was mandatory.
I found it recently in a drawer and inked it up for a test drive.

The pen looks really good if you take into consideration it was used by a young boy 6 - 10 years old about 25 years ago. It has scratches on the cap, and on the body. The ones on the cap show more because of the finish. Also, the clip has a slight bend to it, and the trim on the end of the barrel is a bit discolored.
The cap is a friction style, with no snap. But it stays well on the pen and there is no risk of falling off. Ideal for taking notes. Because the section is smooth you can hold it anywhere. I tend to use a high grip on this fountain pen.
The clip is hinged and is secure, but the tip of it is a bit sharp and scratchy. I have carried it for a short time in the same pouch with my Faber Castell Loom and it managed to scratch the body of the Loom.
The filling system is not a very good one. You have a bladder that you squeeze to push the air out and let the ink in. I don't like it and I feel a converter or cartridge would be better. But at that time this system was the popular one. After looking at more modern Parker 51 style fountain pens I was very happy to see that modern Chinese hooded nib fountain pens use a converter. And I will probably try one of those.

What I like a lot is the cap, which is held in place by friction, and for an office environment is the perfect cap. You can take it off very fast and just take a few notes and then put it back on. Also, you can leave the fountain pen uncapped for longer with no drying issues.

If I do not write with it for a couple of days it can have hard starts or if left unused for longer it can dry out.

For me, the pen feels thin, and for longer writing sessions is uncomfortable. Also, the pen is very light and if you write more you have to use force to put the ink down, or at least this is the sensation I get when writing more. On the other hand, a heavy metal fountain pen like the Faber Castell Loom sticks to the paper due to its weight, I just have to steer it.

Looking with the 20x loupe at the tip I have noticed that the sweet spot is a bit asymmetric. I mean the sweet spot is 2/3 on the right tine while the left one only has about 1/3 of the sweet spot. This makes me curious if it was a "defect" or this was caused by the many pages written and the way I used to hold the fountain pen.

Image from the internet, I haven't kept the package
When I was in school, the diversity of fountain pens available was a lot smaller than today. So these fountain pens were the go-to pen, 99% of my colleagues were using it. Wing Sung, Hero and other similar Chinese brands that were imitating the Parker fountain pen. The only diversity came from their colors.
Every time I pick it in hand it amazes me how good the fountain pen writes. You do not have high expectations for a cheap old Chinese fountain pen. But this is proof you can spend less than 5 $ and get a great writer that will last you for a very long time.
I would say in terms of economics this fountain pen can rival any cheap ballpoint on the market in the long run.

But in the end, I have to give credit where credit is due. It is a cheap fountain pen that can last a lifetime, that writes good, it puts down a steady wet line, no skips, no hard starts.
I have found a lot of reviews of Chinese fountain pens where people say that the Chinese are learning to make better fountain pens, that can write smooth at an accessible price.
I would like to say that they were making them a long time ago.
So wonder no more, just a few dollars can get you a fountain pen that will last you for a lifetime. It is incredible how accessible these fountain pens are.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

My watch - fountain pen combo

 
This is my setup, a very nice Faber Castell Loom fountain pen with F nib, all grey metallic version along with a Casio AE 1200 HD (the Bond watch or Casio Royale).
It is a simple setup, that I really enjoy and ware a lot. The Casio is a very nice design, that is standing out from the crowd, with a retro twist to it, and a great world time function. I think this is the cheapest and coolest GMT watch you can get (I mean coolest for low priced watches). The watch has an analog style clock that always shows your local time, the main dial shows local time or a different time zone. You get a very nice feature, a world map where the time zone you are in is highlighted. Also, you get an LED light that is a nice amber color plus features that are common for digital watches, like alarms, chime, timer and a countdown timer. The Casio is 100 meter water resistant.

Not as good when it comes to water resistance is the Faber Castell Loom metallic fountain pen. But I love it the way it is. It is an all metal body that doesn't show fingerprints. It has a grey color. The cap is the make it or break it part of this fountain pen. Many are put off by it, as it is different from almost everything on the market. The rest are put off by the weight of the fountain pen. The rest just love it.
The cap is made out of plastic and can come in many strong colors. I chose the grey one, or better said, it chose me as it was the only option available with an F nib in my local shop at that time, and any other color I had to order it and wait for it.


I am curious to see your set up or ideas of a watch - fountain pen combo that would look nice together.





Thursday, February 21, 2019

Match the watch to the fountain pen.

It starts to become a trend, Rolex plus a fountain pen are the best matches. Previously I showed a possibility to match the Montegrappa Rainbow fountain pen with your watch, a Rolex Rainbow. This would give a very interesting vibe I guess, matching the belt with the shoes seems very outdated. :)
Another Rolex and another cool fountain pen. The TWSBI Diamond red-blue (Pepsi) would go really well with the Rolex Explorer GMT Pepsi bezel. I would choose the white dial version of the Rolex for a better match.
I could have gone with any of the beautiful watches available with pepsi bezel like the Seiko, Orient, Tudor, or other. But I think when you think pepsi bezel you immediately imagine a Rolex.

 
Rolex Explorer II GMT Pepsi bezel
 
TWSBI Diamond Red Blue (Pepsi)

I think you could use as well a Koh-I-Noor red-blue pencil or another brand that you like, to complete the look of your EDC.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Fountain pen nib work, my story

There are a number of good videos from competent people that show you how to do that.
After watching and reading I did my own thing, of course. But we make mistakes and sometimes we learn from them.
First I did a little work on my Preppy. It was scratchy in one direction so I thought I should address it. Aligning the tongues on the nib was the first step. After very many tries I failed and gave up the strategy.
My second step was to "polish", more like grind the nib using ceramic. The back of a cup which was smooth enough for the task. I tried sandpaper 1200 but I only made it worse.
So back to the cup. After a lot of figures 8, circles in both direction and rocking the nib left to right, right to left, up and down, I came to an acceptable finish.
I also spread the tongues a little bit to make it wetter (this made it broader also). The last step was the polishing. I used a glass and done figure 8. The glass is smoother than the ceramic so it made it a little more paper friendly.
But after these experiments, I am pleased with the fountain pen. It does not scratch in any direction, it writes well with no feed problem, the ink keeps up with the nib regardless of speed or direction.
Of course, I did not stop here.
I had to tweak my other fountain pen the Faber Castell Loom.
There was a lot of voices in my head saying don't do it, for God sake DO NOT DO IT, but being the person I am I could not help myself.
I noticed a problem after I took it apart and reassemble it for the first time.
It wasn't writing as I remembered it. It was drier. If I was moving my hand quick to underline something or sign a paper the ink would not keep up with the nib.
I could not leave it like this knowing that is something wrong with it and the pen could write a lot better.
At a later time, I figured it out, how I managed to ruin the nice feel of it. The nib was not set properly from the factory and it had a slight wobble. Being my first serious pen I did not know I could just push it inside a bit more and I was constantly realigning the nib to the feed by pressing the tip of the nib to the paper I was using. This made the tongues to get closer and closer at the tip. I did this so I would not get ink on my fingers.
Anyway...

So I tried to make it wetter. I applied light pressure on the nib to spread it apart. But it didn't work very well. I fell the nib after a short time just takes its initial form. So I brought out the big guns.
The first problem, I do not have a magnifier glass
The second problem, I do not have a brass shim

But where is a way there is a solution.
First I took the nib out of the fountain pen and used the bathroom fluorescent light to see if the spread between the tongues is consistent. It shows very well, just put the nib in front of the light.
It has to be a fluorescent because is a source of light that does not blind you.
The tip of the nib was really close. So without a shim, I improvised. I picked up an old style razor blade and used it as a shim.
One important note. Be gentle! when prying the nib, I put a little too much pressure and I slightly bent one of the tongues (very slightly) to the left. Because of this, the nib would scratch a little bit as it grabbed the paper. To fix this I used something I do not recommend. Cover your eyes and ears, I used a plier and extra light touches as I couldn't straighten it by hand.
To check how I need to align it I did vertical up-down lines and horizontal left to right and vice versa, and finally a 45 degree angle. This way you can determine if one of the tongues is misaligned. Another method to check it out is using the camera on the phone plus a flashlight as you need a lot of light to focus well and see any imperfections, or just buy a cheap magnifier. I did finally buy a magnifier but after I went through all the trouble. It is much more fun this way.
Because the Faber Castell Loom has such a great nib I did not try polishing it in any way. I just checked the alignment after I made it wetter.
I am happy the pen writes very well now, and the feel of it in the hand is great. Also, I am glad I did not ruin it.

And before you get into nib work, make sure you have cleaned it. Also, consider that the nib will feel different on different papers and when using different inks. Some inks are more fluid than others.
Plus, never use Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red, there is nothing brilliant about that :)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Rolex and a Montegrappa

I have talked before why people chose to use a fountain pen. My conclusion is they chose for the same reason they chose to wear a mechanical watch. And I think the two are a match made in heaven.
Maybe Rolex Rainbow is not the most conspicuous watch to wear, but I think it will go really well with the Montegrappa Rainbow. Assorting your watch with the fountain pen could be a new trend.





And I think that was what Nomos was trying to do with the rebranded Kaweco, even though for me both are more valuable on their own. Rather than having a weird branded fountain pen I would go for the "real" one if I can say so.
But maybe we should take the good idea behind this. When you buy a Kaweco make sure to buy a Nomos, and vice versa.

Follow the link to see the post with the first watch - fountain pen combo, a match made in heaven between Kaweco sport and Nomos.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

OEM Kaweco

In a previous post, I talked about similarities between fountain pens and mechanical watches. It is clear that others have thought about this because Nomos is selling Kaweco Aluminium Sport on their site, branded with Nomos Glashutte. 
The price for the Nomos branded fountain pen version is about the same with the price of the Kaweco one. $ 72 (I made the comparison using the jetpens site, but take into consideration that the shipping is free from the Nomos site for most parts of the world while jetpens delivers with no cost in US)


"DESCRIPTION
Kaweco, a stationery company founded back in 1883 that once turned Heidelberg into the center of the German fountain pen industry, also produces pens for NOMOS Glashütte—since this is something NOMOS can’t do.
The design of these pens is rooted in the 1930’s, while the choice of materials employed is right up-to-date—they are produced from untreated, hand-polished aluminum. In other words: Life may leave its mark on the pen in the form of small scratches, dents, a fine patina, and other beautiful traces of time. That said, it comes with a protective cover—for traveling, for example—in the form of a black Jepard leather pouch. 

DETAILS
NOMOS’ aluminum fountain pen has a particularly soft steel nib (with an iridium tip, nib size M). 10.5 cm in length, or 13.5 cm when in use (with the lid attached to the end). Comes with a soft case made of black Jepard leather. Customers in the United States, please note: due to US Customs restrictions, orders delivered to the United States are shipped without an ink cartridge. Not to worry though, you can purchase these from your local office supply store online retailer under the name, "international standard cartridge"

I wonder, would you go for the Nomos version if you already own a Nomos watch or stick to the Kaweco original? Isn't this like wearing an Audi watch?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

What is the similarity between fountain pens and mechanical watches?

Whats the difference between a groundhog and an eagle?

They both live underground except for the eagle.


A good joke that is appropriate for this topic. Why do we use these things? Fountain pens and mechanical watches should be a thing of the past. But they are not, actually they are doing well.
Many years ago I think Bill Gates dream was an office without any paper or pen. A vision that is far-fetched even today when we have all the gadgets around. We have computers and laptops, on which you can type a lot faster than you can write by hand, the letters are more legible, it is not user specific. You can easily edit papers, search documents, it is incredible. Now we have high-performance phones that are up to 1000 $. You have it on you all the time so you can type some memos, notes, reminders, to do lists, you can even use speech recognition to talk to your phone.
vintage fountain pen print advertisment
Parker advertisement
A few years back most people thought that stationary shops where a thing of the past, and it will not take long until they will disappear.
Well, what happened? They are still around, you can find them all over town, in malls, online.
Maybe it is because sometimes freehand writing is more convenient, you are not limited by a word editing software, you have the ability to do quick sketches, representations, graphs and so more. So this explains partially the existence of pen and paper in an office.
But coming back to my initial question, why do we keep using fountain pens and why are they so similar to mechanical watches? 
For me, it's more of a newly discovered hobby. I was not a fan of fountain pens in school, I used one from the 1st to the 4th grade, because it was mandatory. Ballpoints or pencils were not allowed.
My first fountain pen and second (I think I had 2, because the first one cracked) were a Parker copy Hero but I do not know the model number. They were green, that I can remember and had a gold cap (not of real gold of course).
I stopped using them after the fourth grade and didn't look back until in recent time.


So why people still use fountain pens? They have a lot of disadvantages. To name some of them:
       Most of the ink is not waterproof, and smudges. I agree there are inks that are water resistant but are expensive, not widely available (i only found 1 locally in a single shop)
       It is very affected by light (again there are more permanent inks but as well they are expensive and difficult to procure)
       The ink is wet, and on cheaper paper, it can bleed on the other side, or it can feather. On the opposite side on glossy paper, it needs a longer period to dry and there is the risk of smudging it. Because of drying time, it is difficult to be a left-handed person and write with a fountain pen. Not all pens and inks will work.
      Most pens hold small amounts of ink, and these means many refills which sometimes can be a dirty job. You need to carry with you backup pens or cartridges in case you run out of ink. There are options like eyedroppers which hold very large amounts of ink, but then you risk blurping ink. Why does this happen? Because you have too much ink inside, or better said, too much air when you use up the ink. So the solution is refilling it constantly and not let the ink levels to go under 1/2 or 1/3. This defeats the purpose of the eyedropper fountain pen.
      Dealing with ink is most of the times messy, and you will have ink on your hands, clothes, and furniture if you are really that lucky one. Sometimes pens leak, sometimes you are not careful enough when refilling it, or you do not clean it thoroughly after filling it.
      Nibs are fragile things, too much pressure, dropping the fountain pen uncapped can mean that you are going to buy a new fountain pen.
      Even thought fountain pens are premium products in most cases and have an accordingly high price they are far from perfect. Most of the times the nib is not aligned as it should and you have to mess with it to get the best writing experience.

In many situations, they are a thing of the past. There are better options there that overcome most of the problems of fountain pens. Ballpoints have come a long way and good refills write consistent, with very little pressure (there are heavier ballpoints that write under there own pressure), they last a long time, you don't need to worry about refilling it every day or every week. You can just have them laying around, you do not need to worry about them drying out. Most of the ballpoints inks are considerably less affected by water and sun.
You have mechanical pencils. They do not offer the opportunity of getting messy, they write consistently, you have various lead sizes and grades. It is very easy to refill and a refill pack is minuscule. They can last a lifetime as well as the writing. The effect of the sun is almost inexistent. There are rollers, gel pens, and many other writing instruments.

Why don't we ditch the fountain pen for good?
In my opinion is the same thing the mechanical watches are still around us and prosper.
Why would you buy a mechanical watch that is not as accurate as a quartz one, it has far fewer features, and any simple feature (like a chronograph) means a lot more money. From a quartz watch you can get accurate time, smaller price tag, solar charging, batteries that last 10 years, time synchronization with an atomic clock, multiple alarms, timers, countdown timer, time zones, GPS, barometric pressure, automatic time zones, illumination, ruggedness and much much more.

Because the fountain pen like the mechanical watch is a thing of beauty. It does not need to be cheap, simple, easy to live with. It fulfills the need for the old-fashioned way of doing things. They are classy a thing of beauty that you can pass on, even in this age of consumerism. They are a dependent way of getting the job done that was proved over many years. It is the way to connect with the past, our roots. It is the way to regain the love for doing things "by hand" and the love for analog.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Montblanc fountain pen in The Infiltrator

movie infiltrator signature fountain pen
Another spotting on the big screen, but this time is of a different magnitude. Mostly you see actors using pencils or ballpoints, but in the movie The Infiltrator, Bryan Cranston uses a fountain pen. It is a very short appearance. The fountain pen used is a nice white and silver. Very classy and elegant.
movie infiltrator writing fountain pen
If you take a closer look the fountain pen has the grip and the top part silver color. The barrel is a mate white.
On the grip, there is some engraving. The cap is a screw type.
movie infiltrator writing fountain pen
The fountain pen featured is a Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire. It is a very nice fountain pen with a gold nib 18k plated with Rhodium. The grip section, end of the barrel and the clip is platinum plated.
On the grip, there is a beautiful engraving with Montblanc.
The price of the pen is between $ 650 - $ 1000.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Platinum Preppy, first fountain pen

platinum preppy 0.3 writing under 10 usd good fountain pen

The Preppy is my first fountain pen .. sort of. I had used fountain pens in the elementary school and I stopped using them as soon as I finished it. The use of a fountain pen was not a requirement in higher grades. I switched to a ballpoint without looking back.
I can say I was traumatized by the fountain pen in my early school years. Ok traumatized is a bit much but I did not like the constant need of refilling it, I always had dirty hands, the ink smudged, and many times drips of ink were in the cap because of the handling.
For some time I wanted to test a fountain pen, and after a bit of research, i went for the Platinum Preppy. It is a nice looking pen, demonstrator style. In the shops, most fountain pens are for kids but this one is great for everyone.
cheap and good fountain pen

The pen comes in a plastic bag, nothing fancy.
The first thing I did was to remove the writing from the barrel. I tried to use a rag and alcohol. It works but it is not easy, so I used the back of the Opinel blade. I managed not to scratch the plastic while removing the writing, but you need to be careful.
cheap good fountain pen preppy

Now instead of the ugly logo plus a ton of fine print, I can see the ink and the inside. I like the clear plastic look. It's modern, convenient as you can see if you are running low on ink plus it is not too flashy.
platinum preppy mod erase writing

The build quality is not one of the best. For example, the threads on the barrel are twice the size of the thread on the nib section. It fits well but you can see that some corners had been cut to save money.
The writing experience.
Since this is a new hobby it is hard to properly evaluate the performance. But I will say that the nib was a bit scratchy while moving it to the right. It put me off and I start messing with it. I tried realigning the tongs, then polished the nib on the back of a ceramic cup. It writes a lot smoother but wider and wetter. I like the result and I think there is still some work to be done.
Overall the fact you have to mess with it is not a big minus. There are a lot more expensive fountain pens that come with a substandard nib out of the box. 
This is an aspect of the fountain pen world that I do not like.
So I would say that for such a cheap pen and such a fine nib (0.3 mm) it is not a deal breaker.
I found out that I enjoy writing with a fountain pen. I wrote nonsense worth of 10 pages. Just for fun 😃 
Maybe I will try a conversion to an eyedropper.

Considering that I like using a fountain pen so much I will probably buy a better pen soon after all the Preppy served its purpose. I just wanted to see if I will use a fountain pen or I will stick to my old trusty mechanical pencils.