Writing Instrument

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What do you prefer?

Mechanical Pencil
92
36%
Pencil
26
10%
Ballpoint Pen
58
23%
Gel Pen
28
11%
Fountain Pen
37
15%
Other
13
5%
 
Total votes: 254

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keeneal
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby keeneal » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:31 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:
keeneal wrote:And ink won't spill anywhere unless you try (or drop the pen).
I don't remember writing that - I think you're refering to this post - which, oddly enough, I'm not so much as mentioned in.

EmptySet wrote:what the actual benefit of either of those is supposed to be?
None (to my mind, anyway)- I figured that they aren't exactly $80 pens and they aren't quite so pretentious-looking as a lot of others are, so maybe you'd like to know they existed, since the other drawbacks you mention seem to be mostly non-issues (at least judging by this thread).I don't use them myself, but I know a lot of who do like them very much. If I decide to one day try a fountain pen, it'll probably be something along those lines.That's all. As I've said, I use TUL or Pilot brand gels for the most part - although I recently found on the floor a rollerball (BIC Z4 .7mm) which I've grown fond of.

Also: I didn't catch the whole "I live across the planet" thing - my bad - but eBay could probably do something for you.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Windowlicker » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:15 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:I mean, I'm not writing the Magna Carta here; I just want a pen that I find comfortable and which writes reliably and legibly without causing a nuisance.

I find them extremely comfortable to write with.. and I guess everyone else on this side of the conversation would too. And as we've said, the Lamys are incredibly reliable.
I don't know if it exists (or has an equivalent) over there, but here in the UK, John Lewis carries a range of Lamy pens (and many other fountain pens). They start at about £10, and even with ink I think will be either cheaper or roughly the same as all the ballpoint/biros that you'll go through/lose in the time you have it.

EmptySet wrote:As for replacing disposable pens, I can literally buy them a dozen at time from the newsagent for less than the price of your fountain pen. Or, you know, buy a couple of nice ones and then buy a whole box of replacement cartridges, which take about ten seconds to change and last for months.

I think I recently bought a few boxes of Lamy ink cartridges for about £1.60 each, with 5 cartridges in each box. Each cartridge will last me anywhere from 1-3 weeks. I don't know about you, but that seems reasonable to me.

EmptySet wrote:
TNorthover wrote:Ballpoints hate me and I get far more smudging with them than a fountain pen. The ink always seems to build up on one corner until it gets deposited as a ~1mm globe on the paper; it's downhill from there. Perhaps I just hold them strangely.


Really? I've rarely had that problem. Could just be a bad pen. Have you tried different types?


I've also had that problem with every ballpoint I've tried.. (even that £50 Cross one I had for a while). Maybe it's just my writing style, I don't know.

EmptySet wrote:
Windowlicker wrote:And ink won't spill anywhere unless you try (or drop the pen).


I am a busy student who travels on overcrowded trains and writes on wobbly fold-out half-desks. My pen maintenance routine consists of "throw pen in bag, get jostled a lot and throw bag around." I would rather not be carrying something prone to destroying all my lecture notes when it gets so much as dropped. I've dropped my ballpoint dozens of times and it has consistently failed to leak at all.


"Destroying all my lecture notes" seems a gross exaggeration, that's not quite the level of leakage we're talking about. After having my pen thrown across the room, the inside of the cap may have some ink in it, the nib will be a bit messy and the.. erm.. grip section.. may also have some ink on it. All of these problems will be solved by 10 seconds with a tissue. The only way I think you'd get it on your notes is by holding it at the end and swinging it into one of your fingers (which I haven't felt the need to do for about 5 years; spattering notes with ink drops seems less fun nowadays).


Also I picked up a Rexel Blackedge today.. google tells me it's a carpenters' pencil. Can anyone inform me as to why a rectangular pencil would be more useful for working with wood?

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:17 pm UTC

Because when you set it down for a second, it won't roll away.

*edit* and apparently so you can make thick and thin lines with it by rotating it and using a different edge of the lead.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Windowlicker » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

I should probably get out more.. those are both so obvious that I'm pretty much crying for not having realised them before.
But then, I did a couple of weeks' work with some carpenters a year or two ago, and they just used regular pencils that they threw into their toolbelts (or behind an ear) when they weren't using them.
I mostly bought it because it looked unusual.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:42 pm UTC

There's a lot of really obvious things that people completely missed, so don't be to hard on yourself.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Slavaa » Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:42 pm UTC

I'll have to say pencil, if only because I have the worst luck with anything higher than that on a technological level.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby CombustibleLemons » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:25 am UTC

Really whatever is around. I'll use a pencil if I can. It just feels right, a sharp pencil on paper. Also a mechanical pencil just feels fake.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby EmptySet » Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:42 am UTC

keeneal wrote:
EmptySet wrote:
keeneal wrote:And ink won't spill anywhere unless you try (or drop the pen).
I don't remember writing that - I think you're refering to this post - which, oddly enough, I'm not so much as mentioned in.


Oh, I'm terribly sorry. Don't know what happened there.

Windowlicker wrote:
EmptySet wrote:I mean, I'm not writing the Magna Carta here; I just want a pen that I find comfortable and which writes reliably and legibly without causing a nuisance.

I find them extremely comfortable to write with.. and I guess everyone else on this side of the conversation would too. And as we've said, the Lamys are incredibly reliable.
I don't know if it exists (or has an equivalent) over there, but here in the UK, John Lewis carries a range of Lamy pens (and many other fountain pens). They start at about £10, and even with ink I think will be either cheaper or roughly the same as all the ballpoint/biros that you'll go through/lose in the time you have it.

EmptySet wrote:As for replacing disposable pens, I can literally buy them a dozen at time from the newsagent for less than the price of your fountain pen. Or, you know, buy a couple of nice ones and then buy a whole box of replacement cartridges, which take about ten seconds to change and last for months.

I think I recently bought a few boxes of Lamy ink cartridges for about £1.60 each, with 5 cartridges in each box. Each cartridge will last me anywhere from 1-3 weeks. I don't know about you, but that seems reasonable to me.


My current ballpoint has lasted six months without an ink change, and as as I said it cost about AU$2 (which is less than a box of ink cartridges which you say lasts 5 - 15 weeks). Obviously I don't know how much you're writing, but I can't remember having a ballpoint that didn't last several months, even when I was regularly writing forty-page lab reports, so I think it's unlikely that ink for a fountain pen would actually be cheaper than ballpoints. Plus it would be seven or eight years at the very least before the cost of replacements even reached the cost of a fountain pen alone, with no ink, and that's assuming I'm buying whole pens one at a time. While there may be reasons for purchasing a fountain pen, I really don't think economy is one of them.

As an aside, I find my current pen quite comfortable (or I wouldn't be using it). It's not that I'm saying fountain pens aren't, but I don't see that they're actually offering me much that a decent ballpoint doesn't.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby spupy » Tue May 04, 2010 10:36 pm UTC

More than year and a half ago me and a friend bought some no-name couple-of-bucks fountain pens for kicks. Surprisingly I liked mine, and a month or two later bought a Lamy AL-star. It is a cheap (~20€) pen, but its aluminium body looks very good in my eyes. The pump-refiller (or whatever the thing is called) plus a bottle of ink have been providing for over an year now. Unfortunately I didn't keep the pen in a case or anything and the aluminium body has a lot of scratches. I still like it - it has sort of a rugged battle-worn look.
When its time has ended and it must go to the fountain pen heaven I will buy the exact same pen. Lamy AL-Star! There is literally no other pen that I like as much as that one.

Funny thing I noticed is that my handwriting looks different when using the Lamy vs using a ballpoint. I've almost exclusively used the Lamy for more than an year now, and writing with a ballpoint feels like carving drawings on a cave wall.

There is something I wanted to know; a question to all not-fountain pen users: Do fountain pen users look pretentious or hipster-y?
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby keeneal » Wed May 05, 2010 12:40 am UTC

spupy wrote:There is something I wanted to know; a question to all not-fountain pen users: Do fountain pen users look pretentious or hipster-y?
I notice when people are using them simply because they're irregular. I do the same if I notice someone is writing in purple or pink instead of black or blue.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Cloud Walker » Wed May 05, 2010 4:56 am UTC

spupy wrote:There is something I wanted to know; a question to all not-fountain pen users: Do fountain pen users look pretentious or hipster-y?


I'm way more likely to make a comment like "neat pen" than to judge you based on what you're writing with.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Arancaytar » Wed May 05, 2010 11:00 am UTC

Fountain pens look elegant, but tend to leave smears and irregular lines. So I prefer gel pens. I go through about one of them per month, but use a mechanical pencil for diagrams. I also ritualized the process of laying them out on the desk before the lecture starts. (Obsessive? Not at all. :P )
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Red Rule » Sun May 09, 2010 9:44 am UTC

I basically have a doctors note which says that my handwritting is crap.
so laptop all the way for me, or when I can't use my laptop: notes in cartoon form :P
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby DecemberSoul » Sun May 09, 2010 5:13 pm UTC

Writing with a fountain pen is immensely pleasurable.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:38 am UTC

I don't always write without my laptop, but when I do I use a pencil. I love how you can erase your mistakes, I love how you can find them anywhere, and I love how easy they are to fix if they 'break down'.

"Damnit, my pencil broke!!! Oh, well, I'll just sharpen it!"
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby LordMantir » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:22 am UTC

I use a fountain pen - a cheap and fairly naff one but it works - and ink is, well, incredibly cheap. 60 ink cartridges for less than £5, each cartridge lasts maybe 2 weeks? I've also found that if you want really fine lines with a fountain pen all you need to do is flip it over and use the 'back' of the nib - great for tiny annotations.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Arancaytar » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:20 pm UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:I don't always write without my laptop, but when I do I use a pencil. I love how you can erase your mistakes, I love how you can find them anywhere, and I love how easy they are to fix if they 'break down'.

"Damnit, my pencil broke!!! Oh, well, I'll just sharpen it!"


Though it is frustrating to write with a stub, but you have plenty of warning before you have to get a new one, after all. (Unlike a mechanical pencil, which needs no sharpening but once simply ran empty on me in the middle of writing.)
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby General_Norris » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:21 pm UTC

As the OP I also use gel pens (Pilot, if I'm not mistaken). I can't stand rollerball ones (Those average-looking Bic ones if I'm not misktaken), you need to press too hard for it to write and the result is not of a very strong color. You need to make a small circle to write a full stop, you can't just tap and keep writing.

It's not that I dislike using these kind of pens, I can't use them. I write so slowly and the result is so messy I'm better off walking out of class and buting a new pen.

Also I hate pencils. Too inconsistent trail and not enough contrast with the paper.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby EmptySet » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:43 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:As the OP I also use gel pens (Pilot, if I'm not mistaken). I can't stand rollerball ones (Those average-looking Bic ones if I'm not misktaken), you need to press too hard for it to write and the result is not of a very strong color. You need to make a small circle to write a full stop, you can't just tap and keep writing.


Gel pens are actually a type of rollerball pen, they just use gel instead of liquid ink. The Bic ones you speak of would be ballpoints.

Also, some of those problems may just be a case of the pens in question being cheap and shoddy, rather than an issue with ballpoints in general. I can tap for a full stop with my current ballpoint, for instance, and although the colour isn't quite as strong as a gel pen it's more than dark enough to be readable even though I press very lightly. It's true that gel pens generally write better than ballpoints, but it's not a huge difference if you've got a decent ballpoint. They do both work on the same principle, after all - it's mostly the ink that's different.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby General_Norris » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:Gel pens are actually a type of rollerball pen, they just use gel instead of liquid ink. The Bic ones you speak of would be ballpoints.

Oj, thank you I'm getting confused.

Probably the quality of pens leaves something to be desired but even with some good-looking ones I run into trouble. My style of wrinting may have something to do with it though. I'm also very demaning when it comes to writting, I can't stand "dirtyness" and often write the same things over and over again until the result is good enough for me to keep. Either that or I write very fast and that is easier with a gel pen.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby EmptySet » Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:32 am UTC

Ah, yeah, if you demand that your writing be extremely clean I can see where you might want to use a gel pen (or a felt-tip). I'm kind of the opposite - my handwriting is always going to be a bit messy, so I'm not terribly fussed if the line isn't perfect, as long as it's still clear.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby LinuxPenguin » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:55 pm UTC

I have got a Cross mechanical pencil that i love to write with. It's just the right weight, and just feels perfect in my hand. That being said, i hardly ever write these days. If i need to jot something down, i usually have some iDevice on my person.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Mittagessen » Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:51 pm UTC

Definitely fountain pens. I am left-handed and I even manage to smudge while writing with a ballpoint pen (it's kind of hard to maintain the pressure to write with a ballpoint when you're an "overwriter").
I mainly used Lamys in the past (since 1st grade) and currently own a CP1. But after I got my Nakaya Piccolo with an extra fine nib I never touched anything else ^^ (don't get me wrong Lamys are still extremely good, albeit very "German" pens). It's perfect for note taking and the nib is just awesome.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby eternauta3k » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:23 am UTC

I write my notes in a cheap parker fountain pen. Back in primary school they made us use fountain pens, and everyone stopped using them as soon as we were allowed. I kept using it because it's much smoother than ballpoint pen.

My only complaint is how wide the stroke is. When I want to highlight something I'll use the pen correctly, and the rest of the time I use it upside-down. The thing is it's more scratchy when used like this.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Sid Beretta » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:34 am UTC

You know, I prefer ballpoint pens. The cheaper the better.

Nice gel pens? I make a mess. I'm a terrible writer.

Cheap ballpoints you had mass produced with your company's logo on the side? I'll take a dozen.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby lws » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:58 pm UTC

Fountain pens all the way, mainly because they don't need to be pressed into the page to make a decent line (with the wristache that entails.) This is important when you write on paper for eight hours a day.

1960's Sheaffer cartridge pens ("school pens") can be had for $5 and write as well as the $50 ones.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby It Should Be Real » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:42 pm UTC

I use a quill when I'm at home and near where it lives on my desk; it's black and made of an Ostrich feather and fun to flourish dramatically.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby supermario » Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:36 am UTC

Lately I've been using the Pentel .5 mm mechanical pencils. I like that you can twist out the eraser and refill it, but the lead gets stuck a lot. I sometimes prefer to write in pen (preferably Pilot .5 or .7), especially when not writing technical stuff.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:54 pm UTC

What, no love for the nib pen?

I generally prefer a cheapo ballpoint for everyday tasks. I have a nice fountain pen I got as a stocking stuffer, but which I haven't filled to date. I have a nib pen with a set of calligraphic nibs, which I use sometimes for sending fancible cards, or making little name cards for the catered food at my wedding, which I then completely forgot to set out on the table with the food... I was a little busy!

I don't like gel pens. They write too thickly, they smudge, and they strike me as somewhat wasteful in terms of cost and materials.

I like pencils okay, and they don't have to be mechanical, but I take great issue with the smudging of the graphite. I don't know why people insist on using pencils for working out math problems given how important it is to be able to see a record of the logical path you took in your solution. If you erase much, you're likely to lose track of exactly what you fucked up and where. Yes, I've done problems that take both sides of a single sheet even when you do them perfectly the first time (they don't call them "infinite binomials" for nothing), and I still don't think it's worth using a pencil just to save a little space. I'd much rather develop habits like writing legibly, spacing things well, and working out the problem in a way that presents a solution which is straightforward for my grader, coworker or peer to read and comprehend.

That, and I'm completely fucking sick of crappy mechanical pencils while simultaneously being unable to keep track of an expensive one OR its extra leads long enough to make it at all worth the price.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby prometheus89 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:20 pm UTC

Mechanical pencil if I'm doing something where I'm likely to make a mistake, but ballpoint pen for permanent / official writing.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Quantum Sunshine » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:15 pm UTC

I used to use normal pencils, but eventually stores (at least where I live) just stopped selling effective sharpeners. And to make matters worse, not all of my classes had sharpeners, and those that did have sharpeners probably didn't have very good sharpeners. So I started using mechanical pencils. Also, .7mm lead almost always breaks on me so I've opted to use .9mm lead instead, which luckily has never broken on me.

I don't use pens of any kind (unless it's required), because my handwriting is already bad enough.

I would type everything out, but that's usually not feasible or not allowed (Like on tests, worksheets, etc...).

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby fryersoncaptain » Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:25 pm UTC

When I'm doing normal writing, a mechanical pencil (preferably with a metal barrel) is more than sufficient. However, when I want to make a semi-official signature, or if I just feel like pretending to be somewhat important, I have a fountain pen that is used for that occasion.

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby mercuryseven » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:32 am UTC

[kidding] I use the hammer, chisel and stone.. :mrgreen: [/kidding]

In the past, like everyone else I use the mechanical pencil. Though recently I have taken to using the gel pen particularly for scribbling calculations (for those, I never need to erase). I like the "brightness" of the writing on paper by gel pen, it looks clean and clear. And the pen feels smooth on the paper too...

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby styrofoam » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:24 am UTC

I chose mechanical pencil. Too many crummy sharpeners give me broken pencils or pencils sharpened all on one side. :x

Pens are cool, and if I need very black writing for some reason, I'll use them. But, all else being equal, I choose a mechanical pencil.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby J the Ninja » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:23 am UTC

I use gel pens for pretty much everything. I love how dark and smooth they write. With ballpoints, I'm always pressing hard trying to get a thin, dark, even line that gels always put down effortlessly. If I'm doing math I'll use a mechanical pencil, but that is about it.
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby maricode » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:31 am UTC

Hi!
I'm new here, but hate intro threads.
Just posting here because I've been lurking on the board today, amazed by the geniuses here & afraid to post, but now that I see I'm in the majority of mechanical pencil users, I feel quite at home!!
TY :D

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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Number3Pencils » Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:05 pm UTC

I've actually been having a bit of a quandary on this topic, in that I can't find the right kind of pen.

To answer the main question: for general purposes, see my username. I use #3s because they're harder than #2s and so they last longer and I don't have to sharpen them nearly as often. Wood over mechanical because I'm old-fashioned but also because wood pencil tips don't break as often and they're easier to customize for doing fun or fancy stuff. And not that I ever do it, but drawing shading or making a coin rubbing is easier with the side of a wooden pencil.

But for my journal each night, which has to be archival quality, I use a pen. I recently got a new volume for my journal, and decided that I'd start writing with waterproof ink. But I just can't find a pen with waterproof ink that writes even nearly as nicely as the Pilot V5's (.5mm) that I used to use.

So I turn to you for advice. Are gel pens the way to go? Is there such a thing as waterproof gel pens? And you fountain pen users: I've been using a dip pen for some of this, because I have a bottle of waterproof calligraphy ink. But I find it keeps catching on the paper. I'm intrigued by fountain pens, and have questions. Do they catch on pulpy paper like my nib one does? Would waterproof ink clog it? Can I refill them with ink from a bottle instead of ink from a cartridge? And also, where the hell do you people get such nice pens anyhow?

Lastly: Wow, I never thought fountain pens would have an edge over old wooden pencils.
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Eseell
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Eseell » Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:49 am UTC

Number3Pencils wrote:And you fountain pen users: I've been using a dip pen for some of this, because I have a bottle of waterproof calligraphy ink. But I find it keeps catching on the paper. I'm intrigued by fountain pens, and have questions. Do they catch on pulpy paper like my nib one does? Would waterproof ink clog it? Can I refill them with ink from a bottle instead of ink from a cartridge? And also, where the hell do you people get such nice pens anyhow?

I can't speak to the "pulpy" paper, but I can answer your other questions. There exists waterproof ink for fountain pens, I use Noodler's Bulletproof ink, personally, but I'm sure there are other brands. I generally only use bottled inks in my fountain pens, but I do keep cartridges in my backpack in case I have an unlikely ink emergency. Most pens that use cartridges have a special converter cartridge that will allow it to use bottled ink. I buy my pens from Amazon because the nearest pen shop is all the way across the city.
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Bakemaster
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby Bakemaster » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:04 pm UTC

Number3Pencils wrote:Lastly: Wow, I never thought fountain pens would have an edge over old wooden pencils.

If the forum software could implement IRV, you'd see a lot of first-choice mechanical pencil users are also second-choice regular pencil users, I'd bet.
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stillfocus
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Re: Writing Instrument

Postby stillfocus » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:08 am UTC

I've been using a mechanical pencil since the beginning of highschool (I just graduated.) Recently I've discovered the wonders of shiny online pencils. The Graphgear 1000 is my personal favorite and the Pentel Sharp Kerry is my second. Does it make me a nerd that I can take my pencils out and brag about them? Well then so be it. I use 0.5 lead. I see what people mean by snapping lead but you get used to it. I actually got a 0.3 mm version of the Graphgear but I lost it. :(

When I'm in a class where I'm asked to write in pen I like to use a liquid gel pen with a needle tip. I'm lefty though. So pens create a problem. Try writing with your left hand. Notice how your hand rubs across what you just wrote? It led to many a smudged hand as a student. By the time I finished taking the AP Language test the entire side of my hand was blue. So I try to avoid pens whenever I can help it.

Over the summer I've been trying different pencils to get myself a good collection for college. I plan on guarding them like treasure to keep them from being stolen.


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