A Selection of Foutain Pen Recommendations

In addition to all of my other weird hobbies and practices, I have a minor fascination with and enjoyment of fountain pens, and have for a long time. After many years of not really writing very much long hand, I decided to get back to it a couple of years ago, and have amassed some pens, but perhaps more relevantly here, some opinions, which I thought I'd reflect on here.

A few notes and pieces of context first:

  • I am left handed, which I think makes me more intolerant of slow drying inks, and pens that have unexceptional writing experiences.
  • All of my long-hand writing is for myself. Aside from occasionally writing my name in the cover of a tune books, or something similar.
  • I'm color blind, and have stayed away from ink colors in the red/purple spectrum, opting for mostly blue/black, blues, and blue-green, colors (with one exception.)
  • None of these recommendations are sponsored. If you enjoy them, let me know!

So here we go.

  • I mostly enjoy using Clairefontaine notebooks, mostly wirebound, and mostly as it turns out in the A5 size. I keep a steno pad on my desk for todolists and notes, and a side-bound notebook around for longer form notes.
  • At least Somewhat to my own surprise, my favorite pens appear to be piston-filled German made pens with medium nibs. European pens tend to run more broad than average, and that's definitely true of my favorites:
    • Lamy 2000 is very modern looking and feeling, and it feels great to write with. The nib is very wet, so I've made a habit of using the quickest drying ink I have, and it's worked out well. If there's a complain, it's that the cap-seal is less than perfect if you are (as I am) an infrequent writer.
    • Pelikan m405 looks like a fountain pen, and while I suppose that's classic, and it is a very smart pen, I wasn't expecting this to be such a perfect pen. It's a joy to write with, the gold nib felt worth it, and the small size is actually an asset (I also have the larger m805, and find myself going for the smaller pen more often.)
  • Also compelling are Namiki Vanishing Point which write really well. and are just really damn cool. The VP pens are great for regular use and short-bursts of writing. As a Japanese pen, the nibs run fine, and the gold nib versions are worth it. The Decimo version is great (smaller and thinner,) but the carbon-fiber ones are pretty compelling. I use the bladder converters, and I like them, but it's a bit weird. Namiki cartrages are great as well, particularly the blue-black ones and they're particularly easy to eye-dropper, if that's your thing. Additionally, I have a Lamy Studio with a fine (steel) nib that's way more compelling.
  • Surprisingly compelling also is the TWSBI Diamond Mini and TWSBI Eco. I think I have a slight preference for the Mini over its larger version, and the Eco as well, but they're all great pens, particularly for the price, and as piston fillers, they're great if you're new to fountain pens or you want to have a color of ink available to you but not in regular rotation. The nibs are steel and you can tell, but it's not a huge detriment.
  • The most compelling inks are, to my mind: Noodler's Q-Eternity, which is a nice blue-black color and dries really fast. Having said that, it's probably still second in my mind to Diamine Twilight, which also dries quite quickly, is a very similar color, and has really compelling shading. Thankfully there's no need to pick favorites.
  • I have a short list of inks that I think are really good and worth being aware of if you're not. First Pilot's Standard Blue Black is a great ink, it dries pretty quick, the bottles are huge, and is somehow not super wet but also wet enough. I have a steel-nibbed Vanishing point pen, and this ink turned it from "meh" to compelling. I wasn't expecting to really like Diamine Oxblood which is a red-black ink, I suppose, but it's very nice. Finally, the Pilot Iroshizuku inks are very nice, and the colors are cool. I'm particularly fond of Tuski-Yo and Shin-Kai, but I suspect it's hard to go wrong.

That's it! I probably won't blog much about this, but would definitely be down to chat more about it, or pull together some posts if it's not too for you all.