I've spent the last two weeks using a fountain pen for my daily schedule and notes. Yesterday it ran out of ink for the first time.

This is the second time in my life that I've tried a fountain pen, and I'm genuinely amazed at how well it's worked out.

I will probably be buying a fountain pen that's a bit higher quality in the future, but I'm really happy with even a cheap one!

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I hesitated in giving the name of my pen. It's the Pilot Metropolitan. I like it; it's a great pen for $20 USD, but I'd probably have been better off spending another $10 or so for the TWSBI ECO.

Even with the Metropolitan, though, ink cartridges are cheap, and it does come with a (crappy) converter for inkwells.

The ECO is still a very affordable pen, but it doesn't need (proprietary) cartridges. It's a piston fill.

I use a medium nib; it fits my handwriting style.

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Lastly, in case anyone is curious, I am a big fan of French ruled (ie Séyès) paper.

It is like grid paper, except the lines are very small. I can write lowercase letters within two lines, and then uppercase letters within the bolder lines. It's very comfortable.

I also find that the paper from Clairefontaine tends to be very thick, which I think is because it's meant for fountain pens.

It's a bit more money than cheap notebooks and ball points, but IMHO it's been worth it so far.

@emacsen

you can always add a converter to make your metropolitan a piston filler

they're great little pens

@amerika

It comes with a converter, which is nothing more than a crappy squeeze bottle. Are there better converters out there?

Is it worth it to also get the ECO? If this is really something I love over a long period, I'm considering saving up for a really nice pen.

@emacsen

you want the "screw top" converters. i don't know the proper name for them, but they operate by a screw action like a mini piston-fill

gouletpens.com/products/pilot-

they have them at our local pen shack

dromgooles.com/

@amerika

Thanks! I'll check it out. I really like the Metropolitan so far, though it's a *little* small in my hand. I have fine motor skill deficit, and my hand very easily cramps as I grip the pen too hard, which I do because writing is somewhat challenging for me.

My (now deceased) father thought that with a fountain pen, I'd have an easier time since it doesn't need pressure, but it's still not super easy for me.

@emacsen

for me, getting the angle right was the hardest part, since with a ballpoint you write hold it straight up almost

when i started seeing the fountain pen as somewhere halfway between a brush and a ballpoint, wisdom came in small doses

very small at first

your father is probably correct but there's some technique to master

@amerika

Yes, and I wasn't able to master that when I was a child. Now I'm 43, and I could only have probably done this in my 20s, not at age 13 or whatever when he wanted me to learn it.

I will check out the larger pen you mentioned, the Pulsar, for sure! Thank you!!!

@emacsen

hand-fit is huge, and it's a big topic and probably contentious, but...

a good pen feels good in the hand and requires no pressing, squeezing, etc.

you grasp it naturally

too small of a pen causes stress, and too big is like holding a bat

@emacsen

these guys?

gouletpens.com/products/twsbi-

solid little pens

really depends... #1 factor is how well it feels in your hand, and close second is if you like the line

they have a nice line slightly on the dry side, but that's relative too

my all-time favorite is my pelikan 800

had to save up for awhile and buy used :)

@emacsen

i have one of these with a converter that goes with me sometimes

pelikan.com/pulse/Pulsar/en_US

a good entry-level pen that writes like a hero

@emacsen Pilot also sells different converter types which work with the Metro. None of them hold heaps of ink though. Haven't tried an Eco, but I know many people like them. There are a number of interesting pens in that price range. (A number of Indian ones; TWSBIs, some different Wing Sung models - Wing Sung has e.g. a ~$30 clone of the $300 Pilot Custom 823 that's interesting.)

@emacsomancer

The Pilot 823 is my "Save up for" pen.

It was that or the Lamy 2000, but the reviews on it make me think I'd struggle with the nib.

I'll see how much I like these things over the next few months and check this out for sure!

Thank you and @amerika !

@emacsen (I don't have a Pilot 823, but I do have a Wing Sung 699 (their clone), and it's rather good, esp. for the price.)

@emacsomancer

How is the nub? One of the benefits of the 823 is the gold nub, which is supposed to result in even smoother writing?

@emacsen

Nib is fine. I prefer flexible nibs, which the Chinese pens don't typically do (one of the reasons I like the Indian pens - they have some 'modern flex' options), but I don't think the Pilot comes (at least by default) with a flexible nib anyway.

For gold nibs, there are three 'advantages':

- it's gold, it's precious, and so it's a luxury prestige option
- better resistance, in theory, against corrosion, but (a) modern inks aren't generally very corrosive and anyway, (b) modern stainless steel alloys are very corrosion-resistant
- if you like flex, you can get better flex with a gold alloy than pure steel alloy; but modern flex nibs, even in gold, just aren't as good as the vintage gold flex nibs anyway.

But gold nibs don't really give better smoothness. The bit of the nib that touches the paper is tipped with 'iridium' (not really iridium anymore as it's super expensive and mainly comes from meteor strikes, but usually some blend of ruthenium, rhodium, osmium, and/or tungsten), whether the nib is gold or steel or whatever.

So the smoothness of a pen really depends more on the tipping material being applied properly and the overall adjustment of the nib and ink feed.

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