Who uses Fountain Pens?


Check out my Youtube Channel and subscribe and like to see reviews and writing samples of fountain pens. I will update this thread every time I have a new video. Lets all talk about our favorite fountain pens and anything fountain pen related.

Heres the links

Jinhao 599

Platinum 3776 Century fine nib


I have a pilot metro and a lamy safari. I have had them for a while but don’t use them much. I just bought a notebook to try to write in as a journal.


With those pens you can replace the ink right? Do they last longer than cheap pens?


^^ Yeah, morgothaod. That’s part of the fun - there’s a ton of different ink brands and colors to try.

I’ve been using fountain pens since the 4th grade. I started with a no-name fountain pen I found at the base exchange on the military base where my folks were stationed - it took standard cartridges and I realized pretty quickly that I could reuse the cartridges and fill them with ink drawn from a bottle with a syringe. Now that I’m older I tend to use 1930s Sheaffer Balances and I carry a Lamy 2000 with me everywhere.

Nice reviews Davion!


Depending on which fountain pens you buy and how good you take care of them. They can last you a lifetime. Yes there are many different inks you can use in them.


Right now, sitting in front of me on my desk is:

  1. Pilot 823
  2. Diplomat Classic
  3. Silver Parker 75
  4. Pilot Varsity - disposable.
  5. Scheaffer PFM (Pen for Men).

Each has a different color ink. I use them every day.


Whats the Pilot 823 like?



The Pilot 823 is one of my favorite modern pens. It is a lot like the MB Meisterstuck 146. Super solid, feels great in the hand. The nib is smooth as butter; not scratchy like lots of modern pens. These 24K Pilot nibs are really nice and the ink flows perfectly.

I have two that I use almost daily.


One thing worth noting about the Pilot 823 and other Japanese pens (like Sailor) is that the nibs are utterly smooth. Some people love this, and some people realize once they try a Japanese pen that they prefer a bit of feedback.


… feedback.

I have noticed that my Sailor, while laying down absolutely wonderful line, is a bit scratchy. My Pelican is also the same. I had no idea it had a term for it.

It was obvious, that this feedback was intentional since any efforts to make a Sailor nib “smooth” seems doomed to failure. No matter what, it puts down a great line, but makes some noise. My only conclusion was that this feedback was desirable to Japanese writers. Does the sound help in translating emotion to the characters somehow?

I like my pens to write quietly. Is that not the case for some?


24kt? I see it hard, if it were in pure gold it would be so soft to bend at the first support …


If a nib is scratchy and loud it can be a sign that either the tines are out of alignment or that the iridium tip was ground for feedback. If it’s the tines, then it will also sometimes catch on the paper - you’d notice it. The only Sailor I’ve ever written with that was a bit scratchy was an extra fine nib - I think that just comes with the extra fine territory. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t moderately scratchy Sailor nibs in other sizes out there, of course.

The best way to get a sense of intentional feedback is to test something like a Pilot 823 against an Aurora 88 - the iridium on the Auroras are ground to have a bit of feedback. They aren’t noisy, but you can feel the difference immediately if you write with those two pens back to back. I actually like both very much. I find that I have better control with the 88 - I also write slower with the 88, which is probably part of why I have better handwriting with it. But in terms of ease of writing, the Pilot 823 is hard to beat. Actually, I’m not sure I’ve written with anything smoother.

Re: Pelican - great pens, but they have some QC issues. Many of them need minor adjusting when they leave the factory, and it’s usually either that the tines aren’t perfectly aligned or the feed needs to be adjusted for better ink flow. This actually used to be normal back in the 1930s to 1970s - there were lots of pens shops and people bought them from a store that had a person who made those kinds of adjustments for you as part of the purchase. With the decline of pen stores, most companies have taken to doing this at the factory.

Re: the 24k gold - nibs have iridium tips, which is ultra hard. In terms of flexibility, they control that with the thickness of the tines, rather than gold content. Flex nibs, like those used for calligraphy, are made much thinner than standard nibs.


24kt is the standard. I hear what you are saying, but if it were pure gold, it would be uncomfortably heavy at the tip of the pen and have durability issues over time.

As I understand, the gold is more of a show thing. It does have some vibration-cancelling properties, but mostly it is about how nice it looks. Lamy, has been making some super-nice stainless-steel nibs for a while. Like most nibs, they are, iridium tipped. But they flex just fine and write the perfectly.


How would you compare the Scheaffer Pen For Men with the Pilot? Or an old Scheaffer Admiral with a 24kt nib? A Parker 51?

Or, the Mont Blanc 146 or 149? …

I am curious because few people know the 823. I am eager to hear your opinions on any pens you wish to compare. I have been adjusting nibs and restoring old pens for a few years now; and the Pilot 823 is one of the few modern “old-school” (ie; can compare to old pens favorably) pens I know of. I would love to hear your thoughts.



Wow, a whole nother world! I’ve always thought they were cool. Might have to try one again…


I haven’t found fountain pens of any era to be very consistent - other Lamys and the Japanese pens. The older stuff tends to not have flow issues because at some point someone adjusted most of them, but the nib characteristics are all over the map. For example, they made so many "51"s over the years with different filling systems and whatnot (aerometric, vacumatic, etc.), that it’s hard to really characterize how they write. Same with the old Sheaffers. I have half a dozen OS Balances from the 1930s and they’re all different - the nib characteristics, and the size of the bodies too - some are longer some are thicker, some have really rigid nibs and some have some give, etc. I tend toward the old stuff, but my experience is that it’s best to try things out at pen shows if you have one nearby, and buy there because there’s just so much variation.

Re: the PFM, Admiral, and MBs - I’ve never used any that I thought was on part with the 823. They’re all nice pens, and a big part of this is preference, but they’re not consistent like the Pilots and I’ve never written with one that was as smooth … though as I’ve written above, that’s a preference issue too. Also, the MontBlancs are heavy - heavier than the 800 series Pelikans; I think they have more brass in their piston mechanism or something.


There were lots of different models of the old pens. The Lifetime Balance has many different models. the Snorkels all came in various widths and lengths (numerous models too). I think this is because you do not put fountain pens in pockets. Therefore, the pen needs to fit the space it will ride in - like a front pocket. I have some snorkel Sovereign and Clipper. They have 24kt nibs and write as well as anything. They were high-end pens though.

While the nibs can be “adjusted”, I have found the Parker 51’s to be very consistently smooth whether they are aerometric or vacumatic. The line-widths will vary, but unless someone has ground the nib for a left-handed calligraphy writer, they seem to write consistently for me. Obviously, a double-jewel 51 will write considerably better than a regular 51 but that is why they cost more. The various filling mechanisms are a pain. Do not get me started on the vacumatic. I hate vacumatics.

If you have not tried a Scheaffer Pen For Men (PFM) then you need to do so before writing off old pens (yes pun intended). The PFM is widely considered the gold-standard of old, production pens. It is by far, my favorite old pen. Even better than the 823. They run around $250+ on ebay though. If you get a good one; you will instantly understand why people love them so much. Just a joy to write with.

As for MontBlancs - the modern pens do have a brass filling mechanism. Those are heavy in the hand. That is why pre-1990’s MontBlancs sell for more money on ebay. They had plastic (ok, resin) barrels and are not so heavy. The modern ones are all for show. The older ones are for writing :slight_smile:


Not writing off vintage pens at all - I write with my 1930s Sheaffer Lifetime OS Balance pens most of the time. The issue with buying vintage stuff is just they there’s much variation - not so much in quality - at least not with the big name stuff - but in writing characteristics. At one point I had two 1935 Sheaffer OS Balances with fine nibs in the same color (Marine Green) and the nibs were totally different - both in the size of the iridium and in the rigidity. That’s not a bad thing if you can try before buying or are fine with just rolling the dice - and actually, since preferences vary so much, this can be a good thing - but it can be a bummer if you want to know what to expect if you’re buying via eBay.

I have written with some old PFMs - they’re very finely made pens, I just don’t dig the aesthetics. I also don’t dig the aesthetics on the “51”, but I own a couple because I came across some examples that write so, so nicely. All I was saying is that the consistency of vintage American isn’t on par with the contemporary Japanese stuff. That’s all.


I think I hear what you are saying. When I get old pens, I just assume I will need to adjust the nib to my preferences. Since I have the tools and vast experience with ruining lots of perfectly good nibs, I find it part of the experience of owning old fountain pens. Adjusting is something I do with most pens. This is much like the Lamy 2000 is today. Great pen, but a dice-roll in terms of nib adjustment from the factory. A bit of strategic pressure here and there, a quick buff; and they all write fabulously.

I even agree about the aesthetics of the PFM. Ugly, but who really cares when it writes so well?

If you have not tried the Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens; you should. Super-nice, smooth Pilot nibs; and cheap too.


Well, I’m dipping my toe (erm, nib?) into this fountain pen thing. I ordered a Jinhao X450. It’s taking a while to get here. Any “tips” on buying ink?