10 Fountain Pens to Buy For Your Boyfriend

Fountain pens make great gifts! They are sophisticated and retro, reduce writing fatigue, can be refilled over and over again and when taken care of can become a family heirloom. So what fountain pen will you buy for the man in your life? In general, when considering what nib size to buy for someone who has never used a fountain pen, If he has small handwriting buy a fine nib, medium or large handwriting buy a medium nib. If he already collects fountain pens it’s up to you to find out what kind of nib size he wants next. Here are 10 of our favorite fountain pens (in no particular order) that would make great gifts:

1. Kaweco AL Sport Fountain Pen. The smart design of the Kaweco Sport allows the pen to be a compact pocket-size when capped and when uncapped it posts at the perfect length for writing. The AL Sport is made of metal so it is as durable and rugged as your man needs it to be.

Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen - Gun Metal Gray, Black Matte Accents

Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen – Gun Metal Gray, Black Matte Accents

2. Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen, Gun Metal Gray with Black Matte Accents. The Pilot Vanishing Point capless retractable fountain pen is well-known for its clever design that allows you to extend or retract the nib with just one click. When clipped to a shirt pocket the nib points up to reduce the chance of any leaks. Available in several colors and nib sizes.

LAMY Dialog Palladium Fountain Pen

LAMY Dialog Palladium Fountain Pen

3. LAMY Dialog 3 Fountain Pen has a revolutionary twist mechanism that allows the nib to advance and retract smoothly into the barrel. When the nib is advanced the clip recesses slightly into the body, creating an ergonomic writing experience. Once retracted a protective ball valve closes over the nib and the clip can be lifted and secured to a bag or pocket. Its modern Bauhaus appearance and intelligent design would make this the perfect pen for an engineer. Nibs tend to run one size large on this pen, so choose one nib size down. It’s also available in matte black.

4. Delta Vintage Stylus Fountain Pen – Lava Stone. For your techie guy who likes to use a stylus with his tablet or smart phone; one end of this fountain pen has a premium capacitive rubber stylus specifically designed for modern touch screen devices, the other end has a traditional platinum-masked fountain pen nib.

5. Pelikan Souveran M800 Fountain Pen in Black. For the traditionalist, the elegant, classic Pelikan M800 fountain pen is produced by one of the most renowned pen manufacturers in the world. This large pen has a piston filling system and a masterfully handcrafted two-tone 18k gold nib.

6. Platinum 3776 Series Music Nib Fountain Pen – Koi. Perfect for an artist or calligrapher, this beautiful red celluloid “Koi” fountain pen is reminiscent of the glistening multi-color scales of a koi fish and is popular with those who pursue unusual antique designs. The most extraordinary feature of Platinum’s 14K gold music nib is that is has two slits, making it a three tined nib which allows for a good ink flow. “Smooth as silk” is how the writing experience with this nib has been described. Also available in black/rhodium or black/gold.

Stipula Tuscany Dreams Peposo Fountain Pen - Brown Tortoiseshell

Stipula Tuscany Dreams Peposo Fountain Pen – Brown Tortoiseshell

7. Stipula Tuscany Dreams Peposo Fountain Pen.  This is a very large “man-size” ornate Italian-made fountain pen. According to Stipula, this eye-catching pen is “adorned with a magnificent bronze clip in which there are two masterpieces of Florence: the dome of Florence’s Cathedral and Michelangelo’s David. The band on the cap in the foreground depicts the coat of arms of the Medici. Adorning the rest of the ring the portraits of three genes born in Tuscany: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Dante Alighieri.”

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen - Dots, Medium Nib

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen – Dots, Medium Nib

8. Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen. The Metropolitan provides everything you need for an economical price – it even includes a gift box and an ink converter for bottled ink. It’s a durable daily writer that you’re not afraid to take to work.

Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen - Gunmetal

Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen – Gunmetal

9. Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen. The Plaisir is the perfect fountain pen for a no-fuss low- maintenance kind of guy since it has a specially designed cap that allows it to write smoothly even after it hasn’t been used for up to a year. This makes it suitable both for writing every day or for only occasional use. The cap also reduces ink loss due to evaporation. The durable anodized aluminum body has a beautiful pearlized finish.

LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen - Black

LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen – Black

10. LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen – Black. If Darth Vader used fountain pens, this stealthy all-black Al-Star might just be the one he would use. Are any of your boyfriends going to see the new Star Wars movie next month? I thought so.

What fountain pens would you recommend as gift for your boyfriend?

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What kind of fountain pen can be converted to eyedropper fill?

Noodler's Polar Blue Ink & Preppy Eyedropper Fill Fountain Pen

Noodler’s Polar Blue Ink & Preppy Eyedropper Fill Fountain Pen

If you’ve heard about the high ink capacity advantage that eyedropper fill fountain pens offer perhaps you’d like to try an eyedropper fill pen for yourself. You can buy a fountain pen that is designed to be eyedropper fill, such as the Noodler’s Ahab pen or a Stipula Bon Voyage pen, or some fountain pens that have a cartridge filling system can be converted to eyedropper fill. What qualities does a fountain pen need in order to become eyedropper fill?

1) Plastic Body. The fountain pen barrel needs to be plastic, NOT metal. Fountain pen ink can react with metal so you do not want to allow ink to come in contact with a metal barrel for an extended period of time. There is the possibility that some inks could stain a plastic pen, so I wouldn’t use any expensive or rare pens for eyedropper fill. I’ve never tried an eyedropper conversion with a wooden pen, but I would also recommend avoiding converting this kind of pen because wood is porous.

2) No Holes in the Body. Besides the end of the barrel where the section screws onto the pen, there cannot be any holes in the body. Some holes can be pretty tiny and difficult to detect, so to check for holes you can try blowing into the barrel to see if any air escapes from it. If any air escapes, this means there is a hole somewhere that ink will leak out of too.

If your fountain pen passes these two tests you’ll also need to get some silicone grease to create a good seal where your pen screws together. You don’t want any ink to leak out of your pen. A rubber o-ring is handy too, but it is optional. You will need an eyedropper, blunt tip needle bottle or syringe so that you can easily fill your pen with ink.

Before you try converting a fountain pen we recommend that you read this article: Eyedropper Fountain Pen Pros and Cons.

One example of a fountain pen that can be converted to eyedropper fill is the Platinum Preppy. It is plastic and there are no holes in the barrel for ink to leak out of. It’s also inexpensive so if some ink happens to stain it, it is no great loss. On the other hand, the Platinum Plaisir cannot be converted to eyedropper fill because it has a metal barrel.

The Kaweco Sport ICE or Classic fountain pen or ink roller can also be converted to eyedropper fill for the same reasons that a Platinum Preppy can. However, a Kaweco AL Sport fountain pen is not suitable for eyedropper conversion since the barrel is metal. Here’s a throwback to one of our old blog posts illustrating how we converted a Kaweco Classic Sport to eyedropper fill:

Pen Mods - How to Create an Eyedropper Fill Pen

Pen Mods – How to Create an Eyedropper Fill Pen

Have you tried converting any fountain pens to eyedropper fill? How was your experience? What type of fountain pen did you use?

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4 Ways to Use Bottled Ink in a Kaweco Sport Pen

The Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen and Ink Roller are handy pocket-size pens that both use short standard universal fountain pen ink cartridges. The Kaweco Sport pen barrel is too short for a regular ink converter, so if you want to switch from ink cartridges to bottled ink how can this be done? We can think of 4 methods of doing this:

1) Refill your empty ink cartridges with a blunt-tip needle bottle. We’ve got some instructions on how to do this in a previous blog post: Refill Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges with a Blunt Tip Needle Bottle. The needle bottle method is the easiest in my opinion and is also my personal favorite.

Use a blunt tip needle bottle to refill an ink cartridge

Use a blunt tip needle bottle to refill an ink cartridge

2) Try a Monteverde Mini Standard Ink Converter. This method works pretty well for using bottled ink, but there are a couple of quirky things that should be mentioned. First of all, the Monteverde Mini Converter does not hold very much ink – in fact it holds less ink than a standard ink cartridge. Secondly, the bottom of the mini converter (near the end that attaches to the pen) may need to be wrapped once or twice with clear tape before you put it in your Kaweco so that it stays securely attached to the pen.

Monteverde Mini Converter & Kaweco Sport Ink Roller Pen

Monteverde Mini Converter & Kaweco Sport Ink Roller Pen

3) Use a Kaweco Squeeze Converter for Sport Series Fountain Pens. If you can get your hands on this Kaweco Squeeze Converter, you’ll find that it only works with newer versions of the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen. It is NOT compatible with the current version (as of 03-10-15) of the Kaweco Ink Roller or some older models of the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen. This converter works best when it is filled with a syringe or blunt-tip needle bottle.

Kaweco Squeeze Converter for Sport Series Fountain Pens

Kaweco Squeeze Converter for Sport Series Fountain Pens

4) Convert your Kaweco Sport into an eye-dropper fill pen. We’ve got instructions how to do this here: Pen Modification – Convert into Eyedropper Fill. Of any of the 4 methods of using bottled fountain pen ink that we discuss in this blog post, eye-dropper fill allows for the highest ink capacity. The eye-dropper fill method is only suitable for pens with plastic barrels, such as the Kaweco Sport Ice or Classic. (It is NOT suitable for pens with metal barrels such as the Kaweco AL Sport or pens with small holes anywhere in the barrel.) Before you try an eye-dropper conversion, we recommend reading Eyedropper Fountain Pen Pros and Cons.

Kaweco Sport Ink Roller converted to eyedropper fill

Kaweco Sport Ink Roller converted to eyedropper fill

What’s your favorite method of filling a Kaweco Sport Pen with bottled fountain pen ink?

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Is it safe to take a fountain pen on an airplane?

Fountain pen users love to travel just as much as everyone else, so why not travel with your fountain pen even when you fly! There is the possibility that a fountain pen will leak in-flight when the air pressure in the plane cabin drops and the higher air pressure inside the pen forces ink out of the nib. However, there are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce or eliminate this risk.

First of all, it can help to travel with your fountain pen either completely full of ink (the air expands, not the ink) or completely empty (no ink, no leaks). Using cartridges with your pen is practical because you can travel with a new cartridge and an empty pen and insert the cartridge after you land.

It is best if you bring your fountain pens in your carry-on baggage instead of putting them inside your checked bags. For extra safety, put them inside ziploc bags and store them with the nib pointing up.

I’ve flown with both LAMY and Preppy fountain pens with varying amounts of ink in the cartridges and not had any problems other than a tiny bit of extra ink appearing on the LAMY nib. Alan has flown with a Kaweco Sport fountain pen containing a full cartridge as well as LAMY pens with only partially full cartridges and not had any leaks. The only problem Alan has encountered was with an eyedropper fill Kaweco pen that was not completely full of ink. This pen leaked small beads of ink during the flight. Do any of you have a flying with fountain pen experience that you would like to share with us?

 

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Should You Use an O-Ring to Convert Your Fountain Pen to an Eyedropper?

There are many opinions as to whether or not you need to use an O-ring with your fountain pen to convert it to eyedropper fill, so we thought we would share our observations with you.

The main advantage of using an O-ring is that it helps to prevent cracking of the pen barrel. When silicone grease is applied to the threads of the pen barrel to prevent ink from leaking, it is easy to use too much force when screwing the pen back together and this can lead to cracks. The O-ring cushions the barrel, but please do not tighten the pen too much or the O-ring can bulge out!

The disadvantages of O-rings are that they usually are sold in packages containing hundreds of O-rings and it can be difficult to choose the right size of O-ring for each different size of pen. Also, an O-ring alone is not enough to safely convert a fountain pen into an eyedropper fill pen.

We have found that silicone grease is essential to convert your pen into an eyedropper pen, and it will work as a good seal even without an O-ring. For over one year now we have been using one eyedropper pen with silicone grease alone and no O-ring and it has worked just fine without leaking.

The trick is that you need to refresh the silicone grease on your pen every time you refill it with ink. Be sure to coat both sets of threads (on the end of barrel and on the main section of the pen) with a generous amount of silicone grease. When tightening the barrel to the pen after you refill it with ink, avoid using too much force so that you will not break the pen. Wipe off any excess silicone grease. This is a simple, cheap method to convert a fountain pen into an eyedropper pen.

One of our favorite fountain pens that can be converted into an eyedropper fill pen is the Kaweco Sport. The threads of this pen are very close together and it has a generous smooth area below the threads to help give it a good seal when used with silicone grease. Additionally, this creates a large ink reservoir so you can write for a much longer period of time than when you use a standard universal fountain pen cartridge. Do you have any experiences with eyedropper fill pens? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

Without silicone grease, ink seeps past the threads and leaks out of the pen.
Using a generous amount of silicone grease on the threads gives a good seal to your eyedropper pen.
Don’t use too much force to put your pen back together and then wipe off excess silicone grease.
Ink does not seep past the threads or leak from the eyedropper pen sealed with silicone grease.
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Left-Handed Fountain Pen Use – Part 3

Left-Handed Pelikan Pelikano

My continuing experimentation with fountain pens has recently included the Kaweco Sport Classic Fountain Pen with a medium nib and Noodler’s Ink, as well as the Pelikan Pelikano Left-Handed Fountain Pen with a medium nib and J. Herbin Ink. I found that both of these pens worked equally well for a Lefty and their qualities were very similar.

The first thing I wondered about was whether or not I would notice a difference using the specially designed nib on the left-handed Pelikano. This nib has a more rounded shape than a regular nib to accomodate the angle of left-handed writing. As an “overwriter” I, personally, only noticed a small difference in performance using this nib. It performed well, as did the Kaweco Sport, and both wrote in a medium line of similar width.

I appreciated the compact size of the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen. With its cap safely screwed on it is only 4″ long and is great for carrying in a purse or pocket. I wasn’t worried that the cap would come off and stain the leather on my Fossil bag with ink!

Kaweco_Sport_group.gif

I did find that I preferred the grip of the Left-Handed Pelikano to the grip of the Kaweco. The grip on the Pelikano is rotated slightly for the left hand, and it worked well with my very strange pen grip. You Lefties out there know what I mean…. One strike against the Pelikano is that the first Pelikano Fountain Pen that I bought was defective and I had to exchange it. The second pen did work much better, and there were no problems with the Kaweco.

The Noodler’s Ink seemed to have a more generous flow than the J. Herbin Ink, but it could be because it was a custom ink mix that included Noodler’s Firefly. When added to other Noodler’s colors, this ink seems to produce a wetter flow. So if you tend to smear your ink while writing, perhaps it would be best to stay away from Noodler’s Firefly and use the J. Herbin instead.

I was satisfied with both the Kaweco Sport and the Left-Handed Pelikano, and felt that these were both practical and well functioning fountain pens for everyday use by a Lefty. However, I am in love with my LAMY Safari and it still tops of my list of favorite pens.

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Pen Modification – Convert into eyedropper fill

The Kaweco Sport fountain pen is brilliantly designed and reasonably priced. When it’s capped, it is compact enough to fit in any purse or pocket, and when it’s posted, it is the perfect size for writing. However, one downfall of the pen is that it can only be used with short standard cartridges, wasting the space of about 1/3 of the barrel. Also, it cannot be used with a converter so writers cannot use their favorite bottled inks with it. (UPDATE: The Monteverde Mini Converter will fit inside the Kaweco Sport fountain pen.) To resolve these issues I converted the Kaweco Sport fountain pen into an eyedropper fill system, where the barrel is used as the ink reservoir.  To prevent ink leakage I used 100% silicone grease (petroleum free) to seal the threads. Hopefully, this explanation will help other writers maximize their Kaweco’s potential.

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