Monday, December 1, 2008
This is the Pen & Ink Fountain Pen set. It costs $20. The set comes with one pen, (available in EF, F or B) an ink converter, and three ink cartridges containing a non-permanent black ink.
Pen & Ink products are manufactured in China for Art Alternatives. Art Alternatives designs, manufactures, and distributes their products to be sold to independent art retailers. Their products are not found in any of the big-box art retailers or hobby shops. (And I hope they keep it that way)
The enclosed leaflet is pretty descriptive on the pen's history, care & use, storage & additional products from Pen & Ink.
The pen itself is very light, and fat. It's wider than any other pen I have, including my Sailor 1911. It's so wide that I cannot fit it into my Conway Stewart pen case. :o( That's a bummer.
The pen is covered in a rubber-like material that is easy to grip. The cap clicks securely into place, but to securely post it, you really have to push it down on the body. I cannot tell if this would eventually start marring or wearing down the rubber. Unposted, this pen weights almost nothing. I am unsure of the metal used in the trim, aluminum maybe? It has a cheap feel to it, and on one of the pens there is a tiny burr on the metal ring near that end of the pen.
As I started to buy fountain pens with twist off caps, I now always mindlessly check every pen I touch to see if it has a screw off cap. (Even when I KNOW it doesn't) It's become automatic. When I did that to one of these pens, (just one, becasue I've tried it with all four) the front ring by the nib screwed off and became lodged in the cap. Okay.... stick stick pen back in cap and twist again until it's back on the pen. Keep in mind that this is a $20 pen- there's good to come of this, I swear.
The little suede wrap is adorable, and I might have to hijack it for use with whatever pen I'm carrying in my purse...
The nibs are iridium tipped, and like I've said before, I have 4 of them. 2 EF's, a F, and a B. And what's the most important part of any fountain pen? The nib. I was "stunned" at how well these pens wrote. The EF's are hard and needle-like (yet smooth) the Fine super smooth, and the Broad, the same. Keep in mind that EF nibs are not going to write as smooth as glass, because there's less nib touching the paper. For someone new to fountain pens, I'd select the Fine nibbed set.
I think what surprised me the most is that all 4 pen nibs were smooth. I have 4 Lamy Safari's and 1 of the 4 was scratchy out of the box.
Interestingly enough, you can actually buy replacement nibs for these pens for $4.49 each!
PEN & INK SKETCH PEN SET FNE, BRD, XFN 22.49
PEN & INK REPLACEMENT PEN NIB FNE, BRD, XFN 4.49
PEN & INK INK CONVERTER 5.99
PEN & INK INK CARTRIDGES 12/CD 5.99
Examples of how all 4 pens write. Please excuse the Broad, it's been sitting inked and unused for about 2 months. (And yes, I should know better...)
The ink that comes with the pens is a non-waterproof black that isn't what I would call a saturated black. They can be purchased in sets of 12. In the example, I also have one of the pens filled with the Pen & Ink No-Shellac India Ink. That's a review for another day.
I'm not expecting these pens to last a lifetime, but for $20, it's a great way to get someone interested in fountain pens because ultimately, it's the writing experience that gets them hooked. This may not be the prettiest or best made pen, but it writes nice & comes with a converter. And a cute little suede wrap to boot!
Buy these pens here: www.duall.com
Or on Amazon:
Pen & Ink Sketchbooks were previously reviewed Here