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Fountain pen for a gift

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zippyswife Wed 10-Jan-18 05:53:45

After a year of job hunting and literally thousands of job applications dh has finally landed an amazing new job. It’s been a stressful year and I want to get him a gift for his nw job.

He loves writing with fountain pens- my budget isn’t massive though (were pretty skint) so was wondering to buy one new or try to get a second hand from eBay. I can spend up to £50. Which Parker is better? Could I try for a second hand Mont Blanc? I don’t know anything about pens!!

newtb Sun 04-Aug-19 15:50:58

I've got a Lamy Safari and love it. It's the best left-handed pen I've ever had. Cheap, too.

MulticolourMophead Thu 06-Sep-18 21:19:15

@Happycow I have a Prelude, got that one several years ago (for £20 grin)

I'm looking for something to remember my mum by, really. She's not got long left, I'm hoping she makes it to next year. But I have a birthday coming up in a couple of months, and I know she'll ask me to suggest something from her. A pen that I use every day just seems to me to be that something to remember her with, especially as we both like fountain pens. So I'm looking for a good pen within the budget I'm guessing she'll set me.

Happycow Thu 06-Sep-18 20:33:45

@Mophead I have a schaeffer prelude which I love. There are different finishes for different prices, I think the most is about £80.

The pen is nicely balanced, not too heavy and the nib is smooth.

I've also heard very good things about the faber castell pens at that £80-£100 Mark- have a look at the cult pens website for options. Goulet pens does some little video demos of fountain pens which are useful.

MulticolourMophead Wed 05-Sep-18 15:12:52

I know this is an older thread, but what would the knowledgeable posters recommend up to £100? I like the look of the parson's essential, what would be good in the next price bracket, say


LouMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 31-Mar-18 22:08:04

Evening all. We hope you don't mind us nipping on here to tell you that we're moving this thread over to our new topic, The Stationery Cupboard.

Enjoy! smile

zippyswife Mon 15-Jan-18 10:58:02

Sorry- just a final question- was just about to order the parsons essential from mr pen then I saw the cross apogee for £49.99 on me pen which appears to be a massive saving and would normally be well out of my price range. Which should I go for?

zippyswife Mon 15-Jan-18 10:43:48

Thank you all for taking th time to give me such a lot of advice. I’m going to go with the parsons essential. Should I assume this will come boxed?

Jeanvaljean27 Thu 11-Jan-18 18:33:59

Bumbledumb you're right, he gets it made in Asia and then tunes the nib and feed himself. It's how he keeps the cost down I guess.

I've used his other main pen the churchman's prescriptor too which is a lot bulkier but again with a lovely buttery smooth nib.

He says on his website the pens would cost double if they were made by a big name and he's not far wrong.

zippyswife Thu 11-Jan-18 11:32:41

Thanks for all the information. I’m going to have a proper read through when youngest ds goes for a nap. I’ll try to find some of his pens too (not sure if he keeps them at work) to get an idea of what he likes.

Bumbledumb Thu 11-Jan-18 00:21:17

Jeanvaljean27 I was also going to suggest the Parson's Essential from MrPen. It is not English made however. Mr Ford imports them from Asia I believe and they are finished here.

Another brand which comes in on budget is Twisbi. This one is good: 580.

WheresTheHooferDoofer Thu 11-Jan-18 00:08:36

Jeanvaljean27 Your advice is interesting, and I'll keep it in mind when I get another pen (assuming I have any funds to do so).

WheresTheHooferDoofer Thu 11-Jan-18 00:06:48

Maelstrop It's just a standard medical syringe, my dad's a diabetic and has a lot of them. Needle attached, and covered with the plastic whatsit (along with a cap for the plunger) when not in use. I keep it securely wrapped in my office drawer. It works really well.

RB68 Wed 10-Jan-18 22:06:08

Don't get a secondhand one unless you get a new nib as they mould to your writing style over time

Jeanvaljean27 Wed 10-Jan-18 22:00:34

Ok, a few words of advice:

1) avoid eBay. You don't want to be buying a vintage fountain pen, because they often need work doing to the mechanism or the nib - stick to buying a factory-new pen.

2) no montblancs. Even vintage ones will be out of your budget, and new ones are several times what your budget is.

3) parkers are popular, but the decent ones start at the level of the sonnet which is again out of your budget, and nothing particularly special. So don't go there.

4) Cross pens seem to be popular in the suggestions above but not particularly so amongst FP collectors. Mainly because there's much better to be had for the money.

5) the best new pens to be had in terms of sheer quality of workmanship and value for money are german pens (pelikan, lamy) and the Japanese trio (pilot, platinum/nakaya and sailor). They have the best out-of-the-box nibs, and offer unrivalled vfm. The starter models for those makes however would be in the £70-80 range which is just above what you're willing to pay. If you could push the envelope, the models to look at would be pelikan m200, platinum 3776, sailor 1911 and pilot custom 74.

6) for your budget of £50 I'd stick with an English made pen called the parson's essential. £42 for the pen and you can get it engraved for £3 more. Nib is made by bock who make pelikan's nibs, a wonderful pen for the money. I've spent 10 years collecting vintage and new pens, and I'd say it provides better vfm than anything else out there south of £50. Just order a standard medium nib rather than one of their other funky nib options.

witchmountain Wed 10-Jan-18 21:50:19

I'd second the suggestion of Cult Pens and there is some good advice for lower budgets on this page: and you can filter for your price range. You should be safe with a medium nib.

Less useful for the OP, but for others, I also refill cartridges with a syringe because they hold more than the converter in my pen and it's easier. You can get a blunt needle syringe from these people:

And I have finally discovered a fountain pen that feels usable in everyday life - the Pilot Capless (or Vanishing Point in the US). It has a retractable nib and it's AMAZING! It's just somehow less faffy. There's a link to them from that Cult Pens page above.

BeachysFlipFlops Wed 10-Jan-18 21:38:14

If you can get a Parker 51 for that price, I would do that..... it's a classic

Maelstrop Wed 10-Jan-18 21:34:20

For all 3, I use bottled ink (the Trio doesn't take a converter, I use one of my dad's syringes to refill a standard cartridge with my chosen ink).

Now that is inspired! I’m guessing you need a syringe with a needle attached? I just happen to have lots that I forgot to give back to the vet once I’d used them all.

Bugger, I’ve finished buying clothes in the sale, think I’m going to have a look for a pen now unless I can wait til my birthday in a few months.

Hawkmoth Wed 10-Jan-18 21:08:42

I love my Lamy!

Sillybilly1234 Wed 10-Jan-18 21:03:09

Cross fountain pens are really nice and are guaranteed for life. If you have a problem send it back and they repair or replace it for free. Unless you have intentionally break it.

With some ranges you can also get matching propelling pencils and ball point pens etc, so he can build up the set. Good Christmas or birthday gift idea.

WheresTheHooferDoofer Wed 10-Jan-18 20:56:39

I have a Schaeffer Prelude I got for 1/3 of the original price in a sale, writes beautifully, have had it for about 10 years. Also have a Cross Bailey, got it about a year ago. And finally a Manuscript Trio. This is marketed as an everyday italic pen, writes nicely and only cost £10.

For all 3, I use bottled ink (the Trio doesn't take a converter, I use one of my dad's syringes to refill a standard cartridge with my chosen ink).

I have bought pens from different sites, such as Cult Pens, Pen Heaven, etc.

If you're thinking about bottled ink, Diamine inks are lovely, they have over 80 different colours, including ones with a shimmer. I have found it easier to check colours on Diamine's own site, but then cheaper to buy that colour from Cult Pens grin

OP, there are a number of us on MN who can write lovingly about pens and other stationery for ages grin

ShiftyMcGifty Wed 10-Jan-18 20:56:06

Try calling up this place and ask for their advice

They also have a huge selection of very fancy inks.

MikeUniformMike Wed 10-Jan-18 20:55:10

Don't forget to get the cartridges.
Many congrats to zippy and good luck in his new job.
You sound a real sweetie zippyswife.

MikeUniformMike Wed 10-Jan-18 20:52:52

Does he have any pens or pencils he tends to write with?
The Cross ones vary - I have a plastic ballpoint one and a heavier promo ballpoint. The plastic one feels nice weightwise but the promotional one is too heavy.

You should be able to get the nib part replaced - the paper insert in the box or website will probably tell you. The pen should include a 'reservoir' (converter) that you can use or remove to use cartridges.
Some nice (cartridge) writing paper to practice or a notebook would be a nice idea.

I would buy one that is expensive enough to be a luxury but not so expensive that he'd be scared to use it. Don't bother getting a matching ballpoint.

ShiftyMcGifty Wed 10-Jan-18 20:48:10

I have a £400 fountain pen but I carry (and mostly use) my £12 Lamy fountain pen. Love Lamy!

Swissgemma Wed 10-Jan-18 20:46:55

I am a fountain pen lover (actually a pen lover!) I love mont blanc but I would be wary of one in your budget. I also have a Parker Frontier fountain pen (and biro too) which i love plus the ink is relatively cheap. I hate roller balls! I also love the lamy fountain pens I have a couple of Vistas (with turquoise and violet ink). Generally cartridges are easier (I have an ink slurping mont blanc and to be honest rarely use it and tend to use the cartridge one as I can more easily carry ink!)... but look at the pens he has (I have a preference for fat pens and medium nibs!)

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