Saturday, March 02, 2013

Pen Tracks

Finally after 5 days of viewing reviews and looking at hundreds of options, I decided on a new pen.  Amazing I know, why should I agonize over something like a pen, when I have a computer.  Well I will get into that later.

First I had pretty quickly narrowed it down to the Parker IM and the Lamy Safari as far as the pens went.  Both of them seem to be good pens for the money, really costing about the same.  They both require a converter to allow them to be used with an ink bottle, so that was not a consideration.  It really came down to, the Parker looks a little more classic, while the Lamy looks a little more modern.  I prefer the more classic look of the Parker, that is all that can be established right now.  My hope is that it will perform well enough that I will never have to make the comparison, but I might anyway someday.

I agree with many people, these are decent pens for the money, I am not expecting above $100.00 feel or performance from them, just good performance for a $20.00 pen.  I am looking for a pen I can use everyday, for a good three or four hours a day.  I hope these are it.  I will have to see.  I may just get the Lamy later and see if it isn't a little better over the time of use.

I used to have some vintage fountain pens, some very nice ones, and I even had a really nice Montblanc ballpoint once, but they have gotten lost over the 20 or so moves I have made in the last 20 or so years. I used to have several Parker pens (ballpoints) and ever since elementary school I have usually had at least one or two Jotters about.  I used them a lot and liked them a lot, but I really do not like ballpoints as much as I like rollerballs.

I have used almost every cheap pen you can think of, and some I don't even know the name of, and they are all okay, but many suffer from the same issues.  I hate ink that skips, or balls that drag, or worse yet points that snag and such stuff.  This to someone who doesn't fill a 5 subject notebook in a week or two doesn't matter, but to someone who writes 3-4 hours a day, it becomes an issue.  I don't know if you can hear the pen when it is writing, but I can not only hear it, I can feel it as it glides across the page.  That is when it glides across the page.  I have had pens that glided about as well as sandpaper.

To be perfectly honest, if pencils didn't wear down, and they came in other more ergonomic shapes, I might consider them, as I love the darkness of graphite on the page.  The other problem is that you can't sign checks in pencil, and you shouldn't write anything that you want to have permanence with pencil, because of the other good thing about pencils is that you can erase it.  That can be a problem sometimes.  Besides that, I think your average pencil these days is not made the way they were made when I was in school, because the lead feels more like clay, and the eraser is all but useless.

So with the decision made to get the Parker IM Fountain Pen I moved on to other things, the ink.  I spent about two more days looking at reviews and reading about ink, until I settled on Noodler's Ink Black.  It is an archival ink that while not the blackest of blacks, it is very permanent and well everyone seems to think it is a good ink for everyday use.  I will try it, and hopefully it is worth as much as they say it is.  Funny how the ink cost almost as much as the pen.

My problem with rollerball pens, remember I mentioned them before, is that every time I find one I like the company that makes them either stops making them, or they change them in a way that just makes it dam inconvenient to buy them or their refills.  I started using the Bic Roller rollerball pen, one of the early cheap entries into the market, and it was decent.  Then they started to get cheap and the balls would tend to bind up and or just not work at all.  Then the worst thing happened, they went to gel ink, I hate gel ink, too glossy.  So I tried many others, and finally settled the Uni-ball Jetstream ballpoint, which is really a rollerball with ballpoint ink.  This was a good pen, but really hard to get the refills for, especially since they came out with the RT version of the pen.  So now I have a bunch of these that need refills and I can't get the refills easily, so that is what lead me back to looking for a new pen.

Now that is the first part of the story, soon part two.

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