Popular Fountain Pens
There are literally hundreds of fountain pen kits available for the modern pen maker. Choosing the right one is sometimes a little tricky.
There are several key components in any fountain pen.
1. The nib and associated part. The working end of any fountain pen consists of three parts – the nib housing, the ink feed, and the fountain pen nib itself. It is usual that the whole assembly is mounted inside a casing called the Nib Section, via a corresponding thread on the housing. Nibs come in a variety of sizes, the most popular ones being size 5 (or #5) and size 6 (or #6). Sizes are so-called because they are designed to fit around an ink feed which is 5mm, or 6mm in diameter. Hence most # 5 nib fountain pens are slightly thinner than #6 nib fountain pens. Nibs come in various materials which provides a varying degree of flexibility for the writer. They also come in various widths, like extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad. The width determines the line thickness when writing.
2. The ink reservoir (or ink converter). There are several types of refillable reservoirs available and generally the higher the cost the smoother the operation, although this can be a little confusing sometimes. For those not wishing to deal with ink, there are several cartridges available for fountain pens in different ink colours. Both the ink reservoir and the cartridge fit into the end of the housing.
3. The body and cap. The body and cap are the decorated parts of the fountain pen. The cap is usually slightly larger in diameter and may or may not screw into the thread at the end of the nib section. The decorations can be any material from wood, acrylic resin, leather, polymer clay, animal horn, or almost any material that can be turned on a lathe and attached to the brass tubes.
4. The fountain pen kits can be divided into the #5 nib type and the #6 nib type:
4.1 Examples of #5 nib kits that I use include JR Gent Series, Baron II, Sedona, Mistral, Omega, and Aston Matin
4.2 Examples of #6 nib kits that I use include, Pristina, Statesman, and Roman Harvest
The price of fountain pen kits is influenced by the number of precious metals, stones, quality of finish, and other embellishments.
5. Popular top the range bespoke fountain pen kits
5.1 #5 nib kits. The Mistral kit is one of the better models. It is designed and engineered in England to sit amongst the highest quality pen kits available, the Mistral fountain pen kit is made to the most exacting standards and tolerances and features premium quality plating. It comes with German-made, high-quality fountain pen nib as standard, together with a premium quality ink reservoir.
5.2 #6 nib kits. The Roman Harvest kit is my preferred larger fountain pen kit. It has plating is gold titanium with rhodium (does not tarnish with use like sterling silver) accents in various combinations. The fountain pen features an Iridium Point Germany nib. These pen kits are made from solid brass pieces to tight specifications in Taiwan.
To help choose the components, here are a few questions to ask.
(a) Does the user prefer a “heavy” or “light” fountain pen?
(b) Does the user prefer a “flexible” nib or a “stiff” nib?
(c) Does the user want “thick” or “thin” lines in the writing?
(d) Does the user have a favourite timber or colour?
(e) Does the user prefer a “gloss” or satin” finish?
(f) Does the user prefer a reservoir or cartridge?
(g) Does the user want to place the cap on the fountain pen while writing?
(h) Does the user intend to use the fountain pen every day?
(i) Does the user have a price range for the fountain pen?
Collecting this information significantly helps in choosing the fountain pen kit and the material for the barrel and the cap.
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