helpfulsnowman's picture
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helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman October 25, 2018 - 12:44pm

I've run across a handful of pen nerds in the last week, and it got me thinking about whether there's something out there I don't know about. 

Here are five I like. Comment with yours.

Tombow Rollerball: Refillable, nice, weighty pen. I like the medium size tips. They write fast, but sloppy. The fine tip is neater, but less fun. These make for really great gifts because they're expensive for a pen, but not expensive for a gift. They feel hefty though, important. Link.

Lamy Safari: Love/hate on it. It's a fountain pen, so they can be a little finicky, and I don't enjoy spending time fooling around with pens so much as writing with them. The writing part on this one is pretty nice when things are going well, although the ink doesn't dry particularly quickly, so certain kinds of paper make it a challenge. I like the medium nib much better than the fine. Less scratchy. It's really the only fountain pen I've ever tried. I like it, but I would probably give something a shot if it were more idiotproof, dried quicker, and wasn't super expensive. Link.

Muji Gel Ballpoint: These are honestly my go-to and have been for a long time. They are reasonably priced (like $1.30 apiece), last a long time, and they're deceptive. They don't look like anything special, but they write really nicely. It's a small step up from a Bic ballpoint, which are honestly pretty good. If you're looking to treat yourself moderately, this is a great way to go. Link.

Le Pen: So French! So Fancy! These are great for tiny writers like me. I remember that Jack Gantos book, Hole In My Life, where he wrote between lines in a Bible. This would be the ideal pen if you were stuck in that rock and/or hard place. The point is teeny and delicate. The one downside, if someone borrows this one, you can just about guarantee they'll mash the tip and wreck it. These are also relatively inexpensive, though, $1.60 apiece or so. If you like Papermate felt tips but want something that really lets you cramp in the lines, take a look. Link.

Papermate Flair: Most of you probably know these felt-tip almost-markers. These are great utility players and will write smoothly on any paper you can dig up. You can usually find them on Amazon for less than $1 apiece. These work really well if you mix up your writing with drawing here and there. Me and Lynda Barry agree on that one. Link.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like October 28, 2018 - 5:21pm

I got some Muji pens a while back and will second the recommendation. I left the cap off one for weeks and it still wrote.

Someone gave me a Stabilo gel. It looks and feels great, but it marks too broadly for my handwriting. I might try one of their other varieties in a point-three.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 29, 2018 - 9:42pm

Uniball, anyone?

I actually like felt tip guys like sharpies but those goddamn bleed-through issues...

If Sarah ever comes back around here she can tell you about her dream pens that run, I dunno, a thousand dollars or something.

bethwenn's picture
bethwenn from Milwaukee is reading The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann October 31, 2018 - 7:41pm

Zebra ballpoint. I won't write with anything else. I used to work at an art store with all of the above named pens and more, but I still opted to bring these from home to keep in my apron and write with. The lines are crisp. You can control how dark it is by how hard you press. Feels great and always makes my handwriting look better. You can usually get a pack of two at Walgreens for about $7.

helpfulsnowman's picture
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helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman November 3, 2018 - 11:36am

jyh- I like a fat line. I might have to try that out. 

Thuggish- I do like uniball, but my hands get disgustingly sweaty and then they don't write a hot. 

Bethwenn- those are a top choice for a long time, then I ruined a couple pairs of pants hen they opened in my pocket. I've been off click pens since then, but it's my fault really  



jwdonley's picture
jwdonley from Bellingham, WA is reading The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories November 13, 2018 - 3:12pm

I use a heavily modified Zebra F-701 (helpfulsnowman- this won't break in your pocket) . It has the clicker from an F-402 and uses the Fisher Space Pen refill. It writes smooth at any angle, and is built like a tank. It survives being carried in my pocket at all times. I tried to carry F-301s around for awhile, but they would always snap in half in my pocket.

If interested here are some instructions on how to modify the F-701. It costs about $20, and you get a couple extra functioning backup F-402s out of it:

helpfulsnowman's picture
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helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman November 13, 2018 - 6:32pm

This is the kinda deep info I can get behind. I'll try it!