Originally Posted by bearsfan172
I'm sure that there are some good fountain pen people on this forum, so I figure I'd throw this out there.
I've never used a fountain pen before, but find them to be very elegant and interesting, and was looking for some recommendations. I'd like to pick up a nice, cheap fountain pen (<$50 or so) so I can try it out and see how I like it. If I do like it, then I'm sure I'll pick up a nicer one in the future. Any good suggestions on brands and specific pens for a fountain pen neophyte looking for a cheap one? Anything in particular that I should look for or avoid in a good pen? And is there anything else a person who knows nothing about fountain pens should know?
You won't go wrong if you pick up a Lamy fountain pen. Their styling tends to be quite modern. Their writing quality is always excellent and will give you a good sense of what a well made pen is supposed to feel like as it lays down ink on paper. The Safari is their entry level pen and many people swear by them (although the styling is a bit plasticky looking for my taste). Nevertheless, a good choice to start out with.
Another excellent entry level choice is a Waterman Phileas. Watermans are amongst the smoothest writing pens I've ever used and you can buy a Phileas at most big box office supply stores.
I would tend to stay away from Cross fountain pens unless you like what is known as a "wet writer"- ie. a fountain pen that lays down a lot of ink. My experience with Cross products, though, is that they lay down more ink than I care for and can be a bit messy to work with. They also tend to bleed through low quality paper (again because they lay down a lot of ink).
I love fountain pens for many reasons but my favourite aspect of them is that they are very easy on the hand/wrist as, unlike a ballpoint, one does not have to press down hard to get them to write. The ink flows out of them easily and thus they help prevent writer's cramp during long writing sessions.
My only other thought is to pay attention to the size of the nib that you buy: ie. fine, medium, broad, etc. If your handwriting tends to be small, you will probably want to go with a fine point pen; if you write larger, a medium point would be good. Broad points are unusable for most people unless you are only going to use it as a signature pen.
There is a bit of a tradeoff when considering the nib size. A medium point will generally provide a smoother writing experience but it may lay down a line that is too thick for someone with small handwriting. A fine point is more exact and good for smaller writing but, generally speaking, the finer the point, the scratchier the writing experience will be.
You can check out the Fountain Pen Network for reviews of just about every fountain pen out there for more info.
Let us know what you wind up deciding to buy. I find the field of fountain pens fascinating and have purchased about 70 of them so far. It can be addictive.