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Old 09-26-2017, 08:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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My opinion, as a "fountain pen" lover and owner of some higher end name brand pens... I'm assuming kit-less isn't a practical option so will ignore those options...

Use a nice, unusual material not found in name brand pens... simply the fact that it's unique, custom, and hand crafted for the recipient gets you near the impression you need. The only two mods I'd do to the kit (so it doesn't just look like a pen you can buy on Etsy) is to swap in a Bock nib and make it closed end. So pick a kit where you can swap in a high end nib and feel comfortable making closed end. I'm not sure I'd go the extra $ for gold nib vs. two tone, but go for it if you have the budget. If you're not comfortable doing basic tuning on the nib, buy one already tuned, or have somebody do it for you - it makes a big difference, even with purchased high end nibs. Or maybe you find out the guy likes to tune his own, so you don't worry about it.

I prefer the feel of plastic in the nib grip/assembly rather than metal, so I'd look at a Churchill as a base kit. IMO, as with many kits, it's way to heavy to write with posted, so you don't really loose much by making it closed end. And on some kits (Presimo, for example), you can do the closed end in a way where it will post anyway, if the user wants to.

A matching custom stand/case might also better enable you to compete with high end name brand....
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Joel,

As a fountain pen guy myself, I would consider weight an important consideration, so here is a little bit of hard data for your consideration.

Up until about a year ago, Nibs.com had a spreadsheet of the physical data of all the pens that it had for sale and I was crazy enough to tabulate it. If I counted correctly there were 278 pens in the sample with weights ranging from 11 grams to over 100 grams.

for what I would call a usable range:

94 (34%) were between 15 and 25 grams
117 (42%) were between 20 and 30 grams
72 (26%) were between 30 and 40 grams
29 (10%) were between 40 and 50 grams

Nibs.com seems to print the dimensions and weight of just about every pen that it sells on the description page for the pen.

My own small collection of kitless, vintage and current commercial medium to high end fountain pens weighs between 15 and 32 grams with one exception which is a Lamy 3000 which weighs 47 grams and which I find to be uncomfortably heavy.

I have a couple of kit fountain pens for comparison. A Churchill that weighs 43 grams, and an Electra that weighs 41 grams.

Two other online sources:

https://peaceablewriter.wordpress.com/penweights/

Top 25 best fountain pens - Technical Chart

For what it's worth,
Bill

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Old 09-28-2017, 10:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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I hadn't noticed Roy's post until after I had posted mine. Need to learn to pay attention.

He's right. Kit pens are a problem in terms of weight. Unfortunately there's no way around it.

I also agree with him though on the Churchill. It's a good looking pen, and the plastic grip section is certainly much more appealing to a pen guy than a metal one. I would take his advice one step beyond though. Rather than just swapping out for a Bock nib, I would at least consider making a new grip section out of ebonite or possibly the same material that you use for the pen (assuming of course that it's not wood). You would need to buy the nib/feed assembly, an m10-1 tap and die, a couple of metric drill bits, and a $30 or so special tap for the Bock of Jowo (which I lean toward) feed housing. Probably a $50-$60 tooling investment.

There are tutorials on section making in the library, and it can easily be done on a wood lathe.

Bill

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Old 09-28-2017, 10:47 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budnder View Post
swap in a Bock nib and make it closed end.
Yes, I agree completely with this.
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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An addendum on weight. I took the cap off my Churchill fountain pen an weighed the barrel/nib. It came in right at 24 grams.

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Old 09-28-2017, 08:32 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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I would be careful about taking any rare or unique wood from a national park. You might find yourself paying the value of the pen in a fine.
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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If you go closed end with a kit, that can help considerably with the weight as there's no big metal thingy at the end of the pen. You can also get rid of most of the brass tube in the body - just use enough tube to let you press the nib end hardware in place.

Of course, balance is a factor, and just making it lighter doesn't mean you end up with something where you like the balance. Of the top of my head, though, in my experience I don't mind a nib weighted balance. It's weight on the back end that I find uncomfortable to write with (which is why I don't get hung up on a kit pen having to post... that really puts a lot of weight on the back end).
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