Best quality "slimline" style pens

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RunnerVince

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Ogden, UT
I've really seen some hit and miss with the quality on the slimline pens. I'm not super-impressed with the kits from Craft Supplies USA, but as far as I can tell, they're the cheapest at less than $2 per kit.

I've ordered some from Exotic Blanks that I've liked, and they weren't bad on price, and they have a great selection.

The basic slimlines from woodcraft are about double ($4-$5), and the one that I turned was not really any better then the two above for the price.

For those of you who've tried multiple slimlines, which ones have you found to be the best quality. And if they were more expensive, do you think the increase in quality was worth the higher cost, or is there one with a better price/quality tradeoff?
 
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mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
10,297
Location
Medina, Ohio
I have bought many (bulk packs) from Berea Hardwoods, and also PSI (through the Visually Impaired Woodturners program). I have not had an issue with either. The most important issue for me is the transmission. The tubes are less important as they can be modified and actually result in much better visually impressive pens. A less expensive kit - certainly. But with modifications and tinkering - they can be a very nice pen. I have 5-6 that are 4- years old and are still very nice.
 

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its_virgil

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
7,306
Location
Wichita Falls, TX, USA.
There are many many vendors of pen kits but only three or maybe 4 actual manufacturers. There are what some consider the low quality kits made in mainland China. Then there are the kits that are manufactured on Taiwan: Dayacom, Berea claims to have their own manufacturing facility. From what I understand the mainland China kits are actually manufactured by "family operations". One family manufactures the clips, another the finials, another the nib, etc. They place the pieces inside the baggies and send them to a central location where the kits parts are assembled and made ready to sell. So, all of the vendors from whom we purchase kits get them from the same places. Are some better quality than others? Yes.

I use a lot of slimlines and make several custom pens from them. See the picture below. My favorites are those made by Berea and the kits from PSI. I do not like the black line clips used on the Berea kits. But, the clip does not affect the kit quality so the Berea slimlines are quality kits. I just wish they would ditch the outdated black line clip.

I use PSI trimline and comfort kits mostly. I do not use the center-band so its size is unimportant to me. I like the clips on both and do not use the silicone grip that comes with the comfort. Both of these kits have served me well as have the Berea kits. I have had no problems with Berea or PSI slimline kits.

You mentioned Woodcraft. Woodcraft is a reseller of Berea Vista; its so those same kits are available elsewhere for less $$. For example: the Wall Street II is Berea's Sierra; the Wall Street III is Berea's Sierra Vista; The Navigator is Berea's Baron; etc. Exotic Blanks, which you mentioned, sells Dayacom, Berea and PSI kits. I mentioned Exotic Blanks only because you did. Other popular and often mentioned kit vendors sell both Berea and PSI kits along with Dayacom kits. Some vendors identify kits as being from a certain wholesaler and others do not. That information is not secret and is easily found out.

Best of luck on your quest for that perfect slimline kit.
Do a good turn daily!
Don

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I've really seen some hit and miss with the quality on the slimline pens. I'm not super-impressed with the kits from Craft Supplies USA, but as far as I can tell, they're the cheapest at less than $2 per kit.

I've ordered some from Exotic Blanks that I've liked, and they weren't bad on price, and they have a great selection.

The basic slimlines from woodcraft are about double ($4-$5), and the one that I turned was not really any better then the two above for the price.

For those of you who've tried multiple slimlines, which ones have you found to be the best quality. And if they were more expensive, do you think the increase in quality was worth the higher cost, or is there one with a better price/quality tradeoff?
 

Roger Wilco

Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Messages
24
Location
Southern California
I've only just started, but I've had very consistent/good quality from the kits from Rockler. I wait 'til they go on sale and just recently picked up 10 kits for twenty bucks. I think Rockler gets theirs from PSI, so (as far as I know) if you buy your slimlines from Rockler or PSI you'll probably be okay. My .02
 
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