Fountain Pens for Beginners

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npenn

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Jun 13, 2020
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Rayne, Louisiana
I'm sorry if this has been posted before.

I’m looking at beginning to make my own pens. I love fountain pens and I’m looking for a hobby. Pen turning will hopefully grab and keep my attention.
A lot of the pen kits and things I see aren’t geared towards fountain pens, they are more towards regular roller balls. I will attempt those too but mainly wanting to focus on fountain calligraphy pens. Any information would be greatly accepted on how to make and where to find what I need for the process.
 
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There are many vendors who carry FP kits that have instructions. I prefer PSI kits and have made a couple but plan to make more in the future. If using a kit it's standard turning, you won't need any special tools. Good luck, FP's are fun to make.
 

Curly

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Saskatoon SK., Canada.
William Wood-Write have a fountain pen called Eros for calligraphy. They also sell them as a set and you can get individual sections with different nibs. There are many kits available that you can change the nibs for Bock calligraphy nibs too. Beaufort Ink carry them.

https://www.penblanks.ca/search.php?mode=search&page=1&keep_https=yes



Disclaimer: My wife Marla makes pen blanks to both theses suppliers.
 

magpens

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Hi there, Nicholas !! . Warm welcome to IAP !! 😀

If you were to tell us about your experience, that would make it easier to offer suggestions.
For one thing, you are going to need a lathe ... choosing what type and model is most suitable will depend on you and your experience.
Check with your local Woodcraft or Rockler about the possibility of attending a hands-on class in pen making.

It seems you are primarily interested in making one-of-a-kind fountain pens, and you could even start by diving in at that "deep" end.
Most of us, however, have started by tackling a more mundane objective in order to get used to the tools and methods.

If you go to a class, you will most likely be led through the process of making a so-called "Slimline" ballpoint pen.

If you want to start on your own, I would recommend a different kit pen, namely a PSI 30 Caliber Bolt Action ballpoint pen from Penn State.

But a kit pen of some sort is the quickest way to get started. . It could even be a kit fountain pen such as the El Grande pen kit from Berea.

Although I mention specific companies, most pen kits are available from a number of vendors.
Two prominent vendors that many of us buy from are www.ExoticBlanks.com and www.BearToothWoods.com. . You should browse those sites.

Tell us a bit more about your skill set, ask some specific questions, and I am sure you will get quite a number of helpful responses.
 
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mark james

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Not sure if this is where you want to go, but with some practice, dip pens with different nibs are very feasible. These are a few I did a few years back. Nothing special, but the recipient says they are still being used for ink drawings.
 

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its_virgil

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Almost Every rollerball kit you have found also comes as a fountain pen. I favor the Dayacom juniors because of the better nib and feed assembly. They just seem to perform much better than others.
Do a good turn daily!
Don
 

Chasper

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Possibly we should start with a more elementary explanation. There are three general types of pens that most individual pen makers make.
1. Ballpoint pens. Usually retractable by twisting or clicking, uses oil based ink.
2. Rollerball pens. They look and write similar to a ball point, but the ink refill is a water based, more liquid ink, writes smoother needs to be capped when not in use to prevent drying out
3. Fountain pens. Use liquid ink, either from a bottle or cartridge. Dip pens are similar to a fountain pen, but they have no in storage other than what clings to the nib with it is dipped.

You asked about a fountain calligraphy pen. As others have explained, it is possible to put a flat tip calligraphy nib in a standard fountain pen and make it into a fountain calligraphy pen. I sell pens at art shows and I often have shoppers ask for calligraphy fountain pens, as it usually turns out they are looking for a standard ball tipped fountain pen, but they mistakenly use the word calligraphy for all types of fountain pen. Sometimes they think all fountain pens need to be dipped into an ink well too.

If what you are looking for is a liquid ink pen that makes a broad line on the down stroke and a narrow line on a horizontal stroke, they you need a true calligraphy pen with a special nib. If what you want is a fountain pen for everyday writing, then the fountain pen kits sold by all the vendors is what you need, no nib change required. All the significant suppliers sell all three types of pens.
 

jalbert

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Louisville, KY
If what you are looking for is a liquid ink pen that makes a broad line on the down stroke and a narrow line on a horizontal stroke, they you need a true calligraphy pen with a special nib. If what you want is a fountain pen for everyday writing, then the fountain pen kits sold by all the vendors is what you need, no nib change required. All the significant suppliers sell all three types of pens.
This is not entirely true. Fountain pen nibs with italic and stub grinds accomplish this type of line variation. The variation will not be as pronounced as a true flex nib, but vintage flex nibs are relatively scarce, not to mention expensive, and you can’t just stick them in another pen and expect it to work. Many people use cursive italic nibs for everyday writing.
 

npenn

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Jun 13, 2020
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Location
Rayne, Louisiana
Hi there, Nicholas !! . Warm welcome to IAP !! 😀

If you were to tell us about your experience, that would make it easier to offer suggestions.
For one thing, you are going to need a lathe ... choosing what type and model is most suitable will depend on you and your experience.
Check with your local Woodcraft or Rockler about the possibility of attending a hands-on class in pen making.

It seems you are primarily interested in making one-of-a-kind fountain pens, and you could even start by diving in at that "deep" end.
Most of us, however, have started by tackling a more mundane objective in order to get used to the tools and methods.

If you go to a class, you will most likely be led through the process of making a so-called "Slimline" ballpoint pen.

If you want to start on your own, I would recommend a different kit pen, namely a PSI 30 Caliber Bolt Action ballpoint pen from Penn State.

But a kit pen of some sort is the quickest way to get started. . It could even be a kit fountain pen such as the El Grande pen kit from Berea.

Although I mention specific companies, most pen kits are available from a number of vendors.
Two prominent vendors that many of us buy from are www.ExoticBlanks.com and www.BearToothWoods.com. . You should browse those sites.

Tell us a bit more about your skill set, ask some specific questions, and I am sure you will get quite a number of helpful responses.

I don't have any experience what so ever with penturning. I did a little bit of turning in high school but that was baseball bats and furniture parts.
 

monophoto

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Mar 13, 2010
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Saratoga Springs, NY
Nick

I'm a fountain pen person - exclusively - and have been for at least 30 years. There's no real difference between turning and assembling a kit fountain pen and turning and assembling a kit ball point pen. However, I will say that the choice of fountain pen kits is quite limited, and most are pretty mediocre, at least the ones that I have tried. The pen in my pocket today, for example, was made from a PSI kit - it's OK, but there there are some design flaws, and it doesn't write as well as some commercial (non-kit) pens in my edc rotation.

There are folks out there who make 'bespoke' (aka kitless) pens that I think are much better. At least, they have screw caps which slows down the rate at which fountain pens dry out (most kits come with 'snap caps'). I have a lot of respect for the folks who do bespoke pens - that requires a high degree of machining skill which I don't have - there is also fairly steep investment required to buy the necessary taps and dies (there is a group buy on IAP about once a year that can save a few dollars). Most (but not all) bespoke fountain pens are made from some kind of plastic rather than wood.

But if your thing is caligraphy, you might want to look into making nib holders. Most caligraphers use dip pens rather than fountain pens - dip pens don't have reservoirs, and must be dipped into a bottle of ink. Nib holders for dip pens are fairly simple in design, but do require both a nib (which purchased) and a small metal fitting to attach the nib to the holder. In one configuration, that fitting is a cylindrical sleeve or ferrule that fits into the end of the turned handle - I think most people buy these, and they are very inexpensive. The other configuration is a metal flange to hold the nib; I think most people who make nib holders with flanges make their own from sheets of brass. For more information than you probably want to know, Google 'Yoke Pen Company'.
 
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