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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Faber-Castell Basic Fountain Pen Overview



Video Outline:

  • Unboxing (1:33)
  • Color 0ptions (3:00)
  • Features (3:52)
  • How it writes (6:32)
  • Comparable pens (9:53)
  • Take it or leave it (10:22)


Graf von Faber-Castell is a German pen company that has been around since 1761 (woah!), but they're new to us at GouletPens.com. They have two lines of pens, higher-end ones sold under Graf von Faber-Castell, and Faber-Castell, which is their more affordable line. One of the models in the Faber-Castell line is the Basic, and I think you will be seriously impressed.

The Basic is available in 4 finishes: Polished Metal, Matte Chrome, Black Carbon, and Black Leather. These range in price from $38-45, as of the posting of this blog. They are snap-cap, push-to-post, and have a strong, sturdy clip. They're pretty long pens, and when posted are REALLY long, too long, really to use practically. But the weight/balance isn't thrown off as much as you might think because the cap is really light.

Faber-Castell Basic in Black Carbon


Nib sizes are available in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad, and they write really nicely. The extra-fine steals the show in my opinion, I did not expect to get such a fine line from a German nib. Typically it's the Japanese companies like Pilot and Platinum that rock the fine nibs, but Faber-Castell does a real good job with this one. The fine, medium, and broad nibs are pretty much standard European nibs though, wet, juicy, and smooth. The range of line width between EF and B is impressive. Be sure to check out the Nib Nook to compare writing samples of them all along with every other pen we carry.



The Basic is a cartridge/converter pen, but there's a snag here. You can use standard international cartridges (short or long), but the converter has to be the proprietary Faber-Castell converter, a 'normal' standard international converter (like this one) will not fit in the body of the Basic, it's too tight of a fit. That's kind of annoying, I admit, especially because the pen doesn't come with a converter. It's $5 to add one on though, so if you want to use bottled ink you might as well just factor that in to the cost of the pen.



To summarize my thoughts on the Basic, here are my take-it-or-leave-it points:

Take it:
  • Great value, entry-level
  • Professional looking
  • Really fine EF nib
  • Smooth nibs overall
  • Removable nib/feed for cleaning (friction fit)
  • Looks super classy
  • Feels really well built
  • Unique!

Leave it:
  • Converter not included
  • ONLY fits Faber-Castell converter, but standard international cartridges
  • Posted is way too long, but still usable



If you've been following me at all, you know that I have a pretty extensive pen collection, and it's not so often I find something truly different than anything else I have. But the Basic is just that, and I totally dig it. You can see more pics, get up-to-date specs and pricing on GouletPens.com if you're interested in buying one for yourself. I think it's certainly worth checking out.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

60 comments:

  1. Some sell me on the ink

    Yikes a bit pricey

    Nice pen though

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  2. Seriously, lose the extra cameras. I had to stop watching because bouncing between camera views was making me seasick.

    I'm really interested in the content, so I'll read the post carefully, but you just lost me as a viewer--permanently, if you don't save the second camera for judicious use when it adds genuine value (e.g., to show writing from above). The third camera on Brian himself? No. Just no. Three cameras for a brief video of someone sitting in a chair is simply indulging in Hollywood fantasies at the expense of the viewers.

    Every time you change camera angles, we reflexively try to understand the purpose--the visual advantage to the viewer--the reason behind the change of angles. AND THERE ISN'T A REASON, except maybe that somebody likes playing with cameras? Or thinks that a video that uses more cameras must be a more important video? More cameras = more important? The more the merrier? No. It's distracting at best, and produces motion-sickness at worst.

    If Brian were a crummy presenter, so you had to do a lot of editing, having multiple cameras would let you change cameras each time you cut something out, making the editing a little less obvious. But Brian is good at this. You don't have to use multiple cameras to gloss over massive editing.

    Think of the old films of Frank Sinatra dancing--he was good enough that they used one camera for an entire dance, start to finish, no cuts, no editing. Contrast that with, say, a dance in the movie Flash Dance, where they have to keep changing camera angles so they can intersperse closeups of an actor's face with distance shots of the real dancer doing the dancing.

    Brian presents like a pro. Even his digressions are part of the charm that makes people feel a human connection with Brian and Rachel. For him, the no-fuss one-camera approach works, like it worked for Frank Sinatra's dances. And sure, have an extra camera all set up for the handwriting, no problem there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You nailed it so clearly! Great feedback for Brian & company.

      Delete
  3. Your blog has made my writing experience a lot more enjoyable in many ways! The most significant impact for me was when I was first starting out with my pen. Before I got it as a birthday present I watched all of the Fountain Pen 101 videos and many of your other more simple videos. Without these videos I would have been fairly clueless as to what I was doing when I got my pen. After this point though, your blog and reviews helped me choose my next pen (one pen at a time), and my next order of ink/samples. Without the wealth of knowledge available on this blog I would have had a hard time picking out my next items; the quality of the videos really help show off the pens and bring me a sense of what to expect like no other source quite can. I can't thank you enough for this blog!

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  4. Ink Nouveau has helped to revive my interest in fountain pens, which had waned for a few years. Since discovering this blog, I've begun using bottled inks (instead of cartridges) and paper designed for fountain pens. I have become much better at cleaning my pens and tinkering with nibs and feeds, all of which has turned what was once an interest into an addiction. My writing experience is so much greater than what I experienced as a newbie years ago. Thanks for all of the information you offer and for your dedication to your customers and fans. Write on!

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  5. Ink Nouveau's Q&A really got me started learning more about fountain pens. I was curious for a long time but I wasn't ready to take that leap until watching your videos. I want to thank you for all the time and work you have put in for helping us fountain pen newbies! :)

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  6. hmm ok... I somehow find the 'Gilmore Girls - The Complete Seasons 1-7' on my Amazon wish list...

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  7. Goulet Pens is awesome and so is this blog! I'm a college student with limited resources (both funds and like minded pen people) so I've turned to Ink Nouveau a bunch if times just to get advice about pens and inks and to generally immerse myself some in the fountain pen world. I love how educational and entertaining the content is--and honestly, this blog has rather single handedly exposed me to and encouraged within me a deeper appreciation for fine writing instruments.

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  8. Im a young architect in Guatemala, when I studied (that haven't been so long, i just got graduated this year), every body in the career made our work entirely in the computer, when I started having lectures with old school architects i get in touch with fountain pens, I started with the basics with a Lamy Safari... but then i discover Ink Nouveau & Goulet Pens, I have spent hours watching the videos on the youtube channel, and found all the new kind of Inks, Pens, and paper that i haven't knew before... now I have 8 different Fountain pens that i use to write, sketch and draw. Not just my handwrite have improve, i start practicing calligraphy, the basics, and I use more paper than before. THANKS!!! to have helping me to rediscover ''pen and paper''

    ReplyDelete
  9. Im a young architect in Guatemala, when I studied (that haven't been so long, i just got graduated this year), every body in the career made our work entirely in the computer, when I started having lectures with old school architects i get in touch with fountain pens, I started with the basics with a Lamy Safari... but then i discover Ink Nouveau & Goulet Pens, I have spent hours watching the videos on the youtube channel, and found all the new kind of Inks, Pens, and paper that i haven't knew before... now I have 8 different Fountain pens that i use to write, sketch and draw. Not just my handwrite have improve, i start practicing calligraphy, the basics, and I use more paper than before. THANKS!!! to have helping me to rediscover ''pen and paper''

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sherri Lowrey-SchrandtSeptember 10, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    A lot of videos offer advice, but they're not all trusted. You've done that, created trust and offered answers that we could take to the bank. Thanks for that. And please continue! Sherri

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  11. As a graduate student, I have to write a lot of notes. Your blog has been very useful for getting me started into the huge world of fountain pens. I currently have just a Pilot Metropolitan as was suggested by your videos and blog, but I plan on expanding my collection! Pencil tends to smear and black ink seems too tough on the eyes, so I have it inked up with grey ink. Thanks for all the information and insight that you provide!

    ReplyDelete
  12. How has the Ink Nouveau blog helped to enhance your writing experience?
    I could think of a hundred different ways the blog has made my writing experience better so I'm trying to think what has been the most important. Ink Nouveau has made learning about pens, and inks, and paper, fun and exciting. I've always had a love for stationary products but there was just so much that I didn't know..you have been an extraordinary teacher, and learning something new that you have a love and passion for...well it cant get any better than that! Thank you and congratulations on the 1000th blog entry. Oh and by the way, my guilty pleasure tv show...MythBusters, love it!

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  13. I had been using fountain pens for a few years but was still pretty close to a noob when I found Ink Nouveau. It has introduced me to all of the various pen, paper, and ink choices and combinations. It is the first blog I check each day and I can not wait for each new post.

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  14. When I started in this hobby about a year ago I knew nothing. Through hours of YouTube watching, with Brian as my tutor, I think that I have developed a real appreciation for writing instruments, but more importantly, the act of writing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I bought my first fountain pen as an American exchange student in Germany summer 2001; a Lamy Safari. Years later, after high school and college, I rediscovered my love of fountain pens and writing. Your blog and YouTube channel have served as an amazing re-introduction for me over the past two or three years. It is the first site I share with people who are new to the hobby as well.

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  16. Ink Nouveau blog has enhanced my writing experience by giving me an avenue to learn about fountain pens and fountain pen ink, which has helped me be more comfortable with different inks and pens. And has shown me that there are many, many people who have a similar love of ink and pen.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I discovered Ink Nouveau shortly after purchasing my first fountain pen last year. Now, over two dozen FP's later, Ink Nouveau is one of my trusted resources for pen and ink reviews. Brian's excellent videos have caused me to (happily) part with more than a few dollars. :-)

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  18. Your blog really has changed my view on everything fountain pen related. Only half a year ago, I had no interest in fountain pens. But watching your videos and reading this amazing blog has given me so much information. I think I could actually carry on a decent conversation with someone about fountain pens (if only i could FIND someone who actually liked them as much as I do haha). But really though, from fountain pens, to paper, to inks, this blog and your videos have taught me so much and I truly look forward to learning more. Thanks, Goulet family.

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  19. Discovering Ink Nouveau has taught me an abundance of information about fountain pens. Seriously, I think without you guys, I wouldn't have had such a great interest in fountain pens. You guys have provided all of us with so much useful information. Thanks, guys.

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  20. Dear Goulet Family,

    Your blog has helped me so much. You have kindled my desire to return to writing with fountain pens. Thank you for being such a great help in providing us with so much help and information.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ink Nouveau was one of my first foray's into the world of fountain pens and the sheer size of that world. It's taught me so many things I never knew about pens, more than I ever imagined was even out there. Thanks to Ink Nouveau I've now got a small collection of pens and inks that I love and look forward to expanding.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Congratulations on reaching 1000 posts! I've been following Ink Nouveau for a long time and I really love the feeling of being connected with other people who share a passion for fountain pens and other aspects of the writing experience. Ink Nouveau helps spread knowledge, share opinions, facilitate discussion, and connect pen fanatics from all over the internet. I have found a lot of enjoyment just from reading other people's comments on this post. I also really appreciate how much you value the input of your user base. I can't think of another company that is so directly open to its customers. I also admire the dedication and drive of everyone at Goulet Pens. You remind me that you can pursue your interest and with enough hard work and an open mind to life's crazy changes you can find yourself doing something you love for a living. Your post on how you and Rachel started out and the one about BLISS are awesome. Of course all the super helpful info about fountan pens is invaluable. I've learned so much from this blog since I first got into fountain pens. But Ink Nouveau inspires me not just in the area of fountain pens but also life in general. I think what I'm getting at is I like that you not just blog about the technical aspect of fountain pens but also provide a personal context that makes the reader feel connected and involved. Keep being amazing at what you do!

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  23. One of the things Ink Nouveau has done is to help me appreciate the difference that quality paper makes. I really never gave it a thought before.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I found your website and videos while searching for help with my new pen. After years and half I have almost watched all your videos. I have learnn so much about fountain pens and how to care for them from videos what a great help they have been. Now I love and enjoy writing and drawing with the two pens I purschased from you, also the ink drop sample. Thank you for all your help.

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  25. Congrats on the tremendous milestone. The Ink Nouveau blog helped me rediscover my love of fountain pens and more deliberate writing. I refreshed my knowledge with the 101 series and then discovered nice paper and the fabulous world of ink courtesy of the blog. In all honesty the blog (and videos) helped welcome me back into something I had been unable to pursue and subsequently forgotten. Thank you!

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  26. I joined the world of fountain pens about a year ago, and your blog, videos and shop have been simply indispensable. From wanting to know how a given pen writes, to needing to know how to fill and clean it, and everything in between — you have covered every question I've had (so far), and the thoroughness and quality of your content and support reflects a deep love and respect of the craft and of the people that enjoy it with you. Your excitement is infectious, and the fountain pen world (certainly my corner of it) is much better for your being a part of it. Congratulations on your thousandth post!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I found your website when I stumbled onto a video about fountain pens on YouTube. I thought that it looked really cool and I wanted one,so I went on YouTube and I did a little research about fountain pens and I happened to come across a video from the Goulet pen company. It was about back to school supplies. I then went to their youtube channel and fell in love with fountain pens. I bought my first pen(Lamy Safari) and I loved it. I wanted to know more about fountain pens so I went back to youtube and looked at the goulet pen company's channel and binged on their videos all weekend. Now they have taught me so much about fountain pens and I still have a lot to learn and thus I will continue to watch all that I can.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I found an interest of fountain pens through a really interesting calligraphy youtube video. After some googling I came across Goulet Pens. From watching the videos and reading the awesome comments here I was able to decide on a fountain pen that i'd like. I never would have thought myself to be picking about what i'm writing with, but now i'm in love with my VP I bought here :)

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  29. This question is much harder to answer than I thought it would be. I owe a lot to Ink Nouveau. I think the most important thing is the confidence to just try things such as replacing a nib. Without the confidence that came with all of the knowledge the Goulet's have shared on the blob over the years, I might not have discovered just how much difference the right pen, nib, ink and paper can make.

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  30. I've only just found your blog. My wife's more into this hobby than I am, but I have a white Lamy fountain pen and really enjoy it. It's been very nice to have a resource for the basic questions I have; Lord knows I delight in seeing my wife enjoy this site every chance she gets!

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  31. I was first introduced to the world of fountain pens by my boyfriend. He became obsessed with fountain pens recently and loves gouletpens.com and Ink Nouveau. Before that, i had no idea people still used fountain pens. Ink Nouveau helped me find a good pen for beginners and i am now the proud owner of two pens. I find all the different types and aspects of all the fountain pens fascinating. I could spend hours on Ink Nouveau reading everything there is to know about fountain pens.

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  32. I have enjoyed Ink Nouveau as a great resource for pens, paper and ink. It has been
    fun to learn about this addictive hobby! The videos are fun to watch and also reading
    gives time to skim through topics when time is short. Congratulations on #1000!

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  33. Ink Nouveau is like going to fountain pen college. Except the learning never stops! You've helped me troubleshoot pen problems, find the perfect paper, while enabling the purchase of some of my favorite pens (Lamy 2000...oh, yeah!). It's an awesome, comprehensive resource that I go to again and again. Oh, and it helped me lose weight, too! (Thanks, again, for your "wellness" posts, Brian!)

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  34. I definitely agree with that! My ink collection is growing to almost what my pen collection is at... about 25 pens in less than 6 months.. don't judge too hard! :)

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  35. I had a fountain pen in school, however I found it expensive to maintain, so I tried not to use it much. then it got stolen and was heart broken. Recently I was in staples and they had a cheap zebra fountain pen at the cash on sale. It reminded me of my fountain pen in high school, so I bought it. when I got it home it reminded me of my love for writing with my long lost pen that was stolen. So off to google and youtube I went. I found your site and have been reading and watching videos every day for the last month. I have learned so much about fountain pens, ink and paper, and think I have decided what i want thanks to your help and am about to make my first order. Since I already am a pen, marker and stationary addict, my bank may suffer greatly for my new found love. Thank you so much for all your team does. And for the tv show question. I don't really watch tv. I was a news junkie for many years, but found all the negativity was getting to me. I had my tv on cnn 24/7. So I simply turned the channel to a home decorating station and it has been on that station ever since. So I dont really watch tv, it is just background noise for me.

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  36. I only recently found your site, and you put out an incredible amount of information - has given me a lot more knowledge about this hobby I've been engaged in for a couple decades (ok, maybe longer than that!). You've opened a seemingly endless pallet of ink colors, and I've been watching your tutorials and reviews on YouTube. That's doubled the length of my workouts because I hate to stop the video and get off - down 10 pounds now!

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  37. I agree, the use of the third camera was over the top and distracting. The overhead camera worked well for the writing sample.

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  38. I have to agree that the side view on Brian isn't really necessary, but the 3/4 view on the pen as well as the top view of the pen are welcome. It was a bit jumpy in the beginning, but by the end seemed more naturally-flowing. In any case, it's cool you're experimenting to improve viewer experience, and I thank you for that. :)

    Regarding the pen -- very happy to see you start carrying this line! I picked up a Basic a couple of years ago when I saw Stephen Brown raving about the smoothness of their nibs. He said it was one of the smoothest he'd ever experienced, and I wouldn't go that far myself, but it is not bad at all. I got a model they don't offer any longer (with mother-of-pearl embedded in the body), and the old style does fit standard cartridges, thank goodness. But I don't think it's a big deal to buy the proprietary cartridge...as I do for many other pens I buy from you.

    It took a little while for me to adjust to the section not tapering at all -- I'm not sure how it would be for long writing sessions. My grip is resin/plastic, but I've heard that the rubbery grip is more comfortable (though it traps ink when filling). I ended up really enjoying my Basic and it has become one of the first pens I reach for for an EDC (everyday-carry). I may have to order that leather one from you! :D

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  39. All those wonderful colors of inks and their properties that I have been introduced to have totally changed and enhanced my writing experiences.

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  40. For most of my adult life I've been a fountain pen loner. It's fine being a maverick, but even better to have some good company and solid knowledge to go along with my fp habit. Ink Nouveau has been that company, that supplier of knowledge. Thanks, merci, and congrats.

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  41. Carol, alright, point taken! Hopefully I don't lose you as a viewer permanently! This was an experiment, not a permanent change. We're trying out a multi cam setup, but will only stick with it if it makes sense and actually enhances your viewing experience. I agree that this one was a bit rough, and we've learned a lot from it. For what it's worth, editing together like this did allow me to take a 15 minute video and make it just under 13 minutes just by cutting out my natural pauses and odd/random sayings that didn't add value to the conversation. But still, I agree, it was a bit much.


    Haha, I'm honored that you'd even throw my name out there with Frank Sinatra! Maybe I should start dancing more in my videos, I was dance captain of my high school show choir after all ;)


    In all seriousness though, thanks for your feedback. Hang in there with me, Jenni and I are going to be experimenting a bit over the next several videos, and it might be a little rocky as we figure things out. But your feedback like this will influence how we shoot things so.

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  42. Thanks Otter, we're trying. Poor Jenni's thrown in the deep end here, she barely knows what a converter is and here we're trying out a multi-cam setup! It's been a little rough, I definitely pushed the envelope on this one, probably too far. "Experience gives the test first and the lesson later"!


    Yeah, I wouldn't say it's the smoothest nib I've ever used, but it's pretty darn good. Stephen's video was from 2012, too, and he's handled a lot more pens since then :)

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  43. Ink Nouveau has been a great go-to place whenever I have beginner questions on how to take care of my pens! I really love being able to see products in action before I decide to buy anything, and I always found this blog a valuable resource for that. Congrats on reaching your 1000th post, and here's to hoping for many more! :D

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  44. I've been an on and off fountain pen user for many years... Many many, sigh... One of the coolest things I've learned from Ink Nouveau is how important the paper and ink are to the FP equation. Not something I would have paid much attention to previously.
    Thanks for all the info and all the great comparison tools. Also thanks to you and the team for the great customer support

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  45. The awesome, well produced videos here on ink Nouveau really helped to get me started with fountain pens. I learned about pen, paper, and ink selection. Something about striving for the best in everything is satisfying; turning something that may otherwise be minutia into something requiring finesse and discipline and possessing intrinsic rewards, that's the ideal fountain pens represent for me and what ink nouveau helps to realize.

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  46. I got into fountain pens as a high school student, and didn't really understand some of the nuances involved with choosing a good ink, cleaning the pen, and choosing a good paper. Your videos have had a huge impact on my ability to use fountain pens well, and to really enjoy the experience.

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  47. I really liked the close up of the pen and the writing sample. You talk a lot with your hands so it was funny to watch some of the pen shots where you are just whipping the pen around. I can't wait to see the videos progress as you nail down what works.


    Interesting look at the brand. I'm hoping to see a Loom video soon. Definitely adding this one to my wishlist.

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  48. The blog has been a great way to keep up with new pens, inks, and information. I really enjoy that the Goulet's aren't just merchants, but educators as well for the pen community. :)

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  49. You have been (and of course continue to be) an EXCELLENT resource for my pen and ink inquiries. Thank you for being such a wealth of information!

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  50. Hi TJ, yes, you're absolutely right -- I misspoke! I meant standard converters, and the newer styles don't accept those. My old model was able to fit a standard/generic converter, rather than requiring a proprietary one.

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  51. I don't see the Faber's on Nib Nook. How does the fine compare to the Pilot Prera fine?

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  52. Congrats, Mike! Your comment was randomly chosen as the winner! You have a new pen waiting for you :) Thanks so much to everyone for commenting, it's amazing to see such awesome support.

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  53. The give away pen is awesome!!!! It will look sooooo pretty on my work bench!!! Just hope. I win the beautiful sepia ink to go with it!!!! Thanks.

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  54. Hey there, Tim! Yeah, we haven't gotten a chance to add it on there yet, but I think I've attached both the writing samples for you to see side by side. Personally looking at them, the EF Faber-Castell is comparable to the Prera Fine and the Fine Faber-Castell is very similar to the Prera Medium – pretty much what I would expect! Hope this helps and we'll try to get those samples in the Nib Nook soon!

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  55. Or you can just wait for it to come out on Netflix next month :) Talk about a dream come true!

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  56. Your blog has helped me in many ways in choosing pens, nibs and inks and offers a great variety of information on pen maintenance which for a recent convert to fountain pens has proved to be of great help. Just learning the importance of good paper to the experience has increased my enjoyment a lot. Keep up the good work!

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  57. Really nice pens.
    William pen'

















    http://www.williampenn.net/

    ReplyDelete
  58. Thanks to sharing such a good post also share
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