They're pretty bad. You have to be basically 90 degree to the paper
"Novelty" systems usually meet the same fate, I think Parker, in the olden days tried a similar kind of writing instrument, with the same smashing success.
Well so far I really like the 1 that I have tried?
Ack! I have to stop reading this thread! You people are enablers...
Yeah... I'm off to Japan in about 48 hours (with Tom Bihn luggage, of course!)... The only way this trip could be remotely mistaken for even slightly-entertaining is if I purchase fountain pen stuff and/or go stuff. So I'm prepping to check luggage in on the way back. Other than that, it's Bihn ALL THE WAY! ;-)
For pens properly packaged (in their retail box or protected with bubble wrap in another box then put together in a bigger box), stationery and go stuff.
Jet Pens in California has a lot of Japanese ink, they can be the ones responsible for shipping the ink you like. :)
How about storage? How do various pens and pencils hold up if you're constantly carrying them in a briefcase (I use a SuperEgo with a Freudian Slip) or travel luggage? Do any of you organize your utensils like a kit, so they are easy to get to? How well protected/insulated from shock are your utensils?
I'm also in the process of switching to a Namiki Vanishing Point pen. I got tired of having to buy 2-in-a-blister-pack gel pen refills, which rather defeated the point of refillables, but needed something "clicky". Much of my pen use is on-the-go notes in my Field Journal Notebook and having to fumble with a pen cap would slow things down too much. The Vanishing Point looks to be the solution to both problems!
For travel on a plane, the trick is not to write with them during takeoff or decent due to the extreme pressure changes. I always keep them stored, and use my ball point or Fisher space pen if I have to write while on a plane.
Sometimes for business meetings, I find a fountain pen can convey a quiet elegance. My pens are not flashy and I use them because I like them, not for the "label" so to speak. But people do ask me about using a fountain pen. It can be an interesting ice breaker too.
Oh, I love pens! The key to really enjoying them, imo, is to match the kind of pen to the right paper. Fountain pens and Clairefontaine are heavenly. Period. Top of the line, no hand fatigue after hours of writing.
However, outside that perfect match, it's more difficult to find what works well - writing with a fountain pen on cheap paper may give you a lot of feathering (where the ink spreads like tiny capilaries), or the nib may catch in the paper fibers, and can gather fuzz as it moves along. Writing with a roller ball on Clairefontaine may give you a lot of skipping because the paper is too smooth for that pen. For instance, I have a roller ball pen from Monteverde that uses fountain pen ink. It skips like crazy when I write on Clairefontaine, but writes a beautiful smooth line in my Moleskine journal with its less-smooth (but by no means rough) paper.
I also love writing with gel pens - also marvelously smooth! - but have trouble with running out of ink too quickly (and a high percentage - though far from all - have stopped working altogether even when there is clearly ink still in the barrel). There may just be a trick there that I don't know.
They work well on some old cheap paper I've been trying to use up. Ball points, on the other hand, tend to tire my hand because there is so much resistance when writing with them, so I can't speak to many. I do have a few old Cross ball points that write quite smoothly and since they are physically slender pens, I find them comfortable to use on occasion.
TMI, I know. lol But a preface to:
- choose the kind of paper you will be using most often with the pen
- discover the size of the pen that feels most comfortable to you as you're writing (some love large hefty pens, others prefer thinner or lighter pens - it's all personal taste)
- explore what kind of pen - fountain, roller, etc. - that feels best to you as you're writing, and what kind of filler you prefer (cartridge, converter, piston fill and variants).
- work out what specifics of what kind of pen works best for you for what you're going to be using it for - a bold nib is great for signatures, and for those with big loopy grand writing, while a fine or extra fine is splendid for those who have small writing or prefer to write in small notebooks. I like mediums to fines for my own writing, the mediums because the color of the ink is more prominent on the bright white Clairefontaine paper. I have dozens upon dozens of inks, and I switch off pens often (each filled with a different color) so my pages look like jewels.
Hmm, too much? I'm a pen junkie, what can I say?
The venders I've seen mentioned are good ones. I've personally used Goulet pens (very nice people!), Levenger, and Pendemonium. A current fave is JetPens, because I can also feed my addiction to pen cases there.
Richard Binder's site (RichardsPens.com) has a lot of good info in addition to wonderful custom nibs for Pelikans (among many other wonders). I have one of his italic nibs on a Pelikan demonstrator 200 that is a dream to write with. The pen itself has gold trim and I've been using Noodler's Walnut ink in it for years because it's such a perfect match.
I have quite a few Lamy Safaris and the aluminum equivalents, and like them (obviously). They are, however - in my experience - somewhat dry writers.
While I like a great number of my pens, I'd say my all-around favorite brand is Pelikan. They are piston fill with smooth nibs and an amazing ink capacity. (Note, though, that the piston fill means they only fill from a bottle.)
(Sorry this is a bit late, but I hope it still helps.)
Edited to add: I don't travel all that much, but the pens I carry when I am traveling (outside my usual area) are the roller ball pens from Levenger's. They are gorgeous resins/acrylics, mostly with screw caps rather than snap ons (so the cap is more secure, imo), and have a just-right heft in my hand. They are, however, a bit iffy on posting (again, that's just my personal experience) but very nice to write with. A great match with Levenger Circa paper, especially now that they've improved the quality.
(I have no affiliation with any of the venders I mentioned here except as a happy customer.)
Foggy Morn - Always enjoying reading about fountain pens and paper! I'm rather obsessed myself...
here is a great site where they review a ton of japanese gel pens and other fountain pens etc...The Pen Addict
i get my japanese imported pens from this hong kong seller who has one of the best prices on pens and refills....Stationery Art Online Store
jetpens from the states are good as well.....JetPens.com - Japanese Pens and Stationery
I have found that the Pilot Petit 1 is a great little pen for travel -- and for all other purposes. First of all, its nib is smooth and, second of all, it's cheap. If any travel disaster occurs to your pen, you won't be out $$$. I got mine at Kinokuniya (a Japanese bookstore that's in many, many cities) but I'm sure you can easily find it online. (Jetpens, most likely!)