Fountain Pens, The Good Shit

What the heck, it’s only a buck

The best deal in quality writing instruments going today is, without a doubt, the Jinhao X450. This pen, for only 99 cents shipped from China to the US, should prove to be a gateway drug into the good shit for anyone with good taste and frugal spending habits.

Buying the Jinhao X450 is easy. If you go out on eBay, you’ll find a bunch of them in all kinds of different colors. But you probably won’t find any for 99 cents… unless you know where to look.

The vendors that sell these bargains usually won’t name the pen, for reasons we can only speculate on. And usually they are vendors that have perhaps earned a few bad customer feedbacks. One of the prevailing theories is that they offer these pens at a loss in order to get back in the good graces of eBay customers.

Pretty commonly, there will be buying restrictions imposed by a seller. Like you can only buy one or two pens at a time, and each purchase must be at least ten days apart. Rest assured, I’ve bought more than a few of these pens myself, and I’ve never been screwed by the vendor. Every now and then I get one that needs to be worked on, but I’ve been able to fix the nib myself. Most will benefit from a good nib polishing & tuning.

What do you get for your hard-earned buck?

Photo Mar 08, 8 24 13 PMYou get a really handsome looking pen made out of enamel-coated brass. You can have it in any color you want, as long as it’s black with gold trim. And you get get any nib size from Medium to… well, that’s it, really. Just Medium. It looks good in the office. It looks good in the classroom. It looks good just about anywhere. And, hey, it’s black… and black is the new… anyway, let’s move on.

Because the pen is made of brass, it might feel a little heavy to anyone who’s had the distinct pleasure of writing with not-so-cheap fountain pens. But I have some of those, and I still choose to write with a Jinhao X450 pretty often, even though I have some much more expensive pens around.

The nib is surprisingly good. Jinhao isn’t very good about quality control, so I’d consider them about 95% finished. Expect to spend a few minutes with micromesh and a brass shim to get it dialed in just right. But look at it! It’s beautiful! The little bit of ink you see on there is my fault.

Photo Mar 08, 8 38 26 PM.jpg

And if you don’t like the nib, this is where it gets good: it’s a standard #6 nib, so you can upgrade it. It uses the same nib and feed that I recently covered on the sibling pen, the Jinhao X750.

It can use standard international ink cartridges, but it comes with a decent enough converter that you can also use bottled ink with this pen, as I do. Actually, I mostly feed mine whatever random samples I get from the monthly Goulet Ink Drop (which is a Cheap Geezer Approved way to get to write with many cool inks without spending too much cash).

Where can I get one?

The best deals to be found for these are on eBay. You have to dial in your search a bit. This one should get you started.

They can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to arrive. Patience!

How does it write?

After you spend a few minutes polishing the nib tip and getting the wetness just where you want it, in a word: awesome.

2016-03-08-0001

But is it the Good Shit?

Uh, yeah. I kind of lead with that.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get a few. Give them out to friends. Spread the disease.

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10 thoughts on “What the heck, it’s only a buck

  1. frk says:

    Thank you for this! I look forward to your future posts.

    as a suggestion for such, had you considered any Indian pens from fountainpenrevolution.com? Many would fit your very sensible Rule of 25. FPR also sells German tipped replacement nibs and feeds in various sizes. (no affiliation, just awaiting my first order 🙂

    Like

    • FPR is on my radar, but I’ve not bought any of their pens yet. Most of my “cheap” pens are Chinese. I’m waiting for some more Japanese pens to arrive the long (cheap) way. I’d like to kind of take time looking at pens from different parts of the world in groups, at least while the blog is young. Some of the Indian eyedroppers have my attention!

      Like

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