This is a guest post from Tara of Pen Fanatic
I have always admired good pens. A pen can say a lot about the owner. Someone who puts a lot of time and consideration into a writing utensil is going to have better writing and is going to take more care handling the pen. Since I’ve played with many different types of pens over the years I wanted to give you an overview of a few that I think are worth checking out, as well as a few recommendations on where to go if you are looking for more pen knowledge.
Let’s start with ballpoint pens. The ballpoint pen requires more pressure from the hand to write but they rarely smear because the oil-based ink is waterproof, a great advantage to those who tend to smudge, like our left handed friends. The ink lies on the paper rather dryly so ballpoints require less ink and need to be refilled less often.
Let’s say that you have a favorite ballpoint pen. You love it and have been using it non-stop. But now it’s time to refill it. There are three different sizes of refills however and they are not always listed on the packaging. The easiest way to identify which refill you need is to look at what is currently in your pen and match the size and shape to the refill you need. Each of these refills come in fine, medium and bold point.
Most people prefer a medium point which is .5mm to .7mm and these are the most prevalent in the stores. The differences between the sizes is how thick the line is. Brands like Cross, Waterman, Lamy and Mont Blanc are always of good quality and are readily available pretty much anywhere.
If are interested in branching out from a ballpoint but want a similar writing device and you happen to write a great deal throughout the day, you may consider a rollerball pen. Rollerballs require less pressure to write which is easier on the hand. The water based ink is more fluid but also is easily smeared especially if you run your hand along the paper as you write. Rollerballs have four refill sizes but like the ballpoint, they are rarely labeled by size and the best way to find what you need is to visually match what is already in your pen. Most of the office supply sites have pictures to compare the shapes of the refills are distinctive and they are easy to identify.
I prefer Mont Blanc refills but Waterman, Schmidt, and Parker are good products too. One big perk of the rollerballs is how much darker and more visible the ink is than a ballpoint. The four refills sizes come in an extra fine, Fine, medium or bold point. I personally love an extra fine point or a fine point because I like the precision it allows me in my writing style. The most common size for this pen is .5 mm medium point.
Gel inks is a type of rollerball. Gel inks are becoming increasingly popular because the gel bonds with the paper better than other inks to minimize the risk of “check washing.” “Check washing” is the practice of a thief stealing your check, removing the ink, and rewriting a fraudulent amount.
There are so many types of pens and depending on how heavy of a hand you use to write with helps determine which is best for you. You have all heard the saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. The saying can be applied to a ballpoint or a rollerball; the more you use the pen the better the ink will flow. If you are looking to expand your horizons even further, my suggestion would be to check out a fountain pen. Fountain pens are in a league of their own, truly. If you are looking for a great book about pens pick up a copy of Pen Speak: The Secret Language of Pen Lovers by Glen B. Bowen. This book is great because it really does show you all your options in one well-crafted book. I love this book because it covers pen mechanics, pen verbiage and gives you a broad overview of the variety of pens.