I'd like to be able to write more than a couple words!
January 10, 2012 9:09 AM   Subscribe

I need a cheap pen recommendation for my particular needs.

To write well, I need a pen that is, in order of priority:

Very heavy — most important consideration.
Tall — about the length of a pencil.
Thick inflexible ball with non-flowing ink — you know those gel ones? I hate them.

Maybe also a bit wide / thick — but if you can find something that fits the other 3 points, I'm happy.

The most luck I have had are with simple Bic pens, they'd do very well if only they were taller and heavier.
Preferably black ink, blue gives me a headache. But if blue is all there is, then I'll make do.

Do you know any other cheap pens that fit my needs?
It must be a pen that I can buy off-line.
posted by midnightmoonlight to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you just use a Bic pen and insert it into a length of copper tubing or something to get the length and weight you want?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:14 AM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: Can I buy the copper tubes somewhere? Or, can you show me how I'd make that copper tubing?

I've removed the squishy "grip" from gel pens and placed them in Bic pens before, so I can see myself doing that.
posted by midnightmoonlight at 9:17 AM on January 10, 2012

For the weight and cheapness factors, I'd suggest trying a Zebra steel pen. They are available at most Office Depot type places.
posted by mattbucher at 9:20 AM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: I think my boyfriend has some Zebra pens. Aren't they shorties? I must have a tall pen.
Also, the ink is the flowing kind.
posted by midnightmoonlight at 9:24 AM on January 10, 2012

Best answer: Places like Home Depot have cheap copper and brass tubing, and will cut the tubing for you while you wait. The tubing I have in mind is, say, 3 feet long or so, which means you could have them cut it for you in 8, 9, 9, and 10 inch lengths. Cut edges might be sharp!

If it were me, I'd also pick up a container of the latex rubber they have for dipping tools in to make grips--it is sort of a fast drying rubber. It would get the pipe some texture/grip and hopefully cover any sharp edges.

Then buy a box of Bic pens. You may need to wrap some tape around them when you insert them into the pipe to make them stay.

It may not be pretty, but it would be cheap, heavy, and long.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:28 AM on January 10, 2012

I have the Zebra M-701 as seen in mattbucher's link. It is a heavy pen, and I love mine. But, it is probably shorter than you like at 5 1/2 inches.
posted by synecdoche at 9:33 AM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: Good idea.
The folks at Home Depot are always very helpful no matter how silly the project is!
I'm sure they could help me out with that.

I don't care if it looks ugly, I'd do anything to be able to write! :-) Even when writing a grocery list, I get super frustrated after writing just 3 things.
posted by midnightmoonlight at 9:33 AM on January 10, 2012

Er, F-701, that is. The M is a pencil.
posted by synecdoche at 9:34 AM on January 10, 2012

Best answer: Have you tried the Dr. Grip? It's thick and pretty heavy. You can get various ink types, so the flowing v. non-flowing is kind of a moot point. I can also speak to the heft of a vintage Parker Jotter (the new models feel flimsy) Also, the Cross brand makes a heavy pen, I have one like this and it's also pretty heavy.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 3:39 PM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: (Scroll down for TL;DR. I have two questions.)

I did a lot of researched based on your suggestions, and I also grabbed a bunch of pens from around the house. I played around and paid attention to details.

I learned that...
* If I push down too hard, it hurts a lot after just a couple of words.
* But if I don't push down, I can't write legibly and I write very slowly.
* I need to place my fingers by the tip, not half-way up the pen. If I place my fingers on the rubber grip, my handwriting goes all over the place like a heart rate monitor :-)
* I like that Bic and old Papermate pens taper off at the tip, exactly where I need to place my fingers. This makes it so it doesn't hurt so much, despite the pen being skinny and light.

Dr. Grip:
Really exciting, 6 and 7 inch tall, wow.
I tried two similar pens: Unibal Signo (flowing ink, metal tip) and Pilot G-2 (ballpoint, plastic tip).
I found out that I place my fingers on the tip, not the rubber grip. That makes it completely pointless, haha! Also, my fingers keep sliding off when I use the metal-tip pen, and all the Dr Grip's have metal tips.

I'm not sure if this is a problem if I use all-metal pens. I know that I've tried those kind of pens when I was much younger, and I liked them, including that Parker Jotter.
I'll keep an eye out for anyone who has an all-metal pen so I can give it a try.

Zebra: when using the boyfriend's, it's pleasant, but hurts after a while. Not sure why, exactly. Too small, I think?

Cross Century:
At first I dismissed it because it looks too simple, but after I learned everything I said above...
I watched the Century collection video on the Cross website, and the Century II looks like it might work for me.
* There is a sharp taper just where I place my fingers. Yes!
* The video says that Century II weights about the same as a pencil.
* Writing with pencils is less painful and more legible, maybe that's why I like the Bic and old Papermate pens..?

I feel like if either of those 2 pens were heavier, my problem would be solved. I think Century II might be the answer. I wonder if this will become my glorified, heavier Bic ballpen.

My feeling is that Century II is not too small and not too thin for my hands, and the black finish is more comfortable than metal finishes. And I found a review on amazon that says that same exact thing :-)

{ TL;DR }

I added that pen to my Amazon wish-list for now, but I have two questions, if someone can help:
* How tall is your Century? Any Century, just say if it's I/II/III. I can compare sizes thanks to the video on the website.
* What finish do you have; do you grip hard or light; do you find that your fingers slide off the pen as you write?

Thank you all so much :-)
posted by midnightmoonlight at 11:46 PM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: No more posting at 3 AM, this sounds completely wrong >_>

"Zebra: when using the boyfriend's, it's pleasant, but hurts after a while. Not sure why, exactly. Too small, I think?"
Poor boyfriend!
posted by midnightmoonlight at 12:00 AM on January 11, 2012

Response by poster: Nevermind, the website lights how tall the pen is. Still interested to hear if you think it's slippery to use.
posted by midnightmoonlight at 12:30 AM on January 11, 2012

Response by poster: Note to self:
Person has terrible and slow handwriting with ballpoint pens; switched to fountain pen and it because much more legible to read and faster to write.
"I have a very light hand with fountain pens but very hard with ballpoints."

This might just solve my problem!
posted by midnightmoonlight at 12:58 AM on January 11, 2012

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