Using Uni-ball Jetstream refills in non-Jetstream pen bodies?
January 3, 2007 9:02 AM   Subscribe

As a left-hander, I've struggled to find a pen that writes smoothly but dries almost immediately so the ink doesn't smear when my hand passes across it. The the Uni-ball Jetstream fits this bill nicely. Some have criticized it as too smooth, but I like it. It offers me the smooth lines of a gel ink without the goopyness. Unfortunately, I'm also a devotee of weighty, elegant, well-made writing instruments. Though I've given up on using fountain pens for anything other than a signature, I can live with the size and style of a good rollerball design. Are there any high-quality pen bodies (Waterman, Pelikan, Montblanc, etc.) that will accept a Uni Jetstream refill? I've had trouble finding any information regarding the cross-compatability of refill cartridges, and I'm unwilling to buy another $100+ pen only to learn that the ink is unsuitable for me. Of course, if you can recommend a fountain pen that will fit the bill, I'd love to hear about it. But my experience has been that, even using extra-fine nibs and specialty inks, I have to choose between smearing the page or literally scratching my letters into the page.
posted by strunkl to Shopping (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a recommendation for you, but thank you for recommending the Uni-ball Jetstream. I have been searching for a good left-hander's smooth pen. I am going to go out and buy a pack asap.
posted by nekton at 9:07 AM on January 3, 2007

I'm a lefty. I use a Parker "Jotter" Pen, which is a simple and kinda thin (for my tastes anyway) clicker pen that is popular among cops and engineers. It's a $7 pen. But instead of the woefully shitty rollerball cartridges that come with it, I use the Parker Gel refills or the Itoya Advanced Gel Ink refills.

While I don't have a recommendation of a nicer pen that will fit the Jetstream refill, many nice (ooooh so nice) pens take the parker and itoya refills. After a very unscientific test just now, I think that the itoya refills are *slightly* quicker drying. But only a bit. They are my current faves -- but note that they are "needle" points (more like a rapidograph or other technical pen) and not so "ball-point" looking.
posted by zpousman at 9:49 AM on January 3, 2007

I'm not a lefty, but Hebrew is written from right to left, so I understand your pain (and so do probably writers of Arabic and Japanese). I haven't tried yet the Jetstream, but other Uniball refills matched my Cross classic rollerball, so I hope this one will match it as well. I'll keep you informed! In the meantime, you can read useful tips about quick-drying pens on this thread from Moleskine fans.
posted by dov at 11:00 AM on January 3, 2007

Fischer Space Pen works for me.
posted by jdfan at 11:29 AM on January 3, 2007

It's not exactly what you asked for, but a metal pen might do the smudgeless trick for you.
posted by forrest at 11:30 AM on January 3, 2007

Best answer: You might try going to a shop that sells those expensive pens and asking if you can see if the refill cartridge (bring one with you) will fit the pen(s) you're interested in. You can't be the only lefty that expensive-pen-shop workers have encountered, and they'll probably be more than happy to let you drop $100 on a nice, weighty pen that will work with the ink that works for you.
posted by rtha at 11:50 AM on January 3, 2007

I'm a lefty and once my annoyance at the smudge was sufficient, I changed the physiology of my writing. No more inky pinky. I was 16 or 17 when I did it. (High school debate, the smudge was "unprofessional" and discouraged accordingly, my coach pointed it out gently but effectively) I think mine might have been pretty bad, as it was always extending down my whole pinky to just about my wrist.

Sorry for not answering your question, but I hope that helps someone with the same problem who can only get Bics (as was my case).
posted by bilabial at 3:25 PM on January 3, 2007

Another vote for going into a fine pen store with the refill you like and see what they have that will accommodate it. You don't want to drop that kind of money on a pen without hefting it.
posted by pointilist at 3:58 PM on January 3, 2007

Best answer: I'm a lefty too, and I would seriously recommend researching "left-handed nibs". Personally, I use an Osmiroid fountain pen with a left-handed nib and it works excellently for me.
posted by gadha at 8:21 AM on January 4, 2007

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