A.G. Spalding & Bros Mini Fountain Pen – Fine Nib – Silver Body

1 05 2011

No paper is appropriate for this pen.

Disclaimer: this pen was bought for me by a friend in exchange for the use of my Sakura inking pens for a week. I don’t know why I felt such a disclaimer was necessary, but there you have it. I guess this is an approximation of gratitude? Yes.

This is a smooth-looking little pen. This pen is the epitome of all that is sleek and classy.

Post the cap and transform what was merely portable into something functional and comfortable to hold. Like magic.

In terms of appearance, this pen wins ten out of ten points. The design is minimalist professional, everything streamlined and silky, sophisticated and suave. The body has a soft silver finish that I find irresistible—every time I pick this pen up to think of what to type, I just end up stroking the pen. It’s wildly inappropriate.

In terms of size, this pen is perfect for tucking into a jeans or coat pocket. Weight-wise, it has a nice heft for a pen of its size; not very surprising, considering the body is all metal.

This cap is secure. This cap is the metallic pen version of a security blanket. Basically, no monsters will come out of the tip of your pen with this cap on.

The cap snaps into place with a sharp and satisfying click. There’s no worry of having this pen come open in any situation where you don’t want it to. It posts on the end quite snugly; no snap, but still very secure.

But it’s not all sunshine and sleek design wrapped in a bubble of stability. The metal barrel has an unrelenting tendency to come ever so slightly unscrewed from the nib and feed section—never enough to fall off, in my experience, but enough that I have to tighten the barrel back on every time I pull the pen out. So if the barrel takes seven full revolutions to come unscrewed, whenever I pull the pen out it’ll be slightly unscrewed, but never by more than a full revolution. It’s annoying, and I’m not quite sure how to fix it.

The nib is a lie. Or the "F" stands for "FAT"

Now, how does it write? The nib’s got a little bit of tooth when writing, but overall I think it does pretty well for a broad nib pen. Oh, I’m sorry, what’s that? This is supposed to be a fine nib? In what earthly conception of the word “fine” are we talking? The opposite day definition?


Yeah, I’ve harped on this a lot, but I’ll say it again: THIS IS NOT A FINE NIB PEN. At BEST, you could call this a medium. I’m currently using a Rotring fountain pen cartridge in this pen, because the cartridge it came with was EVEN WORSE; by worse I mean wetter, took longer to dry, and just generally got in the way of a satisfactory writing process. On thirsty papers, it’s fuzzy, feathery, and bleeds through at all the spots where the pen last touched the paper. It will dry in about five seconds though. On smooth paper, it’s a left-handed nightmare; dry times of fifteen, sometimes twenty seconds. I can only write one line at a time, essentially, or I end up getting my hand in the still-drying ink as I progress down the page. Maybe if I were to write from the bottom up?

Does it look like it would write so thickly? I do not know what such nibs look like. Is my pen an anomaly? What is the DEAL?

What this pen needs is a quick-drying ink. Unfortunately, the short barrel makes it difficult to put a converter in. I haven’t searched too extensively for a short converter, mind you. Maybe I could fill up an old cartridge with some quicker ink.

Hopefully I’ll get around to experimenting with other inks in this pen—the design is too fine for me to give up on it entirely. I’ll put an update on here when I have the chance to try other ink. As it is, I’m having a hard time using up the ink it’s got to get a cartridge available for testing. Thirsty paper looks bad, smooth paper takes too long to dry. Any suggestions for good paper to use?

If you’re looking for a sleek, compact fountain pen with a rich, wet line, ta-da. I have found your true love, please invite me to the wedding. If you’re looking for a sleek, compact fountain pen with a fine line, the princess is in another castle. Sorry.

Why you gotta be like this, baby? Why you gotta throw down so much ink? You are breaking my fountain pen based heart.

A.G. Spalding & Bros BRFT208 Mini Fountain Pen – Fine Nib – Silver Body at JetPens



9 responses

1 05 2011

I have the larger version (with the plastic barrel), but with a medium nib that feels quite broad to me. Like yours, it pumps out a lot of ink. Which is kind of nice, in many ways—it’s a very smooth writer. But with some of the lighter J. Herbin inks (e.g., Vert Pré, Ambre de Birmanie), the line it lays down is so wet it’s almost invisible, to the point where you’re sometimes not completely sure quite sure whether you’ve really written anything until the ink starts to dry and the writing fades in.

I would say that the Spaulding writes very much like the “fine” nibbed Pelikan M400 I have, which fits with the idea that western nibs run broader than Japanese nibs, so the Japanese medium is like the German fine. Compared to the Sailor XF nib on one of my other go-to pens, however, both the Spaulding and the Pelikan pens act almost like markers.

I actually bought it because I spent a bunch of time wandering around in Paperhaus in Seattle and felt like I should buy something, but hadn’t yet been initiated into the wonder of Rhodia paper, and was intrigued by the fountain pens from a company I’d never heard of. Although I don’t use it that much, I do carry it around with me most of the time, and it can be quite satisfying to write with.

4 05 2011
No Pen Intended

While the general trend of western nibs vs. Japanese nibs holds true in my experience, I do want to note that Kaweco, a German company, makes a medium nib that I consider equivalent to most European fine nibs. Don’t know what the deal is with that (but I like it). Do you have a converter in your Spalding? I think the mini might be too short for a converter, so I’m restricted to cartridges. :-/

Also, any paper you recommend to use with this pen? Clairefontaine/Rhodia paper takes FAR too long to dry. The Behance dot grid paper I use for reviews makes the ink fuzz and feather. No paper I’ve tried so far has done well :(

2 05 2011

This sounds like the pen for me. I was actually considering buying this pen but I wasn’t sure I would like the fine nib. Lately I’ve started leaning more towards broader nibs so this one sounds perfect, especially if it is a wet writer. I just love wet writers.

4 05 2011
No Pen Intended

Let me know what kind of paper you use for this pen. It’s not so much that I’m terribly opposed to broad writing pens as it is that with this pen, I just can’t find a paper that allows me to use this pen functionally. Smooth paper takes far too long to dry, but absorbent paper like my Behance Dot Grid looks very unappealingly fuzzy and feathery. Also…I want to use up the black cartridge I have in now so I can put a turquoise cartridge in.

4 05 2011

Well I use paper ranging from photocopier to Rhodia and Clairefontaine 80g and 90g. The higher quality papers dry really slowly with most pens and inks.

24 11 2011
Holiday Gift Guide — AND GIVEAWAY! « No Pen Intended

[…] pen has grown on me a lot more since I first reviewed it, and especially since I started using Rotring Turquoise ink in it (warning: that is a ridiculous […]

15 12 2011

I have this pen and I have some of the same issues.. namely the unscrewing barrel and the broadness of the nib. To fix the barrel unscrewing mess, I just put a little tiny tiny piece of scotch tape (and I mean TINY!) on the threads and put it back together. It’s really tough to screw on the first time and gets easier slowly over time, but you’ll replace the tape WAY less than you replace your ink.

As for the broadness of the nib.. I just sort of deal with it. If I ever need something super fine, I just write with the back of the nib. Makes a big difference.

The best ink I’ve found is the Perle Noire by J. Herbin (http://www.amazon.com/Herbin-Fountain-Perle-Noire-Cartridge/dp/B003ACT0OC). I am a lefty, and this stuff is super swell.

Thanks for the write up! Found your post while looking for a replacement extra fine nib. haha!

28 04 2012
Ohto Rook Fountain Pen – Fine Nib – Black Red Body « No Pen Intended

[…] it’s still a good nib. A little on the dry side (especially compared to something like the A. G. Spalding), the nib is more tactile than smooth, but it’s never scratchy. Ink flow is good, unless I […]

27 03 2014
Monteverde Poquito Fountain Pen – Chrome | No Pen Intended

[…] out there, but the Poquito doesn’t top the list. I would probably recommend the too-juicy A.G Spalding & Bros. Mini Fountain Pen over the Poquito (JUST KIDDING I inked up the A.G. Spalding mini and MY GOODNESS IT IS WAY TOO […]

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