Posts filed under PenBBS

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler in Mojito: A Review

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

A few weeks ago, I reviewed my first PenBBS: model 350 in silver with a rollerball adapter. I was so impressed with that pen that I decided to visit the PenBBS store on Etsy. I wound up buying two pens. The one I’m reviewing this week is model 309, which is a piston filler.

The pen comes in a nice magnetic closure black box. It’s really a rather nice presentation box for a pen priced under $25.00.

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Packaging

I chose the Mojito color because I don’t own many green pens and I liked the happy, spring-like color. I inked it with L’Artisan Pastellier Vert Moyen (Irish Green), which makes for an excellent match.

This pen is simple, but quite striking. The transparent green acrylic allows you to see the piston mechanism, the ink level, and the nib clearly.

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Barrel

The finials on the cap and barrel are cone-shaped, which gives the pen a more unique look--it’s neither a rounded cigar nor a flat top.

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Finial

The cap has a stainless steel clip and a large cap ring engraved with “PenBBS” and the model number with the logo in between.

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Cap

What makes this pen especially nice is the fact that it is a piston filler. It holds a good amount of ink (I’d say around 2-3ml), the piston operates very smoothly and fills the pen to capacity.

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Piston

PenBBS pens come only in fine and sometimes medium widths. This pen has a fine steel nib with scrollwork that enhances the look of the nib. It writes smooth and wet, especially for a fine nib. I’ve encountered absolutely no issues with it--no hard starts, no skipping, no blobbing. As I mentioned in my other review, PenBBS nibs have an upturned point which makes them look a little bit like fude nibs.

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Nib
PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Nib Fude

The pen is small, but it’s not pocket sized. Capped it is 5.7 inches/145mm, uncapped 5.2inches/131mm, and 6.3 inches/160mm posted. It’s definitely post-able, but the cap is heavy enough to make it a bit unwieldy posted.

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Pen Posted

I’ve been using this pen for several weeks, and I remain impressed. The pen is very comfortable in the hand and is excellent for lengthy writing sessions. Even when it’s been unused for a few days, it starts right up. Although I usually like to write with broader nibs, this nib is so smooth and carefree, I plan to use it as one of my grading pens. Green is an excellent color for marking papers--it’s so much less threatening than red.

PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Writing

The only concern I have about this PenBBS model is its longevity. Will it keep working well for years to come? Or will the piston eventually get stuck or the acrylic crack? I’ve read that the pen is easy to take apart, so if the piston does get stuck, it should be easy to remedy. I am interested to see how well this pen holds up over time. For now, this pen is definitely a keeper.

You can purchase the PenBBS 309 directly from the Etsy store. When I checked today, only two Mojitos were left in stock, but there are plenty of other colors in this model from which to choose. At $22.99 (prices vary depending on the color of acrylic you choose) plus shipping, this is an absolute steal. And shipping from Japan is incredibly fast.

(I purchased this pen with my own funds.)


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PenBBS 309 Piston Filler Cap Band
Posted on June 21, 2019 and filed under PenBBS, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen with Rollerball Adapter: A Review

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

The PenBBS 350 is an aluminum fountain pen that comes in silver or matte black finish. It is supplied with a fine steel nib and a rollerball adapter that allows you to use fountain pen ink.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Components

Because it is made of aluminum, the pen is rather heavy, weighing in at 23.6 grams. Without the cap, it weighs 15.7 grams, so it still has quite a bit of heft. You can post the cap, if you dare, but it makes the pen very unbalanced.

PenBBS 350

This is a medium-sized pen in length, 5.12 inches/130mm capped, 4.84 inches/123mm uncapped, and 6.5 inches/166mm posted. The grip is a little over 10mm in diameter, which is rather small for my hand (see my discussion on how it writes below). But it does have a lip that keeps your fingers from slipping.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Cap

The clipless cap is octagonal with PenBBS engraved on one of the facets. The finial is also engraved with “PenBBS 350” and a tiny “F” or “P” (I’m not sure which) in the middle. The inside of the cap appears to be lined with plastic.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Finial

The body of the pen is smooth aluminum broken only by the cap threads. The threads are placed well away from where your fingers sit on the grip, so they do not interfere with writing at all.

You can fill the pen with the supplied converter or you can use cartridges.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Converter

The fine steel nib is adorned with scrollwork and “PenBBS Since 2005 China.”

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Nib

PenBBS nibs come only in fine and medium (and this model may be limited to fine). They are interesting nibs because their tips flip up just a tiny bit, almost like a mini-fude nib.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Nib Tip

The nib writes smoothly, but I noticed a good amount of skipping with KWZ Baltic Memories. I read other reviews of PenBBS pens that indicated these nibs can be a bit stingy with ink. So, I’ll try the pen with a wetter ink next time.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Writing

Because the pen is so heavy and the grip so small in diameter, I found my wrist and fingers cramping up even after only short periods of writing. I normally like hefty pens, but they need to have larger diameter grips that help balance the weight more evenly. Then again . . . maybe it’s not the grip. Maybe I’m just old and a bit arthritic.

I’ve never tried a fountain pen with a rollerball adapter, so I was pretty excited about this little extra.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Rollerball

To my amazement, I actually enjoyed writing with the rollerball more than I did with the fountain pen nib. The rollerball was smooth and the ink flowed perfectly. You can see a writing comparison between the nib and rollerball below. I love the idea of using fountain pen ink with a rollerball. I will say, however, that trying to clean ink out of the rollerball unit was next to impossible.

PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen vs Rollerball

This is my first PenBBS. I’m very impressed with the pen. It has a beautiful, simple design. All the components work well, especially the rollerball adapter. The nib seems a bit stingy with ink, but it’s usable, and I suspect it will write better with a wetter ink.

At only $22.00 I think this pen is a steal. You can purchase it from Vanness Pens in either silver or black. Other colors are available from the PenBBS Etsy site, but you have to wait quite awhile to receive your pen as it is shipped from China. I ordered two different models last week and plan to review them later this summer.

(This pen was purchased from Vanness Pens with a reviewer’s discount.)


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PenBBS 350 Fountain Pen Packaging
Posted on May 24, 2019 and filed under PenBBS, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.