Sunday, June 26, 2016

My Problem Pilot Prera

by Tony Thomas

I bought a Pilot Prera demonstrator fountain pen three months ago.

I've always liked Pilot pens and I thought it was time to try one of their mid-priced offerings. The pen itself is great and sports an italic nib. It is a great writer and it's up to the quality that I have come to expect from Pilot--except for one small thing. Ink tends to collect in the cap and finds its way into the space between the opaque cap liner and the cap.

Brian Goulet of The Goulet Pen Co. documented this flaw and found an ingenious way to remove the cap liner using a common tool. You can watch the video here:

I tried his method and discovered that, on my pen, the cap liner was attached very securely and would not budge. I contacted Jet Pens (the dealer I bought it from) and they suggested I contact Pilot directly since it was a warranty issue.

I e-mailed Pilot customer service and the rep I dealt with (Holly) was very nice. She told me to send the pen back to them and they would repair it under warranty. The whole process took about three weeks from the time I mailed it to the time I received it back. From what I was told, they replaced the cap.

Fast forward a few months. It happened again. More ink under the cap. Not nearly as bad as the first time, but it still detracts from the pen’s appearance. And, again, the cap liner was tight and would not budge. I contacted Holly at Pilot again and told her that is definitely a design flaw and is something that Pilot needs to address. She forwarded my e-mail to her repair department.

I received this response:

“This is not a defect. If ink is getting under the cap then most likely there is too much ink pushed out from the converter and is on the nib neck when he puts the cap on or possibly he is not cleaning off the nib neck after filling the converter and before putting the cap on. Unless the nib is leaking so bad that it fills the cap and ink goes past the sleeve there really is no reason why ink would get under the sleeve. He should make sure there is no ink on the nib neck and that he is not over filling it before he puts the cap on.”

What? Pilot is blaming me for what is clearly a documented design flaw?

Needless to say, I am not happy with their response. I did receive an apology from Holly for what I consider an insulting response. She told me that I could send the pen in again for repair, but I already paid for postage to send it back once and I don’t want to do it again.

The moral of this story is to steer clear of the Pilot Prera demonstrator. Warranty repair isn’t the solution to this issue. The pen design needs to be be revisited. Caveat emptor!

Update: Received this message from Pilot USA via Twitter on 6/28: "We want to apologize for your negative experience. We've recently heard from other users of the Prera as well, and the issue with the leaking caps has been referred to our parent company in Japan. We wanted to let you know that we have addressed the problem and hope to have updates and design changes soon."

Ink under the cap liner again at the bottom

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rhodia Bloc R Series Pad

 by Tony Thomas

I recently purchased a Rhodia #12 Bloc R Pad. 

 It is a small top-stapled writing pad that is 8.5 x 12 mm. Unlike standard Rhodia pads, it contains 90 gsm (41 lb.) unlined ivory high grade vellum paper. Typical Rhodia pads contain 80 gsm paper.  Heavier paper means less show through.

It is a great little pad with typical Rhodia smoothness.  The  size is perfect for quick notes or for testing pens and inks.  The ivory paper definitely highlights the ink color. I look forward to purchasing more of the Bloc R pads in the future!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A New Milestone: 100,000 Pageviews

by Tony Thomas

I want to thank all of the readers of this blog for helping me reach a new milestone: 100,000 pageviews!

Writing "The Frugal Fountain Pen" is a labor of love and I look forward to continuing to serve the growing fountain pen community with my views and product reviews.

Again, many thanks!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Platinum Preppy

by Tony Thomas

The Platinum Preppy is one of the wonders of the fountain pen world. You can find it for as little as $3 and it is refillable. An amazing price for a decent quality fountain pen! 

You can get it in various colors and in fine and medium nib sizes.  A set of two refills can be found for less than $2 and you can refill them with bottled ink to save money.  You can also turn it into a an eyedropper pen with an o-ring and a bit of silicone grease. 

The nib quality of this pen is excellent for the price and can even be made better with a bit of smoothing. It is a pen that you can carry with you and is cheap enough to give away to anyone who is interested in fountain pens. 

It is a great little pen!