Ballpoint, Rollerball, Fountain - What's the difference?

Even in this digital age, everyone still writes by hand to some degree.  The quality of the writing instrument you choose will have a direct effect on your writing experience.  

There's no doubt that writing with a beautiful pen that moves nicely across the paper will result in a more enjoyable writing experience.  And when you enjoy doing something, you are more likely to do it more often.  

Ballpoint is the most common type of pen used today.  It's what you'll find in that pen you "borrowed" from the bank or your employer, but don't worry....we won't tell.  

Ballpoint pens generally write a thinner, less vivid line. Ballpoint pens typically use an oil based ink that dries instantly on paper.  The design of the ballpoint tip as well as the ink's properties prevents the ink from drying out in the pen.  

Rollerball is considered to be a better writing instrument.  It writes with a thicker more vivid line. The ink is a water based "gel" and may smudge if you quickly run your hand over it.  As a result of the water based ink, rollerball pens are capped to prevent the ink from drying in the pen.  The liquid ink of a rollerball provides a smoother writing experience that is preferred by many.  Browse our selection of handmade rollerball pens.

Where the ballpoint and rollerball use a very similar mechanism to deliver the ink, fountain pens have a completely different design.  And within the fountain pen "genre" there are different styles of nibs, ink reservoirs and ink.  Our handcrafted fountain pens are available here.

A fountain pen contains a replaceable or refillable ink resevoir.  Fountain pens use a liquid ink similar to that of the rollerball pen.  The ink is delivered via a combination of gravity and capillary action through a "feed" to the nib or writing tip.  

There are many sizes and styles of fountain pen nibs to match various writing styles.  Fountain pen inks are available in a nearly endless variety of colors and viscosities to suit the writers preference. 

Although rollerball pens typically write better, we use a model of refill in all of our ballpoint pens what closely rivals the quality of a rollerball.  The Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 ballpoint refill is considered to be the best available.  As a result of their precision tip and high quality ink, the EasyFlow refill starts flowing ink the instant you begin writing with no delays or skips. They produce a clean and precise ink line. And they last longer than standard refills.

Write that down.  

Why Pens??

So why did you choose to make and sell pens?

There's a few reasons. 

The design possibilities are nearly endless with handmade pens.  There's ballpoint, rollerball, pencil, fountain (more on that in a future post).  There are so many styles and colors within each type.  And then there's the multitude of materials to work with, which is probably my favorite part.  Whether it's beautiful exotic wood species, hybrids of wood and resin or colorful acrylics, there are so many possibilities.  I truly enjoy picking out a material, pairing it with the hardware and seeing it all come together into a beautiful finished writing instrument. 

When it comes to "making", I prefer projects that I can to see the finished product in a short time frame.  I can generally start and finish a pen in the same day.  Something like a piece of furniture can take days or weeks and my attention span isn't that long.  

We strive to create writing instruments that will be enjoyed for many years to come.  Many of our pens are bought as gifts for all sorts of occasions.  Christmas, Father's Day, graduations, retirements, birthdays, etc.  It's always great to hear the stories of the people who are going to receive our pens.  Some of the most memorable are an FBI director's retirement, a Naval officer's promotion, a police officer's graduation from the academy and so many others.       

From a business standpoint, pens are great product for a small business with limited space.  They are easy to store, display and ship.  We store our entire inventory of finished pens in a space of less than 2 foot on our office desk.  The small size and weight of a pen allows us to ship anywhere in the country for little more than then cost of mocha latte.