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PenBBS 350 - A Full-sized Pocket Pen

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Pens, knives & other stuff
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    More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.

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Pens, knives & other stuff
2018/09/02
112   4   1  

For a moment there, orange was my color of choice. I think I was coming off a sepia phase, but don't rightly recall.

I got myself some Diamine Autumn Oak and took a flyer on J. Herbin Orange Indian.

J. Herbin Orange Indien

The Autumn Oak was a great success but I could never get the J. Herbin to work for me. None of the pens I tried would make a go of it. It was my first out-and-out ink failure.

So when I unboxed the PenBBS 350, I did two things. First, I swapped out the fountain pen nib for the rollerball. Then I filled the pen with Orange Indien.

I was being a little perverse. Like many, I write with a fountain pen unless I can't help it. You know the type. (You may be one yourself.) But I was impressed by the moxie PenBBS was showing by including a rollerball with the pen. They were thinking outside the box.

To reward the daring, I gave the pen the hardest ink I have. To my surprise, it worked.

Truth be told, I think the J. Herbin ink has darkened over time.
Looking at some old notebooks, it looks a bit brighter.

Conceptually, PenBBS has hit it out of the park. I love the idea of adding a rollerball to the mix. It fits the style of the pen and it writes very well. The line is satisfyingly bold and the rollerball is smooth, agile and consistent.

Ergonomically, however, the rollerball isn't a complete success. The rollerball tip is much shorter than the the fountain pen nib - making the pen just that little bit smaller in the hand. The balance between the girth, length and writing experience is slightly awkward. After writing with the rollerball for a bit, I swapped in the fountain pen nib and felt much better.

Swapping the screw-in nib units is a breeze

In its fountain pen configuration, the PenBBS 350 rocks:

  • The size is perfect. The diameter is fat enough to be substantial and the unposted length is just right for my hand. The pen posts well enough but that's not how I use it.
  • The weight is spot on. Weighty enough to feel intentional while remaining nimble. Long writing sessions are no problem with this pen.
  • The texture of the pen is light but real. I'd call it a matte finish with just little grip. Nice.
  • The threads are fine and not bothersome. They work as a midpoint reference for keeping the pen oriented in the hand by touch.
  • The cap comes off in under 1 1/4 turns making this a fast pen to cap and uncap. This makes the pen versatile for note taking and uses beyond dedicated writing tasks.
  • The cap facets keep the pen from rolling about when not in use and, of course, mean the cap is less likely to wind up on the floor when using the pen.
  • The cap uses plastic interior threads so you don't have the potentially annoying metal-on-metal feeling when capping/uncapping the pen. The action is nicely smooth and precise.
  • There's no clip but that's not a bother for me. I don't need one. The clipless design actually more of a plus for me.
  • The nib is the same PenBBS fine No. 6 that comes with their other pens. It's a great nib and performed up to expectations out of the box.

Given that the pen is made of aluminum and goes with a minimalist, industrial design, I put the PenBBS 350 in the workhorse camp. It's durable and functional and could easily serve as a beater pen for everyday use. It works as a full-sized pocket pen.

  • Length capped: 130mm
  • Uncapped Rollerball: 117mm
  • Uncapped Fountain Pen: 122mm
  • Weight capped (inked): 23.1g
  • Weight uncapped (inked): 15.7g

I like the style of the pen. It feels modern. I'm becoming a bigger fan of the PenBBS brand. It could easily be the best Chinese pen brand today.

At under US$15 on Taobao, it's offers solid value.

  • Would I recommend this as a first fountain pen? Yes. If someone is going to catch the bug, this is as good a vector as any.
  • Could this be someone's only fountain pen? Well, it could. If there are folks out there who can eat just one.
  • Would this make a cool gift for a fountain pen friend? I think so. It fits the ideal of something different that lots of people might not pick for themselves.

Coda

I've been trying to figure out the root of my affinity for this pen. It stuck me that it's quite a bit like my current (now actually longtime) favorite folding knife, a CH3001. When I first got the knife I was not all that impressed. It's small and not really a snappy flipper. But over time, it's been the one that's hung out. I like the subdued design, solid construction and bang-on fitness-to-purpose. It's everything I need in a pocket knife.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
About the Author

More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.



...


Tags: rollerball x 2 j. herbin orange indien ink x 1 penbbs x 1 fountain pens x 7

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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player

    Watch me on YouTube - chrisrap52

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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player
2018/09/03

I too enjoy the 350.  Some think it is a knockoff of a Namisu Kickstarter pen.  My thought, they are made in same Chinese factory, which offered the pen to each of them.  Lingmo makes some of the PENBBS models.  As with all PENBBS pens, great design & ergonomics.  Writes consistently well.   And well made.  Great attention to detail.  Well above the typical Chinese pen, which have been raising the bar lately.

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Pens, knives & other stuff
Edc3

    More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.

Latest published articles:
  • Penbbs 469 - Variety is the Spice of Life
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
  • Moonman 80 - A Return to the Summer of Love?
Latest comments:
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
  • PenBBS 350 - A Full-sized Pocket Pen
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Pens, knives & other stuff
2018/09/03

There is something to be said about it being a knockoff of the Ixion. But I see that Naimsu is no longer selling that model on their website. PenBBS is discounting the pen as well, with just a couple of colors left. Maybe it's not a model they plan to go forward with either?

You're spot-on about the attention to detail. What impresses me most are the cap threads. The plastic insert in the cap makes uncapping the pen about smooth and precise as any pen I have. It looks sturdy as well. Pretty remarkable.

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Pens, knives & other stuff
Edc3

    More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.

Latest published articles:
  • Penbbs 469 - Variety is the Spice of Life
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
  • Moonman 80 - A Return to the Summer of Love?
Latest comments:
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
  • PenBBS 350 - A Full-sized Pocket Pen
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Pens, knives & other stuff
2018/09/04
1  

Update. New colors have arrived so it looks like PenBBS plans to keep the 350 going.

On the PenBBS Taobao store, these models are sold only as fountain pens, i.e., without the rollerball tip.

The red model also comes in a two-toned nib.

The black is listed as new but I don't see any difference from the original black model. It's also available with a dual-tone nib.

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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player

    Watch me on YouTube - chrisrap52

Latest comments:
  • Penbbs 469 - Variety is the Spice of Life
  • Kaco Edge - Now that's What I Call Makrolon!
  • PenBBS 350 - A Full-sized Pocket Pen
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Long time fountain pen user, sci-fi reader & tennis player
2018/09/26

Just got a red with two tone nib.  It is a updated model.  My Chinese source Bobby Pen said it was an updated model.  Noticed more of a ridge inside cap to seal against section.  Still looking for more changes.  It is a great metal pen.

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