Jon wrote me recently about left-handed pens:

I’m a lefty. Never quite got over someone confiscating my ancient Parker VP, loved that pen. For the past couple of years I’ve been using inexpensive Schneider pens that have facets on the grip that make positioning it automatic.

Thought I’d upgrade a bit and have found the Conklin Durograph in cracked ice rather attractive. But it doesn’t seem to be offered in a dedicated left handed model.

I do understand lefties can use just about any fountain pen, but I find the grip designed for lefties appealing. I am an underwriter.

Please tell me what I need to make myself happy.

I’m really considering in the $40 or so range. Don’t need to impress anyone but me and how it writes is pretty much all that’s important. Medium points work well and I’m stuck in the blue/black mentality.

Thanks. Jon

Conklin Duragraph Cracked Ice

I actually have the Conklin Duragraph in the cracked ice finish and it has a smooth grip area so it can pretty much be held at any angle.

If you’re looking for a molded grip, the Lamy Safari might be a good option. The grip is molded symmetrically so you wouldn’t need a special left-handed model. I know a lot of lefties who underwrite like the molded grip section on the Lamy Safari and Lamy AL-Star. The Safari sell for less than $30 and the AL-Stars (the aluminum model of the Safari) sell for about $40. Its available in a full array of European nib sizes and the nibs are easy to swap out should you decide you want a different nib size. Nibs are sold for about $12.

Lamy Safari Neonlime

Jim asked about finding a pen refill:

Hi, I asked a question a good bit ago and your answer rocked.  I was wondering if you could help me with something else.  I’m a bit of a pen junkie.  Years ago I purchased a Cross pen.  It’s was little and fat.  I’ve been trying to get a refill for years. I have no idea what pen it is or if they even still make a cartridge.

I totally understand being a pen junkie. I am also a refill junkie. I’m always worried my favorite refills will become obsolete. But I also am a firm believer that a little refill hacking can get you back to writing as well.

Do you have the old refill still? Was it a ballpoint or rollerball?

If you have the refill and you know it was a Cross, you can use the Refillfinder app site to see if the refill is still available. Refillfinder is a division of one of our fine sponsors, Goldspot Pens. FYI.

If they don’t have the exact size you need, is it possible to cut down a different refill? You might scan those junk drawers for old rollerballs, ballpoints or gel pens and try to disassemble them. If you have the old refill, just hold it up next to the refills you find and then cut the length or use a bit of hardware store tubing to make a spacer if the refill is too short. People often plug the end with air dry clay or other materials if the refill originally had a cap. I trim refills, wrap tape around the ends to make it wider if necessary and other minor modification to get non-standard refills to fit into a pen.

Here’s my last example of pen hacking and Mike Rohde’s hack. And of course, it never hurts to check through the Refill Guide to find comparable refills.

Cross Townsend Darth Vader Fountain Pen
While we’re on the subject of Cross Pens, do you see the new Star Wars pens from Cross? I am loving the look of the Darth Vader Townsend fountain pen. But at the tune of $575 I’m thinking it may have to stay in a galaxy far, far away for me.

2 Comments on Ask The Desk: Grippy Fountain Pens & Cross Refills

  1. With regards to finding a refill for your Cross pen I would first suggest you check Cross.com and look in the drop down for refills you should be able to determine your refill from that. If you strike out or are unsure you next best bet is to go to a brick and mortar pen store. If you are having trouble finding a B&M pen store in your area Cross.com also has a store locator. I would be willing to bet that Cross still makes a refill to fit your pen in one form or another.

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