We recently began stocking the Faber-Castell School Pen, and I think this may very well be my new favourite fountain pen. And for $9, it's okay that I left my first one at a nature hostel out by Algonquin Park a week after I got it, and then promptly had to crack open another.
Faber-Castell School Pen Medium Nib
The pen comes in a blister pack along with a pack of blue standard international cartridges (and will take a standard international converter), only with a medium nib, and in either blue or red. We're hoping to get a black one in soon, but no news on that yet. It's a snap cap that's a pretty good snap - no need to worry about it slipping off in your bag. The clip is also fairly snug. Overall it's a simple design, without much to it, but terrific for students and young folks, along with people who just need a good pen without anything too flashy, as it's worry-free with its cartridges (so far as a fountain pen gets to be worry-free). It's just a great pen that works, that writes well and holds up to a beating. If you need a few pens to kick around in your desk with different colour inks for marking, this would work well. I would love to have discovered this pen when I was a teacher, as I could lend it to students to help mark little quizzes or to edit each others' work.
Faber-Castell School Pen Blue and Red
Faber-Castell School Pen Red
It has a rubberized grippy section that's a bit soft, with a slightly triangulated grip to help ensure the nib is pointing the right way, and it also indicates it's for left or right handed writers on the package (that might mean the nib is a bit more rounded to allow for different angles more smoothly). It's only available in a medium nib, which is on the finer side of medium. It's super smooth, as I find Faber-Castell nibs tend to be, and is also slightly stiff. It's not a super wet nib, which is what I usually go We opened one up as a tester for the shop, and everyone kept raving about how it wrote, until I finally tried it for myself, and it's a great writer. It feels good in the hand with its section, it writes smoothly and reliably, and it's a light and sturdy pen.
Faber-Castell School Pen Medium Nib
The ink in the writing sample is Caran d'Ache Magnetic Blue, the blue-black in their Chromatics line that's new to our shop. I love this ink for its shading, and that it's a grey-blue-black sort of colour. The paper is a pad of Life Stationery Stenographers' Notebook in the grid ruling.
Caran d'ache Magnetic Blue Writing Sample
Caran D'Ache Magnetic Blue Review
Caran d'ache Magnetic Blue Writing Sample
I think I have a soft spot for inexpensive pens, maybe because that's how I got started in pens, a whole slew of inexpensive and fun pens, some of which leaked and some of which wrote a bit crazily. Inks I have way, way too many of, the accumulation of which I keep justifying to myself as both necessary in my endless search for the perfect ink, and also as a consumable supply which I'll "eventually" use up. I think I just like the idea of pens that anyone can have, even students. These sorts of pens can hold a special spot in someone's heart for years to come, and sometimes these can be the most robust workhorses, kicked around and yet completely reliable. Of course it needs to be built sturdily, and not prone to leaking, but I love hearing stories from customers about that cheap fountain pen that they had in their pencil case for years and years when they were young, and how many tests and exams and papers and letters they wrote with it. And I suppose sometimes there's some charm in leaking. (Although I really don't think this one will!)
Faber-Castell School Pen Caran d'Ache

***

In other news, Caleb continues to enjoy his mini car day and night.

I feel like some of our customers have begun to think Caleb spends his entirety of his awake hours in his car, which might actually not be too far from the truth - he drives back and forth from the apartment to the warehouse into the shop, and some days it's with reluctance and grim resignation that he exits his car for lunch.

I love the shop when it's busy and bustling, and Caleb's weaving his way between people to peek out the front door or to water the plants, but I think I love it the most at night, empty, and lit up. It's a combination of that feeling of sneakiness, like I'm in wandering in some secret place where no one's going to see me in my pyjamas (untrue, as people walking by in the evening look through the windows and see me in my pyjamas all the time), and also because it's like it's my private kingdom, where I can move around bottles of ink or read all the things people write on the tester paper. And it's also, really, watching my little pack of animals take over, Caleb the biggest one of all, in his onesie, leading the charge. It was interesting for me to realize one day that Caleb also has a different mindset when the shop is open, and there are staff and customers around, compared to the evenings, when everyone is gone. And I think these are some of my favourite moments, Caleb after his bath and in his pyjamas, and the last few minutes of running around, or driving his car, or packing ink cartridges into his backpack and then finding them again up at the cottage.

Even in the way he drives his car - he's much more energetic and enthusiastic, bordering on aggressively maniacal, in the evening. He really enjoys the concept of driving quickly, and as well as backing up while turning the steering wheel quickly, and the combination of the two is sometimes just too much for him to bear calmly. Both of the animals have learned to stay out of the way, arguably better than Jon or I have learned.

Jon and I are in full agreement that this is the best toy we've ever gotten him. I suppose in general he doesn't have too many toys, in part because here at the shop there are enough things for him to play with (packing stickers, empty boxes, "helping" with stocking or counting inventory), and at the cottage he spends most of his free time outside, but as a result of that, he really loves the toys he has.

However, this one might be a close second.

(Even if it is really, really too small for him now.)

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Comments

JaredBig

JaredBig said:

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Carole Villeneuve

Carole Villeneuve said:

Hi,
Your site states that an international converter would fit in this pen. Have you tried to use one? I did, actually your Faber-Castell international cartridge to boot, and I get the impression that it doesn’t fit. I don’t want to force too much either. Any advice for me?

Simeon Atanasov

Simeon Atanasov said:

Hello! This is my very first fountain pen and the moment of writing this comment marks the sixth month since buying this incredible pen. I write only with it in my classes and since I began using it my hand doesn’t hurt anymore. Now I am looking forward to buying a converter, but I can’t find one locally. My only tip to any owner of this tool is to be careful not to turn the cap when posted, as it can grind the base, which hinders the ability to stay put.
The Faber-Castell School got me into fountain pens and I don’t think I can revert to a ballpoint as a daily driver. This product is recommended to any beginner and is a great start – how to maintain the pen, what inks to put in it, what paper to use etc. Because of reading this article I got into this world, thank you!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

So glad to hear you are enjoying the pen! It is a fabulous writer.

It’s something that was only recently brought into Canada by our distributor – perhaps more information will come soon.

Tess

Tess said:

Hi! I bought this pen in store while visiting Toronto with my family! It wasn’t on my list of pens to try but I really liked how it wrote, however I’m having some issues with flow in mine :( do you have any suggestions? It’s writing so dry that pigmentation of any ink I put in it isn’t coming out, and it’s skipping a lot.
Thanks!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I’m so sorry to hear of your flow issues!

I would first suggest flushing it out really well with some water, perhaps with a little dish soap diluted in. Sometimes there’s residue from the factory machining the feeds, or maybe dried ink that’s causing some flow problems.

Secondly, I’d suggest pressing lightly down on the nib, just enough to let the tines come apart a millimetre, in case the tines are too close together. If you have some brass sheets, running that through the tines to help separate them just a bit might help as well. Hope that helps!

Beth Martin

Beth Martin said:

I purchased two of these, and am very impressed. The pen is so pleasant to hold and to write with. Very nice nib – thank you, again, Liz , for the writing sample – that clinched it for me. I am a lefty overwriter and am suspicious of triangle grips, but this one is subtle and soft rubber (or feels that way at least), and is perfectly comfortable for me. I love the feel of the barrel – I too would recommend over the Pilot Kakuno – seems to have better weight and balance.
I was so happy with your shop’s customer service – awesome! I will definitely be ordering more in the future. Thanks again!!
Beth

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying the pens! It’s sometimes a bit tricky to purchase online, but I’m glad the writing sample helped, and I know what you mean about the grip on this pen being a bit less rigid. Thanks so much for the order, and hope the pens bring you many happy words! :)

Mike

Mike said:

I just picked up this pen and i really enjoy writing with it as a first foutian pen it is great i only wish i could find more information on it even faber castells website has nothing on it

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

That’s so funny that you ask that because I LOVE eyedroppering pens, and this pen would be just perfect if you could – but there are holes at the back of the barrel. You might be able to epoxy it, and who knows maybe I will try since I can’t resist a barrel full of ink – I will let you know if I ever do!

And thanks so much for the compliment! Although really, I feel like most days he is eating cheese for dinner and going to family events with yogurt on his shirt… haha!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I didn’t think twice about it as that’s not a feature I normally use! I think this is along the lines of the Lamy Blue and some other standard blue inks that are erasable with the “eraser pen” – like this Lamy Ink Eraser pen here: https://www.wonderpens.ca/Lamy_Ink_Eraser_p/lamyie.htm

The chemical on it erases Lamy Blue, but not usually any other inks. I will have to do a few experiments and update!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I’m not sure when they’ll be back in stock, they sure flew off the shelves quick! I’m hoping in the next 2-3 weeks, but there’s no firm timeline yet. :)

Beth Martin

Beth Martin said:

Wow! These sound really good! And I can’t find any other retailers that stock them! Any idea when you will have them back in stock? Thank you so much for the thorough review – hope to visit your shop sometime, it sounds like a very pleasant place.

Elaine

Elaine said:

I was intrigued to see that the cartridge ink in the package is ‘erasable’ – I thought WHAT?! – will have to investigate! Have you tried that ink? Do you really erase it?

Alvin

Alvin said:

Do you think the Faber Castell school pen can be eyedroppered? Keep up the amazing parenting job!!!

Melodie Li

Melodie Li said:

I’ll have to pick up one of these for my 9 yr old! Between this and the Pilot Kakuno, do you have a preference for the little guys?

Seeing a blog post alert for you is fast becoming a highlight in my day! Love reading the updates and seeing what a thoughtful and idyllic childhood you are providing Caleb! Animals to love, parents close at hand, a few quality toys to cherish, and lots of fresh air and outdoor exploration… doesn’t get more amazing than that :) If or when you want you add another quality toy to the mix, I highly recommend the plasma car (often seen in play gyms). It literally is great for kids from 3-99 (though my 1.5 yr old is already enjoying it as a push car). We’ve had ours for 10 years and it is always a hit with kids and adults… and your shop has the perfect floors for them!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I think I would go for the F-C School Pen! Unless your young writer has a preference for a specific colour, as the Kakuno caps come in the pink, yellow, lime green, blue etc. The Kakuno, and also the Metropolitan, are both terrific pens, but I just really like both the nib and also the body on the School Pen – the body seems a bit more classic.

And thanks so much for your kind words and for following along with the blog! I really enjoy writing it, even though it has sort of changed from when we opened the shop (new products, news, etc.) to behind the scenes and thoughts. I feel a little bit as though parenting is always a challenge, but Caleb’s childhood has turned out so vastly different from my own, or what I would’ve imagined for him before we opened the shop, so we are always figuring things out as we go… and keeping our fingers crossed that he’ll turn out okay :)

I will have to keep a lookout for the plasma car! Thanks so much for the recommendation. Caleb just loves anything with wheels and that moves, and that sounds just perfect for him. I suppose everyone else will just have to look out, haha!

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