Quick Guide To Pen Types

Most people tend to overlook their pens since they are so commonplace in day to day life. When somebody needs a pen they grab the first one they find in the drawer and begin writing with it. Typically this is a pen bought in a cheap package at a grocery or convenience store. Pens, however, come in a great variety of shapes and sizes. Choosing the correct pen can be difficult without having the information on all the pens available. Here are the most popular types of pens typically available today:


Fountain pens are an endangered species today, attributing most of their unpopularity to how cumbersome they can be to operate. Nothing matches a fountain pen in output, though, as it results in a very handsome and smooth output. This can be a great benefit when the writing is going to be on display or highlighted, such as a signature, journal or a personal letter. The ink used in a fountain pen has a water base and it flows in a metal nib. The nib does not cut paper since it is not sharp but it must be held at a specific angle in order to write optimally. Back in the day fountain pens had to be dipped in an ink jar and then used to write, but today’s fountain pens utilize sealed cartridges that fit easily into place. This makes modern fountain pens much easier to use, although they still must be handled with car to avoid making a mess.


Ballpoint pens are the most popular in the world and the pen that most people have tucked away in various drawers throughout their houses. It revolutionized the writing process in the mid 1900’s when it began to grow in popularity. Ballpoint pens utilize permanent, thick ink that isn’t water-based so it will not thin or splotch as you write. They utilize a tiny ball which rotates while writing, typically made of steel or brass. Ballpoint pens dry quickly to avoid stains and also either include a cap or a built-in retractable option in order to make it even safer and easier to carry. Ballpoint pens make writing incredibly easy and it is clear to see why they are so popular.


Calligraphy is an artful form of writing where a broad tip is used to write in one broad stroke. Typically a pen used for calligraphy will be a fountain pen, but the only requirement for a pen to be considered a calligraphy pen is to have the correct tip, so other types of pens can receive this designation as well.


Rollerball pens are a recent attempt to create a pen with the convenience of a ballpoint that performs more like a fountain pen. They utilize a gel with a water base or a liquid ink rather than the oil-ink used in ballpoint pens. These pens take a bit longer to dry than ballpoint pens but the quality is a bit higher.


Gel pens are newer pens that producer a more vibrant ink color by using a water-based ink that contains a fluctuating viscosity. Essentially this means when not being used the ink is thicker and it starts to thin during use. The end result is a smooth write with a higher quality performance.

Accomplished wood turner and lifelong woodworking enthusiast Robert “Bob” Massey brings a unique passion and skill to each and every custom pen turning and wood turning project that arrives in his ‘to-do’ hopper. His work can be ordered at http://www.bobscustompens.com/