I grew up in Germany, where we were required to write in fountain pen from second grade on (fourth grade for math). I do dip-pen calligraphy and various kinds of ink-based artwork, as well as writing. I like fountain pens and am reasonably familiar with their functioning, and I have an assortment of them at home. I will list out first what I am looking for in a pen (and in response to this feel free to suggest pens). Then I will list out the pens I have, and what their struggles are (in response to this feel free to give me troubleshooting suggestions).
I. What I'm looking for:
a pen with a fine nib (no need for extra-fine; but not wide)
a pen that writes fluidly
a pen that can sit for several weeks, even in winter (by winter I mainly mean low-moisture conditions created by indoor heating), without requiring a rescue operation to return it to fluid writing
a pen that is portable -- not interested in one I have to keep at my desk, so it needs to handle being carried about and joggled a bit without leaking or otherwise misbehaving
a pen that is reasonably inexpensive so that if I were to lose it, it would not be catastrophic
a pen that can be replenished reasonably inexpensively, preferably in an array of colors (brown, black, blue, and gray are my favorites)
a pen with a nib that has a tiny bit of give -- not the firmest thing out there
Does anyone know of a fountain pen that does these things, or should I just stick with throwaway rollerball and felt-tipped pens?
II. What I have:
An old Lamy school pen that meets all the criteria except that it has a nib that is a little too broad for me.
Two new low-end, plastic-barreled Lamy pens that write at the width I want and meet all the other criteria but whenever I go to use them (even, it seems to me, when I am using them frequently) they are dry (though the cartridge is full) and they either require extensive coaxing before they write fluidly, or never really get there.
an array of Esterbrook pens that do fabulously on sentimental value (they're what my mom grew up using) and on vintage coolness, and well also on fineness, but not very well on several of the other criteria -- they dry out easily, their sacs degrade easily, and they do not reliably handle travel well (and I'm talking ground travel, walking or driving)
a 1920s Moore pen with a lever-refill sac like Esterbrooks that is delightfully fine, has excellent fluidity, and has the most flexible nib I've ever seen on a fountain pen; but unfortunately, the plastic is simply starting to break down and recently the barrel cracked in a way I'm not sure is repairable
Does anyone know how to troubleshoot any of these?