Fountain Pen Friday: Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen

Pen without cap in hand.
Pen without cap in hand.

I want to love this pen. I want to love it with the fierce passion of a thousand dying suns. It’s cheap, easily available, has easily obtained cartridges, and has a cushy grip. I WANT TO LOVE YOU SHEAFFER CALLIGRAPHY PEN!!! WHY MUST YOU DO ME SO WRONG? (Amazon You can also find this particular pen in your average craft section)

Pen with cap in hand. As you can see, it is a pretty good-sized pen, but not overly heavy.
Pen with cap in hand. As you can see, it is a pretty good-sized pen, but not overly heavy.

It clogs. It is nearly impossible to get the ink going. It has a scratchy horrible nib that makes your handwriting look amazing but the act of writing a chore. You have to hold the pen almost completely vertical to keep it flowing. I had such a bad time with it, I bought a second pen assuming that I’d had a defective product. Nope. The fine-tip seems to clog worse than the others.


Left to Right: Orange Sheaffer Cartridge, Turquoise Scheaffer Cartridge, Fine Nib, Medium Nib, Sheaffer converter, pen body (Note that it has a HOLE in it to see the ink levels. This is useful, but the hole tends to dig into your hand while writing), Cap

Pens put together with cartridges. Oh hey! I found the Broad Nib too.
Pens put together with cartridges. Oh hey! I found the Broad Nib too.


I repeat, this pen takes FOREVER to get the ink started. It requires a lot of fiddling. I always end up ink-stained using this pen. You also REALLY need a piece of scratch paper to get the ink flowing again every time you stop writing for longer than a second. Yes. I’m serious. If you pause to get a thought together… you may have to restart the ink from scratch. *scratch scratch scratch goes the nib*

To be completely fair, this pen isn’t really made for writing. Well, I mean it is, but it is specifically designed for doing small amounts of decorative calligraphy. Which, I mean it probably does, but you can also get those disposable chisel tipped felt pens for that. I don’t really know calligraphy. I mean I had a book at one point, but it was one of those “Thaaaaaaanks Aunt and Uncle So and So” gifts when I was of an age to I don’t know… wanted top 40 hits on cassette tape or something. (Yes. Cassettes. Get off my lawn.)

This pen does make my handwriting look really nice. I mean I’m not remotely trying to do proper calligraphy in the writing example. However, it took me about 30 minutes of fiddling to get both pens writing and you can see the scratch paper I was using there at the bottom.



The Good

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • not heavy in the hand
  • makes pretty handwriting
  • rubbery grip
  • easily obtained
  • easily switched nib sizes
  • can use a converter

The Bad

  • ink window digs into hand
  • proprietary cartridge
  • proprietary converter
  • clogs
  • hard to start ink
  • requires lots of fiddling
  • super scratchy writing
  • nib bites the paper
  • have to hold fairly vertical

Overall grade: C

Well, it’s not made badly… it just isn’t made for writing. If you’re going to address a bunch of invitations it will probably work just fine for that. As an everyday writer, it is not good. I do like the way the writing looks, it just isn’t a very enjoyable writing experience in any way.