A solid fountain pen for less than expected

I’ve been meaning to try more fountain pens for quite a while, but the price always catches me off guard. I’m not looking to spend $50+ on an experiment. Even the well-reviewed Lamy Safari is more money than makes me comfortable.

Imagine my surprise when I found this little Sheaffer VFM at a local pen store. The low price of only $15, its eye-catching nickel-plated body, and solid writing performance made it an instant purchase. I could never afford a “real” Sheaffer, but this one will do just fine.

It writes well. Not spectacularly, but more than satisfactory for the price range – it's only a steel nib after all. As a gateway to more expensive pens, it does the job. Even better, the secure cap and robust body mean that I can carry this pen with me to school, which certainly can’t be said of all fountain pens. I have only one regret - the medium nib. My daily carry is a Render K with a 0.4mm Hi-Tec-C refill, so medium is quite a change. I may buy another just to try the fine nib, in which case I will definitely choose the brilliant orange color.

For a good starter fountain pen on a budget, one could do a lot worse than the Sheaffer VFM. (I’m looking at you, Zebra V-301.)

Edit: The plastic interior of the cap is not glued in, and today it just popped out when I tried to uncap the pen. Unless I find a way to secure it, there's no way to keep the cap on. So, maybe not so solid. Good thing the pen comes with a Sheaffer warranty.

Edit #2: Sheaffer replaced the cap for free after I mailed the pen to Iowa. Now it works as expected and has been re-inserted in my daily pen lineup. Several months in and the cap is sturdy!

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