Fountain Pen Review: Yafa Fountain Pen
Going through some old office supplies I’d packed last time I moved, I came across a Yafa Fountain Pen, dried out and abandoned for reasons I don’t remember. Yafa is about the only brand of fountain pen you find in the Office Depot (or Office Max, who can remember the difference?) except maybe a costly Monteverde or two (which are made by the same manufacturer). There were a couple of ink cartridges in the box, so I figured, let’s see how this works.
To be honest, for a cheap (and kind of ugly) pen, it writes pretty well! I can’t remember what I paid — under $20 for sure — but this is honestly a decent value pen. The barrel is plastic and not great plastic at that — it’s definitely lost some of its fresh-out-of-the-box sheen from being carried in my pocket years ago. The section is wrapped with a rubbery sleeve that cushions it a bit — I don’t love it, but it’s not bad, either. The cap is brushed metal with a decent enough clip, and it posts solidly.
I’m pretty sure the green ink cartridge I found with the pen came with it at purchase. Whatever its source, it’s a short international cartridge so it will be easy to refill once the ink runs out. I’m not sure if the barrel will accommodate a long international cartridge, as I don’t have one to try out.
The nib is nothing special. It’s marked “Iridium Point” so I’m guessing some generic German supplier (Yafa is an Italian company). It looks drab and utilitarian but writes quite well. Though unlabeled, I’d call it a medium point. Ink flows well, aside from a few skips when I miss the sweet spot by too wide a mark. The cartridge doesn’t seem to sit very firmly inside the barrel, but although it feels like its barely connected, ink flow is strong and steady and the cartridge does not rattle, even when you shake the pen. And the cap goes on firmly, so the nib doesn’t dry out — I’ve yet to have a hard start since inking this pen.
All in all, this is a pretty decent pen, which is surprising for a big box store fountain pen. It should just be a novelty, but it’s a nice-writing pen that wouldn’t look out of place in a business meeting or classroom, and which should hold up to extended use. I’d be wary of dropping it and cracking the barrel, since that seems to be the weak link, but other than that, I’d say this is is a pretty good choice if you can’t get your hands on a Pilot Metropolitan.