Showing 1 of 66 conversations about:
RayF
19225
Apr 17, 2018
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Nice pen--worth about $25. Yet another rip-off pen from your good buddies at MD. If you know pens, you know better than to buy 'em here!
Apr 17, 2018
bobgr8
32
Apr 19, 2018
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Please tell me!
Apr 19, 2018
RayF
19225
Apr 20, 2018
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Perhaps you could be more specific?
Apr 20, 2018
bobgr8
32
Apr 20, 2018
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From where could I buy pens cheaper than here? I live in India btw.
Apr 20, 2018
RayF
19225
Apr 20, 2018
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My sources would all be US based, sorry. No luck from China or Japan?
Apr 20, 2018
bobgr8
32
Apr 20, 2018
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I have used Rakuten which is great. What other sources do you have? anywhere is fine
Apr 20, 2018
RayF
19225
Apr 20, 2018
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Anderson Pens Fountain Pen Hospital Jet Pens ...more later.
Apr 20, 2018
Sefali
180
Sep 24, 2018
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Only woth $25? What a joke.
Sep 24, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 25, 2018
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You take exception to my evaluation, or you're agreeing with me? It's hard to tell...
Sep 25, 2018
Sefali
180
Sep 25, 2018
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Your evaluation is a joke.
Sep 25, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 25, 2018
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Put your money where your mouth is--tell us all how many YOU bought?
Sep 25, 2018
Sefali
180
Sep 25, 2018
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Even better, I make them, so I know all about the cost, time, and skill needed to make them. You’re just getting funnier and funnier, and not in a good way. Your $25 valuation remains a joke. I’ll bow out here, as responses like your last one make you sound like one as well.
Sep 25, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 25, 2018
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Oh, you make them? Well, that makes you a pretty impartial fellow, doesn’t it? You know, if I made these pens, I’d estimate their value to be about twice what they’re asking here, and even that would be cheap!!!
Sep 25, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 25, 2018
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I’m interested to know why you think this pen is so overvalued.
Sep 25, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 26, 2018
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Well let's not kid around here--all fountain pens are over-valued; primarily by their manufacturers and ultimately by those of us who buy their products. With established, name-brand pens, that begins with sky-high MSRPs (that are almost always discounted by at least twenty percent at retail). Which is to say, if you paid retail, you're new to the hobby (live and learn). These same manufacturers (let's take Pelikan, for example) constantly release versions of their established pens with slight material variations and call them Limited Editions--and then price those pens even higher. The associated costs to manufacture these pens have long been recouped, and the remaining costs are largely related to sales, marketing, and distribution expenses. In other words, margins are high, costs are low. Consider the bill of materials for a nice pen like a Parker Duofold. Lets start with the guts; there are none! For all their external drama, the guts of most nice pens consist of a cheap (but functional) plastic converter inserted into a nice section, a plastic feed and a gold nib. That same section has been around for since Moses, they've made a zillion of 'em and all the tooling costs were realized long before you and I were born. Now it could be a pen with a piston-fill mechanism, and I'll allow those are more labor intensive to assemble, but not too much more to make. Of course the gold nibs aren't cheap--unless you buy them in quantity from another manufacture (as most, but not all companies do), who stamps them out by the hundreds every day. In that case, they're cheap too. So what's left; Barrels and Caps? Also cheap to make now (again, on the same tooling they've used for years and years). Toss in some gold plated furniture (negligible cost there as well), and then add some very attractive packaging, some nice printed material, and there you have it: a really nice pen that cost maybe $35 to make, market and sell, which will retail somewhere in the neighborhood of $400-$800. Now, I happen to like those pens (Parkers and Pelikans, I have a few of each) and one of the things I like about both manufacturers is their history, their contribution to the development of pens--their provenance! Those guys (and many others) made fountain pens what they were in their heyday and what they have become today (admittedly, pretty much a niche item). This guy, on the other hand (the tree ring fellow), has none of that--no history, no invention, no provenance . He's essentially selling you a "kit pen"--something he's assembled with off-the shelf parts he's purchased from manufacturers of pen parts who cater to that hobby (Google: "kit pens"). He's not likely making his own pen caps or sections, or feeds, and definitely not his nibs--he just shops for them. Now he's got his angle, I'll give him that. I don't doubt he's manufactured the wooden barrels with the incriminating date stamps (wood is a terrible material for pens by the way--very unstable). But here's the cheesy part: he had to make the barrels to fit the parts he bought; in other words, he didn't determine the optimum barrel diameter he thought a pen should have, he just made it fit. The barrels appear as though they've been cored, or plugged (not turned?) from the poor hapless trees somebody "harvested" (btw, where I come from, that means CHOPPED DOWN, just say'n), so as to any craftsmanship involved, I'd have to see his workshop to know what's actually involved in churning them out, but I'm willing to bet "theirs and App for that" (meaning not much handwork). So, what's left? Assemble them and find someone to sell them to. Does that justify the $170 they'e asking for them? Especially when compared to real pens made by real pen manufactures at similar prices? I'll let you be judge of that--but don't forget to ask for your twenty-percent discount!
Sep 26, 2018
deedubs2
1
Sep 26, 2018
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Here is a video about the Tree Ring brand and a little background on the process of crafting their products. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2wfsD4Jvlk Tree Ring Co. has been making fountain pens since 2009, and has perfected a darn good looking pen that writes well and tells a cool story
. There is more to it than one might assume..., for example finding trees of sufficient age/diameter to show an interesting tree ring chronology, drying/stabilizing wood, turning the wood, setting and adjusting nibs so that they write well. Some customers see value in this whole process beyond the assembly line process of traditional factory made pens.
Sep 26, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 26, 2018
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What do you say to Ray’s assertion that wood is a terrible material for pens?
I haven’t watched the video, but im assuming it justifies the price point.
Edit, now I have watched the video, and I have to agree with you. Despite Ray’s rather spot on and thorough analysis, I’d have to say the tree ring pen is probably not priced out of line, assuming it’s in fact a good writer. It appears that the owner really cares about what he’s making.
Sep 26, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 26, 2018
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That’s called Marketing my friend, and that’s where his costs come from, not the materials, and obviously not from the wood—evidently he can have all he can carry! As to how it writes, that’s a function of the parts he’s bought, not what he‘s made—or “harvested“ ;- )
Sep 26, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 26, 2018
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Maybe, but I think you’re being a little cynical with respect to this particular pen. Assuming he’s not outright making up his claims, his products are orders of magnitude more valuable than, say, any similarly priced mass-produced Conklin or Monteverde. Maybe $129 is too much, maybe not. But he had a good idea and seems to be making something of quality that can be enjoyed by pen nerds. If that resonates with buyers, I don’t see the problem.
Sep 26, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 26, 2018
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i don’t see a problem either—he’s going to make a bunch of money selling dead trees—it’s the American dream! Order a couple and you’ll be a part of history. PT Barnum would be very proud ;- )
Sep 26, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 26, 2018
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I’m half tempted to buy one just to spite you. I think you’re wrong about this, and I also think companies like Tree Ring actually benefit the pen market. It’s something different, aesthetically pleasing, and again, assuming the actual pen guts are of good quality and work well, an instrument I’d be proud to own. So there, sucker or not.
Sep 26, 2018
Tree_Ring
33
Tree Ring
Sep 26, 2018
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Hi Stephen, Thanks for asking good questions and considering purchasing a Tree Ring pen. I am the owner, though I was logged in under my personal account, for the previous post. To answer your question/concern about wood, yes, it can be a delicate material for pens if not treated well. We dry all the wood below 6% moisture content and seal it with an acrylic finish to avoid any wood cracking or stability issues. Our warranty policy has you covered (copied below) if there ever were a problem. While the pens are unique, write well, and have a cool story, ultimately people find value in different things. I can tell you that, contrary to what some have posted, there is a lot of time, care, and experience that goes into making one of these pens and "there is no app for that". Warranty " All Tree Ring watches and pens are guaranteed against mechanical failure, regardless of age. In other words, our pens and watches are guaranteed for life. Returned writing instruments and watches will be repaired or replaced at no charge. If the exact model is not available for replacement, one of similar style and value will be provided. Warranty does not include watch battery, leather strap, or pen cartridge refills. Incoming shipping and insurance costs are the responsibility of the client. Damaged products resulting from impact or unreasonable abuse are excluded from this warranty. "
Sep 26, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 26, 2018
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Thanks for the reply. I figured as much.
Sep 26, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 26, 2018
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I'm not going to stand in your way; buy a couple! Mr. Tree-ringer has bills to pay: the production company, the cameraman, the foley guy, the director of photography, the catering crew, the gaffers, the Teamsters, the writers...
Sep 26, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 26, 2018
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As a writer myself, I can assert with a reasonable amount of certainty that they are the least of his expenses. Hehe
while im not ready to buy today, I think that someday I will, your analysis notwithstanding. I like this pen. Will I pay full price? Probably not.
Sep 26, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 27, 2018
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Figure this: everyone gets to determine what they're willing to pay for the things they value, that's your choice. I've paid plenty of dough for pens you might not be interested in. As a matter of fact, a significant portion of the pens bought and sold on the internet are used pens (old pens, antiques, so to speak), and the prices those pens command in that market are based on many criteria (reputation, craftsmanship, desirability, availably, etc...). Consider for a moment what one of these tree-ringer pens would be worth, immediately after you purchased it--on the open market--where TRUE values are established.
Better yet, go to eBay and do a search for "Wooden Fountain Pens"--if nothing else, you'll save about a hundred-fifty bucks ;- )
Sep 27, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 27, 2018
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No, I think you’re wrong about the second part—I think this pen is more special than a generic “wood fountain pen.”
i dont know what the open market value would be—substantially less, I’m sure. But isn’t that true for all modern fountain pens (except possibly the most rarified?)
Sep 27, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 27, 2018
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No, I think that's the part you're missing this is a generic wooden fountain pen. What's separating it from all the other generic wooden pen's is this guys marketing skills--he's selling them here, he shot a touchy-feely movie (commercial) about it-- he's given it a story! The sole purpose of which was to make you get all emotional about it, and then get you to shell out big bucks for a $25 pen. He's done a good job, kudos to him, but that doesn't make the pen anything other than what it is.
Seriously, who says a pair of Nikes should cost $200 or $300, you or Nike? Answer: if you bought a pair, YOU did!
Sep 27, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 27, 2018
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It’s not though—and the story is part of what ungenericizes it. The other part is the quality and craftsmanship. Now we can disagree on the level of that here, but it looks to me like a quality product. Obviously I’d have to hold one in my hands to tell for sure.
Sep 27, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 27, 2018
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Well, let me know if and when you do pull the trigger--I'm sure you'll like it.
Cheers!
Sep 27, 2018
writerstephen
478
Sep 27, 2018
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Oooohhh burn. Lol
Sep 27, 2018
Se7en5
5
Sep 27, 2018
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Interesting discussion... and while RayF brought up a lot of points with a great emphasis on "it's worth only $25" because it's a kit pen, he completely neglects to consider labor costs and after sale warranty/servicing. In most first world countries, skilled craftsmen in any trade charges easily $50-$100 per hour for their skill and equipment. You can argue that there are $10 pens from China... but they have cheaper labor, and use very expensive tooling/automation that require sales in 10s, if not 100s of thousands of product to recoup initial investment (and tooling costs all gone? Obviously no knowledge of manufacturing or skilled labor). Additionally, the fact that it's a kit pen actually increases the cost to manufacture since there are more middleman profiting from each transaction. The nib manufacturer and the kit maker all take a cut. If you're looking purely at total manufacturing costs vs final sale price , the biggest manufacturers such as Pelikan, Pilot and Lamy have far larger profit margins than smaller boutique one man operations such as this. Lastly, discounting distribution and marketing costs is absurd. Unless a company sells/transports direct, there is no way a company can avoid distribution costs. You go sell something on eBay and see how big a cut they take. Provenance as RayF proudly espouses IS marketing. The inventors of the truly innovative fountain pen ideas are long dead, and the ownership of the company have all been transferred/purchased by massive conglomerates. Conklin was a storied American fountain pen manufacturer over 100 years old! Now vast majority of their products are made in China, and their top of the line products are made in Italy? But the brand sure got provenance! Lastly taunting opposing arguments with "just buy some" is ridiculous. Base on this drop's history, they've sold 160 pens. Maybe not a huge market, but a market nonetheless. Besides, equating value with cost is pointless. Iphones cost $400 to make, millions pay over $1,000 to buy them.
Sep 27, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 27, 2018
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Just buy ONE then ;- )
Sep 27, 2018
Se7en5
5
Sep 27, 2018
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After reading all your posts... I think you're confusing value with worth. Value is subjective... essentially willingness to pay. Worth=cost is objective, and very easy to calculate. If you believe $25 is actual cost of manufacture, please let me know where I can buy a fountain pen kit complete with a branded Jowo nib and magnetic capping system for half that . Minimum wage in the US is $10 in many states after all.
Sep 27, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 27, 2018
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They don’t have Google or eBay where you live? Do your homework—lots of deals on “non-pens” out there.
Sep 27, 2018
Se7en5
5
Sep 27, 2018
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You know... I wonder... this is some screwed up reverse psychology to get ONE more person to join the drop so the transaction goes through...
Sep 27, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 27, 2018
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In that case, buy TWO ;- )
Sep 27, 2018
Se7en5
5
Sep 27, 2018
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Don't know which fantasy Google or eBay you access... the "deals" all use lovely unbranded "premium iridium nib". Of course, in your fascinating everyone must be ripping me off world, maybe they're just as good as Jowo nibs.
Sep 27, 2018
RayF
19225
Sep 27, 2018
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So buy a Jowo nib for the kit pens you find on eBay—it’s not much of an upgrade, but as long as you don’t over pay for it, it can’t hurt. Good source for upgrade nibs: Goulet Pens.
Better yet, find my post titled: “Buy This Orange Pen”—you’ll save a lot of money (and learn a bit too ;- )
https://www.massdrop.com/talk/7777/buy-this-orange-pen-you-can-thank-me-later
Sep 27, 2018
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