Maybe the Jinhao 992 Ain’t All It’s Cracked up to Be

I was ready to sing the praises of my latest ridiculously-cheap pen acquisition, the Jinhao 992 (aka the 922, aka the Spiral, aka the drunken sailor), when I glanced at my pen and spotted a curious glint at the end of the barrel…

Those would be cracks. I’ve kept this pen on my desk for the week I’ve had it, and it’s never been dropped or mishandled while in my possession. Though I can’t say for certain the cracks were there when the pen arrived, I can count three cracks today when there were only two yesterday. That’s not good.

According to this thread on FPN, I’m not the only one seeing cracking issues with their 992s, including some reports of catastrophic failures that involved caps and barrels snapping in half. This is some early-TWSBI-level crackery.

So I feel confident in saying that the Jinhao 992 is a pen you should avoid.

It’s a damn shame, since the pen is an otherwise wonderful writer with a nice, smooth nib. I guess paying $1.50 for a fountain pen (including shipping! including a converter!) really is too good to be true.

12 thoughts on “Maybe the Jinhao 992 Ain’t All It’s Cracked up to Be

  1. t (@098799) June 20, 2017 / 10:17 am

    Well I’m yet to see a 992 that just flat out falls appart. Hairline fractures next to the plug are happening to everyone, but they don’t go further than that and they don’t seem to impact the usage at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wondernaut June 20, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    I have two of these. Both develope cracks. I thought that maybe first one had some cracks that I haven’t seen, I’ve ordered second, analysed it and there was no cracks. After barely two weeks of use (not abuse, mind you) the first two cracks started to develop near the bottom end. You’re right. This pen is, sadly, nbadly engineered. On the other hand, for this price, I don’t mind. When you use converter there will be no ink spills and both nibs are rather cool.

    Liked by 2 people

    • economicalpenster June 20, 2017 / 1:06 pm

      Yeah, I’m bummed because it’s a great pen! I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of this pen, but I wanted to get the word out so others can be informed when deciding if it’s worth buying.

      Hopefully the folks at Jinhao can find a different plastic formulation that’s not as brittle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • triptogenetica June 21, 2017 / 2:45 pm

        ” If you’ve a soft spot for cheap demonstrators” – yes, just a bit. In fact I hardly use anything else these days.

        Only just found your blog – looks good. The ultra high end fountain pens don’t really appeal to me, so much as the affordable end of the market.

        I’m excited by the Penton F10 – might have to get one.

        The Dollar is really interesting, and notable for being manufactured not in China, but in Pakistan I believe. Writes incredibly well for the price.
        And the Dollar ink has a wonderful phenolic scent…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Laura June 21, 2017 / 6:45 pm

      Hey, we use the Dollar demonstrators (fine nib version) for our Chicago Pen Show ink testing station! I’ve filled and scribbled with 300 of them each of the past two years. 🙂

      For me the pros are the price, and the excellent piston. Also, we’ve never had a crack develop in the barrel that holds the ink, even with constant use over the four-day show. On the other hand, (1) the pen is small; (2) our caps have been prone to cracking; (3) we’ve had a few develop leaks from the piston loosening; (4) the nibs are variable, and often need adjustment just to write initially.

      I have to admit that I don’t rate the nib highly for writing performance, and I couldn’t make it an everyday, workhorse pen myself. But obviously Triptogenetica feels differently. 🙂 So, as always, YMMV. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laura June 22, 2017 / 11:26 am

        We got them with the ink testing stations, but they are sold separately on eBay and probably lots of other places online.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. bob_hayden January 23, 2018 / 6:46 am

    The opaque 992s seem to be less prone to cracking and recent production has used a smaller diameter plug in the end to prevent cracking. The similarly priced Jinhao 991 is about the same price (as low as 99 cents on eBay) and has not had cracking issues.


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