I got mine from my local enabler, Crazy Alan’s Emporium. He might have some in stock if you give the store a call. Otherwise you can find this pen for however limited a time at any fine retailer where Lamys are sold, but not yet sold out.
Comments : 8 Comments »
Tags: dark lilac fountain pen, fountain pen, lamy, lamy dark lilac, lamy dark lilac fountain pen, lamy dark lilac ink, lamy fountain pen, lamy purple fountain pen, lamy purple ink, lamy safari, lamy safari fountain pen, lamy special edition, purple fountain pen, purple ink, safari fountain pen
Categories : fountain pen, fountain pen ink, Uncategorized
My local pen store and the place I go to get my coffee beans are located in the same shopping complex. It’s a dangerous set-up. I head out intending to get more beans and come home with a new bluegreen Lamy Al-Star.
You know how Pikachu will evolve into Raichu with the application of a thunderstone? The Al-Star is basically what the Safari evolves into with the application of more moneystone. Instead of a plastic body, you have an aluminum body that’s slightly thicker but still comfortably lightweight. The only problem is that the finish becomes worn with time.
But the finish feels nice and smooth, and the bluegreen is a wonderfully mesmerizing color. So calm.
The grip is a smoky translucent plastic, but otherwise identical to the grip of the Safari or Vista. Meaning another shaped grip, which you will probably either enjoy or consider the bane of your existence. Why can’t Lamy put out lots of special color editions of one of their models with a softer, more rounded grip? One that’s also, you know, reasonably affordable?
In all other respects, the Al-Star is the same as the Safari. Same iconic clip, same cartridges and converter system.
Even the same steel nibs. For maximum coolness, I went with a black nib, in broad, as that was the only Lamy nib size I didn’t yet own (besides one of the calligraphy nib sizes, but those don’t come in black). The nib is smooth and steady—you can feel it on the page. The flow is good—I worried that the broad nib would throw down too much ink, but that fear was unfounded. The flow keeps up perfectly with the nib.
I got my Al-Star from Office Supplies and More, and he’ll be taking them to the pen shows (including Atlanta this weekend. THAT’S LIKE RIGHT NOW AS I’M WRITING THIS; GET ON IT!). But if North Carolina or the Atlanta Pen Show aren’t on your way anywhere any time soon, you can also get them online from the Goulet Pen Company.
Comments : 5 Comments »
Tags: al-star, aluminum, aluminum fountain pen, b nib, black nib, bluegreen lamy al-star, lamy, lamy al-star, lamy al-star fountain pen, lamy aluminum, lamy aluminum fountain pen, lamy black nib, lamy bluegreen, lamy fountain pen
Categories : fountain pen, pen
The Lamy Safari is pretty much THE classic beginner fountain pen of these modern times—nice enough, lots of options, and not too expensive. This is the pen that a lot of people get when they step up from disposables or the $15 and under category, or heck, I’m sure it’s probably just plain old what a lot of people start with (though I moved up from my beloved disposable Ink Bar to the Sailor A. S. Manhattaner’s and the Platinum Preppy and all other manner of fountain pens but I can confidently say that the Safari’s clear demonstrator version, the Lamy Vista, was my first in-store fountain pen purchase).
The Safari has a number of great design features, starting with the plastic body—it’s available in a wide variety of colors, from bright and ostentatious (like this green, or last year’s neon yellow) to subdued and classy (like the white or the charcoal black). It’s not a scratchproof plastic, but it is durable (I haven’t broken one yet anyway, and I don’t treat them delicately).
I love this clip. There is no mistaking the Lamy clip. You may spot one across the room in the hands of a total stranger and KNOW that there’s a Lamy. Then you will hiss at your dining companions “THAT DUDE’S GOT A LAMY” and your dining companions will have no idea what you’re talking about and wonder to themselves why they invite you to brunch. Note how the wide clip arms curve down around the body of the cap—helps hold it snug to the page or the pocket, while the flared end makes it easy to slip on.
One of the drawbacks to the Lamy line is that they require proprietary Lamy cartridges. So if you inherited several metric tons of standard international cartridges from your grandmother, this won’t be the pen to use them in. But there is at least sort of a reason for the special cartridges: they are designed to snap themselves on. Just make sure the cartridge is sticking into the grip like so, just resting there really, make sure there’s no cardboard ring on there, and then screw the rest of the body back on. It will push the cartridge down and puncture the bit that lets the ink go from cartridge to feed. That’s a nice feature for beginners (and people with poor arm strength and people who just may be lazy). No wondering (as I hope you rarely do in life) “did I push hard enough?” You can also pay to get a Lamy converter and use the pen with bottled ink. If I were to rotate the grip in that picture 90 degrees, you’d see the little secure-posts where the converter snaps on.
If you are a normal human being, or perhaps a German schoolchild, then you will hold your writing utensils with the ultra-efficient and ergonomic ideal pliers grip. The Lamy Safari is molded with this ideal grip in mind, and if you have proper gripping technique or like to be corrected by the pen you hold, then you’ll probably love this. I do not love this. I am forever in battle against the sharp edges and my horrible overwriter lefty cavedwelling hookgrip. If you are getting a pen for someone else, consider how they grip. A rounded grip, or at least one not so sharply sculpted might serve them better depending on their style.
The stainless steel nibs are excellent beginner or workhorse nibs. They are sufficiently smooth, but not so smooth that you’re in danger of losing control (or needing to write in cursive, really fast). The nibs are easy to change out and come in extra fine, fine, medium, and broad (all of which can either be in stainless steel finish or black finish), plus three sizes of calligraphy nib (1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 1.9mm). If you want to be able to try a wide range of nibs without having to get a new pen every time (though, where’s the fun in that, besides not being broke?), then the Lamy Safari is an excellent way to go—nibs are sold individually all over the place.
It’s not the perfect beginner pen for everyone, but even in spite of the things I don’t like about it I keep buying them. Those darn colors are just so irresistible. It looks like the Limited Edition 2012 Apple Green body is still in stock at Goldspot Pens at time of writing. Or you can browse through other colors at some of my other favorite online places.
Comments : 3 Comments »
Tags: 2012 lamy safari, apple green body, fountain pen, green lamy, green lamy safari, lamy, lamy fountain pen, lamy safari, lamy safari fountain pen, lamy safari limited edition 2012, limited edition, limited edition lamy safari, m nib, medium nib, safari
Categories : fountain pen, pen
The Lamy Dialog 3 is one of those pens that I bought after saving a dollar for every day that I still wanted it. This was before the price hike, and I made sure my local pen store, Office Supplies and More, saved one for me because I knew eventually I’d be getting this pen.
The Dialog 3 is a work of design art, right down to the slim and beautiful box. The matte black metal body is smooth to the touch, but like Pilot’s matte black stealth Vanishing Point finish it’s somewhat delicate.
You can see where the matte finish has begun to wear away in places—the Vanishing Point finish does the same thing. I guess it’s just part of the sacrifice of looking cool.
What makes the Dialog 3 special is its twist retract/deploy mechanism. The nib deploys completely, a full and regular-sized Lamy two-tone gold nib, and when the nib deploys the clip draws close to the body of the pen, making it less obtrusive (especially when compared to the Vanishing Point clip).
As satisfying as it is to deploy, take care when retracting that you don’t twist past aligning the lines on the body or you’ll start unscrewing the pen. Once you get the hang of it, no problem, but I know there was a learning curve phase for me, particularly when I twisted slowly, and I often accidentally unscrewed the pen.
I love the weight of this pen in my hand, but I do feel like the weight and the cylindrical body cause the pen to slowly slide down ever so slightly as I hold it. Some kind of indent in the body for gripping might help, but would detract from the aesthetic. No winning there.
This nib is fantastic. It’s like writing with buttery whispers—smooth, smooth, smoooooth. The flow is perfect. This nib, a 14k gold F nib, writes about the same as a Japanese M. There’s a little bit of give to the nib if you press it to the page, but the pen is so glassy smooth, skating across the page, that such give never really has a chance to come up while writing since no pressure is required to write.
In nib performance, the Lamy edges out the Vanishing Point on smoothness. In clip comfort, the Dialog’s low profile can’t be beat. But the Vanishing Point keeps a better seal on its nib (left unused for an equal amount of time, the Lamy Dialog will dry out faster), and when it comes to price and convenience of the deployment mechanism, the Vanishing Point takes that cake and runs with it. If you’re looking for a high quality workhorse pen, go with the Pilot Vanishing Point and save yourself some money.
The Dialog 3 is pretty purely an item of luxury—especially if you opt for the matte black finish. No one NEEDS the Lamy Dialog 3, and at the price it’s climbed to now the purchase is almost impossible to justify. But the pen is a thing of modern beauty. The writing feels wonderful. And if you do decide to buy one, I certainly won’t judge you.
At time of writing, the best price left on the Lamy Dialog 3 seems to be over at JetPens, and if there aren’t any left there the next best price is over 60 bucks more, and the regular retail cost is about another 80 bucks beyond that. Unbelievable.
Comments : 6 Comments »
Tags: 14k nib, dialog, dialog 3, dialog 3 black body, dialog black body, f nib, fine nib, gold f nib, gold nib, lamy, lamy dialog, lamy dialog 3, lamy dialog 3 black body, lamy f nib
Categories : fancy, fountain pen
As soon as one of these popped up at my local pen store, I snagged it (I think it actually appeared in their inventory at one of the pen shows; either way as soon as it hit the table I was on it). This has been another impulse purchase that I do not regret.
The body is smooth aluminum, lightweight and beautifully minimalist. It feels lovely to hold, with that smooth finish, and being lightweight aluminum it’s easy to write with the pen posted or unposted.
The clip is a spring-mounted steel clip, on which they should have embossed the Lamy logo—the logo printed onto the barrel is starting to wear off. Not that I’ll mind having a totally clean barrel.
For me, this grip is what bumps the Lamy Pur into favorite Lamy status (over, say, the Safari/Vista line). I try to work on having a proper, ideal grip, but sometimes I just can’t. This round, unguided grip forgives me.
I got my Lamy Pur with an extra fine steel nib, but any Lamy nib will work on this pen (Goulet Pens has it so you can order whatever nib size you want, from EF to 1.9mm nib, in steel or black color for all non-calligraphy nibs). The nib has been great so far, never scratchy, no problems starting, good flow, nice tactile feeling on the page. I’ve never much had problems with Lamy nibs myself, but know that if you’ve got one you absolutely love but want an upgrade in terms of body, you can just slap that favorite nib right onto the Lamy Pur.
It comes in a decent little box, with one Lamy cartridge and the black-ended converter (the Z26, as opposed to the Z24). This is one of my favorite everyday pens—it looks snazzy, writes quite reliably, and while it’s a bit of a price bump from a Safari or a Vista it isn’t too terribly much more.
I got mine from Office Supplies and More, but you can also get the Lamy Pur with nib of your choice from the Goulet Pen Company online.
Comments : 4 Comments »
Tags: aluminum body, aluminum fountain pen, aluminum smooth, ef nib, extra fine nib, fountain pen, lamy, lamy aluminum fountain pen, lamy blue ink, lamy fountain pen, lamy pur, lamy pur fountain pen, lamy pur fountain pen aluminum, lamy pur fountain pen aluminum smooth, pur, pur fountain pen
Categories : fountain pen, pen
I was originally hesitant to get the Lamy Pico—this was back before I totally lost my mind and started dropping some serious Jacksons on fountain pens. Even now, I am reluctant to break the fifteen dollar barrier on any non-fountain pen. But motorcycle trips are special occasions, and in the name of finding the perfect motorcycle pen I finally bought a Lamy Pico back in May of last year (when the Lamy Pico was $10 cheaper).
Design-wise, a thousand gold stars for Lamy. Sleek matte black finish, compact body with a thick barrel (too many compact pens tend to favor needle-thin chopstick bodies), nice weight, and no clip (clips are bulky and can get caught on things in my pocket). Originally I didn’t like that the Pico had no clip, but I’ve come around.
The only design feature I’m currently not thrilled with is the logo. I stand by what I suggested previously: make it flush with the body, recessed into the metal, and make it out of a powerful magnet so I can attach it to various metal bits on my motorcycle. Or refrigerator.
As is, I have to be mindful of where the logo is (when writing without gloves on), lest I have it pressing into my skin. The argument for the raised logo would be that it acts to stop the pen from rolling away (unless the pen has some momentum, then it’s avalanche straight down desk mountain). However, I’m not intending to use this pen on tabletops, so that’s not one of my concerns.
Generally in my off-bike, deskside tests, I’ve been happy with the deployment mechanism. Occasionally it’ll still stick; you just need to push back down and it’ll keep going. Would be a lot better if this never happened at all, or happened so rarely that it wouldn’t be worth mentioning. Oh well! Doubt the ten dollar price hike has fixed this problem.
And here we have what is hands down the biggest problem with the Pico: the refill. Maybe Jetstream set the bar too high for me, so when I fork over the dough for a nice ballpoint pen that isn’t as smooth as butter and black as the deep voids of space, I’m disappointed.
Didn’t help that I got an extra particularly especially shoddy refill the first time around (I bought another at my local pen store, and got to test it before I took it home). It writes well enough—takes a little squiggle to warm up if it’s been sitting around for a while, but otherwise pretty consistent. No egregious or particularly obvious skips, blobs, or inky aberrations with my new refill. If we had a scale, with absolutely horrible pens at the bottom (I dare not name names) and Jetstream pens at the top, I’d give this a 5.5, maybe a 6. Just barely above average, but I want smoother. I want darker. I DO NOT WANT TO BE REMINDED OF PENS SO CHEAP THAT PEOPLE PRACTICALLY PAY YOU TO WALK OFF WITH THEM WHEN I USE THIS PEN (no offense, BIC). I still haven’t found a refill that fits. Monteverde claims its mini pen refills fit Lamy brand pens, but the Pico must be an exception (or Monteverde must be a pack of liars). It fits into the pen just fine, deploys and there it is, but as soon as you press it to paper it goes right back up into the pen. Useless. If anyone can find a better refill for this pen, let me know. (Psst, Uni-ball. You would make a killing off of me if you sold refills that fit various other pen bodies. Like this one)
Bottom line: with the price hike and the mediocre refill, I can’t say that the Pico is worth it. The only justifications for getting the Pico are probably either that you want a compact ballpoint pen with a wide body, or you’ve got money to burn and are intrigued by the deployment mechanism. Or if you’re trying to buy every pen ever. I’ve warmed up to mine, but unless you’re flush with cash or being given this as a gift, there are much better pens you could be getting with that money.
Comments : 5 Comments »
Tags: 0.7mm, ballpoint pen, lamy, lamy ballpoint, lamy pico, lamy pico pocket size extendable ballpoint pen, pico, pico ballpoint
Categories : ballpoint pen, mini pens, pen
It’s just about that time of year, my good people, when all your favorite gift-giving holidays convene. That’s right, such holidays as: my mom’s birthday. My grandmother’s birthday. National Fritters Day. Letter Writing Day. Pepper Pot Day. AND MANY MORE!
You will need to be armed to the teeth with gifts if you hope to make it to the other end of December alive. Personally, I like to do all my shopping from the same location, as far away from humanity as possible, and preferably while sitting. I think you know what that means—online shopping! This post will almost entirely feature items from JetPens; maybe, if I’m feeling particularly industrious, I’ll do another (or more?!) post(s) involving writing utensils from other websites.
And! As promised in the title, there will be a giveaway associated with this post. Details will follow. But first—pens!
I’ll organize this into two major categories—pens I own, and pens I don’t own but am going to recommend anyway—and for the first category, I’ll break it down by price. Let’s begin!
Pens I Own
$1 to $10
There are far too many pens in this category to list them all individually. So I’ve compiled a wish list of them on JetPens! And now it can be your wish list.
$11 to $30
It’s got individual synthetic fiber bristles, and it’s refillable. Can write from a hair-thin line to an I-can’t-be-bothered-to-measure-how-thick broad line. Comes with 2 refills.
Fantastically comfortable Alpha-Gel grip + Kuru Toga lead-rotating mechanism = maybe the best pencil ever? Especially helpful for those who have to take a bunch of scantron tests / handwrite a bunch of essays in pencil. A.k.a. students.
Uni-ball Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip Series Ballpoint Pens – 0.7mm – $16.50
Can’t have my favorite mechanical pencil without my favorite ballpoint pen. As an added bonus, I have reviewed this one before! This body takes any size Jetstream retractable refill (I currently have the 0.5mm refill in mine), and also fits the Zebra Sarasa gel refills.
I’ve reviewed this one before, too. It’s a nice fine nib pen. Warning: doesn’t come with a refill. I’d advise buying the converter; it’s cheaper than the cartridges, and easier to refill. Warning: I bought the cartridges (which I refill by syringe), but I have not personally tried the converter.
I would recommend buying these brush pens with the Akashiya Sai Watercolor Mini Pallet ($4.50) and a waterbrush pen like the Kuretake Small Compact Size ($4.25), which actually pushes the total cost of this set up to $26.25, but I think it’s worth it. And the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen works great with these for a watercolor black.
Impractical, but beautiful. Especially nice for ink enthusiasts (I recommend Noodler’s, which you can get through places like Goldspot Pens or the Goulet Pen Company). Easy to clean; just don’t drop it.
Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen – $21.00
From extra-fine nib to broad nib in a variety of colors. Also check out the Kaweco Ice Sport line if you like translucent and bright colors. I have the medium nib, which I find to be one of the thinner mediums I own.
Lamy Safari, Vista, and Al-Star Fountain Pens – $26, $26, and $37.50
Colorful, durable, with nibs ranging from extra-fine to broad, and in my experience, they’ve all been wonderful writers. I’d recommend getting the converter with this one, as these pens go well with having a nigh unlimited spectrum of ink colors to choose from. Warning: also recommending the converter because the Lamy takes a special cartridge rather than the standard international short cartridge. The pen is designed so that you just drop the cartridge in and then twist the nib section back onto the barrel; the cartridge then punctures itself. Warning: I’ve never actually tried to shove an international short cartridge into a Lamy, as far as I can remember, so I can’t advise what would happen.
Comes with a converter. And a lovely tapered body. And the cap posts on the end! Calligraphy nib options: 1.1mm, 1.5mm, and 1.9mm. Nibs are interchangeable with the regular Lamy nibs, if you just like the body.
$30 and up (except for the already mentioned Lamy Al-Star)
This pen has grown on me a lot more since I first reviewed it, and especially since I started using Rotring Turquoise ink in it (warning: that is a ridiculous price; I paid $4 for my refills at the Art Brown Pen Shop, but they don’t seem to sell that refill online). More of a medium or maybe even broad (what do I know; I never use broad nibs) nib. Warning: do not try to take the clip off or accidentally take the clip off. It comes off, and scratches the satin metal finish in the process. Oops.
Kaweco Liliput Al Fountain Pen – $53.00
I got the fine nib. Yes, this pen is everything I hoped for, and also more. Yes, I desperately owe you all a proper review of this pen; I am waiting for the opportunity and the lighting so that I can take the kind of pictures that do this pen justice. Comes in extra-fine to broad nibs. Takes international short cartridges. Also takes….YOUR HEART.
Pilot Prera Clear Body Fountain Pen – $58.00
I bought the fine nib, which was a Japanese fine nib—also known as an extra exceptionally fine line nib. Possibly the finest nib I own (too bad I dropped it on the nib (ARGH WHOOPS)). Also comes in medium nib. I’d recommend getting the Pilot Plumix as well (currently cheapest at Target, I believe); the nibs are interchangeable. You (like me) can have a Pilot Prera with an italic nib! Makes your handwriting look even fancier than normal.
Pens I Don’t Own
I’m only going to make two recommendations. First, the Uni-ball Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen + 0.5mm Pencil ($16.50); I bought one for a friend and he loves it. Four colors of Jetstreams, a pencil, and an eraser all in one body! Second, the Zebra Sharbo X….specifically the Zebra Sharbo X LT3 Pen Body Component – Silver ($49.50). Look at that thing. I want it. Why wouldn’t you?
- Leave one comment on this post any time between now and Sunday, November 27th 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. This contest is open to all readers in any country! That includes you, international people!
- One winner will be picked at random from the comments section of this post. Just make any kind of comment—but only one comment! Comments in excess of one shall be deleted. The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on. The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.
- I’ll post the contest winner in the evening of Sunday, November 27th (sometime between noon and midnight). Winner will have one week to email me. There’s a link to my email at the top of the right sidebar.
Good luck! And preemptive happiness to your holidays!
P.S. I should have it set up so comments will post without my having to approve them all moderator-style. But if your comment doesn’t show up right away, that means I didn’t set that up correctly, and your comment will show up when I go through and hit “approve” on all of them. Don’t worry! Or, if you are worried, feel free to email me!
Comments : 74 Comments »
Tags: a. g. spalding mini fountain pen, akashiya sai, akashiya sai watercolor brush pens, alpha gel, gift guide, giveaway, j. herbin glass dip pen, jetstream, kaweco liliput, kaweco sport classic fountain pen, kuru toga, lamy, lamy al-star, lamy joy, lamy safari, lamy vista, pentel pocket brush, pilot prera, sailor highace neo beginner fountain pen, uni-ball, zebra sharbo x
Categories : art supplies, ballpoint pen, brush pen, calligraphy pen, deluxe grips, fountain pen, gift guide, mechanical pencil, pen