I've not been in the fountain pen hobby terribly long, but I have been around enough to amass a bit of a collection. One pen that I'd always looked at was the Lamy 2000, but I never jumped for one because my preferences are strongly on the side of Japanese fine nibs, and the Lamy just seemed too broad to be terribly useful to me. I had considered on a number of occasions getting one and having a professional regrind the nib, but I have been disappointed a number of times by highly-regarded nib grinders, and was losing interest in the undertaking. Due to that thread, I got a bit of blame [understandably] placed on me, but I also received a little bit of sympathy, particularly in the background, from a number of users. One user was a fellow by the name of Jack (nickname: Yakir) Landau, who just recently made his Aussie Pen Repair service public.
During the course of our conversation, he mentioned having a reground XXF Lamy 2000. It was quite fortuitous, since he hadn't known I had any interest in such a pen. Despite my reticence coming from a number of less-than-stellar experiences, I stuck my neck out and ended up ordering it from him when he decided whether he was going to sell it. So one thing led to another, and here's a review!
Of course, everyone knows what a Lamy 2000 looks like:
And everyone knows what the nib looks like:
(oops, sorry I didn't wipe completely after a big meal of Noodler's Navy)
So I guess I'll focus on other stuff.
It arrived in the Lamy box. You know that one. Yeah, go and get the one that came with your Safari, L2K, Studio, or whatever other Lamy pen you bought. That one. I also got a cute little letter, and a makeshift business card. I did not censor the contact information, so I apologize in advance for inadvertently advertising.
As it happens, I like the Lamy box. I'm not really much of a box collector, but it does the trick, and you know it's a Lamy box if you have to rummage it out of a pile of pen boxes (you know you have a pile too).
When I opened the box, I got the standard stuff, plus a little unexpected token from a joke during our conversation. I'll attach the joke to the image for context.
I'll give it an 8/10 because of the tail and ear issues.
You probably know the Lamy 2000, so I'm not going to bury you in redundant photos. Google images is your friend, and this time you don't need incognito mode (to prevent thread closure, I will clarify that last time you were just looking for engagement ring designs).
The finish feels nice. Real nice. It reminds me a bit of my matte-finished Pilot 78Gs and Custom 74, but even rougher. Very clean and straight scratch patterns, so I like it. The little metal...[note: I had a thread closed for inappropriate wording once, so I will exercise caution] plug in the...um, end of the piston knob, is a nice touch. Touching the clip, I thought perhaps it was a little bit on the sharp side, and the spring did not seem particularly strong. In fact, the L2K goes in and comes out of the pocket easier than any other pen I own, except clipless ones of course (though I hate when the clipless pen falls to the side in my shirt pocket, giving me an oddly shaped pectoral bulge and forcing me to awkwardly fish it out, but I digress...).
I'll admit that I was distracted enough by the monkey-eating-pizza drawing that I rotated the cap half a dozen times before remembering it's a snap cap.
Anyway, once the cap was off, I had to hold the pen a bit and see if those little cap nubs would touch my fingers. Yep, they do. However, since my standard grip is a sort of 10-2 position with the thumb and index finger, the nubs didn't really serve as a distraction or irritation, but almost as a guide for holding it. I have the same sort of feeling about the Pilot Capless models; the clip can be a pleasant part of the way one holds the pen. In fact, If the nubs were not where they are on the L2K, I wonder if perhaps I'd find myself fiddling a lot to get into a natural grip. When unposted, the pen is a little point heavy (which I think I like), and when posted, it is pretty neutrally balanced (which I think I like).
My impression of the pen is positive...probably an 8.5/10, with 0.752 points deducted for the clip's bite, and 0.745 points deducted for the pretty weak ink window. 0.002 points deducted for the visibility of the section/body seam, and .01 points deducted because I'm bad at arithmetic. I would consider deducting more fractional points for the ergonomics of the taper, but it seems much more a personal thing, so I'll leave it alone.
So out came my 22x loupe so I could behold...
Ok. Sadly, I'm not very good at doing loupe shots or extreeeeme close ups with any kind of depth of field, so I'll have to work through this one with a few thousand words (maybe less).
When I first looked at the nib, I was a little disheartened. I noticed a few surprisingly squared corners and a slight asymmetry between the tines. Now, in Yakir's defense, the symmetry of these tines was much better than several other nibs I've received, including all but one customized nib, which had symmetry but lacked smoothness. I sent him a message about the corners, and he responded very willingly:
As far as I recall, the nib was slightly stubbish simply due to the geometry of the original tipping. If you look at the underside of the nib, some of the actual nib material had to be ground away to thin the iridium tipping. I didn't want to do too much of that to the sides and thus remove more plating, so that slight stubbishness was pretty unavoidable. I had a previous L2K that I sent in to [bleep for name] who played it *really* safe and ended up giving me what was essentially a hebrew italic instead of an xxf, and I demanded my money back because [bleep] hadn't ground the vertical direction at all. My work was much less severe with respect to line variation than [bleep's], but it's there nonetheless.
Since I write in Chinese as well as English, I was worried that perhaps a bit of a stubby grind would cause problems, but it seems just fine. And it's smooth, and very well polished. Writing with it, it is in the same league as my best nibs, and better than every other custom or semi-custom nib I've so far acquired. Seems most folks look for "smooth with feedback," which I always think of as "smooth with not smooth", so I was careful to ask for as little feedback/tooth as possible. Despite my initial worries from looking through the loupe, I got what I wanted. If I apply quite a bit of pressure, it does bite the paper a little more on downstrokes than some of my rounder nibs, but that is to be expected, and the amount of pressure for that is much greater than what is normally used for writing. I simply wanted to see what kind of feel I'd get at the extremes, since I care about that sort of thing. Horizontals are very slightly thinner than verticals, though the difference is negligible unless writing very very small. The nib cooperates well with my IPAPER pads,which are a bit toothier a paper, Rhodia DotPads, which are sort of middle-of-the-road, and Tomoe River, which is very smooth. The nib writes very well and is a good overall starter. While called an XXF, it is to me on the finer side of a Japanese F, not quite reaching EF.
I'll give the nib a solid 9/10, with a little bit (enough maths already) shaved off for aesthetics and a little bit for being ever-so-slightly more sensitive to angle due to the corners. When writing with my normal grip (which I described to him in great detail), the nib is as smooth as anything in my current collection, and that includes some good stuff. That's what I wanted, and that's what I got.
I'm skipping a bunch of the typical review sections, as much of it has been covered many times. The overview is that you probably knew everything about the Lamy 2000 before reading this review, and that Mr. Landau's grinding service was the first custom nib satisfaction I've really experienced. It's given me some hope, though I still feel a bit reluctant to go for another custom nib in the future.
If I have time in the future, I may attach a writing sample, though I do not know how helpful it would be except to perhaps add more comedy to the review.
Thanks for reading!
Edited by XiaoMG, 30 June 2012 - 13:35.