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Lamy Safari Al-Star
Posted 08 February 2007 - 08:09
This pen is basically a slightly more expensive (I got it for $31.50) version of the Safari made out of aluminum. It matches, almost perfectly, the color of my Apple PowerBook G4, which I'm quite happy about. It's very classy looking, considering its price class.
Compared to what I read about the regular Safari, the Al-Star is noticeably heavy compared to typical ballpoint/roller pens, and my mom's Sheaffer NoNonsense. Sometimes I use it with the cap detached to make it lighter. At that end, the pen is long enough that my hand doesn't touch the cap when writing with it - I have pretty small hands.
The nib size is Extra Fine. I write small, and somebody here told me that Lamy nibs tend to run big, so I got the smallest nib offered. Well, I think this guideline skips over the Safari - this is certainly Extra Fine. In fact, I had to readjust for size because the Sheaffer had me writing slightly larger than normal. It writes fine enough for me to do math with it (writing tiny exponents...not easy). Perhaps a Fine would've been optimal for normal writing, but I can live with this. (Probably saves ink too.) It seems to write somewhat dry, but I don't have much to compare it to.
What I am noticing so far is that the nib appears to be a bit rough and scratchy. Hopefully, this is just a "breaking in" thing that will go away. Even if it didn't, it's not too bad, but not optimal.
The only real problem I've had with it is ink flow. Although the flow is steady while I write - no cutting out - if I leave the pen uncapped for more than 10 seconds (!!!), it stops writing and I have to play with it for a while (sometimes up to a minute) to get it flowing again. The obvious solution is to always cap it, but...ten seconds? If it matters, I didn't clean it before I popped in the first cartridge - but I also don't recall it happening right away. I got it this past Tuesday, and it started yesterday (Wednesday).
Overall, I'm pretty satisfied. It's not perfect, but many of these "issues" can probably be overcome with some time and getting used to it. This ink flow thing is annoying, though. Unfortunately, I don't have a camera so I don't have any pictures or handwriting samples to show. If I ever get a hold of one, I'll add those.
Posted 08 February 2007 - 08:38
Posted 08 February 2007 - 12:51
However, drying out in 10 seconds seems a little unusual. I have 6 of them always inked, and none behave that way. Safaris and AL Stars are notable for being extremely reliable. This one may just need to be adjusted, or it may be faulty. If the pen can be returned, that would be my first choice.
Posted 08 February 2007 - 14:38
The extra fine nib can be a bit toothy at first, but mine seemed to smooth out considerably with use--in fact, I have a new Studio (same nib) that I'm "breaking in", and it should get better fairly quickly for you. If not, send it back to Lamy, I'm sure they'll make it right.
:end of long-windedness:
Posted 08 February 2007 - 18:17
My thoughts exactly...
Posted 08 February 2007 - 18:22
I just tried actually timing it, and it was still working after three minutes. I hope this was a fluke.
As for converters...my current plan is to use the 10 cartridges I bought, and then buy a bottle and refill the cartridges with an inkjet refill kit syringe. I'll consider doing otherwise if the pen keeps drying out like it was yesterday.
Nah, it's not too terrible. Even if it stayed just like this, I wouldn't return it for that alone.
Posted 08 February 2007 - 19:14
Posted 08 February 2007 - 19:41
My Al-Star has a glassy smooth nib and it skates across the page with no resistance at all.
I like having both. I keep meaning to put Waterman Brown in the Safari (it's a charcoal). But I have to order it online--Art Brown has no Waterman Brown in stock.
Posted 08 February 2007 - 19:44
Lamy ink is somewhat temperamental, so I don't recommend leaving your pen uncapped for too long.
Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.
Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.
Posted 16 February 2007 - 07:24
Also, after I switched, the EF nib wrote like a F so this is another case where Lamy nibs run wide.
Edited by Renzhe, 16 February 2007 - 07:27.
Posted 01 April 2007 - 02:02
I just picked up a medium nib Safari (I have an Al Star with fine nib on it's way to me from Pear Tree Pens... I was near a B/M and I just couldn't help myself) while on business in Richmond, VA. The B/M (Paradise Pens) where I got the pen was having a sale so they were sold out of the converters so I decided to get two packs of blue T10s.
I have four types of paper at my disposal in my hotel room: Gold Fibre Ivory Retro legal pad (20lb), Gold Fibre canary legal pad, Ampad glue top canary legal pad, a Staples brand 5x8 canary legal pad, Staples white recycled copy paper, and some cheap hotel paper.
I also have a Pilot Varsity I have been using for the past two weeks. The Pilot writes fine on all the legal pads and copy paper, but feathers like crazy on the cheap hotel paper.
The Lamy skips and is very dry on the legal pads, but writes fine on the copy paper and the cheap hotel paper. The Lamy seems to do the worst on the 20lb Ivory paper. The legal pads to marginally better when a single sheet is torn out of the pad and placed on a hard surface.
I definitely feel the difference in the nibs of the Varsity and the Safari, but the Pilot ink is superior in my option. I have some Noodler's Ottoman Azure on the way with the Al Star. I hope the Noodler's writes better.
As a side note, while I was at the store I got to write on some Rhodia paper with a medium Safari inked with a Private Reserve brown ink... it was as close to writing nirvana as I have ever been.
Edited by scotthershall, 01 April 2007 - 02:03.
Posted 04 April 2007 - 14:01
Posted 11 April 2007 - 00:31
Maybe it just took a while for the medium nib to "break in," but the find nib wrote well right out of the box.
Posted 11 April 2007 - 20:19
Do this over a sink or in the bath.
If I recall correctly, Lamy ink comes from Mont Blanc, not generally regarded highly for their ink.