This review is going to be a bit unorthodox compared to others I have seen on here, but I still hope my style of writing will be useful for all of you. This is just copy and pasted from my blog so I hope you can check it out as well.
Today I am going to talk about the carbon fibre Faber Castell Basic. It is fairly well know in the fountain pen community, but not as widely recognized as the popular Lamy Safari, which is in a similar price range. This particular version is a sexy pen, I will say that right now. The carbon fibre body matched with the matte black cap has a very sleek feel to it, even if the cap is a little on the large side.
However, I have had some issues with this pen that you will need to seriously consider if you are thinking about purchasing this pen. I will start with something that is more of a feature than an issue depending on your preference. It is a very heavy pen (34 grams according to Goulet Pens), which I don’t mind, but due to the pen and grip section being so round, it tends to roll in my hand as I write. It might just be how I hold the pen, but it is definitely something to keep in mind.
For those of you who like to post your pens, start looking elsewhere now. Even though the cap is light enough and actually stays posted quite solidly, it makes the pen waaaay too long to the point where it just looks goofy and becomes impractical.
Here are a few pictures to see how the size of the Faber Castell Basic sizes up against a few of the other popular pens out there:
For those of you who don’t know, the Noodler’s Neponset is a huge pen! Now look at how short it looks when compared to the Basic when both are posted. Imagine writing with that in a meeting or at school, your colleagues will think you are a nuts!
Lets talk about the nib for a minute.
I opted for the fine nib because it was only option available at my local pen store, The Paper Umbrella. I have read quite a few reviews on this pen before I purchased it (a few of those are linked below), and the common theme seems to be that Faber Castell has the smoothest steel nibs out there. This has not been my experience.
The writing experience has been average at best, and frustrating at it’s worst. I currently have it inked with Private Reserve Avacado and while there is definitely feedback, it provides as decent writing experience. It is hard to explain the smoothness of a nib, but it is by no means “buttery smooth.”
You might be thinking that a bit of feedback doesn’t sound so bad, but when I previously had it inked with Diamine Eclipse, which is a fairly dry ink in my experience, it was almost unusable. Hard starts nearly every time I went to write with the occasional skipping plagued my writing experience.
It is possible that I just got a dud, so don’t discount everyone else’s experiences since mine seems to be an outlier. You can also use this as a learning opportunity that not every ink will work well with every pen. A wet ink with a dry pen, or a dry ink with a gusher may help you find that customized writing experience that you have been looking for.
Here is quick comparison of the fine nib on the Faber Castell compared to a few other pens I had lying around:
Now here is where the real problem with this pen lies. The rubber grip section with little grooves going through it may look pretty cool, but it causes more of a headache than it’s worth. First of all, if you want to fill the pen from a bottle, you will want to dip the converter directly into the bottle rather than with it attached to the nib and section. This is because ink will get in those little grooves and can be a pain to clean out.
The biggest issue, however, is the fact that this rubber grip section cracks! Before you go jumping to the conclusion that I just over tightened the barrel or that I have super human strength, I consciously did not over tighten the barrel having read reports of cracking before buying the pen. I first noticed a crack after about 2 months, but over the next month or so, it progressively got worse before I eventually delegated it to storage.
Recently I was looking though my pens to decide what to ink up next and I seen my poor Faber Castell Basic and thought there has to be a way to fix this. I did what I should have done when first noticed the crack, and emailed both the store and the Canadian Faber Castell distributer about the issue. The service I received was top notch and I had a replacement section coming in the mail within days! Why didn’t I do this earlier!!?
Let me show you quick how to change the section if you ever come across the same problem. First, remove the barrel and converter from the nib and section:
Next, pinch the nib and feed in one hand and the cracked nib section in the other. Once you have a good grip, just twist the nib unit counter clockwise to remove it from the section:
Finally, just screw in the nib unit into the brand new (soon to be cracked?) rubber grip section, reassemble the pen and you are good to go.
With this new grip section, I now have a functional pen that I can use everyday. The new grip section may or may not crack again in the future, but I am definitely going to be very delicate when handling this pen in the future. Based on my experiences, I do not recommend this pen to anyone looking for a problem free pen. However, if you really like the look and price of this pen and can deal with the risk of getting a subpar nib out of the box and the potential for the rubber grip section cracking, go right ahead!
Edited by thepenhaul, 03 May 2015 - 17:03.