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Four-month review of my fountain pens

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4 replies to this topic

#1 MacTech


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Posted 16 April 2008 - 17:03

I first got into FP's about four months ago, started with the Waterman Phileas and Kultur, then added a Lamy Al-Star and L2K to the stable.

I'm a pen *user*, not a collector, when I purchase a pen, it's to write with on a daily basis, not to look at and drool over "The Precious", I value functionality above all else, and care not for useless cosmetic frippery (Pen Rice? wink.gif )

I'll deal with the pens in the order I acquired them;

Waterman Phileas Medium point; This pen was my first FP, and it introduced me to the buttery-smooth, effortless, pressureless writing experience of the FP, it has good balance, and an exceptionally smooth ink-delivery, but as I have tiny, microscopic handwriting, I did not take well to the Medium nib, my writing either became an illegible, blobby mess, or looked like chicken scratching, I liked the feel of the pen, but the nib was too wide for my writing style, so I started researching finer nibs, problem is, the price of a Fine nib alone was almost as much as an entire pen, not a logical expenditure in my case

I also wasn't a fan of the gaudy "Montblanc-esque" styling, the gold trim and "marbled" plastic looked....tacky

As I researched more pen options, I discovered the Waterman Kultur, I purchased a Fine point Kultur (flourescent orange body and cap) and a Medium transparent, I moved the Fine nib to the transparent body, and had a Fine point "demonstrator" pen, which was just plain cool, the Fine Kultur put down a nice thin line, it wasn't gaudy or tacky, and had a nice smooth writing feel, I had found "The One", this pen was deep pocket carried with keys and change, with my wallet, and it always started up reliably, occasionally needing a few strokes to prime the nib, but generally could be relied on to start up in short order

I used the Kultur for any writing duties that did not require a ballpoint, like signing thermal paper recipts, many comments were given to the pen, invariably "that's a cool pen" or "whoa, haven't seen one of those in a while, they still make them?", the Kultur was a good, reliable workhorse, and still sees action to this day, the Phileas, however, has been put away, as I hate wide nibs

I've run Noodler's Old Manhattan Black, Habanero, Blue Ghost, Luxury Blue, and Baystate Blue through the pen with absolutely no issues, the pen works flawlessly with all of them

the only downsides to the Kultur is it's relatively small converter capacity (2-3 days tops), and it's tendency to start hard if left capped for more than 3-4 days, other than that, it's a great pen if used regularly, durable, tough, able to withstand pocket carry, and with a nice, thin line, there's a reason it's still in rotation to this day, it's just a good, solid pen, a real workhorse

next post; the Lamy 2000 and Al-Star

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#2 MacTech


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Posted 16 April 2008 - 17:28

Lamy 2000;
I purchased the Lamy 2000 XF from another FPN'er, I had read lots of posts about this pen, and how nice it is, and I was hooked on it, a piston filler, with a semi-hooded Platinum plated Gold nib, and a design that's been in production, essentially unchanged, for 40+ years, sort of Lamy's version of the Parker 51, I think....

This was my first pen with a precious-metal nib, and I was not expecting the sensitivity and flex a gold nib affords the pen, the L2K is a truly versatile writer, it can go from a Fine line (my L2K tends to write a hair wide, as do many L2K's) to a Medium, depending on paper stock, styling-wise it's the antithesys of the "bling" pens, the L2K is pure Anti-Bling, form definitely follows function here, functionality is of first and foremost importance here

It was also my first Piston-filler, and I love that filling system, it takes in a prodigious amount of ink, easily 7-10 days worth for me, and it *always* starts right up on the first stroke, utterly reliable ink feed, and a nice wet line, however, the L2K is also *FAR* more fussy when it comes to paper, on cheap copier paper, it can gain a nib to nib-and-a-half size of width, on good copier paper, sketchbook paper, or notebook paper, it puts down a relatively thin line, thinner than the Waterman Phileas, but wider than the Waterman Kultur or Lamy Al-Star, but the flex-nib also affords more "personality" to the writing than either of those two

reliability has been generally good, I did notice a crack appear in the Makrolon portion of the section, but the pen was repaired under warranty by Lamy, no questions asked, in under a week, the pen has been flawless since, and is my primary writer

the L2K generally garners no response when I'm signing with it, due to it's stealthy, "anti-bling" appearance, at a casual glance, the L2K could be mistaken for a ballpoint, at the most, it garners the rare "nice pen" comment, I really like this stealth aspect of the L2K, as I couldn't care les what people think of my choice of writing tools

I've run Noodler's OMB, Lux Blue, and Habanero through it with no issues, I want to try Baystate in it, but I have other pens for that, the L2K will generally be fed with Noodler's Bulletproof inks

the L2K is a truly stellar pen, and is my primary go-to pen on anything except thermal paper and cheap, crappy copy paper

Next review, Lamy Al-Star XF

#3 MacTech


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Posted 17 April 2008 - 21:52

Lamy Al-Star XF;
I recieved the Lamy Al-Star after I had a few weeks with the L2K, thanks to a backorder issue with Montgomery pens, so I wasn't expecting much from the Al-Star, going from a flexible gold nib to a rigid steel nib and all....

the Al-Star has been *GREAT*, a true workhorse of a pen, much like the Waterman Kultur, starts first time every time, just like the L2K, and puts down the finest line of my three user pens, it's a true XF line, I've run Noodler's OMB, Lux Blue, Habanero, and Baystate through it with no issues

the pen has been carried loose in pocket, with car keys, loose change, and my Fenix L1T 2.0 flashlight, and taken it all in stride, been dropped a few times (always when capped), it did break once after being dropped, but it was repaired, under warranty, no questions asked

a true workhorse of a pen, I grab it when I *NEED* a super thin line, as it writes thinner than the L2K and the Kultur

In terms of raw durability, the Kultur has a slight edge, as it has been dropped a few times as well, but has never broken, but they're both solid pens

#4 HesNot


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Posted 17 April 2008 - 22:33

Nice reviews MacTech! I own or have owned all the above and like you, and a function guy first and foremost. I admit that my Safari has not seen a ton of use - still a tad bit dry writing even after a nib switch, but I perhaps need to find the right ink for it as well My L2K is a real gem of a pen and favorably compares to my several beloved "51"s as a real workhorse daily user. I sold my Phileas due to the looks (it was a great writer) and have eyed a Kultur but the Safari and a cheap Platinum Preppy have my knock around pen bases pretty well covered.
A pen a day keeps the doctor away...

Parker "51" flighter; Parker 75 cisele; Conway Stewart Dandy Demonstrator; Aurora 88P chrome; Sailor Sapporo ; Lamy 2000; Lamy 27 double L; Lamy Studio; Pilot Murex; Pilot Sesenta (Red/Grey); Pilot Capless (black carbonesque); Pilot Custom 74 Demonstrator; Pilot Volex; Waterman Expert 2000 (slate blue)

#5 Melnicki



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Posted 18 April 2008 - 03:35

i hope you don't take offense to me asking this, but:

why do you keep dropping your pens? In four months, that seems like a lot of drops!

Happy fountainpenning!

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WTB: (Blemished OK)
CdA Dunas // Stipulas! (esp w/ Titanio nib) // Edison Pearl

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