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Lamy Al-Star Review


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Philip1209

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 02:55

First Impressions (8)
The Lamy Al-Star is a readily available fountain pen built for the masses. Wow. I have seen this pen in many places, from airports to college book stores, and its pragmatism still amazes me. The pen is a good looking pen, but is obviously no conformist pen when spotted from afar. My one biggest complaint is that the nib, the defining feature of the pen, is a matte black color, as if Lamy were trying to conceal it. It is a pen, and design should pride itself on the writing feature of the pen.

Appearance (7)
My particular Lamy Al-Star has an aluminum body. It looks magnificent when first purchased, but it scratches fairly easily, and the gloss of it makes scratches appear fairly clearly (even small ones!). As mentioned earlier, I hate the color of the nib. It should just be left as good old steel- Iron and Carbon (and maybe a little chromium)- No pigments!

Design/Size/Weight (7)
The pen writes fairly well, and is a good value for the money. Unfortunately, it does not cooperate with all inks. Baystate Blue has been known to kill the nibs on these pens (however, there have been only isolated incidents with only this specific kind of ink). The clip on the pen is functional in design, but bends easily, become loose easily, and, in the case of colored clips, the uncolored/untreated part of the clip eventually becomes visible as the nib loosens, looking unprofessional. The cap is a clip-on type, and I have had the cap come off in my pocket before. If a permanent ink were in the pen, I would have stained many pairs of pants.

Nib (8)
The nib is functional. Unfortunately, it is not secured as well other pens, and, for the third time, its black coloring make it seem like the pen’s aesthetic focus is not on the writing experience. It is not hooded, and has a centered breathing whole. Nib creep is significant.

Filling System (7)
Lamy cartridges are as readily available as the pens, and contain mediocre inks in a basic array of colors. A converter is available, but must be purchased separately. Filling requires total submersion of the nib, which can cause staining problems with the plastic-bodied models of this pen. In addition, this submersion while filling is also an inconvenience when attempting to keep the nib clean.

Cost and Value (9)
The Al-Star is a sturdy consumer/student level pen that is flexible in its abilities and uses. It carries a lifetime warranty in the United States, so the pen can be considered somewhat of an investment that will last until death (or loss of the pen).

Conclusion (8)
A widely-available beginners pen that can also function as an expendable workhorse pen for those with more collections. It functions well, but there are still some imperfections.



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#2 DeSuisse

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:32

Nib's color of this pen is chrome, not black (cf Lamy.com). For problem with Baystate Blue, I think this ink does as soap and steel nib glides on plastic section and breakes it. plastic isn't stronger as steel.But I prefer Safari for material. Alu is vey senssite to strokes and scatches. For inks i like Lamy inks. I am using blue-black for t waterproof aspect of this ink, the pen should be flush every to weeks (dixit lamy or Montblanc).

#3 twdpens

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:40

QUOTE(DeSuisse @ May 4 2008, 11:32 AM) View Post
Nib's color of this pen is chrome, not black (cf Lamy.com).


Lamy changed the nib colour for the 2008 range. Previously, only the model 27 (silver-blue) came with a steel-coloured with nib the other models having black nibs. Now all Al-Stars have steel-coloured nibs as standard.

Martin
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#4 HDoug

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 11:51

QUOTE(twdpens @ May 4 2008, 12:40 AM) View Post
Lamy changed the nib colour for the 2008 range. Previously, only the model 27 (silver-blue) came with a steel-coloured with nib the other models having black nibs. Now all Al-Stars have steel-coloured nibs as standard.


Good to know because I always liked the steel nibs better. I just ordered an aluminum, so we'll see which one I get. But I also ordered a couple of steel nibs to grind into italic cursives like this one. At only $11 per nib, it's worth the risk.

Doug

#5 DeSuisse

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 14:11

Why don't you take a Lamy Stainless steel nib Italic 1.1, 1.5 or 1.9 mm from Lamy Joy. I'm using a 1.1 mm on a Safari for everyday work and it's fine.

#6 HDoug

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 20:39

QUOTE(DeSuisse @ May 4 2008, 04:11 AM) View Post
Why don't you take a Lamy Stainless steel nib Italic 1.1, 1.5 or 1.9 mm from Lamy Joy. I'm using a 1.1 mm on a Safari for everyday work and it's fine.


I wish Lamy made their italics in finer grades. I need something around a .5mm. But I was thinking I may get a 1.1 and use it to write the first line of a paragraph when writing a letter. I've seen that done to good effect, but that borders on "calligraphy" and I want to stay on the less demanding "handwriting" side of things. wink.gif

Doug


#7 fuddmain

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 21:55

QUOTE(HDoug @ May 4 2008, 04:39 PM) View Post
QUOTE(DeSuisse @ May 4 2008, 04:11 AM) View Post
Why don't you take a Lamy Stainless steel nib Italic 1.1, 1.5 or 1.9 mm from Lamy Joy. I'm using a 1.1 mm on a Safari for everyday work and it's fine.


I wish Lamy made their italics in finer grades. I need something around a .5mm. But I was thinking I may get a 1.1 and use it to write the first line of a paragraph when writing a letter. I've seen that done to good effect, but that borders on "calligraphy" and I want to stay on the less demanding "handwriting" side of things. wink.gif

Doug


Pendemonium will grind a Lamy nib for $15. At some point I'm going to have this done.

Update: link -> http://www.pendemoni...pens_italic.htm

Edited by fuddmain, 04 May 2008 - 21:57.

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#8 HDoug

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 22:45

QUOTE(fuddmain @ May 4 2008, 11:55 AM) View Post
Pendemonium will grind a Lamy nib for $15. At some point I'm going to have this done.

Update: link -> http://www.pendemoni...pens_italic.htm


Hey neat! Thanks for the info/link!

Doug


#9 Philip1209

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 01:43

I had no idea that Lamy was converting the steel nib colors. Thanks for this great info!

#10 jdboucher

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 02:12

QUOTE(Philip1209 @ May 3 2008, 10:55 PM) View Post
Filling System (7)
Lamy cartridges are as readily available as the pens, and contain mediocre inks in a basic array of colors. A converter is available, but must be purchased separately. Filling requires total submersion of the nib, which can cause staining problems with the plastic-bodied models of this pen. In addition, this submersion while filling is also an inconvenience when attempting to keep the nib clean.


Regarding your filling system problem, you just dip the converter in the ink instead of getting the nib all inky. when you put the converter into the pen you just need to put the pen nib down to get the ink flowing a little.

#11 ojars

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 16:06

One of my converters worked well and the other did not. For both my Lamy pens, I have replaced the converters with cartridges. When empty, I use a syringe to fill the cartridges. Neat and clean!
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#12 MYU

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 17:59

Informative review--thanks, Philip.

And thanks for the insight on the nib change, Martin. I wonder if it is just the appearance or if the entire nib metal composition has changed... It would be great if they could introduce some flexible nibs, too.

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#13 twdpens

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 19:29

QUOTE(MYU @ May 5 2008, 06:59 PM) View Post
And thanks for the insight on the nib change, Martin. I wonder if it is just the appearance or if the entire nib metal composition has changed...


Same nib, just different colour. As for flex, well I've never tried to increase the flexibility of a Safari/Al-Star nib so I cannot report. Looking at the form factor and its relationship with the feed I would say that there isn't much scope, unfortunately, but maybe one day I'll try it.

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#14 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:24

QUOTE(MYU @ May 5 2008, 06:59 PM) View PostAnd thanks for the insight on the nib change, Martin. I wonder if it is just the appearance or if the entire nib metal composition has changed...

Same nib, just different colour. As for flex, well I've never tried to increase the flexibility of a Safari/Al-Star nib so I cannot report. Looking at the form factor and its relationship with the feed I would say that there isn't much scope, unfortunately, but maybe one day I'll try it.

Martin


I actually like the black nib with the silve/aluminum colored barrell and cap. Also mine has a black colored clip. Never had problems with the clip. Mine has picked up a very nice patina in terms of dings and things.....

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#15 ruben50

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 20:17

I just ordered the Lamy AL-Star Black. This one does have the black nib on it and was precisely what I was looking for. When I looked at the Lamy website for other AL-Stars, the only other one I saw with a black nib was the Aluminium. Upon reading the other posts, I may swap the nib out and put it in my Schrade Tactical FP so I can have an all black pen when I go to drill. I'll get a different Lamy nib for the AL-Star and try HDoug's suggestion and head on out to pendamonium to get a custom 0.5mm italic nib.


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