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  1. Hello everyone, Today I just want to write an opinionated post about what I consider German fountain pens quality control. Please take note, this is my view, my opinion, and thus is highly subjective. I don't claim to write here about absolute truths, incontestable facts and scientific observations. Thanks. Over the years I have purchased dozens of nibs for Lamy as well as Kaweco and Pelikan. The rate of success was less than 20% overall. Maybe I am the most unlucky man on earth, but let me explain. I like EF nibs and not a single EF Lamy nib that I bought was smooth. They were all more or less scratchy, misaligned or toothy. I could live with that if I wasn't able to straighen them out and smoothen them with lapping film myself. Something I paid Lamy to do for me but they shamefully didn't and sold me a half finished product. Next, Kaweco. Now these other guys decided to go in the other extreme. They make all their nibs so smooth that they practically don't write. Yes. You buy a fountain pen just to look at it. Everybody complains all over the internet about Kaweco nibs having baby bottom and yet Kaweco completely ignores the problem. All my Kaweco nibs have this problem. Does every fountain pen customer have to become a nibmeister himself? Is this what the world of fountain pens is turning into? Then I spent a ton of money on Pelikans and found that the only nibs that write legible for me without writting just 30 words per page are the EF nibs. But all of them have flow issues and if you even try to adjust the flow, the smoothness is gone, the nib is ruined and again ... back to grinding and smoothing. I've found Japanese pens to be the highest quality of them all, but also the least attractive. While the Europeans are extremely expensive pieces of art that cannot write but look gorgeous and like true fountain pens should (at least in my personal opinion), the Japanese ones are of superb quality but ... I know that you can't make a fountain pen nib that can satisfy everybody, and I know that many people might actually not be bothered by a scratchy nib or a nib that skips a little every 3 words. The world is a vast place and there are many individuals in it, for sure. Some might even like writing with absolutely whatever writing tool they find on a desk, for them being more important what you write than how you write it. And some may exclusively type. But even so, I strongly believe that is is pretty common sense and has been established for a long time how a nib should write and it's only a matter of additional effort to bring it there. It's possible and I think it's better if manufacturers did it instead of their customers, just like going to a dentist shouldn't require that you fix your filling after you return home. I apologize to the readers that have German pens that write like a dream. And I tell them to cherish those pens even more now after they've read my opinions. I am sure there are many such pens out there.
  2. Just a rant... skip if you want to. Yesterday I acquired a Sailor Professional Gear Medium as my second "big pen," alongside a Parker Duofold Fine. It was the replacement for my attention-w***** Sonnet. ("If you don't use me for 16 hours, I'll punish you by drying out.") As I'm very happy with my Sailor Sapporo since day one, I expected epic goodness of its bigger brother/sister. Uh... no. I did what I would normally do: open the box, flush the pen (soapy luke-warm water, then clear water, thoroughly), and then I inked it. No dice. It wouldn't write. *ZILCH.* "Hm. Maybe I clogged it with iron gall ink sediment..." Flush, clean, dip the pen and write: still nothing. When pressing harder, the pen would suddenly start to write, but it was somewhat scratchy. So, I cleaned it out again, and decided to take my 20x loupe to it. Diagnosis: - Right tine misaligned, a fraction of a millimeter downward. - No slit: tines were completely clamped shut. Remedy: - Align tines. - Separate tines like SBRE Brown shows in some of his video's on how to make a pen wetter. Result of the next dip test: - Pen would write, but it showed baby bottom behavior: hard starting and skipping as soon as pressure diminished. So, lastly, I wrote a few number 8 and infinity signs on 12K micromesh paper, flossed the nib using a brass sheet, cleaned the nib thoroughly, and tried another dip test. AAAH, normal writing! Finally! I then refilled the pen, and did a normal writing test. It now writes as well and as smooth as my Sapporo (and Duofold). If I post the pen and then keep it between my thumb and index finger at the very end, I can drop the nib onto the paper, and drag the pen across. It will write under its own weight, as (IMHO) a good fountain pen should be able to do. To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed that a company, famous for making 'the smoothest nibs ever created' sends out a pen that doesn't even put ink onto the paper right after unboxing. That's ridiculous. This is a pen costing almost €300 (at least in the Netherlands), and I shouldn't have to fix the nib myself. (This was fixing, not tuning, IMHO.) It's fortunate that I restored a number of vintage pens and tinkered with a bunch of cheap Chinese pens (all are sold/traded by now), so that I do have the basic knowledge and experience to do small nib adjustments. I'm sure that any 'normal' customer would have sent this pen back within 5 minutes after unoboxing. /End Rant





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