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Do You Guys Let Others Use Your Pens?


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Hey guys. I'm new to fountain pens, and I don't know who else has the problem of people ALWAYS wanting to borrow your pens. This one guy even pretty much took it right out of my hands to write down his number (jerk), and ended up leaving ink splotches all over the paper, he pressed down so hard. Ugh. Do you think this damaged the nib (Lamy Safari EF)? It writes kinda funny now; it just feels different than before, and I think the lines are thicker, which negates the EF nib bit. I might even get a new one, which is a shame because I've only had this one for about three months, even though I've used it loads. Do they typically last longer?

Also, my friends are always curious about it, because nobody else really uses them, and want to borrow it. How do you all deal with this?


Thanks bunches!

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Consider carrying around a Pilot Varsity for people to use.


I've let my significant other use both my pens, but no one else. He's left handed, and both nibs seemed a wee bit scratchier after he used them.. not that those things are necessarily related, but he does have trouble using a FP. I could be imagining it, though. When I get my Pelikan M215 in a few weeks, NO ONE is touching it.

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I tend to let people borrow my pens if they want to. Most are scared away by the prospect of breaking my "fancy pen". Granted, I'm typically writing with cheap Chinese pens and so I'm not too worried about them being broken.

I don't let people use my nicer pens though. If somebody's interested in my pens, I'll pull out one of the cheaper ones.

Also, if you like your Safari's body, you could buy a new nib instead of buying a completely new pen.

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I don't let most others use my pen. No. It's a short word. On the other hand, people I trust are always welcome to try out my pens. Happy to say, I know more of the latter than the former.

 It's for Yew!bastardchildlil.jpg


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I let people use my pens. This 'me me me' attitude does not wash with me. We are part of a community.

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The only pen I usually lend out is a Lamy Logo, and that's since it's a steel, tin-can of a fountain pen. Can't really kill it short of setting it on fire. And it already got partially crushed once. I have let a small handful of people use my nicer pens (that includes my Targa and Lamy 2000), but only because they knew what they were doing or I knew they wrote with a light hand. Funny enough, all of them are musicians.


Regarding your Safari's nib, most likely, all they did was widen the gap between the nib tines a little. Probably increased the flow a little and might have changed the alignment of the tines a little. Take a look through a decent magnifying glass at the tipping with the pointed at you and and also looking down at the nib. If one of the nib's tines is higher than the other, push down on the higher one. If the slit is wide enough that you can see a uniform beam of light through it, push the tines back together until you see the beam steadily thinning down as you approach the nib. This should get the Safari nib up and running in no time. How much force you need is trial and error, but it isn't a whole lot.


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Do you think this damaged the nib (Lamy Safari EF)? It writes kinda funny now; it just feels different than before, and I think the lines are thicker, which negates the EF nib bit. I might even get a new one, which is a shame because I've only had this one for about three months, even though I've used it loads. Do they typically last longer?


I'm sure it didn't damage the nib, but it probably threw the tines out of "balance" by bending one or both tines up slightly. I don't want to try to teach this, but this is a good article that shows you how to look





The cool thing about Lamys is that you can just buy a new nib if you want. Here's how you do the swap.




Note that if you have a magnifier, you can probably just take your nib off, carefully bend the tines back down and re-balance them by pushing on them with a fingernail, and once it looks right, put the nib back on. Worst case you buy a new nib




But of course Safaris aren't very expensive, so you could buy another and put this one up until you feel up to fixing it or you are around somebody who can just whip it back into perfect shape for you.


To answer your question, I only allow my expensive pens to be used by people who know fountain pens or after giving them some brief instruction on the importance of not pressing down. At work I have a number of well-adjusted, less-expensive pens, and if you express the slightest interest I will hand you one to try even if you don't want to. I haven't experienced one of those awkward "borrow your pen" moments followed by moments of horror looking on as the pen gets abused, At 6'2" 285#, I'm not the sort of person that most people will consider snatching a pen from, so I recognize that my lack of a problem with this is not much help. You will either listen to my instruction before using my pen, or you will find another pen.

Edited by mhosea

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.

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No- I have learnt through experience that people who dont know how to use FPs, usually end up ruining pens. I carry around a Bic Stick, and give that to people who want to borrow a pen.

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Yes and no. Certain pens are fair game, like my Safari or Parker IM. My grandfather's 51, nope, nobody, not even my wife. Overall, I'll let most people borrow a pen. As long as they give it back of course.


Unless the tines on your Safari are crimped, you should be able to fix it pretty easy. Just follow the advice already given, or search "nib alignment" on the forum. As mentioned before, Richard Binder has great info on his website. Again, just search nib alignment on his site. Here is a post by Richard that will give you a starting place for alignment and flow adjustments.

"If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."-Jim Valvano


"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem."-Ronald Reagan

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I learned the hard way not to lend out good pens, especially montblancs :headsmack: :crybaby: . I now carry around a Jinhao x750 if people ask me to use my fountain pen.

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.


—Oscar Wilde

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I do not lend out my fountain pens. What I'd like to do is pull off

but I do need to appear somewhat acceptable to the society, so I simply say no.


The nib should feel the same, so my guess is the pressure changed the nib. I suggest you change the nib (cheaper than buying another), and Lamy nibs are very easy to exchange.


My mate usually has an elaborate story when someone insists on borrowing his pens (they're on the level of "my great-uncle gave it to me before he died, he was a novelist, and I like the way this writes so much I've had the nib insured for xxxxx amount, blah blah blah"... no, he has no great-uncles) that scares people off. Nothing scares people off more nowadays than "this is insured for three grand...".

Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié.

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923

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At first no... But as I apprehend more pens for my collection, I found that my Waterman Hemisphere is my fountain pen to let people use in a pinch. (Those who know them and me of course.)


If not, then it is my Cross Sauvage ballpoint people use. (It is oddly enough, my most valuable pen in terms of monetary value.)

"Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often at times we call a man cold when he is only sad." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Original Poster (OP), if you do a search in this forum you will find several other threads on this topic. It comes up regularly. It is really interesting to read the variety of comments regarding this very question.


First, no one in his/her right mind takes one of my pens out of my hand, or off my desk, without asking first. It is a sure way to incur the wrath of ME. Second, I will loan out my pens as long as I have a watchful eye on the borrower; I usually ask if he/she has written with an FP first. If you are going to do this, one tip - remove the cap yourself and keep it in your hand. That keeps someone from pulling off a screw-top cap, and it keeps the pen from walking away when you aren't looking.


Sharon in Indiana

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." Earnest Hemingway

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After a few experiences of seeing others write upside down and bend the nib I've begun to keep a few Parker Vector Rollerballs to loan out. They're quite nice in their own right, one of the pens that moved me towards my interest in FP's actually.


Also, have a Fisher Space Bullet that people seem to enjoy using a good deal.

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Yes.. all the time.


This is the best way to get rid of pens i dont want in my collection :P


When i dont have one of those in my bag, i will give them a disposable ballpen.

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I let others use my pens more now, though most people seem to have a pen of their own most of the time.


I used to be a bit more protective, but this community helped me realize that I didn't want to be that kind of person.


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Even though I live in Germany where all school kids use to use a fountain pen until just recently; where one would expect folks to still know how to use one; many don't.

They have forgotten how...being ball point users.


In it's me showing off my fountain pen...be it a brand or a 'no name', I show every one of them how to hold the pen 'forefinger up' before I let them touch it. In spite that the method gives automatically light pressure, I hover like a mother handing off her baby for the first time to strangers. Making sure the nib is straight.

Telling them about the nib...if semi-flex.


I seldom put a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex in some one's hands who is taking a sudden unexpected re-learning experience, unless I've sat them at my desk and am doing a nib 'survey'. taking them from nail, to Easy Full Flex.



I learned the 'forefinger up' method of grasping a pen here on this com some 2-3 years ago, and only use the 'classic' tripod on my American P-75 or Safari...in they both have the indentations on the section to encourage that.


Most to all are quite light handed with my pens, in I stress that.

If I have a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex or an Easy Full Flex nib....I will take the time to teach them how to make a fancy Capitol L, my favorite fancy letter.

Often I'll get a :yikes: :thumbup: .

The idea is to get them interested in my hobby.

I've had one; a store clerk, that got back into fountain pens, because of me. That took two minutes.



At work, or if you don't want to risk it, then tell the old myth.....It takes months to get a nib worn in exactly to my hand, and if you use it even once, it will take me months to get it to write right for me again.


Of course that individual will never touch one of those fragile temperamental things.


Many keep a real cheap Japanese disposable fountain pen to give away to other workers...

That is good for your diet, one less six pack bought.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:


The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.




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Almost always no. The one exception was the chap who runs our local pen shop. I let him try the Pilot 823 as the Fine nib can't be altered, by a few words in someone else's hand. Also, the same person with a Pelikan 140 with a KF nib as he's not seen one before.

The Good Captain

"Meddler's 'Salamander' - almost as good as the real thing!"

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