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Al-Star Nib Scratchy


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First time posting!


I have two Lamys: a Safari and an Al-Star. Both of them did NOT work out of the box. I had to get a replacement F nib for the Safari because it was so scratchy (I didn't have any tools at the time).


Now my Al-Star has the same issue: scratchiness. I do have the tools now: brass sheets and loupe. But even with all the videos out there and my tinkering, the issue is not going away. When I received the new F nib from Goulet Pens for the Safari (free replacement), it writes BEAUTIFULLY. I am not keen on ordering another replacement nib, as GP has done so much for me already.


So help me out here, y'all: what's the next step?


Thank you! :)





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Brass sheets may be good for flossing the nib and increasing flow but won't do much for smoothing. Need to get some smoothing sticks or micromesh to smooth out the scratchiness.


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If you'd like to give smoothing a shot, stop by your friendly local pharmacist, supermarket or Dollar Tree and pick up one of those seven-step nail buffer sticks. The finer grades are just micromesh and work just fine for smoothing pens. Be careful, of course, but if you take your time smoothing nibs really isn't that hard.


I just use one of the Dollar Tree ones and it works perfectly fine. Do smooth your pens while they're inked so you have some lubrication for the cutting and make sure to stop and test often before any oversmoothing happens. Of course, if you already have one of the buffer sticks, you can use it but it'll get all inky and logged with tipping material...


You could also get the nib smoothing micromesh kit from the Goulets- that's what it's meant for.

Here to help when I know, learn when I don't, and pass on the information to anyone I can :)

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Finger nail buffs work for me.


My Studio nib was a bit scratchy. I pressed the top of the nib with my thumb and slowly drew a line about an inch long on my diary. It became much smoother. One more line and is now ok though a little feedback is there.

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First you have to really identify the source of the scratchiness.

Writing experience has 4 variables; pen, ink, paper, writer.


- pen. This is what you are looking at. But you are only looking at part of this variable. Here are some of the sub-variables: tip alignment, tipping shape/profile, smoothness of the tipping, ink flow (this is cross-dependent on the ink).

I found that about 80% of my scratchy pens were fixed by aligning the nib. You need a decent 10x loupe to see this. And sometimes the tips will look aligned but writing test will tell you that they are not aligned. Note that you MUST look at the tip of the nib NOT head on down the nib, but at an angle as if you were looking along the surface of the paper, so that you can see the alignment of the nib on the paper.

If the tip profile is not like a ball, then you will probalby get scratchiness from the corners. And the sharper the corners, the more scratchy.

A dry pen will feel scratchier than a wet pen, as there is little ink/lubricant to lubricate the nib on the paper.


- ink. What ink are you using? Some inks provide more lubrication for the nib than others. Some inks are dryer than others.

A dry ink in a dry pen = a really dry writer.


- paper. Paper can make a big difference. The less smooth the paper, the rougher/scratchier it will feel to a finer nib.

I have papers that I can't stand to write on with a XF or F nib, but is perfectly fine with a M or wider nib.


- writer. The harder you press the pen, the more friction you create between the nib and the paper, and that can = scratchy.


I found that some of my Lamy nibs were a bit dry and scratchy, and had to be adjusted to make them write wetter. The normal method of lifting the wings of the nib don't work with the flat Lamy nib. What I had to do was to CAREFULLY lift the tip of the nib, just a little bit, test, then lift again, then repeat until you get the ink flow you want. Caution, if you lift the tines too much you will stop the ink flow. So you have to find the perfect balance.

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