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Lamy AL-Star dries out quickly



Whyterose513

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Unsure what I am doing wrong, I have only used fountain pens for a little over a year and my first one was a Lamy AL-Star in Vibrant Pink. This pen dries out so quickly compared to my TWSBI Eco pens, anyone possibly know why? I haven't purchased another Lamy because of this issue.

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A week or two, but then I try using one of my TWSBI pens and they always write within this same time frame.  I must be doing something wrong is my guess.

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IIRC, the Lamy Al-Star is a snap cap based around the Safari snap cap mechanism, whereas the TWSBI Eco is a twist cap, right? I think the TWSBI Eco also has an inner cap seal, whereas the Lamy Al-Star does not have this, I think. 

 

Leaving pens for a week or two of non-writing is actually a little bit tough on pens. Fountain pens are meant to have a consistent, regular flow of ink passing through the pen, and they are meant to be written with often. They work best that way. The "default" situation with many pens is that they will dry out or at least have reduced flow initially if you leave them unused for an extended period of time, where a couple of weeks is getting to be an "extended period." 

 

Companies throughout FP history have done things to work against this tendency, but in general, twist caps that unscrew will tend to have a tighter initial seal than a snap cap. If you use a dry ink that is susceptible to drying out then that could exacerbate the issue. 

 

I can't recall the situation with the Lamy Safaris that are in the house, but if I recall correctly, we haven't seen this issue, but we tend to write with our pens every day, and that means that they don't have the chance to dry out in the same way that they would if they were left for weeks on end without writing. 

 

If there is a leak in the cap and it's not sealing properly that could also make the issue worse. 

 

For snap cap pens, look at things like Platinum's Slip and Seal system which is designed to improve the seal that you get on cap pens and ensure that you keep the pen air tight, thus keeping the pens wet and writing well for an extended period of time. I don't know if Lamy has anything like this for their Al-Star, and so it's very possible that your Al-Star just isn't sealing as well and therefore is drying out more quickly, and it may just be an inherent part of the design, though I don't know that for sure. I'm sure someone who has more experience with Lamys and extended non-writing periods could give some input on that front. 

 

The most recommended thing when it comes to fountain pens and keeping them working well, and the number one thing that keeps them running more reliably than any other advice is simply to use the pens often. Writing with them every day or every few days is a much more sure way to keep them working well, as ink flow through the pens keeps them in much better working order. Fountain pens in general don't work their best when they aren't used for an extended period of time, though some pens are designed to be more robust with regards to this than others. 

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One thing you can also do if you simply must keep your pens unused for a longer period of time, if you can handle it, is to simply keep them uninked until you are ready to use them, and then wash them out quickly after you use them. While this isn't practical for many use cases, one use case that you could do if you only occasionally need to do some writing with a FP is to use the converter and just "dip the nib" to get the little bit of ink that you need, and then simply do a quick rinse of the pen after you are done by dunking in water, flushing a little bit, and then putting the pen away again. That might not work for a lot of people, but it is one option. I personally just find it easier and more fun to write with them more often. 🙂

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This makes complete sense! You are correct, the pen caps are indeed as you have described which makes sense why the Lamy dries out faster than the TWSBI.  I thank you for your replies and will start using my pens daily to help maintain them.

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