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I have 13 fountain pens, all Chinese, all cheap.  One of my sons thought that 13 was unlucky, so he bought me a Lamy Safari for Father's day.  It was nice of him, but I am not impressed with the pen.  I did some research and it is the real thing.  All the details are there, including packaging.  I installed the included blue cartridge and tried it out.  The nib is labeled F, but it is super fine and it wrote dry and scratchy.  It looked like spider webs on the page.  I worked with it and got it to where it wrote a little better, but I couldn't get rid of the scratchiness. 

 

I about decided that it was for display only when it occurred to me that I had a spare Lamy style nib from a Chinese no-name pen that cost me 48 cents on E-bay.  So, I swapped them.  What a difference.  This is a nib I never messed with and it writes great, a true fine and very smooth.  My son will never know about the swap, and I have another pen that's a pleasure to write with.

 

I'm used to having to tweak Chinese pens.  I can accept that for as cheap as they are.  But, I expected more from Lamy.

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arcfide

Many of the Lamy nibs that I have seen have been adjusted to be pretty tight in the tines and sometimes come misaligned. I assume that you've already verified the alignment and ensured that the tine spacing is as you prefer it? Lamy Blue is also a fairly plain ink that isn't particularly wet, which could exacerbate any dry nib tuning. 

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1 hour ago, arcfide said:

Many of the Lamy nibs that I have seen have been adjusted to be pretty tight in the tines and sometimes come misaligned. I assume that you've already verified the alignment and ensured that the tine spacing is as you prefer it? Lamy Blue is also a fairly plain ink that isn't particularly wet, which could exacerbate any dry nib tuning. 

The alignment looks good, and I've opened up the tines to get better flow.  I think the problem is that there is just not enough tip material.  It's barely there.  The Chinese nib has a more generous amount.  I've read that every Lamy gets tested with ink.  If so, whoever tested this one should be re-assigned to some other function.  The Lamy ink works fine with the Chinese nib.

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arcfide

Lamy's ink tests are mechanical, not manual. The pens are mounted on a matchine and they are verified to lay down a solid line of blue ink without skipping at the various angles or some such. I think how the nibs *feel* is not at all tested. 

 

I will say that many of the Lamy EF nibs that I have for the various Safari's in our house are plenty smooth and well adjusted. I'm not sure what level of fineness you are looking for, but I'd love to see some pictures of the writing and the nibs to see how they compare against some of the ones I have. 

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arcfide
1 hour ago, Gomer said:

The Lamy ink works fine with the Chinese nib.

 

Obviously the ink isn't broken, but that doesn't mean that a particular nib and ink combination won't be undesirable for you. It's not obvious that the nib is broken either, but given that you say the nibs write as if they were spider-webs (which a Lamy F generally doesn't), the main question I would have would be whether there is something inherently wrong with the nib or not. 

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inkstainedruth

I have a couple of Safaris with F nibs, and I like mine very much.  I've never had any problems with them. 

Are you sure it's marked as an F, Gomer?  Because I tried a demo EF nib at a table at a pen show a few years ago and found it to be rather scratchy, so I'd never want to get a Lamy pen with an EF nib.  

Also wondering If you should try a different ink -- Lamy Blue is pretty insipid.  You might consider trying to look at the reviews for something listed as being a relatively wet, ink.  And it's also a possibility that you should look at trying some different papers.  

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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2 hours ago, arcfide said:

Lamy's ink tests are mechanical, not manual. The pens are mounted on a matchine and they are verified to lay down a solid line of blue ink without skipping at the various angles or some such. I think how the nibs *feel* is not at all tested. 

 

I will say that many of the Lamy EF nibs that I have for the various Safari's in our house are plenty smooth and well adjusted. I'm not sure what level of fineness you are looking for, but I'd love to see some pictures of the writing and the nibs to see how they compare against some of the ones I have. 

Here is my first use of the pen before I tweaked it.  The writing above is with my Baoer 388.

 

spacer.png

 

I tried to take a closeup of the nib.  This is the best I could do with my camera.

It doesn't show in this photo, but the nib is marked Lamy and F.

 

spacer.png

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4 minutes ago, inkstainedruth said:

I have a couple of Safaris with F nibs, and I like mine very much.  I've never had any problems with them. 

Are you sure it's marked as an F, Gomer?  Because I tried a demo EF nib at a table at a pen show a few years ago and found it to be rather scratchy, so I'd never want to get a Lamy pen with an EF nib.  

Also wondering If you should try a different ink -- Lamy Blue is pretty insipid.  You might consider trying to look at the reviews for something listed as being a relatively wet, ink.  And it's also a possibility that you should look at trying some different papers.  

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

Thanks, Ruth.

The pen didn't come with a converter, just cartridges.  And, I understand Lamy parts are proprietary.  So, trying different inks would be a problem.  And frankly, since I got it to write nicely with a different nib, I don't feel like fooling with it.  The sample above is my Black n' Red journal which has pretty nice paper.

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inkstainedruth

Yeah, the converters have to bought separately.  But they're not all that expensive -- roughly $5-6 bucks US, IIRC.  People people do clean out and refill cartridges (I used to refill the Parker cartridges I had, because I didn't like Quink Washable Blue, and there was a spell where you could not get Quink Permanent Blue in the US for love nor money) -- but I prefer converters for my c/c pens).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

ETA:  When I discovered that there was more to life than blue and black ink, I would clean out and refill cartridges with ink I liked WAY better than Quink Washable Blue.  I tried to tell this to a friend of mine, who complained about the limited color range of Waterman cartridges, and she wouldn't listen to me at the time about "No, you CAN use other brands of ink in your pen...."  (What pushed her over to what she at first considered "the Dark Side" was when she got some Levenger pens for work (she's a tech writer) and just hated the Levenger inks.  Last I heard she was using Chesterfield Inks (rebranded Diamine for the old xfountainpens.com website, before the site rebranded itself as Birmingham Pens) but I don't know what she's using now because I don't remember what Chesterfield inks she used to be able to find the corresponding "parent" ink.

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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IThinkIHaveAProblem
6 minutes ago, inkstainedruth said:

Yeah, the converters have to bought separately.  But they're not all that expensive -- roughly $5-6 bucks US, IIRC.  People people do clean out and refill cartridges (I used to refill the Parker cartridges I had, because I didn't like Quink Washable Blue, and there was a spell where you could not get Quink Permanent Blue in the US for love nor money) -- but I prefer converters for my c/c pens).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

Ruth.

Where in North America have you found Quink Permanent Blue?... And do you mean bottles? or just carts?...

I despise washable blue.

BB is growing on me, but it's not BB, it's just "darker blue" and black, well,... it's black, meh.

 

But I've been wanting to try permanent quink blue... but all I've seen is vintage stuff. Is there a place we North American's can actually get current production permanent blue?

Just give me the Parker 51s and nobody needs to get hurt.

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, Gomer said:

The pen didn't come with a converter, just cartridges.  And, I understand Lamy parts are proprietary.  So, trying different inks would be a problem.

 

It's only a problem while you're waiting for the Lamy converter you'll order, and don't have a syringe handy in the meantime for flushing and refilling the empty shell of the supplied Lamy cartridge(s). ;)

 

I've found Lamy Z50 steel EF nibs to be generally write scratchily out-of-the-box, in a way that the Z52 and Z53 steel EF nibs aren't. Dryness of ink flow, on its own, doesn't bother me and I don't regard it as a defect, unless it's causing skips in the lines of ink; and I find that dryness helps keep the line width to the physical width and/or stated width grade of the tipping's grind.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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bogiesan

So the pen is fine, it's just the nib you are complaining about? 

I ride a recumbent, I play go, I use Macintosh so of course I use a fountain pen.

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Judging from the writing sample, it appears the tines are too tight.  

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@ bogiesan  Yes, other than the bad nib the pen is OK.  Luckily I had a cheap Chinese nib to replace it.

 

@gyasko  The sample is before I touched the nib.  I did spread the tines and got better flow.  But, I couldn't get rid of the scratchiness.

 

This is now my most expensive pen.  I have others that are prettier, much cheaper, take standard converters, and write as well.  The fact that it's made in Germany doesn't impress me.

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If it’s scratchy, it may be subtly misaligned.  I’ve had to redo a few of my adjustments because my hand is apparently more sensitive than my eyes.  It’s very easy to put a nib out of vertical alignment when adjusting flow.

 

Finally, if it’s truly not misaligned you can always use an abrasive (micromesh, arkansas stone, etc) to smooth it out.  

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Astronymus
8 hours ago, gyasko said:

Judging from the writing sample, it appears the tines are too tight.  

I agree. Nib just needs some tinkering. Not unusual with F.

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Thanks for the comments.  I have examined it under magnification from different angles and it appears well aligned.  And, I have buffed it with the usual materials.  No doubt a real nibmeister could do better.  But, since I have a spare nib that works well, it doesn't really matter.  My point is that for the price of this pen, I shouldn't have to do anything.  Maybe I'm asking too much.

 

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Glenn-SC
8 hours ago, Gomer said:

 I have others that are prettier, much cheaper, take standard converters, and write as well.  The fact that it's made in Germany doesn't impress me.

Perhaps since you have found a brand of pen within your price range that you are happy with then you need to look no further.

 

Preferred line width is subjective.  I have a few Safaris, mostly with Fine and Medium nibs, and while these are not the smoothest nibs that I own, they all write consistent lines (i.e. don't skip) and have decent ink flow with the inks that I use.

 

BTW, Although the line width in your writing example appears to be very fine, I don't see any discontinuities. 

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23 hours ago, Gomer said:

 

spacer.png

 

Where did you get the clear gauge under the nib on the photo or what is it called? Now I want one.

 

Regarding your pen, I have two Safari EF's from the late 80's and early 90's. Both of them feel like pencils. As a matter of fact, all my Safaris' feedback is very similar to a pencil's. Mine range from EF to B and are from the late 80's until around 2006. Perhaps something changed since then?

 

alex

---------------------------------------------------------

We use our phones more than our pens.....

and the world is a worse place for it. - markh

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@alexwi  It's called a magnifier reticle.  It fits in the bottom of a magnifier.  They come in a variety of patterns.  Mine is a holdover from my working days.

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