Lamy Scribble 0.7

I got a new pencil today – a Lamy Scribble 0.7mm, with palladium trim.

I’ve liked the look of the Scribble for a while, and seeing them for real didn’t disappoint. I think the black ones look just as good as the palladium ones, but the palladium seemed to match my Lamy 2000 fountain pen a bit better.

I’ve not had it long yet, but I’m liking it so far – I’ve filled it with Pentel AIN 2B leads. It has a tiny tubular lead sleeve, that retracts all the way back inside to make it pocket-safe, and the clip can be removed for those who like to roll the pencil to keep the point a bit finer. I quite like to roll, but I need my pencil to clip to me, so the clip stays on.

 

Lamy Links and Others

The first fountain pen I bought that I really liked was a Lamy Safari, so I have a bit of a soft spot for them.  I have a couple of Safaris, a Vista, an AL-star, an Accent (well, that one’s Sam’s really), and a 2000 (Sam’s again).  They have their faults – they tend to skip with pressure – but for the most part, they’re nice smooth-writing pens.  A couple of links from Brassing Adds Character first:

 

  • All about the Benjamins – Ryan’s top picks for pens around the $100 mark.  The Lamy 2000 is in there, though it costs a fair bit more than that over here in the UK.

  • An extraordinarily rare Lamy 2000 – a little story of how Matt gets his Lamy 2000 reground at the DC pen show.

  • Lamy at Cult Pens – yes, we finally have Lamy at Cult Pens. Only a limited range so far, but we’ll be expanding it soon.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review

What Is It?

Lamy 2000 XF - Pen and Sample

A fountain pen that still looks modern, though it’s been in production since 1966. It’s a piston-filler, so you have to use bottled ink, not cartridges, and the nib is quite a bit more flexible than most modern pens.

Looks

The 2000 is a great example of German Bauhaus design – simple, minimalist, with clean lines. The form seems purely derived from the function. It’s not a flashy pen, by any means, and you could probably use it almost anywhere without getting a second glance.

Lamy 2000 XF - Logo on Clip

How you feel about it depends how you feel about such design. Personally, I love it. If you like a bit of ‘bling’, then you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Feel

The body of the pen is made from Makrolon – it’s the same stuff that’s used for the ‘glass’ in the front of car headlights. With the ‘brushed’ finish, it feels quite similar to wood – pleasantly warm to the touch. It’s a very light pen, which suits me well. Sam usually likes a heavy pen, but she found the Lamy 2000 quite pleasant to hold and use despite the lack of weight.

Lamy 2000 XF - Piston

The piston filler is a little on the stiff side, but turns quite positively, and is still quite easy to operate. The nib is smooth. Mine is an Extra Fine, but Lamy 2000 nibs run very much on the broad side. The Extra Fine is much closer to what most people would describe as a fine, and even what some would probably call medium. Whatever nib width you usually prefer, go one finer with a Lamy 2000.

It’s quite a wide pen, and because it’s smooth all over, you can grip it wherever you like.

In Use

The first thing you have to do to use a fountain pen is get the cap off. This pen uses a pull-off cap, with two tiny lugs that locate into a slot inside the cap. They click nicely into place, and keep the cap on much more securely than you’d expect, yet it pulls back off again very easily. I’m often a little nervous with pull-off caps, in case the cap comes off a bit too easily – especially when I’m carrying the pen clipped into the neck of my t-shirt, with the pen hanging on the outside. In six months of use, though, I’ve never had the cap come off the Lamy 2000 unintentionally.

Filling

Filling with ink is easy – just unscrew the blind cap, dip the nib into ink, and screw it back down again. The piston pulls in plenty of ink, and gives you a good capacity to last a while.

The Nib

As for writing or drawing, I’ve found this pen well suited to either. The nib has a little more flex than most people will be used to, but it’s nice and smooth, and gives a nice wet line with a bit of variation. I’ve used it with a few different inks, including Pelikan, Diamine and Noodler’s, and it’s behaved well with them all.

Lamy 2000 XF - Nib Top Lamy 2000 XF - Nib Bottom

Like many other nibs, this one will give a finer line when used upside-down. It’s a bit on the scratchy side, and it’s a very fine line. I wouldn’t want to try and write much that way, but it came in useful a few times when I needed a note in a tiny space, or some very fine lines in a doodle.

Ink Window

Lamy 2000 XF - Ink Window

You can check the ink level through a set of little windows in the barrel. They are fitted perfectly smoothly into the barrel, and I can’t tell at all if they are actually different parts fitted in before the brushed finish was applied, or if they have somehow only blacked out parts of the plastic.

They’re a bit on the small side, so you do have to hold the pen up to the light, and tip it back and forth to get much idea of how much ink is in there. With a little practice, though, it doesn’t take long to check. I’d prefer bigger windows, but they’re not at all bad.

Flushing and Changing Ink

The piston makes changing ink much easier than it is with many pens, but it still takes quite a few flushes through with clean water before you get all the previous ink out. My Pelikan makes this quite a bit easier, but the Lamy is easier than most other pens.

Conclusion

I used this pen for six months. I say used because I’ve now sold it on eBay. That doesn’t mean it was a bad pen at all – it was my favourite until I got a Pelikan M600, and even then, it was very, very close. They’re great value, and wonderful pens to hold and to use. If you like the minimalist styling, I’d certainly recommend it. I bought mine new on eBay, and sold it for more than I’d paid six months later – negative depreciation!

Lamy 2000 XF - Cap

Why might you not like the Lamy 2000? Well, if you don’t like the styling, it’s probably not something you’d get used to. If there’s an element of status symbol to your choice of pen, few people would think you spent so much on it. You may also want the option of using cartridges, rather than having to take a bottle of ink with you when you travel – if you don’t mind that, though, the Lamy will hold more ink than a cartridge/converter pen, and you don’t have to take it apart to fill it.

I’ve heard of some people who find the little lugs that locate into the cap annoying – depending on your grip, they could be where you fingers are. All I can really say is that they never bothered me at all.

If you like the looks, and you want a well made German piston filler, the Lamy is hard to beat for value. If you want something a bit flashier, I can certainly recommend Pelikans, but the Lamy 2000 is a beautifully simple pen that feels great to use.

  • Update, 2010-10-03: I soon missed the 2000 after selling it, and ‘borrowed’ the OM-nibbed version Sam had. I didn’t get on so well with the oblique nib, but reground it down to a flat Medium, and I’m still using it regularly. With more time, it’s the Pelikan that fell into disuse.

  • Review at But She’s a Girl

  • Lamy 2000 at Cult Pens in the UK

Lamy Safari Review

The Lamy Safari is a fairly cheap fountain pen – perhaps the cheapest you can get that’s actually good.

Lamy Safari - Close up of Nib

(Click any pictures to see them on Flickr, with notes, comments, and bigger sizes available.)

  • Plain ABS plastic casing.
  • Simple design.
  • Takes cartriges or a converter, but the converter is not supplied. Budget a little extra if you want to use bottled ink.

Looks

Personally, I like the way this pen looks, but it’s not for everyone. It’s quite different in styling to most fountain pens, and the case is plastic rather than laquer. The oversized ‘paperclip style’ pocket clip is effective, but not very decorative.

As I said, I like it, but it’s not going to fool anybody into thinking it cost you a lot of money.

The unusual look even continues to the nib. There’s none of the usual flared shape, polished two-tone metal, or swirly engravings. It’s just plain black-coated metal, with “LAMY” and a letter for the nib width marked on it.

It’s all very understated and minimalist, and that appeals to me.

Lamy Safari on Moleskine

Feel

For a plastic pen, this actually feels really good. The ABS plastic used for the body feels strong and firm. The screw thread on the barrel feels very precise, and it all has a sensation of quality about it that cheap plastic pens never normally manage.

In Use

This is where this pen shines. The ink flow starts instantly, and doesn’t require any pressure on the paper to keep going. It can keep up even with scribbling and sketching, and although the nib is fairly firm, you can still get a bit of variation to the line width.

Push down firmly, and the nib will give you a thicker line. Turn it upside down for another trick – the top edge of the nib will still write, and writes with a narrower line. The shape of the pen makes it uncomfortable to use that way for long, but if you need a few quick thin lines, it can be a handy trick.

Compared with some other pens (the Parker 45, for example), the Safari is slightly scratchy in feel, but it’s not at all unpleasant, and the flow is still perfectly smooth.

Lamy Safari Sample Scribbles

If you like a fairly heavy pen, this isn’t it. The safari is very light, with very little resistance to moving it quickly. For some reason, though, it doesn’t seem to be prone to the sort of shaky lines I sometimes end up with when using very light pens. The balance point is almost exactly in the centre. Pop the cap on the top for writing or drawing, though, and this pen becomes a bit heavier, and very top-heavy. I find it quite uncomfortable to use this way, so I never post the cap.

Oh, and that all-important question for many of you – any good on Moleskine paper? Well, that will depend on the ink, but the Lamy black ink that comes in their cartriges works really quite well. It’s a bit slow drying, so I tend to smudge it quite badly, but doesn’t feather too much, and doesn’t show through to the next page much at all.

Conclusion

I love this pen. It’s the first fountain pen I’ve used that really performs how I expect a good fountain pen to perform. Before this, almost every one I’ve tried has been disappointing. After this, others have a lot to live up to.

Certainly if you’re looking for a good fountain pen to use, this is about the best you’ll find for the money. Alternatives? You could look at some of the Parker pens. Their really cheap fountain pens really aren’t too bad, and a bit more money can get you some nice ones. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, Pelikan make some of the best pens around, and Lamy make some great pens further upmarket too.

For the money, though, the Safari really does perform.

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