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Thread: Advice on Leveling-up

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    Default Advice on Leveling-up

    I am fairly new to fountain pens, but have very quickly fallen deeply in love, and am wanting to get myself a truly fine pen. I currently have a small collection that includes a few entry-level items, with the usual suspects: Lamy Safari, Pilot Metro, Kaweco Sport & Liliput. I both like and mildly dislike certain elements of each of those pens -- none are a clear favorite. In terms of pure writing experience, I seem to appreciate the Metro quite a lot.

    As many before me, I'm sure, the Lamy 2000 tops my shortlist for candidates. But there are a few things about it which give me some pause, and I'm wondering if it really is all it's cracked-up to be, or if I could potentially do better for my money, in terms of what I'm looking for. My ceiling is $200 (and I'd like to spend significantly less, if possible). I *think* I want a gold nib pen, at this point, but I have to be honest and say that I do not yet 100% understand the advantages over steel.

    What I've thought about doing, as an alternative, is getting a Lamy Aion, and then replacing the stock nib with a 14k one. That would put me at about the same price-point as the 2000. The reasons I'm thinking about that, over the 2000, have to do wholly with the pen grip, and what I have read about it: 1) some people find the cap-hold nubs to be mildly annoying; 2) the fact that the grip section tapers all the way down to the point seems to cause some grip slippage, and a tendency to have to hold the pen more tightly than would otherwise be necessary. Given that one of my primary purposes is to have a pen I can use everyday for practice in penmanship, I am thinking this would not be a good thing. Yet, on the other hand, I'm past the point of liking the set-in-stone finger placement required from a pen like the Safari.

    Aesthetics are important to me -- I definitely prefer the machined look over the "classic" look. For the best writing experience, though, I am willing to sacrifice on this ideal. I'm presently a small/slow writer. My Safari is a fine nib and I find even with that, the line quality is often too thick for me -- the ink flow just a bit too generous. This is why I more often turn to the Metro or the Kaweco.

    With all that, if anyone has suggestions for consideration, I'd love to hear some input.

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Just a thought - I have the same issue of slipping on the grip on both the 2000 and the Aion. (The former is admittedly worse.) For no slippage at all, and in solid metal, might I suggest the Levenger L-Tech? Gold nibs are nice, but there is good steel to be had as well, and the L-Tech is quite nice for an industrial astetic.

    Sent from my SM-G960U1 using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    As far as the Lamy 2000 is concerned, it depends how high on the grip you tend to hold your pens, and if you hold it high then the metal cap hold nubs might stick into your thumb. The pen is a neat design.

    I had my doubts before I bought mine but I love it. The grip isn't at all slippery and it's a lovely pen to hold. As far as getting an Aion plus a gold nib, I think you might find that quite an expensive way to go, and in the end you will still have a cheaper pen with a gold nib in it.

    The reasons that I prefer gold nibs are that they are usually softer and smoother to write with and I hear less feedback than when I write with steel nibs. I have both, and can tell when I'm writing with a gold nib. Some will disagree and say there is no difference.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    I hate the L2K with a passion. It's a classic piece of bad taste design in that it sacrifices critical elements of usability to make the body look prettier. A lot of people also have trouble with the nib. I don't, but it you write from the wrist instead of with larger arm movements, you may. The L2K also doesn't the vast ink capacity people imagine. It's a 1.4ml total reservoir, meaning you normally get 1.2 in practice... compared to a 1ml from a large cartridge.

    Re the Aion, Lamy's nibs are generally not up to Pilot standards. Going for a gold nib probably won't help.

    I'd suggest getting a Kakuno, adding a Kaweco clip, and adjusting the twist on the nib (see my review.) That's what I did, and now it's my main writer over a horde of pens costing more - it has a faceted grip but it's a much better design than the awful one on the Safari. If you buy the clear body pen and add a clip it will have exactly the technical pen look you want. Otherwise I'd go for a Wing Sung 698 demonstrator, a Platinum Cool, or the Lorelei Lingmo clone of the Sailor Procolor. They'll all get you a clean modern aesthetic combined with good ergonomics and none of them will cost very much. TWSBIs are another possibility but they don't really do anything the 698 doesn't and it's so much cheaper.

    That Kakuno review: https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread...Demonstrator-F

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    What's your budget? Since you like the 2000 design, perhaps this will float your boat: http://www.kenroindustries.com/portf...alentum-black/ I stumbled on this just now while looking for details on the Optima.


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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    The reasons that I prefer gold nibs are that they are usually softer and smoother to write with and I hear less feedback than when I write with steel nibs. I have both, and can tell when I'm writing with a gold nib. Some will disagree and say there is no difference.
    If there is a difference in smoothness, you've simply bought a bad nib. (Which happens a LOT with Lamy.) See -

    http://edisonpen.com/in-praise-of-steel-nibs-2

    ..You write on the tip of the nib and that's made out of the same material whether the nib is steel or gold.

    Also, if gold nibs were inherently smoother than steel, you wouldn't be able to buy steel nibs in the finest sizes. Of course you can - my Kakuno's F nib is smooth and a lot finer than any nib Lamy make.

    Oh - and if you want a hooded nib pen, then you can consider the Wing Sung 618 and the little known but amazing Baoer 100. Neither has the ergonomic risks of the L2K and they're both much cheaper.
    Last edited by ilikenails; February 13th, 2019 at 11:41 AM.

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    @ilikenails
    Please prove your claims regarding Lamy nibs.

    Useless to say that you will not be able to do so..... anyway, I just wanted to write a response to such wild claims....
    A newbie otherwise might could take it as the one and only ultimate truth...

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    At the OP you always write with an Iridium alloy tipping, no matter from which material a nib is made.
    You can easily make any tipped nib as smooth as you like it (just polish it).

    And before a discussion about springiness and flex starts, also these attributes are not bound to any specific nib material.
    There are full flex steel nibs and and steel nails as well as gold nails and gold full flex nibs.

    I admit that gold nibs with a lot of flex are much more common than steel nibs with a lot of flex.

    But when we are talking about modern pens this is only a theoretical thing, as there are neither flexible stock gold nibs on the market nor flexible steel (FP) nibs (customizations excluded)

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    The Lamy 2000 is a classic pen since decades, I consider it as a real option for you.
    Did you ever had the chance to write with one?
    At at the end itˋs always also a matter of the personal taste.

    Nothing wrong wanting a gold nib, the aesthetics of a gold nib could also be something very appealing (beside all the other nib attributes).

    Did you already took a look at the Pelikan M400?
    Also very nice classic pens with excellent quality (with gold nibs).

    A class below the Pelikan M200 pens (with steel nibs) are also worth a look.
    In that class I think also the TWSBI pens are worth a recommendation.

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    To address some of the matters that are cropping-up, here:

    I take-in all the advice and opinions I get, and treat them all as raw information that I then synthesize, in order to make my own determinations. So I don't intend to be wholly guided by strong opinions, one way or another. A high degree of variance in terms of end-user experience tells me a couple things: 1) that it's largely a matter of subjectivity; 2) that there are a multitude of factors which, ultimately, play into it.

    The way I kinda see it is like this: when it comes to something like fine pens -- as with so many other things -- what you really buy at the higher price points are very marginal, subtle improvements to overall experience. E.g., my $15 Pilot Metro is probably 75% the pen that a Lamy 2000 is. I understand that they are not equivalent, but for 10 times as much, you only buy 15 or 20 percent "more" in terms of added benefit. That's how I look at it, anyway.

    The conclusions that I'm beginning to draw, at least in terms of what applies to my own personal experience: I'm not so sure putting my money into a gold nib makes economic sense. Yes, maybe, but I want more information. As far as grip area, I think I need to write more with what I have before I really know the direction I want to go.

    The Pelikan pens -- like the M200 -- are certainly on my radar, albeit outliers due to the fact that tend to come in such a traditional/classic form-factor and look. Others that I have looked at, seriously: the Hemisphere and Expert, by Waterman; the Caran d'Ache 849; Faber-Castell Loom; Kaweco Special; Pilot Vanishing-point (although I don't think I could live with the clip down there on the business-end of the pen, while writing).

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Quote Originally Posted by michaeldoleman View Post
    The conclusions that I'm beginning to draw, at least in terms of what applies to my own personal experience: I'm not so sure putting my money into a gold nib makes economic sense.
    On this particular topic of investing in gold nibs, I personally only invest in vintage gold nibs, especially flexible ones which is one of the reason I love using fountain pens.

    Modern gold nibs are 99.9% firm (and I have yet to find the 0.1%, by the way ) and as such, really doesn't make me swoon with joy having to pay the extra cost. I might as well use a modern steel nib, which can be excellent for writing as long as I don't expect high-quality flex.

    That being said, of course I still expect to get a gold nib (even firm ones) if I were to splurge to get a high-end modern pens such as Urushi or Maki-e pens.
    - Will
    A new place to shop for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Quote Originally Posted by ilikenails View Post
    That being said, of course I still expect to get a gold nib (even firm ones) if I were to splurge to get a high-end modern pens such as Urushi or Maki-e pens.
    Don't think I haven't looked at the Pilot Maki-e pens with longing and serious consideration. I could never bring myself to spend that kinda of money, when I am doing more or less fine with a 15-dollar pen, but I do rather like nice things :-)

    Thanks for the advice!

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Quote Originally Posted by ilikenails View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    The reasons that I prefer gold nibs are that they are usually softer and smoother to write with and I hear less feedback than when I write with steel nibs. I have both, and can tell when I'm writing with a gold nib. Some will disagree and say there is no difference.
    If there is a difference in smoothness, you've simply bought a bad nib. (Which happens a LOT with Lamy.) See -

    http://edisonpen.com/in-praise-of-steel-nibs-2

    ..You write on the tip of the nib and that's made out of the same material whether the nib is steel or gold.

    Also, if gold nibs were inherently smoother than steel, you wouldn't be able to buy steel nibs in the finest sizes.
    Most of my steel nibs are Lamy steel nibs and they aren't iridium tipped. All of my gold nibs are tipped, and out of the two I happen to prefer my gold nibs. They are my personal choice.
    Last edited by Chrissy; February 13th, 2019 at 10:35 PM.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    I also keep coming back to the Pilot Metropolitan. The several Metros and Kakunos all have nice nibs that feel identical.

    By contrast, each of the half dozen Lamy Safari nibs I have tried varied wildly from scratchy as hell to not bad. That doesn't inspire much confidence in the brand. Nib sizes were M and EF. All but one were brand new.

    Even after getting a variety of good pens both new and used I come back to the Metro and am amazed.

    That is why, when I started looking for a next tier pen, I kept Pilot squarely in mind and was looking at their $80-200 pens. I ended up with a Stargazer ($150 new I think) with 14k nib that I would classify as a little bit springy. I almost got a Falcon and may yet get one as the one I tried was very nice. Also was impressed trying a new Elite. And I still want to get a Custom Heritage 91.

    Worth keeping in mind: my best writing pens range in price from $2 to $150 and everywhere in between. Gold and steel nibs both.

    If vintage, a Parker 45, if it has a relatively unused steel or gold nib, can be quite nice and both of mine are among my favorites. Not much flex or spring available but subtle line variation is.

    My two 20's Parkers have wonderfully smooth nibs unlike anything modern that I have ever tried. My four 1930s Balances have been nice (one with a posting nib needed smoothing but is great now). Only one of these pens, a Balance, has a soft nib; the rest are firm. Vintage flex seems to be in high demand. A far cheaper option for flex is a dip pen and nib.

    My second favorite pen is a vintage Montblanc 221. If you can find one without critical damage, they definitely write a level or two or three above the Metro. Nice springy gold nibs. I would expect that similar models are equally nice. I've seen them go on ebay for $80-150 shipped from Japan (which is apparently awash in 70s MB school pens in F and EF).

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by azkid; February 13th, 2019 at 02:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Quote Originally Posted by ilikenails View Post
    I hate the L2K with a passion. It's a classic piece of bad taste design in that it sacrifices critical elements of usability to make the body look prettier. A lot of people also have trouble with the nib. I don't, but it you write from the wrist instead of with larger arm movements, you may. The L2K also doesn't the vast ink capacity people imagine. It's a 1.4ml total reservoir, meaning you normally get 1.2 in practice... compared to a 1ml from a large cartridge.
    (emphasis mine)

    As the old saying goes, de gustibus non est disputandum, in matters of taste there can be no argument. So it's not a "classic piece of bad taste design", it is only that YOU don't like the design. Others laud it. What can you do? Neither side is right. As for sacrificing "critical elements of usability" what exactly are you referring to here? The overall shape of the L2000 (including the hooded nib) is similar to the Parker 51, the Aurora 88 and so on. All of which were highly sought after pens.

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    The M200,

    "traditional/classic form-factor and look."

    Yes definitely.

    Boring?

    Not necessarily



    Quote Mark Twain by Ptero Pterodactylus on DeviantArt

    (Pelikan M205 Blue-Marbled - B EMF ..... Colorverse Crystal Planet provided by Scooby 921)


    Show_response_768 by Ptero Pterodactylus

    (Pelikan M200 Demonstrator - M italic ..... Diamine Purple Pazzazz)


    As said also the TWSBI Pens are nice:

    Show_response_765 by Ptero Pterodactylus

    (TWSBI Mini - 1.5 italic ..... Diamine Night Sky)


    But another thought, if classical and traditional, why donīt go vintage with something really classical/traditional?

    Show_response_787 by Ptero Pterodactylus

    (Pelikan 400NN Brown Tortoise - OB ..... Iroshizuku Asa Goa)

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Pilot custom heritage 91. Classic shape, 14k nib, Pilot quality. Under $100 from Japanese vendors on Amazon.

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    One thing that you mentioned was that you found the Lamy fine nib to be too broad for your taste. If this is the case, I think you should steer away from anything that isn't Japanese. Pilot, platinum, and sailor are the brands that can consistently deliver really fine nibs that work well. If you would rather use western pens, better learn to write bigger

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Quote Originally Posted by although View Post
    One thing that you mentioned was that you found the Lamy fine nib to be too broad for your taste. If this is the case, I think you should steer away from anything that isn't Japanese. Pilot, platinum, and sailor are the brands that can consistently deliver really fine nibs that work well. If you would rather use western pens, better learn to write bigger
    Hmm... That's an interesting point. It seems to run counter to my experience with Kaweco, however -- I have three Kaweco pens, all in fine nib, and they seem to deliver about the same line thickness as the Pilot. I might go for an EF in the Kaweco, but overall I find them to be about what I would expect.

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    Default Re: Advice on Leveling-up

    Quote Originally Posted by michaeldoleman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by although View Post
    One thing that you mentioned was that you found the Lamy fine nib to be too broad for your taste. If this is the case, I think you should steer away from anything that isn't Japanese. Pilot, platinum, and sailor are the brands that can consistently deliver really fine nibs that work well. If you would rather use western pens, better learn to write bigger
    Hmm... That's an interesting point. It seems to run counter to my experience with Kaweco, however -- I have three Kaweco pens, all in fine nib, and they seem to deliver about the same line thickness as the Pilot. I might go for an EF in the Kaweco, but overall I find them to be about what I would expect.
    The best thing to do - short of testing a pen in person - is to check here -

    https://www.gouletpens.com/pages/nib-nook

    ...Nib width comparisons can easily be thrown off though by eg using an ink that spreads after it meets the paper. Looking at the samples at Goulet, a Kaweco EF is much wider than a Pilot F - with the ink and paper used for the test:




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