Friday, March 1, 2013

fountain pen

I love fountain pens. I have limited knowledge concerning them but with my recent purchase I have learned a lot about the world of fountain pens. I think I was first introduced to them by my father who has several consumer fountain pens. He only buys affordable pens but unless you have a lot of expendable income (which I do not) there is no reason to buy expensive fountain pens. I appreciate the tactile relationship between pen and writer. It's a relationship that needs to be nurtured otherwise your investment will go to ruin. As in, you'll ruin the pen and will need to buy a new one.

In the past I had only used pens that had modern disposable ink cartridges that need to be refilled with a syringe or replaced. My newest fountain pen, a Lamy Safari (Lamy is the brand and Safari is the model type), can be outfitted with a converter that is a self-contained refillable ink cartridge (see below). The converter has a red end that when twisted becomes a piston that can push out or pull in ink/water into the chamber. This is wonderful option and in my opinion is the only way to go. However, the converter must be purchased separately.  The converter makes cleaning and filling the cartridge a breeze. Oh, and this also means you need to buy a bottle of ink.  ;P

When I bought my Lamy Safari pen online it said that it was coming with a 1.5mm Calligraphy nib (the nib is the tip of the pen where the ink actually comes out). I wasn't sure what kind of line the calligraphy nib would produce. There are so many different styles of calligraphy, you know? Well, I can tell you now that I have received my pen that a "calligraphy or italic nib" is the kind of nib that is used to produce the Italic, Blackletter, Gothic, Roman, or Unical style calligraphy (think Renaissance or old style English taverns), see below.

The calligraphy nib for a fountain pen will not produce the flourished, flowy Copperplate style that is so popular now (think calligraphy used for weddings nowadays). I know, I should've made the connection between Italic nib and Italic calligraphy but my mind is slow.

For many fountain pens the nib is a part that can be removed and interchanged with different nibs to produce a different style line. This is a great feature for a pen and is the case with the Lamy Safari. My pen came with a 1.5mm Calligraphy nib (it doesn't always come with this nib) but I bought a Steel Extra-Fine (EF) nib separately for regular writing purposes. The Extra-Fine nib is great, it produces a line that resembles something between a normal .5mm–.7mm pen might give depending on how much pressure the nib is given. The 1.5mm Calligraphy nib is also great but a little on the thick side for me. The 1.1mm Calligraphy nib will probably be my next purchase in the future.

If you're interested in fountain pens the The Goulet Pen Company is a wonderful resource. I love this site! Their interactive "Nib Nook" is awesome for comparing different nibs and their site also has a wonderful "Swab Shop" to compare different inks.

Here are some other links that were helpful to me in this educational process:
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Review
Inks: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Fountain Pen Care & Maintenance

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