Posts filed under Fountain Pens

Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed Roller Ball Pen Review

Finding the perfect pocket pen is a challenge. Most of us only carry one. Should it be a ballpoint that will write in almost any situation? A fountain pen that will give you the writing experience you crave? Or a rollerball that is a bit of a mix between the two?

I’ve carried a fountain pen for the most part for the past couple of years, either the Kaweco AL Sport or, more recently, the Kaweco Liliput Brass Wave with a custom nib grind. Now that the AL Sport Roller Ball comes in the awesome Stonewashed finish I wanted to see if it could break into what has been a fountain pen only rotation. Short version: It can, and it has.

If it wasn’t already obvious, Kaweco not only makes great pens, but many of their models are perfect for every day carry. The AL Sport Stonewashed Roller has the same great build quality as its counterparts. The aluminum barrel has a solid feel, threads nicely, and can take a beating on the go and not skip a beat when it is time to write or draw. Just what I want in a pocket pen.

What makes the AL Sport Roller a real contender is the use of a Parker compatible refill. It ships with a Kaweco-branded Schmidt roller in medium, which on its own provides a smooth, dark line. It’s too wide for me, so I swapped it immediately with a Moleskine 0.5 mm gel refill in black and went to town. If you prefer the pressurized ballpoint of the Space Pen Refill that is an option too. Any Parker-style refill fits, making this a customizable EDC workhorse.

Kaweco pens are built for this. They are durable, long lasting, and flat-out beautiful. The AL Sport line is made for the pocket as much as they are made for writing when it is time to get down to business.

(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under AL Sport, Kaweco, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Lamy 1.5 mm Stub Nib Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

When I wrote about the Pilot Plumix several months ago, I said that it wasn't a large enough variation for my tastes. Well, I tried the other end of the spectrum with a 1.5mm Lamy calligraphy nib, and I can't say the same thing about this one. This nib makes a voluptuous line, but doesn't quite cut it for me in the everyday writing area. Still, it's a fantastic nib and loads of fun.

The Lamy 1.5mm calligraphy nib fits on almost any Lamy fountain pen very easily. Just slip off the normal nib from the feed, and slide the 1.5mm nib on. If you have a Safari, Vista, or AL-Star lying around, this is a great way to try out a well-made calligraphy nib. There are many other options, but rarely for this price.

First looking at the nib, you can't really tell it apart from the other Lamy nibs. Then, you notice the blunt tip and the large "1.5" stamped on the top and realize how wide it actually is. I really had no idea it would be that wide. Little did I know.

I put the nib on a Safari that I had lying in a drawer, and promptly filled it up with some green ink. In my rush, I didn't think to pick out an ink that has great shading qualities, so I was little disappointed to find that the finished product looked a bit like a magic marker line—wide and wet. After a quick flush, I filled it with J. Herbin Rouge Hematite. What a difference that made. It no longer looked like a magic marker line, but a sophisticated and interesting line of varying widths, shades, and hues.

This nib was made to be used with calligraphy lettering. I don't do much calligraphy lettering, and I certainly don't claim to be any good at it. Using this nib and experimenting with the variations, I wanted to practice lettering a lot more. Expert lettering really takes a lot of skill and practice, and I really admire anyone who can make it look fluid and consistent. They've put a lot of practice into it, and they can make it look as easy as scribbling in a Field Notes book propped up on my knee.

That said, I didn't really find much place for this nib in my everyday writing. For one, you have to write really big in order to form letters and words (as opposed to big blobs of ink). Second, since the nib is wide and requires a bit more from the feed system, there are consistent starting issues. They're never difficult to get rid of, and I found that they're actually very predictable, but they're still frustrating in general writing practices.

For me, this nib gives me two things: the ability to play and experiment with large, ornate lettering, and a nib that provides a great showcase for inks that have excellent shading properties. This nib is more about creating art, and much less about writing things down.

If you're even the slightest bit interesting in calligraphy nibs, and you already have a Lamy, I can't think of a better way to try out a calligraphy fountain pen (I'm not counting disposable porous tip pens here) than the Lamy nibs. They have other sizes besides the 1.5mm, which are 1.1mm and 1.9mm. I just recommend getting an ink that shades well to go with it!

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Lamy, Pen Reviews.

Parker IM Premium Fountain Pen Review

In its heyday, Parker was on top of the pen and pencil world. Anyone who was anyone owned a Parker, with many of their classic designs still highly sought after to this day. The last couple of decades haven't been so nice to this once elite brand though. Their offerings have been mostly mediocre in my view, and are getting lapped by competitors who offer more for less.

I was honestly not excited when I heard about the latest Parker fountain pen releases, but one thing caught my eye: They used the word Vacumatic in the product description. Along with the Duofold and the 51, the Vacumatic is classic Parker design at its best. I own a Vacumatic and it remains one of the most intriguing and beautiful pens I own. Just that one little mention had me anxious to see what Parker had up its sleeve.

The Parker IM Premium pays homage to the original Vacumatic's horizontal stripe design, and they pulled it off well. The Emerald Pearl model I received from JetPens shares a bit of the color scheme with my classic Vac, but the materials and functionality are completely different.

First off, this is an aluminum barrel pen, unlike the resin barrels of yesteryear. So, no translucency through the barrel, but rather a solid, lightweight metal replacement. Secondly, this is a cartridge/coverter filler, meaning no fancy vacumatic filling action, which is likely a cost issue. This is not your grandfathers Vacumatic, and based on the naming, it isn't supposed to be.

The IM Premium is a good quality entry level fountain pen - that's what it is designed to be. I think Parker pulled it off well here, too. It has a classic look while retaining a modern style. The traditional Parker arrow clip is there, but they mix in a brushed metal section to give it an up to date feel.

One thing that caught my eye when first unboxing it was the scale of the nib compared to the pen body. It is small - smaller visually than I am used to. Once I inked it up with the provided blue ink cartridge it wrote so well I no longer noticed the size. The medium stainless steel nib is smooth and the line width is controlled and just the proper width. The ink flow was spot on. And the blue ink color itself? Really, really nice, which was another surprise.

I didn't think it would happen, but I am enjoying this pen. Either Parker has been doing a better job of late (I dig their Jotter 60th Anniversary Edition), or I am turning into my grandfather. Neither of those would be a bad thing.

(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 13, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Parker, Pen Reviews.

Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen Review

I’ve long been a fan of the Kaweco Classic Sport fountain pen but it never made my daily rotation. I’m not the biggest fan of the gold colored nib and trim of the pen, after all. With the release of the new Kaweco Skyline Sport I can happily carry one of the best pocket pens on the market with fresh, new silver furniture.

Kaweco didn’t just just swap gold for silver and keep the barrel colors intact, they added Mint and Gray to the lineup, and also made Black available in the Skyline lineup. The blogosphere is in love with the Mint barrel - rightfully so - but I went with the more subdued Gray with an EF nib and couldn’t be happier.

If you are a fan of the Kaweco Classic you will be glad to know the nuts and bolts of the pen haven’t changed a bit. The same great design and functionality are found in the Skyline. It is a lightweight, compact pen when closed and full-sized for writing with the cap posted. It is easily comfortable enough to use all day.

What I like about the Skyline the most is that it is a no-frills pocket carry. The smooth plastic barrel just slides into your pocket, with no clip to snag on anything and no metal barrel to scratch up other items. It’s also cheaper than most pocket fountain pens so there is no fear in losing it.

The Kaweco Classic is a great all-around fountain pen and the Skyline fits right in to an already excellent lineup.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on August 28, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Kaweco, Pen Reviews.