Lamy Safari

Why I love Lamys entry level fountain pens.

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I have come to notice in recent months how much I use Lamy fountain pens and how much I am drawn to use them. The Safari, AL Star and LX are pens I reach for every day because of how well they write and how versatile they are meaning there is something for everyone. You can choose from a range of colours, you can add/change/swap out nibs to your hearts content and you can use cartridge, or convertors and really open up the world of ink. I’m an advocate for the Lamy entry level fountain pens and wanted to share with you how I use mine.

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I use my Lamy AL Star in Copper Orange as my sketching fountain pen which I have inked up with Noodlers Black ink. I love using this bright and vibrant pen for sketching. The size and weight is comfortable especially when sketching for long periods of time. The nib is sturdy and gives good line variation with different pressures.

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My Lamy LX in Rose Gold has become a daily use fountain pen. I have this inked up with the lovely Sailor Blue Black. I love this pairing, its simple and feels classy. The LX has an aluminium body like the AL Star and comes with a black steel nib.

I have several Safari fountain pens and usually have one inked up. The Safari is the plastic barrel fountain pen that comes in a whole host of colours that have a matte look finish. I tend to swap out my Safaris a lot more but I always have one in use.

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There are so many plus points for the entry series of Lamy fountain pens. Over the years I have acquired a small collection without realising it. I don’t have a preference between any of these ranges, I am driven by colour and finding something that works for me. Because of their materials and durability I always recommend and gift these pens to people.

Kaweco Perkeo Review

The new Kaweco Perkeo came into my possession from the very kind folks over at Pocket Notebooks out of the blue one hectic weekday morning. Whilst this item was sent to me, this review contains my honest opinions and thoughts on this fountain pen.

My 'Bad Taste' Kaweco Perkeo

My 'Bad Taste' Kaweco Perkeo

The Kaweco Perkeo is a brand new fountain pen in Kaweco’s product offering that fills a previously unoccupied gap. The Perko costs £15 putting it in the same price bracket as the Pilot Kakuno and the Lamy Safari.

The Kaweco Perkeo, Pilot Kakuno and Lamy Safari 

The Kaweco Perkeo, Pilot Kakuno and Lamy Safari 

The design of the Perkeo mirrors elements of the Kaweco Sport range. The pen lid is instantly recognisable with its angular shape, the only difference being its larger size.

The Perkeo lid clicks onto the barrel rather than screwing on like the pocket fountain pens. I presume this makes the pen friendly to younger audiences. Like the Sport ranges you don’t get a pen clip but then I don’t think it’s needed.

The barrel on the Perkeo is angular with lots and lots of flat surfaces running the full length. I really like this design move as I feel like it adds a satisfying texture to the pen.

The grip section has three ridged sections to aid and guide the users grip. This is very like the grip design on the Lamy Safari but I think the Perkeos grip is less intrusive.

A comparison shot of the Lamy Safri grip section and the Kaweco Perkeo grip.

A comparison shot of the Lamy Safri grip section and the Kaweco Perkeo grip.

The nib on the Perkeo is marginally bigger than the Kaweco pocket pens. However when comparing it to the Pilot Kakuno and the Lamy Safari it’s far smaller and looks a little measly. Personally I feel like the Perkeo would have benefitted from a larger nib to balance out the proportions of the pen.

A diddy Kaweco nib

A diddy Kaweco nib

Generally I’m a fan of Kaweco fountain pens and own several of their pocket fountain pens. The Perkeo feels very similar with its fun colour schemes and recognisable design. It’s a great entry level fountain pen and it makes sense for Kaweco to have a product offering that can compete with the Kakunos and Safaris. Whilst I like this pen I am not sure it would be the pen I would recommend over the Lamy Safari for people starting out, but it’s a very welcome addition to the enthusiasts toolkit.

The Perkeo in hand

The Perkeo in hand

And for size comparison the Kaweco AL Sport

And for size comparison the Kaweco AL Sport

Lamy Safari Petrol 2017 Limited Edition Review

Every year Lamy release a limited edition colour set of pens and ink in their Safari and AL Star lines. This year’s Safari limited edition was a petrol coloured pen and a matching ink. I have written about the Lamy Safari fountain pen before and my opinions have not changed, if anything my liking for the Safari has increased.

The 2017 fountain pen

When Lamy announced this years limited edition I was immediately drawn to the fountain pen. The matte finish dark teal is a great colour and looks smart with the blackout clip and nib. There is an underlying shimmer to the barrel which you notice in bright light.

Black trim on fountain pens can be rare but it works really well on this Safari edition. It compliments the matte finish and the barrel colour but it also makes it stand out. Also a chrome finish on the petrol barrel would have looked awful so this was a wise move from Lamy.

I find this colour very similar to the charcoal Lamy Safari. This was the first fountain pen I bought years ago because I really liked the minimalist look and the blackout finishes. The petrol Safari feels similar but the subtle colour makes it that little bit special.

The 2017 limited edition ink

Initially I wasn’t going to try the petrol ink as I have quite a few teal inks that I really enjoy using, but…before long I was tempted into giving this a try and rather than buy another bottle of ink I opted for cartridges.

The teal shade is really dark, almost black and doesn’t really have a lot of depth to it. When looking at the ink closely you do get some subtle shading on certain paper stocks such as tomoe river paper and midori paper but it isn’t visible on everything. In terms of use I have found it to be quite a wet ink with a good flow even using a fine nib.

The petrol colour is nice but it’s not an ink shade that is particularly exciting. If you enjoy dark or teal inks then you won’t be disappointed with this ink. It has already sold out in most places, but if you know where to look in the UK (cough Paperchase cough) you can still find some ink there with relative ease.

Final thoughts

I think this has been a very successful 2017 limited edition from Lamy. Last years Dark Lilac was a big hit, I passed on the pen but bought some ink cartridges and enjoyed the colours a lot. This year seems to be another big winner gaining a lot of buzz with the stationery community.

I’d love to see some variation next year from Lamy. There have been a lot of greens and blues over the years and personally I’d like to see some other colours. Saying that, this years Lamy Safari is a great release and one I have thoroughly enjoyed.

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil: Week 4 Review

My Start Bay Navigator in Chic Tan and the Karas Kustoms Retrakt

My Start Bay Navigator in Chic Tan and the Karas Kustoms Retrakt

This week I have been using the Karas Kustoms Retrakt paired with the Pilot G2 black gel refill. Before starting out on this week I presumed I would enjoy using the Pilot G2 refill but maybe struggle a little bit with the Retrakt pen itself. This assumption was pretty spot on but I have also encountered a few barriers to the 1 pen challenge.

This week's failures

There have been a few occasions this week where I have been forced to deviate from the Karas Kustoms Retrakt and Pilot G2. First up was a passport application I needed to get filled out and sent. These forms have very specific requirements and you need to use a black ballpoint pen to fill out the forms. This meant that the gel ink pen was not useable in this situation. Secondly I had to send some post this week and I needed to use a Sharpie pen to fill out the shipping information on the box.

These deviations were forced and highlights that 1 pen cannot work in all scenarios. There are times when specific tools are needed to get the job done.

Things I didn't like this week.

I want to get the negative points out of the way first. This week marked the start of my final module with the Open University which has meant that the amount of time I spend writing has increased. Using the Retrakt for long periods of time has been quite strenuous. This pen is heavy, being made from aluminium, and when writing for long stretches of time I found that my wrist began to ache, a lot! I have found it quite uncomfortable in a way I don't think I would have with a fountain pen and definitely not with a pencil.

Poor sight line on the G2 tip

Poor sight line on the G2 tip

In keeping with this theme, the Retrakt grip section is something I cannot persuade myself to like. I find the it too chunky and the sight line to the pen tip poor. This has only been a slight irritation when I have been writing for long periods of time with this pen. For shorter note taking tasks this is less of an issue.

The Pilot G2 refill

The Pilot G2 refill

There are some good points

The Pilot G2 refill is strong. The black line is crisp and dark giving a brilliantly fine line on the page. It flows well and is really smooth to write with. I have particularly enjoyed using this in my Midori Weekly Refill (019) for recording a snippet of the day's events.

The Retrakt is a nice looking, smart pen. It's not one I use regularly simply because it gets bumped mainly by fountain pens. But actually it's a nice pen and it has it’s place as part of my writing toolkit, but as a standalone pen to use day in and day out, I am not sure the Retrakt barrel would work for me.

Overall thoughts.

This pairing is really strong and I have enjoyed using both of them together. I couldn't use the Retrakt and the Pilot G2 as my only pen choice but actually what this exercise has made me realise is it has its place as part of my writing toolkit. As a result I will be carrying this pen around with me a lot more, rather than leaving it outcast on my desk.

Week 5

Moving into next week I will be using the Lamy Safari and Lamy Dark Lilac ink. I really love this ink colour and the Safari is one of those entry level pens people recommend because it is very reasonably priced. It does have its downsides like the mounded grip section, so using only this pen for a full week could be interesting.

Check back next week to see how I've held up.