|Item Weight||0.64 ounces|
|Product Dimensions||1 x 1 x 1 inches|
|Item model number||L26F|
|Number of Items||1|
|Manufacturer Part Number||L26F|
LAMY Al-Star Fountain Pen, Graphite (L26F)
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Al-Star line consists of high quality pens featuring aluminum bodies, steel nibs and self-sprung metal clips.
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I've spent the past several years buying packs of uni-ball black pens because the ink's thickness was just right. And I never had to shake them in order to make them work. They're solid pens. But as I thought about the number of pens I went through - and their cost - I thought it might make more sense to go the fountain pen route. So I hit up the old Google and - after perusing a few fountain pen-aficionado sites - finally decided on this pen to begin my fountain pen journey.
And all I can say is "Wow! What a difference a fountain pen makes!" This is a solidly built pen that writes beautifully. The nib isn't too big so the line it draws is about the same as that of my uni-ball fine pens. I wouldn't mind eventually venturing out and trying some different nibs but as an every day nib, this one is perfect. Likewise, the aluminum casing gives it a modern finish and leaves it feeling light in the hand.
Likewise, the inside of the pen is well made and feels solid. Some people might not like the angled grip but I happen to like the fact that it directs your fingers exactly where to go. It's also so easy to fill/re-fill that anyone can learn how in a few minutes. The only complaint I have is that it doesn't include any instructions. I got on YouTube to make sure I was getting it set up correctly.
As you can see from the images there is a little window in the sides that allow you to see how much ink you have left. This is a nice feature though ultimately unnecessary. I'll know I need ink when my pen quits writing.
There's not really anything I would change about it.
This may be my first fountain pen but it won't be my last.
There really isn't much difference between the writing experience with cheaper Lamy pens. The Safari writes like an Al-Star, which writes like a Vista, which writes like a Logo, which writes like an LX
The Lamy Al-Star, Safari, Vista and LX all have the same shape, a wire pocket clip, identical nibs and ink windows. The Safari is made of plastic, while the Al-Star and LX are made of aluminum, with the Al-Star anodized in a variety of cool colors combined with chrome clips and the LX in some funkier colors (rose gold) with matching clips.The Vista appears to be a clear plastic (demonstrator) Safari.
We're looking here at a surprisingly cheap ($27 in November 2017) Lamy Al-Star. This is a good price for an Al-Star, which usually start around $32. I suspect the cheaper price is due to the rather unremarkable color....
Lamy nibs are generally smooth and consistent. They're replaceable. You can find Lamy nibs in different sizes if you hurt your nib, or want a different flow.
Cheap Lamys generally last until you lose them or drop them. They're great workhorse fountain pens.
That said, these are the negatives I've experienced with Lamy Safaris, Al-Stars, etc.
1) Lack of a piston filler. For a big pen, these things hold surprisingly little ink when used with a standard converter. I far prefer using a syringe to refill Lamy cartridges. I suspect refilled cartridges hold 2/3 more ink than converters.
2) Lamy clips bag out over time. Don't pull on the clip if you don't have to. It will lose its tightness.
3) Lamy caps snap on with an inner plastic ring on the cap fitting over a ridge on the barrel of the pen. But use them enough and the cap will loosen and no longer snap tightly shut. I've had more than a few Safaris, Al-Stars, etc. become unusable because the cap loses its ability to hold tight. And I've ruined a number of shirts by caps falling off in my pocket and ink soaking into the fabric.
4) Aluminum Al-Stars dent and scratch fairly easily.
I won't pay over $29 for a low-end Lamy, no matter what material it's made of. It seems you pay a premium for color and a further premium for metal barrels with Lamy. But the dark matte Safaris look good longer than the rest.
After decades of buying Al-Stars and Safaris, I've moved on. A number of Indian and Chinese pen manufacturers are putting out quality pens for half the price, with piston fillers to boot. Check out Jinhao and Fountain Pen Revolution pens here on Amazon if you want to be a little more adventurous.
I bought the fine nib version, which lays down a surprisingly thick, wet line. This may surprise you - some say German nibs are wider than their Japanese counterparts - but it's actually the perfect line weight for me. If you're looking for something that writes more like a gel pen, maybe give the extra fine nib a try.
I bought a Lamy Z24 Converter to use with liquid inks, which I highly recommend as a strategy. Take a look at Noodler's excellent inks (the black-as-night Bulletproof Black is a winner) and you'll be writing for pennies per refill.
My one quibble with the pen is that the clip's bottom end juts out a bit. If you clip it on a notebook, the curled end prevents it from lying flat.
I highly recommend these pens. They look fantastic and are such a pleasure to use.
This is not a big deal since they both cost about the same, but if you are buying one of these Lamy fountain pens, I would say the color should be the determining factor rather than the material.