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Lamy Alstar Graphit Fountain Pen

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4 Reviews

Brand: Lamy / Misc House Type: Pen

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    4 Reviews
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      17.04.2012 17:54

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      A great workhorse pen

      I have owned several fountain pens over the years, but the Lamy Safari (the ABS plastic version of the Al Star) and the Al Star (made of aluminium) are my go to fountain pens for general fieldwork and during lectures. They are indestructible, particularly the Safari, which I would possibly reccomend over the Al Star for their resiliance.

      The best feature of these and many other of the Lamy pens (excluding the 2000) is that you can easily change the nib yourself, with sizes ranging from extra fine to bold. There are even several italic calligraphy nibs available from pen shops and online. To change the nib you simply pull it off the feed and place the new one back on, which will stay secure until you decide to change it again. This feature also means that if the nib suffers any damage you don't have to replace the whole pen.

      Another great feature is that you have the option to use either cartridges or bottled ink with a lamy converter. Using the converter (which you usually have to buy separately) will save quite a bit of money in the long run, with a bottle of ink often lasting over a year with moderate use. It also means you have a greater choice of inks to use - there are literally hundreds of colours available

      Would highly reccomend these pens for school work or rough environments. The only downside is that many find their appearance to be quite brutal. For me that's part of their charm and just makes them look as resiliant as they really are.

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      24.07.2011 23:42
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      Writing with this pen is a dream.

      In recent months I had decided to try and use a fountain pen more frequently in attempt to improve my amazingly illegible handwriting and so a search began to find a pen that would suit my needs. I eventually settled on a rather expensive pen with an italic nib which did seem to improve legibility matters somewhat, unfortunately the price of this writing implement meant that I was somewhat loathed to take it anywhere which kind of reduced its usefulness as a replacement to my usual assortment of biros which I used at work and studies. And so the search for the pen recommenced with the added criteria of its being not too expensive to actually use.

      And then I came across the Lamy Al-Star, and was pleased to find that it was possible, from the right stockists, to buy this pin with various types and widths of nib at no extra cost to the (approx) £24 for the standard pen. And so the Al-Star was duly bought.

      A quick note at this point - the Al-Star Graphit referred to in this product's title is actually just a colurway of the Lamy Al-Star pen, a dark grey version of the pen. The pen can also be bought in a silver coloured version, and metallic purple, pink and blue and possibly other, not in stock when I last checked, colours.

      And the pen was duly purchased, with its Lamy ink cartridges (around £2 for six and availble in the usual colours and purple) and a converter (about £5 but some sellers include it as part of a bundle) so it could be used with bottled ink.

      The pen itself is made of metal (in actual fact its a metal version of the Lamy Safari pen) and although fairly thick for an ink pen I find it very light and manageable even with the lid stuck on top of the pen. The grip of the pen is the only bit of plastic, it feels very substantial and is clear. Unfortunaly it has a sort of triangular shape which, depending on the way you hold your pen, can take a little bit of getting used to although it hasn't caused me to stop using the pen. The other bit of the pen's design that niggles me ever so slighty is the hole cut into the barrel about a centimetre in length which allows you to see a small portion of the ink cartridge. This doesn't cause me any issues in the actual using of the pen but I really can't see the point of it as you can't see the end of the ink cartridge though it so even if you can't see any ink in this window it doesn't mean the cartridge is empty, it just means it would be worth having a spare refill to hand.

      So holding the pen is pretty comfortable but how does it actually write? I have to say that, in my experience to date, I have never used a pen that writes as smoothly as my Lamy. And I don't just use it on expensive paper, whatever paper I've used it on it just glides over and leaves a regular trail of ink. I thought it may just be the italic nib that I was using that caused this amazing smoothness but having spoken to somone who uses another variety of Lamy pen it seems to be a common trait of Lamy pens. This silky smoothness has actually led me to use the Lamy in preference to my more expensive Parker pen, which I wasn't expecting when I bought this pen. The pen also seems to releases its ink evenly throughout the life of the cartridge, no obvious blobbing at the start or end. I have also used the ink pot converter (which needs to be twisted to fill) and although I hadn't filled it very well (with a trapped air bubble) I haven't noticed any problems with the ink flow.

      So to sum up this is a lightweight, chunky metal pen with a variety of nibs availble (with a little searching) and a very smooth writing style. Would I recommed it to a friend? Most definitely at the moment I'm recommending it to anyone who even mentions pens to me. I've even gone and bought myself a second Lamy Al Star. Having been brought up with the belief that Parker pens are the best, I think I'm a Lamy Al-Star convert and if you try it you may become one too. (Unfortunately it hasn't miraculously given me perfect handwriting to go with this perfect pen!)

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        03.07.2009 14:47
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        a German LAMY fountain pen

        When I asked my pupils if they could lend me a writing tool because I had forgotten my pencil case (again!), they nearly always handed me a LAMY fountain pen. This is not surprising, firstly, because we encourage them to use fountain pens instead of biros or felt-pens for better handwriting and general tidiness and, secondly, because LAMY is the market leader in Germany. But not only here, LAMY exports writing utensils to 39 countries.

        What does LAMY mean? Nothing, it's the (rare) surname of the founder, a good one, suitable as the brand name of an international firm. The LAMY brand was founded in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1952, in 1966 the famous LAMY design was born which is based on the Bauhaus principle, "Form follows function".

        The Lamy Alstar Graphit Fountain Pen is made from leightweight, durable aluminium and has a metal silver finish. A distinctive element is the ergonomically molded grip section which is made of smoke coloured plastic. It has a modern, no frills, 'cool' look in my opinion.

        The required ink cartridges T 10 are longer than normal ones which is a good thing, of course, because they last longer. The flexible metal clip enables the user to carry the fountain pen around on the outside of a shirt pocket, but to tell you the truth I don't know anyone who'd do such a thing. People who show their writing tools thusly usually have biros (bosses of supermarkets etc.) On The Fountain Pen Network, a forum for lovers of fountain pens (yes, there is such a thing), a member complains that the clip may be bent out of shape by the thick end of denim jeans. A LAMY fountain pen in the back pocket of jeans? Sounds absurd to me.

        More important than the body of a fountain pen, however, is the nib and the way you can write with it. The Lamy Alstar Graphit Fountain Pen has a black, chromium-plated steel nib which is available in extra fine, fine, medium, or broad. I think I should mention here where and why I use a fountain pen at all, I'm a retiree and I go to uni as a so-called 'guest listener' and use it to write down what the professors or lecturers say. I must admit that I can write faster with a biro, but when using a fountain pen my handwriting is better and re-reading a text written this way gives me more pleasure.

        I like broad lines more than fine lines, the problem with the Lamy Alstar Graphit Fountain Pen is that even the broad nib doesn't produce broad lines, at least not what I consider broad. Instinctively I press the nib on the paper when writing with the result that after some time my index finger hurts. The nib is just too stiff for me. I've used the fountain pen for over a year now but it hasn't softened which is very well if you're content but not if you hope to make the fountain pen do what you want.

        All in all I can say that the Lamy Alstar Graphit Fountain Pen is a reliable writing tool, well built and tough (which doesn't mean that it likes being dropped), good-looking and certainly ideal for the rugged life as a pupil's companion. I've decided to give my specimen to a pupil in the neighbourhood and buy another fountain pen for myself, maybe not as cool looking but more elegant and with a broad soft nib.

        Amazon.co.uk sells the Lamy Alstar Graphit Fountain Pen for 19 GBP.

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          02.08.2008 16:36
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          Much better than a Parker pen, definitely worth a try!

          I got this pen a couple of years ago, and I've used quite a lot of pens for all of my college work, and I must say that this pen has been my all time favourite.

          I have used many parker pens, and I have to say, that compared to this pen, they don't write smoothly at all! This fountain pen writes extremely smoothly on all surfaces, and makes your writing look professional and neat all the time, which for me is a very good bonus!

          It's very comfortable to hold, as it's got a good size hand grip, and a good width to the pen itself. The grip depends on what type of Lamy pen you buy, mine (Alstar) has a plastic grip that's smooth to hold onto, however some of the grips for example on the Safari make, the grips are made from the same type of plastic as the rest of the pen, and aren't as easy to hold onto in my opinion.

          The paper clip looking grip on the lid is very useful for clipping it to things and it doesn't break easily at all, as it's made from metal, so unlike other pens this doesn't snap.

          I'd never heard of this make of pen before I bought this one, so I thought that the ink cartridges may be hard to get hold of, but they are as easy to get as the parker ones! They cost around a fiver, if not a bit more, but the price does tend to vary from place to place.

          It takes the long cartridges, and the ink lasts a very reasonable amount time. I had found that with other pens, I would get through endless amounts of cartrdiges, but this pen seemed to make the ink last longer!

          This pen is available in a variety of different colours, however, I've only ever seen a silver or black pen in the shops, the other colours seem to be quite hard to get hold of, however amazon.co.uk has a good selection!

          It is available in roller ball as well, but the ink pen is my favourite!
          These come in black or blue ink.

          One warning with this pen, DONT DROP IT! I unfortunately dropped it not that long ago, and one of the tips bent slightly, and it hasn't written the same since... Which is why I bought another one!

          Overall this fountain pen is so much better than a parker, and is totally worth the money!

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