Adventures With Fountain Pens


One of the gifts I received from my parents this Christmas was a fountain pen. Specifically the LAMY AL-Star. You can see it in the picture above. It is a lovely pen. Really it is. It almost ruined my carpet, however. Also, I’m a bonehead.

The problem was that the thing didn’t come with instructions at all. I know a pen isn’t supposed to be complicated, but the little ink cartridge it came with was a bit confusing. It really wasn’t obvious which was the cartridge was to go in the pen.

I tried one way, and it fit but no ink came out. So, I flipped it and inserted it into the pen. Unfortunately there were now holes in both ends. Ink came out. Well, it gushed out really. It gushed like blood out of a severed artery. Not that I would know what that would look like. Moving on…

Luckily I got the pen to the sink without it dripping on anything important. Of course, the entire contents of the ink cartridge were lost.

I was able to write a bit with the ink that had already welled up in the tip. I have to say it wrote very smoothly, much nicer than the cheap Bic fountain pens of my youth. I’ll have to pick up a bottle of ink to replace the ink I lost (the pen came with a “converter” you can use to use bottled ink). I hear Noodlers ink is pretty good.

That was the excitement for the day. I had a lot of fun with my wife and daughter. I got to help cut out outfits for the “dress up puppies” (my wife did most of it, though). Towards the end of the night, my daughter got a pillow off the couch, stood in front of the TV, and pretended to play Wii Fit. Sigh. I wish I could afford to buy a Wii for us all to play. Ah well.

6 thoughts on “Adventures With Fountain Pens

  1. I can’t remember who, but a writing teacher of mine once said that using a nice fountain pen to write with makes the writing that much sweeter.

    I’ve never been brave enough to try it . . .

  2. I personally think that writing with a fountain pen has made my writing neater and easier to read, not to mention I enjoy writing more now too.

    You are right about the Noodler’s ink, it is pretty nice. I’ve had some nib creep issues with some of my ink, where the ink looks like it is leaking a little, but its normal sometimes. Different inks react differently in different pens, so it is just something you have to experiment with.

    My experience so far has led me to prefer either the regular Noodler’s black, or the Noodler’s Borealis Black, neither of which create too much nib creep. The Noodler’s Tiananmen that I have creates little no no nib creep, and it is almost a red/brown color that looks like day old blood. One ink that I wont be buying again is the Noodler’s Luxury blue which didn’t seem to like being in my pen because the nib creep with that was quite excessive in my opinion.

    All of those above inks were used in my Lamy Studio, but you might get different results with your Lamy AL-star. I’ve got a review with some pictures on my site of the Lamy Studio if you are interested.

    This is the longest comment I’ve ever left on a blog, so I think I’ll stop rambling now. Good luck with the pen and the ink, Im sure once you are settled you will really like it.

  3. “Unfortunately there were now holes in both ends. Ink came out. Well, it gushed out really. It gushed like blood out of a severed artery.”

    Nice imagery, I loved that! Well done.

  4. I gotta believe that this sparkling fantastical pen will inspire. Right? I just got a blank journal for Xmas, but will secretly NOT use it, because it’s ugly. Is that wrong? I just know me, is all… a mudbrown cover will whisper, “don’t pick me up…”

    : )

  5. đŸ™‚
    I too wish we had a wii fit, but am pleased that my son is back into Legos (star wars only).
    I asked for a “real” pen for Christmas a few years back, but didn’t get one. I don’t think anyone understood that for a wannabe writer such a pen can be more than just a pen. It can carry in it symbolic and magical properties.
    Oh none of us in my family can figure out how to make anything work on our own, it takes at least 3 of us to open a jar, to change a lightbulb, to….
    Enjoy your pen.

  6. I just started my fountain pen collection recently and have a few Lamy fountain pens and recently added a fine nib silver-blue AL-Star. They are great everyday pens. When I first bought a Lamy Safari, I was annoyed there weren’t any instructions, too. I guess they assume you know to do. However, I was planning on using the converter.. thank goodness for the Internet!

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