Return of the Lackluster Lamy

Well, it kind of serves me right if nobody actually reads this it’s been so long since I last posted; and before you read any further, you might want to check out an older post, in which this Lamy 2000 first appeared.

Are you back? Good, then let’s begin. It was actually months ago that I sent my Lamy 2000 off to Dan Smith, the renowned nibmeister of Iowa.

In fact, that was so long ago that—sadly—he is no longer accepting commissioned work on his web site. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get a nib grind from this guy, it just means that you’ll have to commission his work on a pen bought from the site, or at one of his many pen show attendances. This, frankly, is just as good if not better, because his prices are highly competitive, and his work is just that good. In fact, the idea of picking up a pen with a Dan Smith custom nib grind for only about an extra fifty bucks (US)—or sometimes even free, depending on the price of the pen—is enough to make you think, why would I look elsewhere? The only reason I do is that (i) he’s in the US and, well, I’ve been over that one. Things may get better in 2020. And (ii) I’m Canadian/British, and, well, shipping, customs, taxes, exchange rates…

Anyway, the pen came back. First the bad news—it was still a Lamy 2000. Mr. Smith had not taken it into his heart to wrap up a Sailor King of Pen and send me one of those because I was stupid enough to have a Lamy in the first place. I guess that’s why he’s still in business.

But therein all similarities with the lackluster object I sent away just fizzle and die. I had asked Dan (should I call him Dan? My son is Daniel—when he’s screwed up—and Mr. Smith seems a bit formal), to turn a truly awful nib, into a medium stub that was as smooth as ice on glass. In reality that’s a bit of an ask, but The Nibsmith pretty much got there.

Do my eyes deceive me just a bit, or is there a trace of the old obliqueness to the top of that nib? Who cares? The more than reasonable asking price of this nib grind had turned an unusable, expensive chunk of Lamy metal, into something that actually stood a chance of doing what it was designed to do; namely, write.

Hmmm… obliqueness? Perhaps not. That nib looks pretty straight and stubby to me from this angle.

But does it write as good as it looks, even given my utter lack of photographic ability?

Oh yes.

I inked it up with a shot of Platinum’s Pigment Ink in blue (their waterproof, permanent ink, and a great color), and put that all-new-Nibsmith-nib to paper.

The whole point of a stub nib is to give a narrower horizontal line than vertical when you write. But in addition, I had asked Dan to give me an extremely smooth writing experience, on a medium nib. All of these tend to take the end result in different directions. For example, a truly crisp italicized nib requires sharp, straight side edges to the nib, and a stub has slightly rounded edges to provide a more forgiving, smoother writing experience.

A medium nib will also not provide quite as much line variation as, say, a 1.1mm or 1.5mm stub nib, hence these being common stub sizes on standard stock nibs. As a result, to have a smooth, medium, stub nib, is a three-way balancing act, that Dan Smith pulled off just beautifully as far as I was concerned.


So, a modest further investment saved an unusable pen, and made it an absolute joy to write with. Great. And Dan Smith’s work is nothing short of amazing, well worth the price of entry.

But, at the end of the day, it was an expensive pen, that cost almost 50% again of it’s total value to make it actually do what it was supposed to do in the first place; that being write. That’s not The Nibsmith’s fault, that’s shoddy Lamy quality control. And I keep coming back to being able to write with a pen, especially >$200 pen, right out of the box don’t I? I am obviously utterly unreasonable to expect a pen that costs about $220 CAD to write properly. But, this pen will have reached an overall cost of about $350 CAD, before anyone has ever really written with it to any significant extent. I speak to a lot of people that don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with that. Hmm*.

* Before you go clicking on this one, the answer is, of course, not safe for work.

6 thoughts on “Return of the Lackluster Lamy

  1. Too late, I clicked on it! And it was NSFW. My coworker was sitting right next to me and she was shocked, I tell you, shocked! (Actually she’s a cute redhead too busy gnawing on her bone to notice. And although she is part poodle, she has not yet learned how to read. Maybe if she were a border collie?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know exactly what you mean, the raven-haired Alfie fled my desktop the moment I moved the treat jar to reach the keyboard. But he may have been more shocked at the emptiness of the jar.


      1. Perhaps you should work harder not to disturb your coworkers. They have enough to deal with as is. Lord knows my coworkers do. Sudden movements. Conversations ON THE PHONE. Such working conditions would try anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I find that much is mitigated by keeping a jar of Friskies Party Mix (Tuna) near at hand. Alfie even forgives webcam meetings for a few of those. In fact, for a few of those, he is the star of webcam meetings.


      3. In fact, thinking about it, I could probably leave him on my desk with a jar of treats, and clear off to do something far more productive. I’m sure everybody else in the meeting would be far happier than they normally are with anything I have to say.


  2. Shaun

    The issue of quality control is a real problem and high-lights the complexity of the nib. There’s also the weird math equation of finding the right pen-ink-paper combination that turns a poor writing experience to a great one. It’s a black mark on the industry. I have a small collection of about two dozen pens that range from TWSBI to custom Nakaya and I’ve sent, or need to send at least a quarter of the collection to a nibmeister for work. Alas it is a matter of the heart, but what an expensive hobby!

    Liked by 1 person

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