I am thinking of buying a Pilot Capless. I have not had one before and am attracted to the matte black version with black trim, particularly after watching a review by Scrively on YouTube. I hover over the pictures of it on The Writing Desk and add it to my wish list.
This would be a significant decision for me, for two reasons. First, it would break a four month pen no-buy, about which I am feeling slightly proud and self-righteous. Secondly it would be a purchase of a pen that I have deliberately resisted until now, as I believed that the pocket clip would interfere with my natural grip of the pen. As a lefty over-writer, I tend to rotate my pens inwards a little, which means that my thumb then rests right on the centre of the grip, just where the clip is.
However, I have, since the age of 18 or so, also practiced a lefty under-writer style, with left elbow tucked into my side and in an upright style. For this, I do hold my pens in the customary fashion.
I am encouraged by Scrively (himself a lefty side-writer) who stated in his review that although initially put off by the pocket clip, he has since grown to like it, although it is not perfect. He encouraged people to try holding a Lamy Safari by the facets, to see how this feels.
I do have a box of Safaris and AL-Stars. In a typical pen-pottering diversion today, I had a look through them all and chose one to ink up. I picked my familiar old charcoal Safari, my first and oldest model.
I was surprised to see that that the nib showed signs of having been put away without a thorough clean last time. I took it up to the bathroom to flush the section, and give it a few squirts through of tepid water with a bulb-blower, as is my custom. I then thought to remove the nib, to clean beneath it. I wrapped a piece of Selotape over it and pulled. To my surprise and excitement, the entire feed came out of the section, with the nib still attached. I cannot remember ever having succeeded in pulling a Lamy Safari feed out before; generally I remove the nib only and leave the feed in place, but I seldom do even that.
I was therefore able to wash the nib, feed and section separately, have a quick photo-session and then put them back together. The feed went back in the section with a satisfying click. I had put the nib back on first but on reflection it would have been preferable to put it on last, to avoid any risk of distorting the nib.
The other benefit of this exercise is that, following a pen friend’s good example, I am trying to use up some of my accumulated stash of ink cartridges. This is a daunting task but sounds easier one brand at a time. For example I am now down to my last nine Cross cartridges. And so I took one of my loose blue Lamy cartridges and popped it in.
Putting pen to paper, the ink flowed immediately. I was thrilled at just how smoothly my old Safari writes, having been my work pen for a few years. I also liked the Lamy blue ink very much.
I have since written a few pages in underwriter style, obeying the Lamy’s call to place my finger and thumb on the facets. I cannot write as fast or uniformly but am happy writing this way for some purposes.
This old Lamy Safari, well worn in to my writing angle, and after its bath today, writes as smoothly as I could wish for. It has a nice medium nib and is matched perfectly with Lamy blue ink.
And yes, I can manage to hold the Safari by the facets, for lefty under-writing. This bodes well for a Pilot Capless. But do I really need the Pilot Capless when my Lamy Safari writes so smoothly, not to mention the rest of the pens currently inked and those resting? I have to accept that the answer is no. I think I may write to the end of this Lamy cartridge and see whether the temptation to go Capless is still there or has gone away.