A new pen deliberation. And a Safari gets a deep clean.

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.

Nib and feed pulled.

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.

Lamy Safari disassembled.

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.

A well worn-in 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.

Writing sample in Lamy blue. Paper is Concord notebook, premium writing paper, 100gsm.

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.

21 thoughts on “A new pen deliberation. And a Safari gets a deep clean.

    1. Rupert, Anthony, Thank you both for very interesting blogs. I was very fortunate to pick up a Capless VP Carbonesque (brand new) for £37.00 as a local stationery ‘was stuck with it’! I find that it writes very smoothly and gives a clear wet line. I occasionally find the grip slightly slippery and the ink capacity is not enormous but it is a pen I like but do not use as much as I should. Day to day writing at the moment seems to include several Safaris an Aion, Pelikan M200 and a TWSBI 580 AL which I ilke very much. I am right handed although born a left hander but changed at the age of 5 as left handers were unlucky!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind comments. You were very lucky with your Capless, being in the right place at the right time!
        I think the matte black Capless may be less slippery to hold.


  1. I think your decision to write the Lamy cartridge dry before revisiting the decision to buy the new pen is a good one: my mother would essentially say the same thing to me when I was a small child when I wanted her to buy me something I saw in impulse while shopping.

    “I can’t buy this now but if you still want it in two weeks, I’ll buy it then.”

    I’ve lost count (and memory) of all the things I’d forgotten to ask for in that two-week waiting period. My mom was a wise woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for the kind offer, but I am in no rush and please don’t go to the bother of sending your Capless. I shall be interested to try it when we can eventually get together again sometime.


  2. I like your idea of waiting a while before ordering a new fountain pen. I often do that, and frequently, I end up deciding I’m not that crazy about the pen in question after all. It takes some discipline, but it’s a good way to save some money and not buy pens that I’ll end up not using much anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Debi. Allowing some time to pass is a good way to help decide whether a new pen is wanted. I also keep a wish list so that I can compare my latest passion with previous ones.


  3. Hi Rupert
    The Pilot Capless is certainly a pen I would recommend for writing “on the go”. When I used to commute to work on the Tube, I used to have my capless handy as it is very convenient for marking up papers or jotting notes, with the real convenience of not having to post a cap on the back of the pen (or put the cap in a pocket as you write). The nibs are great as well.
    I’ve had a mustard yellow capless with a medium nib for years and still use it regularly even though I no longer commute, being now “semi-retired” and working from home.
    The one drawback of Capless pens is that they only use Pilot cartridges which have a rather boring and limited range of colours. Otherwise there is a converter but that does not hold much ink and requires very regular re-filling. I don’t mind that, as I like to vary my inks, but it does require frequent cleaning between re-inkings.
    But generally, I would say that every pen enthusiast should have a Pilot Capless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your comments all of which are nudging me towards buying a Capless. A friend is now to lend me one to try.
      I do like the look of the matte black ‘stealth’ version where the clip is less visually noticeable and the body perhaps less slippy. After this version a yellow or red would be my next choice.
      I am to borrow a broad nib version but would probably opt for a medium myself.


  4. Hi Rupert, thanks for your blog which I enjoy reading very much.

    I am a lefty overwriter, but I have a fairly standard 3 point grip and can use a Safari comfortably. Like you, I was nervous about the VP clip, so I started with the one with a steel (“special alloy”) nib which is cheaper than the gold nib versions. I think it is only available from Japanese sellers online and only comes in shiny finishes.

    It felt odd at first, but I think that is mainly a visual thing – it looks like you are holding the pen upside down. I find it perfectly comfortable but note, it is a fairly girthy grip section.

    Since then, I have also acquired a Decimo, Fermo, and a matte black VP. I find them all comfortable but the girth of the Fermo is ideal for me, although the Fermo does feel slightly more back heavy.

    The texture of the matte black VP has the nicest feel.

    All nibs have been superb – steel fine, and gold extra fine, fine, medium, and stub. I got the stub from Pen Chalet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for this helpful information. I note that you like the finish of the matte black VP the best. I understood it to be less slippery to grip and also, the clip is less obvious.
      I am not troubled by the girth of the full size VP as I enjoy the Platinum Curidas although I removed the clip from it completely.
      A friend is to lend me his VP and I look forward to trying it out. If I find it managable, I will probably buy one!
      Thanks for visiting the blog.


  5. Well done on the four month pen no-buy. I haven’t spent anything on pens or ink since the Pelikan hub when I realised I was happily surrounded by harmless addicts!
    wrt to the Capless, I doubt anyone here needs any other pens, but importantly for you I think the clip can be removed. Why deprive your self off a pleasant writing experience and a well made pen…?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Scott, Thanks for reading.
      I was not aware that the clip of the Capless may be removed. That would be great and would also remove my main worry over this otherwise excellent pen! I shall have to investigate further!


  6. I am almost certain the clip cannot be removed, as it is securely welded into the body of the pen- unlike the Curidas which allows this to be done. Personally, I have not found the Capless clip to be a problem, as I am right handed and I find the clip fits snugly between my fingers as I write.

    Liked by 1 person

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