A few years ago Paul, from the now-defunct Gorgeous Ink blog, wrote about upgrading a Lamy Safari (as I remember it) to a 14K gold nib. That was when I first became aware that Lamy made gold nibs for pens other than the Lamy 2000. That memory ramained lodged in a brain crevice since then. I’ve always liked Lamy Safaris, but I never seemed to bond with one. I’ve rediscovered them lately, and I’m now a bit infatuated with them. My memory of Paul’s gold nib broke loose from the crevice, and I decided to check out Lamy’s gold nib options.
In addition to the standard nib sizes (extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad) Lamy also has medium oblique and broad oblique 14k gold nibs. Since an oblique is my favorite grind, I was on board with a medium oblique. A broad would be far too big for my writing style. The Lamy obliques are a bit harder to find at retail, but I was able to order the last 14k medium oblique nib from JetPens.
They showed as out of stock after I ordered one. It did come back in stock a couple of weeks later, with one in stock. Maybe it was sooner, I didn’t check daily, but it was long enough for me to believe the “Only 1 left in stock” notice was legitimate, and not an attempt to compel a FOMO purchase. (FYI: Lamy does not make steel oblique nibs.) I’ve been using the nib since it arrived on January 16th.
The nib shipped in a small plastic bag that could easily be lost in the packaging. It’s just the nib, no feed or housing is included. I included some ink cartridges in the order, so it was wrapped with them. This made me a bit squeamish as I tried to remove the tightly wound and taped plastic wrap without damaging the nib that I could not see. Lamy calls it a Z55 nib and it can be used with almost any Lamy fountain pen except the Lamy 2000. There are probably other models that it won’t work with, but it fits most Lamy fountain pens that I’ve seen available in the United States.
The nib is three-times the cost of the Lamy Safari fountain pen that I’ll be putting it on. This makes the cost justification a bit tough. It’s even harder because I’m not a gold nib snob. I like steel nibs just fine, and I don’t choose gold over steel when both are available. Well, I did on one recent fountain pen, but that’s another story. And for the record, the gold nib bump of that upgrade was more than the cost of this nib.
My justification is simple and summed up in three points.
- I’m curious and want one (I could stop here).
- Obliques are my favorite grind and were my gateway into using medium nibs more. Obliques are rarely a factory option, so there’s almost always an added cost for obliques.
- I don’t have to send a pen away for a nib grind, and then wait for its return.
I consider the Lamy 14k oblique medium to be a fair value at $100 when compared to other options, since the gold nib bump is often more than $100, even if the original nib is removed from the pen before the sale. While some nib grinders may charge less, an oblique grind is going to cost $40 or more, plus shipping from my preferred nib workers. While that’s less than $100, it does make the Lamy gold nib feel like a better value.
Before I could ink it up, I had to put the nib on a pen. JetPens has a written guide describing a couple of methods to swap the nibs, and Goulet Pens has a video showing the tape method, which is the method that I use. I like the tape method because it makes it nearly impossible to drop the nib, and the risk of accidentally bending the nib is minimal.
With the nib in place, I popped in a Lamy Violet ink cartridge as the first ink. The nib was ready to write as soon as I was.
Writing with the Pen
It’s a medium nib, so wider than my usual everyday writer. I’ve been using medium nibs more and more recently, so I’ve gotten used to them.
I find the flow to be generous, almost a little too generous for my tastes, proven by the occasional smudge. I can’t make any direct steel vs. gold comparisons, but this gold nib is wetter than my Lamy steel medium nibs. On the other hand, there’s some nice line variation due to the ink flow. My issues with the oblique medium nibs are no different from regular medium nibs, especially western ones. I have to write bigger and slower than normal, otherwise, even I can’t read my writing Since all the e and o’s, among others are just balls of ink.
But I’ve gotten used to medium nibs, and have begun to enjoy them. Oblique nibs are a natural fit for my hand, and enjoy using them more than a regular round medium. The oblique medium will be primarily used for longer, sit down at a desk, writing sessions.
Overall, I do like the Lamy Medium Oblique 14k gold nib. It’s a nib style I like a lot, which is a huge plus. I am curious about getting a Lamy Steel medium nib ground to an oblique, so I can compare them. That probably won’t happen, since I have no reason to get a second Lamy oblique nib, beyond that curiosity.
I should mention that the Lany Violet ink cartridge leaked out into the pen case. I couldn’t find where it leaked, so I assume it came through the nib. Everything seemed secure and I don’t blame the nib, but since I don’t know the cause I can’t rule it out. There’s been no leaking since I moved the nib to another Safari.
I like the feel of writing with the gold nib slightly more than a Lamy Steel nib. But, I have to admit this could be my brain trying to justify the purchase. It’s also partly due to the oblique being more suitable for the way I hold a fountain pen.
I like oblique nibs, and my current preferred nibmeister charges $40, making the gold nib a $60 up-charge (me justifying the expense). I like the feel and consistency of the gold nib.
While I’m not planning on getting any additional Lamy gold nibs, I am happy that I have this one, and don’t regret the $100 cost. This quickly became a lie, by the end of this month, I ordered another oblique medium gold nib, and an extra-fine gold nib. The more I used the nib, the more I liked it.