Lamy Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

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Lamy has many fans in the stationery world, and justifiably so. Their products are associated with reliability, good value, and a commitment to good design.

Here is a Lamy Safari you’re not going to find in any stationery store: a 2.0mm mechanical pencil. The one pictured is a custom modification by isu, the author of both the uncomfortable chair, and the uncomfortable chair 2. Why two blogs? I am not sure. Maybe there are even more.

In a great confluence of events, Stationery Magazine issue 10 just arrived from Japan. We took a brief look at the first issue almost a decade ago. Although I do not read or speak Japanese, the annual magazine has such great photography that it is still worth picking up if you’re someone who reads blogs like this one.

Guess who is featured in issue 10? The master modifier himself!

LAMY Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

Thank you isu for the great pencil!

LAMY Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

I wonder if Lamy could be persuaded to add 2.0mm to their lineup?

LAMY Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

LAMY Safari 2.0mm Mechanical Pencil

LAMY plus pencils

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LAMY plus pencils

First unveiled at the 2010 Paperworld show and reviewed at Lexikaliker, a few LAMY plus pencils have washed up on this side of the Atlantic.

LAMY plus pencils

From LAMY, a firm renowned for their design capabilities, we have two-tone grey and silver triangular pencils.

LAMY plus pencils

The “plus” is a slightly oversize 8.5mm diameter pencil with an oversize 4mm core. The silver side has the familiar LAMY logo. It comes in HB and B grades.

The “4plus” is a jumbo 10mm diameter pencil with a huge 6.25mm core. It comes only in B, and varies slightly from the plus in having the cap completely finished.

LAMY plus pencils

The “Made in Germany” pencils have an amazing appearance and with dark, rich graphite cores, offer a great writing experience. The only minor thing I’ll note is that the HB and B leads did seem very similar to me.

LAMY plus pencils

This is a great boost for the pencil industry. To have a company with the stature of LAMY enter this market with a high end product bodes well. Just when many companies are leaving the field, we have a very savvy new entrant.

My thanks to Gunther from Lexikaliker for sending me these samples.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen/Ballpoint Pen set

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Lamy Safari Fountain Pen/Ballpoint Pen set

There may be hundreds of reviews of the Lamy Safari out on the net. I agree with their general sentiment: the Lamy Safari is an excellent pen in and of itself, and one of the best overall values in fountain pens today.

I have a Pelikano Junior that’s also doing extremely well, but it’s new so I won’t place it in the Lamy’s category just yet. (Nor is the Pelikano even close to the same design level.) I also have other fountain pens that require a regime of rinsing, cleaning, and choosing the right ink. That’s okay, but convenience has some merits. The Safari, though abuse would be unwise, doesn’t require any of that sort of pampering. For me, it always just works. It is a great pen for someone who may be curious about fountain pens, but doesn’t want to spend too much.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen/Ballpoint Pen set

The Safari comes in many colours, and Lamy released a white version last year. The set in the picture also includes a matching ballpoint pen.

The aesthetics of the Lamy are current and modern. I think it’s a great looking pen. The plastic box housing the pens is itself a great piece of design.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen/Ballpoint Pen set

Now let me mention a couple things that you might have to learn the hard way if you buy a pen like this somewhere other than in person at a specialty fountain pen shop (where they typically know their stuff).

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen/Ballpoint Pen set

It will come with a handy ink cartridge. That’s nice, but be aware that this is a proprietary Lamy-only size. If you want to use these cartridges in non-Lamy pens, or use “standard” cartridges, such as from famous ink manufacturer Herbin, you are out of luck. Lamy makes a few colours, and that’s where your choice ends.

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen/Ballpoint Pen set

The ballpoint, which is also quite stylish and usable, takes a proprietary Lamy M16 refill. For someone like myself in a small city – the problem is that the local big box office supply store doesn’t carry this item.

Lamy Safari Fountain pen cartridge: T10

For the fountain pen – there is a path to more choices which I recommend – the (again proprietary format) Lamy Z24 format converter allows the use of bottled ink. This is to me a defining merit of the fountain pen – there are hundreds if not thousands of ink varieties available, ranging not just in shade, but density, wetness, drying times, and many other factors. The converter sets you free to try whatever ink you choose.

Lamy Safari Ballpoint refill: M16

To review, the Lamy Safari Fountain pen and ballpoint pen use these refills:

Ballpoint refill: M16
Fountain pen cartridge: T10
Fountain pen converter: Z24

Overall, I think they are great writing implements, but I have just a bit of concern about the non-standard formats – the ballpoint in particular.

Lamy ABC

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The Lamy ABC pen and pencil set.

The Lamy ABC is a pen and pencil set aimed at children, though adults will have no difficulty enjoying these nicely made products.

The fountain pen is essentially a Lamy Vista in a pleasing wood and red plastic case. It takes Lamy cartridges or a converter. My version has a medium nib. It’s a tremendous value as fountain pens go – a great writer, smooth and highly reliable. The cap doesn’t post, which could be an issue for some, and has a space for a sticker with one’s name. It is really lightweight, even compared with a Vista, so it’s no trouble to transport around town.

Matching the pen is a mechanical pencil with a 3.15 mm lead. Unlike most clutch leadholders, which require pressing a button or cap and sliding the lead, this pencil has a really nice twist mechanism. Even Lamy’s more sophisticated looking (and expensive) Scribble 3.15 mm pencil doesn’t have this mechanism. There is also an included lead sharpener, which I love as it works with other 3.15 mm pencils, and is a pretty unusual sharpener.

3.15 mm lead of the Lamy ABC.The pencil is comfortable and writes very nicely. The lead is solid and doesn’t break. Though they ship with an HB lead by default, the pencils also take other hardnesses as well as colour leads from art supply stores.

It’s a mechanical pencil that offers great quality, as well as nice (though not traditional) styling.