Sunday, August 9, 2020

Faber Castell Loom fountain pen review

My second fountain pen purchase after the hit Platinum Preppy was the Faber Castell Loom metallic gray. It is the first serious fountain pen that I own, and I like it a lot. There are some negative things about it, but nobody is perfect.

It has been some time now that I planned to write about the fountain pen and postponed it every time until now. It is weird to see how perception changes over time. When I purchased the Preppy I was not sure about writing with a fountain pen and thought the Faber Castell Loom is a very expensive writing instrument. Now I find it to be just the right price, if not a bargain.
This review is after using the fountain pen for more than a year, so the initial thoughts that I put down on paper when I purchased the fountain pen do not 100% coincide with my current opinions.

The fountain pen has an all-metal body construction, with a plastic cap. It is on the thick and heavy side of writing instruments but I have found out I really like the feel if it in hand. Initially, I thought it to be too thick and heavy, but now writing with it is more comfortable than with the Platinum Preppy. I think I rely on the weight of the fountain pen to apply pressure on the paper, and I have a looser grip on it, compared to the Preppy which I grip tighter and apply a lot more pressure. After a longer writing session, I feel less fatigue and cramping in the hand using the heavier Faber Castell Loom.

The fountain pen uses international cartridges (long or short). It does not come with a converter so if you want to use a converter instead of cartridges you have to pay extra.

Design & feel in hand:

The barrel is a cylindrical metal tube fitted with a pushed in end, the cap made from plastic and painted in different colors. I have mine a simple gray as the barrel but you can choose other colors like pink, blue, brown, green, black, red, white, purple. The grip and barrel joint is flush, which makes the pen look great and feel comfortable in the hand as there is no step up or down. The grip section tappers a bit, and has a series of raised circles that offer a good grip on the fountain pen. I never noticed a tendency for the hand to slip on the barrel even though is all metal.

The fountain pen comes in 3 barrel versions, the one that I own which is a mate gray, a second one which is polished metal and the third gunmetal which looks amazing. The polished version looks a bit cheesy and is a finger magnet at the same time.
The nib has a nice cut which makes it look beautiful and elegant at the same time. Even though it is not a big nig proportional to the pen I think it looks good and feels great. The nib does not have a breather hole just the central cut, ornated with dots and the symbol of Faber Castell, the two knights jousting.
Also on the nib, the size is marked. F in my case.

From what I saw online all the lower end fountain pens from Faber Castell share the same nib. The only difference being the materials and the finishes on the barrel.

The cap is plastic and snaps very securely on the body. You have to put some elbow grease to open it, but after some time it gets more normal. Or I just got used to the effort and developed hulk arms.
It can be used posted or unposted. I prefer to use it unposted as it is nib heavy this way.
It has an unusual look compared to other caps. It looks big and fat over the pen. I would not say ugly but definitely, it is a more unique style and I think it is not everyone's cup of tea.
On the side of the cap is embossed: Faber Castell since 1762 and the two knights jousting. On the top of the cap, there is only the two knights logo. It is a very nice touch which I like a lot.
The clip is plastic covered with chrome-like finish. On the very top, the knights are present as well.


Now the bad part regarding the cap, as you can see from the above image. The clip cracked and I had to glue it. I do not know if I was only the fountainpen's fault, as I may have forced it a bit too much. What I want to say is that it could have been better designed or out of better materials. I read on the internet opinions that the cap is plastic to reduce the weight of the pen. I think at least the clip should have been made out of metal or maybe it should have a hinge.
I secured it in place with some super glue plus baking soda. Not very pretty but if you don't know it's there (which I do) it is not very visible. (ok, it is visible but I do not care anymore :) )

Performance:

I chose the fine (F) nib because I use it on cheap paper all the time. It is a daily writing instrument and I usually take notes and make comments on copy paper, agendas and so on.
The nib feels smooth out of the box, and this seems to be the case with almost all Faber Castell nibs.
But I had a bit of trouble with it, partly Faber Castell fault, partly my fault. I wrote about what I went through with it, and you can read it if you are interested. click here.

Making a long story short, I had some troubles with the fit of the nib and feed in the pen plus I was trying to modify it a little to make it write thinner because I thought the problem is with the flow and did not suspect the problem came from how the nib and feed were not sitting properly. In short, I could not use large international cartridges because the pen would burp ink frequently plus the nib felt wobbly sometimes.
At some point in time, I thought of just scraping the fountain pen and buying a new one. At this point I made some drastic nib corrections because I didn't like the feel of it anymore and distorting the nib was not a concern anymore. The main problem was that the nib was drying when I was making faster movements on the paper, and skips occurred more often than I would have liked.
Be careful as you can make it worse, and believe me I did it at first. 
Now I can say the fountain pen writes very nice again, but it is a hint of luck that I didn't damage it beyond repair in the first attempts.

In conclusion, even though I had some problems with the fountain pen I would say is well worth buying the fountain pen. For 25 euros or $ 30 (this is what I paid for it), you get an all-metal barrel, and a great writing experience. Before buying the Loom I have tested in the shop a Pilot Metropolitan (I own one now, coming soon), Lamy Safari and Al-Star, Kaweco Sport. And I think it is the best between all of the above mentioned. Most comparable I would say it is the Al-Star, but I didn't like the grip and the design as much I like the Loom's.


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