Lamy pen tutorial – 101

January 24, 2008 § 28 Comments

[This article + much more can be found as a separate page now: ]

When it comes to sketching with fountain pens, I do prefer my Lamy pens, since their abillity to write in almost each position is legendary.

Recently I noticed that more and more people seem to be interested in them, but only few know the facts, so I decided to write this little tutorial. I really hope that it will be of help to some of you and if you still have any questions left, don’t hesitate to ask me, chances that I might know the answer aren’t that bad :).

A little bit of background information on Lamy. Lamy is a German company (located in Heidelberg btw) that produces high quality writing instruments and accessories, mainly fountain pens. In Germany kids at school write only with fountain pens (and non waterproof, erasable ink) and Lamy has probably been the most popular brand among them for many years now.

To meet the demands of all of their customers, the company regularly produces pens in new colors, styles, materials, etc. The insides of these pens and the nibs stay very much the same, it’s only colors and materials that vary. Oh, and yes, the prices, of course ;).

Here’s just a little part of my private Lamy collection:


What I consider more important than the outward style of the pen, is the nib:


Nibs can be bought separately (every nib will suit every pen – they are all built in the same way!) and they come in different sizes. There is also a special nib for the left-handed, its size being medium (nice for writing, but perhaps a little bit large for sketching?), although AFAIK most left-handed people won’t face any trouble using the regular nibs.

You can get your pen with these nibs:

  • EF (extra fine)
  • F (fine)
  • M (medium)
  • MK (medium kursive/ballpoint tip)
  • B (bold)
  • LH (left-handed, medium)
  • Calligraphy-nibs (1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm)


For sketching you should try the EF nib or F, depending on what you like better. Nibs are made either of steel (black or silver) or of gold (F,M,B only). I’ve never observed any differences between the black steel nibs and the silvery steel nibs, but there is a big difference between the steel nibs and the gold nibs, the latter being much more elastic and thus more pleasant to write with. Unfortunately the gold nibs do not come in EF, they would be gorgeous for sketching :).

How to change nibs.


Get your pen and a nib. Since changing nibs is a little bit messy, you might also want to wear some disposable gloves and get a piece of scratch paper to work upon.

Turn your pen upside down:


The pale pink circle indicates the spot where you should place the cap…


…push the cap gently down with one of your hands while pulling the pen with your other hand…


…this should remove the nib from the pen. Clean the removed nib with warm water (never use soap or anything else for cleaning, just warm water) and carefully dry it with the help of a tissue.

Now get your pen and gently slide-in the new nib…


… until it has reached its final position.


Congrats, you’re done :)!

How to fill your pen with ink.

Now, if you are going to sketch with your pen, you surely will like to have a waterproof ink and since the ink that is supplied with your Lamy isn’t waterproof at all, it’s time to replace it with a water-resistant ink like Noodler’s.

There are two possibilities for doing this.


The safe method would be, to get a converter, to fill it with ink and use it in your pen. It isn’t difficult to handle, the only thing I do object about the converter is that it tends to suck up too much air and too little ink and it’s an annoying procedure to fill and refill this thingie until it’s acceptable filled.

The second method is to use a disposable syringe to refill your ink cartridge. Well, I assume that you are all old enough to know that you should be very careful while working with a syringe. Always reclose it immediately after using. And don’t let your children/pets/whatever play with them. The advantages of this technique is that it is much cheaper and that you will have more ink in your pen. (Check the photo for size comparison between ink cartridge and converter.)

Now you should be ready to start working with your new pen. Enjoy!

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§ 28 Responses to Lamy pen tutorial – 101

  • Thank you so much. I got the white Lamy ages ago – I think like 17 years ago – and just last summer I changed the nib, because it was worn off and hard to write with. I did the changing a bit different, but the way you discribed seems to be better.
    Have fun sketching!
    Greetings from France

  • vickylw says:

    This is a wonderful tutorial and answers some questions I still had about my Lami’s. Thanks so much for the info!

  • Deni May says:

    Thanks so much for this!! What a HUGE difference between the cartridge and the converter!! How long will a cartridge last I wonder…..and can you get new empty ones?? That would seem to make the most sense…then you could have different colors of the inks YOU want…….deni…..;)

  • Domenic says:

    Great tutorial, but I dont recall seeing nibs sold separately. Where do you get them?

    • Hi Sylvia:- Have had my Lamy (black with black nib) for over 20 years now, but haven’t used it very much, even though I do enjoy writing with a good instrument. It stayed in my desk for a large part of that time and consequently dried up. Just today got some new refills (blue, my favourite ink colour) but with a new cartridge in it, the pen just wouldn’t write. Even though I’ve rebuilt car engines numerous times, I couldn’t figure out how to remove the nib, which I thought would be a good idea to try to clean out the pen. Your directions were excellent. When I removed the nib, the whole guts of the pen came with it, but this was good because it enabled me to flush it out completely, and the guts went back in (have to be aligned with guides inside the barrel) without a hitch. Pen now writes like a new one.

      My primary foramtive years were in England, where everyone (at least in those days) learned to write with a pen and ink. I learned to write around the time when ball pens (byros) were invented, namely circa 1948. Never heard of anyone using a fountain pen to sketch, but of course they were invented so that people didn’t need to carry pots of ink around with them, so why not sketching as well as writing. It has been my plan (though not yet realized) to learn to sketch (old churches, castles, etc) in pen and ink, but don’t know how to start. Having been a musician of sorts all of my life, I know that tin ears don’t make good musicians, so because of my seeming inablity to draw, am wondering if there is such a thing as a tin hand? Or can lessons help overcome this inability? Am retired now, so if I could get my time organized, would love to take sketching lessons. What do you think? Can an old dog be taught how to draw?

      Thanks for the help with my Lamy, good health and luck (one and the same)?

      Geoff Stead

      P.S. Your way of using the cap to help pull out the nib is excellent. Even though the cap is plastic, and the nib is harder, with a little care there was no damage to the cap in my case.

      • :) Silvia says:

        Dear Geoff,
        glad to hear that the method of changing the nib worked for you. Yes, I know a couple of people are very afraid that they might damage the cap when doing that, but I can say that I replaced the nibs on my pens a couple of times and haven’t noticed any damage to them so far. ;).
        About learning to draw/paint, well I think it is just a matter of learning :). I really do believe that each of us is able to paint, all it takes is just a lot of practice. I am pretty sure that you will succeed if you’re giving it a serious try. There are a lot of wonderful free online courses that might help you. Have you checked forums like It’s full of brilliant artists and information and they even have a corner dedicated to ink drawings there, I’m sure you’ll like it there.

  • nina j says:

    Thanks a lot for writing this. Your method of changing the nib was nifty, I shall remember it Β΄til next time I need it! Great pics too.

  • Sherry says:

    Thank you for your clear instructions. You were a thousand times more helpful than the man who sold me my Lamy pen.

  • :) Silvia says:

    Thank you all very much for your encouraging comments. I will try to answer all of your questions as soon as possible and will update this article, too.
    Domenic, actually you should be able to get these nibs in all of those shops where you can buy the pen, yet I also had to find out, that there are shops that are well sorted while others are not. For a long time you could also buy them on the website, but I was surprised to read there that the LH and MK nib were discontinued by Lamy?! (I don’t think so.)

  • Ujwala says:

    just saw this post. great tip on changing the nibs. thank you πŸ˜€

  • vuv says:

    I’ve had my Lamy Safari for the last two years, it is the black one with a black medium nib. Recently I bought another Safari and Al-Star with medium nibs, but the nibs in both pens are very scratchy compared to my old one, which was always a very smooth writer. I noticed that the nibs, although black, have a silver coloured tip, unlike my old safari, which was all black, including the tip. Have Lamy changed the nibs they put in Safaris and Al-Stars? Did anyone notice that?

  • Jordan says:

    Where are you buying separate nibs for you’re safari?

  • :) Silvia says:

    Usually you should be able to get them at those shops that sell the regular Lamy pens. At least that’s where I got mine πŸ™‚

  • Owen says:

    An neat way of solving the problem. Thanks.

    I found another way, just as an FYI over at the Writer’s Bloc blog using ordinary office tape or light weight packing tape. I like that method as it ensures that the tip of the nib cannot be damaged in any way.

    Should anyone be interested the link is here

  • bleedingpoison says:

    I do that too to fill up link πŸ˜€

  • David says:

    buen tutorial, sencillo y al grano. como debe ser .


  • sig says:

    Thank you so much – it works!! I bought a pen at one place and a fine nib somewhere else – they didn’t know how to change the nib. I did it myself – it was easy……

  • Chien says:

    I recently bought a Lamy Vista and the Z24 converter for it. When I fill the pen with ink, it “leaks” out into the handle of where I hold the Vista. Is this supposed to happen or did I already screw up my pen?

    This is my first fountain pen ever by the way.

    • :) Silvia says:

      Don’t worry Chien, this is supposed to happen to some extent. As long as the pen doesn’t leak when writing (out of the nib) everything should be fine πŸ™‚

  • Ivo Tremont says:

    This tutorial is great, thank you. I was browsing to find instructions on how to change nibs on my Lamy Studio and these are the most detailed yet easiest to find.

  • Lon Keith Klein says:

    Can I get a white “Alpin Weiss” Safari fountain pen like the one in the pics…with black clip , ring, and top button Can you sell me one or can you direct me to someone who will sell one to me, please.I’d like to gift it to my signif. other. Tx, Lon

    • :) Silvia says:

      Hi Lon, the fountain pen I’m using in this tutorial is almost twenty years old and I’m afraid to tell you that Lamy doesn’t produce them exactly like that anymore (with a black steel nib). If my memory doesn’t fail me they made another version of lamy white (with a silvery steel nib, clip, etc. this time) some five years ago, but those sold out already, too. If you’re lucky you might find one on eBay since they still pop up there occasionally. Check especially eBay Germany, it’s more likely to find them there.
      Yet if you really insist on that version I’m using and don’t mind buying a 20-years-old used pen just drop me another line. I’m sure we could come to an agreement ;).

  • Hi Silvia,
    Tx for the generous offer. Pen cost + shipping …USD? That would be fine 4 a well looked after used instrument. Can you include the worn out nib with the new one , please? This is the alpin old black clip and button with the X…right. The inner cap liner is OK, too….yes?


  • Deb says:

    Was so happy to find your tutorial! I am a bit of a pen fanatic and recently purchased a Lamy Al-Star in green. However, I need to write with a fine point, so I returned to the store where I purchased my Lamy and they sold me an MK nib, assuring me it was fine point. I saw very little difference between it and the M nib the Lamy came with, and now I know why! It wasn’t fine point at all! I have just ordered another Lamy Al-Star in brown from their website equipped with an EF nib. I was also excited to learn that I could refill my existing cartridge with refill ink! Again, thanks so much!

  • Lisa says:

    Excellent tutorial – thank you so much for providing this clear and concise information about nib changes. πŸ™‚

  • Kevin Li says:

    this is not a good way to change nib.. the cap will be scratched by the nib because nib is harder than the cap…
    Tried this on Vista…
    A better way is to use tab, the trick is to pull and not push when using the tab:

  • Cool post! Thanks for it.

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