I used to think that I have all the Safari colours I ever need, but as mentioned in February, Lamy keep bringing out wonderful (and difficult to resist) new colours and editions.
This year’s Strawberry and Cream colours are very much to my liking, so I had to go ahead and got one fountain pen in each of the two colours. They were ordered together with the Lamy xevo I discussed recently. I am currently using the strawberry-coloured one with its smooth F nib as a daily writer. These were bought from Pen Heaven in June 2022 and I paid £21.50 each.
The strawberry-red and cream-white Safaris are definitely in the Top 5 of my favourite colours, with the other colours near the top being the Savannah Green (2021), the Mango (2020) and the Griso / Grey version (which was either form 2010 or 2011, I am not sure).
If you are interested in the Lamy Safari, have a look at the Safari article at stationery.wiki. As far as I know it is the most complete overview of Lamy Safari special editions that can be found on the Internet.
I didn’t realise this until I actually held the pen in my hands: It reminds me very much of the beautiful Lamy Colani, with similar organic shapes. Especially the triangular front section with its flowing shapes, but also the matt-ish off-white plastic, bear some resemblance.
The pen is extremely well made for a pen in this price range. You can see the mould lines in good light, but that is not an issue. For comparison: on my xevo I assume thanks to good quality control it will be the same on every xevo. the mould lines are not more obvious than on a Lamy Safari.
The clip is also very well made. It looks like solid sheet metal clip, but it is actually made by bending the material on the outside, i.e. it is not solid like the one you’d find on the Lamy scribble. Just like on the Lamy 2000, a mechanism holds the clip which means the clip can swing outwards instead of relying on the clip’s material to bend when clipping it onto something.
Size-wise the xevo is quite big. It is roughly similar in size to a BIC four colour ballpoint pen and certainly bigger than many other ballpoint pens that aren’t multi pens, like the Caran d’Ache 849.
The xevo is so long that in my typical shirt pockets I have to clip it in towards the middle of the pocket. The middle tends to be slightly deeper. If clipped in on the outside (like the Perfect Pencil in the image below) it would only be clipped in for a few millimetres, so would more likely fall out or get lost.
Altogether an excellent and beautiful pen for the money. My one issue is that it only accepts Lamy M16 refills, so it is nearly impossible to use a gel refill. I discuss this in more detail in the video below.
Other blog posts
If you want to read more about the xevo look at these other blog posts about the xevo (listed in chronological order)
The Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pen Sets come with a nice cardboard insert to hold the pens in place. Our son has Ikea’s Micke desk which has a whiteboard back. Staedtler’s Triplus set insert is held in place on the whiteboard by two magnets.
It’s a great way of storing the Staedtler Triplus pens: they don’t take away desk space but are easily accessible and have a fixed place they can always be put back to.
Today: a look at the Faber-Castell Grip 2011 mechanical pencil. Many years ago I bought a gel pen from the 2011 series. Unfortunately Faber-Castell stopped this gel pen and their gel refills, but there are good alternatives available.
Just like the 2001, the Faber-Castell wood-cased grip pencil, the 2011 has a triangular design with rubbery grip dots and I have read in the past that this series of triangular gip-dotted pens was a big success and saved Faber-Castell from many headaches.
Availability and price
I paid around £10 for my grass green version at PurePens. From what I can tell these are easily available in many European counties and I have seen them in high-street stores in Germany and the UK. In the USA the situation is different: I had a look to see how much they are in the USA, but I only found one place that sells them: Amazon Marketplace – for $18.
Shape and grip
I have already mentioned the main deign feature: the triangular design with rubbery grip dots.
As always, different people buy a specific pen for different reasons. I bought the 2011 mechanical pencil so that my blue gel pen from this series has company. Other make that decision to help them write without pain: a previous colleague of mine only had items from the Faber-Castell grip line in his office. When I asked him about the reasons behind this he told me that he has carpal tunnel syndrome and that it is easier for him to write with pens from the Grip line. He only used pens from this Faber-Castell series and instead of typing on his keyboard he used dictation software. I don’t know enough about this syndrome to comment further, but it sounds as if Faber-Castell’s grip design can help people to write easier or with less pain.
Weight and the grip diameter to weight ratio
Another speciality of this mechanical pencil is the low weight, probably partly down to the clutch mechanism I will mention later. As seen in the diagram below the 2011 mechanical pencil is very much on the light side.
If you don’t only want a light pencil, but also a big grip diameter then it’s worth looking at the diameter to weight ratio. Here the Grip 2011 is near the top, with a ratio 2.5 times better than some other pencils, like the TWSBI precision. Only the the Staedtler 925-15 is doing better, thanks to its low weight and its big diameter, but it does have a slightly thinner grip diameter. The only pencil in my database with a similar grip diameter to the Grip 2011 is the Caran d’Ache 888 Infinite.
The main disappointment for many seasoned mechanical pencil fans will be the Grip 2011’s clutch mechanism: it is a very simple two-jawed plastic clutch. That’s not a problem, but many mechanical pencileers prefer a brass mechanism. Generally speaking very cheap mechanical pencils, like Staedtler’s $1 graphite 777, will come with plastic clutches, but there are also much more expensive mechanical pencils than the 2011, like the Rhodia ScRipt, that have plastic clutches.
If you want a mechanical pencil that can hold a lot of leads then the Grip 2011 might also be for you: 0.7 mm leads usually have a diameter of less than 0.7 mm. The inner diameter of the Grip 2011 is 6.75 mm. If you look at the circle packing in a circle problem you will realise that this pencil can hold a huge number of leads.
The clutch will put many potential customers off, but with it’s low wide, its good grip-ability, the above average looks and the reasonable price this pencil will have no issues finding enough customers.
A few weeks ago David from Helping Hands Craft contacted me. He asked me if I want to review any of their products. I wasn’t aware of their shop before he contact me but was quite impressed by their selection of Faber-Castell products. As a review item I picked the Goldfaber pencil set for £4.50. Looking through their Faber-Castell items I was positively surprised to see other unusual items, for example
the Faber-Castell’s erasing knife. In the past I couldn’t find this one anywhere in the UK, so Gunther sent me one from Germany,
The Goldfaber pencils are made in Indonesia, just like the Columbus, its Irish cousin, and the Bonanza, its Arabic The Bonanza used to be more widely available, but seems to be difficult to get outside the Middle East cousin. The pencil set is marked as being Made in Germany, so I was initially surprised and thought Goldfaber production has moved back to Germany, but when I checked with Faber-Castell they confirmed that this is a mistake and that they will fix this in the future. They have also confirmed that the Goldfaber is made in Indonesia. Unfortunately that’s as far as I got. My further request to get my suspicion regarding the wood being used confirmed was not successful.
The Goldfaber 1221 pencil is a nice writer. It is HB but writes darker than a Castell 9000 in B. I am not surprised though – I always found the 9000 to be lighter than similar grades in other pencils. Pearson’s Graphite 2015 confirms this, the Goldfaber HB is listed with a darkness of 12, the Castell 9000 B with a darkness of 8 higher value = darker. The wood being used in the Goldfaber is also very good. For the price you pay the quality is excellent, but it can’t compete with high-end pencils from Faber-Castell or other brands. Out of the four pencils from the set one is slightly bent, two could have a better centred lead and all four don’t have a perfect paintjob. These small shortcomings don’t detract from the positive impression left by the dark graphite and the nice wood, especially not at this price Eraser and sharpener are approximately half the value of the £4.50. There was also a faint smell of paint when the Goldfabers were fresh out of the box, something Faber-Castell’s Castell 9000 with its water-based varnish doesn’t suffer from, but the smell disappeared after a while.
Sharpener and eraser
The German-made sharpener, presumably an Eisen 040, does an excellent job, as does my favourite eraser, the Malaysian-made 187120, a dust free / no dust eraser.
Overall, this is a very nice pencil set, especially if you want a nice eraser and want a small sharpener and don’t need it to be a container sharpener.
Just to spell it out, I have not been paid for this blog post or for any other blog posts.