Monday, October 29, 2012

Levenger Product Review: L-Tech Fountain Pen - Medium

The Levenger L-Tech fountain pen is the first fountain pen I've used that is made by Levenger. As such, I obviously don't have a wide range of experience with different Levenger pens and nibs, so please take my review with a grain of salt.

Levenger says the L-Tech fountain pen puts the tangible pleasure of a well-crafted precision tool in your hand. I couldn't agree more! At first glance, this fountain pen very much resembles a drafting type utensil that an engineer or architect would use.The pictures on Levenger's site does not do this pen justice. It looks way cooler in person.
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen
Nice soft bed and strap
Brand: Levenger
Model: L-Tech
Body Material: Brass barrel with metallic finish
Trim: Metal
Length (capped): 5.39"
Length (posted): 6.65"
Diameter (body): 0.5"
Diameter (grip): 0.39"
Nib type: Medium
Nib material: Stainless steel
Weight: 1.7 oz/47 g (with ink)
Barrel design: Faceted
Fill type: Cartridge/converter (comes with pen)

Packaging

I liked the simple but pretty packaging of the L-Tech fountain pen. The box is very tasteful and attractive. Of course, it arrived in several different boxes before I actually made it to the real packaging... The only disappointment there being it was a waste of materials. I think for the price point of the pen ($79.00), the packaging it came in was appropriate and fair. I have more expensive fountain pens that came in lesser packaging.
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen Innards
Pamphlet with information how to insert cartridge or converter.
The converter has Levenger written on it. It is quite functional and simple. 
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen Parts
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen Converter
Appearance & Build

The L-Tech has 7 facets on the body and a matching cap - all of which line up when either capped or capped. This was very pleasing to my OCD side. The clip is well integrated into the cap, and is color-matched. The clip also has Levenger written on it, quite tastefully. It's the only part of the pen that has a marking.
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen
Capped.
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen
Posted.
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen
Underside of clip.
The substantial weight to this pen no doubt comes from the brass body. As it has a metallic silver finish, you wouldn't even think twice about the body until you pick the pen up and realize how heavy it is. Surprisingly, I was able to write comfortably with it, despite its weight. The only time it became uncomfortable to write with was when I posted it - it was too top-heavy, given how low I hold my pens when I write. If you have large hands, I don't foresee this being a huge problem for you.

The construction is solid. There were no visible flaws on the pen and all the small details (such as the threading and knurled grip) were clean and well made. Speaking of threads, removing the cap is quick and easy - just a short turn. I love this feature. I like the snugness and security of a threaded cap but I hate having to turn a cap many times to remove it or replace it.

I do have concerns about the finish and how long it will last. With proper care, I imagine it will be okay, but it is inevitable that at some point it may be dinged by something. Or maybe it won't show marks! We will see.
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen With Others
Top to bottom: Levenger L-Tech fountain pen, Graf-Von Faber Castell Anello Titanium, Lamy Studio, Pelikan M1005 Demonstrator.
Nib

The nib is not really anything outstanding to look at, but I wasn't expecting it to be. It is a medium nib which I think is a true medium. It says Levenger on it, as well as "Medium Germany" in itty bitty writing. At least... I think it says Germany...
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen Top
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen Nibs
Top to bottom: Levenger L-Tech fountain pen, Graf-Von Faber Castell Anello Titanium, Lamy Studio, Pelikan M1005 Demonstrator.
I popped in the Levenger ink cartridge that came with the pen without any sort of "priming" - no washing or anything. I was impressed that the pen wrote right away. However, I did find the cartridge to be a little on the dry side and a few times while writing, I had to shake some ink down into the feed. Once I did that, the pen wrote comfortably and consistently. No skipping and not scratchy. I did like the response from the nib - but it is not a flexible nib. After a paragraph of writing, the ink petered out again and I had to shake it through the feed, in which it resumed writing nicely. Given that once the ink hits the nib, it writes well, I'm guessing this is a cartridge issue and I suspect the pen will write better with a converter (supplied with pen).

Update: Problem solved. A simple rinse with water and a tiny bit of dish soap has cleared up the issue. Writes like a charm!
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen Writing Sample
 Medium, no flex steel nib.
Sheila asked in her comment if the nib is swappable with the Levenger True Writers, and indeed they are!

Writing 

I was surprised how pleasant it was to write with this pen. It's the first Levenger fountain pen I've ever used, and based on its size and weight, I guess I was expecting some sort of tank. Alas, no! Once the ink reached the nib, I found my cursive just came naturally with this pen. Eventually the ink petered out and I had to shake some through the feed, but once I did that, it flowed nicely. I could not write with the cap posted, it was just too heavy and threw off my uniformed writing.
Levenger L-Tech Fountain Pen Writing Sample
I may have rambled uselessly, but you get the picture.
Update: I will flush the pen and re-ink it. I just wanted to give a first impression of the nib and writing without having to do anything to it. A first-time fountain pen user might not consider or know about flushing a pen before using it. (Thank you Sheila for mentioning this in your comment!)

Price
Levenger - $79.00

Overall
I was overall impressed with the Levenger L-Tech fountain pen. All my expectations of Levenger quality was riding on this pen. I think this fountain pen is well-made, very solid, writes fairly well, and it looks good. It's not badly priced either, given its construction, and that you receive a converter with it. I would recommend this fountain pen on this basis, though I do warn you it's a heavy pen.

If fountain pens aren't your thing, the L-Tech is also available in a rollerball, ballpoint, and pencil as well!

Disclaimer: I was provided this fountain pen free of charge for the purposes of my review by Levenger. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions remain my own.

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