Tuesday, January 20, 2015

@Massdrop Review: Lanier Classic Elite Yellow Box Elder Fountain Pen - Medium

Coming to Massdrop is the Lanier Classic Elite fountain pen in yellow box elder wood, with gunmetal hardware. The Classic Elite fountain pens are handmade, so this will be a limited production of 75 pens made for Massdrop. The pens will be shipped in order, in batches of 15. As such, if you want your pen first, jump on it!

ABOUT

Body Material: Yellow Box Elder Wood
Trim: Gunmetal
Length (capped): 13.35 cm/5.26"
Length (cap): 6 cm/2.36"
Nib material: Steel
Weight (all): 33.45 g/1.18 oz
Fill type: Cartridge/Converter
Where to buy: Massdrop

PACKAGING

The Classic Elite fountain pen comes beautifully packaged in a wooden gift box that is rich and warm in tone. The wood is smooth to the touch and it is a wonderful presentation. The box is labelled with Lanier Pens across the top. The pen is nestled inside, with little wasted space - something I appreciate in packaging. It's the kind of packaging I'd actually keep - I love wood boxes.
Lanier Pens Packaging
APPEARANCE

The Lanier Classic Elite fountain pen, you may have noticed, is formed on the base of a kit pen. That means, yes, there is a long metal section but unlike many other kit pens I have used and therefore dismissed, the Classic Elite is not bulbous and disproportional. The shape of the barrel and cap appealed to me, being flush with the hardware and not overly girthy. The Yellow Box Elder wood selected is really lovely, with rich swirls, layers of warm colors from a pale white to creamy ivory, and darker to caramel. Since the wood used is a natural material, each hand-turned pen can look different, but they will all be polished, rich, and glossy.
Lanier Pen Classic Elite
The center band is shiny gunmetal with a golden ring in it. It visually breaks up the pen evenly. The clip starts at the top of the cap, wider at the top and narrowing into an arrow that is rather reminiscent of a Parker clip. The section is gunmetal, starting with threads, and is straight towards the nib. The back end of the pen is gunmetal with threads - a short section for threading the cap on to post it.

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The medium Iridium Point Germany nib is simple and suits the pen well, matching the wood nicely. It has a single slit, a breather hole, and is marked with Iridium Point Germany. The medium is a nice starting point for those who are new to fountain pens, and a comfortable Western nib size for those who are familiar with fountain pens.
Lanier Pens Nib
The nib is a very decent nib, although not a whopping huge wet writer. It writes quite smoothly, consistently, and reliably. It can offer a small amount of line variation with moderate pressure, but this can dry out the feed if you push it too fast, so you may need to prime the feed after. However, for just a few words, it can handle it. It doesn't lay down an extremely wet line, so you can expect drying times to be on the faster side. (This tends to be more useful for note taking or using in a meeting, where you don't have time to blot or wait for your ink to dry before flipping to the next page.)
Lanier Pens Writing Sample
With the medium nib, there is no hard starting or skipping - something I appreciate about IPG nibs. They're not overly polished, so they write. I do prefer broader nibs myself, but this is a drop for medium nibs.

IN HAND

The long clip is actually useful. It's not too snug so it's pretty easy to operate to slide on to papers or into shirts. The length is practical as well, so the weight of the pen is more balanced if you put it in your shirt.
Lanier Pens
Unposted, the pen is a touch heavy towards the front. The cap does post by threading on so it's secure, but then it's on the longer side (for smaller hands at least). For larger hands, the posted length isn't uncomfortable. Either way, it's not unwieldy to use.

The section is on the thinner side, but since the barrel is not very wide, it doesn't feel like it's gone from a normal width to suddenly very thin. The threads are a little sharp, but are far back, leaving plenty of space for fingers to grip without touching them.

PROS
  • Postable.
  • Handmade in the USA.
  • Writes smoothly and consistently.
  • Beautiful, unique material.
CONS
  • Thinner section may be uncomfortable for those with larger hands or a tight grip.
  • Only available with medium nib.
OVERALL

While I usually am not crazy about the kit pen design, I find the Classic Elite to be well-shaped and balanced to accommodate the hardware. Having used many Iridium Point Germany nibs, I'm always pleased with the consistency across the board with the nibs - they are decent writers. They're not buttery smooth juicy nibs, but they will serve you well.





Disclosure: Sharing this drop is by Massdrop's request. My opinions have not been purchased. 

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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