Lamy AL-Star with Imporium nib: AL-porium

Lamy AL-Star with Imporium nib: AL-porium


This is the business end of the Lamy
Imporium, a beautiful 14 karat solid gold nib with a black PVD coating. PVD is
Physical Vapor Deposition, a fancy way to put stuff on metal. This nib is usually
attached to this pen: the Lamy Imporium 49 grams heavy and 375 euro’s
or about four 430 dollars. Yes rather pricey, so
I ordered the Lamy Z57 nib at about 80 euro’s or $90 and attached it to
a Lamy AL-star in black which used to be a limited edition but is now readily
available. I wondered if this poor man’s Lamy Imporium would perform. the first
step worked out fine. As with any Lamy
folded nib it fits perfectly. And to spill the beans: yes it writes quite nicely. But
first we need to fix something else. In the last couple of years I noticed the
edges on new Lamy grip sections seem sharper than ever. If you look closely
you’ll see the injection mould comes apart in two parts around the section and
closely inspected it is that seam that is causing the sharp edge. Unfortunately
I deleted the magnified close up but it is there and it needs to go. I read
online I am NOT the only one experiencing this problem and someone
suggested to use micro mash to remove it. But then again how many Lamy AL-star
users have micro mash laying around the house? In every drug store however
you will find one or more of these nail buffing polishers. If you only use
the smoothest buffing part of said instrument you can easily polish the seam. Make sure you triple check to use the smooth side only or your grip section
will look like a road kill. The right hand side here is already
polished. You can hear no noticeable sounds when polishing it. Turning to the
left hand side of the grip you’ll hear the nail buffer hitting that seam. Buff
it until you hear the sound change and check the desired result by touch. It is
really a one-minute job to fix this annoyance and I wonder why they stopped
doing that at the factory. So there you have it. A customized poor man’s Lamy Emporium and I would like to coin the phrase AL-porium for this hack. The difference
between this broad gold nib and a standard steel nib is that the gold nib is a bit more
picky about the wetness of the ink used. I tried Pelican 4001 ink and ran into
problems because it’s, well, a bit dry ink. I then tried using Akkerman Simplisties Violet number thirteen. Take a close look at the “L” in Lamy and the “I”
in Imperium in this writing example. And this is how to pen writes on Tomoe
River paper. Let’s take a close up of the two skips we just saw. It’s a pity since
it is a beautifully shading ink. So I turned to the understated workhorse Waterman
South Sea Blue now being sold as Inspired Blue. Great color, dirt cheap and I have
yet to find a pen that does not fly with this ink. In writing sessions the gold nib has some
feedback. Not scratchy but it reminds me of writing a Mitsubishi 10B pencil. I
think I will polish this nib with some mylar paper after this video is
completed. The text is laser etched in the PVD coating and it looks stellar. I’m
not sure if you should spent the €80 for this nib, but it definitely
is a decent upgrade in both looks and performance. The nib has a bit more give
than the steel nib. Let’s conclude with a another writing sample. Now before you go out on a shopping
spree, Google the words “Brian Gray Steel Nib” and read his article “in praise of steel nibs”. Just saying…

25 Comments

  1. I was going to do this, changed my mind as the nib price in India makes it kind of unviable. still in the to-do list.

  2. Hello.
    Thanks to this video i too did this Imporia – AL conversion… with a fine nib // if you are seriously in love with an alstar, this is a good upgrade but quite quite expensive… with my original steel nib i was finding it quite scratchy and dead hard, now this gold nib is more smooth and a much pleasant writter… i believe fine and extra fine imporium nibs produce a comparable difference whereas medium and bigger you wont feel much

  3. intriguing.  A related question:  can you swap out nibs on Lamy Imporium (the pricey one) as easily as on the Al-Star or Safari?

  4. What was the 4001 that gave you problems? Blue-Black? I'm dealing with one of those right now and saddly I have no other ink at the momment.

  5. The current black Lamy Al-Star is different from the matte black special edition. The matte black safari is closer in appearance, but of course it is plastic instead of aluminium.

  6. I loved the lamy brand before buying a gold nibbed pen.

    Bought the Dialog 3, and I must say, the gold nib sucks balls (pardon my words, but it is just very frustrating). It hard starts, skips, and is too soft to use.
    It "flexes" a little, but it lacks the springiness that it needs. This means that overtime, your nib will be bending upwards and upwards until it's unusable.

    Bought the Dialog 3 thinking it'd be the best thing, since the Safari is such a good pen. But the gold nib is just far too frustrating to use.

    Most definitely, not worth it to use the gold nib rather than the steel nib.
    Switched out my gold nib for a steel nib sine it is really frustrating to use it.

  7. The "Imporium Nib" is – in terms of Lamy spare parts – the Z57, If you want a nice black steel nib the Z52 is a cheap option – the nib has the same laser etching to show the stainless steel below the black coating..

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