Since I use my fountain pens for drawing and a Fude nib is working for me very well, I’ve been looking for a good pen with a Fude nib for quite some time. There are several Fude fountain pen options to choose from but many of them are from China, thus the construction quality can be somewhat dubious. Even those that are not Chinese have very often insufficiently set up feeds that cannot very well support the ink demand. And when I don’t want to use one of my pens with Ebonite feeds the options are quite slim. This is why I decided to do this Fude mod on a Lamy pen. Lamy’s feeds have two ink channels which assures better ink supply than most modern pens. If this is still not enough Lamy feed is very easily hackable too. I will discuss this feed hack/mod in separate article following soon after this tutorial (the Lamy feed mod has now been published).
This particular mod uses the most widely available Lamy nib with model number Z50. This is the regular steel nib. I do this mod on an Extra-Fine nib which is the best option as it gives you the most line variation but I think the Fine nib would still be a very good option. Reverse writing with the Extra-Fine is really quite fine so Fine might be even better in certain cases.
As for the pens to which this mod is applicable, I tested it with Lamy Vista, hence Safari & Al-Star will work the same since they are identical pens except the material used. The Z50 nib is also used on Studio, Accent, ABC, CP1, and possibly some others but I cannot guarantee that the nib will fit the cap. I don’t own any of those pens. The mod can be done on any of those pens but you’d have to make sure the cap can accommodate the extra space required.
Before proceeding, please recognize that if you decide to do this mod you are doing so on your own responsibility. I don’t think you are voiding your pen’s warranty but you certainly do so for the nib. The following is just my hack which may inspire you to do the same but I’m sure the manufacturer would strongly advise against it so please, do use your own judgement.
For this particular mod I use 1. mini-vise and 2. thick piece of paper (I use a piece of index-card). The vise is really a must I think because you need a good and stable support which can hold the tip of the nib in place without moving. Maybe you could do with pliers but that may not go well.
Of course, you need a Lamy Z50 nib. These are steel nibs that are available for less than €5. Extra-Fine nib though is additional €2 so this may be a reason to try the mod on your Fine nib instead. I wouldn’t recommend doing it on the widths M and up because the tipping is too large but give it a shot if you’re feeling adventurous and let me know how it went.
The mod itself is not that difficult to do actually. There is just a few steps to take but please read each one carefully.
Use your piece of paper to create a buffer, both to avoid scratches on the nib as well as damage to the tines and tipping of the nib. I have folded my index-card so there are 4 layers, two on each side.
Notice how deep you want to be inserting the nib into the vise. Realize that the length of the tip you insert into the vise is going to be the resulting length of the nib you will be using. Experiment until you are sure the length is what you want. You can also use a marker directly on the nib to make a reminder of how far to push it into the vise to get the desired length. Also I would recommend you to have your nib on the pen while you do this. You need to think about the feed and the fact that if you go too far the feed may be touching the paper, preventing the nib from proper contact. As you can see on the image above, I am just on the edge of what is still working well. If I went a bit further I would have to discard the nib because the feed would be in the way of the nib making contact with the paper. So don’t go too far, play it safe.
Also work out the angle before actually bending the nib. Bend it as much as you think is enough but don’t overdo it. It’s very easy to bend it more but you can’t really go back. Leave it in and observe it from different angles. Then bend it some more if necessary. The angles at which usually these nibs are bent are either 40 or 55 degrees. I personally prefer an angle around 50 degrees. If you decide for lower angle, remember that you have to make the bend shorter because the feed could again be in the way. The lower the angle the shorter the bend needs to be.
When you insert the tip of the nib into the vise, make sure the nib is straight and not slanted to either side.
Tighten the nib in place. Don’t overdo it but make sure it doesn’t wobble.
For bending the nib don’t use any tools, all you need is your finger. It works wonderfully because your sense of touch cannot be replaced. Now push on the nib, the movement should be forward and down. Once you take the nib out you’re done. Putting the nib back and adjusting it some more will likely cause misalignment of the tines. It’s much wiser to not take it out of the vise and first evaluate your result. If you need to bend it some more you can do so while the nib is still in place as I mentioned in step 2.
It is especially helpful to check out the nib from side view. You can see the angle well.
And that’s it, we’re done. Remember to work slowly and take your time, measure twice, cut once.
This is how the nib should look like when you’re done. The tines should stay in alignment and shouldn’t be excessively spread.
Conclusion and Writing Sample
On this page you can see how much line variation there can be. Remember that it also depends on the angle and length of the bend. But there still will be quite some line variation even if you go for a more conservative bend.
Here are some drawings done with the modded Lamy Z50 FUDE nib. The ink is Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite. The notebook is Leuchturm 1917 Whitelines. The drawing reads “Lamy Fude mod”.
If you found this tutorial interesting, helpful, if you have any questions or want to share your experience leave a comment down below.