Lamy Nib FUDE Mod For Vista, Safari & Al-Star

Lamy Nib FUDE Mod For Vista, Safari & Al-Star

Mounted Back On The Pen

Ever since discovering the magic of “Fude” nibs I couldn’t settle for a regular round nib. It is still a great tool but it lacks the versatility of varying line width.

There are several Fude fountain pen options to choose from but many of them are from China where construction quality isn’t always top priority. Even those that are not Chinese have very often insufficiently set up feeds that cannot 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.

Line Variation With Modded Lamy FUDE Nib
Line Variation With Modded Lamy FUDE Nib

This particular mod uses the most widely available Lamy nib with model number Z50. This is their regular steel nib. My choice of nib width is Extra Fine as it provides the finest possible line when reverse writing. However, you can experiment with other line widths as well. A safer, more universal choice would be a Fine nib.

As for the pens to which this mod is applicable, I tested it with Lamy Vista, hence Safari & Al-Star will work too as they use the same nib and feed. The Z50 nib is also used on Studio, Accent, ABC, CP1, and possibly some others but I cannot guarantee that the modified nib will fit inside 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 for the extra space required.

Lamy Vista With a Z50 Nib
Lamy Vista With a Z50 Nib

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 are certainly doing 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.

Tools

Small Vise For Securing The Nib
Small Vise For Securing The Nib

For this particular mod I use 1. a small or “mini” vise and 2. a 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.

If you don’t have one don’t despair. You can surely do this mod with regular hand pliers. Just remember: measure twice, cut once. Since there are more variables when using hand pliers you need to be extra careful.

Z50 Nibs - Most Suitable Are EF Or F Widths
Z50 Nibs – Most Suitable Are EF Or F Widths

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 goes.

The Mod

The mod itself is not that difficult to do. There is just a few steps to take but please read each one carefully. Take your time, don’t rush. Once you have your nib secured in the vise you have all the time you need. Make sure it is secured properly and straight.

Thick Paper Insert Buffer
Thick Paper Insert Buffer

Step 1

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.

Modded Nib - Side View
Modded Nib – Side View

Step 2

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.

See The Angles

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.

Nib Secured
Nib Secured

Step 3

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.

Measure Twice...
Measure Twice…
Push Forward And Down
Push Forward And Down

Step 4

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.

Done
Done
Done
Done
Done

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.

Detail
Detail

This is how the nib should look like when you’re done. The tines should stay in alignment and shouldn’t be excessively spread.

Mounted Back On The Pen
Equipped Back On The Pen

Conclusion

Line Variation With Modded Lamy FUDE Nib

On this page you can see just 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.

Testing
Testing, Ink: Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite, Notebook: Leuchturm 1917 Whitelines, The drawing reads “Lamy Fude mod”

If you found this tutorial interesting or helpful, if you have any questions or want to share your experience, please leave a comment down below.

And enjoy your improved pen!

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14 Comments

  1. Sven-Erik Rose

    Thanks, Daniel, for this excellent tutorial! Do you have any tips on how to avoid springing the tines when bending the nib? I’m finding that the pressure applied when making the bend forces the tines apart and nixes the capillary action–not every time, but about half the time. (I’m experimenting with inexpensive Lamy-STYLE nibs, so ruining a few is not that dire. Still, I’d like to get the hang of this technique.) Thanks!

  2. Sven-Erik

    Thanks, Daniel, for both this idea and your excellent tutorial on modifying ebonite feeds, which enabled me to make a number of underperforming pens great writers. There are Lamy-STYLE nibs (they fit Lamys and some Wing Sungs and Hero pens that have copied Lamy’s nib design…) currently available on E-bay for something like 5 for 1 US dollar. I’ve successfully shaped these into fude nibs and ground off the tipping for smoothness. (These work great as highlighter pens, among other things!).

    My question: How do you avoid springing the tines when you bend the nib? That happened to me a couple of times, and a couple of times it didn’t happen; and I’m pretty sure I followed the procedure you outline here the same way each time. Do you have any trick for avoiding this problem?

    Again, thanks for your excellent and generous tutorials!

    1. Hi Sven-Erik,
      I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying your pens more now. Thanks for the kind words.
      Yes, the springing happens to me too. My guess is that it depends on the pressure applied to the nib when pinched in the vise/pliers. I’ve had actually more success with pliers recently as my vise gave out. More pressure equals more consistency in my experience but there’s the danger of denting the nib when too much pressure is applied. It’s quite difficult to get it exactly right but it happens more with practice.
      -Daniel

      1. Sven-Erik Rose

        Thanks, Daniel!

  3. Sketcher.Max

    That is an absolute great idea and manual. Thanks a lot. I found it via a post of Nina Johansson on instagram. So great. Thanks a lot. wonder how long it will take that Lamy will offer fun nibs, too.

    1. Hi,
      And thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed.

      1. Sketcher.Max

        Today I had time to try it out. Worked perfectly. Thanks a lot!!!!

        1. Awesome, enjoy!

  4. Bruce C.

    Works a treat – just a few minor tweaks of the bend angle, and I got it going well – fine, medium and thick lines. I used a EF SS nib in a SAFARI. A good rinse out helped ink flow, and tried a few inks. Private Reserve Invicible Black is working well for sketching

    1. Hi Bruce,
      Very happy to hear that. Enjoy the new experience. I’ve been using mine ever since and never looked back.
      -Daniel

  5. William

    Thanks so much. I had an old but favourite LAMY Herringbone pen and now thanks to your tip it has joined my sketching roll sporting, a newly converted, fude nib….. Awesome

    1. That’s awesome!

  6. gerrybl

    this is brilliant

    1. Great, glad you liked it.

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