LOOM Love

Sometimes the best things are those that show up unexpectedly.

I wasn’t looking for a Faber-Castell pen when I caught various LOOM on display earlier this month at Washington D.C. stationer Jenni Bick. I had seen this model online before, but it had never made its way into my shopping cart. In person I was immediately drawn to the gunmetal matte finish. So I asked to try one.

I dipped the pen into the offered bottle of Lamy Blue, placed a blotter sheet under my hand, put nib to paper and… was completely underwhelmed.

The fine nib was scratchy, unpleasant, disappointing. Luckily, they also had a medium in stock, and as soon as I wrote with that medium point, it was over. The heavens parted, the seas roiled, the very ground shook beneath me. It was the best-feeling steel nib I have experienced—smooth with just the right amount of deliciously audible feedback.

This is a Faber-Castell pen?!

I wasn’t expecting any of this!

Well, look. I’ve been using fountain pens since just April 2020. I’m a pandemic fountain pen baby and still a noob in these matters. But I can say with no small amount of shame that in that short time I have purchased many of your usual suspects in the $5-$50 range—Safaris, TWSBIs, Pilot MRs, Kaweco Sports, etc. I have two gold nib pens that I love in the Platinum 3776 <B> and a Sailor 1911S <M>. And none of these pens have a nib that made me feel as immediately giddy from the jump as this LOOM medium tip.

UNEXPECTED AND UNDERRATED

Anyone who’s into stationery knows of Faber-Castell. But they don’t seem to get much play among the fountain pen YouTubes and Instagrams. I suppose that’s partly how the LOOM fell under the radar for me, as someone who’s still learning about this stuff basically wholly online.

I think the LOOM should definitely be added to any list as an excellent option for a step-up pen. For around $50 USD, you get a sleek, attractive, and sturdy metal barrel, a cap you can post securely if you’re into that, and a great-writing steel nib that has some spring. It’s my most unexpected stationery experience this year.

This is a pen made for writing, and I’ve been coming back to it every day. The first afternoon I had it I quickly filled it with Pilot Iroshizuki Take-Sumi and scrawled five or six pages on a Unison graph composition notebook. It was heavenly, no doubt helped along by the exquisite Iroshizuku ink. I’ve been using the LOOM daily ever since for journaling, creative writing, and work notes. Most recently I popped a Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown cartridge in it and I’m still enjoying it greatly.

The LOOM has me intrigued about others in the Faber-Castell line, such as the Ambition, though I’m not in a hurry to try that one out. For #science I did purchase a Grip 2011, which is about $20. Not surprisingly, it’s a much lesser pen than the LOOM, with a smaller-sized nib that’s not as enjoyable out of the box. I would not recommend the Grip 2011 when put up against a Safari or TWSBI Eco, although I have enjoyed it more than my Pilot MRs. Blasphemy, I know! I just can’t deal with those skinny Metro grip sections.

But this LOOM is so choice. It’s a pen that I daydream of using when I don’t have it in hand. It’s that good for me.

Potential negatives:

  • I don’t do well with slippery grips, which is why I got the matte version. The grooves on the grip also help, but even so I find I need to reattach my fingers to the pen every so often as I’m writing. Something to consider if you don’t do well with slippery sections.
  • Maybe this is just on mine, but I noticed the clip feels a bit loose in the spot where it connects at the top of the cap. I don’t really use clips much, but it’s something I’ll keep an eye on.
  • Muscle up! The cap closes tightly—like bank vault tight! You gotta put your shoulders into it to get it open. I exaggerate only slightly.

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