Review: The Faber-Castell Loom

The Faber-Castell Loom is one of the more neglected entry level fountain pens, which is a bit of a shame as in the two and a half months I’ve had mine I’ve been firmly convinced it has one of the best steel nibs I’ve come across, and at a very reasonable price.

This is a pen that has fond memories attached to it, I bought it in Germany on holiday just before Christmas, wondering round the markets in Munich in a street just off Marienplatz I found a massive stationary store, Kaut Bullinger, the entire ground floor of which was devoted to pens. After far too much browsing and trying to make my mind up I decided on the Loom, which I bought for the princely sum of 30 euro. I had initially been tempted by a more expensive pen but as soon as I inked it up I knew I’d made a good purchase.

Let’s start with how the thing looks, it’s not a hugely eye-catching pen, but it is a little bit different to a standard cigar shaped pen. Having the cap in a different colour to the body adds a nice little bit of interest, even if the colour palette is a bit muted. On the subject of the cap, it has a feature I really wish was a feature on more modern pens, a makers imprint. I’m not sure if I have a valid reason for liking these, but I do. The shiny metal is a bit of a fingerprint magnet (as my photos unintentionally show!) personally it doesn’t bother me, but it might be worth considering if you know that kind of thing annoys you. One thing that I do think is a nice touch is that despite being more towards the starter end of fountain pens the Loom doesn’t look at all cheap or like a school pen. Not that I have anything against school pens, but I can see that they may not be what everyone would want for every occasion in terms of looks. By contrasts the Loom avoids any connotations of School and avoids anything that might give away that it’s a more budget friendly pen, no injection moulding lines, no burrs no sharp edges or anything like. Now to be fair, selling at between £35-40 it is a more expensive budget pen, but I still think it shapes up very well for the money.

Is it just me who thinks imprints should make a comeback?

In the hand the pen feels very nice, it has a metal section with rings cut into it, I can’t say I’ve ever felt my fingers slipping, but I suppose the combination of metal and ‘swept’ section might make that a problem if you’re prone to it. Some of what looks like metal is in fact shiny plastic (chiefly the clip) however given the price of this pen I’m not exactly annoyed by that. The pen is a cartridge filler, which I think is what you could reasonably expect at this price point. It comes with a blue cartridge, but no converter, however it is standard international, so that is a definite point in it’s favour. The cap is a snap type and works well, although it is quite stiff, so be prepared to have to use a little bit of force to get it uncapped. There is one minor design flaw with this pen, which isn’t a major one, but it does bother me just a little, as it seems like it would be an easy fix. The barrel is all metal with no holes anywhere in it, and the threads screwing it to the barrel are very smooth and match up perfectly. However, what this means is that if you say walk outside with the pen, the air trapped inside the barrel gets cold, then as you write with it your hand warms it up. This frequent changing of temperature can often result in a surprising amount of condensation inside the barrel, which means if you unscrew it everything is quite wet. This isn’t really a problem, but it is a little bit annoying, and it would seem to be so easily fixed. So if you’re reading Faber-Castell, great pen, but put a tiny hole in the barrel! That being said the fact that that is my main design grievance with this pen should tell you that it is generally a well put together pen.

Now we’re on to the bit where I feel this pen really excels, the writing experience. Faber-Castell is clearly a company that takes nibs seriously (the nibs for their Graf Von Faber-Castell line are all run in by hand at the factory) and it is really nice to see that this attention to detail is still present even at the more budget friendly end their line. The steel broad on my pen is in contention for the best steel nib I own, it’s vying for place with a JoWo #6 that has been Binderized, and this is a off the shelf nib on a pretty inexpensive pen. My broad is a little on the narrow side, but it’s wonderfully smooth, not so glassy it gets away from you, but there really isn’t any noticeable feedback. It’s not a gusher, but its flow is nice and middle of the road and should be a good level for most people. There’s no line variation to speak of, but I don’t think it suffers because of that. I really do think Faber-Castell deserve a lot of praise for being able to provide such a good off the shelf writing experience at this price point, something not all manufacturers are capable of, even when charging considerably more.

So my closing thoughts on the Loom? Well in short it’s a great pen, it’s price point makes it a good choice for those without loads of money to throw into pens, but it’s also such a nice writer that it’s a fun pen even if you have more expensive pens this pen is really worth taking a look at. Basically I think if you have around £35 to spend on a pen and you’re looking for a dependable writer, the Loom is definitely worth taking a look at!

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