As a fellow lefty, Maybelline and I thought it might be appealing to have my perspective on fountain pens for left-handed writers.
I’ve written a previous piece for The Cramped about the things left-handed writers should consider when purchasing a fountain pen. But here, I’d like to talk about my favorite fountain pens — all of which are lefty-tested and lefty-approved!
1. Kaweco Classic Sport
My absolute favorite is the Guilloch 1930 which adds some finely etched lines onto the cap and barrel of the pen giving it a classy, vintage look but any standard Kaweco Sport is a good option from the humble plastic to the weightier raw aluminum. Its available in a wide array of nib sizes from EF through BB and there is even a calligraphy set available but I’ve been given the impression that the feed system on the calligraphy set is different than the regular pens to allow greater ink flow to support those wider nibs. I wouldn’t recommend more than a 1.1mm stub nib for a lefty just because the flat wide nibs are difficult to make consistent contact with the paper for most lefties.
Kaweco nib units are swappable so if you find that the nib size you purchased isn’t working for you, you can buy a new nib unit. Since Kaweco Sports are so reasonably priced, you may want to buy a whole new pen. I do find there to be very little difference between the fine and extra fine nibs on the Kaweco Sports and use them interchangeably.
2. Pilot Metropolitan
The weighty metal barrel makes this budget pen feel more expensive than it actually is. If you’re looking for a fine Japanese nib, the Metropolitan with the fine nib is a great option but it is much finer than the Kaweco in fine. The Medium nib on the Metropolitan is comparable to the fine or extra-fine nibs on the Kaweco pens.
3. TWSBI Mini or TWSBI Diamond 580
This is a step up cost-wise from the first two pens listed but if you’re looking for a good piston-filler pen that holds a good deal of ink with easy-to-swap nib units and a pleasing look, the TWSBIs can’t be beat. I have smallish hands so for longer writing sessions I prefer the Mini but I recently got the Christmas Green 580 and it is a wonderful pen. There are lots of color options available in the TWSBI 580 line and more come out all the time. The nib sizing on the TWSBIs follows the European sizes so for lefties I recommend starting with the fine nib which will lay down a decent amount of ink without making a soupy pool. If you find it too narrow, you can always swap the nib unit for a medium for a reasonable price.
4. Conklin Duragraph
This is a beautiful pen that looks much more expensive than it actually is. Its weighty and a considerably larger size compared with the daintier proportions of the TWSBI Mini or Kaweco Sport pens. The nib is a good quality and super smooth. Three color options are available for the resin body, each beautiful so choosing your which color will be a tougher decision than whether or not to purchase one. The Duragraph was my last pen purchase this year but it ended up being the biggest surprise of the year. Quality writing in a beautiful package at a good price is a winning combination.
5. Pilot Custom 74
I would not classify this as a first-purchase pen for anyone, and lefties in particular. Partly because this is not an inexpensive pen but also because the 14K nib has a little bit of flex in it. To an experienced fountain pen user, a little bit of flex is a good thing but to a beginner, it might be one too many variables to properly appreciate the joys of a fountain pen. That said, if you’re looking for your third or fourth pen and are ready to move up in the pen market, there is probably nothing so fine as a Pilot Custom 74.
It comes with a large converter that uses a unique push-button fill mechanism which is fun and anew fountain pen adventure and the 14K gold nib is amazing! If you’re an underwriter lefty (you write from below the line of text), you’ll get the most spring and line variation in your writing without going to a full flex pen like a Falcon. If you’re an overwriter like myself (you write above the line of text and curl your hand back) you’ll see some shading variation but not quite the diversity of line weight.
Read my full reviews of each of these pens at The Well-Appointed Desk: