Day 11: Top 5 Fountain Pens for Lefties by @wellapptdesk

Day-11-headerAs 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:

Ana Reinert is the “chair” behind The Well-Appointed Desk, a blog about pens, paper, office supplies and a beautiful place to work. When not obssessing about the perfect pen, she works as a graphic designer for the world’s largest greeting card company. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

10 Responses

  1. Bernard Doddema Jr 29 March 2017 / 6:11 AM

    I’m an overwriter and tend to hold my pen at a high angle. Unfortunately, my Custom Heritage 91 hates it! Is there a way to fix it to make it work with my particular style of writing?

  2. The Well-Appointed Desk 9 January 2015 / 2:06 AM

    I did not have the opportunity to learn to write below the baseline as a child. As an adult, I did learn this technique but I still find it awkward and not as natural as my overwriting position. That said, I would recommend trying to write below the line to escape some of the problems faced by we overwriters (hooked hand-style).

    I never want anyone, left-handed or right-handed, to think they can’t use fountain pens (or any pen) so I try to provide recommendations for pens that will work for overwriters and underwriters.

  3. The Well-Appointed Desk 9 January 2015 / 2:03 AM

    I’m sorry you were disappointed by this post. I attempted to give a starter guide and not an advanced users guide. As you state, lefties should be able to use most fountain pens without issue so once a user passes that first-pen purchase, I feel they have a good deal more confidence and don’t necessarily look for lefty-specific tips. Maybe Maybelline can help you with your more advanced needs.

    Also, I went into more detail about italic nibs and dry times in the guest post I did for The Cramped listed at the start of this post.

  4. The Well-Appointed Desk 9 January 2015 / 2:00 AM

    So glad that the Pelikano works well for you. If you write below your line of writing, you might also like the Lamy Safari grip though its not a soft material, it does have a more ergonomic style grip. I overwrite so I find the grip on the Lamys to be a challenge to get the pen to angle properly on the paper. Good luck and keep zentangling!

  5. The Well-Appointed Desk 9 January 2015 / 1:57 AM

    Thanks so much! There’s been a bit of conversation about notepads for fountain pens on Twitter recently. There’s a lot of love for the Apica C-series. They are reasonably priced and handle fountain pen ink well. Dry times might be an issue though. I like Leuchtturm1917 notebooks for being a happy medium between ink-friendly and dry-times. Not the best fountain pen paper but I don’t have to wait an age for the ink to dry either. Let me know if you find a notebook you like!

  6. Tom 6 January 2015 / 1:00 PM

    Thanks, Ana. I’ve been hoping you’d write a post on this topic and was happy to see it. I just got a Metropolitan in medium and haven’t had any issues, though I have to twist the pen around due to my particular style of over-writing. Still looking for a great notepad – the Rhodia pads are great but dry times are an issue, and while I like the Doane Paper pattern, their memo pads don’t seem to play well with liquid ink.

  7. Robert S. 6 January 2015 / 5:41 AM

    A lefty can use any pen a righty can, provided he writes properly with it. Too many grade school teachers tell their students to turn the paper to the left and write, forcing left-handed students to reach around and overwrite or to push their pens along and write essentially sideways. I did that for years, but was fortunate to have a sixth grade teacher who specifically instructed lefties to turn their papers to the right and forced us to write correctly.

  8. Jackie 6 January 2015 / 2:22 AM

    Thank you for these suggestions for leftys.

  9. hessi (@hessi) 5 January 2015 / 7:26 PM


    I’m a disappointed by your post – you basically name 5 well-known all-time favourite pens and state that you as a lefty can write with them. Yeah, good for you.

    In principle, a Lefty should not have difficulties using a fountain pen, there are just some caveats to look out for – namely writing position, which you only mention briefly, nib types (once again, only briefly mentioned) and ink (not mentioned).

    While a lengthy paragraph on oblique nibs and dry times of different ink types might be a little bit too much for one blog post, this blog is called “on fountain pens”, so I would expect the typical reader to have a deeper interest in fountain pens than the average reader of a Gawker post.

    But as it stands your post is just a little bit too general and does not take the “special needs” of the various types of left-hand writers into account.

  10. Anita Roby-Lavery (aka Oil City Anita) 5 January 2015 / 10:29 AM

    Hi! I was glad to hear about these fountain pens which are suited for lefties, especially since I’m only aware of (and own several) the Pelikano Junior. Being a senior citizen, I find that this thick pen is wonderful to hold if you have any hand problems, such as arthritis. I, like your guest speaker/artist Saundra Strait, use mine when I’m working on a zentangle-inspired art piece. And if I may put a plug in, I use the Goulet pen website for lots and lots of ink–more colors than I knew existed. Thanks for listening, and happy new year to all. “Oil City Anita”

I would love to hear your thoughts!