I've always been a fan and user of drafting pencils. Those hefty, solid, robust pencils are just a tactile joy. Their durability and lifespan are also of great importance to me.
The Kickstarter metal bodies for gel pens offer me the same pleasure and improved quality of use.
In fountain pens, I love Flighter models. They're typically sleek and clean, in addition to being ruggedly useful. But they're not quite the same as those Mecha-Godzilla drafting pencils.
The Rotring 600 is an iconic pen/pencil and part-time tank. Unfortunately, the pens are out of production and used or New Old Stock will typically cost you over a hundred dollars, usually several hundred.
Sooo, yeah, that was way outside of my comfort zone. Though it's certainly on my grail list.
When I found out about the Levenger L-Tech, I was excited. Ok, maybe not quite like that. But I was glad to see a rugged fountain pen in the same (almost identical) vein as the Rotring, but that was both in current production and priced significantly cheaper. I was more excited about the Stealth L-Tech, but I ended up finding a (barely) used silver one at a ridiculously low price, so I jumped.
Alright, so let's break the pen down!
As you can see, the L-Tech's brass body has a satin finish with shiny trim accents. The body is faceted, which does an awesome job at keeping the pen where you set it down, rather than on the floor with a bent nib. The section is knurled. I FREAKING LOVE KNURLED GRIPS! Seriously, it does such a good job staying responsibly tucked between fingertips. The cap posts very securely, but it's quite long at 6-5/8th inches. Great for massive hands, otherwise it will be very back-heavy.
The L-Tech is machined very cleanly, with precise fittings. The cap opens or closes with three quarters of a turn. When closed, there's enough resistance to prevent the cap coming loose unintentionally (pocket-safe!). It weighs 44.2 grams, which is quite robust in the hand. Open & unposted, it's 5" in the hand - this fits past my webbing enough to be absolutely comfortable. Even the clip is strong but elastic enough to actually be used. It really feels like a quality tool.
As you can see, it's a cartridge/converter filling system - you didn't expect it to be a lever filler, did you? It takes international cartridges, but I like the supplied converter. It's larger than Pilot's silly Con-50, it has smooth piston action, and it doesn't magically keep the ink away from the nib.
The nib is a number five, and can easily be unscrewed from the section and switched out. The L-Tech is only sold with Levenger's Medium nib (which is actually quite decent), but it would take seconds to replace it with a Levenger Fine/Broad/Stub nib unit...
Or even better, a TWSBI 540 or Edison #5 nib unit! Probably many more. I'm not sure if the metal collar on the new TWSBI 580/Mini nib units would be an issue? When I pick one up, I'll update this page.
So about that nib.
As I was saying, the L-Tech is only sold with a Medium nib. That's ok for some, but it's not really my bag. I gave it a shot anyway, and was actually impressed with how smooth that steel medium nib was. I've come across worse nibs from older and bigger brands. This little steel nib actually has a good bit of spring to it, though I wouldn't dare to describe it as flexy to anyone (I've seen those forum battles, I'm not putting my neck out on this!).
Additionally, I've found the L-Tech nib to stay wet & ready to write even after leaving it open for a good 20+ minutes. This is an excellent and rare property, and something I take advantage of, despite it technically being a bad habit.
There was a moment when I was actually tempted to leave the original nib alone, and maybe only replace it later.
That moment was brief.
I ended up grinding the nib down to a western Extra Fine, and now the Levenger L-Tech is solidly in my Every Day Carry.
Its primary job is free-form notes on larger sheets of paper, where I can let the tank sweep across the page without restraint. I also use it a lot when I'm on the phone, since it handles sporadic uncapped use so well. I carry it on my person when I'm wearing jeans, but I don't quite trust it around lighter weight clothing - I'd hate for the L-Tech to brutalize a pocket seam.
Overall, I'm exceptionally happy with the purchase, but I did obtain it at a reduced rate. For the list price on Levenger's website, it's a "fair" deal. However, Levenger constantly rotates coupon offers on their site and they also maintain an Outlet store on Ebay. Via either of those methods, I think the L-Tech becomes a standout purchase.