Posts Tagged ‘fountain pen nib’

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Modern Pilot Fountain Pens

05/19/2016

That is my collection of Pilot/Namiki fountain pens. Nice variety to it, but they seldom get inked. In comparison to other pen makers, I’ve experienced more flow issues with their modern pens than any other brand. While the fine nibs can be temperamental, the wider nibs and flexy ones are the most frustrating.

With more than thirty Pilots having passed through here in the last few years, I am certain their feeds and nibs are not created equal. The nibs write well enough but the flow is not able to keep up. The pens are too often hard starting and skip mid-word even failing for a full word or occasionally even several. This has never happened with my Sailor and Platinum pens. It has been a rare issue with a vintage Western pen but that could be attributed to careless handling by a former owner. My Lamy, Waterman, and Levenger True Writers have had very rare flow issues though matching ink to pen has helped in a few cases.

Pilot Elite pocket pens from the 1970’s are not so quirky though some of the Script nibs write dry and especially narrow. The ink flow keeps up nicely maintaining an even line. The pretty, decorated ones have had a higher than acceptable rate of cracked barrels so that’s a different kind of warning. However, my Socrates, Isaac Newton, and Black Striped models have been especially good writers and aren’t at all picky about brands of ink. That sort of versatility puts them on my list of favorite fountain pens.

This doesn’t mean all of their pens have flow issues. However, this post can be considered a caveat to my previous pen recommendations from the Pilot Custom 742 to the Custom 74 to the lower end Prera and 78G and the bottom of the line Plumix. Even the Namiki Falcon Soft Broad (SB) nib unlike the Soft Fine (SF) has a flow that is inadequate for the amount of ink that should be laid down. A nib adjustment might help though I’ve experienced mixed results on that score.

A free-flowing ink can improve performance a notch. Pilot Iroshizuku ink is a good match though some Diamine and J. Herbin inks have proven up to the task as well. Waterman Blue-Black is my standard test ink and one that can bring out the best in a multitude of pens so that’s a good one to have on hand. Unfortunately, ink won’t fix a pen but it can improve one that is borderline.

This isn’t meant to dissuade you from buying a Pilot or Namiki fountain pen but it is a warning. Your sleek, new pen may need tweaking to be the best it can be. Or it may only take finding the right ink and paper combination to bring out its most charming qualities. Even better, you could get a pen that is perfect from the start. Shouldn’t they all arrive that way?

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Sunday Links From Doctor Who To Moleskine To Pen Stuff

10/11/2015

Doctor Who wearing sonic shades and rocking some mean guitar licks may take some adjustment, but the Lego kit could be just the thing for a fan who prefers a more traditional take on the last of the Time Lords…

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A Wishlist And The Platinum #3776 Music Nib

02/26/2013

Sometimes wishes do come true. For years I’ve wanted a traditional pen to replace the modernistic Lamy Vista 1.1 mm. Nothing wrong with the Vista but sometimes a more upscale-looking pen fits the circumstances. My wish list for attributes included a light weight resin body, classical styling with a 14K nib that has good flow and is very smooth. Oh, and make it in black with rhodium trim if you please. Too much to ask? That’s what I thought until I met the Platinum #3776 Music Model (PTMB-15000).

Platinum #3776 Fountain Pen

Platinum #3776 Fountain Pen

Again, Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands USA gave me the opportunity to find out what Platinum Pens had to offer and I am so glad he did. The #3776MU is almost exactly the same size as the resin Namiki Falcon and the Levenger True Writer. It is 136.5mm in length and 14.5mm at its maximum diameter. Weight is a mere 18.8g. For this, my hand is ever so grateful. If you prefer large, heavy pens, the #3776 might seem like a light-as-a-feather toy but the nib could make you think otherwise. This model has been around for years so any kinks have been worked out as the fit and finish reflect.

Platinum #3776 Music Nib

Platinum #3776 Music Nib

The only quibble I have is the volume of the converter for such a wide nib. A smaller knob and larger tank would be a worthwhile improvements, but the available model is in line with most converters on the market.

This nib comparison chart shows how a line produced by the two-slit music nib differs from other Platinum nibs. How you hold the pen will affect that line if only slightly. When I write at my normal angle and speed, the line has less contrast than when I put attention on making thin horizontal strokes. It’s like having two pens in one which adds to the fun of using this nib.

Okay, so I’m smitten. If you like wide nibs, you will be, too. This baby has some serious width to it that makes pale ink really stand out. I foresee a summer of turquoise, aqua and swaths of color across my paper, overtaking my journal and correspondence. Pink and orange could be sunny alternatives. This palette is looking very promising indeed.

The moral of the story? Put really good stuff and a Platinum #3776 Music Model on your wishlist. Someone just might be listening…

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Some Frivolous and Fun Links

04/12/2012

As the political and baseball seasons crank up, this inkophile is opting for an unserious season with some frivolous and fun links…

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Fountain Pen Nibs – It’s All Relative

04/03/2012

When it comes to nib size, fountain pen users have a multitude of choices. Recently I was doodling with the inky beauties on my desk and was struck by the differences between them. Even two from the same maker and of the same width produced varied results. Getting the perfect line size to show your writing to its best may take a little trial and error, but the satisfaction in seeing your words look their best is worth it.

I have become an equal opportunity user though I was stuck on narrow nibs for a very long time. Most fountain pen nibs are either fine or medium with a smaller number available in broad and extra-fine widths. The tip of the nib is round in shape, a bit like a ball point pen when you put it to paper. That angle of contact suits general use very well.

Moving beyond the typical nib, the sweet spot where nib meets paper becomes less forgiving and requires more care in use. If it suits your writing style, even an exotic nib should work well once you get the hang of it. Less common categories include double broad (BB), stub, italic, cursive italic, music, and Arabic. There are other exotic nibs but they are too rare for a general discussion.

If a rigid nib doesn’t thrill you, there is a unique characteristic called flex which can be an attribute of any sized nib. It is measured in degrees from a soft give that produces just a slight squish with pressure to a wet noodle that puts down ink like a paint brush.

Another quirk is that Asian nibs for the most part are more narrow than Western nibs. Add to that the interplay between nib, ink and paper as well as the rate of flow from the ink supply to the nib tip and the range of line widths can get ridiculous.

Still there is a range and that is what the image demonstrates. Size is relative.

Fountain Pen Line Comparison

Fountain Pen Line Comparison

Note that the ink scan has not be color adjusted. Take that aspect of this post with a grain of salt.

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Fresh Links – Get ‘Em While They’re Hot!

01/10/2012

It’s only Tuesday but a few fresh links might help the week pass a little faster…

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Ten Tuesday Links

11/15/2011

Can’t recall where all these links came from but thanks to those who lead me to them.

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