Posts Tagged ‘italic nib’


Falling In Love With An Old Friend


Acquiring new pens is a rarity here. So repairing old ones and pairing them with well-suited inks adds a freshness to my rotation. A few weeks ago, the Pilot Preras became winners. Then last night I took my own advice and attempted to rescue another pen.

This time it was an old friend, the early 1990’s blue marble Pelikan M200 that has long suffered from a stuck piston. As a result of that affliction, this poor pen has endured years of neglect. Screwing up some courage, I unscrewed the original extra-fine nib, wiggled the knob with a gentle rocking motion, and was surprised to find that the piston now moved freely. The extra-fine nib did not fit my current preference, but an unattached Binder modified stub would do. So I fitted the nib and pen together creating a lovely Pelikan stub.

To help the piston glide in the chamber, its inaugural fill is Noodler’s Blue Eel, a lubricating ink. On Apica 6A10 paper, the nib has proven a smooth writer that lays down a satisfyingly wide line. Leafing through my ink notes, I found four additional inks that would be compatible with the barrel: Noodler’s Navy, Noodler’s 54th Mass., Diamine Prussian Blue, and Iroshizuku tsuki-yo. J. Herbin Perle Noire or Noodler’s Black would be good in it, too. It’s going to be fun finding another perfect match or two.

A word of caution is in order. I was willing to further damage the Pelikan and send it off to hospital if my efforts proved disastrous. For a pen that was receiving no use, it was worth a try. Worst case would have been a relatively easy repair for someone who knows their stuff. I do have a pot of a proper piston lubricant should that have been needed. So compared to other repairs, this situation presented an acceptable risk.

Making minor adjustments to the Preras and the Pel has been very effective. I have three “new” pens to love and it isn’t even Valentines Day yet. What a great start to a new year!

Pelikan Pens History


Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts Ink Meets Its Mate


Once in a while the ink, pen, paper matching game produces an instant success. Such is the case with Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts ink, a Lamy Vista with a 1.1mm calligraphy nib, and an Apica A610 notebook, my daily journal. The slightly gray paper is a perfect backdrop for the dark blue-black ink. It is slightly soft and makes a comfortable surface for the italic nib. The ink flow is good but not copious so writing is smooth with good coverage. Plus the whole combination is very pleasing to the eye.

I thought there were no holes in my regular rotation. It appears I was mistaken.

Noodler's 54th Massachusetts Ink Writing Sample

Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts Ink Writing Sample

Caveat: The Apica notebook is a favorite of mine but the paper isn’t consistent enough to recommend without reservation. I’ve just started my tenth so certainly I like them. However, about half of the journals had at least a few pages that resisted ink to a slight extent. Not a deterrent for me but it can be annoying.


Fountain Pen Nibs – It’s All Relative


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.


Levenger Discount And A True Writer Fountain Pen


Saw a Levenger discount this afternoon that made me wish for another True Writer to stub. Mike Masuyama did a great job with my Kyoto and it would be useful as well as fun to have a second one for ink variety. The colorful Sea Glass version with a stubbed bold nib could be just the thing to brighten my desk.

Yes, I do have several True Writers but they are retired colors and I like to keep those with the original nibs unless the nib is imperfect. So a Sea Glass pen with its happy colors could be just the thing and would work perfectly with my True Writer black pen stand, too.

No new pen for me this year but you could get one with the 20% discount on a $50 order. The code is 20PC2011A.

Hint: It’s okay to buy a gift for yourself especially if it’s a nice one.

Levenger True Writer® Sea Glass Fountain Pen

Levenger True Writer® Sea Glass Fountain Pen


A Pelikan Tradition


Fountain Pen Hospital has a special on the Pelikan M200 Tradition with a variety of nib options including the italic. There aren’t many italic pens that look this good for under $100 especially with the build quality of a Pelikan. So if you’ve been waiting to take the plunge, now might be the perfect time.

Pelikan M200 Tradition at Fountain Pen Hospital

Pelikan M200 Tradition at Fountain Pen Hospital


Nibmeister vs Nibsheister


The term nibmeister has been around for years as an honorific bestowed on a few skilled people who can improve and even reform a nib. Nibsheister was new to me when I discovered it in a post by “picautomaton” at Fountain Pen Network. It’s clever and good for a chuckle. Whether earned by poor workmanship or unsatisfactory customer support, someone who earns the latter dishonor will find the going rough in the pen community.

Pilot Custom 742 Falcon Nib

Pilot Custom 742 Falcon Nib

Modifying a nib is fairly common amongst fountain pen users but finding the right person for the job can take a bit of effort. Recommendations from friends can be reassuring but FPN can substitute for friends especially if you inquire backchannel. Pen people do love to talk so getting opinions should prove easy.

Once you do find a promising candidate, ask if he or she warrants their work. No nib guarantee? Meh. Years ago I tested a modified steel nib that had been sold to a newbie by a reputable nibmeister. The nib was bloody awful but it was sold without a guarantee or return option because it wasn’t gold. The unfortunate buyer got stuck with a stinky nib. No willingness to make things right? Then no sale.

As an inkophile one point annoys me more than others. A few repair people are biased against some brands of ink. If the nibmeister insists the use of those inks will void the warranty, he can buy an island and become a dictator. I’ll spend my money with someone else.

Here is a parting shot and it is critical. Are you willing to re-home that pen if the modification isn’t to your liking? If the pen is precious as is, leave it as is.

Vintage Eversharp Nib

Vintage Eversharp Nib


The Bounty On My Desk


Sometimes it’s good to appreciate the amazing choices we have. So today I took stock of the bounty on my desk and found plenty to make a pen person smile.

Next to my right hand, coffee mug, and mouse are ten fountain pens, three felt tips, a brush pen, a mechanical pencil, and one highlighter. Does that seem like a lot? You should see the mountain of art supplies that hogs the left side of my workspace. Pens are small, tidy things in comparison. Paper is the biggest space invader but that’s another story.

Inkophile Pen and Ink Samples for August, 2011

Inkophile Pen and Ink Samples for August, 2011

The first three pens get daily use and I am content with each. The newest addition is the Namiki Falcon SB which is well-matched to Stipula Verde Mushiato both in flow and shading. The Levenger True Writer Masuyama Cursive Italic is perfect for brown ink but the Namiki Falcon SF gets to change its colors frequently. Its ink will be determined by what is missing when the other pens have been filled.

The three pens not pictured in the sample are due for cleaning and replacement by old favorites like my Sailor 1911 EF. That one works brilliantly with Noodler’s Red-Black and is an easy choice. The Sapporo F might get a fill of something turquoise or possibly one of my 1976 Pilot Elite “Socrates” pocket pens will get Diamine Teal. All three pens are good for long sessions and disinclined to clog even if unused for days at a time.

Sometimes I like to dig deeper in my pen drawer for older pens that deserve some playtime. The navy gray Parker ’51’ Aero F looks like a good mate for Noodler’s Zhivago and the Pelikan M250 Fine Stub has had a thing for Diamine Emerald for years. The dimensions of these two are slightly different from the other pens so that helps reduce hand fatigue on those days that seem to have no end.

Lastly it’s time to go back to black. Either the Limited Edition Sailor Hougado Deep Moss Black or Noodler’s Black but the pen has yet to be determined. The Lamy Safari OB and the Pilot Custom Black Stripe F are good candidates for a rich, dark ink. Again maintaining a variety of dimensions will determine the winner.

So that’s my latest pen and ink rotation.

Putting aside everything on my desk but the fountain pens and the written sample, I looked for a common thread to this rotation. Danged if I can find one save the pleasure in using a fountain pen and the colorful line it produces. That’s pretty simple but it does make me wonder about other fountain pen people. If you are a member of that club, what drives your rotation?


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