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Good, cheap Dip Pens


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#1 Jamesino

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 17:11

I'm looking to purchase some cheap dip pens to try writing with line thickness variations.

What are some decent models to look for?

#2 rcannonp

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 17:41

I would start with a Hunt 101 nib and one of the cheap, black Speedball nib holders.

Speedball Standard Pen Holder

Speedball Standard Point Dip Pen Nibs

#3 Tsujigiri

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 19:39

I like the Hunt 101, too, also called the Imperial. For copperplate writing, it can be useful to get an oblique holder instead of a straight one like the one in the link. This holds the nib at the right angle for slanted lettering.

#4 jbb

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 20:15

QUOTE (Jamesino @ Aug 2 2009, 10:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm looking to purchase some cheap dip pens to try writing with line thickness variations.

What are some decent models to look for?

I'm selling an inexpensive set in the FPN marketplace:
http://www.fountainp...n...=105227&hl=

#5 ShadowWriter

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 01:44

QUOTE (rcannonp @ Aug 2 2009, 01:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would start with a Hunt 101 nib and one of the cheap, black Speedball nib holders.
Speedball Standard Pen Holder
Speedball Standard Point Dip Pen Nibs
Great links and very cheap but I'm confused about dip pen, calligraphy nibs in general.

I understand that you weren't recommending a kit but I saw some kits that merely say sm, med, lg in set. Some give 1.x, 1.x and so on. Does the number "101" of the Hunt nib indicate the size of the nib in any way? I saw Hunt 102 and 103 online and wasn't certain if I was going down in size or the reverse.


#6 rcannonp

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Posted 03 August 2009 - 12:59

I think that the Hunt nib numbers are just to designate different products. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that they don't really mean anything in relation to one another. Most of the Hunt nibs put down very fine lines with no pressure applied. They have some specialty nibs like the 38 Recorder which is a rounded nib. You can get some line variation if you lean into it, but it is not flexible enough for a copperplate type of effect.

If you are looking to do more traditional calligraphy, you might get a set of Mitchell Roundhand nibs. You can buy a set of 10 nibs of different sizes with 2 reservoirs and a holder. I like them better than Brause or Speedball nibs. They handle different media like gouache or watercolor better than other nibs that I've tried.

#7 ismellarat

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 04:12

QUOTE (jbb @ Aug 2 2009, 03:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Jamesino @ Aug 2 2009, 10:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm looking to purchase some cheap dip pens to try writing with line thickness variations.

What are some decent models to look for?

I'm selling an inexpensive set in the FPN marketplace:
http://www.fountainp...n...=105227&hl=

I have heard nothing but good about JBB's product and service smile.gif
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#8 jglasgow

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 17:33

<!--quoteo(post=1166345:date=Aug 2 2009, 01:41 PM:name=rcannonp)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (rcannonp @ Aug 2 2009, 01:41 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=1166345"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->I would start with a Hunt 101 nib and one of the cheap, black Speedball nib holders.
<a href="http://www.dickblick...rd-pen-holder/" target="_blank">Speedball Standard Pen Holder</a>
<a href="http://www.dickblick...n-nibs/#photos" target="_blank">Speedball Standard Point Dip Pen Nibs</a><!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Great links and very cheap but I'm confused about dip pen, calligraphy nibs in general.

I understand that you weren't recommending a kit but I saw some kits that merely say sm, med, lg in set. Some give 1.x, 1.x and so on. Does the number "101" of the Hunt nib indicate the size of the nib in any way? I saw Hunt 102 and 103 online and wasn't certain if I was going down in size or the reverse.


There is some GREAT information on Calligraphy nibs in the topic heading "Learning Copperplate" in this forum. The Gillott 303 nibs seem to be a favorite but others are mentioned. You can check out http://www.johnnealbooks.com he seems to cater to this stuff.

#9 AD356

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 20:01

1 box of "Esterbrook Assorted Drafting" nibs it contains the following:
354 and 355 both are mapping(very small) and 354 is flexible
356 is a smaller nib but it has great action (this is my favorite of the 10 listed here)
357 is a very nice size and has great action again (it is very close to the Gillott 303)
358 is the largest and has a ridge that runs around the nib that holds extra ink (much like the Gillott 404)

Hunt made an identical box with these nibs:
100 and 103 very small Mapping nibs same as Esterbrook
99 same as the 356
22 is a great nib just like the 357 and 303
56 again just just like the 358 and 404

Esterbrook and Hunt were both great companies with reliable craftsmanship. Hunt was bought out by speed ball and now sells their products in a blue box. I have not tried these nibs, all of the ones I have mentioned above are vintage from the 1950s-1970s. Newer and older nibs may react differently.

Your nibs don't have to say Gillott on them to be great nibs. These are two very good companies founded in America, so they are easier to find and cheaper then nibs made out side of the US like: Gillott, Brause or Perry/goode & co, which are great companies with very good reliable nibs, but I found these are harder to find and will cost more. On top of that you get 5 different nibs per box to try out.

Note the Hunt 101 is just like the prized Gillott #1 Principality. They both makes very fine lines and can make very thick shades, with little pressure. While this is great for Ornamental and Spencerian scripts, it is not suited well for Copperplate as it is too hard to control the thickness of the shade. Also the 101 is a larger sizes like the 357 or 22 and the 101 and 103 are both very small mapping nibs and the 99 is smaller as well. So the number does not have to do with the size of THIS nib.
-Alan

#10 Achim

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 20:20

1 box of "Esterbrook Assorted Drafting" nibs it contains the following:
354 and 355 both are mapping(very small) and 354 is flexible
356 is a smaller nib but it has great action (this is my favorite of the 10 listed here)
357 is a very nice size and has great action again (it is very close to the Gillott 303)
358 is the largest and has a ridge that runs around the nib that holds extra ink (much like the Gillott 404)


Seconded. Those are really great for Spencerian or Copperplate and you can get a box for 24,95 right now on ebay (i.e. 144 nibs). It wont get much better and cheaper than that.

#11 jglasgow

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 00:04


1 box of "Esterbrook Assorted Drafting" nibs it contains the following:
354 and 355 both are mapping(very small) and 354 is flexible
356 is a smaller nib but it has great action (this is my favorite of the 10 listed here)
357 is a very nice size and has great action again (it is very close to the Gillott 303)
358 is the largest and has a ridge that runs around the nib that holds extra ink (much like the Gillott 404)


Seconded. Those are really great for Spencerian or Copperplate and you can get a box for 24,95 right now on ebay (i.e. 144 nibs). It wont get much better and cheaper than that.


Great to know info...thanks!

#12 nawybot

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 02:15

QUOTE (Jamesino @ Aug 2 2009, 10:11 AM) I'm looking to purchase some cheap dip pens to try writing with line thickness variations.

What are some decent models to look for?
I'm selling an inexpensive set in the FPN marketplace:
http://www.fountainp...n...=105227&hl=



I am not affiliated with jbb in any fashion, except as a customer, and in fact do not even know whether jbb is male or female. (Its gender is undisclosed on its profile page, you see.)

I have bought flex nibs from jbb before, and they are delicious. Not to mention, you get a handwriting sample with your order that will poke your eye out. But this "inexpensive" thing depends on your self-control, because jbb's nibs are like teensy weensy bags of potato chips. You take one, you'll want another, and another, and ....