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Pelikan Nibs


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#1 Albus

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 03:16

Hi all. I have never handled a pelikan FP before so I would like to ask some question wrt the smoothness,flex and feel of pelikan nibs.

How does the solid gold nibs compared to the gold plated steel and steel nibs?

I am also thinking of buy one pelikan FP maybe a M215, however i am concerned about the feel of the nibs, it's going to be my workhorse so it must be smooth above all.

I am not keen on a gold plated one like in 150 and 200 because it may flake and turn very ugly.

It can help if you can relate to a Lamy safari F nib.

Edited by Albus, 27 September 2010 - 03:17.


#2 Yuki Onitsura

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 03:24

There isn't a whole lot of difference between a stock Pelikan steel nib and a stock Pelikan 14k gold nib. The gold-plating is really just a cosmetic thing and doesn't affect the writing at all. Naturally, being Pelikans, they're all wonderfully smooth and a bit on the wet side but you won't get any flex out of them at all.

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#3 Albus

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 07:02

Wad about the solid gold? (14k, 18k) I heard it is pretty flexible.

#4 Readymade

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 12:28

Some general rules to keep in mind --

Nib width plays a role. The fatter the nib the more likely it is to feel smooth because you have more ink in contact with the paper = more lubrication.

For a given manufacturer, their steel nibs generally are stiffer than their gold (14K/18K) nibs. Pelikan is no exception.

In general, Pelikan nibs write smoothly out of the box.

Lamy Safari nibs are stiffer than Pelikan steel nibs.

Pelikan steel nibs are stiffer than Pelikan 14K and 18K nibs (and write a little bit narrower too)

Regardless of which year they were made, Pelikan 14K/18K nibs are not generally considered "flex" nibs, though they have a bit of flex / springiness. For a true "flex" nib, look elsewhere (PS: do a search on FPN).

How springy and flexy they are depends on when they were made. This is where things get complicated :)

Edited by Readymade, 27 September 2010 - 12:29.

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#5 wdownham

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 20:57

I have been using fountain pens for decades and do like the Pelikan 400 & 200 series for the weight and feel. I use custom nibs for increased flexibility. The nibs are easily changed when mood dictates.

#6 pajaro

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 22:24

I have been using fountain pens for decades and do like the Pelikan 400 & 200 series for the weight and feel. I use custom nibs for increased flexibility. The nibs are easily changed when mood dictates.


+1. I don't think you can go wrong no matter which you might choose. The nibs of 2XX and 4XX all interchange.
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#7 mori45

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 23:44

I think Pelikan nibs are smoother and more enjoyable to write with than Safari nibs, so I think you really can't go wrong. The 14k nibs are really nice, but I'd start with a steel/gold-plated nib and wait on the 14k nib to save some money unless you're sure it's something you want or you've had the chance to try it. If you want to upgrade to a 14k nib, you can do it at any time, and they aren't terribly expensive.

As for the gold flaking, I've never known this to be a problem.

#8 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 11:14

It comes down to when the nib was made and who.

I chase '50s pens, and some times get lucky with a '30's pens.

A steel nib can be as good as a gold nib, and a gold nib as good as a good steel nib. That a steel nib must be stiffer than gold is a myth.
It comes down to nib geometry. Gold and steel has advantages and disadvantages. Both are formed to take advantage of it's advantages and to minimize it's disadvantage.
Good nibs, are good nibs, and designed then as best as they could be. Today...I doubt if the pen companies try as hard as before.

First the nib must be designed to be used by people that do not know how to even hold a fountain pen. There for be it gold or steel, there will be many more disadvantages in the nib design than back in Vintage pens when all knew how to write.



Osmia made good nibs, both in it's premium line the Supra, and it's lesser line. I have two Supra nibs in steel and one in gold. All three are =. There is not better or worse. Those are great nibs.
The other three Osmia steel nibs I have are the regular semi-flex nibs. They are very very good nibs.

I have steel Degussa nibs...Degussa bought up Osmia's nib making machines in the early 30's when Osmia was in financial trouble. Those are very good nibs. (I must admit I was surprised...some of course were regular flex, not all were semi-flex. Not everyone wanted semi-flex.)
Osmia got new machines and came out with the Supra.

I have 14 K old Bock nibs that are semi-flex.

I have some steel Bock nibs from the same time that are semi-flex...how ever they must be stubbed, because my wife's uncle did not know how to stub, when he stubbed them some time in the '50s or 60's.

I have steel and gold nibs that are semi-flex from other companies.
One ends up with more gold nibs than good steel nibs because the gold nibs do not corrode while sitting dirty in a drawer for 30 years, like steel will.

It is quite possible that modern steel nibs are worse than modern gold nibs.

I do suggest chasing '50's German piston pens, with semi-flex nibs.
Swan nibs, from the early '50's to '30's.
You get a very good nib, attached to a good pen, for an affordable price.

Semi-flex nibs are to a regular nib as a regular nib is to a stiff or nail. It is not a Flexible nib, it can be used by folks like me who are a tad ham fisted with out springing it. One gets some line variation. It writes smoothly (After a minute or two on the brown paper bag.)
Since my first semi-flex nib a year ago, I have chased only semi-flex pens. I have go lucky and got a couple F-1's too.
I have been unlucky and got regular run of the mill nibs too...when one gambles on Ebay, some times you lose.

I have been very lucky also...I would not buy a modern pen....they do not have what I am now accustomed to, a good nib, a semi-flex nib.If I was to buy a good modern pen, the first thing that must happen is it must be sent to a nib meister to get the nib up to snuff.
Why spend all that money, when one can get a good reconditioned vintage pen with a semi-flex nib for less.
One can also some day chase flexible nibs too...some thing you must send a nib to a nibmeister to get; if he can do it with that with a modern nib.

Modern nibs are a waste of money.

Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 29 September 2010 - 16:23.

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I no longer use the term Easy Full Flex.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Odd, how many who should know better, compares Japanese F (which equals EF), with Western F, with out a second thought, but do not compare Japanese B with Western B.

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#9 freewheelingvagabond

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 10:20

Pelikan nibs are not exactly flexible, but they are 'springy' and/or soft, and you can create a bit of line variation with them. The gold plated steel nib is just fine, don't worry. Among the current production line, the gold nib on the M400 is probably the least 'springy'. Generally vintage Pelikan nibs are at least as springy as modern Pelikan nibs, and some are also semi-flex. Also, almost every Pelikan is a wet writer.
The Lamy nib is a solid, sturdy one, but a bit boring as it lacks feedback, and doesn't lend much character to one's handwriting. Pelikan nibs on the other hand are much fun to use. The current Pelikan F nib will give a line a little finer than the Lamy Safari F nib, the line will be way wetter, and the nib will feel almost a semi-flex when compared to a Lamy Safari F nib. If you like responsive nibs that yield somewhat to pressure, this is going to be a natural upgrade for you.

#10 eastsidekate

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 20:40

Pelikan nibs are not exactly flexible, but they are 'springy' and/or soft, and you can create a bit of line variation with them. The gold plated steel nib is just fine, don't worry. Among the current production line, the gold nib on the M400 is probably the least 'springy'. Generally vintage Pelikan nibs are at least as springy as modern Pelikan nibs, and some are also semi-flex. Also, almost every Pelikan is a wet writer.
The Lamy nib is a solid, sturdy one, but a bit boring as it lacks feedback, and doesn't lend much character to one's handwriting. Pelikan nibs on the other hand are much fun to use. The current Pelikan F nib will give a line a little finer than the Lamy Safari F nib, the line will be way wetter, and the nib will feel almost a semi-flex when compared to a Lamy Safari F nib. If you like responsive nibs that yield somewhat to pressure, this is going to be a natural upgrade for you.


Thanks for answering a question I hadn't even asked yet! (tho' it's pretty much what Albus asked).

I've been coming to the realization that I can't quite afford a Lamy 2000, but can afford a beautiful steel-nibbed Pelikan 205-- glad to hear the nib has a bit more flex than my entry-level (Al Star/Studio) Lamys.

#11 1000km

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 18:39

Vintage 14K Pelikan nibs are typically quite flexible.

#12 pathobby

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 17:23

With new Pelikans the steel nibs are every bit as good as the gold ones.

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#13 SnowLeopard

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 22:28

Pel 250 14C nib, on a black M200....one of my favs. The nib is old, the pen is new....bibbity- bobbity- boo too! Writes like a dream. Just had to search out the nib to suit. All Pels have varying degrees of spring-y(i)-ness. Use their ink...or the pen police will be visiting really soon. You can experiment by just changing nibs with a twist, but don't get in a twist about line width. There are significant variants, a plethora of untampered / unmodified nibs so as to make nib-meisters mods unnecessary.Polished steel nibs are cool with white furniture...205 yellow, and blue clears are excellent with double B, and M italic nibs. The line width is half a stop wider then Japanese nibs in general. The BB yellow pen can be used with their new highlighter fluid too. My vintage pens are in a class of their own wrt newer versions. I tend to like sections wo gold rings. Ornamental gold doesn't float my boat. Depending on your "hand", you might like the steel italic medium for line variation. It puts down a great wet precise line. I've been using Claire exclusively for almost as many years as I can recall.

#14 eastsidekate

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 17:55

It can help if you can relate to a Lamy safari F nib.


I just got my Pelikan 205 in the mail a few hours ago [seen here], and I loooove it.

My previous pens have been Lamys, and I typically have a F nib in my Al-Star and sick Studio. I'm pretty sure these are the same nibs as the safari F. Just to corroborate what others have said, I immediately noticed how flexible the steel Pelikan F nib is. It's not anything remotely like the Lamy steel nibs; it's been a real revelation (and a good one). The line is a bit finer than the Lamy F, but it's also been wetter, to the point that (with the one J. Herbin ink I've loaded it with so far) it feathers a bit on cheap copy paper, something I didn't experience with the same ink on my Lamys. It's been amazing on the everything else I've written on, and I'm sure I'll find a good copy paper ink with some trial and error.

Edited by eastsidekate, 08 October 2010 - 17:55.


#15 vans4444

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 19:15

When I was buying my first Pelikan I asked the same question and the general feeling of the thread was that you pay a lot extra to put a gold nib in an M200 for not much return.

Since then I have bought a number of Pelikans with both steel and gold nibs and in day to day use I do not find a big difference between the two. I have also bought a number of spare Pelikan nibs and swapped them around my pens. I find as much variation between Pelikan nibs of the same material as I do between steel and gold.

In my experience it is more important to buy the correct size and style of nib and this might mean you need to buy gold.

However, I agree with Bo Bo. My favorite Pelikan nibs are vintage nibs, a steel CN nib in a 100N, a steel EF in a 120 and a gold OM in a 400NN (the best)

#16 handwriter

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 19:27

Some vintage Pelikan nibs are flexible, some are semiflexible, and some are rigid. All modern Pelikan nibs, as most modern nibs of any brand, are rigid.

Wad about the solid gold? (14k, 18k) I heard it is pretty flexible.


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#17 Jayxbx

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 06:18

the gold nib i bought from Richard Binder wasn't much better than my steel nib.

#18 piembi

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 12:44

Wad about the solid gold? (14k, 18k) I heard it is pretty flexible.


If you want a (semi)flexible Pelikan nib, you have to go vintage:
  • modern Pelikan nibs (post 1997, duo tone) are stiff
  • pre 97 monochrome Pelikan nibs are soft and springy
  • early 80s nibs are closer to the 1960s nibs. They are even more springy and slightly stubbish. Having used many pre 97 nibs I can tell if it is an early 1980s nib when writing with it.
  • 1960s 400NN nibs are semiflexible and stubbish
  • early 1950s 400 nibs with the older engraving patterns are the most flexible nibs fitting the (M)4xx(NN)/2xx body.
  • The nibs of the even older 100(N) can be flexible or semiflexible
IMO a semiflexible nib is suitable for everyday writing and notetaking. I prefer vintage 400(NN)s at the office. If that is what you are looking for, get a vintage nib.

Footnote: I do have some modern M400s with duotone nib. They are sitting in the drawer. I am using the 1950s/1960s pens and don't care if the pen is in near mint condition or definitely user grade ....

#19 dr sougata

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 15:23

I agree with Bo Bo completely.
I have got a Sailor Sapporo (New),a Pelican 500(Vintage) and a Parker 75 in the recent past.
Special mention must be made about the Pelican......writing with it is simply an experience.

#20 vans4444

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 17:14

I understand the M800 was introduced in 1987. Is there likely to be much of a difference in the feel of an original M800 nib and a new one?

My vintage 400NN OM nib is perhaps the best nib in my small Pelikan collection

#21 Silvermink

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 17:16

Some vintage Pelikan nibs are flexible, some are semiflexible, and some are rigid. All modern Pelikan nibs, as most modern nibs of any brand, are rigid.


If you go up to the M10xx it has quite a bit of spring to it, but nothing like a real flex nib, of course.
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#22 cadfael_tex

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 17:25

Asked basically the same question on a thread where I was buying a new M215. I got the M400 14K nib in it. It hasn't shipped out yet. Should I call and save myself some money by switching back to steel?

#23 Sunburst

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 00:33

I understand the M800 was introduced in 1987. Is there likely to be much of a difference in the feel of an original M800 nib and a new one?


My old style M800 nib feels more springy compared to that of
the current M800 nib.

#24 vans4444

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 09:28

Asked basically the same question on a thread where I was buying a new M215. I got the M400 14K nib in it. It hasn't shipped out yet. Should I call and save myself some money by switching back to steel?


I also asked the same question about two years ago. As you would expect some members argued for the gold nib and others against. It was not clear cut. What I took away from the discussion was, you are unlikely to feel much of a difference in the writing experience between the gold and steel (although there was some dispute over this). The cost difference is such that you could buy a second spare steel nib or put the money towards another pen. Pelikan M400 nibs come in a greater range of sizes

Since then I have bought a number of modern Pelikan M200 and M400 nibs. Of these my favorite is a steel F.

#25 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 09:08

Piembi is the expert with the German and Pelikan nibs.
Able to say pre '97 and '80's and know the difference.

I don't have any '80's. And Just One pre'96. Tortoise started a year later and ended a year sooner, and mine says Germany making it between '90 and '96.

I forgot in my rant from before to say, I have a Pelikan 120 regular gold plated Fine that is a joy to write with.

My 140 OB 14K 30 degree, is a grand nib, nearly as good as my MB 243 1/2 14 K KOB....that is nib and tuck and it might be the MB lays better in my hand, giving it plus points.

My 400NN 14 K OF is a F-1, maxi-semi-flex or slightly Flexible...I like the hell out of that nib...and the pen grew on me too.It's up there in the top three. Today my Geha 725 Goldschwing is 4 on other days, it's in the battle for number two.

I have to rate my '90-96 400 Tortonis regular flex 14K M, above the 120 steel nib, but not by much at all. That 120 is a very nice nib to write with. I do have better semi-flex Fine nibs of course. But for a regular flex Fine it is a joy to write with.

The 605...well a BB should be smother than a Fine. The 120 steel tines spread more than the 14 K modern BB. The 605 is closer to a stiff regular of my Parker -75, than I expected.
The fact I've got a fat BB or a BB 1/2 may be one of the reasons I don't use it much. Smooth it is. But smoothness is not everything, it is a tad too wide for my hand. I have other Vintage OBB's that are not quite so wide. How ever wide nibs use to be a tad narrower back in the old days.

Of the two, I'd rather write with the 120. :headsmack:

I have always been glad that BB nib is destined to become a Cursive Italic.

Things to do, get a 400 from the early '80's. :rolleyes: Or perhaps a 600...that would be it, get a 600 from the early '80's. An early '80's 800 would be a grail pen.


All my best nibs are very good and close to each other in performance, considering the differences in width and 'cut'.
It's just right now, the BB 605 don't belong to them.Perhaps as a Cursive Italic it can cut the mustard.


I just realized my 120 is gold plated and looks like new..odd I didn't pay attention to that.
The plating must be good, I have some Reform 'plated' nibs and they were lightly plated and the nib came through.

Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 04 November 2010 - 17:19.

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I no longer use the term Easy Full Flex.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Odd, how many who should know better, compares Japanese F (which equals EF), with Western F, with out a second thought, but do not compare Japanese B with Western B.

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#26 vans4444

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 09:20

Piembi is the expert with the German and Pelikan nibs.
Able to say pre '97 and '80's and know the difference.



I forgot in my rant from before to say, I have a Pelikan 120 regular gold plated Fine that is a joy to write with.


Of the two, I'd rather write with the 120. :headsmack:



Now that is odd Bo Bo. I have a gold plated F 120 nib and I 100% agree with your comments. Odd in the sense that in my small but growing collection of Pelikans I would have expect better nib performance from the more expensive nibs. I had assumed the performance from the F 120 was some sort of lucky chance, but that does not seem to be the case? Perhaps steel 120 nibs are just good compared to some new Pelikan nibs?