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Ahab With Knox K35 & Bulow Nibs


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#1 SamCapote

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:32

I hope P.A.R. forgives me for starting a new topic because I didn't want my photos to slow down or get lost in his thread. I followed his recommendation to check out these very economical Knox and Bulow nibs as non-flex replacements for the Noodler's steel nib in this thread, I bought the group price of all 6 Knox and the Bulow nibs which totaled $45.04 (delivered) for all 7 of them. Shipping was priority USPS and arrived in 2 days. All of these nibs are a perfect size match in width, length, and thickness for the stock Ahab steel flex nib. You can get all these nibs here: http://www.xfountainpens.com/Accessories-s/32.htm .

I took a series of macro photos so you can compare their tip sizes, followed by a writing sample scan with Parker Penman Sapphire on Staples Eco-Sugarcaine tablet. Nibs were not cleaned or flossed. They were literally taken out of the small plastic envelopes, matched with the feed, and inserted into my Ahab demonstrator, then dipped in ink for writing sample. It was very easy and quick to pull out and change to the next nib. These are nice appearing two tone nibs with tipping. I have no idea of their long term durability, but starting out are a nice option if you like the Ahab pen feel and just want a non-flex selection of nibs. I consider it an incredible deal, and will likely order two more 6-packs. I would call the Bulow a more typical western Medium size.

There are two negatives to the nibs, which as long as you understand going in are not necessarily problems.

  • The first is a nuisance quibble that you need to be careful keeping track of which is which because they did not stamp a size on any of them.
  • Secondly, IMHO, the OB and O2B are not obliques at all, and there is really little difference between the B, OB, and O2B in terms of line size. You get a wee bit more ink with the O2B vs. the B, but these are very slight variations of nib sizes which I would put more as Medium to Medium-Broad to Barely Broad in sizes.. If I compare them to my Montblanc nibs, none of the Knox B, OB, & O2B tipping are not larger than the Montblanc Med nib, although they do write a bit wider than the MB. This also means that the XF, F, & M as you can see from the scan below are more towards Japanese sizes.


First photos includes an overlap from both sides of Noodler's nib so you can see they have identical footprints (and metal thicknesses). Rest of images are self explanatory. All are thumbnails if you want larger, click them.







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Edited by SamCapote, 21 January 2012 - 08:08.

With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#2 hari317

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:49

Samcapote, what is the length of the nib from tip to heel and what is the width across shoulders? Thanks!

#3 SamCapote

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:07

Samcapote, what is the length of the nib from tip to heel and what is the width across shoulders? Thanks!


8.5mm width, 34.8mm length, and 2.85mm thick from bottom of side edges to top
With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#4 SamCapote

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:33

This should make it a lot easier to see what a MB M, B, OB, BB, OBB looks like compared to the supposed Knox K35 O2B on macro



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With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#5 hari317

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 13:39


Samcapote, what is the length of the nib from tip to heel and what is the width across shoulders? Thanks!


8.5mm width, 34.8mm length, and 2.85mm thick from bottom of side edges to top


Thank you. This means that the #6 BOCK nib or the #6 JoWo Meisternib will fit the Ahab too, just the nib, not the nib unit, perhaps the feed will fit too.

#6 P.A.R.

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 14:36

I don't mind at all - the photos, especially the macros, are great and the writing samples are very helpful. I still just have my Bulow nib, and have yet to get the Knox ones. I will probably get the B-OBB set for general purposes and the individual F for essay writing at school (when I have to use bleedy lined filler paper :glare:.) Derek from xfountainpens offered me a free pen for some reason or other (a "courtesy" for I don't know what) so I am going to try get the individual nib free if I can.

Is there any noticeable difference in smoothness between the Bulow and the Knox nibs, or are they about the same? Also, is the fine nib at all rougher than the bolder ones? I wouldn't imagine so since the flow is good. Thanks.

Now someone needs to order those K26 nibs for the other Noodler's pens. :clap1:

Edited by P.A.R., 20 January 2012 - 14:38.

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#7 Uncle Red

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 17:11

Wow, thanks for the sample. The Knox OB and OBB do look like left foot obliques, about 7 degrees. The tipping is round so there's no line variation. I assume from the sharp grinds on the MB nibs that there's some line variation. It's interesting that the Knox nibs are finer than the MB's even though they're both made in Germany.

#8 wastelanded

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 18:12

Thank you for the great closeup photos! You've given us a true view of these nibs. No, the obliques aren't what the MB obliques are. But the MB oblique nibs aren't $8, so I'd say the Knoxs are still good for the money :thumbup:

Edit..they *aren't* what the MB nibs are

Edited by wastelanded, 20 January 2012 - 18:12.

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#9 SamCapote

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 20:58

PAR, all the Knox nibs are smooth with my brief sample writing I did above, and smoother than the Below. I think the Below likely needed just a hair of smoothing, maybe even just a bit of use on paper would do the trick. Just because the Knox do not look like (or IMHO -- perform strokes like) other Waterman, Pelikan, or Mont Blanc oblique tips, does not imply that they are bad nibs in their own right...and especially for these prices. Again, they are fabulous nibs as far as I am concerned, which is why I was going to order two more sets of 6 to have.

Not sure what the K26 would offer over these.

Hari, where do you buy those Bock or Jowo #6 nibs?

These are not cheap. I don't know either of them to know if they are worth the extra money in actual performance terms compared to the Knox. I googled these two sources respectively, and #6 sizes are limited in tip width, and both brands run $100 each

http://nibs.com/KitPenNibs.htm
http://meisternibs.com/14k-gold-nibs
http://meisternibs.com/18k-gold-nibs

Edited by SamCapote, 20 January 2012 - 22:35.

With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#10 P.A.R.

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 00:04

PAR, all the Knox nibs are smooth with my brief sample writing I did above, and smoother than the Below. I think the Below likely needed just a hair of smoothing, maybe even just a bit of use on paper would do the trick. Just because the Knox do not look like (or IMHO -- perform strokes like) other Waterman, Pelikan, or Mont Blanc oblique tips, does not imply that they are bad nibs in their own right...and especially for these prices. Again, they are fabulous nibs as far as I am concerned, which is why I was going to order two more sets of 6 to have.

Not sure what the K26 would offer over these.

Thanks! You mentioned that the obliques aren't really oblique, so I may instead get a OBB and a EF-M set. If these are even smoother than the Bulow, I can't wait to get them.:puddle:

I'll probably get some K26's for my other Noodler's pens just so that they're more versatile and fun to use.

Oh, would you mind putting the site link in your original post so that people don't have to go back to my thread?

http://www.xfountain...sories-s/32.htm

Glad you're enjoying them :thumbup:

Edited by P.A.R., 21 January 2012 - 00:07.

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#11 OrangeJoe

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 03:24

I ordered last Sunday and they shipped Thursday :bonk: (my estimated delivery date is next Monday).

I guess Sam's photos will have to do for now to keep me entertained over the weekend. That and the Philly Pen Show. Thanks for the pics. :)

Added: While I trust your assesment that the O Knox nibs present no performance difference versus a standard nib, I think from your pictures it is clear the tips are indeed cut at an angle.

OT, is that a manufacturing defect on the Montblanc B nib. Looks like the cutting operation nicked a chunk from the tipping. If so how did something like that pass QA :yikes:

Edited by OrangeJoe, 21 January 2012 - 03:36.

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#12 hari317

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 03:43

Hari, where do you buy those Bock or Jowo #6 nibs?

These are not cheap. I don't know either of them to know if they are worth the extra money in actual performance terms compared to the Knox. I googled these two sources respectively, and #6 sizes are limited in tip width, and both brands run $100 each

http://nibs.com/KitPenNibs.htm
http://meisternibs.com/14k-gold-nibs
http://meisternibs.com/18k-gold-nibs


One source for the steel no 6 nibs is meisternibs itself, 20 usd each.

http://meisternibs.com/steel-nibs/

these are full nib units with nib feed and housing.

#13 SamCapote

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 08:28

While I trust your assesment that the O Knox nibs present no performance difference versus a standard nib, I think from your pictures it is clear the tips are indeed cut at an angle.

OT, is that a manufacturing defect on the Montblanc B nib. Looks like the cutting operation nicked a chunk from the tipping. If so how did something like that pass QA :yikes:


Joe, I looked at the Knox with a higher mag loupe, and at my camera macro photos to see that there is a very slight oblique angle. I didn't notice it writing with it, and I was used to the more dramatic oblique appearances of my MB & Pelikan nibs.

Now that you mention that thing on the MB B nib, I went back and flossed the nib. It was a tiny fiber sticking out in the camera view.

Hari, thanks for that link. Again I'm wondering if those are dramatically better than the Knox which look and write pretty nice. I just don't know.
With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#14 P.A.R.

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 18:22


While I trust your assesment that the O Knox nibs present no performance difference versus a standard nib, I think from your pictures it is clear the tips are indeed cut at an angle.

OT, is that a manufacturing defect on the Montblanc B nib. Looks like the cutting operation nicked a chunk from the tipping. If so how did something like that pass QA :yikes:


Joe, I looked at the Knox with a higher mag loupe, and at my camera macro photos to see that there is a very slight oblique angle. I didn't notice it writing with it, and I was used to the more dramatic oblique appearances of my MB & Pelikan nibs.

Now that you mention that thing on the MB B nib, I went back and flossed the nib. It was a tiny fiber sticking out in the camera view.

Hari, thanks for that link. Again I'm wondering if those are dramatically better than the Knox which look and write pretty nice. I just don't know.

I don't see much room for improvement in the Knox nibs, if any, even though the Bock nibs are three or more times as expensive and from a well known source.
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#15 SamCapote

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:56



While I trust your assesment that the O Knox nibs present no performance difference versus a standard nib, I think from your pictures it is clear the tips are indeed cut at an angle.

OT, is that a manufacturing defect on the Montblanc B nib. Looks like the cutting operation nicked a chunk from the tipping. If so how did something like that pass QA :yikes:


Joe, I looked at the Knox with a higher mag loupe, and at my camera macro photos to see that there is a very slight oblique angle. I didn't notice it writing with it, and I was used to the more dramatic oblique appearances of my MB & Pelikan nibs.

Now that you mention that thing on the MB B nib, I went back and flossed the nib. It was a tiny fiber sticking out in the camera view.

Hari, thanks for that link. Again I'm wondering if those are dramatically better than the Knox which look and write pretty nice. I just don't know.

I don't see much room for improvement in the Knox nibs, if any, even though the Bock nibs are three or more times as expensive and from a well known source.


I'm guessing you are right. These look great and write well.
With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#16 wastelanded

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 00:36

I have a Bulow X530 Mitternacht with the Knox M nib installed. First inking today and I have to say I'm very impressed with it: quite smooth and lays a nice wet line. A little too fine for me, but good quality: I will be ordering one of the OB nibs to go in. Working on a full review of the pen tonight.
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#17 Scribblesoften

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 00:54

Thanks for you work Sam. This is very helpful.

#18 P.A.R.

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 02:20

Sam, I set you a PM about this, but it would probably be even better to post in this thread.

Once you get those TWSBI color's that you mentioned ordering, would you mind comparing their Bock nibs' performances to the Knox nibs? Thanks.

Edited by P.A.R., 28 January 2012 - 02:21.

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#19 hedera

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 16:40

That is great news, seeing as that my first Ahabs should soon be on their way!
I do like the idea of a flex nib, but I would love being able to swap them out for regular nibs as well.

(edited, because the title of the post answered my question....)

Edited by hedera, 28 January 2012 - 17:22.


#20 raging.dragon

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 07:57

The $20 steel meister nibs include the feed and collar, which have to add something to the price. Thus it's quite likely that the JoWo or Bock steel nibs without feed and collar probably cost about the same as the Knox nibs. So I would expect the Knox nibs to be just as good as the JoWo and Bock nibs.

The following link, with dimensions of the standard Bock nibs, might be of interest:

http://www.peter-boc.../index_eng.html

It looks like the Knox nibs should be interchangable with the Bock 250 and maybe 220 as well.

Edited by raging.dragon, 31 January 2012 - 07:59.


#21 AndyLa

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 18:24

Hmm. Got my set on Friday and so far have only tried the OBB, OB, M Knox nibs. I absolutely adore the OBB, it is very smooth. I can tell it's oblique by the angle on my OBB, but my OB has no angle and it does not write broad. Not sure if it was mislabeled, nonetheless, a bit disappointing. The medium writes more on the fine side as well.

Two slight issues for me:
-no nib size written (like the OP)
-sometimes the nib slips out for me. Isn't as tight a fit as the flex nib, but a quick push in solves that.

#22 DEFishback

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 19:50

I was excited to see this thread, and thanks to Sam and P.A.R. for bringing us this great nib intel. I ordered the Knox F and M and Bulow silver-tone nibs yesterday, and I'm looking forward to trying them out. I love the Ahab design and ergonomics, but for now I'd prefer a fixed nib. This could end up being a jackpot combo.

#23 SamCapote

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 20:21

I have compared the two colored TWSBI nibs Med & Broad which are supposed to be Bock nibs to the Knox used on Ahab pens with several inks. I cannot find any significant difference in writing smoothness or nib feel on various papers between them. I like the two tone aesthetic beauty of the Knox. Interestingly, the TWSBI with Bock Broad lays down a line width similar to the Knox Medium; & TWSBI Bock Medium is in between a Knox Fine and Knox Medium.

I didn't compare any of these to the old Schmidt nibs on 530/540 clear TWSBI's I have.

Bottom line, the Knox nibs that I have used are very nice quality with the Ahab, comparable to the colored TWSBI Med & Broad Bock performance, but the Knox are nicer looking. I also love using the Knox O2B, but I have to make sure I put each back in it's plastic envelope to keep them straight. You can tell which is which if you get out a loupe, but it is a shame they didn't etch the size for easier reference.
With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#24 P.A.R.

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 00:54

Thanks for that comparison - I may eventually get a TWSBI color based on this, but only if I like the TWSBI ergonomics more than the Ahab (which is notably $30 less expensive.) One of my friends has a clear TWSBI I could try. I noted from the TWSBI Color thread that there was a change in nib size. Were there any other changes in the sizing or ergonomics?
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#25 SamCapote

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 02:12

Thanks for that comparison - I may eventually get a TWSBI color based on this, but only if I like the TWSBI ergonomics more than the Ahab (which is notably $30 less expensive.) One of my friends has a clear TWSBI I could try. I noted from the TWSBI Color thread that there was a change in nib size. Were there any other changes in the sizing or ergonomics?


No other changes to the TWSBI basic length and width shape with 530/540/colored 540 (piston retracts to give slightly larger volume in 540 vs. 530). I continue to be irritated by the TWSBI design which assumes that people don't want to post the caps. If you post the TWSBI, it is very imbalanced (heavy towards the cap), not a secure feeling attachment, and the cap attaches to the piston filling knob (so make sure you don't twirl your posted cap). Last time I brought up needing to post it, I was accused of having monster sized hands--like it was a problem with my anatomy, rather than their understanding that there are those who always want to use a pen posted. In contrast, the Ahab is a joy to use posted. I find the Ahab shape and its celluloid type material is much more pleasing to hold.
With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

#26 fabrimedeiros

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 01:35

Is it right or is it a wrong impression? Is the Knox OBB nib width closer to MB medium ?

#27 Essensia

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:37

My Noodler's original flex pen and also a regular Noodler's piston filler are very grateful to have a new life with Knox K26 nibs. Not only do they write, they write well.

I had yanked their original nibs and pitched 'em in the trash quite some time ago, hoping some appropriate nibs would come along someday.

Thank you, P.A.R. and SamCapote, for this great information.

Edited by Essensia, 04 February 2012 - 04:37.


#28 P.A.R.

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 05:02

Good to hear that you're enjoying them :thumbup:

I'd like to take the other Noodler's pens I have out of their case, but the nibs pale in comparison to the Bulow one I have now. I was interested in the option advertised by Nathan to put different nibs in the piston pen, but with the pricetags, uncertainty, and difficulty in finding vintage nibs these seem to be a great option. Hopefully Derek followed through on my request to package a K26 nib along with my K35 set that I ordered as the gift he offered for some reason or other- I guess I'll find out when the package gets here (hopefully tomorrow.)
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#29 P.A.R.

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 05:04

Double post- sorry.

Edited by P.A.R., 04 February 2012 - 05:05.

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#30 tenney

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 06:08

Thanks so much for all the info and pics and everything...


SamCapote, did you do any writing comparisons with the original Ahab nib?
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