Btw since you have both type of adjustable flange, which do you think is easier to use or secure the nib tighter?
I have four holders:
I don't think straight vs hourglass matters as long as the grip diameter is sufficient for your fingers, and this can be easily adjusted with a few pennies worth of tape.
Actually, these are three different types of flange. The PIA is actually three coaxial flanges, allowing the use of standard sized (Gillott 303 and larger), small (e.g., Brause EF66), and mapping nibs and crow quills in a single holder. It is slightly finicky to make the initial fine-tuning of rake (the angle at which the nib addresses the page), because of the multiple layers of brass, but it can be done and, once done, left alone. The factory adjustment would probably fit most people. My hand size dictated a minor tweak. I normally use this holder for Gillott 303 and Hunt 99 nibs.
The Blackwell flange doesn't really allow a direct rake adjustment, but the 'factory' angle is pretty close to perfect. I use this holder for the larger standard nibs, like the G nibs and the Brause Steno nib.
The Sull is really for standard sized nibs, but could probably be bent to accept other sizes. Mine came set up for a 'G' nib (various Japanese makers). I adjusted it to accept nibs of the Hunt 101, Esterbrook 358, Gillott 404 size, and with only a tiny tweak (pinch of the pliers), it will hold Gillott 303, Hunt 99, and similar.
You don't want the nib to be held very tight, - it's too easy to distort tine alignment, making a perfectly good nib write scratchy - just tightly enough that the nib does not shift side to side or slide back and forth. All three styles have their up and down sides.
Blackwell: It's easy to over-tighten, consequently curling the nib enough to cause scratchiness. Of course, if the nib feels scratchy, the first thing to do (after cleaning the nib) is to loosen the flange and re-tighten it a bit more gently. (I use my thumb nail, rather than a screwdriver.)
PIA: It's a little tough to clean out, and optimizing the three flanges to fit perfectly your favorite nib in each of the three nib size-classes is difficult. That said, the only flange you will likely need to adjust with any frequency is the outside flange (which fits the most popular nibs), and that is pretty easily accomplished with a small screw driver.
Sull: This is the easiest to adjust (with a pair of jeweler's pliers), but it also needs the largest number of minor maintenance adjustments. The brass is pretty flexible (and a bit springy) and normal use will necessitate an occasional tune up. No biggy. (When the nib falls out into the ink pot, it's time do a minor re-crimp.) Properly adjusted, I think this simple, old style flange holds the nib the most gently of all and is the easiest to fit to one's hand. (This is also the style of flange found in many other good holders, like the Century and Zanerian.)
Edited by Mickey, 12 April 2012 - 20:01.