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Extra Fine Nibs


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#1 jzents

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 22:27

I have come to realize that EF nibs are not all created equal. I have a Rotring core and a Lamy safari both with EF nibs. The Lamy seems to be a finer nib than the Rotring. However, I do not really think that even the Lamy is what I was wanting in an EF nib. Can you help me with a brand whose EF nibs are really EXTRA Fine. I love the Lamy in all ways except that I wish the nib was finer. I am willing to put up with some scratchiness to get a finer line. Thank you in advance for your thoughts! Cheers!

#2 Oranges and Apples

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 22:33

Any Japanese pen from the big three (Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum) can satisfy your need for an extra fine.

#3 Brian C

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 22:37

I once had an xxxf nib from John Mottishaw. Great nib. Smoother than you would think. I would suggest find a pen you like and get it ground how you like from one of the pros.

#4 Holypie

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 23:04

Any Japanese pen from the big three (Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum) can satisfy your need for an extra fine.


This is pretty much the only option without going to get a custom grind. If you're willing to gamble, many Chinese pens also have very fine nibs, but the quality control is less strict than it is for Japanese companies.

#5 Mickey

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 23:10

Platinum UEF (ultra-extra-fine) is about as fine as it comes without going to a dip pen. (The same nib is also available on Nakaya pens.) Remember, the paper, ink type, ink flow, writing speed, writing pressure, and (almost never considered) humidity all affect line thickness, too.

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#6 jzents

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:36

Any Japanese pen from the big three (Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum) can satisfy your need for an extra fine.

I was thinking that would be what I would here but wanted to make sure that I was not overlooking something. Thank you very much!

#7 jzents

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:38

Platinum UEF (ultra-extra-fine) is about as fine as it comes without going to a dip pen. (The same nib is also available on Nakaya pens.) Remember, the paper, ink type, ink flow, writing speed, writing pressure, and (almost never considered) humidity all affect line thickness, too.

Thank you! Did not know about that size. Also thanks for the excellent caveat on line thickness. Cheers!

#8 jzents

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:39


Any Japanese pen from the big three (Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum) can satisfy your need for an extra fine.


This is pretty much the only option without going to get a custom grind. If you're willing to gamble, many Chinese pens also have very fine nibs, but the quality control is less strict than it is for Japanese companies.

Did not know the Chinese made pens. I will look at that as an option. Thank you!

#9 jzents

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:40

I once had an xxxf nib from John Mottishaw. Great nib. Smoother than you would think. I would suggest find a pen you like and get it ground how you like from one of the pros.

Still a bit of a newbie and had not thought of doing something as radical as having the nib custom ground. What are the search terms one would use to find someone who can do that? Custom Pens? Thanks and cheers!

#10 Brian C

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 04:10


I once had an xxxf nib from John Mottishaw. Great nib. Smoother than you would think. I would suggest find a pen you like and get it ground how you like from one of the pros.

Still a bit of a newbie and had not thought of doing something as radical as having the nib custom ground. What are the search terms one would use to find someone who can do that? Custom Pens? Thanks and cheers!


Mottishaw, Binder, Dahl, Masuyama have their own websites. Oxonian and watch_art here on FPN.

#11 pajaro

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 04:30

Some of the Esterbrook extra fine nibs are good. The price is often favorable, but the 9xxx extra fines have tipping, where the 1xxx nd 2xxx numbers have the nibs folded over.
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#12 Mickey

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:14


Platinum UEF (ultra-extra-fine) is about as fine as it comes without going to a dip pen. (The same nib is also available on Nakaya pens.) Remember, the paper, ink type, ink flow, writing speed, writing pressure, and (almost never considered) humidity all affect line thickness, too.

Thank you! Did not know about that size. Also thanks for the excellent caveat on line thickness. Cheers!


I recently purchased a Platinum President from John Mottishaw with a UEF and requested it be regulated for 4 of 10 wetness with a light hand. It's a little dry (and slightly scratchy) on some papers (requiring me to slow down), but on Clairefontaine (and the like) it (smoothly) puts down an admirably fine line.

Edited by Mickey, 22 April 2012 - 05:16.

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#13 XiaoMG

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:24

Get a cheap Japanese EF to test the water. A good example for a low price is the Pilot Penmanship pen, which comes with a good modular nib. The cost is very low (under 10usd), and occasionally samples will be a bit on the dry and scratchy side, but most are pretty good and are a nice taste of what a Japanese EF is all about. If you like it, you have other paths that you can take, including swapping the nib into another pen like a Prera or 78G. There are some that are even finer, but you don't want to toss a bunch of money at a Saibi Togi or something just to find yourself frustrated at flossing paper fibers out of the slit.

For what it's worth, I too found a lot of EF nibs a bit chunky...now my daily carry is a Japanese F, and I usually have an EF nearby for some applications. Some of my F nibs flip over for those limited situations when I need very fine lines, and the F is still thin enough to be useful and rides nicely on less-cooperative papers.
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#14 imadeadend

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:10

I love my fine nibs, but I hate nibs with huge feedback. Whilst this may sound contradictory, there are several nibs I would class as true fines that are quite smooth.

First is my 14k fine sailor Sapporo mini. It's a really nice fine that puts down a really consistent line and never lets up. There is a hint of feedback that was more probounced, but daily use got it writing really well after a week or two. Sailors also come in an extra fine and the xxf Saibi Togi which is apparently super fine. The sailor F comes around half the thickness of my EF safari nib.

Second is my Pilot 78g fine. These nibs are available on several models including the Prera, and they are actually really nice little steel nibs that are thinner than the sailor even. The 78G is a 10 dollar pen, so get one anyways!

Pilot Custom 74 Fine. This is probably the greatest fine nib I own that makes a needle point width line on the page. It is 14k gold, and a great example of how to make a good fine nib. The line width is more extra fine than fine and has a very low amount of feedback to it. It's a perfect nib for fine fanatics!

The fourth I should add is my Pelikan 400NN extra fine. What I love about this nib is that it's truly extra fine, comparable in width to the Sailor or Pilot 78G nibs, but flexes to a full double broad width when pressure is applied. It has a great flow and doesn't skip a beat!

I am getting my Platinum 3776 EF steel this week and am eager to see how it fares! My first Japanese EF! I am very thankful to the big three in Japan for making such amazing pens with nibs that glide better than any western super fine out!

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#15 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 16:09

vintage sheaffer lifetime, vintage sheaffer triumph , sheaffer feathertouch and inlaid nibs are among the best extrafine and fine nibs one can get. The waterman le man 100 ef and f nibs, vintage mb 146 and 149 ef and f nibs as well as parker fuofold flat top and vacumatic ef and f nibs are also very very good.
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#16 Miketsheehan

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 16:23

Sailor- unreal

#17 coleam

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 16:25

For reference, I've found that my Lamy EF gives roughly the same line width as my Sailor Medium-Fine. A Japanese EF/UEF is approaching hairline width, which isn't terribly practical unless you have very small writing or do a lot of math.

#18 jzents

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:33

Get a cheap Japanese EF to test the water. A good example for a low price is the Pilot Penmanship pen, which comes with a good modular nib. The cost is very low (under 10usd), and occasionally samples will be a bit on the dry and scratchy side, but most are pretty good and are a nice taste of what a Japanese EF is all about. If you like it, you have other paths that you can take, including swapping the nib into another pen like a Prera or 78G. There are some that are even finer, but you don't want to toss a bunch of money at a Saibi Togi or something just to find yourself frustrated at flossing paper fibers out of the slit.

For what it's worth, I too found a lot of EF nibs a bit chunky...now my daily carry is a Japanese F, and I usually have an EF nearby for some applications. Some of my F nibs flip over for those limited situations when I need very fine lines, and the F is still thin enough to be useful and rides nicely on less-cooperative papers.

When you say a Japanese F, you mean like a Pilot F for example? I looked at the Pilot Penmanship pen, like that idea. JetPens is currently out but I will keep an eye out for them. Sounds like a good idea to try before I plunge into a $100+ pen. Cheers!

Edited by jzents, 24 April 2012 - 03:36.


#19 XiaoMG

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 04:00

When you say a Japanese F, you mean like a Pilot F for example? I looked at the Pilot Penmanship pen, like that idea. JetPens is currently out but I will keep an eye out for them. Sounds like a good idea to try before I plunge into a $100+ pen. Cheers!

Yep...I have a few pens from the Japanese "big three", Platinum, Pilot, and Sailor, and I always have a Pilot F with me in the form of a Capless Decimo or a Custom 74. I have a bunch of 78G nibs as well (interchangeable with the Penmanship, Plumix, and more expensive Prera), and the better ones are excellent performers. I'd say go for the EF to see if it is what you're looking for or if it's just a bit on the weak side. Only the Penmanship will give you the steel EF nib, so I recommended it first. I actually rather like the black version, as the barrel can be sanded or otherwise given a satin finish that looks great. The clear version just looks toyish, in my opinion (though it might work as an eyedropper).

Edited by XiaoMG, 24 April 2012 - 04:03.

Robert.

#20 jzents

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 02:28


When you say a Japanese F, you mean like a Pilot F for example? I looked at the Pilot Penmanship pen, like that idea. JetPens is currently out but I will keep an eye out for them. Sounds like a good idea to try before I plunge into a $100+ pen. Cheers!

Yep...I have a few pens from the Japanese "big three", Platinum, Pilot, and Sailor, and I always have a Pilot F with me in the form of a Capless Decimo or a Custom 74. I have a bunch of 78G nibs as well (interchangeable with the Penmanship, Plumix, and more expensive Prera), and the better ones are excellent performers. I'd say go for the EF to see if it is what you're looking for or if it's just a bit on the weak side. Only the Penmanship will give you the steel EF nib, so I recommended it first. I actually rather like the black version, as the barrel can be sanded or otherwise given a satin finish that looks great. The clear version just looks toyish, in my opinion (though it might work as an eyedropper).

Thank you for the details. I am definitely going to have to get a Penmanship pen. This sounds like what I am thinking I want. Inexpensive to try. Thanks for the information.

#21 Leftytoo

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:15

Yes, Japanese pens (I have 2). Another option are some of the older classic pens. I have an Eversharp Skyline EF that is softer and smoother than either of my modern pens. A good recondioned Skyline should cost less than $80. Also owned a classic Waterman that was EF, but quite stiff and a little bit scratchy - more like modern pens.

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#22 Oranges and Apples

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:26

If you're willing to explore to the $100-150 range, the Pilot Vanishing Point extra fine is worth trying out. The extra fine is the finest nib I have ever tried.

I'll post a picture later on this week.

#23 adallak

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 00:58



Any Japanese pen from the big three (Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum) can satisfy your need for an extra fine.


This is pretty much the only option without going to get a custom grind. If you're willing to gamble, many Chinese pens also have very fine nibs, but the quality control is less strict than it is for Japanese companies.

Did not know the Chinese made pens. I will look at that as an option. Thank you!

What? Is there anything Chinese do not make nowadays? Chinese have been doing very good fountain pens for decades, by the way.
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#24 jzents

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 23:36




Any Japanese pen from the big three (Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum) can satisfy your need for an extra fine.


This is pretty much the only option without going to get a custom grind. If you're willing to gamble, many Chinese pens also have very fine nibs, but the quality control is less strict than it is for Japanese companies.

Did not know the Chinese made pens. I will look at that as an option. Thank you!

What? Is there anything Chinese do not make nowadays? Chinese have been doing very good fountain pens for decades, by the way.

My ignorance is revealed to all. So TWSBI is one of those Chinese makers? I was reading some other posts, they sound pretty good and not too expensive. Are their fine nibs comparable to the Japanese fine nibs?

#25 jzents

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 23:39

If you're willing to explore to the $100-150 range, the Pilot Vanishing Point extra fine is worth trying out. The extra fine is the finest nib I have ever tried.

I'll post a picture later on this week.

Question. Every time I look on the Pilotpen.us site they only list F for the Vanishing point pen. How did you get an EF? I Like the idea, and am open to trying when the money is available.

#26 coleam

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 00:30

My ignorance is revealed to all. So TWSBI is one of those Chinese makers? I was reading some other posts, they sound pretty good and not too expensive. Are their fine nibs comparable to the Japanese fine nibs?

TWSBI is Chinese (technically Taiwanese), but they use Bock nibs, so their fine is basically a Western fine. Hero supposedly makes pretty fine nibs, especially for their Parker 51 clones (330, 336, maybe the 1000 as well). You can get them for dirt cheap on ebay, but there are some fakes (yes, people apparently fake a sub-$5 pen) out there. isellpens.com (no affiliation) is a safe bet for getting a genuine one, and there are some trusted ebay sellers as well. You'll have to ask around here since I can't recall their names off the top of my head.

Question. Every time I look on the Pilotpen.us site they only list F for the Vanishing point pen. How did you get an EF? I Like the idea, and am open to trying when the money is available.

The Goulets (www.gouletpen.com) sell them, as does isellpens. I'm sure other online retailers carry them as well. (again, no affiliation)

#27 imadeadend

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 00:59

I received my Platinum 3776 with a steel EF nib yesterday, and I have to tell you, it's a dream to write with even though it's basically a needle thin line, flows absolutely perfectly with diamine steel blue (as well as my Sailors, which are flawless), and even though it's steel, anyone using one without knowing that would say its 14k gold or better. For 60 dollars, it's an amazing pen I hope to get more of! Definitely a budget alternative for those wanting an extra fine Japanese nib!

This pen alone has bumped pilot off their second place in my top three down to third (and I own many many pilots):

1. Sailor
2. Platinum
3. Pilot

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#28 jzents

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:58


If you're willing to explore to the $100-150 range, the Pilot Vanishing Point extra fine is worth trying out. The extra fine is the finest nib I have ever tried.

I'll post a picture later on this week.

Question. Every time I look on the Pilotpen.us site they only list F for the Vanishing point pen. How did you get an EF? I Like the idea, and am open to trying when the money is available.

Thank you very much!

#29 jzents

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:59

I received my Platinum 3776 with a steel EF nib yesterday, and I have to tell you, it's a dream to write with even though it's basically a needle thin line, flows absolutely perfectly with diamine steel blue (as well as my Sailors, which are flawless), and even though it's steel, anyone using one without knowing that would say its 14k gold or better. For 60 dollars, it's an amazing pen I hope to get more of! Definitely a budget alternative for those wanting an extra fine Japanese nib!

This pen alone has bumped pilot off their second place in my top three down to third (and I own many many pilots):

1. Sailor
2. Platinum
3. Pilot

Good news! Might I inquire as to where you got that pen? Might want to put something like that on the Father's Day list. Heh, heh! Cheers!

#30 jzents

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:01


My ignorance is revealed to all. So TWSBI is one of those Chinese makers? I was reading some other posts, they sound pretty good and not too expensive. Are their fine nibs comparable to the Japanese fine nibs?

TWSBI is Chinese (technically Taiwanese), but they use Bock nibs, so their fine is basically a Western fine. Hero supposedly makes pretty fine nibs, especially for their Parker 51 clones (330, 336, maybe the 1000 as well). You can get them for dirt cheap on ebay, but there are some fakes (yes, people apparently fake a sub-$5 pen) out there. isellpens.com (no affiliation) is a safe bet for getting a genuine one, and there are some trusted ebay sellers as well. You'll have to ask around here since I can't recall their names off the top of my head.

Question. Every time I look on the Pilotpen.us site they only list F for the Vanishing point pen. How did you get an EF? I Like the idea, and am open to trying when the money is available.

The Goulets (www.gouletpen.com) sell them, as does isellpens. I'm sure other online retailers carry them as well. (again, no affiliation)

Goulets I know of. I have only bought ink from them at this time. Did not know about isellpens.com. I will check them out. Thank you for the information!