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cheap Sheaffer pen with italic nib


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#1 Charles Skinner

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 14:45


I have recently come across a cheap Sheaffer pen as follows: It is a cartridge pen. On the cap clip are the words Sheaffer USA. On the steel nib is Sheaffer italic F made in the USA. No doubt this is just one of the many inexpensive pens that exist, but I am very interested in the italic nib. Even though there is an F on the nib, it is anything but a fine point. Very wide. I enjoy writing cursive with it at times, just for a change, but I seem not to have mastered it. Do any of you use a wide italic nib for cursive penmanship? If I could find the right italic nib and a great pen, I might use it all the time. Your thoughts?

#2 Paddler

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 15:05

I have a few of those pens. The older ones are the "NoNonsense" pens. The ends of the barrel and cap are flat. Later ones have flat ends but are translucent plastic and are called "Viewpoint" pens. I think there is an even more modern version now that has slits in the barrel to view the ink level.

Yeah, there are F, M, and B nibs. I use the F nibs a lot for cursive writing. The italic nib seems to make my chicken scratchin' a little more attractive. The rule of thumb is to select a nib width that is 1/5 the height of your lower-case letters (the ones without ascenders or descenders). The M nib is a little extreme for 7mm ruled line spacing, but you can get away with it if you're careful.

"Manuscript" makes a pen that is inexpensive and has a larger assortment of nibs available. A Manuscript M nib is the same size as the Sheaffer F. The Manuscript F is narrower and can be used for smaller writing to get the same effect.

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#3 Charles Skinner

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 15:10

QUOTE(Paddler @ Jan 29 2008, 09:05 AM) View Post
I have a few of those pens. The older ones are the "NoNonsense" pens. The ends of the barrel and cap are flat. Later ones have flat ends but are translucent plastic and are called "Viewpoint" pens. I think there is an even more modern version now that has slits in the barrel to view the ink level.

Yeah, there are F, M, and B nibs. I use the F nibs a lot for cursive writing. The italic nib seems to make my chicken scratchin' a little more attractive. The rule of thumb is to select a nib width that is 1/5 the height of your lower-case letters (the ones without ascenders or descenders). The M nib is a little extreme for 7mm ruled line spacing, but you can get away with it if you're careful.

"Manuscript" makes a pen that is inexpensive and has a larger assortment of nibs available. A Manuscript M nib is the same size as the Sheaffer F. The Manuscript F is narrower and can be used for smaller writing to get the same effect.

Paddler


Thanks for your reply. Please discuss with me the fact that this italic nib has an "F" on it, but it is very wide! Do you think it has just been damaged somehow? Or are all italic nibs "wide?"

#4 Ashland

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 15:17

QUOTE
Do you think it has just been damaged somehow? Or are all italic nibs "wide?"


No, the nib has not been damaged. F (& M & bold) mean different sizes to different companies regardless of whether the nibs are italic or not.

If the F italic is too wide for you, there is an XF italic nib available for the older Nononsense pens. Perhaps someone else can refer you to a source. I have not found XF italics available for the newer Viewpoint & Classic Calligraphy pens which can utilize the same nibs.

Regards,
Ashland

Edited by Ashland, 29 January 2008 - 15:18.


#5 ANM

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 15:34

A regular cursive nib has a round point and makes a line the same width no matter how you change the direction of the line ( let's leave off flexible nibs, that is another discussion) Regular cursive nibs come in F, M, or B but they all have a non-variable line. Italic nibs, by definition, are flat and make skinny horizontal lines and thick vertical lines. Sheaffer rates them as F, M, or B according to how wide they are. Either rating system is subjective to what the pen maker considers F or M or B. Some pen makers are less subjective because they label their Italic nibs by how wide they are in cm. 1.0 is roughly the same as an F Italic Sheaffer's. To make it more confusing, Sheaffer also labels their cursive pens F M and B. You just need to remember that if it says Italic, it will be wide and if it doesn't, the tip will be round.
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#6 FrankB

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 19:46

Charles, to what ANM said, I will add that it can be difficult to just pick up an italic nib and start writing cursive as you normally would. A "F" italic nib will be wider than a standard ball-type "F" nib. Italic letters are formed in different ways than standard cursive letters. "Standard" would mean something like Palmer or Peterson style penmanship. Even in cursive, Italic letters are formed more like printing, with no loops. A little money spent on a book about Italic writing will be very helpful and add a great deal to your enjoyment of Italic nibs. I think you can still get "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Calligraphy" at Barnes & Noble. I find this little book very useful.

#7 Charles Skinner

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:34

QUOTE(FrankB @ Jan 29 2008, 01:46 PM) View Post
Charles, to what ANM said, I will add that it can be difficult to just pick up an italic nib and start writing cursive as you normally would. A "F" italic nib will be wider than a standard ball-type "F" nib. Italic letters are formed in different ways than standard cursive letters. "Standard" would mean something like Palmer or Peterson style penmanship. Even in cursive, Italic letters are formed more like printing, with no loops. A little money spent on a book about Italic writing will be very helpful and add a great deal to your enjoyment of Italic nibs. I think you can still get "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Calligraphy" at Barnes & Noble. I find this little book very useful.


Thank you very much, but I am not interested in making Italic letters, not because I do not consider them to be beautiful, but because I can not do it! Perhaps with years of practice ----, but that is not going to happen. I write some with the italic nib I have in my usual cursive way, the way kids of the 40's and 50's were taught, the way Jesus wrote, (sorry, just kidding) and I like the way it looks. But it is a little too broad, even though the pen nib is marked F. I may, at some point in the future, buy a really good high quality pen with an italic nib just because I will the way my cursive "hand" looks. Do high quality pen makers sell such pens with italic nibs?

#8 Charles Skinner

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 20:36

QUOTE(ANM @ Jan 29 2008, 09:34 AM) View Post
A regular cursive nib has a round point and makes a line the same width no matter how you change the direction of the line ( let's leave off flexible nibs, that is another discussion) Regular cursive nibs come in F, M, or B but they all have a non-variable line. Italic nibs, by definition, are flat and make skinny horizontal lines and thick vertical lines. Sheaffer rates them as F, M, or B according to how wide they are. Either rating system is subjective to what the pen maker considers F or M or B. Some pen makers are less subjective because they label their Italic nibs by how wide they are in cm. 1.0 is roughly the same as an F Italic Sheaffer's. To make it more confusing, Sheaffer also labels their cursive pens F M and B. You just need to remember that if it says Italic, it will be wide and if it doesn't, the tip will be round.


Thanks very much. C. S.

#9 FrankB

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 19:19

Charles wrote:

" ... Do high quality pen makers sell such pens with italic nibs?"

Yes, they certainly do. I have factory italic nibs on my Duofold Centennials and Stipula O/S Etrurias. Those nibs are nothing less than excellent.

#10 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 18:42

QUOTE
Do any of you use a wide italic nib for cursive penmanship? If I could find the right italic nib and a great pen, I might use it all the time.


My wife wrote a novel manuscript with a Viewpoint fine. She says it helps to cover up the shakiness in her hands.

I've got a late '20s Sheaffer 3-25 which either through design or wear has about a .5mm italic point on it. I don't use it too much because it's a short version (and REALLY OLD) but I do like the way it makes my standard writing look.
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