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Review Of Binder Flex Xxf/xxxf Duopoint


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23 replies to this topic

#1 BobME

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 21:11

Well this is my first review and my first nice fountain pen. I have used a cheap parker vector for a while, which writes well, but I really wanted to learn how to use a flex nib. After reading many posts here I decided to get a Pelikan m200 with a Binder flex nib. Why binder and not vintage? I went with the binder nib because I live in the Middle East currently, and can't go to pen shows or have things shipped easy. In other words it would be hard to really know what I was getting, and I didn’t want to play the hit and miss game. I also thought that because I want something that will work daily without problems, new is better. Also, I heard form you guys that they are really good. So here is my experience and some pictures.

Does it flex? Of course, and very nicely. The flex side is nice and smooth when you write. It is a little less smooth than the parker vector which has a medium nib. I am impressed by this since it is XXF. I would estimate that the line width expands around five times from unflexed to flexed. The XXXF side is not very smooth, but I figure that that comes with the fact that it is so small and doesn’t have give like the flex side. Even on Rhodia paper it scratches as you write. Despite it being scratchy on the XXXF side it is very usable and useful when super tiny writing is needed. Has anyone else had a different experience?

Using the pen as a non flex pen is also very easy to do and it writes very well. From some comments on the internet I thought that controlling the flex would be more difficult than it is, but it really isn’t bad. It is easy to keep the pen unflexed and use it like a normal pen, or slow down and write flex style. I find this pen very versatile. You really get three pens in one: XXF ball-tip / XXF flex / XXXF needlepoint.

As for the Pelikan m200 the quality of the pen is better than I expected. After reading a lot about it I thought it would feel cheap and plasticy, but everything about it seems quality. Yes it is light and smaller than I thought it would be, but it fits very comfortably in my average size hand. The only problem that I have wondered about with this pen is what I need to do to fill it when my ink bottle gets low. After a few fillings it seems that I have to submerge the full nib to not suck in air with the ink when I fill it. Any Ideas?

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Edited by MYU, 13 October 2009 - 16:27.
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#2 isaacrn

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 21:47

That is some very nice writing that you have. Congrats on the pen!
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#3 tnmike1

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 22:00

I've been toying with the idea of either a duopoint or the Itali-Fine from Richard. After the review here, may get the next "larger" size duopoint flexy. Also havea Sheaffer Triumph with the duopoint-style nib which is one of my favorites.

So thanks for the review and nudging along my decision
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#4 BobME

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 22:04

I've been toying with the idea of either a duopoint or the Itali-Fine from Richard. After the review here, may get the next "larger" size duopoint flexy. Also havea Sheaffer Triumph with the duopoint-style nib which is one of my favorites.

So thanks for the review and nudging along my decision


Your welcome.

#5 hari317

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 07:38

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Interesting, is that the Waverley profile? can you take a side shot of the nib?

Thanks!
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#6 BobME

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 11:01

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Interesting, is that the Waverley profile? can you take a side shot of the nib?

Thanks!


I will try to take a picture tonight.

#7 jdclarkson

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 12:37

,,,The only problem that I have wondered about with this pen is what I need to do to fill it when my ink bottle gets low. After a few fillings it seems that I have to submerge the full nib to not suck in air with the ink when I fill it. Any Ideas?
...


The usual practice, no matter how much ink is in the bottle, is to submerge the nib up to the section. This is normal. As the ink level gets lower in the bottle, it becomes more and more difficult to do that. Ink manufacturers have designed ingenious bottles to help with the problem. For instance, the Waterman ink bottle is designed so that you rest it on its slanted lower side to permit you to get at the last ink. Montblanc has a soft of shoe-shaped bottle. Lamy has a recess at the bottom, Visconti has a long stem, and Levenger and Perker have an insert in the neck of the bottle that retains ink after you invert the closed bottle. For bottles without such clever designs, I keept a glob of modeling clay handy. I put the blob down on my desk and push the tilted bottle into it. The clay keeps it stable while I fill.
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#8 hari317

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 19:34

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Very informative, Thanks!
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#9 MYU

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 16:28

Thank you for this nice review of Binder's XXF/XXXF Duopoint. Good detailed images, too! :)

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#10 Flourish

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 02:02

I love flex nibs! I love double point nibs! When you put them together then you have the makings of a lifelong addiction. I do tend to reach for an Italic and xxxf double point and xxxf full flex nibs most often.

Could you do us a favor and draw some pictures of where you're at with your new pen? I bet it looks just like New Mexico.

#11 Highbinder

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 18:56

Wowee, I'm impulsed. Question for you tho, does Mr Binder turn a normal nib into a flex nib (flexify a nib ;)), or is it a matter of him adding a specific nib to a pen of choice, and if so how much choice do you have? (Any alternative choices to an M200?)

Either way thanks for bloody making me want another pen. I'm going to have to stop browsing FPN till my bank balance recovers.

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#12 rollerboy

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 15:55

Using the pen as a non flex pen is also very easy to do and it writes very well. From some comments on the internet I thought that controlling the flex would be more difficult than it is, but it really isn’t bad. It is easy to keep the pen unflexed and use it like a normal pen, or slow down and write flex style. I find this pen very versatile. You really get three pens in one: XXF ball-tip / XXF flex / XXXF needlepoint.


So is getting *any* flex out of the nib a conscious decision? I'm not looking for Spencerian 5:1 variation or to deliberately modify my writing style. If I just wrote at my normal medium "neat" writing speed, using my normal pressure (which I'll say is on the light side of medium), would *some* variation just happen or is a deliberate effort required to get any variation. Does it *feel* any different than a vanilla nib (again at medium "neat" writing speed without deliberate attempt at flex).

Edited by rollerboy, 08 November 2009 - 16:01.


#13 Flourish

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 23:52

Using the pen as a non flex pen is also very easy to do and it writes very well. From some comments on the internet I thought that controlling the flex would be more difficult than it is, but it really isn’t bad. It is easy to keep the pen unflexed and use it like a normal pen, or slow down and write flex style. I find this pen very versatile. You really get three pens in one: XXF ball-tip / XXF flex / XXXF needlepoint.


So is getting *any* flex out of the nib a conscious decision? I'm not looking for Spencerian 5:1 variation or to deliberately modify my writing style. If I just wrote at my normal medium "neat" writing speed, using my normal pressure (which I'll say is on the light side of medium), would *some* variation just happen or is a deliberate effort required to get any variation. Does it *feel* any different than a vanilla nib (again at medium "neat" writing speed without deliberate attempt at flex).


It would depend on your writing pressure and the flexibility of the nib. A good first step in getting to know flex and how it would apply to your normal writing pressure is to try out one of your 14k nibs and apply just a hint of extra pressure on your downstrokes. This will get you to thinking about your hand writing in a new way. Next pick up a semi flex 14k nib pen like a Namiki Falcon and try writing with your normal pen pressure and then with a little added pressure on your downstrokes. This will give you an even better understanding of how a flexible nib could work for your particular writing style. If you find that you like to experiment with different pen pressures as you write then after some practice you may find that you have become totally and completely addicted to the line and you may be ready for a full flex nib. And once you're hooked on a modern full flex then it's just a matter of confidence and practice till you take the leap to a wet noodle nib which is the ultimate expression of hand and eye coordination to be found in a fountain pen. I'm still working up the nerve and skill for a wet noodle nib myself and I can't wait until I achieve that milestone in my penmanship.

#14 rollerboy

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 18:17

Using the pen as a non flex pen is also very easy to do and it writes very well. From some comments on the internet I thought that controlling the flex would be more difficult than it is, but it really isn’t bad. It is easy to keep the pen unflexed and use it like a normal pen, or slow down and write flex style. I find this pen very versatile. You really get three pens in one: XXF ball-tip / XXF flex / XXXF needlepoint.


So is getting *any* flex out of the nib a conscious decision? I'm not looking for Spencerian 5:1 variation or to deliberately modify my writing style. If I just wrote at my normal medium "neat" writing speed, using my normal pressure (which I'll say is on the light side of medium), would *some* variation just happen or is a deliberate effort required to get any variation. Does it *feel* any different than a vanilla nib (again at medium "neat" writing speed without deliberate attempt at flex).


It would depend on your writing pressure and the flexibility of the nib. A good first step in getting to know flex and how it would apply to your normal writing pressure is to try out one of your 14k nibs and apply just a hint of extra pressure on your downstrokes. This will get you to thinking about your hand writing in a new way. Next pick up a semi flex 14k nib pen like a Namiki Falcon and try writing with your normal pen pressure and then with a little added pressure on your downstrokes. This will give you an even better understanding of how a flexible nib could work for your particular writing style. If you find that you like to experiment with different pen pressures as you write then after some practice you may find that you have become totally and completely addicted to the line and you may be ready for a full flex nib. And once you're hooked on a modern full flex then it's just a matter of confidence and practice till you take the leap to a wet noodle nib which is the ultimate expression of hand and eye coordination to be found in a fountain pen. I'm still working up the nerve and skill for a wet noodle nib myself and I can't wait until I achieve that milestone in my penmanship.


Flourish, I appreciate your advice about how to modify my writing to take advantage of using flex, but that leaves my question unanswered. I wanted to know what would happen if I use a Binder full-flex and write without any modification whatsoever to my normal, moderate speed, fairly light pressure writing.

I point this out just in case someone comes along (and I'm hoping the original poster comes along) and thinks my question has been answered already. It hasn't been.

#15 Richard

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 21:29

...The XXXF side is not very smooth, but I figure that that comes with the fact that it is so small and doesn’t have give like the flex side. Even on Rhodia paper it scratches as you write.

That's because you're pressing too heavily. Seriously, any pressure at all is too much for a tiny point like that. You need to suspend the pen so that the nib just brushes the surface of the paper.

For those who are curious about the shaping, the "trough" in the top surface is a feature I picked up from vintage duo-point nibs such as the ones Mabie Todd made. I've modified it a little to get a cleaner, more consistent flip-side tip shape. I used to use the classic Waterman duo-point shape, but the Mabie Todd shape provides a much better result, and results are what I'm after.
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#16 Flourish

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 22:34

Using the pen as a non flex pen is also very easy to do and it writes very well. From some comments on the internet I thought that controlling the flex would be more difficult than it is, but it really isn’t bad. It is easy to keep the pen unflexed and use it like a normal pen, or slow down and write flex style. I find this pen very versatile. You really get three pens in one: XXF ball-tip / XXF flex / XXXF needlepoint.


So is getting *any* flex out of the nib a conscious decision? I'm not looking for Spencerian 5:1 variation or to deliberately modify my writing style. If I just wrote at my normal medium "neat" writing speed, using my normal pressure (which I'll say is on the light side of medium), would *some* variation just happen or is a deliberate effort required to get any variation. Does it *feel* any different than a vanilla nib (again at medium "neat" writing speed without deliberate attempt at flex).


It would depend on your writing pressure and the flexibility of the nib. A good first step in getting to know flex and how it would apply to your normal writing pressure is to try out one of your 14k nibs and apply just a hint of extra pressure on your downstrokes. This will get you to thinking about your hand writing in a new way. Next pick up a semi flex 14k nib pen like a Namiki Falcon and try writing with your normal pen pressure and then with a little added pressure on your downstrokes. This will give you an even better understanding of how a flexible nib could work for your particular writing style. If you find that you like to experiment with different pen pressures as you write then after some practice you may find that you have become totally and completely addicted to the line and you may be ready for a full flex nib. And once you're hooked on a modern full flex then it's just a matter of confidence and practice till you take the leap to a wet noodle nib which is the ultimate expression of hand and eye coordination to be found in a fountain pen. I'm still working up the nerve and skill for a wet noodle nib myself and I can't wait until I achieve that milestone in my penmanship.


Flourish, I appreciate your advice about how to modify my writing to take advantage of using flex, but that leaves my question unanswered. I wanted to know what would happen if I use a Binder full-flex and write without any modification whatsoever to my normal, moderate speed, fairly light pressure writing.

I point this out just in case someone comes along (and I'm hoping the original poster comes along) and thinks my question has been answered already. It hasn't been.


Sorry if I didn't explain well enough to answer your question. I was trying to explain the response you get with different pen pressures as I have no idea how much pressure that you normally apply to your nibs even though you tried to explain it the only way to really know is to see you actually writing at your medium writing speed with your medium pressure which could, to me, be a super fast writing speed and a heavy handed pressure. The basic gist of what I was trying to say was that the more flexible your nib the less pressure needs to be applied to it to get it to flex. So it all depends on how much pressure you normally apply to your nibs when your write and at which points in your letters you tend to apply pressure to your nibs as well as how flexible the nib is. I used the conscious decision of applying pressure to your nibs as it is much easier to grasp this concept than for me to instinctively know what nib you use and how much pressure you personally apply to it and at what speed you use when writing actually affects your writing. Is that any clearer?

This is why we love fountain pens so much. Every nib is different, even those with the same size and flexibility designations. Everyone writes differently with different pressures, even when we try to describe them using similar terminology. So the pressure we use with the nib ink and paper of our choice to write at the speeds most comfortable to us personally will be completely different to someone else using the exact same pen speed and pressure. All the factors that go into our writing with a fountain pen can only be best understood on a highly personal level, and they are practically infinite and on a microscopic level.

While we can describe what we personally believe to be our writing style and characteristics they are how we personally perceive them which could mean something entirely different to someone else reading our descriptions. An example would be, "I like to write with light pressure on my nib." How much pressure is light?, you'd say. I could say, "Just light enough to barely touch the paper and leave a line?" Then you might say, "Well, how much pressure is that?" Then I'd have to pull out a multi thousand dollar pressure gauge like a manometer or a vacuum gauge, place a piece of paper on it and write at my normal light pressure then give you the measurement of the pressure in a scale system you most likely have never heard of before, to which you'd say, "What is an mbar?"

Edited by Flourish, 15 November 2009 - 22:37.


#17 rollerboy

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 04:26

Perhaps I phrased my question such that it sounded too much like I was requiring a prediction. Let's try again.

To anyone,

If *YOU* use a Binder full-flex nib without conscious effort to vary the pressure of your strokes is there *some* line variation in the characters formed?

#18 Flourish

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 12:04

Perhaps I phrased my question such that it sounded too much like I was requiring a prediction. Let's try again.

To anyone,

If *YOU* use a Binder full-flex nib without conscious effort to vary the pressure of your strokes is there *some* line variation in the characters formed?


And the answer to you question is still my reply. It depends on the amount of pressure that you apply to the nib as you write. With any pressure applied to a Binder full flex nib there will be some line variation, the more pressure on the nib the more line variation. No pressure you will have a monoline. Minimal light pressure very little variation. More pressure more variation. If you use pressure with a full flex nib on upstrokes instead of down strokes there will be more of a chance of your nib catching on the paper and even possibly ruining your nice expensive nib. By the way that you keep asking the same question and we've been trying to give you pretty much the same answers perhaps you just need a soft nib like the Namiki Falcon. If you want to use a full flex nib without making a conscious effort to understand how to use it there will be greater risk of damaging your nib. You have to work up to being able to use a full flex nib as it is a specialized instrument and it does take some conscious effort to use one without the possibility of damaging it. If this doesn't help to answer your question please try to rephrase it for us.

#19 rollerboy

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 13:46

And the answer to you question is still my reply.


No, you didn't answer my question. (I know you're trying to qualify you're answers up the wazoo to be helpful, but my rephrased question didn't require any hemming and hawing in response).

It depends on the amount of pressure that you apply to the nib as you write.


Er, re-read my question. The amount of variation *YOU* get has absolutely nothing to the with the amount of pressure *I* apply :) However, I think we've already established that you deliberately vary pressure to achieve line variation so you're not qualified (or more favourably phrased, you're over qualified) to answer the question.

With any pressure applied to a Binder full flex nib there will be some line variation, the more pressure on the nib the more line variation. No pressure you will have a monoline. Minimal light pressure very little variation. More pressure more variation.


Ah-hah! Perhaps accidentally you've provided some information. Thank you :) It doesn't sound like there's a light pressure zone in which no variation is achieved. Other descriptions of the nib I've read have sounded like the nib exhibits modal behaviour. That is, up to a certain pressure it exhibits no flex, and then at a certain pressure there's a discontinuity in its response and you're in the flex region of behaviour. From your description it doesn't sound like there're two distinct regions of operation. However, would you care to comment explicitly on modality/regions of behaviour of the nib?

By the way that you keep asking the same question and we've been trying to give you pretty much the same answers ...


There's been no "we" Flourish, just you. But I do thank you for your responses and your patience.

Edited by rollerboy, 18 November 2009 - 13:49.


#20 HenryLouis

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 15:55

Dang. Thanks to those nice pics, I think I'll have to get myself and M600 then one of these beautiful nibs from Richard come christmas....

=|

Edited by HenryLouis, 18 November 2009 - 15:56.

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