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First Esterbrook J! ...advice On Nibs?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 jkavi

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 04:50

Hi all!

I just got my restored Esterbrook J from a seller here on FPN, and I'm a convert now: I'll collect more of these wonderful pens soon. (Goodbye, university grant funding.)

However, I'm just wondering, what would be the best nib that suits my handwriting? I'm a light, fast writer in script; and the 2550 nib that comes with the pen is sort of on the rough side for me. Any suggestions? I wish to make this pen a daily writer when I take notes or do assignment work in university. I attached a picture sample of my handwriting as well, just for reference.

Thanks!


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#2 kathleen

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 12:32

I like the 9668. It may be helpful to see Esterbrooks nibs as described on this chart.
Posted Image1314Flexible Stub1000 Series Renew Points "rolled" at the tip to make the "ball"; that is, there is no iridium or other hard metal used on these points at the wear surface. These were marketed as the "DuraCrome Point" series.1461Rigid Medium (manifold or carbon copies)1550Firm EF - Bookkeeping1551Firm Medium (Student)1554Firm Fine - Clerical1555Firm Fine - Gregg Shorthand1556Firm Fine - Fine Writing2048Flexible Fine (Shaded)The 2000 Series nibs, like the 1000 Series, have tips formed by rolling the steel into the "ball"; no hard metal is added at the wear point. They also can be found in the thin flat, Medium flat, and later round feed styles. Also like the 1000s, these were marketed as "DuraCrome Points."2128Flexible extra-fine - Shaded writing2284Broad Firm Stub - Signature2312Italic Medium2314BRelief Broad Oblique2314FRelief Fine Oblique2314MRelief Medium Oblique2442Falcon Stub (backhand Writing)2450Fine extra-firm - Bookkeeping2460Firm Medium2461Rigid fine - Manifold2464Rigid Broad2550Extra Fine Medium (Bookkeeping)2555Firm fine - Gregg shorthand2556Firm Fine - general Writing2668Firm Medium (general Writing)2788Flexible Medium2968Firm Broad3312Dip-Less Fine Stub (gold plated)3000 series nibs are known as the "sunburst" style nibs. They are the first nibs to have hard material added to the "ball", an alloy Esterbrook called "Osmiridium". They are harder to find than most other series, but are the best looking Esterbrook nibs, and the hardened ball is usually nice to use. The 8000 series(?) were produced during WWII, from a palladium alloy, according to Paul Hoban- they are quite difficult to find.3550Firm Extra Fine3556Gold Plated Fine Writing3668Firm Medium3968Firm Broad8440Extra Fine Firm ("Superfine"/sunburst)8550Firm Extra Fine8556Gold Plated Fine Writing8668Firm Medium (general Writing)8996Firm Medium5556Dip-Less Firm Fine 9048Shaded Writing9000 Series nibs are the "Master Point" series nibs, and are all tipped with Iridium at the Ball, or wear point. They originally cost significantly more than the 1000/2000 series nibs.9128Extra Fine Flexible (Fine penmanship, Pitman Shorthand)9284Stub - Music/Signature9312Italic Medium9314BBroad Stub9314FFine Stub9314M Medium Stub9450Firm EF - Posting9460carbon copies (manifold)9461Rigid Fine - manifold9550Extra Fine (Posting)9555Firm Fine - Gregg Shorthand9556Fine Writing (records and charts)9650Medium manifold (for carbon copies)9668Medium (general Writing)9788Flexible Medium9968Firm Broad scriptEsterbrook as well as several other companies made replacement point for Esterbrook pens that don't fit into the usual numbered series. Examples of these are Venus (flat-bottomed feed similiar to the early Esterbrook style), Osmiroid (often used for calligraphic writing), and Sengbusch.Special thanks to Rick Conner , Mike Madison , Andrew Gnoza, Paul Hoban, Debbie Odell, and Mark Manning who made this easier by leaving their own data and commentary laying around for me to steal or by snooping through their collection and providing info. - Larry Snyder

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#3 Twizzler2508

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 21:44

You might find a 9556 ($12 on andersonpens.net) smoother and they are quite fine. The 9xxx series has actual tipping material so some people feel they perform better, but others seem to love their 2xxx series nibs...I'm no expert but I find the 9556 I have to be quite smooth. Lovely handwriting btw.
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#4 jkavi

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 19:02

You might find a 9556 ($12 on andersonpens.net) smoother and they are quite fine. The 9xxx series has actual tipping material so some people feel they perform better, but others seem to love their 2xxx series nibs...I'm no expert but I find the 9556 I have to be quite smooth. Lovely handwriting btw.


Thanks! I'll try the 9556. I don't have much to say about my 2550 right now, it writes just a bit drier than my other fine/extra-fine nibs. Do Esterbrooks really write like that?

He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination. -José Rizal

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#5 JonSzanto

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 19:30

I recently came into a 9668 that is very nice to write with, a modest medium line with a fairly firm nib. The 2314M I have is also incredibly smooth, with more line variation (though that probably isn't what you want for notes). I'm guessing for fast writing you want smooth and firm, not something that is flexing and varying line widths all over the place.
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#6 padams2359

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 01:51

I am interested in more Esties, and the nibs will make the difference.
1 Homo Sapien BA Maxi & Mech Pencil, HS Misnight in Florence, 2 Van Goghs 1 Blue Ocean Midi S Nib/1 Cappuccino Midi 14k Trim, 3 MBs 149/144/221, 2 Wm Phileas 1 Blue w/ mech pencil, 1 Demo, 1 Snorkel Sent., 3 MVs Regatta/Invincia/Artista,2 EB J - BSP,I am Not Affiliated with any website, company or product I might mention on this site."

#7 PenFisher

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 15:52

The 9668 and 2668 are readily available as NOS and either of those should give you what you're looking for. I also have found that the "Student" nib from Esterbrook - 1551 Medium - is a very good writer. In any event, I would only buy a NOS nib, especially in the 2xxx series. Good luck.



#8 Maja

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 18:22

Hi Karlo,
I just came across your post----congrats on the new Esterbrook, btw---great vintage pen :thumbup:

I agree with PenFisher above re: the 2668, 9668 and 1551, but I'd also recommend the 2314F (a slightly oblique stub) or its 9314F counterpart with iridium tipping material.

Just as an aside re: the 1xxx Estie nibs.... I believe they are generally shorter in length (I'm talking about the actual steel nib length) than the other nib types (2xxx, 9xxx) so they don't look quite as good, IMHO, on the big Esterbrook J (the longest & thickest pen in the J/SJ/LJ line). Someone please correct me if I'm wrong re: the nib length of the 1xxx series :)
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#9 jkavi

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 01:08

Hi Karlo,
I just came across your post----congrats on the new Esterbrook, btw---great vintage pen :thumbup:

I agree with PenFisher above re: the 2668, 9668 and 1551, but I'd also recommend the 2314F (a slightly oblique stub) or its 9314F counterpart with iridium tipping material.

Just as an aside re: the 1xxx Estie nibs.... I believe they are generally shorter in length (I'm talking about the actual steel nib length) than the other nib types (2xxx, 9xxx) so they don't look quite as good, IMHO, on the big Esterbrook J (the longest & thickest pen in the J/SJ/LJ line). Someone please correct me if I'm wrong re: the nib length of the 1xxx series :)



Thanks, Maja! I will try looking for the 9668 nib. I have a question to ask you though! It's about paper and inks, apparently the paper on the notebooks I buy in school has degraded in quality, and I'm just so frustrated! The ink bled through like sweat on a cotton shirt! Okay, not the prettiest analogy, but it's that annoying and frustrating for me. Hahahaha. What notebook do you recommend for university?

He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination. -José Rizal

Karlo Avenido
The OFW: Overseas Filipino Writer

#10 Moppeh

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 02:42

Congrats on the pen, I have one and use it almost every day at college. :)
I know this question wasn't directed at me, but I use clairefontaine notebooks for my classes. I find them durable and they work well with the vast majority of my pens, including my esterbrook (and with nibs 2556, 1551, 9550, 2048, 9968). I'll also add that out of all the nibs I just listed, I find the broad 9968 to be by far the smoothest. Though there is a lot of variation in esterbrook nibs (in my experience) and I have a pretty smooth 2556 and 1551 too.
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#11 Maja

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 06:13

Congrats on the pen, I have one and use it almost every day at college. :)
I know this question wasn't directed at me, but I use clairefontaine notebooks for my classes. I find them durable and they work well with the vast majority of my pens, including my esterbrook (and with nibs 2556, 1551, 9550, 2048, 9968). I'll also add that out of all the nibs I just listed, I find the broad 9968 to be by far the smoothest. Though there is a lot of variation in esterbrook nibs (in my experience) and I have a pretty smooth 2556 and 1551 too.

I'm actually glad you replied, Moppeh, because it's been a looong time since I was in school/university :embarrassed_smile:
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#12 Maja

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 06:22

Hi Karlo,
I just came across your post----congrats on the new Esterbrook, btw---great vintage pen :thumbup:

I agree with PenFisher above re: the 2668, 9668 and 1551, but I'd also recommend the 2314F (a slightly oblique stub) or its 9314F counterpart with iridium tipping material.

Just as an aside re: the 1xxx Estie nibs.... I believe they are generally shorter in length (I'm talking about the actual steel nib length) than the other nib types (2xxx, 9xxx) so they don't look quite as good, IMHO, on the big Esterbrook J (the longest & thickest pen in the J/SJ/LJ line). Someone please correct me if I'm wrong re: the nib length of the 1xxx series :)



Thanks, Maja! I will try looking for the 9668 nib. I have a question to ask you though! It's about paper and inks, apparently the paper on the notebooks I buy in school has degraded in quality, and I'm just so frustrated! The ink bled through like sweat on a cotton shirt! Okay, not the prettiest analogy, but it's that annoying and frustrating for me. Hahahaha. What notebook do you recommend for university?

Hi Karlo,
You're very welcome, but I'm afraid I'm not of much use when it comes to questions about notebook paper; as I wrote above, it's been many a moon since I needed to use it. I know that Staples came out with a line of eco-friendly paper & notebooks made from bagasse (sugarcane) a few years ago (Graham posted about it on our pen club's blog here) but I don't know if it's still available. The notebook paper was of very good quality and didn't bleed through.
Oh, I found a recent FPN thread about it, too---here:
http://www.fountainp...mposition-book/

If you are still stuck as to what to buy, try posting your query as a new thread in the "Paper and Pen Paraphernalia" forum.

Cheers,
~Maja
Vancouver (B.C) Pen Club (our website)

#13 Beechwood

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 14:01

Hi Karlo,
I just came across your post----congrats on the new Esterbrook, btw---great vintage pen :thumbup:

I agree with PenFisher above re: the 2668, 9668 and 1551, but I'd also recommend the 2314F (a slightly oblique stub) or its 9314F counterpart with iridium tipping material.

Just as an aside re: the 1xxx Estie nibs.... I believe they are generally shorter in length (I'm talking about the actual steel nib length) than the other nib types (2xxx, 9xxx) so they don't look quite as good, IMHO, on the big Esterbrook J (the longest & thickest pen in the J/SJ/LJ line). Someone please correct me if I'm wrong re: the nib length of the 1xxx series :)


Well I agree on the 2314M nibs, IMHO one of the best nibs made. I have just bought on ebay an english made Estie with this nib and its a sweetie.

Edited by Arthur, 10 September 2011 - 14:03.

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#14 jkavi

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 16:56

Hi Karlo,
I just came across your post----congrats on the new Esterbrook, btw---great vintage pen :thumbup:

I agree with PenFisher above re: the 2668, 9668 and 1551, but I'd also recommend the 2314F (a slightly oblique stub) or its 9314F counterpart with iridium tipping material.

Just as an aside re: the 1xxx Estie nibs.... I believe they are generally shorter in length (I'm talking about the actual steel nib length) than the other nib types (2xxx, 9xxx) so they don't look quite as good, IMHO, on the big Esterbrook J (the longest & thickest pen in the J/SJ/LJ line). Someone please correct me if I'm wrong re: the nib length of the 1xxx series :)


Well I agree on the 2314M nibs, IMHO one of the best nibs made. I have just bought on ebay an english made Estie with this nib and its a sweetie.


Cool! We have the same exact pen! Now I figured out why my nib isn't performimg its best: it's a little bit bent. I decided instead to buy a lot of 2 9556's on eBay for $20, which I think is a good deal.

He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination. -José Rizal

Karlo Avenido
The OFW: Overseas Filipino Writer

#15 jkavi

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 17:12

Congrats on the pen, I have one and use it almost every day at college. :)
I know this question wasn't directed at me, but I use clairefontaine notebooks for my classes. I find them durable and they work well with the vast majority of my pens, including my esterbrook (and with nibs 2556, 1551, 9550, 2048, 9968). I'll also add that out of all the nibs I just listed, I find the broad 9968 to be by far the smoothest. Though there is a lot of variation in esterbrook nibs (in my experience) and I have a pretty smooth 2556 and 1551 too.


Thanks! I will try to look for Clairefontaine notebooks around here in Vancouver. Hope I find some. I was reading how Mead Five Star notebooks are also good, and Staples has them in the 5-subject format, just what I needed for my notes since I don't want to bring multiple notebooks. It's rather frustrating how companies compromise quality. I've used that notebook for the past 5 semesters and now they changed it for the worse. :headsmack:

He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination. -José Rizal

Karlo Avenido
The OFW: Overseas Filipino Writer

#16 jkavi

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 22:36

I am interested in more Esties, and the nibs will make the difference.



I'm actually happy with my 1 Estie, but I could make it write like 12 more Esties if I buy more nibs :roflmho:

He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination. -José Rizal

Karlo Avenido
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#17 adyonka

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 22:46

I am interested in more Esties, and the nibs will make the difference.



I'm actually happy with my 1 Estie, but I could make it write like 12 more Esties if I buy more nibs :roflmho:


How does anyone work with just one Estie? ;)

#18 jkavi

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 22:49

I am interested in more Esties, and the nibs will make the difference.



I'm actually happy with my 1 Estie, but I could make it write like 12 more Esties if I buy more nibs :roflmho:


How does anyone work with just one Estie? ;)


Screw nib on, screw nib off, screw other nib on..

Tedious but extremely economical. Haha!

He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination. -José Rizal

Karlo Avenido
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