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Best Italic Pen?


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42 replies to this topic

#1 mberman14

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:39

I searched the forums, but couldn't find one on this, though maybe I missed it.

What, in your opinion, is the best italic fountain pen you know of? It can be vintage or modern, cheap or expensive. My ideal pen would write like a dream, of course, and preferably look beautiful as well. A variety of nib widths is nice, but not a deal breaker. Pictures of pens and/or writing are very welcome.

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#2 risingsun

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:45

Your favorite pen with a custom italic by Greg Minuskin.

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#3 dickydotcom

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:38

It would have to depend very much on personal preference, but one of my favourites is my vintage Parker Duofold button filler.
It is not the sharpest italic I have but it is the smoothest.
Having said that, I have seen a photo of a Parker 51 with an italic nib and immediately thought, "I want one of those."
Dick D

#4 View from the Loft

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:19

A custom grind on a modern Onoto Magna, a P51, a P75, a modern Duofold all with stock nibs, and a vintage CS with a stock nib. All different, all fabulous nibs. The pens are all different, so I can't say which is my favourite - it really depends on the task in hand which pen I will choose.

#5 Uncle Red

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 19:44

Waterman 52 1/2V BCHR with a Waterman Stub nib I just don't know which of the 3 versions they offered it is.

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#6 mirosc

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 19:54

Any pen whatsoever. The pen you like most. Take it and send it to a nibmeister for a regrind and you will get the best italic pen individualised to your own personal needs. There's nothing better.
Greetings,
Michael

#7 mberman14

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 18:07

What do y'all think about using a flex pen for Italic. I've been experimenting a bit with it -- it doesn't look exactly the same as the result you get with an Italic nib, but it is interesting. Here's a sample.

--Matt

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  • italicFlex.jpg

Edited by mberman14, 08 December 2012 - 18:10.


#8 mirosc

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 18:21

What do y'all think about using a flex pen for Italic. I've been experimenting a bit with it -- it doesn't look exactly the same as the result you get with an Italic nib, but it is interesting. Here's a sample.

It looks interesting, definitely. But italic and flex nibs are created for different purposes. So - if you want to imitate an italic nib with a flex nib it needs huge concentration to achieve a look that is roughly the same, but it will never be like with an italic nib. In your example are many examples where a true italic would have shown different letterforms.
It's good enough for an untrained eye, because you can achieve something different than with normal writing. But if you want to do "proper" (=formal) calligraphic, you will need an italic nib for those scripts.

But as you already have a flex nib, I would recommend writing a script suited for flex nibs.
And if you want an italic nib, there are also very good and very cheap italic nibs out there (Rotring Art Pen for example, here it's about €5, but a very good pen)
Greetings,
Michael

#9 tinta

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 19:10

Think; "the best italic nib" rather than "best italic pen".
Any reliable pen (vintage or modern) with a stock nib, having a lot of tipping material is a good platform for "making" the best italic nib for you.

As others have said, you do have to consider what kind of italic you want (stub italic, cursive italic or sharp italic). You may even want to have an "oblique" variation of the said italics?
There are informative articles about italic nibs & their characteristics on Richard Binder's web-site.
Classic Fountain Pens Inc. also has good information on their italic nib modifications.
It's worth having a look.

A number of skilled technicians, such as Mottishaw, Binder, Masuyama, Minuskin, Pendleton B, etc.,...could customize a suitable nib for you.
(no affiliation to all the above sources)

I only have experience with John Mottishaw & Mike Masuyama's work. They have made some wonderful italic nibs for me using the Sailor Music (SM) nib as a platform or a Zoom (Z).
The pens were adjusted to my writing preferences as well.
I have been very pleased with all my italics.

Edited by tinta, 08 December 2012 - 19:16.

*Sailor 1911S, Black/gold, 14c. 0.8 mm. stub(JM) *1911S blue "Colours", 14c. H-B "M" BLS (PB) *2 Sailor 1911-M Burgundy/gold pens: 14c. 0.6 mm. "round-nosed" CI (MM) & 1.1 mm. CI (JM) *Sailor Pro-Gear Slim Spec. Ed. "Fire",14c. (factory) "H-B" *2 Kaweco SPECIAL fountain pens: 14c."M" "B",-0.5 mm & 0.7 mm stubs (PB) *Kaweco Stainless Steel Lilliput, 14c "B" -0.6 mm. stub (PB) *Montblanc 254, 14c. "BB" (1.1 mm?) flügelfeder factory stub

#10 mberman14

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 21:15

But as you already have a flex nib, I would recommend writing a script suited for flex nibs.
And if you want an italic nib, there are also very good and very cheap italic nibs out there (Rotring Art Pen for example, here it's about €5, but a very good pen)


Thanks. I do also write a modified Spencerian, which is what I got the flex for, but I thought it would be fun to play around with it. I don't do calligraphy, just handwriting, but you are certainly right that it looks quite different with a flex than an italic nib.

For some reason the Rotring is quite a bit more expensive here -- around $30US on Amazon -- not outrageous, of course, but the price difference is interesting. I did have an Osmiroid when I was younger, but can't find it now. My kids use a Schaeffer, which seems adequate and is quite cheap.

#11 mberman14

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 21:27

Think; "the best italic nib" rather than "best italic pen".
Any reliable pen (vintage or modern) with a stock nib, having a lot of tipping material is a good platform for "making" the best italic nib for you.

I only have experience with John Mottishaw & Mike Masuyama's work. They have made some wonderful italic nibs for me using the Sailor Music (SM) nib as a platform or a Zoom (Z).
The pens were adjusted to my writing preferences as well.
I have been very pleased with all my italics.


It seems like this is what most posters are recommending, somewhat to my surprise. I guess they have not been happy with any of the commercially available italic pens?

I do have a Mottishaw-modified Namiki Falcon (EF flex, not italic) and have been quite happy with it, so perhaps that is the way to go for a new Italic.

#12 tinta

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 22:58

I've read positive comments about some factory-ground italics (usually stubs) from current German, Italian or Asian pen makers. With these factory nibs, getting the right one for you may be more "up to chance", unless you are able to test-write with them at a show or at a B&M store.

Edited by tinta, 09 December 2012 - 05:15.

*Sailor 1911S, Black/gold, 14c. 0.8 mm. stub(JM) *1911S blue "Colours", 14c. H-B "M" BLS (PB) *2 Sailor 1911-M Burgundy/gold pens: 14c. 0.6 mm. "round-nosed" CI (MM) & 1.1 mm. CI (JM) *Sailor Pro-Gear Slim Spec. Ed. "Fire",14c. (factory) "H-B" *2 Kaweco SPECIAL fountain pens: 14c."M" "B",-0.5 mm & 0.7 mm stubs (PB) *Kaweco Stainless Steel Lilliput, 14c "B" -0.6 mm. stub (PB) *Montblanc 254, 14c. "BB" (1.1 mm?) flügelfeder factory stub

#13 Jamesbmorley

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 07:34

Parsons Essential
With thanks

J. B. Morley

#14 mberman14

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 03:47

Ok, I've been in conversation with nibs.com, and am leaning towards a Sailor Professional Gear with a broad italic customization (they say that Sailor broad is like others' medium). Before I pull the trigger, I thought I'd see if any of you have an opinion about this.

#15 mirosc

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:30

Ok, I've been in conversation with nibs.com


Well, of course I have to support you on this (after having suggested this). When you like the Sailor you will have a good pen. I would take cursive and not a crisp italic though.
Greetings,
Michael

#16 richardandtracy

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:15

I have a few italics and stubs.
Of the modern italic pens I have (Etruria, Sonnet, Duofold International and Duofold Centennial, Lamy Vista 1.1i & 1.5i), the best straight from the manufacturer was the Duofold Centennial with its broad italic nib. Even this one needed to be smoothed a little as a burr had been left on the tip.

I have a vintage Parker P51 with a 1.1CI nib that has been tickled by oxonian and it is my favourite italic pen by miles. It has a soft nib that absorbs some shocks unlike the newer nibs. Just lovely, and it's possible to write at full speed with it as well as do lovely, careful, italic writing.

I also have a vintage medium stub Onoto 6233 from 1948-58. That nib is to die for, and it's my favourite italic nib even though it's not my favourite italic pen. I reviewed it here: http://www.fountainp...e-pearl-review/ . I use the pen much less now than I did, because I found it too difficult to live with it in a modern office. But the nib is outstanding.

Regards,

Richard.

#17 mberman14

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 14:14

Ok, I've been in conversation with nibs.com


Well, of course I have to support you on this (after having suggested this). When you like the Sailor you will have a good pen. I would take cursive and not a crisp italic though.


Yes, I agree about the cursive nib. One concern that I have, though, is that the broad might be too broad for normal size writing (say standard looseleaf size), and I've been unable to find any writing samples of a Sailor italic broad. They tell me that a Sailor broad is really more like a normal medium. Do you have any thoughts about that?

Thanks.

#18 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 15:48

Look for an Osmiroid nib set on English Ebay, with or with out pen.
BB, B, M, M-F, F, EF.
They will fit an Esterbrook.
Those are good un-tipped nibs. I find that I can see and control better with the BB, than the EF.

Perhaps some day when I learn Calligraphy more than to the letter P, I'll be able to use the narrower nibs.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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#19 mirosc

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 16:05

Yes, I agree about the cursive nib. One concern that I have, though, is that the broad might be too broad for normal size writing (say standard looseleaf size), and I've been unable to find any writing samples of a Sailor italic broad. They tell me that a Sailor broad is really more like a normal medium. Do you have any thoughts about that?


I don't have first hand experience with a broad Sailor nib - I hope other will chime in.
But usual experience with those East Asian nibs is that for us they run one size smaller than imprinted. What's a B for Japan is roughly a M for us.
I use XF nibs up to 1.4mm italic nibs for daily writing. Simply adjust the size of your writing to the nib. Of course you will need much more space with such a broad nib, but that's fine by me (the upside is that notes with that size won't get lost on a colleague's desk...)
Greetings,
Michael

#20 tinta

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 16:27

I depends on which 21K Sailor nib John @ nibs.com wants to start with.

If he starts with say an "MS" nib that has an abundance of tipping material (about 1.15 mm), he can give you a grind from about 1.1 mm down to about .05 mm for an edged-nib (be it a stub, cursive or sharp italic).

For my size of writing, my inks & papers & the line-spacings I prefer to use,.... I like my italics to be in the 0.7mm (+ or - 0.1 mm.)range.
The line that these italics will lay down still depends on the style of the tip, the ink & the paper you personally use.

It helps to send any technician a sample of your handwriting, even if it is written with a standard ball-tipped nib.

Some technicians use the physical size of the finished tip to arrive at an italic size (width), others use the average width of the line made by the inked nib, for their nib sizing.

You mentioned "Sailor italic broad". Sailor's standard Broad nib is only 0.6 mm wide, at best & may not be an ideal candidate for a re-grind to an italic.
A Sailor Zoom "Z" nib gives you a bit more tipping (about 0.7 mm max.) to work with, but their two-tined Music "MS" nib gives you the greatest choice of possible tip sizes.

This has just been my experience.

ed: for content

Edited by tinta, 12 December 2012 - 18:25.

*Sailor 1911S, Black/gold, 14c. 0.8 mm. stub(JM) *1911S blue "Colours", 14c. H-B "M" BLS (PB) *2 Sailor 1911-M Burgundy/gold pens: 14c. 0.6 mm. "round-nosed" CI (MM) & 1.1 mm. CI (JM) *Sailor Pro-Gear Slim Spec. Ed. "Fire",14c. (factory) "H-B" *2 Kaweco SPECIAL fountain pens: 14c."M" "B",-0.5 mm & 0.7 mm stubs (PB) *Kaweco Stainless Steel Lilliput, 14c "B" -0.6 mm. stub (PB) *Montblanc 254, 14c. "BB" (1.1 mm?) flügelfeder factory stub






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