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Extra-Fine Smackdown: Japan Vs Germany

lamyplatinum extra fine montblanc blue purple black

18 replies to this topic

#1 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 01:54

So I decided to compare the EF nibs I possess right now, with inks on hand, since I got a replacement Lamy EF nib. I wrote out both Japanese vertically and horizontally, and English, to compare alphabet and oriental script. 

 

Here are the combinations: 

 

MontBlanc Meisterstuck LeGrand, 14K EF nib, with Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue

Lamy Safari EF nib with Lamy Blue

Platinum Plaisir with J Herbin Encre Violette

Platinum Preppy with Platinum Black

 

 

Vertical Verdict: Platinum Plaisir wrote the smoothest, then Preppy, and the grand loser was MB. Lamy did fine, but not spectacularly. MB was VERY scratchy. Also, the MB width is so thicker than the other three that it looks like a medium. What gives?!

 

Order: Plaisir, Preppy, Lamy, MB.

 

Horizontal verdict: Platinum Plaisir wins again. Preppy lost out to Lamy; MB is a little smoother, but still scratchy. MB must hate this paper. 

 

Order: Plaisir, Lamy, Preppy, MB.

 

English: MB wins, hands down, despite the "this is so not EF" thickness, then Plaisir, then Lamy, and Preppy decided to scratch. 

 

Order: MB, Plaisir, Lamy, Preppy.

 

 

Conclusion: Lamy can do fine vertically and horizontally, but fares better with loops and curves. MontBlanc abhors vertical strokes and corners, period. Plaisir is smooth both ways, but loses an oomph when writing in English, and tends to glide too much. Preppy is acceptable in all situations, but will never, ever stand out. Considering that Japanese has a lot of vertical and horizontal strokes, as well as angles, and significantly less loops than English, it makes sense for Platinum to make pens suited for that purpose, rather than Lamy or MB making nibs that suite cursive loops more. Also, thinner the nib, easier to write Japanese, because we have sudden upward strokes. 

 

The red? Pilot VRAZOR EF point. The pink is Varsity (nib is bent for some reason). DSC_02562_zpsd09521e5.jpg


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


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#2 risingsun

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:03

C'mon... No Pilot??? How about a nice Prera with a F nib?


Really nice job on the comparison by the way!

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#3 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:06

C'mon... No Pilot??? How about a nice Prera with a F nib?


Really nice job on the comparison by the way!

 

I NEVER EVER got around to buying Pilots, and the one I have on hand is a medium nib, and is guarded by Cerberus and an English male who gave me the "touch it, you will die" glare. I'm not going near that pen with a ten meter stick. 

 

Actually, I did throw in a VRAZOR EF and a Varsity! No? :P 


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#4 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 07:10

That is a great comparison . :notworthy1:

 

The first I've noticed pitting designed nib use against each other. :thumbup:

 

A vintage '50-65 MB nib will be thinner than modern.

I have a '55 MB 234 1/2 Deluxe with meisterstuck clip KOB, that writes to what today would be a M-B. A nice writing nib; not a signature nib that a modern MB OB would be. My modern Woolf is a B=BB.(a fat B) signature nib.  My Pelikan 605 BB is fat...BB 1/2. My vintage OBBs,one is thinner than the other more a OB 1/2.  The OBB seems a bit narrower than my modern MB B or the Pelikan BB. (n real measuring out side of Mark 1 Eyeball.

 

Most to all of my vintage German pens seem to be 1/2 a degree finer than the modern ones....but then I've only got two modern, and a couple of '90-pre'98 pens.

I do have 40 or so '50-65, with a few 30's and war pens in the lot.

 

It is my understanding the early '50s Sheaffer F's and EF have very narrow nibs. They would be designed for cursive.


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,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#5 Edwaroth

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 08:51

Nibs are something different that come from Germany. I have had mediums, fines, and now EF's in Pelikan pens...I am wondering where to send the EF to be ground finer. It writes like a medium.


Edited by Edwaroth, 04 June 2013 - 08:51.


#6 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 10:46

Who's medium?

Japanese Medium?

Sheaffer Medium, Modern or vintage; pre or after Bock? Parker? Cross?  MB medium; modern of vintage? Yep, modern Pelikans are fatter than Vintage. MB also..I don't know if they are fatter than a modern Sheaffer or Parker.

A real good reason to buy pre '98 Pelikans,or pre'66...true sized nibs..

 

Aurora still makes normal sized nibs.....well some folks now adays think they are on the skinny side. :rolleyes: 

 

Each company has always had it's own standards  always has. Their market surveys were done with folks using only their pens-their market, instead of them still using pen-knife adjustable nibbed quills.

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance.

 

Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens.

 

I have seen  charts...Conway Stewart was by far the widest. Parker and Sheaffer next...wider than Pelikan. One of the two Waterman nib sets (the fat one) was the same as the main Pelikan***. Then the 800 Pelikan it's own  slightly thinner nib size set, and then the 'skinny' Waterman set. In the cases of the Waterman EF vs Pelikan EF was narrower than Waterman.

Of course that could have been an old chart...from before '98 and the new modern Fat Blobby modern nibs, as fountain pen company's chased the ball point user.

 

I would have expected in that Waterman and Parker in that both were owned by the same mother company, that both nibs would have been the same except for a stamped name. They weren't, Parker had it's own market of what their normal customers thought was normal size, which was not both skinnier Waterman sets.

 

***The chart didn't list Pelikan steel nibs as their own width...so it must have been an old, obsolete one. Today one can always buy a steel nib that writes narrower than the modern gold ones.

 

 

 

 

With in the company standards there is 'slop' to what is what width.

This is taken from a great post by Rick.

‘’’Sheaffer used a dial indicator nib gauge for measuring nib sizes. The nib was inserted into the gauge, and the size read off of the dial. A given size being nibs that fell within a given range. What is listed below were the ranges given on a gauge that I saw in the Sheaffer service center prior to being closed in March 2008.

Measurements are in thousandths of an inch.

XXF = 0.010 - 0.013
XF = 0.013 - 0.018
F = 0.018 - 0.025
M = 0.025 - 0.031
Broad* = 0.031 - 0.050
Stub = 0.038 - 0.050

*there was some overlap on the gauge. May be 0.035 - 0.050 ‘’’


As you can see, a fat in any range and a thin of the next higher width are the same.


 

If your first pens were western, then you would have your Mark 1 Eyeball calibrated to Western.

If Japanese your Mark 1-A1 Eyeball is calibrated to Japanese as normal.

 

If you change pen companies. :yikes:  :o . How can you expect to know what is normal. You are not using a 'normal' pen, but one from an other company....with it's very own odd standards.

Just get rid of all those pens that are not Pelikan...and not vintage...and you won't be distracted like that.

 

Get rid of all those Pelikans, and get a Japanese pen...just look it up before hand, some Japanese companies make :yikes: fat nibs :lol: ...others properly skinny nibs. :unsure:

 

Paper and ink and writing pressure make a big difference to nib width line.

 

Most folks by the time they get to the 'fat' Pelikans have heard they are 'fat' from all the Japanese Mark 1-1A Eye Ball posters. One can if the pen is new tell them you want a properly skinny EF, when swapping in nibs.

Second hand, there is a list of nibmeisters, who will make your very own standard to any nib you have; as long as it's skinnier than the sent in nib. .


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 04 June 2013 - 10:52.

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,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#7 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 11:42

I know that Japanese nibs run thin (hence my preference for Platinum), but since Lamy EF was almost as thin, MB's thickness was an outlier. I do wish they'd standardise nib widths sometimes. They've done it to pencils, why not FPs? Or at least tell us the measurements. 

 

I may get my MB ground, but my mind is telling me "... gold powder. 14K gold powder...". 


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#8 Fabienne

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 12:02

Very fine comparison!* Thanks for doing that. It answered a lot of questions I have had and makes perfect sense. I never use an EF nib (unless I have to) BUT I think you have discovered a great truth, and one which perhaps has eluded some of the other deep thinkers on this forum (like me). 

 

I suspect the thickness of the MB line is one of their charms, sort of marks their ethnic background. 

 

...and Bo Bo, which Rick are you taking the quote from? Talkinghead Porkopolis Penners' Rick? Just curious. Sounds like something he would say (and be right about as usual). To coin a truism,"What's medium is medium for you."

 

*Extra fine, really. Ha ha! A pen pun.



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#9 DanF

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 16:41

With the exception of the width issue, this really shows more the individual nib differences (regarding smoothness) than brand differences, as the Plaisir and Preppy both use the same nib. 

 

Dan


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#10 orinix

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 16:47

This is very interesting - thank you for taking the time to do this! I don't think I've ever seen a comparison of nib behavior with different languages before.



#11 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 18:39

With the exception of the width issue, this really shows more the individual nib differences (regarding smoothness) than brand differences, as the Plaisir and Preppy both use the same nib. 

 

Dan

 

I'm not sure why those two nibs wrote differently, as I know that they're the same nib. I'm pinning it down to either the inks (Platinum black vs J Herbin) or the amount of usage (Preppy sees a lot more use). I have another Preppy, un-used, that I can pull out and test... maybe I should do that. 

This is very interesting - thank you for taking the time to do this! I don't think I've ever seen a comparison of nib behavior with different languages before.

 

The idea actually occurred to me when I influenced my friend into buying an FP. He went out, aiming for a MB, came back with Namiki, telling me that the Namikis just write Japanese better (he lives in Japan and is Japanese, so not much point buying a pen that won't write that language well). Since I got a few more EFs since then, I figured it was time to test it out. 

 

I'd REALLY love to know why the Preppy wrote a bit scratchier, though. Never noticed it until now.


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#12 Gloucesterman

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 19:55

Fascinating comparison. Very clear and concise.

 

On Richard Binder's site he has a lot of information about different nibs sizes and styles and the way they write. I am including a link that actually provides writing samples for both Asian and Western nib sizes - http://www.richardspens.com/?pens=edi.

 

Your comments would interesting when you have the opportunity to check it out.

 

Just received an Ahab with an EF Knox transplanted nib that writes (imo) between a fine and extra fine. It is VERY smooth writing.too.

 

Also just acquired a vintage Wahl Eversharp with an extra fine FLEX nib. - Heck, I think I might be in love :wub: :wub: :wub: .


“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”


#13 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 13:47

Fascinating comparison. Very clear and concise.

 

On Richard Binder's site he has a lot of information about different nibs sizes and styles and the way they write. I am including a link that actually provides writing samples for both Asian and Western nib sizes - http://www.richardspens.com/?pens=edi.

 

Your comments would interesting when you have the opportunity to check it out.

 

Just received an Ahab with an EF Knox transplanted nib that writes (imo) between a fine and extra fine. It is VERY smooth writing.too.

 

Also just acquired a vintage Wahl Eversharp with an extra fine FLEX nib. - Heck, I think I might be in love :wub: :wub: :wub: .

 

Due to my gross incapability, I can't find the writing samples for Asian/western nibs :S


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#14 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 15:22

So I just purchased a Pilot 78G fine nib. I gave into the peer pressure. 

 

I'll update the comparison as soon as it comes in. I might fill the Preppy with J Herbin's Rose Cyclamen next time, unless I'd have gotten Iroshizuku already, in which case the Pilot gets the Pilot ink and Preppy gets the Platinum.


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#15 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 17:12

There are two Ricks???? :yikes:  Pelikan Rick Propas.
One Richard, One Rick.
 
Rick put that up three or four years ago, and I use it twice a week.
 
As I said, nib width was established way back before color TV; more than likely before color Movies or even Talkies.
""""""My customers are of course 'brand Loyal' why should I confuse my customer base, by making the same nib width as a Sheaffer....why they could go buy a Sheaffer and be happy then, and we would lose sales....
I don't thing the CEO are members here at FPN..
 
If you were brand loyal, you wouldn't be so confused; by other makers. Remember Sheaffer is fat nibs, Pelikan the proper width and Waterman much too skinny.. :bunny01: """""""""
 
 
 
:headsmack: Now that I finally thought of it after 4 years...I got to expand a picture of a chart a great poster made of EF, F and M nibs...only took me a year to learn how to do that :closedeyes: ....and it really shows there is so much overlap that it is pointless to complain about it. Unfortunately he didn't  do it by maker.
I'm not very AR, so real skinny, skinny, medium, broad with in grenade range is close enough for me....does it write well....great....if not sell it. 
 
Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be so boring I like M-F and M-B...yep can even live with a F-EF.
 
All EF's must be only 0.04, or F's 0.06 or what ever those numbers are supposed to mean....what do they mean any way?..Who has invented the standard...no one.
It was shown by another good poster that the marking on Gel pens are not all that accurate either. :D  So much for Gel pen standards. Let them buy Gel pens if they have no sense of adventure....micro-mesh is not very expensive, grind your own gel pen point.
 
We can have Gel pen standards, with steel nibs costing $89 a piece more for having some skilled factory nibmeister spend 15 minutes making sure the nib is exact and no narrower, no wider than some other companies standard.. Your basic real exact  $240 gold nib.
Some one would complain, their F nib is fat....0.01 wider than 'normal'.
 
Wait in 20-30 years there will be robots so exact....your basic million dollar robot...remember inflation.
 
Of course the wetness of the ink, and the slickness of the paper or absorption of Ink Jet paper make a huge difference.
It's so fat, and all he uses fat wet ink and line widening Ink Jet paper instead of properly slick Clairefontaine and dry Pelikan ink.
Oddly I don't see many complaining about B or BB nibs being too fat.
 
Buy the skinny Japanese pen company's EF nib, not the fat Japanese pen company's EF, after all who wants a fat XXF nib??? Then you have to use vibrant mono tone ink and print. 
 
Rats...I found out today one of my pens is a EF...instead of what it was marked...the nerve of them old timers swapping out nibs and not scratching the new size in the side of the pen with their bowie knife. Now I got to go buy some BSB or I won't be able to see the ink.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 05 June 2013 - 18:28.

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,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#16 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 00:38

Update:

 

I have added Pilot 78G and a a Pilot Minuet, both F. 

 

In order (for vertical, left to right):

 

Pilot 78G F, with Platinum Black

Lamy Safari EF with Lamy Blue

Platinum Plaisir #3 with J Herbin Encre Violette

Platinum Preppy #3 with J Herbin Rose Cyclamen

Pilot Minuet F with J Herbin Rose Cyclamen

Montblanc Meisterstuck LeGrand with Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue

 

Text:

 

菩薩、諸天に答へて宣はく、「まさに知るべし、もろもろの行はみな常ならずと言ふことを。」(The Take of Konjaku, Story 1)

 

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. (Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 4 Scene 3)

 

DSC_02561_zps1d3f0871.jpg?t=1371169266

 

VERDICT:

 

Vertical script: On a cheap, American "feather-prone and rough surface" paper, Pilot 78G with Platinum Ink writes the most crisp lines and has the smoothest nib. Platinum with Encre Violette is next, but the line is distinctly thicker, due to feathering. Preppy with Rose Cyclamen feathers even more; Minuet fared well with French ink, but the feathering still makes writing kanji difficult. Lamy writes very drily, and therefore feels a little scratchy. MB has the thickest line and is the scratchiest.

 

Preference: Pilot 78G, Platinum Plaisir, Pilot Minuet, Lamy, Platinum Preppy, MB.

 

Horizontal Japanese: Japanese is originally designed to flow better vertically, so it is a little more difficult to write with Lamy horizontally (scratches); the line seems a little crisper, however. Pilot 78G had the crispiest lines again, but Platinum Plaisir was a little smoother this time. Pilot Minuet had thinner lines than Preppy, making legibility less of an issue. Montblanc requires far more space to fit in the strokes. 

 

Preference: Plaisir, 78G, Minuet, Preppy, Lamy, MB.

 

English: MB comes out top this time with the ease of ink flow and nib around the curves. Pilot 78G is very, very slippery; Lamy has more traction. Plaisir also slips around, Preppy a little less so, and Minuet skates on the paper and skips a little, making my b in "band" look like an h. 

 

Preference: MB, Lamy, Preppy, Plaisir, 78G, Minuet.

 

Conclusion: 

 

Western inks feather A LOT more than the Platinum Black; this is possibly due to feathering being less of a concern when it comes to legibility. Japanese pens are thinner and smoother to write, but there is such a thing as "too smooth", when traction is lost and the nib slips on the paper. Platinum Black also felt a little grittier to write with than J Herbin in Pilots. 

 

There is a clear difference in design of both inks and nibs; Japanese pens are designed to write tiny strokes and straight lines, western pens and inks are designed for loops and curves. 


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#17 pajaro

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 01:25

If you don't test them with the same ink, what does that prove?


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
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#18 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 01:29

If you don't test them with the same ink, what does that prove?

 

That I have more than one ink?


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#19 Eugen-of-Savoy

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:23

It might be possible that the difference between German and Japanese nibs wouldn't exist if the Germans sticked to their Gothic characters, that are more like Japanese characters. What I mean , when a company designs a product, it is primarly designed for the home market, export comes only in second place. It could happen that a company changes the design for marketing reasons when they want to have a bigger piece of the cake in a foreign country ( what is happening for example with european cars on the Chinese market ).
But the market stays the market and penfreaks are in the eyes of the big companies a neglectable % . To give you an example when visiting Vienna, the main Montblanc store on the Graben Has only 5 pens in a total of 14 meter of showwindows.



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