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Faber Castell Basic Advice Please

faber castell basic ef

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10 replies to this topic

#1 brhall


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Posted 18 November 2013 - 21:07

I've just bought a used Faber Castell Basic Carbon fountain pen from a seller on eBay. I had read and watched reviews of the FC Basic and as my other FP is a medium nibbed Parker but I thought I would like to try a fine nibbed pen for a change. The pen is in excellent condition but I discovered that the nib is marked EF rather than F. The pen arrived inked with a long  international cartridge of black or blue-black already fitted and four other unused cartridges included. The cartridges are unmarked and the only thing of note is the base of the cartridge appears to be sealed with a white plastic plug.


However I find the pen seems to write with a more dry and scratchy line than I expected. I am not used to such a fine nib and I don't know if this is to be expected. Most of the reviews of Faber Castell pens say that their nibs are very smooth so I was expecting better. 


I will take the pen into work tomorrow and have a look at the nib under a microscope and I have ordered some blunt needled syringes to change the ink in the cartridge. I just wondered if any of you folks out there could offer any advice about this make of pen and nib size or for that matter writing with nibs this narrow? What inks are better suited to these types of nibs,


Many thanks.




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#2 jdivitto



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Posted 18 November 2013 - 21:24

I've never felt an EF that wasn't scratchy.  Once you get a look at the nib under a microscope or loupe, you can confirm that the tines are lined up.  If they are lined up, all you can do is smooth them with micromesh and mylar to get it as smooth as possible.  I doubt it will ever be as smooth as your M.

#3 bobaroo


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Posted 18 November 2013 - 21:46

Hi Brian


I was always a medium or broad user, but when I got more into fountain pens I thought I'd spread my wings and mix things up with a few different, smaller, nib sizes. At first I thought I'd made a terrible mistake as the smoothness that I'd experienced before with the pens that gave me the bug was completely missing, and if anything it was a chore to write and I thought the pens must have had defective tipping or something.


I had a Pilot F (generally considered an EF by western nib sizes), nib which I asked John Sorowka to sort out because it was unbearable. He smoothed it and made it suit my pen holding angle perfectly, but it still felt scratchy to me. After a while I developed a bit of a deft touch and can use it quite contently now, realising that I used to pile on the pressure on my larger nibs.... Because it's fun to push loads of ink around the paper!


Smaller tips seem less smooth because there's effectively the same amount of weight out onto the tip, but on a much smaller surface area. I got a broad nib for that same pilot pen later, but I probably use the F as much and didn't mind it once I'd got used to it.


If you do decide to go down the smoothing route, take care.

#4 penmanila



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Posted 19 November 2013 - 00:31

i have several FCs and they're all buttery smooth because i got them with B nibs and i do my own smoothing, besides....


having said that, i would recommend that you get some micromesh (or better yet, an inexpensive nib polishing kit like this one i got, here: http://cgi.ebay.com/...E:X:AAQ:US:1123). 


five minutes' work on the nib will do wonders. (it's addictive--i've smoothened the nibs on dozens of my pens and can't be happier).


i've alse been able to buy spare nib-and-section assemblies from FC's US supplier:



Check out my blog and my pens

#5 Ecriveur



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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:38

The more fine the nib, the more scratchy it will be, other things being equal. That's not to say that there aren't smooth nibs that are also fine, but a perfect medium nib (for example) will always be smoother than a perfect extra-fine nib. Maybe your EF nib is more scratchy than it should (or could) be, but it's hard to tell without a benchmark of comparison. I have a fine nib Faber Castell Basic and, for what it's worth, it's quite smooth. I didn't even realize you could get a FB Basic in EF as I don't think the place I ordered mine from had an EF option.

#6 MisterBoll



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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:59

I just ordered one with an EF nib which I will use for drawing. I'll report once I get it.

#7 brhall


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Posted 19 November 2013 - 08:43

Thanks guys for all the advice it does help to put things in perspective. I had contemplated returning the pen but it was a good price and a new experience so I thought it worth keeping. I am interested to see how much I can improve the smoothness of the nib and get used to the different writing experience these narrow nibs bring.


I used a fountain pen for several years when I was at school and thought from those days that fountains always write drier with a new cartridge or brimmed C/C fitted until a certain amount of air entered. If this is the case this may be a factor at the moment as the cartridge fitted is full. Also I don't know what or how good the ink is?


So I have a trail of adventure and learning to follow and it is rather exciting in a fountain pen sort of way.


Thanks again.



Edited by brhall, 19 November 2013 - 09:18.

#8 owend


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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:24

I got a FC Ambition a few weeks ago, with a Fine nib although I always used Mediums - they just seemed too broad now, and I wanted a change. I think it's basically (hehe!) the same nib unit on the Basic.


My F was scratchy to my feel at first, but a week or two of regular use and it was very smooth, nice feedback, and a lovely consistent line. From my experience, going to a finer nib size will feel a bit more scratchy, and maybe the nib needs some use to fine-tune it to your feel. I've also found that my handwriting has got a bit smaller - if your normal hand is on the large side, try reducing the size to suit the finer nib.

#9 lovemy51


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Posted 19 November 2013 - 23:23

hello. I have two FC's. my Ambition came with a smooth Med nib, but by Basic (leather barrel) did come with a very scratchy F nib. after much tweaking and micro-mesh'ing, it's a great writer... I reach for it more than any other pen. I've tried the Loom and it's quite smooth out of the box -I suspect it comes with a M nib, but I can't remember now.

#10 Renfield


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Posted 19 November 2013 - 23:28

I got a FC Loom in fine, which is the same nib as the basic.


I found the feedback too much, so smoothed it and it is now butter smooth, but I find the nib is so hard that it jars my hand to use.


I lean too heavy, and while i try to use a lighter touch, I find myself going back to leaning too hard and it hurts again.


So I gave it to the wife, scored me brownie points and gave me an excuse to buy a different pen. Win Win situation :)

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#11 Edwaroth


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Posted 20 November 2013 - 01:41

I also have a Loom with a Fine, it is very smooth and a pleasure to write with. All of my pens are either F or EF as wider nibs do not support my style of writing. My Pelikan Souveran 600 in EF is one of the smoothest nib out there. I also have a Bexley with a Fine that is an absolute joy to write with and a Sailor Professional Gear in Fine that is smooth with tooth but is definitely not scratchy. That said, you most certainly can get nibs that are. Some of the smoothest nibs I own come on Chinese pens...go figure.


Bon Chance,



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