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Flex Nib For Copperplate

flex copperplate suggestion help fountainpen

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22 replies to this topic

#1 mountainrider

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 22:44

Hey there, 

 

I just bought a Lamy Safari for everyday use in school and all of that fun stuff. 

 

However, I really want to learn more styles such as Copperplate and Spencerian.
From what I've heard: I need a pen with a flex nib. 

 

My question to you all:

1. Which pen do you recommend that has a good nib with good flexibility for Copperplate? Dip pen or fountain pen? Please be specific
I am a student, so I have given my self a budget of 100$. 

 

Thanks In Advance, 

mountainrider



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#2 peecee57

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 22:55

Hi, if money is an issue then go for a dip pen, they are a lot cheaper and you can try a wide range of nibs for very little cost. Try dippens.net for some nice holders and try Joseph Gillott 170, 290, 303 and 404 nibs for copperplate nibs are around 90c each.



#3 carretera18

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 00:09

I think in same way peecee57. After tried some semi-flex fountain pens my conclusion is the best way to copperplate is dip pens.

Full flex fountain pens is expensive and hard to get good ones.

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#4 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 01:03

You can get a 1.5 Lamp nib for some $7-8.00 and learn stiff nib calligraphy.

There are 6 or so basic stokes from that that one can incorporate into other writing styles; when using a more flexible nib.

 

I find stiff nib italic calligraphy a good place to learn how to draw a letter...so when you do get into Copperplate or Spenserian you have an advantage.

 

I found by knowing how to draw A, I had a better idea how to form the letter when I tried flexible dip pen nib.

 

There are very many pretty and worth while Italic scripts also.


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 wallylynn

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 02:57

you don't need a flex nib to learn those styles.  the hallmark is the letterform and consistency.  Learn that first, flex later. Put your money into some nice copy books.



#6 BlotBot

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 19:50

For dip nibs, the Nikko G nib is great.  You can get nice fines as well as good width variation.

 

For fountain pens on budget, the Noodlers flex are probably your best option.  They do not, however, get the elegant fine lines charateristic of copperplate.

 

Does anyone have an experience with the new Pilot Falcon extra fine soft nibs?


-- Ellen


#7 Apprenti

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 20:28

I, and many others, wouldn't recommend the Noodler. I nearly gave up on fountain pens because mine was SO BAD! And it still is!

 

Joe



#8 Apprenti

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 20:29

Does anyone have an experience with the new Pilot Falcon extra fine soft nibs?

 

Falcon's often have railroading issues. The best I've seen is the Mottishaw adjusted one. Very nice pen!



#9 Centopar

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 22:19

Speedball oblique holder and six-nib kit - you'll find it on Amazon. Do be aware that you will not get the smooth sensation you find with a regular fountain pen; but you will find the needlepoint oblique flex you're looking for with that combo at a very low price.



#10 BlotBot

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 14:24

I found Eleanor Winter's book Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy a nice way to get started in copperplate:

http://www.amazon.co...rds=copperplate

 

See also www.iampeth.com/‎ for the American style of copperplate and Spencerian.

 

Also look for local classes.  The style is very popular right now.

 

Seeing that you are in the US, two sites for supplies are

 

Paper and Ink Arts

www.paperinkarts.com/‎

 

John Neal, Bookseller

https://www. johnnealbooks.com

 

Have fun!


-- Ellen


#11 perrins57

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 19:17

[quote name="Apprenti" post="2884995" timestamp="1390940909"]I, and many others, wouldn't recommend the Noodler. I nearly gave up on fountain pens because mine was SO BAD! And it still is!
 
Joe[/quote[quote name="Apprenti" post="2884995" timestamp="1390940909"]I, and many others, wouldn't recommend the Noodler. I nearly gave up on fountain pens because mine was SO BAD! And it still is!
 
Joe[/quote]
+1

Brause 66ef dip nibs are nice.

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Summit 125 Med flex, Conway Stewart Scribe No 330 Fine flex, Stephens 103 F, Mock Blanc 146 F, Pelikan 200 with 14k EF nib,  and a Jinhao 675. - I have also sent a Noodler's Ahab & Creeper to recycling.


#12 Brooks MT

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 00:46

I've used both dip pen nibs (Nikko G, Leonardt EF Principal, Hiro #40 "The  Blue Pumpkin" nickname) and fountain pens (Noodler's Ahab, Konrad, & Creeper). They all will work for Copperplate and Spencerian.

 

The dip pen nibs will give you finer hairlines than fountain pens. For a beginner, that might not be such a priority. Dip pen nibs will dig into the paper on the upstroke if you don't use a light touch. All part of the learning curve, easily mastered with practice.

 

Noodler fountain pens are inexpensive, and do an adequate job with alphabets that require a flex nib, in my opinion. Because fountain pen nibs have a blob of metal on the tip, the tip won't dig in on the upstroke (unless you really work at it).  This makes writing easier, and learning possibly faster. For me, the biggest advantage is that I can have a fountain pen ready to go, and thus get in more flex practice, compared to having to dig out the ink bottles, pen holders, nibs, etc. to work with dip pens. Dip pens are lots of fun, and do a superior job; they are what I learned with. But I'd have no problem recommending one learns with a fountain pen instead. There are tip modifications that will reduce the width of Noodler hairlines, when you get to that stage.

 

The Noodler Creeper model has a flex nib ready to use out of the box. The Ahab and Konrad flex nibs are stiffer, and made my hand get tired.... but get nice and flexy with a modification: The "Ease My Flex" mod is a great one to make the Noodler nibs more easy to flex, highly recommended. It requires a Dremel, or small files. If you want help, let me know. I'd be happy to modify your nib for free (well, you have to pay postage to send it to me, of course). Send me a personal message for more details. The Creeper has a smaller diameter grip than the Ahab or Konrad. I like a bigger grip, so ended up putting one of those rubber pencil grip tubes made for kids on my Creeper.

http://www.fountainp...se-my-flex-mod/

 

The Noodler's pens work fine once you understand how to adjust the ink flow. It's not hard, there are videos, and there is advice here. The pens were purposely designed for customization/fiddling. If you don't like to do that, then Noodlers will be frustrating. On the other hand, there's a learning curve with dip pens too.... I enjoy both.

 

What you should buy depends on what you need. If you have the space to leave a dip pen setup in place, then that would be a good way to go. If you are space-starved, then a flex tip fountain pen would be a good way.

 

Hope this helps.


Edited by Brooks MT, 05 February 2014 - 00:57.


#13 WirlWind

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 03:47

If you're not keen on dip nibs and want a vintage flex, there are some deals on ebay:

 

http://www.ebay.com....984.m1423.l2649

 

http://www.ebay.com....984.m1423.l2649

 

 

I just won a Waterman with a gold flex nib for $43 USD as well. Plenty of vintage fish in the sea.


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#14 Drone

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 10:17

@Mountainrider,

 

Welcome to the Fountain Pen Network :)

 

I agree, the Speedball oblique kit (about $15 online) with six nibs is a quick starting point. You might even find a set over-the-counter at a stationary or art supply store near you. Later you can try all sorts of nibs, with the Speedball holder - vintage and new.

 

You'll also need some calligraphy ink. Fountain pen ink will not work as well with a dip nib. Start with some decent paper. The Higgins Eternal brand comes to mind (about $4/2.5 oz. or 74ml).

 

You don't need high-cost specialty paper for practice and learning. Standard virgin (not recycled) 80g/cm^2 (24lb.) office bond will do. HPJ1124 paper is pretty good, a ream (500 sheets) can be had for less than $10 USD. You can print a calligraphy guide on the paper with your computer and printer (see below).

 

Here's a link to some downloadable custom calligraphy guide paper (there are other sites like this on the Web, but this link popped up in my bookmarks):

 

http://incompetech.c...er/calligraphy/

 

Here are some nice free online Copperplate lessons. I like these because they're vintage, not someone's modern interpretation of Engrosser's Script. Do these over and over again:

 

http://www.zanerian.com/Lessons.html

 

You should steep yourself in the Iampeth Web site:

 

http://www.iampeth.com/

 

Search YouTube for some calligraphy examples and lessons. Watch how the writers position their body, hand and arm. Find an example where the calligrapher is using an oblique nib holder.

 

Go slow when you write. Embellished writing is an art, it takes time. Finally, there is no substitute for rote practice...

 

As for flex fountain pens:

 

I have the Noodler's "flex" pens (all types), and I modify (grind) the nibs quite a bit for more flex [e.g., Ease-My-Flex (EMF) modification as mentioned previously in this thread]. But if you're just starting out with fountain pens, I recommend you steer clear of the Noodler's flex pens, they most often do not work well (or at all)  as they come out-of-the-box. You will have to modify (hack) the feed and may even have to heat-set the nib and feed together in order to get good ink flow, especially when flexing. Nib tuning and feed hacking are deep subjects beyond the scope of this thread IMO.

 

Vintage flex pens have been mentioned. I think you should get into vintage pens after studying the subject for awhile. Vintage pens are really not for someone brand new to this hobby. Without care you can end up spending a lot of money on things you may regret.That said, I recommend that when you do delve into your first vintage pens, purchase only fully restored pens from a reputable restorer. This is especially the case when it comes to vintage flex pens. Unless the restorer has tested and tuned the flex nib/feed combination, you might end up with a flexy nib - but inadequate ink flow to support it.

 

You can now buy modern pens with flex nibs that are supposedly as good as many vintage flex nib pens. While it is a relatively safe path to follow (even for a beginner) a new modern pen with a modified flex nib not an inexpensive trip. Expect to spend a decent wad of cash before you're done.

 

A Nibmeister (Pen Professional) named Richard Binder heavily modifies German solid gold nibs for full flex. (Other Nibmeisters offer this service as well.) Mr. Binder will mount these nibs on a modern pen, such as a pen from Bexley (made in Ohio, USA). In-fact Richard sells Bexley pen bodies alone without nibs just for this purpose.

 

Plan on spending more than $200 USD for the modified gold flex nib alone, then add another $100-$200 for the pen itself. So you're looking at a total outlay of at least $300-$400 USD plus shipping. However, you will be getting a custom made and professionally tuned heirloom writing instrument that you will likely keep forever.

 

Oh yes, If you want a modern custom made pen with flex, Brian Gray of Edison Pen Co. is now offering his hand-turned fountain pens fitted with Richard Binder's modern flex nibs.

 

Here's a YouTube video by Brian Gray of Edison pens comparing a modern pen with a gold non-flex nib, a vintage flex nib pen, and a modern pen with Richard Binder's modified gold flex nib:

 

http://www.youtube.c...player_embedded

 

Richard Binder's modern flex nibs can be found by scrolling down this page:

 

http://www.richardsp...e=pens/nibs.htm

 

Edison Pen Co.

 

http://edisonpen.com/

 

Bexely Pen Co.

 

http://bexleypen.com/

 

That's it for me...

 

Have Fun, David


Edited by Drone, 05 February 2014 - 10:21.


#15 Brooks MT

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 01:52

I guess I was just lucky. I have 10 Noodlers flex fountain pens (Ahab, Konrad, Creeper). They all worked out of the box, after I gave a thorough cleaning to the feed and nib (dish soap+water+a few drops of ammonia using a stiff brush eg test-tube or tooth brush). I had a Sheaffer cartridge fountain pen in school, and learned nothing from that experience. In other words, just reading FPN posts, and watching Goulet Pen videos, gave me enough info to get my Noodler pens to write.  I'm at a loss as to why others have been unable to do what I did. They complain vociferously on the Forum, yet a newbie (me) had no special trouble with my Noodlers.

 

My modifications, EMF and tip thinning, have been done to make my pens more suited to what I want to accomplish. Plus, I like to experiment (retired scientist).  Personally, I'd prefer to learn how to make a pen work myself, rather than spend hundreds of dollars getting a ready-to-go professionally-tuned pen. A student is a person who is trying to learn something new. Calligraphy does not come w/o learning - the letter forms, the tools, maintenance of the tools, the inks, the papers,  etc. It's fun. And the best part - you can produce something that is neater and cooler than your previous handwriting, even w/o being an expert.

 

Dip pens are simpler than fountain pens, simpler than even an expensive fountain pen. But dip pens will require learning. It all depends on what Mountainrider wants to spend his time and $ on :-)


Edited by Brooks MT, 07 February 2014 - 01:59.


#16 ImplacablyGreen

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:42

I'm in agreement with carretera18 and Drone on this: a dip pen is far more suitable than a flexy fountain pens for writing Spencerian/Copperplate.

 

The major reason is that both styles of calligraphy are written at particular angles. There are certain nib holders termed oblique holders, in that they have a metal flange that allows the nib to rest at an angle, making it far easier to write both scripts. While you can use a fountain pen (or a straight holder for that matter), it would make the process of learning the scripts more difficult as you would have to rotate the paper at a fairly steep angle and orient your arm as well to achieve the desired effect.

 

A few other reasons:

  • Dip nibs have a much, much better level of snapback than fountain pen nibs. Snapback is the ability of the nib's tines to 'snap back' together after being separated, and this allows sharp and consistent line shading.
  • Dip nibs are very, very cheap. The nib often touted as an excellent introduction is the Nikko G nib and at paperinkarts.com (no affiliation!), they're $17 a dozen. Depending on practice, each nib would last you between 2 weeks to a month.

Last of all, most calligraphers and their instruction manuals (for e.g. Michael Sull's book on Spencerian script) operate on the assumption that you're using an dip nib and an oblique holder, and not a fountain pen.

 

In terms of being specific, the beginner's supplies are as follows. Many people on the forum highly recommend paperinkarts.com and johnnealbooks.com as excellent suppliers of calligraphy equipment, and for the most part their inventory (with respect to calligraphy) is fairly similar.

  1. Oblique holder: Century Oblique Holder for $20. An excellent introductory pen staff. There's also a thicker version if you happen to have large hands.
  2. Nibs: Nikko G. I'd buy a dozen to start out with. For being adventurous down the line, the Gillot 404, 303; and the Leonardt Principal nibs are excellent once you have the basics down (or are just getting bored of the Nikko G!). For a beginner, the Nikko G will handle both Spencerian and Copperplate very well. The major difference between the Nikko G and, say, more delicate nibs such as the Leonardt Principal is the amount of flex: the Nikko G has more flex than most fountain pens, but the Leonardt's tines seems like it's doing the splits! But with high flex (and thinner hairlines as is usually the case) the nib will be prone to catching on the fibres of the paper and will be far, far more difficult to control if you haven't become accustomed to the basic motions involved in writing out the characters. The Nikko G is also at an advantage over most dip nibs since it's chrome-plated and will resist corrosion for a while longer. But all dip nibs will eventually corrode and need to be thrown away.
  3. Ink: Higgins Eternal Ink. Very cheap, large bottles full o' the stuff. It's not especially viscuous, which may pose a problem for retaining the ink on the nib. To solve that, it's a good idea to purchase a $16 bottle of Winsor & Newton's Gum Arabic. Add 2-3 drops of the gum arabic into the Higgins and stir vigorously to thicken up the ink a bit.
  4. Paper: As Drone above me rightly said, the only paper you need is one that can take the deluge of ink that a dip nib throws at it. I'm afraid I'm not too much help with respect to paper, as I'm in Australia and our paper branding is substantially different from the US.
  5. Instruction manual: Reiterating what Drone said, a lot of Spencerian/Copperplate manuals are in the public domain now. iampeth.com is an excellent resource for scanned copies of a large number of guides and instructions. Don't forget also to wander over to the penmanship subforum on this website, as there are substantially long threads dedicated to both Spencerian and Copperplate learning.

I wouldn't suggest trying to learn both at the same styles at the same time. They might look similar, but they have a number of very distinct subtleties and it'll cause you all manner of inexorable headaches trying to separate the different swells, shades and strokes while trying to learn both! There isn't a right answer to what to learn first. Spencerian might perhaps be simpler in most peoples' eyes, and it's simpler to translate Spencerian into everyday monoline (that is, without the shading) writing. But if your interest lies in Copperplate, then any unwilling effort invested in Spencerian will just exhaust your attention and your interest in the craft. If you do decide to take up Spencerian, I can highly recommend Michael Sull's book Learning To Write Spencerian (which I believe is available at johnnealbooks.com).


Edited by dali3464, 07 February 2014 - 09:05.

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#17 perrins57

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 16:05

Just bought a new Leonardt nib, an extra fine, crome finish copperplate nib with a slightly up-turned nib end. It's great, a bit stiffer than the other copperplate nibs I've tried, (Leonardt elbow, Brause and Gillot) but correspondingly much easier to control and less likely to railroad, this will be my main practice nib from now on.


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Summit 125 Med flex, Conway Stewart Scribe No 330 Fine flex, Stephens 103 F, Mock Blanc 146 F, Pelikan 200 with 14k EF nib,  and a Jinhao 675. - I have also sent a Noodler's Ahab & Creeper to recycling.


#18 Ego Id Veto

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 02:09

I carry a Noodler's Ahab with a Brause Rose dip nib that I jammed in it with me all the time. It flexes amazingly and I use it as a portable calligraphy kit!

I forgot the name of the guy who suggested it, but he's on YouTube, a British bloke. He's got some good videos.
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#19 Drone

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 09:25

I carry a Noodler's Ahab with a Brause Rose dip nib that I jammed in it with me all the time. It flexes amazingly and I use it as a portable calligraphy kit!.

 

I was thinking about trying this. So you say the Brause Rose fits? Did you damage the feed and/or section when you "jammed" it in?

 

How about when you're writing with the Brause Rose, does the end of the feed hit the paper? Can the flow keep up or are you fighting railroads?



#20 Garrowp

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 20:31

I carry a Noodler's Ahab with a Brause Rose dip nib that I jammed in it with me all the time. It flexes amazingly and I use it as a portable calligraphy kit!
I forgot the name of the guy who suggested it, but he's on YouTube, a British bloke. He's got some good videos.


Hi. Do you mean sbrebrown. Here is the link





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