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What's This Obsession With A Flexible Nib?

flexible nib handwriting

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69 replies to this topic

#61 balson

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 07:45

But, I discovered that it is even easier to do flex with an oblique holder than a straight holder.  And you are NOT going to have that function on a fountain pen.  The oblique holder makes it so much easier to do the flex without ink spatter, scratching or snagging the tip.  I've moved to using the oblique holder 95+% of the time.  Now, the only time I use a straight holder is for the larger nibs that won't fit the oblique holder.

 

 

i agree with many of your points but with a nib with tipping you don't have to worry about snagging splattering or in some cases even any scratchiness with the nib.  



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#62 Mickey

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 14:00

I believe there really has been some genuine rancor generated by this "obsession," not unlike that associated with speculation in the great violins of Cremona. Hording them is bad enough, but inept use can permanently damage these pens. A Waterman that has already outlived two users might not survive a week in the hands of a ham-fisted 'flex writer.' Sprung really can't be unsprung. So, ask yourself, would you entrust your prized Stradivalulous to Doug Kershaw? How about to Barry Bonds?

 

That said, I have no burning desire to own a vintage flexible fountain pen, in spite of the fact that my default hand writing is Spencerian. I have 8 oblique holders to indulge my flex fantasies and several gross nibs (mostly vintage). I also have one flexible carry pen, a modern semi-flex oblique (for when I feel like writing Italic) which is never overtly flexed.


The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#63 tonybelding

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 14:05

By the way...  If you just want to add some modest flexy variation to your normal handwriting (i.e. not doing calligraphic flourishes), there are some modern pens around that can do it.  I was surprised to find a couple of my more expressive modern pens were a Lamy 2000 and a Pilot Vanishing Point.  No, they aren't the same as vintage full-flex...  but they aren't complete nails either, and you can get some of that old-timey writing look out of them.



#64 Mickey

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 15:37

By the way...  If you just want to add some modest flexy variation to your normal handwriting (i.e. not doing calligraphic flourishes), there are some modern pens around that can do it.  I was surprised to find a couple of my more expressive modern pens were a Lamy 2000 and a Pilot Vanishing Point.  No, they aren't the same as vintage full-flex...  but they aren't complete nails either, and you can get some of that old-timey writing look out of them.

 

I think you make an excellent point, here. The modern writer is unquestionably more heavy-handed than the people who originally owned the vintage flexible pen. Considering the range of flex possible with the old pens, the scarcity of heavy shading in normal correspondence from the first half of the 20th century is pretty good proof thereof. So, all things considered, a modern, not-even-semi-flex nib (sorry Bobo) put into the modern user's hand is probably comparable to an après moi, le déluge-noodle in the hands of his grandfather.


The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#65 JonSzanto

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 01:01

Mickey, you say that as if there is no possibility that someone, or someones, in the period of the late 1800's through, say, the 1950's ever ham-fistedly sprung a nib. Or in previous centuries, abused a Guarneri violin. It happens. People are clods. Use whatever pen suits, I say, and respect it.


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#66 Mickey

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 01:40

Mickey, you say that as if there is no possibility that someone, or someones, in the period of the late 1800's through, say, the 1950's ever ham-fistedly sprung a nib.

 

I'm sure more than a few nibs were sprung, but in a world where the purchase of a fountain pen was a near lifetime decision, it's doubtful many people sprung more than one. Personally, I don't believe the old pens were manufactured to survive the sort of abuse to which 'flex writing' subjects them. It's no wonder (to me) why modern pen makers aren't interested in making flexies: time in service queues would be reckoned in geologic terms.

 

(BTW, I know of at least one Strad being sat on in the 20th century. The clod in that case was a prat, too.  I also have a friend who borrowed a Guaneri del Gesu to play fiddle tunes at a folk music gig. )


The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#67 JonSzanto

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:43

I'm sure more than a few nibs were sprung, but in a world where the purchase of a fountain pen was a near lifetime decision, it's doubtful many people sprung more than one. 

 

Well, to be fair, I think that is probably likely today, as well.


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#68 MusinkMan

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:07

So I can write like this guy:

 

https://www.youtube....MolEvB5EqA

 

That's not a guy writing that.  It's an extremely talented female artist.


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#69 chiaroscuro

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:19

Everybody wants a lamborghini too.

If they cost what a vintage flex pen costs, there would be many an account of how horrible, easy-to-crash, unpleasant to drive and useless they are, what a waste of time, etc.



#70 MusinkMan

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:58

I don't know why other people crave flexible nibs, but I can tell you why I personally do.  It's because they are capable of producing works that cannot be accomplished with a "nail" or manifold type nib.  Yes, I'm sure some people do "abuse" and spring their nib (although with any common sense this would seldom-if-ever happen), and I'm sure there are those who seek out flexible nibs because they are convinced that in a week they will be writing like those infamous Namiki Falcon videos if they only had a flexible nibbed pen.  As Mickey pointed out, that is a pipe dream...a good flexible fountain pen is a tool, and will enable a person to develop skills in styles that are not possible with a nail, manifold, stub, or italic nib.  Anyone not interested in developing skill in those styles would have no benefit from acquiring a flexible fountain pen.  (I know, some nibs are a hybrid of broad nib and flexible nib.  I have one of those too); but for me the most enjoyable fountain pens are those that are xxf or xf, yet are capable of flexing out to about a BB shaded swell.  I have yet to find a modern fountain pen that will do that for me, so all of my flexible fountain pens are older vintage ones with 14k forged gold nibs.  Of course this is not everyone's cup of tea and that's cool, but those of us who enjoy a bit of calligraphic flair to our writing love using flexible pens.  Another "benefit" that I like is that a flexible nib does not "have to be flexed".  With only a little practice, it's quite simple to write with the tines closed up in thin line format, so to me I can emulate the writing of a stiff pen with a flexible pen but not the other way around.  You could not produce anything that resembled any form of English Roundhand (or Spencerian or Ladies Hand or a multitude of other styles) with an inflexible nib, without considerable doctoring and double-lining.  So, that's why I love them personally.  Don't get me wrong, I like stiff fountain pens too...but the reasons that I personally prefer a nice flexible nib are those above.   


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