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Perceived Scratchiness, Extra Fine Nibs, Nails. Facts/theory/solutions?

extra fine ef nib nibs scratchy scratchiness uef platinum century 3776

15 replies to this topic

#1 Intellidepth

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 21:17

I've read a lot on here regarding the perceived scratchiness of extra fine nibs. It appears to be a very real phenomenon.

What I haven't come across so much are the theories and facts as to why this occurs. I understand how it can and does occur in flex nibs, ie the inside edge of tine can only be smoothed a tiny amount before causing ink to lose connection with the paper. I don't understand how it happens with nails.

I understand the difference between feedback and scratchiness. In the main it is scratchiness I am concerned about. However, if you've come across a particular nib made of a particular material that offers reduced vibratory feedback when compared to other nibs in the extra fine (or finer) category, I'm keen to know about it.

I'm seeking a nail nib in extra fine for everyday use as my most frequently used note taking pen (possibly a Platinum 3776 Century - maybe even ultra extra fine). I naturally write small. The Lamy fine is too wide with the wet inks I prefer to use. I do understand the stepped difference between Western and Japanese fines.

Could people please offer a dash or two of experiential wisdom? Subjective/objective comparisons between nibs you've tried or own, based on the above info, would be most helpful.

Alternative pen/nib suggestions are welcome, as are threads on the topic that I may not have come across yet. I don't have access to brick and mortar stores locally that sell a reasonable range of pens.

Edited by Intellidepth, 06 April 2015 - 21:21.

Noodler's Konrad Acrylics (normal+Da Luz custom flex) ~ Lamy AL-Stars/Vista F/M/1.1 ~ Handmade Barry Roberts Dayacom M ~ Waterman 32 1/2, F semi-flex nib ~ Conklin crescent, EF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen EEF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen semi-flex M ~ Jinhao X450s ~ Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib ~ Sailor 1911 Profit 21k Rhodium F. Favourite inks: Iroshizuku blends, Noodler's CMYK blends.

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#2 The Blue Knight

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 22:05

Think of a piece of sand paper and a pin and a nail. When you drag the nail across the piece of sand paper the scratch isn't as pronounced as when you drag the pin. It's because relatively the tip of the nail is a lot larger then the tip pin so therefore it doesn't get stuck on as many grains of sand however as the tip the pin is a lot smaller then the nail the grains of sand will cause a greater obstetrical to the pin. Apply this to a pen then you have your answer.



#3 Intellidepth

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 22:28

Think of a piece of sand paper and a pin and a nail. When you drag the nail across the piece of sand paper the scratch isn't as pronounced as when you drag the pin. It's because relatively the tip of the nail is a lot larger then the tip pin so therefore it doesn't get stuck on as many grains of sand however as the tip the pin is a lot smaller then the nail the grains of sand will cause a greater obstetrical to the pin. Apply this to a pen then you have your answer.

Thanks Blue Knight. Great descriptive illustration of how feedback occurs.

I'll be using this particular nib on relatively smooth paper stock eg A near equivalent to Rhodia I've found and tested (smoother than my Clairfontaine journals). I forgot to remove that as a variable.

Edited by Intellidepth, 06 April 2015 - 22:31.

Noodler's Konrad Acrylics (normal+Da Luz custom flex) ~ Lamy AL-Stars/Vista F/M/1.1 ~ Handmade Barry Roberts Dayacom M ~ Waterman 32 1/2, F semi-flex nib ~ Conklin crescent, EF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen EEF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen semi-flex M ~ Jinhao X450s ~ Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib ~ Sailor 1911 Profit 21k Rhodium F. Favourite inks: Iroshizuku blends, Noodler's CMYK blends.

#4 j.a.j.

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Posted 07 April 2015 - 18:11

I am not yet so deep to the rabbit hole myself that i could give a thorough explanation of the physics involved. Basically nib and grind quality seem more important than the material.

 

Choice of ink is quite a big factor for the smoothness of narrow nibs. A XXF nib can feel IMO too slippery, just right or too scratchy with different kinds of inks.

 

Many people speak fondly of their Pilot custom 912s with posting nibs. I would also seriously consider getting a relatively inexpensive pen's nib ground by nibmeister. Richard Binder, John Mottinshaw and Mike it Work's names keep repeating when nibmeisters for < XF nib grinds are enquired upon. 


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#5 dneal

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Posted 07 April 2015 - 18:11

Once you get to Japanese fines and extra-fines, you're not going to get a butter-smooth nib.

 

How fine of a line are you looking for?  Can you describe in terms of gel-pen sizes?  (0.3mm, 0.5mm. 0.7mm, etc...)

 

I have a Pilot Elite 95S with a F nib, that writes like a western fine.  It is buttery smooth.  Also, a Sailor 1911 in Medium Fine is very nail-like, not scratchy, but offers nice feedback.  It writes smaller than the Pilot fine.  My Platinum 3776 in F is pretty scratchy, and writes the smallest of the bunch (and smaller than a Pilot soft fine on a Falcon.



#6 Intellidepth

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Posted 07 April 2015 - 22:41

I am not yet so deep to the rabbit hole myself that i could give a thorough explanation of the physics involved. Basically nib and grind quality seem more important than the material.
 
Choice of ink is quite a big factor for the smoothness of narrow nibs. A XXF nib can feel IMO too slippery, just right or too scratchy with different kinds of inks.
 
Many people speak fondly of their Pilot custom 912s with posting nibs. I would also seriously consider getting a relatively inexpensive pen's nib ground by nibmeister. Richard Binder, John Mottinshaw and Mike it Work's names keep repeating when nibmeisters for < XF nib grinds are enquired upon.

Thanks. I'll be using Iroshizuku inks as I like how smooth they are as compared to other ink brands/types I've tried. I have other wet inks, but Iroshizuku is smooth and wet.

Trying to steer away from customs by those wonderful nibmeisters only because of the price/because I can't try one first where I live.

How fine of a line are you looking for?  Can you describe...


Under 0.3mm laid line certainly. From memory, Western fine is around 0.4mm (wet ink takes it to 0.5mm). I want to use wet ink for the feel. I'd rather have narrower nib and wetter/smoother ink than wider nib and dry ink. Probably around 0.25mm. Ideally 0.18mm :) but that might be asking too much.

Thanks for the direct comparisons of your experiences with different nib sizes from different pen manufacturers/models; helpful.
Noodler's Konrad Acrylics (normal+Da Luz custom flex) ~ Lamy AL-Stars/Vista F/M/1.1 ~ Handmade Barry Roberts Dayacom M ~ Waterman 32 1/2, F semi-flex nib ~ Conklin crescent, EF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen EEF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen semi-flex M ~ Jinhao X450s ~ Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib ~ Sailor 1911 Profit 21k Rhodium F. Favourite inks: Iroshizuku blends, Noodler's CMYK blends.

#7 Intellidepth

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 09:45

Many people speak fondly of their Pilot custom 912s with posting nibs.

This looks very very good. Not as fine as the UEF Platinum, but definitely a better contender in other respects eg strong nib for the very fine line it writes. Thank you.

This pen+po nib+con-70 converter might just enable me to also use it for uni exams on cheap uni paper, which would be really awesome. My next one coming up is a 3 hour written statistics exam. :P

Edit: ordered. Savings pile that was going towards a... what pen was it again? just got redirected. A posting nib just got priority over a flex :D.

Edited by Intellidepth, 09 April 2015 - 10:15.

Noodler's Konrad Acrylics (normal+Da Luz custom flex) ~ Lamy AL-Stars/Vista F/M/1.1 ~ Handmade Barry Roberts Dayacom M ~ Waterman 32 1/2, F semi-flex nib ~ Conklin crescent, EF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen EEF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen semi-flex M ~ Jinhao X450s ~ Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib ~ Sailor 1911 Profit 21k Rhodium F. Favourite inks: Iroshizuku blends, Noodler's CMYK blends.

#8 tinkerteacher

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 07:48

Perceived is the right word.

When people complain about 'scratchiness' on EFs, it's not really the scratchiness they are complaining about.

It's the increased feedback one gets from the Extra Fines and below. With thinner tines, and without the inherent metallurgic damping that the broader nibs bring, imperfections in the paper's surface, crappiness of the nib alloy, etc, are more readily transmitted directly into your hand. Try a Pilot Penmanship, which is a western XXF, on both Moleskine and then Clairefontaine paper and you will see what I mean. (ink as a factor removed from the equation of course)

Some people like feedback, others don't. Myself, I don't like writing with gloves on.

Edited by tinkerteacher, 10 April 2015 - 08:04.

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#9 tinkerteacher

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 07:59

In the main it is scratchiness I am concerned about. However, if you've come across a particular nib made of a particular material that offers reduced vibratory feedback when compared to other nibs in the extra fine (or finer) category, I'm keen to know about it.
I'm seeking a nail nib in extra fine for everyday use as my most frequently used note taking pen (possibly a Platinum 3776 Century - maybe even ultra extra fine). I naturally write small. The Lamy fine is too wide with the wet inks I prefer to use. I do understand the stepped difference between Western and Japanese fines.
Could people please offer a dash or two of experiential wisdom? Subjective/objective comparisons between nibs you've tried or own, based on the above info, would be most helpful.

You are on the right track.

A Platinum gold nib is exactly the smooooth Nail you are looking for.

The Japanese, as you've surmised, are the masters of Extra Fine nib manufacturing with almost magically levels of quality control. The Big (and almost the only at this point), 3, Pilot, Sailor, and Platinum differentiate themselves quite a bit by nib feel.

Pilot are the springy, kinda flexy nib people and Platinum are the stiff as board nail people. Sailor falls somewhere in the boring middle with their huge range of nibs.

Quality ink and coated paper would be the best way to reduce feedback IMO, with Sailor inks and Clairfointaine/Rhodia or Apica being the recommendations.

Edited by tinkerteacher, 10 April 2015 - 08:06.

Semper Faciens, Semper Discens


#10 tinkerteacher

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 08:34

Oops, I see you've already made your way to the Holy Grail of nailish fountain pens, Pilot's #10 Post Office nib, and that my above advice is useless. Time for more coffee.

The Pilot 912 PO is a wonderful choice. Please post pics and thoughts when it arrives.

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#11 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 09:20

Do remember Japanese nibs are made for tiny printed Japanese script. So if you print Japanese nibs are the way to go.

Western nibs are made for cursive.

A dry ink will along with good paper give you a thinner liNE.

 

The footprint of super narrow nibs is very small, so you have to hold the pen just so..always, and not a tiny tad off or it will be scratchy....because you are off the footprint.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 10 April 2015 - 09:22.

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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#12 Intellidepth

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 10:12

Oops, I see you've already made your way to the Holy Grail of nailish fountain pens, Pilot's #10 Post Office nib, and that my above advice is useless. Time for more coffee.
The Pilot 912 PO is a wonderful choice. Please post pics and thoughts when it arrives.


Tinkerteacher, your advice is invaluable, as it explained what I couldn't pin down and things I didn't know. I like scientific-ish/thorough explanations of how things work. I am appreciative that you took the time to express those thoughts in detail. I now know that I'd also like a Platinum at some point... but don't tell my husband. He's wondering how I can make money out of this new hobby of mine instead of spending it :D.

This is my last hardware investment for a while. I'll divert my attention into posting on FPN about ink mixes instead.

Bo Bo, thank you, I do print usually (block lettering), and I much prefer to print tiny but am always limited by the nib in fp's, or balls in bp's. An old shoulder injury means I can't use whole arm movement for very long, so small writing/finger movement is my usual style.
Noodler's Konrad Acrylics (normal+Da Luz custom flex) ~ Lamy AL-Stars/Vista F/M/1.1 ~ Handmade Barry Roberts Dayacom M ~ Waterman 32 1/2, F semi-flex nib ~ Conklin crescent, EF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen EEF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen semi-flex M ~ Jinhao X450s ~ Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib ~ Sailor 1911 Profit 21k Rhodium F. Favourite inks: Iroshizuku blends, Noodler's CMYK blends.

#13 Intellidepth

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 02:10

Very quick update as I'm supposed to be doing uni, but the Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib (PO Nib) arrived this am. :) Loaded with Kon-Peki x Take Sumi blend.

 

Love the fineness of this 14k posting nib! It's very sturdy, but very fine. I used to use Rotring and Staedtler very fine technical pens when I was younger a lot, so being able to write tiny again is great at 1mm x-height. It performs similarly to the technical pens getting ink onto paper. I can even write rapid scrappy cursive at 2mm x-height without my e's and g's filling in, which has been a constant problem thus far with Western fines. Being able to write smaller means I can also write faster overall. Great for exams.

 

Having no trouble writing at high speed - still writes even if it is off the sweet spot. Nib is neither too wet nor dry but a perfect middle-ground.

 

Line is slightly wider on cheaper Reflex blue copy paper than on high quality Quill Powder Blue copy paper (which has similar performance to Rhoda re not feathering). Shading is more obvious on cheap paper due to slightly wider line/paper absorbency.

 

Pen (unposted) is very lightweight. After only a minute or so, it felt like an extension of my hand rather than being a weight that needed controlling. Great for exams, again.

 

Pen needed the nib/feed removed/cleaned as it had manufacturing residue in the form of white particles and dust on it. I used a tiny bit of detergent while I was at it then rinsed off really well.

 

Took me a minute to figure out that I can't fill the converter separately to the pen - I need to dip the nib in the ink with the converter attached to get the pump system to work. Not so keen on that arrangement, as it means the section gets inky.

 

The construction of the plastic feed holder inside the section where it is attached to the converter feels fragile. It's quite tight and screechy when I move the converter on to it. I won't be removing the converter very much because of this (ie not switching inks often in this pen like I normally do). 

 

The section feels slightly larger than my Lamy grips (which to this point have been my every-day writers for uni), but is more comfortable because of this. It is not a large section by any means, but suits me - I can already feel there is less tension required to hold the pen comfortably. The section feels smaller than my Jinhao X450s and around the same as the Nooder's Konrads. I have large hands for a female but with average length fingers (I'm limited to men's gloves for winter).

 

The pen came with a Con-70 converter (should have read up on it a bit more first) so I now have a spare Con-70 that I ordered in addition to the pen.

 

As always, SBREBrown's youtube video for disassembling a custom heritage pen was helpful, as the threads for the nib/feed housing sleeve inside the section run in the opposite direction. The nib/feed itself is friction fit inside the housing and was firm to remove initially, but came free ok.

 

Purchased from j-subculture at their usual great prices. Expedited shipping only took around 5-6 days from Japan to Australia.

 

I can see myself getting more of these with a couple of different nibs one day to replace my Lamys. Possibly one with a soft nib of some sort for a little line variation, and another with a fine rigid. This has rounded out my little selection of pens very nicely.


Noodler's Konrad Acrylics (normal+Da Luz custom flex) ~ Lamy AL-Stars/Vista F/M/1.1 ~ Handmade Barry Roberts Dayacom M ~ Waterman 32 1/2, F semi-flex nib ~ Conklin crescent, EF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen EEF super-flex ~ Aikin Lambert dip pen semi-flex M ~ Jinhao X450s ~ Pilot Custom Heritage 912 Posting Nib ~ Sailor 1911 Profit 21k Rhodium F. Favourite inks: Iroshizuku blends, Noodler's CMYK blends.

#14 vonManstein

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Posted 24 April 2015 - 14:16

Hero 9296 Accounting Ultrafine Iridium Nib Writing Fountain Pen

Smoothes Extra Fine nib that I have. I think it costs $5.

Pilot Custom 74 fine was the scratchiest.

Forget Pelikan Fine, the one on my M600 writes like Japanese broad nib.

I like lamy extra fine and fine steel nibs. And Platinum Preppy is not bad at all, 2 out of 3 0.2 Preppy pens I have are very nice, give good feedback but are not scratchy.

 

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#15 ethernautrix

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Posted 24 April 2015 - 17:41

Without having read all of the replies: Scratchiness is when the tines are unaligned.

 

For smooth EF and F nibs, the Japanese brands are very reputable. As for non-Japanese brands, I have a Kaweco Liliput with an EF nib that is very smooth; ditto a Lamy Joy.


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#16 BMG

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Posted 24 April 2015 - 17:47

Ditto what ethernautrix wrote. I've got a Nakaya F, which writes wet and smooth. Have an EF too, and while it doesn't glide like the F does, it's not scratchy by any means.

 

I've had several western nibs reground to "true" Fs and EFs by J. Mottishaw, M. Masuyama, Y. Nagahara; I wouldn't describe any of them as scratchy.


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