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Pendleton Brown Bls Vs. Mike Masuyama Rnci

nibmeister nib nibs italic cursive italic stub pendleton brown mike masuyama bls rnci

11 replies to this topic

#1 pseudorandom

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 05:10

I'm about to make my first foray into the world of customized nibs and I'm having trouble deciding whether to go with a Pendleton Brown butter-line stub or a Mike Masuyama round-nose cursive italic for a Pilot 823. I'm looking for a nib width of approximately 0.4mm on the downstroke for use as a daily writer - I write fairly small with lots of math (small subscripts/superscripts are an issue to me). This is a sample of my normal handwriting when note-taking (stock pilot M nib).

 

Any perspective on which one to pick would be greatly appreciated. In particular, I'm wondering:

 

  • how the two customizations compare in terms of line variation and forgivingness (I normally normally hold the pen at a 45-degree angle to the paper, with a little bit of inconsistent rotation as well)
  • how controllable the thickness of a line put down by MM's RNCI is - this post mentions that the BLS's line width can be controlled by the amount of pressure put into it; is the RNCI capable of something similar? The ability to put down a finer line when necessary would be great for subscripts.
  • how the BLS looks up close - there's a picture of the RNCI up-close here, but I haven't been able to find a similar pic for the BLS.

Thanks!



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#2 JonSzanto

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 08:04

I'll tell you one thing: when you are talking about line variation and you've restricted the nib width to 0.4mm, you are being awfully optimistic. In this case, you really can't be dealing with a stub, because the rounding of the edges is going to make the thin horizontals nearly as wide as your vertical. It would be better for a nib this narrow to have a pretty crisp italic. Both of these gentlemen can do a wonderful nib - just this evening, doing correspondence post-SF Pen Show, I used pens with both of their work. All things being equal, I might send it to Mike, if only because he has so many years with Japanese nibs.

 

(I was a bit bummed that I didn't really have any pens for him to work on at the show!)

 

John Mottishaw is also a master of very small italic grinds, but I realize that his wait times are probably longer than the other two gentlemen.

 

I also think you have to be very careful about this concept of line variation via pressure. I'm not sure that is what the nib on the 823 is all about, and grinding the tip isn't going to change it. There is going to be a hell of a lot more variation due to paper and ink selections than what you will get with pressure. I think you are going to have to opt for the sharpest horizontal with a grind that small, and then your control is going to come from you mastering the use of the nib.

 

Best of luck!


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#3 dneal

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 11:55

I'm about to make my first foray into the world of customized nibs and I'm having trouble deciding whether to go with a Pendleton Brown butter-line stub or a Mike Masuyama round-nose cursive italic for a Pilot 823. I'm looking for a nib width of approximately 0.4mm on the downstroke for use as a daily writer - I write fairly small with lots of math (small subscripts/superscripts are an issue to me). This is a sample of my normal handwriting when note-taking (stock pilot M nib).

 

Any perspective on which one to pick would be greatly appreciated. In particular, I'm wondering:

 

  • how the two customizations compare in terms of line variation and forgivingness (I normally normally hold the pen at a 45-degree angle to the paper, with a little bit of inconsistent rotation as well)
  • how controllable the thickness of a line put down by MM's RNCI is - this post mentions that the BLS's line width can be controlled by the amount of pressure put into it; is the RNCI capable of something similar? The ability to put down a finer line when necessary would be great for subscripts.

Thanks!

 

For every-day usability and forgiveness, I would start with a PB BLS.  I would also start with a nib in a western M or Japanese B at the smallest.  Dedicate a pen to a grind, even if it's an inexpensive TWSBI; and don't start with your daily user that you're happy with.

 

The post about variation is mine.  That is my experience with that nib in that pen.  Most nibs will offer a slight bit of variation with more pressure, but a lot of people spring nibs by applying too much pressure.  PB didn't add flex to that pen, and it's not a "flexible" nib.  It has some versatility depending on the angle it's held at and how you write.



#4 Bemo

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 12:16

I have multiple nibs from both men. If it was my 823 (fabulous pen btw) I would send it to Mike Masuyama. But I would second the suggestion of buying one of Mr. Brown's TWSBI's and corresponding with him to try the world of stub nibs in an inexpensive way. A TWSBI ECO with his BLS would be a good option for a first stub. He responds very quickly to emails in my experience.



#5 ziptrickhead

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 13:41

Line variation at that small of scale is kind of pointless in my opinion. Like JonSzanto said, with a down stroke that fine, a stub's side stroke will probably be nearly as wide. You'll have to go with a crisp italic in which case it will be less forgiving to pen rotations with it's smaller sweet spot.

 

If you're talking about line variation with pressure, the line width can't be any narrower than the tipping surface grind with no pressure. Line variation will only widen so if you want a 0.4mm with pressure then the nib itself will have to be ground finer. The sensitivity of the line width based on pressure has more to do with the nib properties itself and not the grind.

 

If you really want a nib customized, I would just have the nib ground down to your preferred nib width and then adjusted and polished to an acceptable level and forget the line variation. It is my belief that a work horse pen should have as simple of a nib as possible; I don't want to have to worry about how much pressure I'm writing with, if the sweet spot is so small that I have to worry about the slightest pen rotation, what the line width will be like with what pressure I'm applying and the angle I'm holding the pen. I just want the pen to consistently and smoothly put down a line that still allows my writing to be legible. Then if you want a fun nib with some flair, get another pen ground to write with when you have the time to consider all those aspects. I know Pendleton will sell a variety of pens at a premium but with one of his grinds on them already.

 

Between the two nibmeisters, I've had the chance to write with larger grinds from Pendleton Brown only so I don't know how his finer grinds are. His big grinds are very nice to write with for sure. With Mike, I've written with both his needlepoints up to big italics. I liked his bigger grinds too, although I felt they were just a tiny tiny bit sharper than Pendleton's (I've never had a chance to write with round nose cursive italic though) but they're still very smooth. I'd say Mike is generally well known for putting out superb needlepoints so if you were to go with a very fine nib I'd probably choose him. I prefer to take Mike's fine grinds one step up on polish and edge rounding though, but that's just my personal tastes.


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#6 jjlax10

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 14:07

I disagree with the notion that line variation is pointless at small nib widths.  You can get lovely line variations with any size, but you probably want to have something sharper as Jon Szanto says.  I have nibs from both men, and now that I work on my own, I can explain the difference thus.

 

I believe Pendleton created his own way of doing nibs (as he explained a few years ago to my pen group).  He brings in the sides on a stub, so you get something more cursive.  Mike Matsuyama will give a more traditional CI nib.  Both Richard Binder and John Mottishaw have lots of explanations of the different nib shapes that we could call the traditional grinds.  

 

If you are using pens with a steel nib, such as JOWO, Schmidt or Bock, an unground nib costs $15.  The grind from each will be $30-40.  If you are unsatisfied with one, just get a replacement ground by the other.  Obviously gold or something more proprietary like pelikan or a japanese pen will have more considerations.


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#7 pseudorandom

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 15:37

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

 

I understand that I'm not going to get a huge amount of line variation with a fine stub/CI, but due to my small handwriting size and need for something to write math with, I think that something like this is reasonable (and I imagine that a RNCI would be a bit sharper than those stubs).

 

dneal: How do you control the line width with your BLS? Is it a combination of angle and pressure, or are there other factors, and is this method unique to the BLS or can it be used with more traditional stub/italic grinds as well?

 

jjlax10: I'm curious what you mean by "bringing in the sides on a stub" - from what I've seen, a typical stub or CI looks has a rounded rectangle cross-section, and the RNCI cross-section looks like a trapezoid with a semicircle layered on top of it. Are you saying that the BLS has a rounded trapezoidal cross-section with the wider edge on the bottom?

 

Also, since there's been some mention of even crisper grinds - how practical would a fine formal italic be (with practice) for normal note-taking?



#8 EclecticCollector

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 15:59

My own experience with a very narrow round stub from Masuyama (it's about 0.3mm) is that you can still get enough line variation to spice up your every day writing. I have not tried a BLS to compare.

#9 dneal

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 22:54

dneal: How do you control the line width with your BLS? Is it a combination of angle and pressure, or are there other factors, and is this method unique to the BLS or can it be used with more traditional stub/italic grinds as well?

 

Also, since there's been some mention of even crisper grinds - how practical would a fine formal italic be (with practice) for normal note-taking?

 

For the really small writing, I just used a light touch.  For the broader writing, I applied a little pressure on the down stroke.  The nib is originally a medium, and works fine for every day writing / note taking (and I also tend to write small).  If you search threads I've started, you'll find stub comparisons and a before/after BLS thread with an Omas Ogiva and a Montblanc 145.

 

All stubs and italics are similar, and the only important part of the grind is the angle created where the nib contacts the paper.  The sharper the angle, the more crisp the horizontal stroke.  Round it out and you get more "stub".  Pendleton's grinds made me realize that you can get a very 'crisp' / thin horizontal line and still have a smooth, forgiving nib.  It contradicts the conventional wisdom of "the crisper the italic, the scratchier and less forgiving the nib".

 

There is a place for crisp (i.e.: sharp cornered and less forgiving) italics - and that's for folks who want to write formal italic script.



#10 JonSzanto

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 23:01

Not only does he have experience writing with the implements, but dneal has ground a couple of nibs for me, and they are really, really nice. He knows what he is talking about.


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#11 pseudorandom

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 06:18

I ended up getting one of Pendleton's "medium rare" BLS grinds, with a bit of extra crispness, ground from a Pilot M nib and have been using it for the last week. The line variation seems to be comparable to some of the CI grinds I have seen on this forum, but I've found it forgiving enough to use for general note-taking (although the feedback when rotated has probably forced me to be a bit more consistent in my pen angle).

 

As for pressure adjusting line width, it has been minimal so far - the width increases at most 50% under deliberate pressure, but (due to my predilection for using extremely light pressure while writing) has not proven useful in normal writing except deliberate emphasis of a few words.

 

Overall, I'm quite satisfied with pb2's grind (and wonderful service) and would definitely recommend his regrinds for anyone looking for a fine stub/italic.

 

Thank you all for the advice!



#12 dneal

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 18:17

Glad you're happy with the job PB did for you. Now post a review!



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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: nibmeister, nib, nibs, italic, cursive italic, stub, pendleton brown, mike masuyama, bls, rnci



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