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Flex Help.

flex help flexnib pilot desiderata

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#1 Meltemi

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 19:15

So... This is an other flex suggestion thread. Christmas shopping edition. I really need help choosing a fountain pen with a flexible nib (Yes, vintage pens are great but considering that near me there is no one to repair the pen if a problem occurs and the fact that parts are not very easily found, I do not want to go Vintage. Besides, taking a fountain pen out of the box with its warranty is ecstasy.) I have successfully "narrowed" my choices down to these. Of course, I am looking for suggestions on the topic. My budget would be about 200$.

  • Pilot 912 FA nib
  • Desiderata Flex Pen with a Zebra G nib and a Nemosine nib (extra, about 10 dollars)

But, here is what I have been thinking. The Desiderata pen offers dramatic line variation and the feed is made around the nib, ensuring that the feed will keep up with the nib even when flexed which is the purpose of the nib. Contrasting to that, the Pilot 912 nib from what I gathered is the same on all Pilot 912 nib choices. For example, the 912 with a Posting nib has the same feed as a Pilot 912 with a FA nib. Consequently, the FA nib requires more ample flow. I have seen that this can be achieved by removing the breather tube that is inside the feed. However, I have heard that this modification can make the pen write excessively wet, not write at all if at the process of taking out the breather tube something goes wrong (No replacements parts found so far in order to feel free to experiment on that) or allow the ink to flow out of the pen. I would love to be corrected, but I would also like to learn some facts about the feed.

  • How can the breather tube be safely removed?
  • How can the breather tube be safely inserted again?
  • How does the pen write after the tube is removed?

I have heard that cutting a part off of the breather tube is a possibility, but considering that this procedure is irreversible and that such small part can ruin one of the most flexible modern nibs as characterized by some, I would not be eager to attempt such modification. Same applied to deepening the channel of the feed (the feed is plastic and I have not found any seller that offers replacements).

 

Considering the above, I believe I have found the pros and cons of each pen.

 

Pilot 912:

  • Extremely flexible fountain pen, tipped modern nib that does not need to be replaced. Comes new, straight out of the box.
  • Can be used as a daily writer as the nib is characterized "smooth on paper".
  • The feed can be modified for additional ink flow
  • Very weak ink flow when flexing, even a little bit, not helping the nib achieve its full potential
  • No spare parts
  • Does not come tested
  • (!)Modifications can end up in tears.(!)

Desiderata Flex Pen

  • Probably the most flexible pen out-of-the-box.
  • Feed is designed around the nib and its capabilities
  • Additional Nemosine nib choices
  • Can be fitted with a home made plastic nib to satisfy my greed for flex
  • Can come tested (?)
  • Can be fitted with a Brause Rose or other nibs (?)
  • The nib requires care in order to prevent corrosion
  • The nib needs to be replaced after a particular amount of use
  • (!) Not a daily writer as I would need to swap nibs whenever I want to write or flex as the Zebra G nib lacks tipping (!).

I am aware that both pens serve a different purpose, but they are the only modern flex choices. Or are they not? I am open to suggestions :D.


Edited by Meltemi, 23 December 2015 - 19:22.

I like flowers, mother of pearl, dip nibs, blue, green or red inks. I also like flowers, Frida Kahlo's paintings and Josephine Baker's songs. Did I mention flowers and mother of pearl?


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#2 Tootles

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 20:17

Okay, EoC has recently acquired the Pilot CH912 FA and can confidently tell you that ink flow is not an issue if you use the pen as it is designed to be used - as a pen for everyday writing with a bit of flair.  It is not designed to write copperplate or heavily shaded scripts, but then again who here uses those scripts as their regular hand? So far EoC has had no problems with either ink choices nor ink flow in the 912, but reminds the reader that this is an ongoing 'experiment' and may be subject to change - like much else in life.

 

EoC also has a Desiderata inbound, so will be able to provide a review in the near future. For now he can say that the zebra G nib is a VERY forgiving nib for anyone new to dip pens.  It's firm enough not to require too much control, and thus can be used as a daily writer - EoC has even used one in a Jinhao X450 as a workplace notetaker.  It is also flexible enough and tough enough to endure some reasonably ham-fisted attempts at ornamental writing.  Definitely recommend getting one or two plus a cheap ($4) holder to try it out.

 

With a bit of practice you can use the zebra G just like any other tipped nib. EoC does, and if he can, so can anyone.

 

Ultimately much of one's experience with these two pens is going to rest on how much other experience one has with flexible nibs in general.

 

 

 

Here is a note of caution.  There are reviews on the Pilot CH912 FA which make claims about ink flow and railroading and so on.  Please consider that these tend to be seen as creditable because the reviewers are well-known, but mostly these reviewers have reviewed a SINGLE example of the pen. This is not sufficient to draw any significant conclusions.   EoC is not a well-known reviewer, nor even particularly well-respected here, but still offers his own observations on this pen as one more data point.



#3 sirgilbert357

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 20:27

If you get the Pilot 912, then you need to "buy the seller". Basically, make sure you get it from a respectable seller that will work with you or exchange it if there are issues. Pilot generally has good quality control, but you should always buy the seller in my opinion...every manufacturer has duds once in awhile.



#4 Pira

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 20:41

I can't speak for the Pilot...but the Desiderata is not a complicated pen to take apart and replace/clean the nib. If I can do it....a blind monkey with his hands tied behind it's back can.

 

YES the nib will eventually corrode...heck wear down, but they are readily available at Jetpens, box of 10 for $33.50...or the regular chrome ones for $13.50 a box of 10. (don't buy from pen maker)...or you can find them on Amazon directly from Japanese sellers.

 

ALL Nibs require come care. Accept that eventually you will replace these and enjoy the flex.

 

Not sure about your last point. Most people would use different pens daily writing  vs extreme flex.

 

As for it being a Christmas present ~ which Christmas? His supply of pens sells out in less than 24 hours of announcing he has more in stock...so get on his email list and join every social media thing he has going to make sure you at least get the message that they are available. And when they are...pounce. Immediately.....


Edited by Pira, 23 December 2015 - 20:48.


#5 Meltemi

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Posted 23 December 2015 - 20:42

For EoC: I use almost on a daily basis the Zebra G nib. I put one in a jinhao x450 but my greed for flex destroyed it. I have not attempted to use it for everyday writing though. I will try writing some paragraphs with it.

 

For Sirgilbert357: As for the seller, I am thinking of buying through Engeika or maybe E-bay or Amazon. The seller problem can be solved. 


I like flowers, mother of pearl, dip nibs, blue, green or red inks. I also like flowers, Frida Kahlo's paintings and Josephine Baker's songs. Did I mention flowers and mother of pearl?


#6 Kataphract

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 01:17

The FA nib has serious feed issues when you heavily flex the pen Whether or not they can be corrected via mods, I couldn't say, but I can't say that I have seen any beyond sending it to a nib-Meister. The problem is that the ease and degree of flex that the nib is capable of is not sufficiently matched by the feed. Don't heavily flex the pen, and it can keep up, but at that point, a regular Falcon might serve.

The Desiderata works best with the Zebra G - you might be able to fit in other G nibs, or Brause, or whatever, but if you want to flex it, stick with the Zebra G. The ink evaporates from my Desiderata faster than anything else I have. It flexes about the same as my modified Ahab, but is more reliable, if still a long way from perfect. It is marginally more transportable than a dip pen, but it's something I don't put in my pocket - never had an accident with it, but that might simply be because I only trust it so far.

#7 inkstainedruth

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 05:29

I haven't tried the Pilot.  I have one of the prototype Desiderata pens, and I had a lot of problems with the Zebra G nib I had -- it tore up even good paper like Rhodia.  Additionally, if you're used to FP nibs, note that the Zebra G nibs don't have tipping on them, which might makes for a bit of a learning curve.  (I have since tried one of Pierre's tester pens at his table at DCSS last August, and it turned out that I just had a bum nib on mine.) 

The prototype pen, BTW, seemed to do better with drier inks -- I had the best results by using an iron gall ink.

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#8 Tootles

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 10:13

 

The FA nib has serious feed issues when you heavily flex the pen Whether or not they can be corrected via mods, I couldn't say, but I can't say that I have seen any beyond sending it to a nib-Meister. The problem is that the ease and degree of flex that the nib is capable of is not sufficiently matched by the feed. Don't heavily flex the pen, and it can keep up, but at that point, a regular Falcon might serve.

 

And yet EoC's has experienced none of those feed issues when flexing the nib. 

 

And it's straight out of the box.

 

So, what to believe?



#9 Meltemi

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 10:39

I believe that EoC used the nib differently along with different ink. Kataphract seems to have tried to use the nib for flex-writing. Also, the ink matters on this case. It seems that in combination with Iroshizuku ink, the pilot 912 railroads much less although still railroading frequently. I suppose Kataphract used a different ink brand.


I like flowers, mother of pearl, dip nibs, blue, green or red inks. I also like flowers, Frida Kahlo's paintings and Josephine Baker's songs. Did I mention flowers and mother of pearl?


#10 Tootles

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 11:05

Don't know.   EoC has tried both Iroshizuku and Diamine and noticed no significant difference in flow quality as yet.

 

And perhaps you are right about the different usages. EoC has no idea of exactly what Kataphract was trying to achieve with his FA nib.  All that this one can say for certain is the pen has behaved impeccably so far for everyday note-taking, journalling and so on, and adds a certain amount of flair to the the writing in much the same way as a vintage semiflex nib does. 

 

When EoC wants to try Ornamental Penmanship then it's dip nibs all the way, and there is no contest.

 

As far as the comparative comment between the regular Falcon and the 912 FA -well, the 912 is only $25 more than the resin Falcon - and has the Con70 converter which is super duper - and it's $40 cheaper than the metal Falcon (which also can fit the Con70).  EoC thinks the 912 is a nicer pen overall though. Subjective of course! :)



#11 Tootles

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 11:06

Drat! Double Post.



#12 Kataphract

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 19:01

I believe that EoC used the nib differently along with different ink. Kataphract seems to have tried to use the nib for flex-writing. Also, the ink matters on this case. It seems that in combination with Iroshizuku ink, the pilot 912 railroads much less although still railroading frequently. I suppose Kataphract used a different ink brand.


I only tried a friend's - he had Noodler's black in it (for drawing). However, he said he had the same problem with a variety of inks, just even more with some.

Who's experience do you trust? Well, quite frankly, neither by themselves - it could simply come down to technique, the ink, the paper, the individual pen. But when you read review after review after review stating the same problem, I would suspect that it really is a widespread problem. Widespread isn't universal, of course, but just because I got a Noodler's Ahab that wrote great out of the box without even a flush doesn't mean that my experience was the norm. But if the OP feels he has a handle on getting it to work successfully through modifications, if needed, then it becomes less of an issue.

#13 Kataphract

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 19:09

And yet EoC's has experienced none of those feed issues when flexing the nib. 
 
And it's straight out of the box.
 
So, what to believe?


"Okay, EoC has recently acquired the Pilot CH912 FA and can confidently tell you that ink flow is not an issue if you use the pen as it is designed to be used - as a pen for everyday writing with a bit of flair. It is not designed to write copperplate or heavily shaded scripts, but then again who here uses those scripts as their regular hand?"

Actually, sounds like you could have - you seem to be using this in a limited fashion, and I specifically noted that used in a more restrained fashion it works fine. Pushed to what the nib is capable of, the feed doesn't seem to be equal to the task. But limiting your flex to what the feed can handle may mean that the Desiderata might be the better choice if he wants that level of flex.

#14 Tootles

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Posted 24 December 2015 - 19:56

Understood.

 

Perhaps this is the important bit? Selecting the appropriate tool for a particular job?  EoC understands that the Pilot FA nib is simply not designed for western ornamental scripts, and therefore it is not surprising that it does not function well when trying to use it that way.  This is not a problem with the pen, rather it is a problem with the user.

 

 

Perhaps it would be a good idea for anyone reviewing an exotic nib like this to ask themselves some questions first, such as:

 

1. What is the nib designed to do?

2. What am I personally expecting from this nib?

3. Does point 2 correspond with point 1?

 

 

So, EoC rejects the notion that he is using it in a limited fashion. EoC does push the nib.  What the reviewers seem to be doing are pushing the nib beyond it's functional parameters, and then complaining when it doesn't work well. 

 

Bottom line: the FA is not marketed as a flex pen in the Western sense. Don't expect it to behave like one. Disappointment lies that way.  The pen is superb at what it does though.

 

EoC is of the opinion - amateur though it is  - that the reviews that say the FA nib railroads are in error.  These reviews should state that the nib will railroad when used incorrectly.

 

It is hoped that more people will have a go with the FA nib, and do so with some of the comments in this thread firmly in mind. It's a great experience.



#15 Meltemi

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 07:30

I believe that EoC went "by the book" and he adjusted his experience to the pen instead of the opposite happening. However, the FA nib is probably the most capable tipped nib for ornamental penmanship. Considering that in the market the next option is the Wahl Eversharp Decoband (modern) which costs 850$ (ridiculous price considering they do not offer a demonstrator version of the pen) but still railroads, I would rather take off the breather tube out of the 912. However, nothing beats the flex of the G nib.


I like flowers, mother of pearl, dip nibs, blue, green or red inks. I also like flowers, Frida Kahlo's paintings and Josephine Baker's songs. Did I mention flowers and mother of pearl?


#16 Kataphract

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 09:52

If the clearly stated intended usage of the pen is to flex the pen beyond what the feed (not to be confused with the nib, which EoC does) is capable of, to the point modifications need to be made to the feed system, then I think I have identified his intended usage correctly and stated where the pen runs into problems. EoC indicates his experience is different, but then goes on to say that if the pen is used in a different fashion than is intended by the manufacturers, then this will happen - which is basically to say that I am right. So, I'm not sure why he insists there is a conflict when he basically is agreeing with me, even if it is in a roundabout fashion. If anyone wants to couch it in terms of the manufacturer's intended use rather than the user's intended use, fine and dandy, but the answer is still the same - without mods, this doesn't sound like the pen will do what you want. If the mods work, that's great! Let us know!

Edited by Kataphract, 25 December 2015 - 09:54.


#17 Meltemi

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 10:00

I am so tempted to buy the 912 now... But again, I am familiar with the Zebra G nib and the Desiderata pen has no feed problems... But the feed problems with the 912 can be fixed, right?


I like flowers, mother of pearl, dip nibs, blue, green or red inks. I also like flowers, Frida Kahlo's paintings and Josephine Baker's songs. Did I mention flowers and mother of pearl?


#18 Tootles

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 10:27

@kataphract, yes, perhaps talking about the same thing in circles.

 

 

This one bought a 912 FA on the basis that the nib promised to do what EoC wanted it to do.  And it does!  For the win, as the whippersnappers say... they do still say this, yes? :unsure:

 

ps. meltemi, haven't had any feed problems yet.

 

And apologies for using nib and feed interchangeably. It was simply sloppy writing, and not lack of understanding as suggested. :P



#19 Meltemi

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 10:33

@EoC There is no need to apologize. From what I have seen, fast flex strokes will result in railroading or hard starts. I don't think the 912 is fit for ornamental calligraphy not due to the nib and its capabilities but the feed. Pilot does not address this issue which is a pity.

 

If someone has successfully removed the breather tube and can provide instructions on how to do so, feel free to tell us.


I like flowers, mother of pearl, dip nibs, blue, green or red inks. I also like flowers, Frida Kahlo's paintings and Josephine Baker's songs. Did I mention flowers and mother of pearl?


#20 Tootles

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 11:17

They say that these feed issues don't happen with the 823, if you can get one with the FA nib.  Apparently the 823 and 743 share the same section and nib, so interchangeable if you are lucky enough to have both.







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