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The Modern Flexy Pen

flex edison indy-pen-dance wahl-eversharp

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18 replies to this topic

#1 tonybelding

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 04:51

I've got a couple of nice little vintage pens with flexible nibs, but I've long thought about a big, robust, modern pen with a flex nib.  I mean a good one, not some cheesy something with steel or titanium sorta-flex.  I know there are a few options.  I have pondered. . .

  • custom Edison with modified 14K flex nib
  • Gate City Belmont with modified 14K flex nib
  • new Wahl-Eversharp DECOBAND

My expectation is that the Belmont would be the least costly and not exactly elegant, but perhaps the most dependable, not having a sac or converter.  The Wahl-Eversharp, obviously pricey and a thing of beauty to behold, but with a rubber sac that might somewhat limit my ink choices.  The Edison, somewhere in between -- and it might be possible to get the nib from Edison for my Glenmont bulb-filler.

 

But how do the nibs compare?  Which is going to be the most pleasing to write with?  That's the real goal here, after all.

 



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#2 Downcelot

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 05:41

I do not have the chance to own a modern flex nor get to use one intensive and long time. Perhaps, I should not comment here. However, I'm not very fond of modern flex in term of flexing performance. The recoil action of modern nib is not fast enough. I meant recoil action as the time the nib needs to return back to writing normally after flexing. I have my Danitrio extra soft XXF vs my 400NN, they are both semi-flex to somewhat flexible but the 400NN will have the Bock nib runs for the money. Another example would be the Pilot FA, I'm not yet criticizing the feed that can not keep up with prolong flexing at the moment. I want to put into attention of the fact that the FA nib can not recoil fast enough. Plus, I've seen posts of prolong flexing modern nibs that lead to crack; I do not think modern nib construction can endure the physical stress like vintage nib can. I think it's a better bet that you get one of those flex vintage nib and feed from a broken/damaged pen and do a custom Franken pen out of them. You will get the bests of both worlds and the choice of the material or filling system. YMMV.



#3 KBeezie

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 06:01

Not sure I would call either 14K nib with 'modified flex' as the same thing as flex, would be springy, barely semi-flex at best.

The Decoband is going to beat out both of those as it was designed with flex to begin with (and is closer to a vintage semi-flex).

Edited by KBeezie, 26 February 2016 - 06:02.


#4 zaddick

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 06:36

I think the first two pens you mentioned Tony are #6 sized. (Sorry, not overly familiar with them.) The Decoband is a #8 nib. You are going to have a different experience based on the length and width of a #8 vs #6.

 

I have the modern Deco and posted a review here on FPN. For a large nib, I find it to have flex similar to something like a 1950s or 1960s MB 149. You can get good line variation, but it will write as an M with little pressure.

 

You might want to investigate a custom pen and nib with Shawn Newton. You can probably get a nib from him with a fair amount of flex. and you can certainly get a wide array or pen shapes, sizes, and filling systems. 


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#5 Tootles

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 06:59

EoC is wondering what kind of writing one is doing if one is indulging in "prolonged flex".  Please explain. Thank you.



#6 Pterodactylus

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 10:08

25245199216_7afa4f594f_o.jpg

 

(Serwex MB flex EMF ..... ESS Registrars Blue/Black)


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#7 tonybelding

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 12:20

I think the first two pens you mentioned Tony are #6 sized. (Sorry, not overly familiar with them.) The Decoband is a #8 nib. You are going to have a different experience based on the length and width of a #8 vs #6.

 

I'm not sure what to think of that.  All my good vintage flex nibs are little #2s.  The best flex I've gotten out of contemporary (recent production) pens were from a Pilot Vanishing Point and a Lamy 2000.  One might almost conclude that smaller is better.



#8 tonybelding

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 12:43

25245199216_7afa4f594f_o.jpg

 

(Serwex MB flex EMF ..... ESS Registrars Blue/Black)

 

I am aware that a steel nib can flex.  I just don't see it being done very often with a good quality pen to match.  I got a Baoer 388 with a steel nib that has surprising flex, but. . .  well, it's a $15 Chinese pen (currently on sale for $4 from a certain website!) and its function is erratic.

 

The Marlen Aleph does look interesting, but I don't know much about those either.  Anybody here used one?



#9 Namo

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 16:28

Marlen Aleph. have one, even did a review (have a look at the review Index). It's a wonderful pen in many ways. Comfortable, well conceived and designed, outstanding quality. Afar as flex is concerned, though, if you are looking for a "vintage experience", that's not what it is about. The nib does flex nicely, but wouldn't qualify for "flex" as far as I am concerned since it does required quite a bit of pressure. This being said, the nib is awesome and allows for a joyfull writing experience.

Two possible concerns:

1) The piston filler barely has a 1ml capacity;

2) The bi-canal feed does not always keep the pace and offers various experience dependiong of the ink you are using. But that may have been a problem with the first production run of the pen: mine is the limited edition created for the FPN of Italy, preceding the more "commercial" version of the pen.

 

Hope it helps.

 

Edit to add: this sounds overcritical.The pen is a joy! get one!!! Now!


Edited by Namo, 26 February 2016 - 16:29.

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#10 Songyi

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 17:06

If you have the time, why not let Shawn Newton or another custom pen manufacturer turn you a modern pen that can accept vintage nibs? 

 

The general consensus here seems to be that modern flex nibs (even when modified professionally) are great for what they are, but they are not a direct replacement for vintage flex nibs. If you absolutely need the vintage nib experience in a larger (and perhaps more durable) body, you should seriously consider my option above. If you just want a modern pen that is softer than most of the current offerings, I've heard great things about all three of your options.

 

Of course, all of this is based on pure speculation on my part, as I have never owned a modern flex pen nor do I see a reason to. Take advice from the more experienced members here, try a few of the pens at a pen show, read some reviews, and in the end go with what you are most happy with. Good luck!


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#11 Downcelot

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 20:35

Oh i meant "prolong" as in long term usage of the nib with flexing... Also, this is the type of cracking I meant:

post-113900-0-32974700-1409553385.jpg



#12 Tootles

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 21:33

In using the #10FA EoC can honestly say he has never flexed the nib so much that it would be likely cause creasing horizontally from the 'breather' hole.  Just how hard are you pushing on the poor thing?



#13 Pterodactylus

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 21:35

Autsch..... This really looks bad.
It seems that somebody tortured this nib far beyond the point of no return.

Saw something similar (but by far not that bad) on a Pilot Falcon nib.
https://www.instagra...m/p/2VZJ2OKJNV/

But this is not normal, something like this only happens if the user flexes it far beyond the border.
Something like this, bending/spring/cracking the nib can happen to modern and vintage nibs.
The knowledge where the point of no return for a specific nib is requires experience and a good "feeling", sensitivity of the user.
And every nib is different, and has its own point of no return.

Many users do not have neither the sensitivity nor the experience to handle a flex nib (it does not matter if modern or vintage)
They torture the nibs and press it towards the paper with brutal force until it begs for mercy.

I never used a Pilot Falcon, but based on what I read it's not a full flex nib, more of a semi-flex.
Nevertheless some people trying to squeeze variations out of it like in would be a full flex nib.
Even worse afterwards when they destroyed it, they blame the nib instead of admitting that it was the users fault.

This is also a main reason why no nib manufacturer produce (full) flex nibs anymore.
Most users can't handle them (anymore), would destroy them sooner or later and claim a warranty issue.
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#14 Tootles

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 22:11

Totally agree!

 

As a naked eye and ruler guestimate EoC gets a line that varies from about 0.2 mm to 1 mm, and feels this is pushing it a bit, so in general writing the variation is kept to 0.2 mm to about 0.7 mm.  The nib is for subtle variation.

 

Perhaps this nib should come with a warning that if it is used for ornamental script then nib failure will be entirely at the user's fault.



#15 KBeezie

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 22:47

I don't think those FA were ever meant for great degree of line variation, maybe no more than 2x the starting width (or no more than Japanese EF to Medium), basically no more then pressure than required to crush potato chips. Anyone that uses a bit more pressure than that should probably stick to Noodler's/FPR where they seem to handle extreme degree of pressure better, but are also firm to normal touch.

What helps though is the finer the starting point, the more dramatic even small amounts of line variation looks.

I am a far cry from a calligrapher, I suck at ornamental script/etc and such, but even I would suggest someone new to look at dip pens to practice with first, starting with something a little firmer like a Zebra-G, and work at trying not to flex it so that they train their hand to become lighter and capable of consistently writing without flexing before moving into flexing the nib with light pressure. Then can move to something a bit more delicate (ie: Leonstadt principal, or Gillott 303 maybe), before moving onto something that would resemble vintage semi-flex/flex.

The problem is, once you get that light hand, the popular choices for "flex" seem no more than bouncey to you (ie: Pilot Falcon, or a Pilot/Platinum 'soft' nib). But as they say, ignorance is bliss, wisdom comes sorrow.

#16 akustyk

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 23:03

 

But how do the nibs compare?  Which is going to be the most pleasing to write with?  That's the real goal here, after all.

 

 

I understand your desire to have a nice modern flex pen, but your question is nearly impossible to answer. I doubt you're going to find an FPN member that has compared all three, and even if you do, that person is likely to have a very different handwriting to yours. I am sorry I am not being very helpful.


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#17 tonybelding

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 23:50

 

I understand your desire to have a nice modern flex pen, but your question is nearly impossible to answer. I doubt you're going to find an FPN member that has compared all three, and even if you do, that person is likely to have a very different handwriting to yours. I am sorry I am not being very helpful.

 

 

No, you're right, and I was starting to come to the same conclusion.  It seems like flex nibs are a subject where everybody has different experience and speaks a different language.  At some point I'll just have to try one for myself.



#18 tonybelding

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Posted 26 February 2016 - 23:54

Oh i meant "prolong" as in long term usage of the nib with flexing... Also, this is the type of cracking I meant:

post-113900-0-32974700-1409553385.jpg

 

I have a vintage Wahl-Eversharp Decoband with a little crack like that.  (I didn't do it!)  I had the nib professionally repaired, but I don't think it'll ever be like new again.  Sad.



#19 KBeezie

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 03:19

I have a vintage Wahl-Eversharp Decoband with a little crack like that.  (I didn't do it!)  I had the nib professionally repaired, but I don't think it'll ever be like new again.  Sad.


It's one of the reasons I always ask for close shots of the nib when someone offers me a vintage flex ( especially right after they tell me they're a little heavy handed :D )





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: flex, edison, indy-pen-dance, wahl-eversharp



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