This is an addendum to a more elaborate review of the TWSBI VAC700 fountain pen with a stock nib. You can find the VAC700 along with the VAC20 Inkwell reviewed here
Perhaps like many fountain pen lovers, I was quite overenthusiastic to try the Titanium nib before buying it along with an expensive body. Given the mixed reviews of T-flex & Titanio of dryness, hard starts among others, I was a little averse to make a bigger investment.
With some research you can find that Bock is the sole known manufacturer of Titanium nibs. They supply their titan nibs to all OEMs including Stipula, Delta and now of course Conid. For some of the usual sellers (beauforink, namisu etc) the price shoots up after shipping charges, which should not be that much IMO, given it’s just a nib unit.
Then I found Will Hodges’
rather excellent webshop (http://www.tactileturn.com/
). He is the one magical turner who makes the beautiful Gist fountain pens
from almost all materials - Polycarbonate, Brass, Copper, Bronze, Steel, Zirconium & Titanium and Will also stocks spare nib units in his webshop. At the time of my order, Will had kept even international shipping free and offered those Bock#6 Ti nib units@$59. I asked him if he tests those nibs before dispatch and he confirmed that everything is tested before dispatch. Happiness! Order placed immediately. Believe me, it does not get much better than this! The nib unit comes with the stock housing for CC fillers.
VAC700 earlier used to have these narrower Bock#6 steel nibs, before TWSBI switched to JoWo for their nibs. And my guess was that, the nib and feed should fit the VAC700 section perfectly. Since TWSBI was earlier shipping JoWo nib replacements along with VAC700s inserted with stock Bock#6 nibs, I thought it should not pose much of a problem. Will sent the nib unit bubble wrapped & tested inside a cuboid plastic sleeve. It arrived to my address in 10 days time via USPS!
1) You need to pull out the nib/feed unit from the black housing, to replace the corresponding JoWo parts with the new one. The feeds don't match as the Bock#6 is narrow compared the Jowo#6, so make sure none of these feeds is damaged. The JoWo nib is a beautiful writer, by the way.
2) The nib/feed has to be inserted in the right slot, so don't pressurise those in. If they are not getting in easily, look for the more spacious semicircle to face the nib. Else it will damage the unit. As in the Bock collar and the VAC700 front section, you can see that there are two subtly different semicircles on the cross section, where you insert the nib/feed. The higher radius arc faces the nib and the lower radius one faces the feed. This is the most IMPORTANT walkthrough, thanks to Brian Goulet!
The nib shines with rather with a dull graphite lustre, characteristic of the metal itself. It carries an imprint of BOCK beneath their logo of a leaping antelope in a mountain background. There is titan mentioned in lower case beneath the imprint. The tines-shoulders carry some scroll work, but there is no mention the nib width anywhere (perhaps to economise both time & efforts). The Bock company is managed by Otto and Wolfgang Bock and they also produce gold and steel nibs units with these threaded housing.
The black plastic feed with a adequate feed channel for ink suction provides the inflow of ink. The thin fins ensure good buffer capacity.
This nib is juicy with a remarkably different sort of graphite
smoothness (say 2B pencil) with the present sailor ink. It kind of reminds me of those old graphite wooden pencils, which we used during primary school days. Not butter smooth like say a Faber Castell gold nib, but the nib does run with graphite feedback, if you remember the feedback you felt while using those HB, 2B lead pencils
. The nib opens up its tines, flexing with even a moderate pressure and the ink flow does increase dramatically. The variation is evident with moderate pressure levels and the feel is amazing. The key point being, its elastic range is less than a 14k/18k gold nib. So once the nib starts giving a stronger reflex/reverse-pressure while flexing, you know that it’s because of pushing the tines beyond their elastic limit, a point of permanent bend. Then you have to bend it the other way and it could be a pain to align titanium tines. This is where I personally exercise a bit of caution. Finally it’s not an inexpensive nib to damage.
Being a juicy wet writer out of the box, the Fine nib puts up a real shimmering line, which takes around 45 seconds to dry a Sailor Yama Dori ink on MD Paper. The earlier JoWo medium nib lines were thicker and took 25 seconds to dry the same ink on the same paper. The longer verticals are with moderate pressure.
Writing sample JoWo stock nib in Medium
Thank you for going through the review. Hope this short post is helpful for people who wish to try out Titanium nibs without spending too much.
You can find some more pen and paraphernalia reviews here
Edited by sannidh, 17 June 2016 - 11:00.