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Steel Vs 14K Gold Vs 18K Gold - Does It Matter?

gold nibs steel nibs nibs fountain pen nib gold nib steel nib fountain pens

67 replies to this topic

#1 SolberM

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 21:51

I've been recently looking at jumping from relatively cheaper (but still good) pens (like the Lamy Safari and Pilot Metropolitan) all the way to a gold nib pen, specifically the Pilot e95S. But should I get a gold nib pen? Is it a big difference and/or experience from a steel nib? Also, is there a difference between a 14k gold or an 18k gold nib?


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#2 zaddick

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 22:03

Look through the literally dozens of threads on this exact topic. That's a good place to start.

#3 NinthSphere

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 22:07

More in nib geometry & how it's made than in what they're made from. There are steel nibs on the soft or springy side & gold nails, so it's not something to generalize.



#4 zaddick

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 22:24

Plus you can have a nib ground to write how you desire, except adoing a lot of flex. I have and use all types of nibs.

#5 pajaro

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 02:00

Gold nib pens are usually more expensive. That's the gist of it.

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#6 jar

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 02:14

Quality matters.  The reputation of the maker means far more to me than the material itself.


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#7 Joe in Seattle

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 04:29

Ironically I've almost always found steel more true to nib size & writing just as smoothly.
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#8 FOUR X FOUR

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 05:21

I'll always go with the gold nib. I know that a steel nib can write just as good, but I'm still gonna go with gold over steel

#9 max dog

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 05:48

Yes and no. A steel nib can be made to be as good as a gold nib, but often pen makers make nibs out of gold on their higher end pens that are made to a higher quality and attention to detail because it will cost more. So they reserve steel nibs to their lower end pens and gold nibs to their higher end pens. So its not uncommon to find gold nib pens write better just because the gold nibs are made to a higher standard.

Edited by max dog, 25 September 2016 - 05:56.


#10 praxim

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 07:14

I wrote happily for years with my then one pen which I presumed to have a gold nib, but turned out to be niftily coloured steel, as I discovered when it corroded. The point there is that steel worked for me. However, every other pen of mine is 14k or 18k gold. This has been discussed in at least one other thread ;)


Edited by praxim, 25 September 2016 - 07:14.

Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others.

#11 Alteyz

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 07:41

What matters is the design/shape of the nib which effects how it writes, in general the material only really effects the softness (a steel nib can be made to be just as soft as a gold nib) the reason why users tend to say "gold nibs write better than steel nibs" is mainly due to how pens are made.

 

Very few companies will spend a great deal of time/cash making a great steel nib only for it to be sold as a "lower end" product and buyers are much more likely to purchase an expensive gold nibbed pen than an expensive steel nibbed pen. Gold is seen as a luxury item and steel is seen as your everyday product it wouldn't make sense to put as much attention to detail for something that will need to rely on some special marketing to get people to buy it.


Edited by Alteyz, 25 September 2016 - 07:55.


#12 Bluey

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 14:15

Very few companies will spend a great deal of time/cash making a great steel nib only for it to be sold as a "lower end" product and buyers are much more likely to purchase an expensive gold nibbed pen than an expensive steel nibbed pen. Gold is seen as a luxury item and steel is seen as your everyday product it wouldn't make sense to put as much attention to detail for something that will need to rely on some special marketing to get people to buy it.

I don't think there is going to be any difference between mass produced gold nibs and mass produced steel nibs in terms of time spent on them.
That's because mass produced = mass produced.

 

To answer the OPs question, the answer is no.


Edited by Bluey, 25 September 2016 - 14:18.

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#13 Bobje

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 14:57

This 1982 letter from a Sheaffer development manager does a pretty definitive job of answering the question. I doubt if the draft was approved by the marketing department.

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#14 Frank66

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 08:51

This 1982 letter from a Sheaffer development manager does a pretty definitive job of answering the question. I doubt if the draft was approved by the marketing department.

http://www.fountainp...ttach_id=316469

Thanks Bob for the very informative reference.

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#15 Vlad Soare

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 09:29

Gold will not corrode if you use unorthodox inks. Steel might.



#16 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 26 September 2016 - 16:34

A nails a nail, be it gold or steel.

 

A gold nib is an alloy, That matters in 18 K nibs in there are vintage 18K nibs that are flexible; a different alloy and geometry and modern are not flexible but some are soft.

 

The modern Pelikan 1000 is either 'springy' as some call it....the only time I tried one it was semi-flex. I have some 26 semi-flex nib, so at least that nib was IMO semi-flex. The problem with that nib is that it lacks the spring back of a good 14 K semi-flex.....meaning it can be bent and stay bent easier than a 14 K semi-flex. That 1000's nib is one of the better modern nibs. You need a light Hand for it. It is not a nib for the normal Ham Fisted coming over from nails.

 

There are other 18K or even 22 K nibs (Sailor for example)....that are 'soft' .... mushy is the term often used to describe the action of the nib. With a good semi-flex 14 K or steel, you have flex plus fast/good return. It is springy ++ and not the least mushy.

In semi-flex or 'true' regular flex, a good steel nib is as good as a good gold nib.

In nail or semi-nail....why worry? Why waste money on gold?

 

 

Buy a cheaper older used pen. Save a fortune, get a top of the line pen for peanuts.

 

Springy 'True' regular flex is the semi-vintage and vintage nibs that were in many companies the normal nib issued....(Parker was often more nail than not....I do have a gold regular flex P-45. Sheaffer in the early '50's had a 'rare' semi-flex, regular flex and nail. (Their English pen nibs in the '50's were semi-flex or maxi-semi-flex in they competed vs Swan.) True regular flex has a nice ride, with a tad of spring, and can withstand Ham Fisted nail users...if they 'try'. Most will, but never ever lend anything but a Nail to a ball point barbarian....or he will bend it trying to gouge the Grand Canyon into the desk. And you will be looking at a pretzel.

 

Some folks coming over from Nail-semi-nail, think true regular flex are semi-flex....they are not. But the 'ease' of tine spread from the Ham Fisted vs the nail-semi-nail makes it seem so. WOW....tine spread!!!!! :yikes:

 

It does take little bit of strength to mash a 'true' regular flex to it's limit of 3X a light down stroke.

Semi-flex half of that....and half of that for maxi-semi-flex or 1/4th the effort needed to mash a 'true' regular flex to 3X.

Semi-nail...mashes at even more pressure out to 2X max.

If you can bench 500 pounds, you can spread the tines of a nail. They may of course never come back together again....in they are not made with tine spread in mind.

 

In I too even though I learned to use a fountain pen in the '50's was Ham Fisted from 40 years of plowing the south forty with out the mule of ball point use.

 

Because of cross over Jack Hammer Ball Point Barbarians, the old true regular flex can be found in the steel Pelikan 200 nib...perhaps a few more.

Because the companies couldn't afford to keep repairing pretzeled nibs from the Barbarians they went over to making only nail and semi-nail. So 'true' regular flex died as the regular nib of pens.

 

They went over to a fat blobby nib too, in many fountain pen users don't have three minutes to learn how to use a fountain pen....and continue to hold it before the big knuckle like a hard to write with ball point.= bent tips, scratchy....from digging furrows in the paper.

 

So the question is How Heavy Handed am I?

 

That determines if you should be buying a nail/semi-nail.

If you wish to become Light Handed, it starts with a 'true' regular flex....be that a Pelikan 200 or a semi-vintage pre-mid '90's or vintage late 60s and before nib.

 

I suggest an EF in nail it's good for editing, B too, it's a wet fun nib. Then an M, a most underrated nib and a F, in true regular flex, before thinking about semi-flex......Which is not a "Flex" pen. :angry: :gaah: :wallbash:

M&F in regular flex are very good nibs for shading inks....in sometimes depending on paper and ink a semi-flex is too wet. M had a nice wide sweet spot....

 

Vintage Osmia/Osmia-Faber-Castell has gold and steel nibs that are =. It is the only pen company I know that you know if the nib is semi-flex or maxi-semi-flex.

 

 '50-65 Pelikans (and are semi or maxi***)I've seen or have are gold outside the 120, which was gold plated. The  120, 150 and 200/215 are all true regular flex and gold plated or steel; as is the '82-97 M 400 is 14 K. I have a Celebry in gold and steel, gold 3XX, and a W. Germany 200. All are very good regular flex nibs, not counting the '50-65's. And are all 1/2 a width narrower than the modern post 97 400 and modern 600. Vintage nibs are on the whole (outside the 200) narrower than modern. The gold, gold plated, or steel nibs are equal! All have that tad of spring, the nice ride a nice clean line.

:rolleyes: :blush: Once I was a semi-flex snob...and it did take me a while to find out....the gold nibs were not better than the steel nibs..... ;) Just like many folks....me too, ignore a M nib, I ignored the true regular flex. I trans-mailed a number of 200's nibs to a pal in England, because some idiots in Germany refuse to mail to England. I was impressed. The nib was as good as my '90's M400, and my gold and steel Celebries. Having a number of 400's didn't want to 'mess' around with 200's there are ever so many pretty ones, so I got a 215 for it's 200 nib. Then I bought a new 200 :yikes: . The shock was me buying a new pen; the Amethyst. Then I laid my hand on a W. Germany 200. 3 '200's in the space of 10 months. :happyberet:

 

If you like a cartridge pen....lacquered metal, Celebry, 38X, 39X and others can be had with good 'true' regular flex nibs.

 

*** They did make the H=hard nib and the D=nails nail, cliff climbing, tank opening nib....they are however marked.

 

From what I've told you.... gold is for bling. Get your self a nice steel 200, in you can get nibs for it for @ $25 each. With one pen you could have an EF, M and B and or an F also. Gold plated doubles that price....and you pay for bling. You pay even more for real gold bling.

 

You can have 'bling' and less ink and good to better paper, or a good steel nib and more ink and discover good to better paper.

Writing is 1/3 nib width&flex, 1/3 paper and 1/3 ink, and in that order.

 

Used pens will get you gold lots cheaper than new.....lots. Do use the sales section on this com....it might be a bit more expensive than hunting in the wild of the bay, but you buy a pen from someone who knows what he's talking and has to stand behind it or lose his good name here.

 

I always suggest working your way up the flex ladder one flex rate at a time. It helps you develop a lighter hand....and gives you an understanding of what the nib can or can not do.

.

There are folks that jump from a nail to the deep end of the pool with out their waterwings and get a superflex pen ..... :headsmack:  :doh: And jump right out and back to nails, swearing never to touch a 'flex' pen again.....and ignore semi-flex which is not a flex nib, because of the word 'flex'. :wallbash: 

Semi-flex is for after you have a couple 'true' regular flex nibs to go with a couple nails.

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#17 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 06:47

I wrote happily for years with my then one pen which I presumed to have a gold nib, but turned out to be niftily coloured steel, as I discovered when it corroded. The point there is that steel worked for me. However, every other pen of mine is 14k or 18k gold. This has been discussed in at least one other thread ;)

wow, a nib that rusted?  Was it not stainless?  What sort of ink did you use?


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#18 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 06:50

I don't think there is going to be any difference between mass produced gold nibs and mass produced steel nibs in terms of time spent on them.
That's because mass produced = mass produced.

 

To answer the OPs question, the answer is no.

The question is what you mean by difference... difference in writing characteristics or quality.  Quality would be identical.


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#19 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 06:53

Gold will not corrode if you use unorthodox inks. Steel might.

might or might not... what is the risk?  and how much are you willing to pay more in order to avoid a possible might?


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#20 Pen_Ingeneer

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 07:01

A nails a nail, be it gold or steel.

 

A gold nib is an alloy, That matters in 18 K nibs in there are vintage 18K nibs that are flexible; a different alloy and geometry and modern are not flexible but some are soft.

 

The modern Pelikan 1000 is either 'springy' as some call it....the only time I tried one it was semi-flex. I have some 26 semi-flex nib, so at least that nib was IMO semi-flex. The problem with that nib is that it lacks the spring back of a good 14 K semi-flex.....meaning it can be bent and stay bent easier than a 14 K semi-flex. That 1000's nib is one of the better modern nibs. You need a light Hand for it. It is not a nib for the normal Ham Fisted coming over from nails.

 

There are other 18K or even 22 K nibs (Sailor for example)....that are 'soft' .... mushy is the term often used to describe the action of the nib. With a good semi-flex 14 K or steel, you have flex plus fast/good return. It is springy ++ and not the least mushy.

In semi-flex or 'true' regular flex, a good steel nib is as good as a good gold nib.

In nail or semi-nail....why worry? Why waste money on gold?

 

 

Buy a cheaper older used pen. Save a fortune, get a top of the line pen for peanuts.

 

Springy 'True' regular flex is the semi-vintage and vintage nibs that were in many companies the normal nib issued....(Parker was often more nail than not....I do have a gold regular flex P-45. Sheaffer in the early '50's had a 'rare' semi-flex, regular flex and nail. (Their English pen nibs in the '50's were semi-flex or maxi-semi-flex in they competed vs Swan.) True regular flex has a nice ride, with a tad of spring, and can withstand Ham Fisted nail users...if they 'try'. Most will, but never ever lend anything but a Nail to a ball point barbarian....or he will bend it trying to gouge the Grand Canyon into the desk. And you will be looking at a pretzel.

 

Some folks coming over from Nail-semi-nail, think true regular flex are semi-flex....they are not. But the 'ease' of tine spread from the Ham Fisted vs the nail-semi-nail makes it seem so. WOW....tine spread!!!!! :yikes:

 

It does take little bit of strength to mash a 'true' regular flex to it's limit of 3X a light down stroke.

Semi-flex half of that....and half of that for maxi-semi-flex or 1/4th the effort needed to mash a 'true' regular flex to 3X.

Semi-nail...mashes at even more pressure out to 2X max.

If you can bench 500 pounds, you can spread the tines of a nail. They may of course never come back together again....in they are not made with tine spread in mind.

 

In I too even though I learned to use a fountain pen in the '50's was Ham Fisted from 40 years of plowing the south forty with out the mule of ball point use.

 

Because of cross over Jack Hammer Ball Point Barbarians, the old true regular flex can be found in the steel Pelikan 200 nib...perhaps a few more.

Because the companies couldn't afford to keep repairing pretzeled nibs from the Barbarians they went over to making only nail and semi-nail. So 'true' regular flex died as the regular nib of pens.

 

They went over to a fat blobby nib too, in many fountain pen users don't have three minutes to learn how to use a fountain pen....and continue to hold it before the big knuckle like a hard to write with ball point.= bent tips, scratchy....from digging furrows in the paper.

 

So the question is How Heavy Handed am I?

 

That determines if you should be buying a nail/semi-nail.

If you wish to become Light Handed, it starts with a 'true' regular flex....be that a Pelikan 200 or a semi-vintage pre-mid '90's or vintage late 60s and before nib.

 

I suggest an EF in nail it's good for editing, B too, it's a wet fun nib. Then an M, a most underrated nib and a F, in true regular flex, before thinking about semi-flex......Which is not a "Flex" pen. :angry: :gaah: :wallbash:

M&F in regular flex are very good nibs for shading inks....in sometimes depending on paper and ink a semi-flex is too wet. M had a nice wide sweet spot....

 

Vintage Osmia/Osmia-Faber-Castell has gold and steel nibs that are =. It is the only pen company I know that you know if the nib is semi-flex or maxi-semi-flex.

 

 '50-65 Pelikans (and are semi or maxi***)I've seen or have are gold outside the 120, which was gold plated. The  120, 150 and 200/215 are all true regular flex and gold plated or steel; as is the '82-97 M 400 is 14 K. I have a Celebry in gold and steel, gold 3XX, and a W. Germany 200. All are very good regular flex nibs, not counting the '50-65's. And are all 1/2 a width narrower than the modern post 97 400 and modern 600. Vintage nibs are on the whole (outside the 200) narrower than modern. The gold, gold plated, or steel nibs are equal! All have that tad of spring, the nice ride a nice clean line.

:rolleyes: :blush: Once I was a semi-flex snob...and it did take me a while to find out....the gold nibs were not better than the steel nibs..... ;) Just like many folks....me too, ignore a M nib, I ignored the true regular flex. I trans-mailed a number of 200's nibs to a pal in England, because some idiots in Germany refuse to mail to England. I was impressed. The nib was as good as my '90's M400, and my gold and steel Celebries. Having a number of 400's didn't want to 'mess' around with 200's there are ever so many pretty ones, so I got a 215 for it's 200 nib. Then I bought a new 200 :yikes: . The shock was me buying a new pen; the Amethyst. Then I laid my hand on a W. Germany 200. 3 '200's in the space of 10 months. :happyberet:

 

If you like a cartridge pen....lacquered metal, Celebry, 38X, 39X and others can be had with good 'true' regular flex nibs.

 

*** They did make the H=hard nib and the D=nails nail, cliff climbing, tank opening nib....they are however marked.

 

From what I've told you.... gold is for bling. Get your self a nice steel 200, in you can get nibs for it for @ $25 each. With one pen you could have an EF, M and B and or an F also. Gold plated doubles that price....and you pay for bling. You pay even more for real gold bling.

 

You can have 'bling' and less ink and good to better paper, or a good steel nib and more ink and discover good to better paper.

Writing is 1/3 nib width&flex, 1/3 paper and 1/3 ink, and in that order.

 

Used pens will get you gold lots cheaper than new.....lots. Do use the sales section on this com....it might be a bit more expensive than hunting in the wild of the bay, but you buy a pen from someone who knows what he's talking and has to stand behind it or lose his good name here.

 

I always suggest working your way up the flex ladder one flex rate at a time. It helps you develop a lighter hand....and gives you an understanding of what the nib can or can not do.

.

There are folks that jump from a nail to the deep end of the pool with out their waterwings and get a superflex pen ..... :headsmack:  :doh: And jump right out and back to nails, swearing never to touch a 'flex' pen again.....and ignore semi-flex which is not a flex nib, because of the word 'flex'. :wallbash:

Semi-flex is for after you have a couple 'true' regular flex nibs to go with a couple nails.

Do read my signature. :happyberet:

Ahm.... ahm.... ahem.  forgot what I want to say.  :(

 

Hello Bo Bo, here we meet again.

 

Yes, golden nails.  Interesting comparison.

 

May I invite you courteously to visit my blog?  there is a huge amount of stuff on nibs and a smaller amount than huge on comparing gold with steel.

 

enjoy


Edited by PenIngeneer, 27 September 2016 - 07:01.

with kindness...

 

Amadeus W.
Ingeneer2
 
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