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Pelikan Steel Vs Gold Nib


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#1 ernieh

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 07:19

Hello there,
I haven't bought any Pelikan but am thinking about to. Is it big difference between its steel nib and gold nib? say, for F nib.

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#2 OCArt

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 07:41

Some on this group will argue that the steel nibs are better. Only the 200 level pens come without gold nibs and even so there is an exception with the less common M250 having a gold nib.  M400 and larger all come with gold nibs.  IF you are looking at the 200 series I'd recommend a M215 as it has a metal barrel and is a bit heavier in the hand.

 

Another option would be to go vintage and look for a 140 which has a gold nib.



#3 mitto

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 07:45

+1 for the 140. Lovely little vintage pens.
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#4 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 10:45

There might be 5 eras....then you need to decide what do you want the nib to do?

 

#1,,,,'29-43 the end of WW2's pen making (including the CN nibs from after Hitler stole the gold in '38) '45-54 for end of the war 100n&Ibis. I have a first stage of superflex...Easy Full Flex 100n, a maxi-semi-flex Ibis and a very disappointing 'regular flex' CN nib when I expected at least maxi to superflex. Some lucked out more than me with their CN nibs.

 

#2 era, is the '50-65 time of semi-flex and an occasional maxi-semi-flex to go with the regular flex 120 school pen. (There was also a H nib that was Hard, and a D nib that was the Nail's nail.)

The Semi/maxi are all stubs and give good line variation, but have to be matched to ink and paper for shading.

 

#3, the spade nibs of the late '60-70's. I never bought any in no one bragged his spade nib from then as semi-flex.

 

#3. The 400 ('82), 200 ('85) and 800 ('87) nibs of the '82-97 er, are not stubs. Before '90 the W. Germany nibs are superb regular flex with a slight tad more spring than the later Germany '90-97 era. Pelikan is narrower than Parker and Sheaffer, not as narrow as Waterman.....Japanese pens were not rated on the chart in Japanese pens were still 'confined to the Island'. The 800 had it's very own width narrower than Pelikan half way to Waterman.

The nibs in this era are regular flex, and I have in steel a pre'90 W.Germany 200 and a Celebry @'97 to 2005. I have a M400, a Celebry and a 381 in gold. I do not have any W.Germany gold nibs but expect them to match my W.Germany 200. The gold regular flex nibs do match my steel ones.

The nibs are 1/2 or more a width narrower than modern, have a nice clean small bump point, so lay a clean line. Regular flex is a good nib for shading, being dryer than semi-flex.

 

#4, modern after '97 nibs. The Ball Point Barbarian Invasion is at full surge, nibs are made into pretzels that could be sold at the O'Fest. The  800's Grand regular flex nib becomes a fat blobby nail. No longer width it's very own width. The clean writing regular flex 400 becomes like the 600 a semi-nail, to prevent bending, and fat and blobby so it can be held like a ball point and written with.

The 800,600 and 400 have double kugal nibs so they can be written like a ball point, in many of the rollerball or ball point users do not have the coordination or the willingness to spend three minutes learning how to hold a fountain pen. The flat and blobby nibs leave a blurry line, and are boring. They can of course be stubbed or made CI. :happyberet:

The steel 200 remains true to it's self, still a springy good riding regular flex with a clean line..

 

If not polished into baby bottom, the fat and blobby stiff nibbed 400.600&800 will be 'butter smooth', got nothing else to offer.....my 605 BB is now a butter smooth 1.0 stub. :lticaptd:

The 200 will be good and smooth, with a clean line and a bit of spring for a nice ride. Same with the 150 steel nibs...which are a bit smaller (like the vintage 140's nib).

 

The good thing about the 400/600 is one can put vintage or semi-vintage nibs on it. For a long time I had a semi-flex B on my 605. :puddle:.............they are still hard to bend.....so you could lend it to a Ball Point Barbarian noobie....... :unsure:  :rolleyes:  :bunny01: Just joking....always carry a ball point for Barbarians....even more important if you have a real nib on your Pelikan.  :closedeyes: 

 

Many today don't know what regular flex is, in many companies only make nail and semi-nail nibs. Some folks wonder if regular flex is semi-flex in the tines bend and spread. :doh:

 

I think the springy good riding 200's thinner clean line nibs to be better than the stiff butter smooth, characterless 400/600/800 nibs. The '82-97 gold nibs will match the 200's.

The gold nibs of the '50-65 era are semi-flex or +, and will grand....the 120's nib


www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens and inks only; not the users or inks of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#5 MHBru

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 17:40

Im not as well informed as many on these pages especially when it comes to nib chacteristics and maintenance but I am learning. My two M800s are just delicious to write with (both w F nibs). My 205 with its steel nib not so much. Scratchy as hell on all but clairefontain paper. Using an10x loop I see no apparent misalignment and it did improve after some figure 8s on micro mesh but still not the pleasure I get w my 800s. Im open to any ideas but doubt I will buy another pen at this level again. (The ocean swirl is on my Chanukah list tho 😊)

#6 Tresconik

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 18:07

The M400 nib will have more of a chance of being very smooth.

You'll feel the paper with the M200 nib but it feels nicer for writing. It has more character.

 

So it depends on what you prefer. There's no shame in liking either more.



#7 ernieh

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 04:43

Bo Bo Olson has got a pretty detailed summary! I do learn a lot from all you guys.

I guess now there should no longer be new stock for 140?

What I look for is a daily writer with better writing experience than when I use Lamy Al-star EF nib. That is pretty scratchy. I guess Pelikan's should perform better?

In my work place there won't be very decent paper like Clariefontaine or Rhodia. In this connection, would a gold nib be more buttery smooth?

Edited by ernieh, 19 November 2017 - 04:46.


#8 Tresconik

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 05:26

In my work place there won't be very decent paper like Clariefontaine or Rhodia. In this connection, would a gold nib be more buttery smooth?


Yep, I think so. The safest bet would be to buy from someone who checks the nibs before dispatch.

#9 Driften

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 05:59

I have had no issues with my m200 or m215 steel nibs. One is F and the other M. Both are smooth and pleasant to use. The only gold nib Pelikan I have is a m805 M nib and I love it as well.



#10 mana

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:09

Bo Bo Olson has got a pretty detailed summary! I do learn a lot from all you guys.

I guess now there should no longer be new stock for 140?

What I look for is a daily writer with better writing experience than when I use Lamy Al-star EF nib. That is pretty scratchy. I guess Pelikan's should perform better?

In my work place there won't be very decent paper like Clariefontaine or Rhodia. In this connection, would a gold nib be more buttery smooth?

Not necessarily. The thing that touches the paper is the tip of the nib, usually in tipped nibs a blob of iridium or osmium etc. or in some cases (untipped nibs), plain steel. Both can be supremely smooth, what matters more is the nib width and how well the nib has been tuned.

Thinner nib widths (EEF, EF) > less surface area > scratchier experience.

Out of tune nib > bad geometry, misaligned tines etc. > scratchy experience.

Of course you can also have nibs (crisp italics, obliques) that are more sensitive to how the pen is held in relation to paper due to their sharper grinds (edges of the tipping are more acute) and nib geometry.

Also, flex can give you headaches and a scratchier experience unless handled properly (light enough touch, applying force only when appropriate).

So, if you want the smoothest possible experience you need to by default aim for:

- nibs that are wider (M, B, BB, stubs etc.),
- that are properly aligned,
- stiff, and that
- suit your hand/writing style.

I have plenty of pens, mostly vintage and then some modern. The smoothest of the bunch are actually the modern, wider steel nibs such as B nibbed rOtring 600 (steel, tipped), 1.1mm rOtring Art Pen (steel, untipped), Woodshed Co. pen with a 1.1mm #6 Jowo nib (seel, untipped). Being stiff and more round geometry wise they are not that particular about angle, pressure etc.

My vintage pens (mostly Pelikans, 100Ns, 140s, 400NNs) have gold nibs that range from EEF to BBB. They are very smooth when handled properly. Meaning, very light touch and right writing angle, applying more force/pressure only on downstrokes etc. If not handled properly > problems.

I actually prefer the natural feedback that they offer to the "gliding on glass" feeling that a wet, very smooth nib on the right kind of paper affords.


Edited by mana, 19 November 2017 - 09:10.

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#11 mana

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:28

Oh yeah, tried one of the only modern Pelikans I have... a NOS Pelikan 200 Blue Marble with a steel F nib, just inked it and it has quite a bit of feedback (it visibly scrapes the surface of the paper, you can both feel it and see the clumped up mix of paper and ink when doing filled squares). From what I gather this does also vary from nib to nib. Might need to smooth that one...


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#12 invisuu

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 11:39

I agree with mana and Bo Bo. M800 = pure nail. Virtually no give whatsoever. My three M400 nibs are nice and soft, but not semi flex or anything along those lines. Just soft enough to absorb the little extra force I use on downstrokes (which is really small amount, since I write with no pressure whatsoever otherwise).

 

Since M800 nibs are 18K and M400 are 14K, you can see that the amount of gold in it isn't as important as geometry of the nib is. I have steel nibs at home that are full flex, for example. Every nib can be buttery smooth or completely scratchy; both gold and steel nibs have same material for the tipping, the thing that actually touches the paper.

 

I find M800s great for work. Bo Bo values flex above all, but I think stiff nibs do have a place in this world (and not only for ballpoint barbarians as he colourfully describes what I'd agree are most people stiff nibs are made for).



#13 chromantic

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 12:27

In my work place there won't be very decent paper like Clariefontaine or Rhodia. In this connection, would a gold nib be more buttery smooth?

 

In my admittedly limited experience, the gold nibs lay down a slightly wider line than the steel nib equivalents, this also means a wetter line which can result in more show/bleed on cheaper paper (depending on the ink). Pelikans are known as pretty wet writers as it is but I've found that my steel-nibbed 150s and 200s can better handle a wider range of inks than my gold-nibbed ones, where I'm struggling to find inks dry enough to not gush. I only use Fs and EFs, smoothness varies between individual pens but I've not really noticed that the golds are necessarily smoother, per se. Smoothness can be affected by the lubricating properties of the inks, as well, so one that writes smoothly with one ink may be a little scratchy with another.


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#14 hari317

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 13:12

Hello there,
I haven't bought any Pelikan but am thinking about to. Is it big difference between its steel nib and gold nib? say, for F nib.


Writing wise the nibs are nearly same in my opinion. Cosmetics wise the gold plated steel nibs lose their plating after a period of regular usage. I buy a lot of used pens. I have found steel nibs with a good amount of wear to tipping by regular use from previous owners but I have not found much noticeable wear on the modern Pelikan gold nibs tipping. Under magnification the lustre of the tipping used on their gold nibs is quite different from the tipping on their steel nibs. This is based on my observations alone. I feel their gold nibs are of higher quality which allows a longer life.
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#15 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 13:12

Chromantic...well said.

 

The modern 400/600 are semi-nail so should be 'softer' than a 800.............semi-nail, like an old P-75.

The nibs of the 400/600 and 800 are fatter and blobbier than the 200....and so the 200 has remained at the same width as  vintage and semi-vintage pens.

 

 

AH!!! Scratchy if not tine misalignment can well be holding the fountain pen way too vertical like a ball point....95% of scratchy is that. Digging little grand canyons in the paper.

Especially if mico-rmesh don't fix the problem.

Are you holding the fountain pen behind the big index knuckle?

 

 

The 200/semi&vintage nibs are not made to be held like a ball point....they do not have a fat and blobby nib....double kugal + thicker tip.

The modern 200 & semi-vintage has a small American Bump Under tipping. Vintage has a flat stub tipping....outside the 120.

 

The higher luster....mentioned by Hari, may be the over polishing some find with the baby bottom of modern 400/600/800 nibs.

 

Hari could be right and the 200 uses a less expensive tipping compound....they do use less. Penny pinching is penny pinching....and book keepers will spend thousands to save a penny on paper.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 19 November 2017 - 13:16.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens and inks only; not the users or inks of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#16 hari317

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 13:32

Luster as in color/ hue. The tippings look different to me.

M200s also have blobby tipping. Look at their BB etc. m 200 nibs are ground to have a circular patch. The gold nibs are ground to have an oval patch that contacts paper. My observation. Ymmv.

Edited by hari317, 19 November 2017 - 13:38.

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#17 jmnav

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 17:01

Some on this group will argue that the steel nibs are better. Only the 200 level pens come without gold nibs and even so there is an exception with the less common M250 having a gold nib.  M400 and larger all come with gold nibs.  IF you are looking at the 200 series I'd recommend a M215 as it has a metal barrel and is a bit heavier in the hand.

 

I came here to say exactly the same, and then, basically all others also made very good points.  No, there shouldn't be basically any difference from the nib being made of gold or steel since it's the nib's point the only part touching paper, and there's enough variation in alloys as to being able to offer the same result eithers on gold or other base metal.

 

...But this doesn't mean the maker can't or won't make any difference out of them, either on purpose or accidentally, and it seems true that for modern nibs, Pelikan seems to make the steel ones a bit less "blobby" than their gold counterparts and also that their QA is less than spotless.  No wonder, then, that someone can say "but my M200 scratches while my M400 is butter-smooth", just to find some other saying the opposite.  Nothing an expert can't fix with ease or that you can't call for a nib exchange on the first weeks after you buy it anew.

 

It's also true that Pelikan doesn't currently offer anything but "springy" nibs at most (but, who does?) and then, their steal nibs tend to be always slightly springy while gold ones, well, it depends (M400 nails to a bit of springy, M800, nails, M1000, springy, and so on).

 

The general trend for fountain pen makers seems to be better build-line quality, which means there's less raw differences in outcome from one unit to the next (since it's almost machined) but, at the same time, worse QA, that is, more units with minimal defects (since that's where the more expensive manual labour can make a difference).

 

Finally, the biggest difference, by wide margin, is not the base material but the epoch: Before 1960, there was a lot of variance, from very flexy semi-flexes to nails; after 1960, basically nails or a bit of springyness (yes, you can find some exceptions along the sixties but, except serious collectors, who would care when there still are enough pre-1960 units as to fall the secure path?)



#18 sargetalon

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 19:00

I personally don't find a huge difference between steel and gold.  Historically, the steel nibs have been a little truer to their size designation while gold nibs run a size broader but that has not even been evident over the last several pens I've bought.  All of the gold nibs are very firm while the stainless steel have a little spring.  I find that as long as the tines are aligned, both materials can be smooth writers.  The gold nibs are a lot more ornate if that matters to you.  You can't go wrong with either and I happily write with both.


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#19 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:20

Bo Bo Olson has got a pretty detailed summary! I do learn a lot from all you guys.

I guess now there should no longer be new stock for 140?

What I look for is a daily writer with better writing experience than when I use Lamy Al-star EF nib. That is pretty scratchy. I guess Pelikan's should perform better?

In my work place there won't be very decent paper like Clariefontaine or Rhodia. In this connection, would a gold nib be more buttery smooth?


If you buy your 140 from Rick Propas (thepenguin.com) he restores and guarantees the pens he sells. I have an absolutely wonderful 140 with a fine nib I got from him in August. He even makes sure they write well before sending them out. You pay a bit more than say ebay ($140) but well worth it.

My only gold nibbed Pelikan is the 140 so I can't compare modern gold to modern steel. All my modern Pelikan's are steel. (120 Merz & Krell, M150, a couple of M200's)

Edited by Runnin_Ute, 20 November 2017 - 04:51.

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#20 Nyanzilla

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 11:54

I noticed that the gold nibs write a much broader line than the steel nibs. So the M in my M400 looks more like a fat B, whereas the M in my M200 is a real M.

In terms of smoothness and flex there is not much of a difference. Vintage gold nibs are more flexible than modern ones. But the steel nibs from the 1980-90s are quite flexible too.


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