Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies

FPN appearing slow

Dearest Member or Visitor of the little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

Due to a continuing DDoS attack, FPN could be moving only slowly. Hosting Support is dealing with this. The earlier reported hardware issue has been fixed. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Warm regards, the FPN Moderator & Admin Team


The Way You Write Changes Your Nib And Tines

10 replies to this topic

#1 penmaxwell919



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 87 posts
  • Location:Dallas, TX
  • Flag:

Posted 20 December 2017 - 10:53

Something very strange happened today. I think the way I hold the pen and the angle that I'm writing is actually misaligning the tines!


It does not sound like it actually happened. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Let me know if this ever happened to you. 


Today one of my ebay purchases arrived in the mail, a used Pelikan M800. This is my first Pelikan so naturally I was very excited. By the way, I'm very green to fountain pens, starting just in September. So after some messing around with the piston to see if it was working, posting some questions to the forum and then cleaning the pen I started to ink it up. I sat there admiring the fine nib and just kept looking at the awesome scroll work and the perfectly aligned tines. Shortly after, I started to write, it was more like doodle, just to see how it wrote and it was great. A little dry but I continued because I figured that the ink would continue to fill the feed and eventually it would normalize. After about 3 sheets of Rhodia A5 I noticed that the ink was still very dry. I was using Noodler's 54 Massachusetts. When I use this ink in a Platinum Preppy fine nib it was not dry at all, but just right. That was strange.


After half a page more of writing, I noticed that the nib was getting a little scratchy so just thought that it was the ink. I decided to switch inks and just pour the ink out into a tube to save it and then filled just filled it up a little with Namiki blue. It wrote the same, dry and light. "Why isn't the ink getting to the nib?" I thought. So I turned the pen around and wrote upside down and voila! It was writing normally; as if I was writing in the normal position. The line was nice and juicy for a fine, so ink was getting to the feed. Strange. 


So I looked at the nib. Something was off. It seemed like the right tine was a little narrower than the left. Then I looked at the nib sideways and it suddenly occurred to me that the nib tip was actually higher than it was wide. Could the person who had sold it to me had it grinded that way. I didn't think much of it at the time. So I decided to send it off to Mike Masuyama to get it looked at. I only decided to do this because I was going to send him a Montblanc 146 that I also brought used and it arrived with a misaligned nib. The right side tine is a tad higher than the left. Weird, the Pelikan was like that too, the right tine was a little higher than the left. Not much only about one quarter the amount of the thickness of the tine.


Ok, so I cleaned up the Pelikan; washed off the nib and flushed the barrel then packed the pens in a box to be shipped off. Well, after all my kids went to bed I decided to practice some handwriting with another pre-owned purchase that had come in this week. (Had any of you gone through this crazy buying stage? I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it but I think it was kind of foolish to purchase so many pens in such a short time.) The Homo Sapien was going to be my sole pen that I would use while my other pens were being serviced. 


So I inked up the Sapien and started writing with the Namiki blue. It was scratchy but not over so, so I continued. It was an extra fine nib so I just thought it was normal. This pen is also my first Visconti so I had no point of reference to compare it to. But as I was writing it got scratchier so I played around with the angle of the pen, the tilt of the pen. I hold the pen with a traditional tripod grip and the writing angle is around 45 degree plus or minus 5 degree depending on the word I'm writing. I noticed that if I rotated the pen 5 degree counter-clockwise that it got a lot smoother. That was weird. Of all the videos that I have watched of people writing I noticed that some wrote with the nib facing up and some wrote with the nib a little rotated counter-clockwise. I always thought that fountain pens were designed to be used with facing up with equal amounts of pressure put on the right tine as on the left tine. But now it was a lot smoother when there was more pressure on the left tine. I started to pay more attention to how the tine was touching the paper and after 2 more pages I discover what was causing or at least what I thought was causing the scratchiness. The RIGHT tine was actually slightly above the left one so as I write the inside part of the left tine was rubbing against the paper. So if I rotated the pen slightly counter-clockwise it even the tines out and that was why it was smooth. And this is the weird part. I remembered examining the nib when I open the box and the tines were perfectly aligned. Then it dawned on me! The pelikan was like that now the Sapien was like that. Could it be that the way I wrote was actually misaligning the tines. Could it be that at my writing angle I was constantly putting pressure on the right tine. I took my loupe out and looked at the misalignment. I tried to realignment them with my nail my the right one just sprang back into place.


What was going on. Then I saw it! The feed was preventing the right tine from aligning. It was actually in the way. Could it be that I would rotate the feed slightly when I write that it would lift up the right tine slightly. 


Have you guys/gals ever heard of this or experienced it before???



Sponsored Content

#2 jar


    A Vintage Pen has to be older than me.

  • Premium - Ruby

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,419 posts
  • Location:From Deep South Texas
  • Flag:

Posted 20 December 2017 - 11:54

Not unusual, particularly with new fountain pen users.


There are several things that can be the cause but the most common is writing with your wrist instead of your whole arm which makes the nib twist at the contact point.  Too heavy a hand can also be an issue.  Finally the nib itself, particularly a used pen from an unknown source, may need adjustment to make sure the tines are not touching.

My Sister's website :  Rose Hill Studios

My Website

#3 RockingLR



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 129 posts

Posted 20 December 2017 - 14:10

Forgive me if i'm wrong as Im fairly new to this...if you can't correct this issue by just paying attention to your writing and adjusting it is that not what Oblique nibs were for? I'd ask your nib meister his opinion too as he's probably seen hundreds or thousands of issues with the pen and may have some suggestions for you too on the best shaping of the nib for your writing. I know i tend to write with my pens at a slight rotation. 

And yes I've recently caught myself in a pen buying frenzy hahahaha. I think it's the noobie addiction trying to upgrade and find our preferred pens. Especially for places that don't have meet ups and the like. 

#4 Venemo



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 548 posts
  • Location:Budapest, Hungary
  • Flag:

Posted 20 December 2017 - 16:12

A fountain pen actually does not nedd any pressure at all when you write with it. It should write under its own weight. This is something that requires getting used to, when you are used to ball points. A ball point needs you to shove it into the paper, but a fountain pen only requires you to touch it to the paper. Broader nibs are usually more forgiving in this regard, and this is why most western modern fountain pen nibs are nails, so that they don't bend too easily under pressure.


This was strange to me at first too, but try to write with a lighter hand. Hope this helps!

Edited by Venemo, 20 December 2017 - 21:04.

#5 Driften


    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,357 posts
  • Location:Issaquah, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 20 December 2017 - 17:18

I agree, you are pushing too hard especially when you do that to a nail like M800 nib. It's ok to be a finger writer its more of a matter of pressure then if you use arm or fingers. It's not that hard to realign a nib, but you can't constantly be doing it or you are going to wear out the nib. 


Also it's easier to do what you did if you are trying to get line width changes from a nib that is not flexible. I had the same problem expecting an 18k Bexley nib to be more semi flex. It became scratchy quickly from using more pressure on one tine then the other and not returning back to shape when the pressure was gone. So I realigned it and it's fine being used as it was meant to be. Even with real flex nibs you need to keep a really light hand.

#6 Gasquolet



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 93 posts
  • Location:SW Scotland
  • Flag:

Posted 20 December 2017 - 17:30

What Jar and Venemo said above is a good starting point.  Depending on how much writing you do and how long you've been writing (in total, not just with a fp), adjusting to arm writing may be easier or more difficult but it doesn't stop you from writing with light pressure.  This is likely as not the number one reason for the nib and feed moving in relation to each other.  Unfortunately a pen that is at all hesitant or requires some pressure to align the tines so you can use it will often result in you choking up on the grip and not relaxing, holding the pen lightly and writing with light pressure.  The only thing to do then is adjust properly or have someone else adjust the nib so you can use the pen as it was intended.


I've seen this happen more easily in some older Visontis than others but on the whole I'd say their nib and feed fit is not particularly tight. I occasionally find on one of mine that when looked at underneath the forward most tip of the feed isn't central to the nib and the alignment can be corrected easily with a nudge to the side, the nib is very easy to move side to side in this case.  If you are finding this happens each time you write or even regularly at all then I'd look at your technique carefully. 


There are loads of you tube videos about pen grip and writing style but actually body position is very important too. It is very difficult to write with the arm of you sit over the surface you're writing on, or twist to reach your notebook for example. Also seat height to table height ratio matters, consider mocking up a slope to write on, it will help you practice.   If, like me your tendency is to drop back to an old habit of mostly finger and wrist writing if there's anything else distracting, your position is the first thing to sort.


All the pens you mention, including the preppy but particularly the MB and Pelikan should be able to write a good line when held in the correct orientation between forefinger and thumb near the back of the barrel and pulled across the page.

Try slowly twisting the pen as you do that to find where the nib's sweet spot is, some pens, particularly second hand ones will not necessarily write at their best when the nib breather hole is absolutely uppermost. This is something you feel for as you know a pen.  Most people familiar with their pens never look at the nib as they lift the pen to use it.  Yes, you may glance to make sure it's not upside down but finding the point at which you write with your pen is done my feel, not sight.


The M800 issue upside down/ up issue sounds like a nib that had been made to write dry by squeezing the nib wings in. If done too much this closes the nib gap at the tip contact point and leaves it open on the back of the nib, giving the results you mention.  I received a second hand pen in the last few weeks with exactly this issue, easy to correct but takes experience to achieve the right balance.  On a stiff nib it's easy to end up going too far in either direction.


If you're testing 'flex' then unfortunately you're on your own.  None of the pens mentioned are designed to have pressure applied to achieve nib deflection.  That will likely result in the nib/ feed moving in relation to each other or distorting.  At most, these pens have an inherent softness to allow natural variation in your movements to increase/ reduce nib ink flow.  This dynamic writing may vary the nib geometry a little as you write but shouldn't cause the nib tip to open.


First step is get the pens adjusted correctly and find the right position to practice conventional writing, it'll be easier to find other issues thereafter.


By the way; buying sprees don't go away, they just become more focussed/ considered/ moderate, after you realise that more enjoyment comes from using a nice pen than buying it.  Sounds like you have some nice pens to get to know now though!

Edited by Gasquolet, 20 December 2017 - 17:34.

#7 Bo Bo Olson

Bo Bo Olson

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,452 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted 20 December 2017 - 22:15

Ham Fistedness.... :angry: :gaah: :wallbash: ...Yep, using a jackhammer will change the angle of the nib.......first trick is to hold the pen very light........like holding a featherless baby bird.

Second trick is not to make baby bird paste.


Death grip......is a common name for it.


Modern Oblique nibs....post '70....are for folks that are left eye dominant and cant the nib so they can see the top or for left handers...............there is little to no line variation.


'50-70 German Oblique nibs also need to be canted, but are stubs with easier tine spread....so you get nice line variation......now that is why I buy German '50-70 era Obliques.


I had always wondered back in the day when most of us ues fountain pens in 5-6th and Jr. HS and HS why some folks twisted the pen/////canted it. As right handers they were left eye dominate.

My wife is a very good shot given enough time, to crawl around the stock of the rifle and aim with the wrong eye, same with a piston, left eye....and won't change hands.

In she sometimes out shoots me....I let my wife be right.

I noticed she cant's a fountain pen real extreme.....so came up with the left eye dominace for folks canting a non oblique nib......or needing a modern oblique....which I've never noticed much line variation from...................there is lots of line variation in semi-flex oblique....more than straight nibs.

Everyone says poor Mozart dead at only 36. None say poor Mendelson, dead at only 38. His family only allowed him to start at 20, but before, musicians use to come to the Mendelson garden to steal the music of Mendelson and his sister. A good artist also, can still buy prints of his famous Scottish drawings in Scotland.


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


The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.


Pens/inks/paper on hold for a year....new addiction pocket watch chains. :happyberet:

#8 Chrissy


    Ancient Artifact

  • Away
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,301 posts

Posted 20 December 2017 - 22:42

My OH can't write with fountain pens, he presses on far too hard when he's writing with a BP and he can't adjust. So I've never tried to persuade him to try writing with one of my pens.


Some people just press down with their pens when it's not necessary to do so and it's a difficult habit to overcome.

#9 Bluey


    Somewhere between green and indigo

  • Away
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,961 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 21 December 2017 - 19:43

I subconsciously rotate all my pens progressively to the right [as my writing speed speeds up] when I'm writing because I write with a slope, but I haven't yet encountered any problems with my more recent pens. So I don't think this would be likely to cause the issue.


Much of the problem is quite likely to be German nib iffy QC/quality. It's to be expected.


Most of us went through crazy buying stages. For the first year or 2 I bought shed loads of cheap(er/ish) pens of all different brands, of all different nib width, nib styles, and all nib manufacturers. Nowadays I'm cutting down my collection and focusing only on those pens/brands which have proven to be and are likely to be reliable and  have more of the character that I expect.

Edited by Bluey, 21 December 2017 - 20:01.

Mediterranean blue, Asa Goa, China blue, Royal blue, Sapphire blue, Indigo, Washable Blue....the colours of the rainbow.

#10 Honeybadgers



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,675 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2017 - 00:14

I am a fan of holding my pen at a slightly oblique angle. I've done it with dip nibs forever and I just like a slightly oblique opening of the tines. 

But that said, pens will absolutely break in and wear, since paper is a mild abrasive. But it takes years.

#11 Brandywine



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 106 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 22 December 2017 - 08:26

Even when used correctly the nib will adapt to the individual style of the writer over the years.

That usually is a desired effect.


In your case most probably too much pressure is the cause of the unwanted effect on the nib(s),

as has been mentioned before. 


IMO another problem is, that you are holding the pen too steep, like a ballpoint (45 degree, you said).

That way, you are pushing the tines sideways when writing (with too much pressure, too).

Try to hold it lower than 45 degrees, rather 35 or 30.

Then you kind of drag the nib instead of pushing it.


And oh! Now that you mentioned it:

I am in one of these "purchase frenzies" right now, having bought more pens in the last month

than in my whole life before. :yikes:

I even joined one of those internet forums on that topic! Imagine that! :yikes:

Edited by Brandywine, 22 December 2017 - 08:27.

Reply to this topic


Sponsored Content