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Gold Vs. Steel


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#1 Charles Skinner

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 15:33

I am sure this question has been ask and answered many times before, but here goes, one more time. What are the advantages of gold nibs?  What are the advantages of steel nibs?  And, any disadvantage to either?  C. S. 



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#2 Inkling13

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 15:44

It mostly boils down to what you like. Gold nibs tend to be softer, but can be made to write hard like a nail. Steel nibs tend to be hard, but can also be given some flex. Gold is more $$$ usually 10X the price of steel. With today's manufacturing, both are almost equally corrosion resistant. Then it boils down to what you like. Gold can be plated to look silver, and steel can be plated to look gold. 

 

An advantage? not much. 

There used to be one before, when the inks were much more corrosive, where gold was the only option for nibs that did not rust with regular use, but now, its advantage is slim to none. 


Edited by Inkling13, 28 December 2017 - 15:47.


#3 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 16:20

 Gold nibs tend to be softer,"""""""""""""""" I find that to be a myth.

It all depends on the brand, the era.

Or one is comparing a steel nail with a semi-nail gold nib....like a P-75 or modern Pelikan 400/600 semi-nail nibs, vs some nail Parker, like a Vac or P-51.

 

A nail is a nail....be it steel or gold. I've had both....no ....still have both but had a 18 K gold Lamy Persona OB that had no line variation made into a CI....the good steel nib...a 'butter smooth' Cross Townsend is under the bed.................I don't care for nails....even if 'butter smooth'.

And both are real nails...................................not quite up to the fabled Pelikan's nails nail the gold D nib...good for climbing the north face of the Eiger or opening up a stubborn tank.

 

A good steel nib is as good as a good gold nib.

 

In '82-97 era regular flex nibs....in gold and steel of Pelikan they are IMO =. I have a regular flex gold Celebry nib that is equal to the steel regular flex Celebry I have.

The 200's nibs which started in 1985 to now are = to the semi-vintage '82-97 gold nibs.

 

The gold nibs of the modern 400/600 are semi-nail.....so are 'softer' than nail nibs like the 800.

 

A perfect example of great  steel and great gold nibs are the Osmia/Osmia-Caber-Castell nibs where the gold is as good as the steel nibs.

If you want semi-flex get an Osmia/O-F-C with a diamond on the nib....If you want maxi-semi-flex, then a Supra nib. The gold=the steel nib................

Same with the 790/760 Geha nibs.....very good nibs in either gold or steel.

If you ever come across a 790 Geha or Osmia with a steel nib....don't be foolish as I was once as a gold snob :headsmack: ....................Buy It. You can save 10% on the ignorance of others....in a good steel nib is as good as a good gold nib.

Humm no back kicking smilie.........I passed up real nice Osmia pens....because I believed the myth gold was better than good steel nibs.

It all depends on the brand, the era.

 

 

If the new pen you want to buy is a nail....think of how much ink and paper you can buy if you buy the steel nail over the gold nail...............or course some folks might need the status factor it's a gold nib....more than ink and paper.

I can throw rocks at the glass house....having been a gold snob once....ok...I am not as ignorant as then.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 28 December 2017 - 16:23.

What is the true face of Alec Guinness?

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

 

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.  Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#4 Bobje

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 16:58

This thread and the copy of the Sheaffer letter contained inside cover the subject well.

http://www.fountainp...ib steel gold

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

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#5 fabri00

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 17:54

Steel can get rusted, gold not.

#6 Nail-Bender

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 18:26

Stainless steel made gold obsolete but some still use it for pens as functional jewelry.



#7 CS388

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 00:57

I've used gold for decades.

I recently experimented with steel (wartime nibs) and was won over immediately - oddly, because I didn't find a lot of difference. However, I preferred the feel of the nib on the paper - and they make an excellent scratching sound. I don't really use flex that much, but was surprised to find that the steel nibs were extremely flexy. It takes slightly more pressure to flex them, than my gold flex nibs, and they snap back into position nice and fast.

 

All in all, I was impressed and steel became my daily carry for over a year. In fact, the gold nibs are only just worming their way back into daily use, now.

 

(I should add that during my experiments, I also bought some dreadful steel nibs, but that can happen with any material.)

 

Thanks



#8 KellyMcJ

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 01:36

I have both flexible and nail steel and gold.

 

There are reasons to want either or, but gold or steel doesn't really play into the equation for me. There is no real difference, other than monetary value, between the two anymore. Higher end pens tend to come with gold nibs, but that doesn't make gold in any functional way superior to steel. (The one possible thing here is with plated nibs where plating can come off, but these can be either gold or steel which has been plated).

 

As others have said, stainless steel has made the functional reason for the use of gold (corrosion resistance) obsolete.

 

I love my gold nibs. I also love my steel nibs. I tend to prefer my gold nibbed pens, but that has only minor, non functional things to do with the fact that they are gold.



#9 tartuffo

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 02:48

Brian Gray's article  In Praise of Steel Nibs will answer a few of your questions ...

 

http://edisonpen.com...of-steel-nibs-2



#10 praxim

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 07:06

I like gold nibs; also, cake.


Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others, so cheer up and enjoy your pens. :)

#11 thx1138

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 14:04

I like gold nibs; also, cake.

 

Cake is good.

Nib material seems less relevant than how well made the nib is.



#12 RockingLR

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 14:18

I agree with what pretty much everyone has said. I LOVE my pilot metro steel nibs. I jumped on the vintage band wagon and LOVE my gold nibbed pens....however not getting into the "modern vs. vintage" debate I honestly think most gold vs steel debates are more  social status appeals and precieved "better nib". I personally haven't found a huge difference in either that couldn't be fixed with a little micro mesh or brass shims,  once you find what you like in a pen. I personally hate "hard as nails" nibs and prefer a tad bit of give....for me modern pilots metros fit the bill perfectly....some people love hard as nails...some people want a more paint brush feel...you can find it in both steel and gold nibs. Like many things the way nibs write vary from company to company. Is the extra price worth a gold nib? In my opinion no....and honestly I think if you want to try one go grab a cheaper vintage one to try it out before spending big bucks on a modern one.

 

The question really is: Is it worth it to YOU to invest in a gold nib or not?

 


 



#13 praxim

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 23:08

 

Cake is good.

Nib material seems less relevant than how well made the nib is.

 

Firstly, I think you will find the characteristics of the alloy used are also quite important.

 

Secondly, you may have missed that I was using a mix of irony and metaphor to say neither is "better" except by preference. It may be that the question or expression "Pie or cake?" originates in America given I have heard it more often there.


Anyone owning three or more working pens is in no position to disparage choices by others, so cheer up and enjoy your pens. :)

#14 ian1964

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 00:45

This thread and the copy of the Sheaffer letter contained inside cover the subject well.

http://www.fountainp...ib steel gold

 

 This is really interesting read...thank you.

 

Recently I replaced the  factory nib in my  Montbblanc 145  with a 18K Waterman Man 200 nib. The transformation is truly amazing. I was wondering why such a huge writing and now wonder after this article if the increased gold content is what has transformed this pen.



#15 Nail-Bender

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 01:44

It takes slightly more pressure to flex them, than my gold flex nibs, and they snap back into position nice and fast.

 

I had to adjust my technique for using the Leonardt Principal because you can't square the corners of a heavily shaded downstroke by tilting the pen and letting one tine snap back.

It will snap back so fast that it throws ink everywhere.

Not so much with the Zebra-G but it can still happen.

 

With the Creaper this is not a problem so I guess you can have too much snap at some point.

 

Flex is great but I rarely use anymore than 1.5 mm and usually it is about 1.3 for caps & the letters d,t & p.

So I have to ask...

What are you doing with soft >2mm capable pens?...Painting road signs?


Edited by Bordeaux146, 07 January 2018 - 01:45.


#16 ak2k5

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 12:04

only gold nib i have used is lamy2k. i find it to be considerably softer and comfortable to write than all the "very good" steel nibs (mostly jowo) i own


There's no such thing as perfect writing, just like there's no such thing as perfect despair : Haruki Murakami


#17 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 14:02

Richard Binder said he has had 18K superflex nibs in old vintage nibs that are fantastic.

But today, out side of Pelikan's 1000 and it's 18K semi-flex nib, there are as far as I know no other semi-flex 18 K nibs made. It though is not as robust as the antique superflex 18K nibs.....it is not as robust as a 14 K semi-flex nib in the Ham Fisted can bend it enough it stays bent.

 

What superflex nibs I have in gold are 14K.

 

Regular flex, semi/maxi are in a 3 X max tine set. There are also semi-nail nibs like a P-75 or modern 400/600...............there are many gold nails....and they are only as good as a good steel nail.

I often wonder at those who say gold is 'softer' than steel, if they are comparing a gold semi-nail to a steel nail.

 

I like the German '50-70 semi/maxi-semi-flex nibs in 14 K....(don't have an 18K one made for the French market where to be called gold it must be 750/18K) they are robust enough that the semi-ham-fisted can use with out ruining them.

It depends on the era...........I have Osmia/Osmia-Faber-Castell semi&maxi nibs in steel and gold that IMO are =.  Late '30's- late '50's.

 

I find the steel or gold plated Pelikan 200's steel regular flex nibs to be = to the '82-97 regular flex gold nibs. Regular flex is harder to find in modern pens than in semi-vintage or vintage.

 

I have MB vintage nibs, early '50's in 14 K that are semi-flex and maxi-semi-flex, including a medium-large 146 which to me is much better balanced than my later '70-80's large 146 14 K that is regular flex.(It is not better than my Pelikan 200's steel nib, nor my '90's 400's 14 K nib.) A regular flex is for me = be it steel or gold....if well made.

 

My 18 K Woolf is the modern 'Springy' nib, good tine bend but only 2 X tine spread.

Right now the 14 K Lamy Imporium is one of the best modern nibs in that class....so close to semi-flex but not the 3 X tine spread, but only 2 X. It is the very best 'Springy' nib I've tried. So very close to semi-flex....it hurts.

At semi-flex I could start saving.....but my semi-flex nibs are better.

 

Back in the day when no one knew about cleaning their pens and the IG inks were stronger than now, gold didn't corrode. Steel did.

Today, if you clean your pen regularly or change inks often, gold has no advantage but bling...assuming you are using the same level of flex....nail-nail, semi-nail to semi-nail,  or regular flex if you can find it in both steel and gold.

 

Aurora has gone back to making semi-flex nibs but they call it 'flexible' in the buzz word Flex is in....even if most are not superflex, nor up to real semi-flex level.

 

When you have 4 or so pens, I suggest looking in German Ebay....and stay away from Buy Now Idiot......you can get semi-flex vintage pens at a reasonable price....if the seller takes Paypal....some won't because it cost them pennies, or will ship to your country....some won't ship out of Germany....a few are more into ecology than Trump, so won't send to the States anymore.

I suggest the Geha 790 as best buy....the info is in many of my rants.


What is the true face of Alec Guinness?

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

 

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.  Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#18 mitto

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 00:34

I like only vintage non-blingy soft gold nibs.

Edited by mitto, 18 January 2018 - 00:35.

Khan

#19 Inkling13

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 01:00

I like only vintage non-blingy soft gold nibs.

Good for you. 


Edited by Inkling13, 18 January 2018 - 01:02.


#20 tonybelding

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 15:48

I am sure this question has been ask and answered many times before, but here goes, one more time. What are the advantages of gold nibs?  What are the advantages of steel nibs?  And, any disadvantage to either?  C. S. 

 

The advantage of gold nibs is that they're GOLD, and if you want gold then you want GOLD.





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