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I Still Don't Understand What Obliques Are For


26 replies to this topic

#1 marlinspike

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 02:13

I've used fountain pens almost exclusively since high school, but I still don't understand the purpose of an oblique nib. I see it said that it is to accommodate a writer who rotates the pen when writing, but I don't understand why, with the pen being a round object, that would happen, and couldn't be accounted for simply by picking up the pen rotated to the left a bit more than you had before.



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#2 Inkling13

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 03:12

That is a misconception that obliques are for those who rotate your pen. Obliques actually are an intermediate between Italic and architect nibs, varying the degree at which it will make the widest and thinnest lines. An italic nib makes the widest line marking parallel to the pen body, and thinnest perpendicular. Architect nibs are exactly opposite of this. Somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum exists the land of the oblique nib. Thus, an oblique 45-degree nib will make the fattest boldest line making a mark that is 45 degrees to the pen body, and the thinnest 90 degrees to that.  That is why you're confused but easily understandable. 


Edited by Inkling13, 02 March 2018 - 03:14.


#3 marlinspike

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 03:16

Interesting. It even makes it into the booklet that came with my Black Amber Lamy 2000 and Goulet's website.


Edited by marlinspike, 02 March 2018 - 03:17.


#4 Inkling13

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 03:46

True. I dont doubt this. But if you think, the flad edge doesnt let you rotate the pen any more than an italic nib would let you, and still locks you into a certain rotated angle.

#5 zaddick

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 04:01

That is a misconception that obliques are for those who rotate your pen. Obliques actually are an intermediate between Italic and architect nibs, varying the degree at which it will make the widest and thinnest lines. An italic nib makes the widest line marking parallel to the pen body, and thinnest perpendicular. Architect nibs are exactly opposite of this. Somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum exists the land of the oblique nib. Thus, an oblique 45-degree nib will make the fattest boldest line making a mark that is 45 degrees to the pen body, and the thinnest 90 degrees to that.  That is why you're confused but easily understandable. 


Your comment about obliques being between and italic and architect is not always the case - only if the oblique is already stubbish or an italic. There are oblique nibs that are rounded and offer no real line variation between diagonal strokes. The only real reason I can see for those obliques is for users who do prefer that angle for how they hold a pen.

#6 pajaro

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 04:43

Left and right obliques exist, and, after trying several, I have come to dislike them.  They make me think carefully and deliberately how to orient the pen.  Why couldn't the oblique lovers rotate a regular stub or italic to suit.  I think obliques are just something for elitists to be smug about.


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#7 Inkling13

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 05:11

Left and right obliques exist, and, after trying several, I have come to dislike them.  They make me think carefully and deliberately how to orient the pen.  Why couldn't the oblique lovers rotate a regular stub or italic to suit.  I think obliques are just something for elitists to be smug about.

Different strokes for different folks. You use what you use, buy what you buy, and to heck with what anybody else thinks. If you think buying MB's with a fine nib is the best, then more power to you. If you like Pilot Metros with their italic nibs, fine too. You can take anything these days and make it elitist. 



#8 DasKaltblut

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 05:13

Your comment about obliques being between and italic and architect is not always the case - only if the oblique is already stubbish or an italic. There are oblique nibs that are rounded and offer no real line variation between diagonal strokes. The only real reason I can see for those obliques is for users who do prefer that angle for how they hold a pen.

25213338307_ded9b1fb1d_b.jpg

 

 

So this is a rounded OBB, not stubbish, not italic - and I still get decent line variation. This doesn't show up as well on cheap paper of course. Also, Since my nib cost $10 I don't think I can be accused of being elitist. I prefer the obliques because they have more tipping material. When I rotate an italic, it isn't as enjoyable to the eye or the hand.


Edited by DasKaltblut, 02 March 2018 - 05:17.


#9 zaddick

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 07:04

25213338307_ded9b1fb1d_b.jpg
 
So this is a rounded OBB, not stubbish, not italic - and I still get decent line variation. This doesn't show up as well on cheap paper of course. Also, Since my nib cost $10 I don't think I can be accused of being elitist. I prefer the obliques because they have more tipping material. When I rotate an italic, it isn't as enjoyable to the eye or the hand.


I hope that eletist comment was not pointed as me as I never said anything of the like. I have many obliques and prefer them in general.

Without seeing your tipping, I would say your writing sample indicates stubbish qualities to the tip of the nib. I expect a rounded tip oblique to write an X with equal width to each stroke. Perhaps it is a function of the width of the nib creating a stub like profile?

Anyhow, that is the type of variation I like and, in fact, I prefer a more extreme amount and have had several obliques ground to increase line variation. I hope you also find joy in the nib you showed.

Edited by zaddick, 02 March 2018 - 07:05.


#10 dezorz

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 09:56

in old days, nibs were flexier. when you rotate stub you get sort of oblique but you cannot press the nib to get the flex, since it is rotated.

 

try some cheap post war german piston fillers, geha (geha and i think osmia too marking is in german, fs, ms, bs instead of OF, OM, OB)  , montblanc, pelikan, osmia, lamy, kaweco in oblique, when not pressing, the line variation is low, press a bit and now you see it.

 

i quite like these obliques. OB is not as thick as B. B is usually too thick for me. OF is very often very thin, like japanesse EF with a spike of stubiness.

 

Left and right obliques exist, and, after trying several, I have come to dislike them.  They make me think carefully and deliberately how to orient the pen.  Why couldn't the oblique lovers rotate a regular stub or italic to suit.  I think obliques are just something for elitists to be smug about.



#11 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 10:01

I like the stubbed German semi-flex oblique nibs of the '50-60's. You get the stub, the ease of tine flex...well easier than a regular flex, that gives a good pattern of line variation.

 

I get no line variation with a regular flex....much less a nail, in there is too little tine spread.

Perhaps I should stub my W.Germany 200...whose for touch more springiness then the Germany ones, didn't come through.

 

I see the modern or nail obliques...in I did have a Lamy 27 & Persona oblique, for folks that are left handed or are left eye dominant and want to see the top of the nib.

Back in the Day...when many still used fountain pens there were always a right hander or two in every class who twisted the pen...it did puzzle me for a second or three....didn't know the word canted for fountain pens way back then. 

 

I had trans-mailed 200's oblique pens to a passed poster in England, they didn't do the trick...could be they should have been stubbed.

I have 27 semi-flex, 16 maxi-semi-flex of which some 13? or so, are obliques in a mix of semi&maxi.

Most are 15 degree grinds. 5 are 30 degree grinds.......more pattern. Luck of the draw.

 

Yep, got to put the nib flat to the paper to get the oblique pattern. For semi-flex or maxi, in I think anything else is a waste of money for line variation.....if the nib is a 15 degree grind, post the cap of the pen so the clip is aligned between the slit and the right hand edge of the the nib. Grasp the pen while it is in air, don't even look at the nib. Place it on the paper and it will be flat.....then just write.

Do not twist your fingers, arm or hang from the chandelier. The nib will do all the work.

 

If the nib is a 30 degree grind, post it so the clip is in line with the right hand edge of the nib...re-grip your pen in the air, place on paper and write.

I came up with that.

 

There were still some with problems. Richard came up with not setting the paper at 45 degrees but at 90 or 180....for those who still had problems.

 

I never had any problem at 45 degrees....and don't think most do. But just in case.

 

If you IMO wasted money on a modern.....non semi-flex oblique....perhaps you can get a tad of line variation by stubbing the nib.

If you have not yet bought an oblique....do buy a German '50-60's stubbed  semi-flex oblique. :puddle: 

 

If you post one of the medium-small 140, Geha 760, Kaweco Dia or 6x Osmia, they have longer caps so post to the same size as the standard. The medium-large pens Osmia pens or MB 146 (the later 146 is a Large pen) have great balance too.

Posted they are longer and much better balanced than Modern large pen.

 

If you refuse to post......don't buy one. Stub your large modern 'oblique'....as a lesser solution, to a problem you'd not have with a semi-flex oblique. .


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.

 

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.


#12 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 10:24

in old days, nibs were flexier. when you rotate stub you get sort of oblique but you cannot press the nib to get the flex, since it is rotated.

 

IMO....old German semi-flex flexes just as much as a straight semi-flex nib.  A fine poster stated stub and CI are always 100% line variation, semi-flex is line variation 'on demand'. That goes for the obliques also.

I still am slightly heavy handed for me, the demand is easier to get. :P

 

try some cheap post war german piston fillers, geha (geha and i think osmia too marking is in german, fs, ms, bs instead of OF, OM, OB)  , montblanc, pelikan, osmia, lamy (pure nail), kaweco in oblique, when not pressing, the line variation is low, press a bit and now you see it.

 

Well my oblique Osmias are marked BBL. ML which are BB left foot or M left foot...in they also made right foot obliques...BBR. The diamond nib is a semi-flex, the Supra a maxi-semi-flex.....and I see with

fs, ms, bs...the S= schräg....oblique, inclined, slanted, skew, sloping, diagonal. :crybaby:  I need more older Osmia with those markings rather than the BBL, BL ones I have. :)

 

OK...the Geha is 'cheaper'...but :angry:

The piston Geha was never a cheap pen ...when it was made. (the cartridges ones you should never buy in there is no cartridge that fits, was just as cheap as the Pelikan cartridge pens), in Geha competed with Pelikan........it is cheaper in German Ebay by  still 1/3 compared to the 140/400.....the stupid prices have jumped real big time....a Best Buy. I am very happy with my Geha 790/760's....the  medium small 760 does run 1/3 more than the 790.

The 760 runs at the same used price as the 140 and early 400's.

:crybaby:When a Pelikan 140 went for E50, a Geha 790 could be had from E19-30..... Oh the good old days...before I spent a decade telling everyone and his brother what a grand inexpensive used pen the Geha 790 is....have 3 and only one of the more expensive 760's.  Well now a Pelikan 140 goes for E90-100, so a Geha 790 unless you hunt, can be had for E60. Hunt hard and you can get one for much less.

 

Osmia was always a first tier pen, which because it didn't have a office supply company like Soennecken, MB, Pelikan and later Geha, was always broke. Faber-Castell bought it up because they needed a first class pen.

Osmia still runs more than vintage Pelikan in the German Ebay. If a '50's 400 goes for 100-120, a Osmia will go 140-150+.

 

i quite like these obliques. OB is not as thick as B. B is usually too thick for me. OF is very often very thin, like japanesse EF with a spike of stubiness.

 

Vintage and semi-vintage German nibs are at least 1/2 narrower than modern. An vintage OB is a writing nib, not a signature nib of modern times.

 

I lucked out and have in OBB(BBL) OB, OM and OF in both 15&30 degree grinds, in a mix of semi&maxi.....and maxi out side of the Osmia Supra nib is also luck of the draw.

 


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 02 March 2018 - 10:33.

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.

 

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.


#13 DasKaltblut

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 16:02

I hope that eletist comment was not pointed as me as I never said anything of the like. I have many obliques and prefer them in general.

Without seeing your tipping, I would say your writing sample indicates stubbish qualities to the tip of the nib. I expect a rounded tip oblique to write an X with equal width to each stroke. Perhaps it is a function of the width of the nib creating a stub like profile?

Anyhow, that is the type of variation I like and, in fact, I prefer a more extreme amount and have had several obliques ground to increase line variation. I hope you also find joy in the nib you showed.


Oh no, that comment was for the other poster. An unfortunate result of my quoting late at night, sorry! I love my obliques, maybe I can a picture of this particular tip. It looks very rounded to me, but maybe my rounded is your stubbish!

#14 Ghost Plane

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 17:13

Behold the mythology begun by so-called experts in marketing, rather than users. Obliques are stubs pointing in interesting directions. Find the sweet spot, close your fingers and write. Unless youre one of those people who wobble your pens about and dont enjoy edged nibs.

Here are a few obliques next to stubs so you can get the idea.

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#15 DasKaltblut

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 18:06

So here are some of my obliques. I captured the bottom because that is where the writing surface is. The first is the Lamy OB steel. It has a very defined angle. The next two are the Knox OBB #6 and #5 - they are more rounded than the lamy, but still give line variation. My writing sample from above is from the #5.

 

39867226144_8a0b74c734_c.jpg

39867227614_90e3f5f90a_z.jpg

38767612600_2df7d63ea2_z.jpg



#16 richila

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Posted 02 March 2018 - 19:14

Thank you to the OP, marlinspike, those who answered and especially thank you for the pictures!  



#17 pw1224

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 07:12

When I was in elementary school, I took some calligraphy classes. The teacher (a full-time school teacher who taught calligraphy after school) had us use oblique nibs. They did create line variation and had large enough sweet spots so we were not frustrated students.

#18 max dog

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 09:48

It gives nice line variation like a stub, but its cut at an angle to fit your natural tendency to hold the pen. Its that simple.

Edited by max dog, 03 March 2018 - 09:50.


#19 dezorz

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 16:26

bo bo olson, you are right. old lamys are nails. still, somehow better than current nails. life is not always about flex. if it was i would not have 5 of them. 27/99s. :) they are so smoth. so very smoth.   

 

lamys are nails but oit is hooded nib design. hooded nibs are usually not as flexy as open nibs.  

 

right, osmias oblique have ML, BL, BBL marks. geha FS,MS,BS, other brands OF, OM, OB.... some of them are veru thin, my geha 790 bs is thinner then most OM i have. and geha 790 fs is thinner than japanesse EF. of course, it depends. LAMY OF is like GEHA BS.  i had montblanc 344 broad OF which didn show much line variation, if was very similar to 342 EF.  on the other hand 342 steel OB is thicker than many Bs i tried.     

 

by cheap i mean current prices. :) many good german piston fillers from 50s, 60s can be get for 25€ - 50€. even some montblancs. (342, 042, 32...). pelikans are usually most expensive, i actually dont have any old pelikan. well, i had one 400 OB from 80s but it was terrible. i have 3 geha 790, they were about 40€-50€. even those school pens from geha, with steelnibs write beautifully, better then twsbi eco.  

 

i prefer old german obliques to round (kugel) straight nibs. i dont like stubbish nibs, when vertical line is the broadest one. well, F and M  stubs are ok, but B and broader not. i dont really like normal nibs, when the line is same in all directions. but obliques, when broadest line is the down stroke in a  horizontal angle, such characters are, at least for me, most intrique ones. it is just a little bit of uniqnuess. not so hars as broad stub, not even as kugels.

 

i tried modern obliques, well, only metal jowo, not bad, but same with normal broad nibs, 50s, 60s nibs are much better. if you lucky, you can buy for 30€ small german piston filler which writes much much better then modern pens of ten times higher price.


Edited by dezorz, 03 March 2018 - 16:26.


#20 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 03 March 2018 - 23:28

"""well, i had one 400 OB from 80s but it was terrible.""""

Regular flex nib....I have a '85+ W.Germany 200, that is only a sight tad better than the other 200 Obliques I've tried....of course some of that could be wishing. I have to mash it pretty good, well into Ham Fisted to get even slight line variation.

I remember the first 200 oblique I trans-mailed. :headsmack: :crybaby: So much for Plan A....B and C. :happyberet: 

 

I started out in both semi-flex and oblique with a 140 OB.... :notworthy1: :puddle: 

 

Two posters I respect, stated the Geha nib is a tad better than the Pelikan one....so I tested my 4 Gehas vs 5-6 Pelikans from that era, and was so by a tad. Geha does make a good steel nib....on the 790....so don't be put off by a steel 790....it's as good as gold.

 

I have I think it is a MB 320 and it is a nail......sigh. I have a very nice MB 234 1/2 Deluxe ('52-54 only) KOB.... and the Kugal don't get in the way of the stubbed bottom.

My other KM's a Geha and an Osmia...are not obliques, do have stub bottoms.


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.

 

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.




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