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



Registration on the Fountain Pen Network

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

Due to the enormous influx of spammers, it is no longer possible to handle valditions in the traditional way. For registrations we therefore kindly and respectfully request you to send an email with your request to our especially created email address. This email address is register at fountainpennetwork dot com. Please include your desired user name, and after validation we will send you a return email containing the validation key, normally wiithin a week.

Thank you very much in advance!
The FPN Admin Team






Photo

Pilot Soft Nibs

pilot namiki pilot namiki pilot 74 pilot 91 pilot soft nib soft nib pilot custom heritage 91 pilot custom 74

  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 15:41

Hi!

 

I'm planning on buying my first "premium" fountain pen. I'm currently set on getting a Pilot Custom Heritage 91 (or Custom 74, but I suppose it doesn't matter much since the nibs are interchangeable). I'm pretty sure about what model and what finish I want to get, but I just can't decide on the nib size. 

 

I don't have any experience with Pilot fountain pens, or any Japanese fountain pen for that matter. I'm used to writing with western fines and mediums, so I thought a Japanese FM would be a good choice. I want to go fine or maybe finer than a western fine, but I don't want a nib that is too fine, because I also like a line thick enough to show some nice ink properties. 

 

I also really like the sound of the soft nib options, so I thought I'd get a SFM. I've read that the soft nibs are wetter than the stiffer, regular nibs. Problem is that I'm not sure a very wet nib would be a good choice for me. I'm a college student, and I'll probably be using a lot of cheap paper. So I'm a bit afraid it will be too wet for that purpose. I could always get a SF, but I really think the FM size would suit my writing better. 

 

Beside, I'm going to be using it a lot for quick, daily note taking. I mostly use my laptop during lectures, but I still usually write a lot as well. I know the soft nibs are by no means flex nibs, but I don't know if they would be stiff enough for this purpose either.

 

Do any of you have experience with Pilot's soft nibs? Do you have advice for me?

 

Thanks a lot!



Sponsored Content

#2 LizEF

LizEF

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,832 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 16:17

First, I find I tend to agree with those who find that a stiff nib is better for really fast writing.  I suspect this is the safer bet, and whether you go with a soft nib now (remember, you can always get one later) will probably come down to whether it's appealing enough to take the risk (and whether you have another pen for notes should this one not work out for that purpose).

 

That said, if you naturally write with a light hand, even when writing quickly, a soft nib could be just fine.  I have Pilot gold nibs (they all have a little give), a Platinum SF, and a Pilot Falcon SEF - so none are a direct comparison, but with practice, it's not hard to write fast with them.  That said, I've never tried taking notes with them to the extent a college student would.

 

As for size, it's hard to be sure, but your FM estimation sounds right.  You could use the Goulet Pens Nib Nook tool to get a visual comparison between a nib you know and the Pilot nib of interest.



#3 KLscribbler

KLscribbler

    Medium Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 236 posts
  • Location:Durian-Land
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 16:32

As someone whose primary work-pen is a Custom Heritage 91 with a Soft Medium nib, my thoughts are:

 

I think much depends on your choice of ink and your writing habits. The SM nib I have is indeed a very juicy nib, however my main ink used with this pen is Sailor Sei Boku, which I find to be one of the best-behaved inks on cheap paper. If your favored ink has a greater tendency to bleed or feather, then this nib might be too wet and you might want to go finer. On the other hand, there have been reports by others here on FPN that with Pilot #5 nibs (the type used for the Custom 74, 91, and 92), the nibs in Fine and Extra Fine sizes often are rather dry out of the box. I have not personally experienced this, but it is something to keep in mind.

 

Now, writing habits - on the subject of whether the Pilot soft nibs will be stiff enough for rapid notetaking, the main variable is going to be how light your normal writing pressure is. For me, I write with a very light hand, so soft nibs are no hindrance to fast notetaking. But if you have stronger writing pressure, the soft nibs will certainly slow you down as the tines spread with pressure. A fast way of testing this would be to get a dip pen and a pointed, somewhat flexible nib such as the Nikko or Zebra G nibs - if you can comfortably write fast with that, you'll have no problem writing fast with the Pilot softs.

 

Another (albeit minor) thing to consider is whether you have any propensity to unconsciously rotate/roll the pen while writing (this is best tested by writing with a different pen that's known to be very sensitive to rotation - examples include the Lamy 2000 and certain Parker 45s, especially the US-made steel fine nibs). The Pilot soft nibs are not finicky with respect to rotation in the normal sense, however, if the nib is rotated too much, this places assymetric pressure on the tines while writing, and on the soft nibs it can produce greater scratchiness.

 

Also, a side note - if your Custom 74 or 91 doesn't come with a CON-70 pump converter, definitely get one of those. The CON-70 not only holds a lot of ink, but noticeably improves the weight and balance of the pen in hand. Highly recommended.



#4 max dog

max dog

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,371 posts
  • Location:British Columbia
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 16:53

I highly recommend the Pilot SFM. Comparable to a western fine. I dont find the softness inhibits fast writing at all. Its wet but not a gusher. The wetness and softness together provide wonderful responsive feel and nice shading, and some flair with line variation should you intentionally apply some pressure.

#5 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 17:08

First, I find I tend to agree with those who find that a stiff nib is better for really fast writing.  I suspect this is the safer bet, and whether you go with a soft nib now (remember, you can always get one later) will probably come down to whether it's appealing enough to take the risk (and whether you have another pen for notes should this one not work out for that purpose).
 
That said, if you naturally write with a light hand, even when writing quickly, a soft nib could be just fine.  I have Pilot gold nibs (they all have a little give), a Platinum SF, and a Pilot Falcon SEF - so none are a direct comparison, but with practice, it's not hard to write fast with them.  That said, I've never tried taking notes with them to the extent a college student would.
 
As for size, it's hard to be sure, but your FM estimation sounds right.  You could use the Goulet Pens Nib Nook tool to get a visual comparison between a nib you know and the Pilot nib of interest.


You guys are all surprisingly helpful. Thanks so much!

I actually think a regular nib would be better for me for this particular purpose.

#6 TSherbs

TSherbs

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,768 posts

Posted 03 April 2018 - 17:11

I highly recommend the Pilot SFM. Comparable to a western fine. I dont find the softness inhibits fast writing at all. Its wet but not a gusher. The wetness and softness together provide wonderful responsive feel and nice shading, and some flair with line variation should you intentionally apply some pressure.

 

I agree with this. My Pilot SFM is my best nib, for the reasons that you describe.



#7 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 17:13

As someone whose primary work-pen is a Custom Heritage 91 with a Soft Medium nib, my thoughts are:
 
I think much depends on your choice of ink and your writing habits. The SM nib I have is indeed a very juicy nib, however my main ink used with this pen is Sailor Sei Boku, which I find to be one of the best-behaved inks on cheap paper. If your favored ink has a greater tendency to bleed or feather, then this nib might be too wet and you might want to go finer. On the other hand, there have been reports by others here on FPN that with Pilot #5 nibs (the type used for the Custom 74, 91, and 92), the nibs in Fine and Extra Fine sizes often are rather dry out of the box. I have not personally experienced this, but it is something to keep in mind.
 
Now, writing habits - on the subject of whether the Pilot soft nibs will be stiff enough for rapid notetaking, the main variable is going to be how light your normal writing pressure is. For me, I write with a very light hand, so soft nibs are no hindrance to fast notetaking. But if you have stronger writing pressure, the soft nibs will certainly slow you down as the tines spread with pressure. A fast way of testing this would be to get a dip pen and a pointed, somewhat flexible nib such as the Nikko or Zebra G nibs - if you can comfortably write fast with that, you'll have no problem writing fast with the Pilot softs.
 
Another (albeit minor) thing to consider is whether you have any propensity to unconsciously rotate/roll the pen while writing (this is best tested by writing with a different pen that's known to be very sensitive to rotation - examples include the Lamy 2000 and certain Parker 45s, especially the US-made steel fine nibs). The Pilot soft nibs are not finicky with respect to rotation in the normal sense, however, if the nib is rotated too much, this places assymetric pressure on the tines while writing, and on the soft nibs it can produce greater scratchiness.
 
Also, a side note - if your Custom 74 or 91 doesn't come with a CON-70 pump converter, definitely get one of those. The CON-70 not only holds a lot of ink, but noticeably improves the weight and balance of the pen in hand. Highly recommended.


Thank you so much for you help! I'm pretty sure a regular nib would be better for me after reading this. I don't use that much pressure, but I'm used to steel nibs that are like nails, and I think I'm just more used to that. I think a soft nib would be too soft too fast, if that makes sense. I think I want to try the regular Pilot 14K nib first. I can always get a soft nib later.

Off topic, but is that a Jan Toorop painting in your profile picture?

#8 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 17:14

Than

I highly recommend the Pilot SFM. Comparable to a western fine. I dont find the softness inhibits fast writing at all. Its wet but not a gusher. The wetness and softness together provide wonderful responsive feel and nice shading, and some flair with line variation should you intentionally apply some pressure.


Thanks for your input! I think I'll probably go with a regular nib, but I'm still very much interested in the soft nibs. I think I will definitely get one at some point in the future.

#9 KLscribbler

KLscribbler

    Medium Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 236 posts
  • Location:Durian-Land
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 17:37

Off topic, but is that a Jan Toorop painting in your profile picture?

 

Yes it is! It is this painting: https://krollermulle...p-contemplation . One of my favorites of his.

 

This makes me so glad :)  I've been using this profile picture for many years in various places online, and you're the first person ever to notice/remark on it! I have not visited the Netherlands before (well, except a few hours transferring between flights in Amsterdam airport, but that doesn't count)... but when I do, I would definitely love to go see lots of Jan Toorop's works in person.

 

On topic now:

I don't use that much pressure, but I'm used to steel nibs that are like nails, and I think I'm just more used to that. I think a soft nib would be too soft too fast, if that makes sense. I think I want to try the regular Pilot 14K nib first. I can always get a soft nib later.

 

Sure, that makes sense. If it's your first soft/non-rigid nib it might take a while to adapt, say, a few days to a couple weeks or so. That said, the normal non-soft Pilot 14k nibs are also not nails. They have a slight softness to them too, though nothing as pronounced as the explicitly-labeled "Soft" nibs. They're really nice if you like a cushioned writing feel.


Edited by KLscribbler, 03 April 2018 - 17:38.


#10 LizEF

LizEF

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,832 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 18:05

Good posts KLscribbler!

 

thespyingdutchman:  It does seem like a regular Pilot gold nib would make a good transition between hard steel nibs and soft gold nibs - sort of a gradual transition.  That's how I made the transition and I really enjoyed the process.  I still like steel nibs in some situations.  The "non-soft" gold ones are for most of my regular writing.  And I use the soft in my regular rotation but with occasional "flexing" for fun.  I really enjoy that cushion / give in gold and soft nibs.



#11 Feanaaro

Feanaaro

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 325 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 18:25

I had some problems with my SF (Custom 91) being too dry when non-flexed, but once I managed to spread the tines just a tiny bit (after considerable efforts) it became one of my favorite writers. The pen is the perfect size and look for me, and the nib is very nice.



#12 LanceSaintPaul

LanceSaintPaul

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 303 posts
  • Location:Saint Paul, MN USA
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 18:33

My Pilot Falcon with the soft medium nib is one of my very favorites to use. And for me it writes just as fast as I want it to, that is, as fast as I can write.

 

That suggests that you should do what you can to try one for yourself prior to purchase.


Edited by LanceSaintPaul, 03 April 2018 - 18:34.


#13 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 19:19

Good posts KLscribbler!

 

thespyingdutchman:  It does seem like a regular Pilot gold nib would make a good transition between hard steel nibs and soft gold nibs - sort of a gradual transition.  That's how I made the transition and I really enjoyed the process.  I still like steel nibs in some situations.  The "non-soft" gold ones are for most of my regular writing.  And I use the soft in my regular rotation but with occasional "flexing" for fun.  I really enjoy that cushion / give in gold and soft nibs.

Thanks, that's what I thought too! I can always get a soft nib later, but I think it might be best to get a regular one first. 

 

How different would you say the soft nibs are in feel (compared to Pilot's regular 14K gold nibs)? Like, are the soft nibs significantly different? I know they're not exactly flex or semi-flex, so it's hard for me to imagine what they would write like. Especially because I don't have much of a reference point. 



#14 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 19:20

I had some problems with my SF (Custom 91) being too dry when non-flexed, but once I managed to spread the tines just a tiny bit (after considerable efforts) it became one of my favorite writers. The pen is the perfect size and look for me, and the nib is very nice.

They definitely do sound very interesting. Although I'm currently set on getting a FM, I definitely still think I want to try one of the soft nibs in the future. They sound so nice.

 

What do you think of the 91 by the way? Like, the rest of the pen I mean. 



#15 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 19:29

My Pilot Falcon with the soft medium nib is one of my very favorites to use. And for me it writes just as fast as I want it to, that is, as fast as I can write.

 

That suggests that you should do what you can to try one for yourself prior to purchase.

I don't know anyone who uses fountain pens, especially not non-Western pens, so trying one out isn't very easy :( I do have a very nice stationary store in the city where I go to college, but they only carry Lamy, Kaweco and Conklin. None of the non-western brands, unfortunately. 

 

I'll probably just go with the regular gold nib. I'm used to writing with stiff steel nibs, so it'd probably be nicer for me to go from there to the slightly stiffer nib. I probably still want to try out one of the soft nibs, though! Someday...

 

The Falcon seems like a lot of fun! 



#16 LizEF

LizEF

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,832 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 19:30

How different would you say the soft nibs are in feel (compared to Pilot's regular 14K gold nibs)? Like, are the soft nibs significantly different? I know they're not exactly flex or semi-flex, so it's hard for me to imagine what they would write like. Especially because I don't have much of a reference point. 

 

Hmm.  Actually, they don't seem that different when writing normally - but again, I'm not trying to take rapid notes for an extended period.  It's not like they're wet noodles and go all gushy as soon as they get close to the paper. :lol:   It takes deliberate effort to spread the tines.  So, re-thinking, maybe it's not a risk after all - unless you tend to bear down on the pen in the heat of all that rapid note taking.  Maybe you should try to be conscious of pressure when you're taking your notes - see if it increases.  I don't have a soft pen inked right now, but I can't remember then feeling any different unless I deliberately tried to flex the tines.  Perhaps I should ink up my Platinum and try some fast writing.

 

(NOTE: Each nib feels different from the next, so it's not that there's no difference, it's just that I don't really notice the soft nibs going all squishy on me as I write - I think they provide about as much cushion as my other gold nibs.  Like I said above, I'd have to ink the Platinum to test this belief.)



#17 flyingpenman

flyingpenman

    We see in a mirror dimly...

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 639 posts
  • Location:Mississippi
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 20:02

What do you think of the 91 by the way? Like, the rest of the pen I mean.


I know this wasn’t addressed to me, but I also have a Custom 91 with SF nib. Quick thoughts: initially I actually didn’t like the nib, but it grew on me considerably, especially after inking it with a slightly drier ink (I initially used Noodler’s Blue-Black, switched to Diamine Eclipse). Now it’s one of my favorite writers when paired with a moderate to dry ink, if not my favorite writer, and I usually achieve my best penmanship with it.

As for the pen itself, the design is simple but classic, which I like. I’d say it’s a bit narrow and light for long writing unless you have a relaxed grip - its dimensions are about that of a Pelikan M200. But it’s very well balanced with the CON-70, posts deeply, and has a phenomenal nib. Roughly $80 online or from Japan and you have yourself a steal.

Bottom line: it’s a well-designed and understated, classy pen. If you like demonstrators or cigar-shaped, I’d stick with the 74 or 92.

Best of luck!

~AK
Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I found out long ago.
~C.S. Lewis
--------------
Current Rotation:
Edison Menlo <m italic>, Lamy 2000 <EF>, Wing Sung 601 <F>
Pilot VP <F>, Pilot Metropolitan <F>, Pilot Penmanship <EF>

#18 Feanaaro

Feanaaro

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 325 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 03 April 2018 - 20:42

They definitely do sound very interesting. Although I'm currently set on getting a FM, I definitely still think I want to try one of the soft nibs in the future. They sound so nice.

 

What do you think of the 91 by the way? Like, the rest of the pen I mean. 

 

I think it's great. The size is small-is while still being a full sized pen, the look is classic and understated as I like it, the grip is very comfortable, not too thick not too thin. Built quality is very good, as usually the case with Pilot. Is a perfectly made basic pen.

There was a video calling it the perfect fountain pen:  

Which it is in a way, there is nothing flashy or special about it (well, the selection of nibs is impressive) but works perfectly for what it is.



#19 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 04 April 2018 - 06:16

Hmm.  Actually, they don't seem that different when writing normally - but again, I'm not trying to take rapid notes for an extended period.  It's not like they're wet noodles and go all gushy as soon as they get close to the paper. :lol:   It takes deliberate effort to spread the tines.  So, re-thinking, maybe it's not a risk after all - unless you tend to bear down on the pen in the heat of all that rapid note taking.  Maybe you should try to be conscious of pressure when you're taking your notes - see if it increases.  I don't have a soft pen inked right now, but I can't remember then feeling any different unless I deliberately tried to flex the tines.  Perhaps I should ink up my Platinum and try some fast writing.
 
(NOTE: Each nib feels different from the next, so it's not that there's no difference, it's just that I don't really notice the soft nibs going all squishy on me as I write - I think they provide about as much cushion as my other gold nibs.  Like I said above, I'd have to ink the Platinum to test this belief.)


I see, thanks! That definitely sounds easier to write with than full flex or something.

#20 thespyingdutchman

thespyingdutchman

    Near Mint

  • Member - Bronze+

  • PipPipPip
  • 37 posts
  • Location:South Holland
  • Flag:

Posted 04 April 2018 - 06:25

I know this wasn’t addressed to me, but I also have a Custom 91 with SF nib. Quick thoughts: initially I actually didn’t like the nib, but it grew on me considerably, especially after inking it with a slightly drier ink (I initially used Noodler’s Blue-Black, switched to Diamine Eclipse). Now it’s one of my favorite writers when paired with a moderate to dry ink, if not my favorite writer, and I usually achieve my best penmanship with it.

As for the pen itself, the design is simple but classic, which I like. I’d say it’s a bit narrow and light for long writing unless you have a relaxed grip - its dimensions are about that of a Pelikan M200. But it’s very well balanced with the CON-70, posts deeply, and has a phenomenal nib. Roughly $80 online or from Japan and you have yourself a steal.

Bottom line: it’s a well-designed and understated, classy pen. If you like demonstrators or cigar-shaped, I’d stick with the 74 or 92.

Best of luck!

~AK


That's exactly what I thought! It's a very understated, classic design, but I really love that look. I also have pretty small hands, so I think it will be a good fit.

I do kind of like the black smoke demonstrator versions of the 74 and 92, but I also really love a classic black pen. I was actually considering getting the 92 for a while, but it doesn't have as many nib options so I focused more on the 91.

Thank you!





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: pilot, namiki, pilot namiki, pilot 74, pilot 91, pilot soft nib, soft nib, pilot custom heritage 91, pilot custom 74



Sponsored Content




|