After seeing a lot of glowing reviews about various PenBBS pens and especially about a good quality and consistency of their nibs, I bought a number of those pens myself. Unfortunately, in my case I found that while the pens themselves are indeed good, the nibs are basically unusable: even with well behaved inks (I use Pilot black & blue-black) the nibs have hard starts and skip constantly. One of the problems is clearly due to the fact that the tines are very tight near the tip of the nib and there is not even a slight gap between them, which seem to prevent a proper ink flow.
Note: I have other good pens (like Pilot Metropolitan, Platimun Preppy and Lamy Safari, each pen both in fine and medium sizes) that write very well and in all of them I see a slight gap between the tines for the whole length of a slit - it is a bit wider for medium nibs and a bit smaller for fine ones, but it is always present. So it is not the case that I am unable to see the gap in PenBBS' case - it really is missing there, or that it is normal for a nib to have tight tines.
I tried to floss between the tines to create a slight gap (using 0.002" (0.05mm) & 0.003" (0.08mm) gauge feelers), but no matter how I tried the tines always snapped back together - in the end I just ruined one of the nibs by applying too much pressure and bending the very tip of the nib (the part which contains the tipping alloy) and creating a 'V' shape where the two prongs of the 'V' are tips with the alloy and the point where they meet is a point a couple of millmeters higher between the tines - and at this point even after all the brutal handling the tines were *still* tight together, without any gap. I forced the tips back with pliers (nothing to loose here anyway) and the nib does write - though now it creates a much wider line: and it still skips constantly.
After all those adventures I lost my illusions about PenBBS' nibs and understood that if I want to use the pens, I have to buy properly made nibs separately.
Now, there are a number of problems here: first, I have read that PenBBS uses #6 nibs, which means that feed's diameter is supposed to be 6mm. But in reallity PenBBS' feed is 6.5mm in diameter in it's widest point (the part near the nipple) and 6.35mm-6.4mm in other parts (the feed is not completely cylindrical - it is a bit flattened). So the question is: can this difference between the specs for #6 nib and PenBBS' feed create a real problem?
Another isse: I saw a Pablo Carrasco (who is the owner of fpnibs.com) in one of his videos (here) explain a difference between the standard and BF Jowo's nibs: standard Jowo nibs & feeds are curved, and BF nibs are straight. Looking at PenBBS' feed I see that it is a straight feed, but the nib is curved (see the attached pictures). First of all, it make me wonder: maybe this is one of the causes for the poor ink flow - is it possible that the curve of the nib prevents a proper contact with the feed? And in general, why in the world did PenBBS decide to use a curved nib with a straight feed!?
In addition - and this is probably the most important question now: which nib should I buy - a standard one or a straight one? Or maybe it would be better to buy Bock's nib instead of Jowo's one: as I understand, Bock's 'standard' nibs (unlike Jowo's 'standard' ones) are straight, and so maybe would be a better choice. In particular, I have some hopes that maybe I can replace PenBBS' feed with a different feed, but BF Jowo nibs sold by fpnibs.com are sold without a matching feed. So if it happens that a straight nib matches PenBBS' better, then if I buy Bock's nib I will have a better chance of success: if the nib matches PenBBS feed well enough then I will use the original feed with the new nib. If it doesn't, then there is still a chance that a replacement feed will fit. If I buy BF Jowo nib though and the nib doesn't fit the feed, then I am stuck.
What are your experiences and opinions about all this?
Here is how the feed looks:
And here is the nib: