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Penbbs Nibs & Feeds: Problems And Alternatives

penbbs feed problem tight tines poor flow nib problem

26 replies to this topic

#1 day

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 15:26

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:

 

feed2.jpg

 

And here is the nib:

 

nib2.jpg



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#2 vojtahlad

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 16:23

I would recommend sending an e-mail to fpnibs.com. They sell a wide assortment of nibs and probably will be able to recommend which of them will fit your pen.



#3 day

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 20:00

Pablo told me that he does not have an experience with PenBBS pens, and therefore cannot provide recommendations.


Edited by day, 31 May 2018 - 20:01.


#4 Mech-for-i

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 07:49

Interesting situation you've got. I have myself quite a number of PenBBS pens and they all use the same nib unit and nib and so far I had had no trouble with them regarding flow and all write straight without fuss. Can you elaborate on if how and if you have any preparation to the pen before inking and writing. Needless to say , its common knowledge that Chinese fountain pen demand a through and through cleaning of the nib / feed / feeding mechanism before committing to any ink ( and in fact a good practice for all fountain pen and I did that to all myself ).

 

Also in general, most Chinese fountain pen nib do come in the said fashion, that is , without a visually discernible gap there but that in my many years of using Chinese fountain pen had proven not really a concern for ink flow at all. The skipping though can be either a dry flow or dry out of the ink in the feed ( after period of inactivity or cap not sealed well ).



#5 day

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 08:39

 

Can you elaborate on if how and if you have any preparation to the pen before inking and writing

 

One of the pens I disassembled completely, then left all the parts for a couple of  days in a soapy solution with a mild dishwashing soap (the same one I always use for an initial cleaning). After that I cleaned all the part under a running water and left to dry for a day. After assembling the pen I filled the converter (with Pilot black), and left the pen for a number of minutes in a nib-down position, waiting for the ink to permiate the feed. Seeing that the pen skips, I primed the feed, eventually filling the whole section with the ink - the problem still persisted. Then I closed the pen and left it for a day to "rest" - still no success. Then I periodically tried to write with it, but again - no joy.
 
After that I thought that maybe cleaning was a bad idea for this pen - it is possible that the problem is in how I assembled it back, or maybe somehow this pen is allergic to the soapy solution that I used. So when I tried the next pen, initially I didn't clean it at all - just filled it with the ink (Pilot blue-black): the same problem still occurred. Then I flushed the pen with water (without disassembling it), dried and filled it again - didn't help.
 
I have two additional PenBBS pens which I still didn't test - one of them has no gap at all, the other one has a slight gap (this one is 350, the others are 323), so I still have some hope for it.

 

 

 

Also in general, most Chinese fountain pen nib do come in the said fashion, that is , without a visually discernible gap there but that in my many years of using Chinese fountain pen had proven not really a concern for ink flow at all.

 

I have only a small number of Chinese pens (a bunch of Jinhaos 599 & a couple of Wing Sungs 6359), some of them are even quite good (the Wing Sung ones), and as far as I can see all of them have a gap. I read somewhere that due to a difference in the way that Chinese and Western characters are written, Chinese pens usually require more pressure to write. If you write in Chinese, then maybe this can explain why you don't experience ink flow difficulties writing with pens that do not have a gap.



#6 Mech-for-i

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 15:07

Well, I write daily in multiple languages ; so its not a Chinese writing experience only and I think you might have hit on it right. it might be a simple case of not proper assembly somewhere. Try cleaning and flushing without disassembly on one of those 2 others and see if same problem persist. Generally for new pens, whether Chinese , Japanese, or European I see no particular reason to disassemble, yeah I do clean them but its routine cleaning and flushing. Those that need disassembly are usually the one that dearly need so like when I forget a pen being inked and let it all dried up ...



#7 jekostas

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 22:38

I understand your frustration with a series of pens that don't write the way you want them to.

 

However;

 

Tine flossing is not meant for improving ink flow.

 

Attempt to do so and you'll mostly get the exact result you have - either pens where the gap hasn't changed, or you end up bending the tipping at the weld point and creating an even more difficult problem to fix.  Tine flossing should be limited to removing debris from the nib slit.

 

In the future, do the following:  Put the fingernails of your index fingers underneath the shoulders of the nib and very gently pull outwards.  Go slow, check with a loupe to see if the gap is increasing.



#8 woleizihan

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 22:41

Penbbs nibs are NOT standard #6 nibs. They are shorter.

#9 watch_art

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 00:10

Search around for spreading tines to increase ink flow.  Flossing is for cleaning.  Youtube has some good how-to videos.


fpn_1432247667__cropped-20150427_0641231 sigpic14481_1.gif vanness.jpg?t=1321916122


#10 minddance

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 00:50

Sometimes it is a poorly designed feed that does not encourage enough air exchange. Nib tines can only be spread to a certain degree, after which capillary action is flawed. And spreading tines might result in tine misalignment.

Fountain pen makers are very careful these days, sometimes to a fault, to close the tines very tightly and design very slow and restrictive feeds. Many ink makers too, are careful about wetness and they err on the dry side, or they simply added too much water for softness and shading. So, you might get a dry pen + dry ink if you are not careful.

Of course, the opposite combination might happen too, afterall, it is all about matching.

#11 IndigoBOB

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 04:39

I don't like the PenBBS nibs personally.  They don't work for me.

 

With the 308, unfortunately, there isn't enough space in the end of the cap to fit a regular #6 nib (jowo, bock, ect).  It will crunch the nib when you cap it.

 

With the 309, it does fit a #6 Jowo alright for me with enough room in the cap, but it's not as stable as I prefer.  Not as good as a Jinhao x750, but I find it still does work.

 

I would have loved to have seen PenBBS make their pens more compatible with Standard #6 nibs.  With the 309 you can make it work, though.



#12 Mech-for-i

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 12:08

there is no such thing as a standard for no.6 nib though



#13 IndigoBOB

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 23:49

there is no such thing as a standard for no.6 nib though

 

 

OK, I understand what you're saying.  If you want to get technical...  I will say that I'm defining Jowo as the Standard #6 in this context, since they are the most common labeled #6 nibs, in use by Edison, F-C, TWSBI, Ranga, and many others, they use a standard international converters...  So I think it's safe to say it is a standard, if not the standard #6.

 

The point I was making was that a Jowo #6 or Bock#6  may not fit as well on a 309 as it does in a Jowo nib unit, or on a jinhao x750/450.   It may augment something when using with a 309; it may not.

 

I have a Franklin-Christoph Medium nib I have been using for a long time with Ranga pens, F-C pens, and Jinhao's and it had been very consistent...

 

... Then I put it on a 309, it worked, but I decided to put it back on my Jinhao, and it became a wetter nib than it ever was before.  It still works well, but it tells me the nib was augmented slightly when swapped into the 309...

 

And this is congruent with the report by the OP that the PenBBS Feed is slightly larger than 6mm, which could have that effect I observed.

 

You can try tinker with an FPR #6, which is inexpensive, though may not be as good as a Jowo or Bock, though they can surprise you, but I have not tried, and likely won't.

 

I don't recommend using Noodler's #6's, they deviate a lot from the "standard" in this case, and are terrible.  

 

I have Knox #6's that have inconsistent shapes with Jowo nib unit feeds and the PenBBS feed, and the writing results have been and aren't as good as my Jowo #6's.

 

I like PenBBS's a lot, but the fragile feed isn't as durable as I'd like and the fit of other #6 nibs isn't as tight as I'd like. 

 

But if you have a #6 you're not using, it's close to what a Jowo is in shape and size, then the PenBBS 309 isn't bad to swap it into and make use of it.


Edited by IndigoBOB, 02 June 2018 - 23:52.


#14 Honeybadgers

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 05:55

Penbbs nibs are NOT standard #6 nibs. They are shorter.

 

They're close enough to a standard #6 that I can use Jinhao, monteverde and TWSBI #6 nibs in them with zero issues.

 

If you found them too dry, open them up. I had one in the batch of about 10 nibs I got that I thought was too dry. It's easily resolved by removing the nib, placing it curved-side-down on a hard surface, and pressing down gently but firmly on the breather hole. this will open the tines. If you make it too wet, just squeeze the tip of the wings together with your fingers. 


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#15 dcwaites

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 11:11

I have three PenBBS pens, a 323, a 267 and a 308.

After using them as is for a little time, I decided that I wanted more interesting nibs in them. I put two Jinhao #6 nibs in two of them that I had hand ground down to what I call Long Fines (sort of like the Sailor Naginata Togi nibs) and the third I put in a spare Jowo EF nib.

After a little while I put one of the original nibs back into one of the pens, so I now have one with original PenBBS nib, one with hand-ground Jinhao #6 and the third with a Jowo #6.

I am happy with all three nibs, as they write medium-fine and just on the dryish side of medium wet, using Monteverde Horizon Blue ink. Different inks will make the pens write drier or wetter.

 

I did find a fault in a couple of feeds, rather than the nibs, in that the ink feeding slot was too narrow, limiting ink flow. I ran the finest (0.002") and second-finest (0.003") blades from a feeler gauge set up and down the slots until they had opened up a bit more. Now they are just right.

 

For my personal tastes, I adjust the tines of my nibs to just touch at the ends. I find that this gives me optimal shading when writing cursive quickly, as I do.


fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

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#16 Mech-for-i

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 13:33

In the end I do not think PenBBS are out to made a feed / nib unit for others nib and that's pretty much wha almost all fountain pen Mfr do, so asking the Mfr to made a go for others nib is usually too much to asked for ( except for those who do not have their own ). And there are enough of a variety of fountain pens that take Jowo or Bock no.6 its to me somewhat perplexing a case of " why not just those "

 

And in my cache are no.6 nibs from Jowo, Bock, Schmidt, and from brands and needless to say most of them are actually not interchangeable even similar one from same name so I tend to be less critical about any brand's choosing of their own nib ; especially for not compatible with others. After all they made pen to fit their own nib not others.

 

I certainly do agree that PenBBS could benefit from ore nib grind variety, so far they have their standard F and the extra EF nib unit on offer, I really think instead of exotic ones, the better option for the Mfr is to stat offering us M and B , BB



#17 minddance

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 18:46

The Chinese are very reluctant to make broad and BB nibs. Anything that lays slightly a little more ink onto papers they say it is a gusher, anything that is broad they say it is unusable. Where is the fun spirit?

#18 watch_art

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 19:28

The Chinese are very reluctant to make broad and BB nibs. Anything that lays slightly a little more ink onto papers they say it is a gusher, anything that is broad they say it is unusable. Where is the fun spirit?

 

I think they just know their market.  If they offer a bunch of B and BB nibs, they won't be able to sell as many, or sell them as quickly.


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#19 minddance

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 11:42

Yep, you are right, the Chinese market isn't prepared for broad and bb nibs yet, maybe they will, in the future.

#20 calvin_0

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 02:39

question.. how do you remove the nib and feed from the housing? i try to remove mine and they just wont budge.. 

 

that said, i dont really have problem with PenBBS nib, they are pretty smooth despite being fine nib (asian fine, usually means western extra fine)... but i want to put in a stub nib..





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