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Some Experiments On Old Duofold Flex

duofold flex semi-flex regular flex im nail

4 replies to this topic

#1 ardene

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 16:30

Dear all, I've found some time to wonder about flair in writing, usually called flex, which I concur with others here that is to be distinguished from the gargantuan difference in stroke width some people are after, and which I follow Bo Bo Olson in calling superflex.

 

I got a 1929-1930 Lady Duofold serviced in mid-June and at approximately the same time I found a cheap pre-2016 Parker IM which I got. Both pens have seen regular use since then and now I am confident that they have adjusted to me, or I to them more likely, or probably both with more of the latter. Both pens now are wetter than they were when I first got them, with the Duofold already having been on the wet side. The IM can still railroad a bit on fast written vertical downstrokes when the ink nears its end and it still gives me hard starts if left unused for two to two-and-a-half days. Maybe that's just the result of a longer section of the feed being exposed to the air compared to other Parkers with similar nib-feed assortments.

 

In the process of getting wetter, I noticed that the Duofold does give some wider downstrokes than a manifold nib, without effort other than regular writing on my part. Since I already knew that the Duofold nib does spread its tines without effort, but the IM doesn't do so, I decided to see if there are any noticeable differences between the two. There are, but they are not so pronounced. Here are follow some pictures. Apologies for the lack of focus; it's due to the mobile camera and that's rather old.

 

The protagonists

 

IMG_0623.JPG

 

The Duofold was sold as Fine/Medium, which is an accurate description of appearances. To check for sure one has to remove the nib from the section. I haven't done that. Now it writes regularly as a medium almost always. It can write extra fine inverted. The IM came as an M.

 

Below are some samples. The paper is a regular ruled notebook of A4 size on which my Parkers behave from very well (IM) to excellent (IM and all others) without exception - I think they were designed to perform no-matter-what on cheap paper. The paper lines are about 1 cm apart from each other. The ink is Waterman Serenity Blue for both pens.

 

IMG_0618.JPG

 

The first and third lines are the Duofold. As you can see, it gives some flair noticeable in the downstroke of the gamma (γ) in "Υγρό μελάνι", which is Greek for "wet ink" and in the vertical downstroke of the D in the bottom "Duofold". The verticals in lines 3 & 4 are after -still for comfortable for the wrist- pressure was applied. The Duofold appears to reach a 2.5x to 3x stroke thickness.

 

Below there is some flair in a calligraphic-style f -which I have learnt to use but don't. The Duofold is writing the top line. Pressure applied to both samples. The amount of pressure was enough to leave marks on the white page below the one I was writing on. Speed is a bit slower than I usually write.

 

IMG_0619.JPG

 

Below is a sample of writing without any pressure applied to either sample. The sentence does not tell any facts about the paper, I just had to write something. The Duofold is at the top once more, giving obviously thinner lines in the final words. The speed is my normal relaxed one as when I'm not in a hurry to catch up with what I'm thinking...

 

IMG_0621.JPG

 

 

Overall:

 

-The Duofold with the springy gold nib is totally comparable to the manifold steel IM's nib in terms of actual output in my writing.

 

-Does the Duofold have a noticeable flair in the lines it leaves behind? Yes, which is a pleasant thing to behold when there's a body of text in front of you rather than a sentence or two.

 

-Does the IM lag behind in the aesthetics department in the stuff it produces? It's not possible to claim that -yes passionate flex affictionado, I'm looking at you!- even though the only "flair" it leaves behind is due to the ink spreading on the paper when you push or to the less ink being put down when you don't push.

 

-Does the Duofold require effort to produce this flair? Not at all. It happens automatically in regular writing with the natural higher pressure downstrokes usually receive when putting them on paper.

 

-Is this flair uniform or pronounced? As I handle the pen, it tends to be uniform.

 

 

By what you see here -which isn't perfect by a long shot- how would you characterise the Duofold's behaviour? Regular flex? Semi-flex? Illusion-of-flex?

 

I'd appreciate all of your thoughts on the topic.

 

Antonis.

 



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#2 PaulS

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 21:20

Hi Antonis -  firstly congrats on your English and your post, into which you look to have put a lot of time and effort.

 

Whilst you are waiting, hopefully, for Mr. Olsen to sharpen his pencil and reply  -  my first reaction on seeing your writing samples, are that they lack what I might usually imagine deliberate flex writing to look like - so perhaps your examples are 'illusions of flex'. :)                           No doubt your nibs are flexing to some extent, though in your pix two and three there appears insufficient line variation to indicate the degree of flex that would tell us you were attempting a 'flex exercise'  -  the amount of flex is unremarkable, especially as you say you have put some reasonable pressure on the nib.

This is no criticism of you Antonis  -   more likely of me since I don't write  -   but my opinion is that joined up cursive script lends itself to creating thick and thin strokes better than disjoined letters - though some of your lines show joined up letters.

 

Most manifold nibs are like nails -  they were designed I believe in order to allow heavy pressure on the paper in order to make multiple copies (using carbon paper possibly) - so yes, your nibs will always be more responsive than any nib which carries the word manifold.      Your IM may not have been designed as a manifold nib - such nibs were usually marked as such  -  does your IM nib show the word manifold?              The manifold nibs I have, and those I've seen, are all vintage - I've no idea if such nibs are made now.

 

It is true that isolated strokes are easier to demonstrate line variation - you simply press down and the tines part company  -  but to achieve that effect whilst writing is more difficult, and it's a lot easier to show variation, when writing, if the nib has more flex than yours appear to have.

 

Hope you won't take this as arrogant opinion, you look to be doing 100% more writing than me.

 

Now for Mr. Olsen, hopefully :D


Edited by PaulS, 23 September 2018 - 21:25.


#3 ardene

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 21:53

 

Hope you won't take this as arrogant opinion, you look to be doing 100% more writing than me.

 

 

No Paul, thanks. I'm just exploring this stuff. Your input is very much appreciated.

 

I live in the UK for some time now, so I have no excuses not to write English well.

 

Concerning the joining of letters my personal style is to join or not join them per the actual strokes to shape a letter form. Usually I join letters which don't have ascenders. Yes, I know that full cursive writing and a different kind of consistency than my samples display are required.

 

The IM nib doesn't show the word manifold on any visible part, but I can't get it to spread more than a hairline. The IM nib is akin to the typical Vector nib, by the way, in terms of shape, size, thickness and responsiveness. I have uploaded some -clear- pictures of the Duofold nib's behaviour under slight pressure when on paper at the end of this thread: http://www.fountainp...ne-black-pearl/



#4 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 22:15

""Does the Duofold require effort to produce this flair? Not at all. It happens automatically in regular writing with the natural higher pressure downstrokes usually receive when putting them on paper.""

 

You do have a very light hand. (Outside how you can get a nail to railroad????)

 

As Paul said, Cursive will give you more flair in nibs that do that;  lines become narrower as one starts up on the next letter, and wider as one goes down. With the curve of the letter; line variation happens. But I'm very glad you have such a fine old vintage pen.

 

 

For if you ever wish to do fancy... get a calligraphy book and learn to draw letters. One can pick up at least a few fancy decenders to use at the end of a paragraph. 

I've got such a book.....and a hammer and chisel to crack open the dust rusted shut thing. :bunny01:

 

I have a greatly balanced Pelikan 450 MP. So I have no need to sharpen my pencil...those antiques are boxed separately....in old pencil boxes. 

I hated the Jotter MP, didn't care much for my P-75 with the MP guts in it either. It was then just an MP.

(A solid decade and more in school, sharpening pencils...because I had the wrong MP. :headsmack:)

 

I'd only planned to scribble a word or two because the Pelikan 455 BP is typical '50's BS, and I had both out.

6 weeks later I ran out of lead and really went through contortions wondering how to fill that MP.

Six weeks where I didn't touch a fountain pen......... :yikes: :unsure: :bunny01:

Great balance that 450 Mechanical Pencil. :notworthy1:


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#5 ardene

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 22:51

 

You do have a very light hand. (Outside how you can get a nail to railroad????)

 

For if you ever wish to do fancy... get a calligraphy book and learn to draw letters. One can pick up at least a few fancy decenders to use at the end of a paragraph. 

I've got such a book.....and a hammer and chisel to crack open the dust rusted shut thing. :bunny01:

 

I have a greatly balanced Pelikan 450 MP. So I have no need to sharpen my pencil...those antiques are boxed separately....in old pencil boxes. 

 

Getting a nail to railroad: the IM used to be the driest pen I have. It still remembers it from time to time when the ink in the converter's running low. And I don't really know if my hand's always very light. My other Parkers, Duofold included, go gradually from a juicy line to a thinner but generous line to no line at all in five or so lines of text. The IM gives no such warning -or at least no warning I've read to decipher instinctively yet. So, I push harder to get it to spit ink!

 

Maybe I'll try some calligraphy some time. I don't dislike the idea. I want to have a try at some calligraphy italic nibs at some point. The broader than broad ones. Collector of experiences here... Maybe they're a tool more suited to the flair -not flex- job.

 

As pencils go, I've had Rotring's Tikkys mechanical pencils at school from the same year I got a fountain pen I think, 11 years old or thereabouts. I still have a 1.0mm Tikky III at home. I don't use it much, but pencils are handy sometimes.





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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: duofold, flex, semi-flex, regular flex, im, nail



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