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Flex Nib Recommendations And Information

flex calligraphy

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15 replies to this topic

#1 Choronzon

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 23:29

Hi all, I am looking for information and recommendations on flex nibs. I am new to FP and really liking the broad nib on my Safari. I alsa want to get into caligraphy and was looking into getting calligraphy pens when I found out about flex nibs. I love the idea, especailly what I saw on this video of the conklin empire, https://www.youtube....h?v=Y0mB3GxPyhg although unfortunately the pen didn't appear to work. 

 

I would look to spend about £20 and interested out to £100. 

 

I am a bit lost at sea when searching for information so thought I would make a post. Hope this is OK.

 

I have heard the noodlers ahab is OK, are there any other suggestions, especially if it can go very broad like the conklin empire.

 

 



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#2 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 08:15

Hi Chorozon,

Actually, the flex nibs on the Noodler's pens are on the stiff side and not that pleasurable to use.

I would check out Fountain Pen Revolution... they sell flex nibs on Indian made pens and their flex nibs are a little better than Noodler's.

Better still, are the Conklin Duraflex and Omniflex nibs... they have great flex,... but their feeds can be problematic,... but they are within your price range of £100 or less... and I've managed to find a couple that actually work. :)

Yet another option is vintage... Parker/Newhaven nibs on the UK Duofolds are supposed to be excellent and they did produce some flex nibs "back in the day",... but getting vintage flex at a decent price is kind of like hitting the lottery... but it does happen... so you should give it a try.

The only other flex nibs I know of are made by Aurora, but they're well out of your range... unless you find one that fell off the truck. ;) (A little dock and warehouse humor). :D

At any rate, in the words of the Immortal Scoob... rots a ruck... I hope you pick a winner. :)

Be well and enjoy life. :)


- Anthony


EDITED to clarify text.

Edited by ParkerDuofold, 27 December 2018 - 08:19.

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Please pray the Rosary daily. Thank You, St. Jude, for favors granted. :)

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#3 ParkerDuofold

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 08:22

Just to follow-up...

I'd begin with the FPR site... they're good entry-level pens... and if you find flex writing isn't your bag... you're not out a lot. ;)


- A.C.
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Grab life with both arms and give it a bear hug every day! :D

#4 SoulSamurai

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 11:59

I recommend getting started with a Noodler's or an FPR as they are affordable. I don't recommend Noodler's resin pens (such as the Ahab) as they dry out VERY quickly; their ebonite pens don't seem to have this problem though, so I suggest an ebonite Noodler's Konrad (which is a piston filler). Ebonite is a nice material that's comfortable in the hand; FPR also has some nice ebonite pens such as the Himalaya and Triveni. All these pens are in the 30 to 40 dollar range. I've tried a couple and found the pens quite nice; the nibs are useable but take some effort.

 

Noodler's and Fountain Pen Revolution flex nibs do take a fair bit of force to flex compared to better flex nibs, but if you're used to using ballpoint pens it might not feel like that much force. Also FPR now offers a "superflex" nib, which is a modification of their regular flex nib that is designed to flex more easily. It costs a bit more than their regular flex nib, but it's still affordable. The modification itself is based on the "ease my flex" modification, which was originally something people where just doing with dremel tools, so you can just try it yourself if you enjoy that kind of DIY thing. You can find threads about it on this forum.

 

If you later want to upgrade to a flex nib that's easier to use, consider a Pilot Falcon. It has a good reputation. I have heard mixed reviews on Conklin's Duraflex / Omniflex nibs. Another option is a custom-ground flex nib; I think two or three companies will do this sort of work. Fpnibs.com for example will modify a gold Jowo nib to be "semi-flex".

 

Of course the best flex available is in dip pens. These are cheap and use cheap disposable nibs; overall you're getting the most flex for the lowest price. There are some fountain pens that can use a dip nib, just remember you need to replace the nib every once in a while. Desiderata Pens make some very nice fountain pens specifically for this purpose, but I've heard people say that they got good results fitting dip pen nibs into Ahabs and Jinhao x750s (I'm not sure how easy that is though).


Edited by SoulSamurai, 27 December 2018 - 12:00.


#5 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 12:54

An Ahab Mod.............is the Japanese half moon grinds of the nib, that take the Ahab from a 'very hard' semi-flex "Flex" nib two steps down to real Superflex....the first stage of superflex, Easy Full Flex. Then it is a fun nib.

 

Get the Ahab or Conrad....use as is for a couple of days. To get use to use of a superflex nib, even if it is hard....'semi-flex hard', it still flexes in the superflex range.

Then take a Dremil or a round Swiss File and file the half moons into the side of the nib. Do look up 'Ahab Mod', to see exactly how much and where to make the half moons.

Then the nib flexes much easier and is then fun........but you will have experience to see and feel it.

 

 

I have no problems....and the feed is ebonite....which is more important than if the body is what ever.

Ebonite feeds once saturated holds and controls the flow of ink better than untreated plastic.

We have a member who was a Lamy Engineer and developed a chemical treatment that roughed up plastic to give it the same characteristics of sawn ebonite. Roughness.

 

Part of the 'fun' of an Ahab or perhaps a Conrad is you get to learn all about feeds.....and how to make them faster....with an X-ACTO Knife. (Spare feeds are cheap if you screw up by digging too deep...or chop off too many combs and make your feed too fast.) The idea is to learn how to adjust your feed to your nib and ink.

Which paper you use will be important too, but that is for another thread, by someone who knows.

 

If you look at very old vintage feeds, there was little to no buffering, with wide and easy expending superflex nibs, fast ink flow was wanted. As stiffer nibs came in so did buffering, in a stiffer nib didn't deliver as much ink, so needed to be buffered not to do so.

 

On the Ahab, You can dig the feed channels deeper, to make it faster. Then you can chop off combs/rills either back or front to make it faster. One should go to the many Ahab feed modification threads, to find out if you should start with the back or the front when making it faster.

So you saw off a comb....check, saw off another, check. Sooner or later you will end up with a feed that is fast for a good fun to use Ahab Mod  Easy Full Flex superflex nib. (Conrad too.)

(Mine worked good so I didn't have to dig a deeper channel or chop off combs.)

Buying and modifying a Ahab will teach you all you will need to know about feeds...............buying a 100% ready to go won't teach you anything.

 

Which ink could also make a difference. Thicker dry Pelikan 4001 or thinner wet Japanese inks....that I don't know enough to talk about.

 

You will need a book to teach you how to draw the letters....your italic book can be of help with that. I found it so....one needs to know how to push and pull a nib to form the letter form one wants.


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      Info on Bock nibs

 

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

 

 

 


#6 bass1193

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 12:59

I second FPR or Noodler's. They do take more pressure than vintage flex, but a great way to try it out!

The omniflex nibs are total garbage; they flex once and stay that way :lol: I was thinking of trying to temper one to see if that'd add some spring to the steel, because as they deliver them they're useless unless you don't flex them.

#7 dapprman

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 17:07

I also support the FPR Himalaya, HOWEVER - you're not going to get any of them for £20 in the UK - think I got my Himalaya when there was a sale on and even then it was around the £30 mark by the time P&P and Duty & VAT were taken in to account (and collection charges).

 

You can get a Noodlers AHAB from Pure Pens for under £20 before postage (add some ink ...) however from above and other threads you'll find very mixed views on the pens.

 

If you're London way, interested enough in the hobby to attend a pen meet, and can make the next London Fountain Pen Club meet then let me know and I can bring my FPR Himalaya long for you to try.


Edited by dapprman, 27 December 2018 - 17:07.

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#8 trmsw

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 18:55

I think it's worth keeping an eye on eBay, as it is possible to buy a nice flexy Mabie Todd Swan or Blackbird for under 50 pounds including p&p, if you're patient.
Admittedly it's a bit of a gamble in the sense that you don't know in advance if the nib will be flexible, but IMO you are sure to get a nib that's nicer to use than a steel one, and a good Ebonite feed.

#9 bass1193

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 19:10

I think it's worth keeping an eye on eBay, as it is possible to buy a nice flexy Mabie Todd Swan or Blackbird for under 50 pounds including p&p, if you're patient.
Admittedly it's a bit of a gamble in the sense that you don't know in advance if the nib will be flexible, but IMO you are sure to get a nib that's nicer to use than a steel one, and a good Ebonite feed.


True that! I got an unusual chased Blackbird for a song not too long ago. Gorgeous flexy nib as great as any Waterman's I've ever tried! :bunny01:

#10 Choronzon

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 02:02

Thank you so much for your recommendations and information everyone. I am glad I asked. Look forwards to exploring further. I find myself constantly wishing I had a dremel as time goes on :)

 

I am closer to Manchester so probably wont make a London meetup  but will consider it and thank you for letting me know :)

 

pure pens is a new one to me. Are there any other places to check online for UK? I also check the writing desk. Thanks everyone!



#11 Honeybadgers

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 08:47

start with a noodlers flex pen. learn to tune it and get it working properly because there isn't a sorted flex pen out there that costs less than $300. Keep an eye out for vintage flex pens, but they can be expensive. Greg minuskin sells vintage flex pens for reasonable prices, but he's a huge (bleep), so be aware that if he screws up your pen on accident, you will not get any support or help. His prices are worth it though and his work is usually top notch.

 

If you really just want a little flex but want a pen that writes properly in every situation, get a pilot custom 74 or 92 with a soft fine nib, or a platinum 3776 soft fine (all 3 are between $65 and $85 - the 3776 is a little stiffer and doesn't flex as wide but is arguably a much better looking pen with a larger, more dramatic nib, but I think the pilots write better)

 

once you get the noodlers pen and have had some fun with it but want more flex, get a pack of zebra G nibs and squeeze the base of them with pliers so they fit the noodlers feed.

 

And if you want real flex but don't want to mess with vintage, Pablo at FPnibs.com will custom grind a 14k JoWo nib for ludicrous flex for about $200 and can custom fit it to a TWSBI for you.

 

Also be aware that the finer the nib is inherently, the more dramatic the flex will be. an XXF/needlepoint grind will show a 2x-3x flex more than a B nib with the same flex. So something like the pilot falcon, an EF is mandatory if you want it for more dramatic shades.

 

The only "factory" flex nib I consider any good these days is the pilot FA nib. the 743 FA nib is around $220, and it needs another $25 for a flexible nib factory ebonite feed.

 

And lastly, flex nibs suck for everyday use. they lay down a ton of ink inherently and that makes them firehoses on cheap paper and signed receipts never dry so the poor cashier will get inky fingers from your pen. which means that flex nibs are generally not a very useful tool outside of letter writing, and that puts you in the wheelhouse of the cheapest option, a dip pen. Get an oblique dip holder for a few bucks and a box of Zebra comic G nibs. they should work with most fountain pen inks, or get some speedball ink.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 28 December 2018 - 08:49.


#12 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 10:55

Agree a dip pen is the best option.....good paper a must............and a round Swiss file is cheap....don't need a Dremil.....well, of course one does, but not for nibs.


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      Info on Bock nibs

 

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

 

 

 


#13 MrBlack

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 15:12

A vintage Waterman - a vintage 512 lever filler.

Great 14k nibs. True flex.

#14 AAAndrew

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 18:40

Of course you knew I would say: 

 

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#15 mitto

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 05:57

I think it's worth keeping an eye on eBay, as it is possible to buy a nice flexy Mabie Todd Swan or Blackbird for under 50 pounds including p&p, if you're patient.
Admittedly it's a bit of a gamble in the sense that you don't know in advance if the nib will be flexible, but IMO you are sure to get a nib that's nicer to use than a steel one, and a good Ebonite feed.


+1
Khan

#16 icevic

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 23:34

A Noodler's Konrad is a good place to start, for sure.  I use one at work and it lends just enough random line variation to everything I write to be entertaining, but not so much that I have to be careful.

 

But to really have a flex nib is to go vintage.  If you aren't fussy about condition and don't mind smaller sizes you can easily find one in your price range.

 

Although it may not apply to you, most people who are interested in flex pens are really looking for an italic or a nice stub.  They want interesting line variation but not full out artistic calligraphy like AAAndrew posted above.  An italic makes every word pretty and is much easier to buy and use.  Stubs are italics for people in a hurry, so they are even easier.  

 

I have a gorgeous flex italic at home that I haven't inked up in a while and writing this post makes me miss it.  Maybe I'll go home and ink it up.  Best of both worlds, in my opinion.







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