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Sailor's Specialty Nibs Versus Western Writing


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30 replies to this topic

#1 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 11:25

Yesterday I visited a store in Amsterdam which has a very good selection of Sailor, including all the specialty nibs. They have a beautiful display case with 1911L's side by side, each with a different nib.

On the one hand there are the "regular N nibs" (insofar as these can be called regular") such as the NF, NMF, NM and NB. These pens are priced at 675 euros each. I had a close look at these nibs and they all appeared to be masterfully created zoom nibs: very narrow at the tip, quite wide at the rear, so depending on writing angle you can go from needle-thin to broad-like line width. I didn't ink them, because I wasn't seriously considering to buy one, but they appeared to be supremely suitable for Japanese writing and not so much for western writing. For something like cursive italic, you'd have to move the paper upwards over the table in order to maintain consistent line width, which seems like a hassle.

On the other hand there were the "true specialty N nibs" such as the Cross Point and the Emperor, priced at 775 euros each. I was awestruck by these masterpieces. Magnificent work. But again, not really suited to western writing.

As said, the pens were standard 1911L's but with a different capband: gold lettering on a black background instead of the usual gold on gold. High quality stuff for sure, but nothing special in terms of design.

If these nibs were really suitable for western writing, I think I'd take the plunge.

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#2 mke

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 11:33

Heavy prices - im Japan they are available from 430-645 Euros.

http://www.sailor.co...neup/specialnib

 

Shown here is the different trim band - and the unspectacular design:

pen01.jpg


Edited by mke, 01 January 2019 - 11:33.


#3 MCWB

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 12:18

I frequently write (in English) with two different Naginata broad nibs (one KOP size and one 1911L size) and a Naginata Medium nib (1911L size). If you can write in English with a double broad nib (which I do), you can use these nibs. I agree that the cross point and up are a bit too crazy, at least for me. :)



#4 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 13:47

Heavy prices - im Japan they are available from 430-645 Euros.
http://www.sailor.co...neup/specialnib

Yes, but you'd be facing import duties which in my case could be up to 25%. Added to that is the fact that you can't try them, which is a dealbreaker for me in this price range.

...with a double broad nib...

Yes, they write quite wide, don't they? It's also visible in Stephen Brown's videos (in this case the MF).

#5 ENewton

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 17:19

I once tried to use a Naginata Togi nib for writing Japanese and found it very confusing.  Having to change the writing angle to achieve differences in line width is very different from the way one is taught to write Japanese with a brush.



#6 Driften

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 18:07

I could be totally wrong, but I think the idea is less to change the width while writing but have the ability of using different width nibs all in the same pen. When I had a zoom nib it was like carrying three different nibs with me depending on the angle or writing with the reverse side of the nib. I was not able to do an italic type of writing by changing the angle. 



#7 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 19:16

I don't know how Sailor intended these nibs to be used. These zoom nibs were very well done, but 675 euros for a 1911L with a zoom nib, no matter how well done, is a lot of money.

#8 Karmachanic

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 21:10

I don't know how Sailor intended these nibs to be used. These zoom nibs were very well done, but 675 euros for a 1911L with a zoom nib, no matter how well done, is a lot of money.

 

If my understanding is correct new N nibs will cost substantially more. So get 'em now - cheap!


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#9 ENewton

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Posted 01 January 2019 - 21:24

I could be totally wrong, but I think the idea is less to change the width while writing but have the ability of using different width nibs all in the same pen. When I had a zoom nib it was like carrying three different nibs with me depending on the angle or writing with the reverse side of the nib. I was not able to do an italic type of writing by changing the angle. 

 

Ah, that makes sense.  Silly me.



#10 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 07:31

If my understanding is correct new N nibs will cost substantially more. So get 'em now - cheap!


I'm a Sailor fan so I'm always tempted, but no. In my opinion, 675 euros for a well-made zoom nib in the body of a 1911L is just too much. If they're going to increase it even more, well, good for them. 775 euros for something like the cross point or the Emperor, now perhaps that's not unreasonable given how unbelievably complex those nibs are. But I have no application for a nib like that.

#11 zaddick

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 08:56

I write cursive English with various Sailor specialty nibs without issue, though I do like broad+ nib widths.

To me only the stacked nibs are worth the new prices. You can get a nibsmith to grind a tip similar to a naginata togi if there is enough tipping at the start.

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#12 A Smug Dill

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 11:53

On the one hand there are the "regular N nibs" (insofar as these can be called regular") such as the NF, NMF, NM and NB.


I think you're referring to the Naginata Togi nibs there, as opposed to other Naginata nibs such as the Naginata Concord (and variants), Naginata Fude de Mannen, etc.

I didn't know Sailor still made the Naginata Togi nib with a Fine nib width (NF), or that you could find NOS of such from a retailer anywhere. The narrowest these days is the NMF.

but they appeared to be supremely suitable for Japanese writing and not so much for western writing. For something like cursive italic, you'd have to move the paper upwards over the table in order to maintain consistent line width, which seems like a hassle.


You'd write cursive italic with a Naginata Togi nib is much the same way you would with a regular nib that has ball-shaped tipping, and get similar results.

But again, not really suited to western writing.


Sorry, but those nibs are no less suited to 'western writing' than, say, a Pelikan 18K gold nib in the same nib width grade.

I don't know how Sailor intended these nibs to be used.


http://www.sailor.co...neup/specialnib ->
http://www.sailor.co...tainpen/10-7111

fpn_1546429672__naginata_annotated.jpg

These zoom nibs were very well done, but 675 euros for a 1911L with a zoom nib, no matter how well done, is a lot of money.


You can get a Sailor 1911L with a proper/'regular' Zoom nib for much less than that, can't you?
 

You can get a nibsmith to grind a tip similar to a naginata togi if there is enough tipping at the start.


Or just buy an Aurora with that kind of nib. I've been looking on Nibsmith.com, and Dan has indicated that some of the listed models can be fitted (for an extra US$100) with a 'Chinese Calligraphy' nib.

Example: https://nibsmith.com...n-fountain-pen/

As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#13 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 17:47

Thanks for correcting my mistakes and omissions! Much appreciated.

 

You'd write cursive italic with a Naginata Togi nib is much the same way you would with a regular nib that has ball-shaped tipping, and get similar results.

 

Interesting. I watched Stephen Brown's vids of the NM and the NMF and both wrote wrote a significantly wider line than Sailor's regular M and MF nibs. I own a very nice MF and it's comparable to a Western EF, whereas my M is comparable to a Western F. In Stephen's vids, the line width approached or exceeded B. For me, that's too much, but that's a matter of preference.



#14 Olya

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 19:23

NM will always be broader than M and NMF will also be always broader than MF etc etc.

 

The propagation of Japanese or Asian nibs being un/suitable for "western writing" and vice versa is honestly a load of poppycock, just like when people say "a dry upstroke is because of the Japanese script and that's fine", just no. An upstroke is needed for Japanese script too and people write more than just letters & script, they draw, they draw arrows, calculate, write numbers, and no upstroke is needed? I dare anyone to find a script that does not need an upstroke.

 

The bigger worry (with all nibs, really) is: will you like the feedback/ tipping and is the line width good for your tastes? (and ink flow and that).

 

Basically the NMF and NM are I'd say bigger tipped MF & M nibs, with Sailor's usual Zoom nib quality.

 

Again, the only questions you have to answer for yourself are: is the nib feel & width any good for your needs?



#15 A Smug Dill

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 22:53

I watched Stephen Brown's vids of the NM and the NMF and both wrote wrote a significantly wider line than Sailor's regular M and MF nibs.


Oh, I'm sure that is the case – and thus I could not bring myself to spend money on a Naginata Togi MF nib, in all these years since they first came to my attention in 2013, and even recently when there was one of the older models on offer for a decent price from Pen Gallery in Malaysia. Minimum line width, as a measure of a nib's capability, is very important to me in any 'regular' fountain pen I intend to use for more than lettering section headings.
 

I own a very nice MF and it's comparable to a Western EF,


The H-MF nib on one of my Sailor koshu-inden pens does. The H-MF nib on the other one writes more like a European F nib.
 

whereas my M is comparable to a Western F.


I hope (but at the same time, dread) I'll find out, if and when I receive the Sailor kabazaiku pen I ordered from LCdC a week ago.

Since I take it we're talking about Sailor specialty nibs, and not just the Naginata Togi nibs to the exclusion of all else...

fpn_1546469465__comparing_nk_nib_zoom_ni

(Both of the Sailor pens I used there are just 1911 models by any other name.)

You could even write in cursive with the 'brush' side of the Naginata Concord nib, i.e. holding it in upside-down orientation, if you really wanted to.

fpn_1546484360__nk_nib_writing_sample_wi

Edited by A Smug Dill, 03 January 2019 - 03:00.

As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#16 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 07:24

Awesome, just awesome. The line width variation of these nibs is amazing, if you're willing to use them in creative ways.

Edited by TheDutchGuy, 03 January 2019 - 07:25.


#17 A Smug Dill

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 08:48

Awesome, just awesome.


They really are, aren't they?

I have a new rhodium-plated Naginata Concord Emperor (NKE) – still factory-sealed in a plastic sleeve inside the retail box – that I picked up earlier this year, at almost double the effective price it would have cost me in 2013 :( – when I saw there was serious doubt about the future of the Naginata product line. I note (with a tinge of sadness, and not glee in a I-have-it-and-you-can't kinda way) that it doesn't seem to be present in Sailor's new/current line-up.

The line width variation of these nibs is amazing, if you're willing to use them in creative ways.


Thank you! It always bothered (or bothers) me that any mention of 'line variation', without any other/further qualification, seems to be premised by default on achieving line variation within a single continuous line of cursive English writing. The 'funny' thing is, now that I've started reading up on English calligraphy with a view to learning different hands and just improving my handwriting generally, it seems that with either italic or (as Eleanor Winters put it, visually cursive) copperplate calligraphy, the proper rendering of each letter consists of multiple strokes, so it really isn't so different from writing Chinese hanzi or Japanese kana and kanji. Being able to produce different line widths in the various strokes it takes to construct a letter in the English alphabet is somehow neglected or outright deprecated, when in fact writing a six-letter word without any pen lifts is a 'minority' concern (whether someone takes it that 'printing' individual letters separately is the norm for handwriting these days, or that traditional artistic English calligraphy never demanded continuous writing).

As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#18 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 18:12

I wish I could read those pages from Sailor's website that you linked to, but alas, Japanese is beyond me and they don't seem to be translated into English.

It's interesting what you say about multiple strokes being needed for letters in the western alphabet; like most people I'd have thought that "one movement" is the norm. I'm making an effort to learn two distinct handwriting styles and make both nice and interesting to look at... it's not easy... one is cursive italic, which I learned in school but sort of 'lost' over the years. I'm re-learning it now, but I'm not making an effort to write words in single movements.

Anyway, as much as I'm intrigued, I've decided to pass on the specialty nibs. They're not what I need right now and the cost is too high. I have three lovely Sailors that always make me smile, so I'm fortunate. And by coincidence I stumbled upon an amazing pen today an amazing pen today that cost me 148 euros. It's so good that I'm going to get the stub as well, and then I'll still have spent less than half the price of one Naginata pen.

Edited by TheDutchGuy, 03 January 2019 - 18:13.


#19 A Smug Dill

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 21:19

Congratulations on your find and your satisfactory purchase. :)

As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#20 WirsPlm

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 21:56

These sound a lot like fude nibs, which have decent examples available in some Chinese fountain pens and are very fun to write with if someone wants to pick one up for fun, I'm not sure I'd use one if I needed to write a lot quickly but for slower writing they're very enjoyable.








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