I see no difference between steel and gold of the same flex rating, but all I do which has been very, very seldom was take my thumbnails, hook under the shoulders of the nib and 'think' about spreading them once or twice. In one really don't need to spread the tines much to make it wetter.
I of course use mostly piston pens so don't have all sorts of intermediate steps, because it's a cartridge/eyedropper or a converter.
Drying up a pen, involves making one tine go under and across the other a bit and doing it vice versa a couple three times...............Particularity useful if one did more than 'think' when looking for wet.
Old pens have been used enough that mostly normal use has spread the tines so the pen is not too dry.
What ink are you using. If a dry ink like Pelikan 4001.....go over to Waterman, many Japanese or many Noodleer inks that are wet.
Then you don't have to fiddle with the nib at all.
Better paper can make a pen 'write' wetter too.
Fiddling with the nib should IMO be the last thing one does.
I've never seen any logic to many's wish that all their pens write exactly the same say 8/10 or 7/10.
One has to use the same ink dryness...be that dry or wet, the same paper........so so ball point same...
I can get a difference wetness, width with a different ink, a different paper.
I have no excuse to have many inks or papers should all my fountain pens be adjusted to write exactly the very same....................how boring.
Do look at what different width of pens alone, do to an ink, on different paper. Look at Sandy1's Ink Reviews.
Actually I have no idea at all what a 'soft' rating is in a Japanese nib.....is it regular flex???.............
If you mash the nib, do you get 3 X tine spread vs a light down stroke or 2 X?
Is it a semi-nail?....which is softer than a nail, but not really soft.
What is meant by 'soft'? Soft compared to what?
I do know the Pilot makes a very modified nib that is a true semi-flex. That took a few years to clarify, that yes, it was a semi-flex nib.
One can also get vintage German semi-flex nibs....which are stubbed also....that are wet enough to eat shading unless well matched with ink and paper. "Soft ++
Compared to nails and semi-nails regular flex is 'soft'.......but it's not known as 'soft'. A Pelikan 200 or semi-vintage '82-97 400 is a regular flex nib, with 3 X tine spread when well mashed............so is that Japanese Soft?????
Regular flex was made in the States for many generations, Sheaffer, Esterbrook, even Wearever....was regular issue, so called regular flex. '50's Germany the Pelikan 120 and the Geha School piston school pen were regular flex.
Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 06 January 2019 - 19:54.