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Q: I Use Western Fine Nibs. What Is The Japanese Equivalent?

fine european versus japanese

49 replies to this topic

#41 shawnee

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 19:48

Its okay, you can blame me. I still Iove this Pro Color 500 which I got because of you so I guess that makes us even.

I like your idea of getting a Promenade with the EF nib - Im curious myself about Sailors EF.

Why dont you just get the EF nib for the M800 and then sell the other nib or keep it for a custom grind later? It cant be that much more than my EF nib for my souveran M600 which was about $112 USD.

Ive attached a line comparison for the 7 pens I currently have inked. I am not a fan of Lamy and the Pilot is doing some weird bleeding/skipping. I have got to find a better Pilot entry pen for around $100. I do not like the Metropolitan and even a vanishing point at $130 USD seems like a risky purchase with the clip.

Are the Sailor pen holders worth it? I have a 24 pen holder from India, but I like the idea of having my sailors separate.

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#42 A Smug Dill

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 03:39

I like your idea of getting a Promenade with the EF nib - Im curious myself about Sailors EF.


I still think the Platinum PTL-5000A is a good 'starter' pen for those who want to try a 'true' Japanese Extra Fine. It's a small nib, but I haven't found that aspect to impede its function or performance. The pen body is slender, lightweight and made of plastic, but doesn't feel cheap in my hand certainly no cheaper than the material on the Platinum #3776 Century 'Black in Black', ignoring for the moment whether one has a preference for opaque black or the latter's dark translucence.

It has the same list price in Japan ¥5,400 incl. tax as the Sailor Procolor 500 and (steel-nibbed) Shikiori tsukuyo-no-minamo series, but is often sold more cheaply than those at their respective street prices. Currently,
Prices on Amazon.co.jp, including domestic shipping in Japan with Prime membership
Platinum PTL-5000A (in maroon, currently the cheaper of the two available colours)
with 14K gold F nib
¥ 3,618a
Sailor Procolor 500 (uchimizu, currently the cheapest of four available colours)
with steel F nib
¥ 3,825a
Sailor Shikiori tsukuyo-no-minamo (shimoyo)
with steel F nib
¥ 5,150b
Platinum #3776 Century (PNB-10000c 'Black in Black')
with 14K gold EF nib
¥ 5,980b,d
Sailor Promenade (in black)
with 14K gold EF nib
¥ 7,124a
Pilot Custom 74 (in black)
with 14K gold EF nib
¥ 7,400b
Pilot Elite 95s (in maroon)
with 14K gold EF nib
¥ 7,599b
a Shipped and sold by Amazon.co.jp
b Sold by third party seller
c Not the new PNB-13000 model, which is essentially the same product but significantly more expensive
d That price keeps coming and going every day or two in the last fortnight, even if it may not be the price right this moment
 

Why dont you just get the EF nib for the M800 and then sell the other nib or keep it for a custom grind later? It cant be that much more than my EF nib for my souveran M600 which was about $112 USD.


14K gold EF nib for M600


18K gold EF nib for M805


MSRP in the USe_


USD 265


USD 505


Nibsmith.comf_


USD 195


USD 335


La Couronne du Comteg_


EUR 92.98
(approx. USD 105)


EUR 156.20
(approx. USD 177)

e As shown on Nibsmith.com
f Current offer, excluding shipping, and any customisation work by Dan Smith
g Excluding VAT, shipping, and available discounts

The cheapest price available to me (including shipping to Australia) for a new, factory-condition 18K gold EF nib to fit the M815 is about A$199 (USD 142). However, not only is that a third of the price I paid for the M815, the bigger problem is that I don't trust Pelikan to deliver proper EF nib performance even if I'm prepared to pay the price, and I could get a brand new, full-sized Sailor Professional Gear pen with rhodium trim and two-toned 21K gold EF nib for slightly less (last week, anyway, but I decided against it).

Sad to say, but if the F nib on my vastly more expensive Pelikan M815 wrote like the Pelikan M200 (with a steel F nib) I bought on the same order, I'd have considered myself happy with it.
 

I have got to find a better Pilot entry pen for around $100.


Personally, I'm really not a fan of the Pilot Custom 74, but I like the Elite 95s, which offers a choice of 14K gold EF, F and M nibs and two colours for the pen bodies. (The Pilot #5 EF nib was only offered with the black Custom 74.) They had the same list price in Japan ¥10,800 incl. tax but recently Pilot put up the price of the Custom 74 models, which is all the more reason I would recommend the Elite 95s to friends ahead of any other gold-nibbed Pilot fountain pen models.
 

I do not like the Metropolitan and even a vanishing point at $130 USD seems like a risky purchase with the clip.


Fair enough. I have several Pilot MRs, and I think they're good pens for the asking price, but I'm not keen on their aptness to dry out when unused for a while. (Same goes with the lightweight Pilot 78G pens that use the same type of feed and nibs.) I love my Pilot Capless Vanishing Point pens, but they aren't completely immune to drying out either, and I can understand the concern about the clip getting in the way. (It doesn't bother me personally most of the time, except when I'm using a Stub nib in one.) We managed to pick up two Decimo (and one Vanishing Point? I can't remember) with 18K gold F nibs a while back for A$90 (approximately USD 65, at today's exchange rate, but maybe about USD 78 at the time) apiece, when we found them on a clearance tray in some quirky department store here in Sydney, so obviously most people who shop at department stores, even quirky ones, don't appreciate them. Actually, I think we bought every last one of them at the store that could be fitted with an F nib; the lady behind the counter let us open each one up and swap the nib assemblies around.
 

Are the Sailor pen holders worth it?


I think they're fabulous for the prices I'm paying this time. I have one already, and the leather is plush and soft (but soft would also mean less resistant to wear and tear). I'll assume they're made in Japan, what with Sailor deeming it worthy to deboss its brand on the front; and, as politically incorrect as it may sound, I'd put my trust in something made in Japan by a widely recognised Japanese brand (for that category of products) ahead of Australian-made, or made in China, India, Thailand or ahem even the USA. However, there are some pens I wouldn't put in the Sailor case ironically, the two Sailor koshu-inden pens I have are the first to come to mind because it uses elastic bands to secure the pens in the folio arrangement.

So far, based on what I've personally spent money on and used, I can wholeheartedly recommend:
  • 2-pen case: DiLoro (which I bought on Amazon.com) well worth the list price of US$19.95 in my view, on account on the leather quality and workmanship, and indisputably a bargain at the effective price of half that. (Note: I bought my first ten of those at effectively US$10 each, not including shipping, and was so impressed I ordered a eleventh one at the list price, because black was not an available colour when I placed my first order.)
  • 5-pen case: Sailor (with model numbers beginning with 79-1500-*, available in brown, chocolate and black) I bought the chocolate-coloured one in an online order from Malaysia, loved it (and, ahem, my fiancée said she loves it too), and now I'm ordering two more directly from Japan, including to replace the one of which I've been relieved
  • 6-pen case: Visconti Dreamtouch we bought two of those at the same quirky department store (Peter's of Kensington, in Sydney) mentioned above
  • 12-pen case: Visconti Dreamtouch as with the 6-pen case in the same series, the leather is absolutely lovely, and the construction is top-notch
  • 20-pen case: Aston New York, which I ordered from Pen Chalet at a discount. Good for what it is, and I think a 20-pen folio demands a tougher exterior than the plush leathers in the aforementioned pen cases
but I would strongly suggest avoiding:
  • Single pen sleeve: DiLoro the leather quality, design and workmanship are night and day compared the two-pen cases of the same brand, and I wouldn't trust it to carry my $100 pen, much less my $1000 pen. I'd prefer to carry any pen of mine in the pen sleeve I personally made (and I'm not craftsman!) out of a piece of scrap leather, as far as protection from scratches go.
  • 3-pen case: Wancher
Edit: I just finalised my shipment with the reshipper. After a 30% discount, the shipping fee comes to A$72. Ouch.

Edited by A Smug Dill, 23 February 2019 - 10:01.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#43 shawnee

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 21:58

Thank you, Smug Dill. That's very helpful info to have especially on the vendors and the leather sleeves and cases. I looked at the pricing on Amazon.co.jp, but didn't really see much of a savings over using the Japanese sellers on Ebay oddly enough. I thought for sure Amazon's pricing would be significantly cheaper like it can be here in the US. Pelikan is a practical steal on the US site due  to the Amazon Global services. Too bad I'm not a fan of Pelikan right now.

 

Between you and me, I was toying with the idea of getting a Sailor 1911 Black luster with a fine nib because I really want a profit 21 large and it felt like killing 2 birds with one stone, but I might hold off for a bit since I've got 8 vintage Japanese pens coming from Japan. 

 

Next time you ink some new pens, do you mind doing some line tests and posting them? I love your hand writing and it gives me a feel for what the line looks like. Or if there are a lot of your examples already here, can you point me in the right direction?

 

 

shawnee



#44 A Smug Dill

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 00:24

I looked at the pricing on Amazon.co.jp, but didn't really see much of a savings over using the Japanese sellers on Ebay oddly enough. I thought for sure Amazon's pricing would be significantly cheaper like it can be here in the US.


It depends on the product in question. My experience with Amazon.co.jp is that, generally speaking, there are fewer relative bargains than on Amazon.com, especially with my narrow scope of interest in certain pens and paraphernalia only. With some newer pen models – such as the Platinum Procyon, or new range of Pilot Custom Heritage 91 colours – chances are you won't be offered much of a saving over the MSRP. However, occasionally you get damn good 'flash sale' temporary price drops for items shipped and sold by Amazon.co.jp. I've seen the Platinum #3776 dark briar pen with F nib drop to below ¥17,000 recently (but I already have one), the Platinum Balance (aka Cool, in the US) 'crystal' clear demonstrator for ¥2,010, and of course some others I've already mentioned earlier in this thread.

For the Sailor leather 5-pen cases, this time I paid ¥2,690 for one and ¥2,480 for the other (both sold by third party sellers but fulfilled by Amazon.co.jp).
 

Between you and me, I was toying with the idea of getting a Sailor 1911 Black luster with a fine nib because I really want a profit 21 large and it felt like killing 2 birds with one stone, but I might hold off for a bit since I've got 8 vintage Japanese pens coming from Japan.


Do be mindful that the Black Luster is heftier (26.8g instead of 21.6g), and balanced slightly differently, than the regular Sailor 1911 Large models because of the metal section. 
 

Next time you ink some new pens, do you mind doing some line tests and posting them? I love your hand writing and it gives me a feel for what the line looks like. Or if there are a lot of your examples already here, can you point me in the right direction?

Thank you. Sure, I'd be happy to oblige. Is there something specifically you want to see?


Edited by A Smug Dill, 25 February 2019 - 06:39.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#45 shawnee

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 01:22

You are my own personal Wikipedia page, Smug Dill!

When your Sailor Pro Color 500 Uchimizu comes in, let me know. I still love that pen and that means we have a common language for you to help me pick out my next one!

Off to ogle your writing samples....

#46 A Smug Dill

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 13:05

When your Sailor Pro Color 500 Uchimizu comes in, let me know.

I'm expecting the parcel to arrive in the next 4818 hours, even though it was only dispatched from the reshipper in Japan halfway through the weekend. It's astounding how quick international shipping can be when you're prepared (or forced) to pay through the nose for it.

I intend to do an on-a-single-page comparison between:
  • Sailor koshu-inden medium-sized 14K gold H-MF nib*
  • Sailor Lecoule steel MF nib*
  • Sailor Profit Junior steel MF nib
    (which should be the same type of nib and feed as on the Lecoule)
  • Sailor HiAce Neo steel F nib*
  • Sailor Procolor 500 (inscribed with 1911) steel F nib
  • Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black large-sized ruthenium-plated 21K gold H-F nib*
  • Sailor Profit21 Black Luster large-sized ruthenium-plated 21K gold H-F nib
    (which should be the same type of nib and feed as on the Imperial Black)
  • Sailor Promenade medium-sized 14K gold H-EF nib
  • Sailor desk pen steel EF nib
    (the new one in factory condition, that I haven't ruined yet)
...

OK, here we go:
fpn_1551168464__writing_samples_with_nin

Notes:
  • The distinct drop in colour intensity between (4) and (5) was due to my having to refill the converter, and the ink in the first four writing samples was a bit 'aged'. I'd intended to use the same ink from the same converter for all of the writing samples, but just priming four clean feeds sucked up almost all of the the ink in a mostly full Sailor converter.
  • The initial paleness in (6) was probably due to moisture in the nib and feed, as I was using it with a different ink earlier, and had to flush and clean it to make it available.

Edited by A Smug Dill, 26 February 2019 - 08:12.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#47 A Smug Dill

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 11:33

I like your idea of getting a Promenade with the EF nib - Im curious myself about Sailors EF.


As you can see from my writing samples posted immediately above, the line width differences between Sailor's EF and F nibs are very small, and could well be down to variations from one nib to the nib (of the same width grade) or how much pressure the user puts on the pen (as well as the heft of the individual pen adding to it). Even the differences between EF/F and MF aren't that noticeable when writing in English.

I just did a bit more testing of the Sailor Promenade's 14K gold EF nib and the Procolor 500's steel F nib while wearing a magnifying visor (primarily to allow me to be more precise with my pen strokes), and the line width differences between those two are minimal. There is nothing I personally find inspiring or attractive about the Promenade's design, so if you really want a gold Sailor EF nib, I'd recommend you save up and go higher-end than the Promenade.

Edit:
Writing samples with a few more pens:
fpn_1551241838__writing_samples_with_six

Edited by A Smug Dill, 27 February 2019 - 04:31.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#48 shawnee

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 12:45

This is incredible. Thank you, smug dill. Of course, your writing is so beautiful and consistent that finding the nuances in your line is like being a forensic detective. It makes me want ALL THE PENS. But I think it’s cemented my desire for the black luster and has given me some hope for Pilot. I also think you know what you like in nibs and so you’re consistently picking nibs that suit you because again beautiful smooth writing.

It’s such a joy to see!

#49 A Smug Dill

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 14:18

But I think it’s cemented my desire for the black luster and has given me some hope for Pilot.


The Sailor Profit21 Black Luster is actually lighter than I was expecting -- in spite of being well aware of its weight in the published product specifications -- and I like its balance better than that of the basic Profit21 (aka 1911 Large). However, it's not likely to become my 'everyday carry', because I'm not comfortable with the idea of exposing its highly polished 'piano' black finish to unnecessary wear and tear, even though I don't have the same qualms with, say, the Aurora Optima that cost threefold. The not-quite-matt 'satin' finish on the Pro Gear Imperial Black, on the other hand, is 'warmer' and more inviting to hold, and feels less apt to be marred. The Imperial Black has served as my EDC a while back, and I also think its section (of the same finish) is more conducive than the glossy metal section on the Black Luster to longer writing sessions.

On the basis of the most recent round of tests, I'd say my Imperial Black is less wet than my Black Luster, even though they are fitted with nominally identical nibs and feeds. That could be because I have pulled the nib and feed out from the Imperial Black before while cleaning, or something to do with the age of the item, or just manufacturing variation from one set of nib and feed to the next. It should be readily adjustable, though, but for now being slightly more frugal with ink consumption suits me fine, with the extra advantage of producing marginally narrower lines. (Actually, it could do far better than shown above in that regard.)
 

I also think you know what you like in nibs and so you’re consistently picking nibs that suit you because again beautiful smooth writing.

It’s such a joy to see!


Thank you! Frankly, each time I order a 'new' make, type or width grade of nib it's akin to taking a leap of faith, but thankfully truly unpleasant surprises and outright disasters are few and far between, and I find Platinum and Sailor to be highly consistent; and then, I'm just not inclined to produce writing samples with pens and nibs I don't like using. That's why you don't see the Pilot #5 14K gold SF (on my Custom 74) and SFM (on my Custom Heritage 91) on the list even though they fit the category of pens I was 'testing' in the last day or so. The #5 Music nib has been used twice, and #10 FA nib has since been wilfully destroyed by my own hand. I have no intention of buying another pen in the Pilot Custom range, although I do like my Custom Kaede and can live with the CH91; if there is a next >$100 purchase of a Pilot pen, it'll probably be yet another Capless Vanishing Point.

Edit:
OK, I decided to be 'fair' and give the soft-nibbed Pilot Custom models a chance to perform with the same ink, after a fresh flush and cleaning, as the other pens.

fpn_1551328631__writing_samples_with_var

Initially, the Custom 74 somehow seemed to do better than I remembered, when I scribbled with it last night (before the writing sample above), and gave me sharper corners and sharper exit strokes for my minuscules. However, I think that was because the Sailor Shikiori miruai ink 'thickened' inside the feed since my last use of the pen weeks ago, thus making the lines seemingly wet yet narrow. Then that effect subsided after a few lines of writing, as 'new' ink (which also aged and partly dried out inside the converter) moved into the feed.

Still, I'd say the C74's SF nib redeemed itself somewhat by writing marginally finer than the Namiki Falcon's SF nib, but with an equal degree of 'flex'. (That doesn't mean I now like the C74's pen body any better, though.)

Whereas the Custom Heritage 91's SFM nib has proven it'll indeed leave broader lines than the SF nib if the same ink is used. (I'd filling all those pens with different inks after I received them, because generally I don't like putting the same ink in multiple pens concurrently.)

Edited by A Smug Dill, 28 February 2019 - 04:53.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#50 A Smug Dill

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 09:10

I suppose it just wouldn't do if I don't post some writing samples with 'Western fine' nibs.

fpn_1551431289__pelikan_m815_compared_to

(The nib on that particular Platinum Balance is not my favourite Japanese steel F nib, I'm sure you can tell.)


Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.




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