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Nib Units, Better Writing Or A Scam?

nib units friction fit nib vintage modern

20 replies to this topic

#1 penman88

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 17:24

so i have heard that the modern high end pen makers have these nib units(a basically sealed housing containing the nib and feed) to keep the nib and feed aligned and held in place better, IE: a better writer. this is especially true of the more high end pens. a fellow fountain pen guy told me that it was just a scam to keep competitors nibs out of their pens, so in turn you have to purchase a proprietary replacement nib from the original pen manufacturer. any opinions on this? And does anyone know of any modern high end pens that use friction fit nib/feed assembly's??? 


 

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#2 hari317

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 17:31

Namiki. Pilot etc are good examples. They dont use a nib unit. But still you cant simply put in a third party nib.

Nib units save time and money and require lesser skills at the pen manufacturers end. Its like a modular design vs an integrated design.
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#3 steve50

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 17:39

The difference lies in the ease of replacement. It has little to do with quality or price. There are cheaper pens using Jowo/Bock nib units and pricey ones that haven't got them. They are widely used because of the ease of maintenance, but that's the only benefit. Modern high-end pens that are friction fit? Omas, Aurora, Platinum, Waterman, Pilot, etc.


Edited by steve50, 26 February 2019 - 17:43.


#4 Karmachanic

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 17:41

This is my understanding. Generally pen makers who make their own nibs to fit their own designs have proprientary housings. That said most Japanese high end pen makers who manufacture their own nibs are friction fit,  but they do not tend to sell spare nibs i.e. Pilot Platinum and Sailor.

 

Some high end pens that are friction fit include: Conid, Danitrio, Eboya.


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#5 penman88

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 18:00

i disagree about ease of use, for example to clean out a nib unit you must repeadedly flush with water, you cannot take it apart to ensure you have gotten everything out and water remains trapped inside, causing longer wait times between cleaning and re-inking, i guess i didnt convey my question clearly because nobody has actually said: yes they do write better due to the nib/feed alignment being locked into place, or no they do not write any better, but say if i wanted a new nib for a new graf von faber castell and I wanted to get a bock nib but I cant? do you not think faber castell wants you to replace with a bock nib or spend 2/300 $ on their nib unit? I mean do they care? they just hit you for 3,000 for a pen what do they care for a couple hundred dollar nib? but one thing is clear, if I wanted 1 nice pen and several different nibs like f, m, and ob, and wanted to go get a standard 20$ Goulet nib to do it with I couldn't I would have to get 3, $200 gvfc nib units?


 

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#6 zaddick

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 18:45

This is my understanding. Generally pen makers who make their own nibs to fit their own designs have proprientary housings. That said most Japanese high end pen makers who manufacture their own nibs are friction fit,  but they do not tend to sell spare nibs i.e. Pilot Platinum and Sailor.
 
Some high end pens that are friction fit include: Conid, Danitrio, Eboya.

As far as I know Danitrio, Conid and Eboya all use nib units, though maybe you are thinking of them in some other way.

Edited by zaddick, 26 February 2019 - 18:46.

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#7 Karmachanic

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 18:47

I believe GvF uses Bock nibs

Besides that here's my suggestion. If you want to change nibs at will, don't buy a pen with a propritary housing! :D


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#8 Karmachanic

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 18:52

As far as I know Danitrio, Conid and Eboya all use nib units, though maybe you are thinking of them in some other way.

 

 Conid, for instance, takes a standard Bock housing that will acept nibs other than Conid. People are mounting a variety of nibs on their Conids including Jowo and Pelikan. Sorry if I wasn't clear in my meaning.


Edited by Karmachanic, 26 February 2019 - 18:53.

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#9 JakobS

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 19:05

i disagree about ease of use, for example to clean out a nib unit you must repeadedly flush with water, you cannot take it apart to ensure you have gotten everything out and water remains trapped inside, causing longer wait times between cleaning and re-inking, i guess i didnt convey my question clearly because nobody has actually said: yes they do write better due to the nib/feed alignment being locked into place, or no they do not write any better, but say if i wanted a new nib for a new graf von faber castell and I wanted to get a bock nib but I cant? do you not think faber castell wants you to replace with a bock nib or spend 2/300 $ on their nib unit? I mean do they care? they just hit you for 3,000 for a pen what do they care for a couple hundred dollar nib? but one thing is clear, if I wanted 1 nice pen and several different nibs like f, m, and ob, and wanted to go get a standard 20$ Goulet nib to do it with I couldn't I would have to get 3, $200 gvfc nib units?

 

 

You really shouldn't be cleaning your pens to the level of having to remove the nib and feed at every cleaning, the wear and tear on the nib/fed/housing will cause any one of them to become looser over time, making the nib/feed not stay aligned or in the pen correctly. Regular flushing should be perfect for 99.9% of you cleaning needs.  If you cannot get absolutely clear water out of a pen while cleaning, the wisp of very dilute ink left over is unlikely to cause issues, and if water is not being expelled from the pen anymore (through flushing, or gentle shaking), but some may linger in the feed or under the nib, it isn't enough to effect the ink being filled. 

 

As far as the writing experience, what type of housing would be negligible compared to nib/feed shape, composition, and tine shape and composition. The nib/feed in both types of housing are "locked into place", one isn't more or less likely to become misaligned because one is screwed in vs friction fit. Which is not a great way to describe them actually, as both nibs and feeds are friction fit into the housing, one housing is just able to screw out...


Edited by JakobS, 26 February 2019 - 19:22.

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#10 steve50

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 19:32

i disagree about ease of use, for example to clean out a nib unit you must repeadedly flush with water, you cannot take it apart to ensure you have gotten everything out and water remains trapped inside, causing longer wait times between cleaning and re-inking, i guess i didnt convey my question clearly because nobody has actually said: yes they do write better due to the nib/feed alignment being locked into place, or no they do not write any better, but say if i wanted a new nib for a new graf von faber castell and I wanted to get a bock nib but I cant? do you not think faber castell wants you to replace with a bock nib or spend 2/300 $ on their nib unit? I mean do they care? they just hit you for 3,000 for a pen what do they care for a couple hundred dollar nib? but one thing is clear, if I wanted 1 nice pen and several different nibs like f, m, and ob, and wanted to go get a standard 20$ Goulet nib to do it with I couldn't I would have to get 3, $200 gvfc nib units?

Whether the nib and feed are held in the grip section or there's a separate housing, you can pull them out. No, they don't write better because there's a housing. 



#11 pajaro

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 19:32

i disagree about ease of use, for example to clean out a nib unit you must repeadedly flush with water, you cannot take it apart to ensure you have gotten everything out and water remains trapped inside, causing longer wait times between cleaning and re-inking, i guess i didnt convey my question clearly because nobody has actually said: yes they do write better due to the nib/feed alignment being locked into place, or no they do not write any better, but say if i wanted a new nib for a new graf von faber castell and I wanted to get a bock nib but I cant? do you not think faber castell wants you to replace with a bock nib or spend 2/300 $ on their nib unit? I mean do they care? they just hit you for 3,000 for a pen what do they care for a couple hundred dollar nib? but one thing is clear, if I wanted 1 nice pen and several different nibs like f, m, and ob, and wanted to go get a standard 20$ Goulet nib to do it with I couldn't I would have to get 3, $200 gvfc nib units?

 

I doubt the manufacturers care about this, it's just that they are using modern manufacturing models for certain levels of pens and time honored methods for the more expensive pens.

 

 

 

You really shouldn't be cleaning your pens to the level of having to remove the nib and feed at every cleaning, the wear and tear on the nib/fed/housing will cause any one of them to become looser over time, making the nib/feed not stay aligned or in the pen correctly. Regular flushing should be perfect for 99.9% of you cleaning needs.  If you cannot get absolutely clear water out of a pen while cleaning, the wisp of very dilute ink left over is unlikely to cause issues, and if water is not being expelled from the pen anymore (through flushing, or gentle shaking), but some may linger in the feed or under the nib, it isn't enough to effect the ink being filled. 

 

As far as the writing experience, what type of housing would be negligible compared to nib/feed shape, composition, and tine shape and composition. The nib/feed in both types of housing are "locked into place", one isn't more or less likely to become misaligned because one is screwed in vs friction fit. Which is not a great way to describe them actually, as both nibs and feeds are friction fit into the housing, one housing is just able to screw out...

 

I agree with this.  Hobbyists often want to be working with their things all the time, because it's fun, and disassembly for cleaning and reassembly are apparently common pursuits of the pen hobbyist.  I have learned over the years of working on pens, model trains, cars and other stuff that every disassembly and reassembly carries with it the risk of some damage being accidentally done as well as the wear and tear on threads, fasteners and so forth.  Sometimes less is better in the long run.


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#12 carlos.q

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 20:43

 

 

You really shouldn't be cleaning your pens to the level of having to remove the nib and feed at every cleaning, the wear and tear on the nib/fed/housing will cause any one of them to become looser over time, making the nib/feed not stay aligned or in the pen correctly. Regular flushing should be perfect for 99.9% of you cleaning needs.  If you cannot get absolutely clear water out of a pen while cleaning, the wisp of very dilute ink left over is unlikely to cause issues, and if water is not being expelled from the pen anymore (through flushing, or gentle shaking), but some may linger in the feed or under the nib, it isn't enough to effect the ink being filled. 

 

As far as the writing experience, what type of housing would be negligible compared to nib/feed shape, composition, and tine shape and composition. The nib/feed in both types of housing are "locked into place", one isn't more or less likely to become misaligned because one is screwed in vs friction fit. Which is not a great way to describe them actually, as both nibs and feeds are friction fit into the housing, one housing is just able to screw out...

 

 

I agree totally. IIRC there is a thread about a user with a pen whose nib/feed lost its friction and would not stay in place.


Edited by carlos.q, 26 February 2019 - 20:43.


#13 Freddy

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 21:14

Interesting read.....Thanks.

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#14 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 21:32

A rubber 'baby' bulb syringe, will clean your C/C pen in a minute and an half....and half a minute for the converter. There is not need to take the nib and feed out. Stick the tip over the spike and squish water through it until clean.

 

Number 2....any good company will have a good in house or good Bock nib...........some might have a JoWo.................some folks hate Bock for reasons I don't understand. Bock does make different levels of nibs and feeds. It is foolish to blame Bock for a cheap nib if the name company only pays for the cheap one and not the better levels.

I don't know if JoWo, has a top level or if it makes two or more levels of quality. A decade or two ago JoWo was rather new...think it was a DDR company that survived the hostile takeover.

 

Schmidt takes a Bock or a JoWo nib and puts it on their own feed..........

So what nib problems are you having?

 

 

Visconti often screws up their Bock nibs.....there are a great deal of name companies that have Bock nibs....and no one complains about them.

 

:yikes:I am surprised when some 'noobies' want to get rid of them junky Bock nibs and replace it with quality Knox nib. :lticaptd:

I can remember as a noobie believing all the BS....back when MB was so very hated.....buy the ink for the shoe-bottle and toss the ink....so I was going too. Good thing I tried the ink........Sepia was then discontinued. I later paid 1/3 more for a bottle on Ebay.

 

Pelikan had Bock make it's nibs from about '98 for some 15 years. There were complaints. Pelikan took the nibs back In-House...............the complaints remained, and stayed the same. :lticaptd: :P

 

Bock has been making nibs since 1938....do look at my signature, for a link. Osmia sold it's 1922 nib factory to Degussa the silver and gold maker in 1932 because of debt. They made nibs till 1990's according to a good source. Rupp made nibs from 1922 @ 1970.

I was so dumb noobie to believe the myth that only In House major brand nibs were good. I had a rescued Bock and Degussa nib in my hand that I almost tossed :wacko: :headsmack: ....In I believed that In-House myth. Luckily they didn't take up much room and then I learned better.

 

Bock and Degussa both made nibs for Soennecken when it was too slow to get into the ball point making, and died @ 1960. Soennecken was as good or better than MB. Both also made the grand Geha nibs, that are a tad more springy in semi-flex than Pelikan.

 

 

 

Two bulb syringes can clean out a Pelikan.....first make sure your old Pelikan nibs are soaked from the antique ink........after that no big problem. Take a paper towel, fold it in the first index joint of your fore finger. Place feed in the paper, place thumb on top of the nib, press. Twist pen body towards you...nib will screw out.

 

The long spout rubber bulb syringe will clean out the Pelikan body. In the meanwhile cut the other bulb syringe to fit over the inside of the nib unit..........hold the rubber tightly aim at a filled bathroom sink. Squeeze water in and out of the nib unit until it runs free. 

 

Is a bit faster and less wear on the pen, than twisting the piston up and down 20 or so times.

 

Take Great Care in screwing it Back In Again.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 26 February 2019 - 21:49.

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,

 

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#15 A Smug Dill

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 00:30

so i have heard that the modern high end pen makers have these nib units(a basically sealed housing containing the nib and feed) to keep the nib and feed aligned and held in place better, IE: a better writer.

 
Well, from whom did you hear that? Since you specifically used the word 'scam', what exactly is the deception, and who is deceiving whom?

i disagree about ease of use, for example to clean out a nib unit you must repeadedly flush with water, you cannot take it apart to ensure you have gotten everything out and water remains trapped inside, causing longer wait times between cleaning and re-inking, i guess i didnt convey my question clearly because nobody has actually said: yes they do write better due to the nib/feed alignment being locked into place, or no they do not write any better,


Right, so nobody is scamming or deceiving anyone.

By the way, ease of use does not mean easier or more convenient/efficient in every aspect of a device including care and maintenance. My fully automatic cappuccino maker is far easier to use than a traditional barista's machine, when it comes to making a selection of caffeinated beverages with or without milk, but cleaning the tubes and pipes through which the cold milk travels is a pain. Still, nobody can reasonably argue it hasn't superior ease of use to the user of a cappuccino maker, who by definition is the person getting the beverage produced, and not necessarily the same person who has to clean up afterwards.

but say if i wanted a new nib for a new graf von faber castell and I wanted to get a bock nib but I cant?


Making a business decision that has the effect of limiting your options as a user/customer/consumer is not a scam, though. You should not assume that others – be it manufacturers, or fellow fountain pen users and/or peers on a discussion forum – will give your perspective unconditional positive regard, or endeavour to make decisions that are aligned with your best interests (including but not limited to minimising ongoing operational and maintenance costs).

If you don't like the business practices of a particular company, then it's always your prerogative to withhold or withdraw your custom and not buy from it, no matter how much you otherwise like and/or want its products.
Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. We're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but not necessarily any shared values, and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative or position.
 

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#16 minddance

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 05:13

I fail to see the 'scam' element in using a nib collar (nib+feed+collar unit). What I see is that they can be easily replaced; one can also play around with different nib widths in the same pen body. The nib and feed are tighter in alignment (as in Pelikan) but not easily adjustable. If it arrives Ootb misaligned, the user cannot easily adjust the nib-feed alignment.

but if the nib and feed are removable (as in Kaweco, Faber Castell) in the same nib collar unit, one can more thoroughly clean it and do adjustments if need be.

If excluding third party nibs is to be considered a 'scam' then many pen companies are guilty of this, by not providing nibs or nib units. (Mont Blanc, Pilot, except Vanishing Point/Capless, Sailor, Platinum, Lamy2000, etc)

a scam is when the nibs come misaligned, the user cannot adjust them, and there is no return/refund/exchange/aftersales.

Nib units do not write better or worse.

Edited by minddance, 27 February 2019 - 05:25.


#17 penman88

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 15:29

ok it appears everone interprited my use of scam as a theft or fraud, maybe my connotation was not well conveyed, so for 80 years pens are made friction fit, why? well it works just fine, some of the best writing pens ever made are from that time period. so why add a feature that makes for brand specific components? As minddance stated, if a part comes misaligned you cannot adjust it yourself, it is not easier to clean, so why do they make them that way? it is comperable to auto manufacturers making a car part that only that 1 car has, that only the manufacturer makes so you are forced to purchase this part from the origional maker? that to me is a scam, not a theft or a fraud but a case of taking advantage of a situation. is it necessary for this specialty part that only the manufacturer makes? no, but they do it anyway, scam! now to my origional statement, if it causes a better writing pen, by all means, but from what i have heard here it doesnt? and if it doesnt then i prefer my friction fit assemblys, But i did not know who made the real high end pens w/ friction fit nib/feed. originally I did not know if it was for a purpose, hence the post, to ask if in fact it does make a pen better in any way. I did not have my mind made up that it was a "scam" but now I certainly do, nobody has said anything in strong support of nib units, mainly just telling me that I am not being reasonable in my assessment, opinion, use of words, and oh yea that I have the choice of using them or not? well that's good to know

 


a scam is when the nibs come misaligned, the user cannot adjust them, and there is no return/refund/exchange/aftersales.

Nib units do not write better or worse.


 

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#18 steve50

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 15:40

it is comperable to auto manufacturers making a car part that only that 1 car has, that only the manufacturer makes so you are forced to purchase this part from the origional maker? that to me is a scam, not a theft or a fraud but a case of taking advantage of a situation. is it necessary for this specialty part that only the manufacturer makes? no, but they do it anyway, scam! 

I'm sorry but are you saying that unless all manufacturers of pens, cars, etc. make interchangeable parts, they are scamming you? So because a Pilot nib might not fit in a Montblanc pen, it's a scam?! That sounds absurd to me. 

 

By the way, using nib units actually makes it easy to replace parts as I said. You can for example use vintage Pelikan screw-in units in a new Pelikan pen or use a Franklin Christoph nib in an Edison pen! 


Edited by steve50, 27 February 2019 - 15:41.


#19 Wolverine1

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 16:07

Why do you take your pen apart to clean it? It is one of the dumbest ideas I have heard some pen users try to propogate. I have used Pelikan M1000s and M800 pen for since the late 1990s, and hae never had the need to take my Pelikans apart just in order to clean them. 

While some may prefer friction fit nibs to nib units, it is a matter of personal preference. 

But, saying that one needs to take pens apart to clean them is a downright stupid idea. I have seen enough hi-end pens damaged by pen newbies who disassembled their pens in "order to clean them", and then totally f888ed up the pen trying to put the pen together again.



#20 A Smug Dill

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 16:53

ok it appears everone interprited my use of scam as a theft or fraud,


There's a definition of 'scam' in the English dictionary, and that is what you can expect others -- and others to reasonably expect you -- to use when communicating in English in an open discussion forum with strangers who have not agreed to accept your alternative definition.

maybe my connotation was not well conveyed,


Or maybe others are not obliged to have regard for your sentiments, but choose to take what you wrote at face value, and respond on that rational basis.

that to me is a scam, not a theft or a fraud but a case of taking advantage of a situation. is it necessary for this specialty part that only the manufacturer makes? no, but they do it anyway, scam!


That, to me, is a whinge.

originally I did not know if it was for a purpose, hence the post, to ask if in fact it does make a pen better in any way. I did not have my mind made up that it was a "scam" but now I certainly do, nobody has said anything in strong support of nib units,


But you've already been told. It makes nib units easy for the pen user to remove, replace and change; just buy another one that is of a different nib width grade or material to fit that model of pen from the manufacturer, and even a child would be able to swap to a different nib to suit the occasion, with no or minimal risk of damaging the writing instrument in the process.

Allowing you to buy and fit any brand of nib into any make of pen is nobody else's priority, irrespective of whether you think you could save money that way or just like having access to a broader range of nibs on the market.

Tell me, do you use Apple technology products, or do you run Linux and champion open source and interoperability standards?

Why do you take your pen apart to clean it? It is one of the dumbest ideas I have heard some pen users try to propogate.


I like completely disassembling my Wing Sung 3008 pens for cleaning. I use them almost exclusively to hold shimmer inks, and I don't see why I shouldn't take it apart to give it a thorough clean when changing ink colours, or even just from one fill to the next.

Yes, it's a $4 pen, but that's just a number. The relative value of $400 to some other fountain pen user who happens to enjoy, say, Pelikan products could be similar to $4 in my eyes, for all I know. The fundamental idea is the same: you could choose to do the absolute minimum to clean a pen, or you could choose to do the maximum, in accordance to your personal preferences; whether a pen is 'high-end' or not is secondary.
Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. We're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but not necessarily any shared values, and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative or position.
 

Don't think 'cos I understand, I care
Don't think 'cos I'm talking, we're friends

—'6 Underground' by Sneaker Pimps




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