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Frustration At Current Pelikan Nibs


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140 replies to this topic

#21 Kalessin

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 20:22

Yep, I have an M800 BB nib that I'm guessing is from not long before BB nibs were dropped by Pelikan.. 

 

Not only is it a blob, it also squeaks (or maybe "hums" or "high-frequency vibrates") when writing, so if I want to use it, it's going to need some grinding and tuning.  

 

I prefer a stubbish broad nib, and as a left-handed overwriter, I need it to be able to be both "pulled" and "pushed" when writing.


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#22 bemon

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 00:51

Yep, I have an M800 BB nib that I'm guessing is from not long before BB nibs were dropped by Pelikan.. 
 
Not only is it a blob, it also squeaks (or maybe "hums" or "high-frequency vibrates") when writing, so if I want to use it, it's going to need some grinding and tuning.  
 
I prefer a stubbish broad nib, and as a left-handed overwriter, I need it to be able to be both "pulled" and "pushed" when writing.


My last M600 hummed too. I realize the 800 and 1000 class is built differently, but my 600’s are all under built for the price. I was disappointed and still don’t understand the Pelikan hype. They must be riding on a their legacy.

I should still reserve final judgement until I try an 800, but I’m not in a big hurry to drop a month’s worth of groceries on what’s been an underwhelming brand so far.

#23 A Smug Dill

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 04:44

I've just received my first modern Pelikans, a broad M805 and a medium M815 with an additional spare M805 Broad nib. 
 
All three nibs sadly have featureless blobs where once Pelikan had faceted grinds to form a crafted writing surface. This isn't what I expected.
 
All three are aggressively over polished, have baby bottom also some attempt at a top and bottom grind, applied with no care, just a nominal and pointless feature. I'm highly disappointed in the nibs, to be quite frank, in terms of the tipping,


I've read enough about the inconsistency and lack of precision in (modern, since "vintage" is of no interest to me whatsoever) Pelikan nibs, such that it took me a long time to buy my first Pelikan, and then only because Dan Smith included customisation of the nib in the price of the M600. That one worked out well, by the way.

I then bought a couple of M20x special edition demonstrators with F nibs, because EF nibs weren't on offer at the time at the "special" price of the clearance stock. To my surprise, the steel F nib on my M200 wasn't so bad at all, and is in fact now my favourite "factory" Pelikan nib.

Whereas I hated the 18K gold F nib on my M815 from Day One, so much that the pen was sitting mostly unused for months because the lines it put down just frustrated me, and I ended up bloody-mindedly and ham-fistedly reshaped it myself not caring if I would ruin it and may have to order a replacement nib.

My conclusion is that modern Pelikan nibs are not categorically poor, once you take into account the steel nibs in the family. I'm happy enough with them that I just bought another M205 (with EF nib this time). But none of them are premium nibs (even though I'll concede that some of the pen bodies are very attractive and could easily qualify as "premium" to someone) in terms of quality and precision of workmanship.

I wouldn't have any problem with a manufacturer selling "factory" nibs that leave very little room for after-market (or user self-service) customisation and regrinding, provided that the manufacturer is either extremely precise and consistent in the nibs it sells (cf. Sailor) and the customer buys it to get that particular writing experience they offer, or can offer exactly what the customer specifies in terms of width and geometry even if it doesn't leave enough tipping for any change of mind or change in tastes as time goes on.
 
Going forward, I don't think I'll be buying more Pelikan pens (now that I have at least one each of M2xx, M4xx, M6xx and M8xx), and Aurora is now in my bad books (for supplying absolutely terrible nibs with more than one of its 100th Anniversary commemorative limited edition pens). Since they're the only major European fountain pen manufacturers that I'm aware of making their nibs in-house, I think I'll be going back to buying predominantly Japanese "Big Three" brands for premium products, and Chinese fountain pens (some of which are surprisingly good) for fun-and-disposable (or expendable).

<EDIT>
@TheDutchGuy (in response to your post below)
It'd be off-topic for me to reply about your question about Aurora nibs in a Pelikan forum thread, and you told me you'd prefer not to communicate in private messages, but I don't think everything I know or experienced as a fellow fountain pen hobbyist ought to be published as threads in suitable forum subsections for open discussion or disclosure.

Edited by A Smug Dill, 22 August 2019 - 05:20.

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.

#24 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 05:03

Ive got one Pelikan, an old M800 that people in-the-know tell me is a good one. Just as Dill said, everything except the nib is first-class. Being able to unscrew the nib and feed like that is very nice. But the nib itself, even though it is an older nib... it seems to fight me somehow. Theres no pleasure involved at all. I dont use the pen much.

Aurora is now in my bad books (for supplying absolutely terrible nibs with more than one of its 100th Anniversary commemorative limited edition pens

Im orienting myself towards my first Aurora, so Im curious what makes those nibs so bad.

Edited by TheDutchGuy, 22 August 2019 - 05:06.


#25 alwayssunnyalwaysreal

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 14:43

Almost all of the Pelikan gold nibs in M that I have used have more or less skipping issues. Sometimes the F and EF run very dry, or the performance varys significantly among different inks. However both issues can be fixed fairly easily.

 

What's also confusing is that the quality of the gold nib plating is very inconsistent. Sometimes you get a shiny nib, and sometimes it looks unpolished, even on the part of the nib that isn't plated.

 

On the other hand the stainless steel nibs are much more consistent and reliable.


Edited by alwayssunnyalwaysreal, 22 August 2019 - 14:44.

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#26 sirgilbert357

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 13:20

Having started my enjoyment of the Pelikan brand with an M205, I can honestly say the steel nib on that pen was excellent. I have had 3 M20X's (all of their nibs were mediums) and they all performed the same -- very consistent performance.

My experience with Pelikan's gold nibs has been less consistent. Granted I've only had 5 gold nibbed Pelikans go through my hands (three M40X's and two M80X's), but they were again all mediums...and each one wrote different than the other in some noticeable way.

Nib consistency seems to be hard to achieve for some manufacturers, and I just wonder why...

#27 Calabria

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 16:52

I think this is a good thread. I've stopped buying gold nibbed Pelikans because of the disappointment with nibs and maybe somebody at Pelikan will read this and accept it as feedback. If this was a Yelp review I have the feeling Pelikan would get 3.5 points - room for improvement.
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#28 Timotheus

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 21:50

Eight months ago I bought online a Pelikan M 600 EF. Great expectations, huge disappointment: the EF nib wrote like a M; with EF it had absolutely nothing to do. So I returned it.

 

Then I went to a shop where I tried two other M 600 EF's and three F's. All produced a definitely broader line than they should. Moreover, they did so in a very uneven way: the two EF's didn't produce a line of identical width, nor did the three F's. A big mess.

 

In the meantime I had also discovered that I didn't like the grip of the Pelikan: the section is too small for me, and I don't like the feeling of my thumb resting on the treads.

 

So no Pelikans for me anymore.


Edited by Timotheus, 24 August 2019 - 22:16.

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#29 max dog

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 22:45

If nib consistency is important, you're better off to go for steel nibs.  A machine stamps them out so they are all very consistent.  I suspect many gold nibs like found on Pelikan have an element of hand grinding, so no two are the same.  If line width consistency is important, probably good to stay clear of Pelikans, go with other brands that use stamping machines to produce their nibs at minimal cost and effort.  

 

As for EF nibs, you're better off to go the route of Japanese brands.  Most western, especially German brands tend to go broader.  Pelikan and Montblanc EFs have been like that for a long time.  



#30 Intensity

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 23:33

 If line width consistency is important, probably good to stay clear of Pelikans, go with other brands that use stamping machines to produce their nibs at minimal cost and effort.  

 

This is a bit of a conflicting statement in its implications.  On one hand it implies that Pelikan's gold nibs are handcrafted (are they?) or at least tipped, and thus there should be some variation.  They are clearly mass-produced as well, as only the tipping is different between nibs of the same model.  The tipping is the most relevant part of the writing experience. The other half of that statement talks about going to mass-produced/mass-stamped nibs for line consistency.  But putting the two together, line width consistency is a GOOD thing, and if one were to accept natural variation between hand-finished nibs, at least there should be a compensation of a more expert touch--better writing experience.  Something someone would be proud to say was handcrafted by artisans.  This is not the case a good percent of the time with modern gold Pelikan nibs, in my own experience and based on the experience of many others who've posted here. It seems like instead these nibs are also mass-tipped, ground and polished (or overpolished) to some generic ball shape, and not tested (or tested sufficiently) to ensure things like no baby's bottom or consistent contact with paper for the stub nibs.  If Pelikan's steel nibs (likely mass produced and machine-finished?) have better reputation than Pelikan's modern gold nibs, something should change.

 

Edit: that came out really negatively, I apologize.  I really like my Pelikan pens overall, I just budget for nib work to make them perfect.


Edited by Intensity, 25 August 2019 - 04:48.

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#31 Honeybadgers

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:10

most of my pelikans are vintage these days. Vintage pelikan nibs might be the best I've ever used. my BB italic semiflex 14k italic 400 is one of my top three best nibs. Glassy smooth, forgiving, crisp and consistent, flexible, and abjectly perfect flow for everyday use.

 

My only modern pelikan worth more than $15 or $20 is a steel M205, and the EF in that is great. But the 20x nibs are pretty well regarded anyways,


Edited by Honeybadgers, 25 August 2019 - 06:11.

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#32 max dog

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 09:07

 
This is a bit of a conflicting statement in its implications.  On one hand it implies that Pelikan's gold nibs are handcrafted (are they?) or at least tipped, and thus there should be some variation.  They are clearly mass-produced as well, as only the tipping is different between nibs of the same model.  The tipping is the most relevant part of the writing experience. The other half of that statement talks about going to mass-produced/mass-stamped nibs for line consistency.  But putting the two together, line width consistency is a GOOD thing, and if one were to accept natural variation between hand-finished nibs, at least there should be a compensation of a more expert touch--better writing experience.  Something someone would be proud to say was handcrafted by artisans.  This is not the case a good percent of the time with modern gold Pelikan nibs, in my own experience and based on the experience of many others who've posted here. It seems like instead these nibs are also mass-tipped, ground and polished (or overpolished) to some generic ball shape, and not tested (or tested sufficiently) to ensure things like no baby's bottom or consistent contact with paper for the stub nibs.  If Pelikan's steel nibs (likely mass produced and machine-finished?) have better reputation than Pelikan's modern gold nibs, something should change.
 
Edit: that came out really negatively, I apologize.  I really like my Pelikan pens overall, I just budget for nib work to make them perfect.

Here is an older video that show the grinding by hand and nib finishing by hand.

https://youtu.be/EWhEytzwVmA

I have 2 m200s, m400 and 2 m600s over the years. One of the m600 nibs were a little scratchy out of the box and Pelikan promptly corrected the issue under warranty. All my others were fine. I haven't purchased a new Pelikan in about 5 years, so if their out of the box QC has dropped recently I hope Pelikan listens to the feedback and resolves it.

Edited by max dog, 25 August 2019 - 09:18.


#33 LyaT

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 09:37

I cannot stay quiet when my beloved birds are getting attacked! I am very new to fountain pens. In my past six months, I bought a few birds, modern and vintage, steel and gold. I found my modern M605 F nib a delight to use everyday. The modern M nib is too wide for my taste, but with Italic grind it is lovely.

fpn_1566724779__7a542547-e426-496d-b51d-

A hand written sample, from top to bottom:
M605 F, modern, white transparent
M620 M, two chick nib, Piazza Navona, 2004 release
400 KM, vintage semi-flex
400nn M, vintage semi-flex
M101n M grind to CI, modern, red tortoise

The paper is Rhodia dot pad A5 size.

I usually write large than this, but for demo purposes I wrote to fit within the dot grids.

I am playing fire emblem these days, these are all I can think of for a demo sentence:)

I hope this demo will help some new fountain pen fans to make decision towards their first gold nib. Pelikan modern gold F nib is really nice. It writes thinner than my lamy al-star M nib. As shown here, modern M605 F is comparable with vintage M size, even a bit thinner, because the semi-flex downstrokes are thicker.

#34 A Smug Dill

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 15:22

If nib consistency is important, you're better off to go for steel nibs.  A machine stamps them out so they are all very consistent.


It's not digital reproduction, so such machine work is still subject to common variation (or "common cause variation") as well as special cause variation, within design specifications and tolerances or otherwise.
 

I suspect many gold nibs like found on Pelikan have an element of hand grinding, so no two are the same.


The end products can still be all strictly within design specifications — and those that aren't, simply discarded and/or recycled for the raw material — if the manufacturer makes that its policy. There's only so much control and precision the nib technician (or "nibmeister") can achieve by hand grinding, but even machines have limited precision.

The question is more of how much time and effort (and therefore average cost of production) the manufacturer is prepared to put into each nib that is fit for sale as in "perfect" condition and within specifications, and how much rework and waste it is prepare to wear in rejecting and dealing with the units that aren't.
 

If line width consistency is important, probably good to stay clear of Pelikans, go with other brands that use stamping machines to produce their nibs at minimal cost and effort.


That makes no sense, sorry.

Giving the manufacturers and brands that take pride in the quality of their nibs and make consistency one of their major selling points one's custom as a fountain pen user is the go. Pelikan obviously isn't one of those manufacturers/brands, given that it often charges additionally for an Extra Fine nib on the pretext that it needs highest precision and is extremely time-consuming in production but still fails to deliver any semblance of precision and consistency.
 

As for EF nibs, you're better off to go the route of Japanese brands.  Most western, especially German brands tend to go broader.  Pelikan and Montblanc EFs have been like that for a long time.


I think you're missing the point. It's perfectly acceptable for Pelikan to state (if only it did!) that its EF nibs leaves lines of widths between, say, 0.32mm–0.38mm (which is Platinum's specified range for Medium-Fine 中細) when writing on a given type of paper used for testing with a "standard" ink such as Pelikan 4001 Brilliant-Black out of a cartridge with a set amount of downward pressure on the nib held at a fixed angle. It's not just how narrow, but how precise, strict and consistent. I have no problem if Pelikan simply and openly took the position that it thinks there is no market for nibs that write consistently between 0.24mm—0.28mm (Platinum's Extra Fine range of line widths) and so simply won't make them in any regular product line-up.

 

Germans and German products have a reputation for precision and consistency, and I categorically value them more highly against their competition because of that. Pelikan gold nibs are a let-down to many in that regard.


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.

#35 Lam1

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 18:33

I am sorry for the OP for getting nibs with baby bottom. This should not happen (although, I have yet to try any maker that occasionally doesn't have the problem).

 

I have been very critic of Pelikan nib QC in this forum. My main problem is misaligned tines - although, I believe that the screw in nibs have much to do with it, with part of the blame to be shared with careless resellers that exchange the nib and, in the process, misalign it.

 

However, there are some things that seem out of place to me. To expect that an EF Pelikan nib would be on par with an EF Japanese is just not realistic. In my experience, none of the western makers that I have tried have this equivalence (and the only one I haven't tried the finer nibs is Aurora). There must be a market reason for that!

 

Pelikan gold nibs are finished by hand and, thus, some variation is to be expected. More importantly, line width varies wildly depending on ink and paper. Pelikans are notoriously wet pens, and this affects line width immensely. 

Incidentally, all my Pelikan EFs when loaded with a dry ink (Pelikan ink) write about the same width as a Pilot F, with Iroshizuku, on good paper. 

 

For perspective, I have bought upwards of 80 contemporary Pelikans with gold nibs in the last 4 1/2 years (about 30-35, or so, with B nibs). Many arrived with misaligned nibs (which I fix in seconds), but only one had baby bottom. In my experience, the tipping of EFs and Fs are blobby, but Ms and Bs are not what I would call blobby in any of my pens (and certainly much less blobby that Pilot's FM, M or B, and others) - they do, however, have the edges rounded to increase smoothness and the area that is able to write smoothly. Thus, the nibs for the most part lack character (although the Ms are the best Ms I have tried). The EFs and F's are also not, by a country mile, again IME, the fatter of EF's and F's out there. 

 

I don't think that we will see Pelikan (or most other occidental brands) nibs with character any time soon. IME (with a couple hundred of pens sold), 99% of people buying pens want "glass smooth" nibs with the "largest sweet spot" possible - mention "character" and you simply do not sell the pen. Ironically, also IME, the only brand that has M, B, and upwards, nibs with character is the much maligned MB (although, they too have a significant variation in the width for the same tipping, since they are also hand finished).



#36 sirgilbert357

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 19:01

Pelikan claim that each gold nib is written in by hand. If that were truly the case, then a couple I got may have been checked on a Friday at closing time by someone with some really low standards, lol.

Either way, it's really surprising that we can make all kinds of complicated parts down to a 1,000th of an inch, but the pen makers still struggle with tipping consistency on a nib with, arguably, a very simple design. I wonder why it's so difficult for them to get right -- especially if a human is truly inspecting each gold nib as Pelikan claims.

Edited by sirgilbert357, 25 August 2019 - 21:32.


#37 LyaT

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 19:07

@Lam1,

Thanks for sharing your experience. After reading all the criticism about Pelikan EF nibs, I had the impression that they were scratchy and same width as F. Even though I love my M605 F nib, I have been staying away from EF. So nice to see you had good experience with them.

I agree with your opinion about characters. Out of all my pens, my husband likes the M605 F nib the best, because it is smooth. He is a ballpoint pen user. His grip is very funny. He could not get along with my 400 and 400nn nibs. It is unfortunate that fountain pens nowadays have to be made extra smooth to please ballpen users. At least it is keeping pen makers in business.

#38 Lam1

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 20:09

...

Either way, it's really surprising that we can make all kinds of complicated parts down to a 1,000th of an inch, but the pen makers still struggle with tipping consistency on a nib with, arguably, a very simple design. I wonder why it's so difficult for them to get right -- especially if a human is truly inspecting each gold mine as Pelikan claims.

 

 

On the contrary, if it is inspected/finished by humans I would expect large variation. Any two people write at different angles from the paper, with different rotational angle, and with different pressure. In addition, perception of smoothness is somewhat subjective, and it will vary with the ink used. Put all this in the mix and it is unlikely that any two people will perceive the same pen in the same way (unless the tipping is absolutely spherical). That is why nibmeisters ask many questions (and request photos sometimes) about the specific way one writes before grinding a pen.

 

 

I actually have tested this many times: handing a pen to another person and asking their opinion. Invariably it differs from mine.

 

 

@Lam1,

Thanks for sharing your experience. After reading all the criticism about Pelikan EF nibs, I had the impression that they were scratchy and same width as F. Even though I love my M605 F nib, I have been staying away from EF. So nice to see you had good experience with them.

I agree with your opinion about characters. Out of all my pens, my husband likes the M605 F nib the best, because it is smooth. He is a ballpoint pen user. His grip is very funny. He could not get along with my 400 and 400nn nibs. It is unfortunate that fountain pens nowadays have to be made extra smooth to please ballpen users. At least it is keeping pen makers in business.

 

I did have two EFs that were scratchy out of the box (out of 15 or so), but only because they were misaligned. After I aligned them, they write great and consistent with the other Pelikan EFs that I have. Currently I have a M800 Red inked, with an EF nib that is a joy to use (and I typically don't like EF anymore  :) . At the beginning that was all I would buy  :wacko:   ). But, of course, this is just based on my experience (and my wife's).



#39 max dog

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 20:35

It's not digital reproduction, so such machine work is still subject to common variation (or "common cause variation") as well as special cause variation, within design specifications and tolerances or otherwise.
 


The end products can still be all strictly within design specifications — and those that aren't, simply discarded and/or recycled for the raw material — if the manufacturer makes that its policy. There's only so much control and precision the nib technician (or "nibmeister") can achieve by hand grinding, but even machines have limited precision.

The question is more of how much time and effort (and therefore average cost of production) the manufacturer is prepared to put into each nib that is fit for sale as in "perfect" condition and within specifications, and how much rework and waste it is prepare to wear in rejecting and dealing with the units that aren't.
 


That makes no sense, sorry.

Giving the manufacturers and brands that take pride in the quality of their nibs and make consistency one of their major selling points one's custom as a fountain pen user is the go. Pelikan obviously isn't one of those manufacturers/brands, given that it often charges additionally for an Extra Fine nib on the pretext that it needs highest precision and is extremely time-consuming in production but still fails to deliver any semblance of precision and consistency.
 


I think you're missing the point. It's perfectly acceptable for Pelikan to state (if only it did!) that its EF nibs leaves lines of widths between, say, 0.32mm–0.38mm (which is Platinum's specified range for Medium-Fine 中細) when writing on a given type of paper used for testing with a "standard" ink such as Pelikan 4001 Brilliant-Black out of a cartridge with a set amount of downward pressure on the nib held at a fixed angle. It's not just how narrow, but how precise, strict and consistent. I have no problem if Pelikan simply and openly took the position that it thinks there is no market for nibs that write consistently between 0.24mm—0.28mm (Platinum's Extra Fine range of line widths) and so simply won't make them in any regular product line-up.

 

Germans and German products have a reputation for precision and consistency, and I categorically value them more highly against their competition because of that. Pelikan gold nibs are a let-down to many in that regard.

I think you are over complicating things with your bias against Pelikan.  My point was very simple.  European brands generally don't produce EF nibs that are very fine. The Japanese brands offer the finest EF, so if a very fine line is what you are after, a Pelikan, Montblanc, Lamy etc would not be a good choice.  My Lamy safari EFis like a medium compared to my Pilot Falcon SF.  

 

Hand finished nibs are going to have more variation than nibs made and finished by machine.  Trade off with the latter is lack of character.  My Montblanc nibs are just awesome.  I haven't acquired enough Pelikan nibs in the last few years to comment, but I know they follow a similar discipline, and the nibs on my M600 and M400 a few years back, are characteristically broad and wet, and write very nicely, and love the rich line and shading they are capable of.  

 

My machine made Lamy Safari nibs are very consistent, reliable, and I have given many as gifts. They are great beginner pens in my opinion and perform well enough even for seasoned fountain pen people to appreciate.  But my hand finished Montblanc nibs give more joy and pleasure because of the unique character each have with a wonderful tactile feedback of the nib on paper, so I find myself using them more than the consistent Lamy Safaris.  The same is true of my M400 and M600 Pelikans.


Edited by max dog, 25 August 2019 - 21:07.


#40 A Smug Dill

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 07:30

To expect that an EF Pelikan nib would be on par with an EF Japanese is just not realistic. In my experience, none of the western makers that I have tried have this equivalence (and the only one I haven't tried the finer nibs is Aurora). There must be a market reason for that!

I think you are over complicating things with your bias against Pelikan.  My point was very simple.  European brands generally don't produce EF nibs that are very fine.

 
My point is equally simple. I don't mind if Western (European, American, or even Australian) brands' idea of Extra Fine is the equivalent in physical measurements – of line width, nib tipping width and geometry, etc. – of Medium by the Japanese "Big Three" fountain pen brands' "standards" or specification. Pelikan, Aurora and JoWo can call 0.24mm–0.28mm XXXF (instead of EF) nib width for all I care. I care (1.)_whether the Western manufacturers can successfully product nibs so fine at all, (2.)_whether they can do so consistently, and (3.)_whether they choose to produce such nibs on the basis of their views of market demand and profitability.
 
If (1.)_Pelikan (or any other Western brand) simply lacks the production capability, then the rest is moot; they simply cannot compete at all for the custom of users who require pens and nibs that put down such fine lines. If (2.)_it can do so only occasionally as one-off items, such as for the Make A Wish Nib programme on individual customer request, and due to the labour-intensive process and high error rate (with unsuccessful attempts resulting in stock nibs being discarded or recycled) the cost of making such fine nibs more generally available for ordering would be too high, then it can't compete viably for custom in that segment. If (3.)_it simply sees there isn't enough market demand and potential for profit in producing such fine nibs, and elects not to compete for custom in that segment and let Japanese and/or other brands dominate, that's OK too.
 
I'll note that Pelikan's position is that it wants "roughly 40€" for the "individualisation" of a nib for the Make A Wish Nib programme. Considering that the "EF surcharge", i.e. price differential between the F nib and EF nib options for the same gold-nibbed pen model, often already exceeds that for an M80x (N.B. I just checked the respective prices for the M805 basic black and M805 Blue Dunes pens on Fontoplumo.nl), it is bordering on unacceptable that Pelikan cannot deliver stock EF nibs that are consistently and noticeably finer than its own F nibs. I'm talking about arithmetic mean and standard deviation there; ...
 

The Japanese brands offer the finest EF, so if a very fine line is what you are after, a Pelikan, Montblanc, Lamy etc would not be a good choice.  My Lamy safari EFis like a medium compared to my Pilot Falcon SF.


... if (and that's a big "if", since there is no published specification from Pelikan itself that I can find, so I'm just "making things up" by borrowing ranges that come from Platinum's specifications) of EF is 0.32mm–0.38mm, equivalent to Platinum's Medium-Fine nib width grade — with a mean of 0.35mm and, say, 95.46% (±2σ) of produced units falling within an acceptable margin of error of 0.03mm on either side — while its F nibs are 0.4mm—0.5mm, equivalent to Platinum's Medium, with essentially no overlap with the EF nib width grade's range, then I think it'd be perfectly acceptable and respectable. That's a matter of precision and consistency, and not whether Pelikan's (so-marked) EF nibs write as finely as Platinum's or Sailor's EF nibs.
 

Hand finished nibs are going to have more variation than nibs made and finished by machine.  Trade off with the latter is lack of character.


Manual manufacturing processes are likely to produce a wider range of common variation than industrial machine work, sure. That does not logically mean 100 handmade nibs made available for sale (as factory-installed on complete pens or otherwise) will have more non-conforming units than 100 machine-made nibs, because it is always possible to inspect 500 handmade nibs all intended to conform to specifications, and select the best 100. Alternatively, the iridium tip for each EF nib could start off as that for an F nib, and then slowly and carefully ground down until it falls within the upper region of the EF specification range, then polished and finished (which may cause the loss of more tipping material) to approach the mid-point of the range. Either way, it's going to be significantly more costly than fully-automated production, but that's where discipline, workmanship and mastery come into play. I'd like to see Pelikan successfully rival Japanese brands in those regards, and not whether its EF specification range is broader on paper than its Japanese counterparts.
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.






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