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Custom 742 Vs. Namiki Falcon Vs. Mb 149 Calligraphy Writing Comparison


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17 replies to this topic

#1 ItsMeDave

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 02:56

I thought I'd compare my three pens with (air quote) flex nibs.

The 149 and Falcon both had Sailor Tokiwa-matsu ink, the Pilot Custom 742 had Noodler's Apache Sunset.

I've had railroad issues with the 742 and had a nibmeister increase the ink flow, the result being that it railroads less, interestingly, not at all today, but it's a pretty wet writer.

The Falcon nib is very stiff, the least flexible of the three. I think I'll probably send it away for the Spencerian modification, but it's a smooth writer.

The 742 is the easiest of the three to flex, and puts down the widest line, but I think the 149 is capable of more flex, I'll need to get used to the pen before I push the limits.

The 149 demonstrates the greatest amount of flex as compared to its un-flexed line width.

 

WVKTaLe.jpg

 



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#2 Honeybadgers

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 03:30

Thanks for that, I've been eyeing the 149 calligraphy, but just can't justify dropping big change until I see more about its flex.

 

I agree that the pilot falcon is unpleasantly hard to flex (very much like the noodlers ahab) so mine's currently with Gena Salorino for a needlepoint + flex spencerian mod.

 

I also have my aurora optima flex with her for a converstion to a japanese EF. That should be a pretty impressive little flex nib once the tipping has been ground down from that kind of dumb F that it comes with (it should have been a western EF at most)


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#3 ItsMeDave

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 04:10

Thanks for that, I've been eyeing the 149 calligraphy, but just can't justify dropping big change until I see more about its flex.

 

I agree that the pilot falcon is unpleasantly hard to flex (very much like the noodlers ahab) so mine's currently with Gena Salorino for a needlepoint + flex spencerian mod.

 

I also have my aurora optima flex with her for a converstion to a japanese EF. That should be a pretty impressive little flex nib once the tipping has been ground down from that kind of dumb F that it comes with (it should have been a western EF at most)

 

I just sent a Pilot Custom 823 and a Pelikan M800 down to Gena for some nib modifications. I'm gonna wait till those two come back before I ship off the Falcon for the same mod that you're getting. I might include the 742, it puts down too wide of a line.



#4 JulieParadise

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 08:26

I had the opportunity to test drive all in all 4 different 149 Calligraphy Flex pens. These are amazing! I do own 3 Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with great FA nibs which I feel are feeling a tad bit softer, but the amount of flex you can do with the 149 is so much more pronounced. If I had the money, I'd get the 149 as soon as possible. I mean, think about it: Amazing nib, especially if you do like extra fine nibs to begin with and also love a soft nib also, not even to mention if you looooove flex writing. This nib has it all, in a hassle free modern pen. What more could you want?



#5 A Smug Dill

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 05:53

I can't say I've found the Pilot Namiki Falcon to be difficult or onerous to use for calligraphic writing.
 
fpn_1574142657__pilot_falcon_sef_nib_wri
 
The four lines at the top were written with deliberate, firm pressure that wasn't uncomfortable (in the sense of feeling I might either spring the nib or sprain my wrist), and the three lines at the bottom were written with "normal", light pressure.


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.


#6 ItsMeDave

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 13:36

I can't say I've found the Pilot Namiki Falcon to be difficult or onerous to use for calligraphic writing.
 
fpn_1574142657__pilot_falcon_sef_nib_wri
 
The four lines at the top were written with deliberate, firm pressure that wasn't uncomfortable (in the sense of feeling I might either spring the nib or sprain my wrist), and the three lines at the bottom were written with "normal", light pressure.

 

Very nice writing. 



#7 A Smug Dill

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 14:18

Very nice writing.


Thank you.

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.


#8 Honeybadgers

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 01:20

I can't say I've found the Pilot Namiki Falcon to be difficult or onerous to use for calligraphic writing.
 
fpn_1574142657__pilot_falcon_sef_nib_wri
 
The four lines at the top were written with deliberate, firm pressure that wasn't uncomfortable (in the sense of feeling I might either spring the nib or sprain my wrist), and the three lines at the bottom were written with "normal", light pressure.

 

Do you own many vintage flex pens to compare?

 

I found the pressure required for the SEF metal falcon's nib to be extremely unpleasantly firm compared to even the FA, which is a semiflex, and outright absurd when compared to a true vintage flex or FPnibs wet noodle.

 

I couldn't write more than a few sentences with very mild shades with the nib as it came form pilot. And if you want to write with any speed, forget it. The force required severely hampers precision, particularly on flourishes.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 20 November 2019 - 01:21.

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#9 A Smug Dill

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 01:25

Do you own many vintage flex pens to compare?


I don't need to compare. I know what I find comfortable or uncomfortable, even when taking an experience in isolation.

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.


#10 Honeybadgers

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 09:10

I don't need to compare. I know what I find comfortable or uncomfortable, even when taking an experience in isolation.

 

But I don't care what you find comfortable or uncomfortable, I'm interested in relevant comparisons that I can draw useful information from.

 

I asked genuinely - do you have any vintage or "real" flex nibs, intended to be flexible? Since the Falcon isn't actually advertised as flexible.

 

Do you have the aurora flex nib? I find it dramatically firmer than that nib.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 20 November 2019 - 09:11.

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#11 A Smug Dill

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 10:13

But I don't care what you find comfortable or uncomfortable, I'm interested in relevant comparisons that I can draw useful information from.


I'm neither asking nor expecting you to care what I find uncomfortable or unpleasant kinaesthetically to do. You said you found it unpleasant, and that is understood to be subjective; nobody is challenging how you feel. However, this is a discussion, and I think it benefits for other participants and readers to not just hear one voice and one view of these nibs. A single-sided "discussion" is of little value. You call me contrarian — or at least you did, in other threads — but the very point is not to unduly let a particular narrative dominate an open discussion as if that was the singular Truth with a capital T. Echo chambers might make the few vocal voices feel better, but that's hardly the aim of participation in discussion in a forum such as these (as opposed to private messages between a few like-minded folk than nobody else need see or be swayed by).

I asked genuinely - do you have any vintage or "real" flex nibs, intended to be flexible?


I have a few FPR Flex and Ultra Flex nibs. I haven't been interested enough to ink and use the Ultra Flex nib since I received it months ago.

Since the Falcon isn't actually advertised as flexible.


Nevertheless, the topic here — as clearly indicated in the thread title chosen by the O.P. — is calligraphic writing, not specifically "flex" and what anyone takes that word to mean.

Do you have the aurora flex nib?


Nope. I saw Endless Pens' offer, but I was never interested enough in that nib to bite, because the reputation is that it doesn't write finely enough when no pressure is put on the nib. Having the capability to lay down narrow lines is more important to me than "soft", "flex" and ease of obtaining "line variation" from a nib any day.

I find it dramatically firmer than that nib.


That's fine. Not challenging it.

However, if you want to suggest some objective metric(s) in which to measure and express "flex", and tabulate the performance of different nibs, I'd be happy to contribute by measuring the nibs I have in the same way. I don't care about your experience with the nib, any more than (I expect) you care for mine, but if it's just hard figures, then it might actually be meaningful and useful for others to review and decide for themselves whether the figure for a particular nib meets their personal thresholds for "comfortable" or "unpleasant".

Take it away from the person, the subjective experience. If something measures 5.6 on a particular scale, and you find it "unpleasant" while others don't, then it isn't a systemic problem with the nib that makes it unfit for purpose, and it should not deter others from trying to make it work for them in producing calligraphic 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.


#12 Honeybadgers

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 00:54

 

 


I have a few FPR Flex and Ultra Flex nibs. I haven't been interested enough to ink and use the Ultra Flex nib since I received it months ago.

 

the #5 or #6?I find the #5 standard flex to be fairly close in feel to a vintage semiflex. How would you compare the falcon to it? I'd argue the pressure required is noticeably more than that nib. I would just get out my scale and do a 0-1mm flex test for them all, but my falcon is currently in Gena's hands being ground for added flex, so I can't anymore.

 

Do you have something like a digital kitchen scale? You can test the pressure required to reach a specific width (1mm is the usual metric) by putting a sheet of paper and a ruler on the scale, taring it, and then pressing the nib's tines up against the ruler and recording the weight required to hit a 1mm gap between the tines. Again, I don't have the FA in stock form anymore to test, but I'd wager that the weight required to hit 1mm from the Falcon is more than a custom 74/91 Soft fine.

 

As for the aurora, don't worry about it, I can say you probably would hate the factory writing experience. From the factory, it doesn't meet any of the criteria you like, the nib doesn't have that "precision" to its lines. It's a western fine, but has that slightly feathery quality to the borders of its lines. if it was an EF I would have been happy enough, but since I was sending in my pilot falcon for the spencerian, I figured I'd drop $40 and have her give it a japanese EF - which I suspect will be reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally good. The nib's feel and spring are pretty spectacular, and the rest of it is nothing short of spectacular. 

 

Also - the falcon isn't actually advertised to do calligraphic writing. It's not -technically- a flex nib in any way. It's "soft", designed to be bouncy, not flexible. The FA nib is the one that's actually advertised to be flexible. 


Edited by Honeybadgers, 21 November 2019 - 00:55.

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#13 loganrah

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 01:39

Do you have something like a digital kitchen scale? You can test the pressure required to reach a specific width (1mm is the usual metric) by putting a sheet of paper and a ruler on the scale, taring it, and then pressing the nib's tines up against the ruler and recording the weight required to hit a 1mm gap between the tines. Again, I don't have the FA in stock form anymore to test, but I'd wager that the weight required to hit 1mm from the Falcon is more than a custom 74/91 Soft fine.

This is a great suggestion, don't know why I didn't think of this myself. Just tested my Falcon SF, a #15 FA (in an 823) and a #10 FA (in a 742). 

The Falcon SF requires approx. 600g pressure to reach 1mm flex. And I would not like to try to push it to flex further than that, even 1mm felt like I was flexing it beyond what it probably should be. 

The #15 FA requires approx. 350g pressure to reach 1mm flex. It could easily be flexed a reasonable amount more. 

The #10 FA requires approx. 200g pressure to reach 1mm flex. Even the weight of the pen alone begins to separate the tines on this nib. 

All these nibs are completely stock, but they have all been in use for some time, so they have passed any break in period if that matters.


Edited by loganrah, 21 November 2019 - 01:40.


#14 Honeybadgers

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 02:27

It's interesting that your #10 FA took less than the #15. I've always heard the 15 is a bit softer.

 

There's also some variation in doing it this way. But I believe that double the pressure for the falcon is right. 600g is over a pound of force, which is a TON.


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#15 A Smug Dill

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 02:35

the #5 or #6?I


I have three FPR #5 Flex, one FPR #6 Flex and one FPR #6 Ultra Flex nibs.
 

How would you compare the falcon to it? I'd argue the pressure required is noticeably more than that nib.


I don't know yet. Like I said, I don't compare flex nibs per se, I just use them to write when I want to in the way I want to, and decide on the spot whether that's comfortable (and therefore fit for my purpose) to use or not. If a nib can produce the output I want on the page, without spraining my wrist or triggering my tendonitis, and without springing the nib, then I consider it good enough for me as a tool. I'm not trying to work out what is "best", either for myself or (much less) for others, for producing that particular type of writing outcome.

I only compare nibs "side by side" out of curiosity, and very occasionally as a special favour to someone else, but I generally hate doing it.
 

I would just get out my scale and do a 0-1mm flex test for them all, but my falcon is currently in Gena's hands being ground for added flex, so I can't anymore.


I could do that, although I think that doesn't align well with my purpose or applications for those pens. I have one Pilot Namiki Falcon SF and two Pilot Elabo/Namiki Falcon SEF nibs here, but I usually do calligraphic writing in English with x-height of between 2mm-3mm (but favouring the lower end of that range), so I wouldn't normally have a need to "flex" to 1mm. The maximum line width of the swells should be proportional to the size of the writing, in my opinion, and not just going wide for its own sake — and I hate writing larger than would be appropriate for 7mm-ruled paper while allowing for interline spacing writing on every ruled line.

Just to pre-empt, it doesn't matter if anyone else (including but not limited to your good self) doesn't consider tiny writing in calligraphic cursive hands worthwhile. I normally write in that range of x-height, and I use different nibs to produce writing with different characteristics without changing the size (much). Whether an ink shades or sheens prominently, and how much line variation by proportion there is between the "hairlines" and swells, is assessed looking at "small" writing, even if it takes a lot of mental concentration or even an optical magnifier to see.
 

Do you have something like a digital kitchen scale?


Yes, I do.
 

You can test the pressure required to reach a specific width (1mm is the usual metric) by putting a sheet of paper and a ruler on the scale, taring it, and then pressing the nib's tines up against the ruler and recording the weight required to hit a 1mm gap between the tines. Again, I don't have the FA in stock form anymore to test, but I'd wager that the weight required to hit 1mm from the Falcon is more than a custom 74/91 Soft fine.


FA as in Pilot #10 FA nib, or Namiki Falcon SF/SEF nib? As you well know, I snapped the FA nib on my Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with my bare hands in frustration after ripping it out of the pen, not because it took a lot of pressure to "flex" and spread, but because it didn't snap back to a hairline quickly and in linear fashion when I release the pressure it took to spread the tines. Spreading easily without springing back easily is of no use to me as a "flex" nib, whereas something that responds precisely to variation in pressure exerted on it is more suitable for my writing.

I'll do some testing when I get around to inking both the Namiki Falcon SEF and SF, as well as at least one of the FPR Flex pens.
 

As for the aurora, don't worry about it, I can say you probably would hate the factory writing experience. From the factory, it doesn't meet any of the criteria you like, the nib doesn't have that "precision" to its lines. It's a western fine, but has that slightly feathery quality to the borders of its lines.


Thanks (sincerely). I'll continue to avoid it like the plague, then.
 

Also - the falcon isn't actually advertised to do calligraphic writing. It's not -technically- a flex nib in any way. It's "soft", designed to be bouncy, not flexible. The FA nib is the one that's actually advertised to be flexible.


I don't need a pen that is advertised to do calligraphic writing, which by the way encompasses far, far more than just Spencerian or similar cursive hands. I just need to find, acquire and identify fit-for-purpose tools to produce particular types of lines/writing outcomes. I have a copy of The Calligrapher's Bible: 100 complete alphabets and how to draw them by David Harris on my desk, and a "flex" nib with an extra fine point wouldn't be suitable for producing even 10% of those calligraphic writing styles.

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 A Smug Dill

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 03:15

In light of this (below), I think you're asking too much of the Pilot Namiki Falcon SEF nib.

fpn_1574305883__pilot_namiki_falcon_sef_

I can get about 3x the line width without pressing down uncomfortably hard (but just applying 200g extra pressure than what it would take to put down a hairline under "the pen's own weight"), but getting 1.0mm — which is unnecessary for my calligraphic cursive writing given the ratio it represents — out of it will probably risk springing the tines.

 

fpn_1574307411__pilot_namiki_falcon_sef_


Edited by A Smug Dill, 21 November 2019 - 03:37.

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.


#17 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 10:00

'50-70 MB (not the 3XX) will be semi-flex or with lots of luck maxi-semi-flex.

My MB 234 1/2 Deluxe is a semi-flex OB, my rolled gold 742 is semi-flex +, in the middle between semi-flex and maxi-semi-flex, my only nib like that. My medium small 146 and so much better balanced than the  '70-now Large 146 has a maxi-semi-flex. All are of course stubbed.

So chase the German vintage MB, Pelikan, Soennecken, Kaweco, or Geha pens for the nibs you want.

Only with Osmia/Osmia-Faber-Castel can you tell if you are getting a semi-flex or a maxi-semi-flex. Small diamond on the nib, mostly with the nib size marked in the diamond is semi-flex, large diamond with Supra or just marked Supra is maxi-semi-flex.

The gold nib is as good as the steel ones in Osmia and Geha, in Degussa made them. Great nibs. Osmia not having a office supply house like MB, Soennecken, Pelikan and later Geha was always broke, so had their nib factory taken for debt to Degussa the German gold and silver producer, who continued to make the grand Osmia nibs.

I am using other folks pictures in this in I take horrible pictures.

The first will show the semi-flex nib....I do have a similar pen a 540, made in 1951 just after Faber-Castell took over Osmia.That is a gold plated nib. I don't have one, I have 3 steel and 5 gold nibbed Osmia/O-F-C pens.

The other picture is just to show what a Supra nib looks like.HBMiI0r.jpg

 

o2PJXYR.jpg

 

 

If you want oblique, vintage German semi/maxi-semi-flex oblique is the only way to fly............I have had oblique nails :angry: (no line variation at all), and have still regular flex oblique :(...no cigar...the slightest whisper of an echo of line variation.....and modern post '98 are semi-nail....so there will be nothing worth wasting money on.

If you are left handed and not an underwriter.... nail or semi-nail might be nice to write with but you will not get Any line variation!

 

Semi/maxi-semi-flex are semi-flex, not semi-flex they have a 3 X tine spread if you not guilty of nib abuse. They are flair nibs, not Flex nibs.

In there is ease of tine spread, you get that old fashioned fountain pen script....the first letter of a word will be wider, as will the looping letters and the crossed T's.

 

If you want a superflex copperplate or Spencerian nib, they are hard to find also in German vintage pens, I have a Soennecken wet noodle, that is better than my two Waterman 52's.

 

And in real life, a 7 X superflex nib is very rare outside of Utube and folks selling pre-sprung nibs for your convenience.

It is possible to have a 4 X superflex. Most are 5 or 6 X tine spread.

 

If you want flair, go German '50-70 vintage stubbed semi-flex.

 

Dip pen will give you want you need for calligraphy..& dirt cheap...if you take and warm up some bees wax put it in the nib, and make rills like this you get a dip pen that will hold lots of ink.

That is lots cheaper than spending big bucks on a passing whim....if with a bit of practice, you find yes you want a wet noodle or even a Easy Full Flex nibbed fountain pen, you can. But I suggest tying dip pen nibs first.....

And while you are at it.........Stiff Italic nib calligraphy is just as great as flexi. :thumbup:

Go to get my hammer and chisel out and hammer that dust rusted shut book open.

Suggest you get one any way, it will teach you how to Draw Letters. Where to push, where to pull.

I found it of much help when I got some superflex nibs to fiddle with......too bad I don't fiddle but when the moon is blue. ...or was that green?

tAt98yg.jpg


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,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#18 Wadude

Wadude

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 10:11

This is a great suggestion, don't know why I didn't think of this myself. Just tested my Falcon SF, a #15 FA (in an 823) and a #10 FA (in a 742). 

The Falcon SF requires approx. 600g pressure to reach 1mm flex. And I would not like to try to push it to flex further than that, even 1mm felt like I was flexing it beyond what it probably should be. 

The #15 FA requires approx. 350g pressure to reach 1mm flex. It could easily be flexed a reasonable amount more. 

The #10 FA requires approx. 200g pressure to reach 1mm flex. Even the weight of the pen alone begins to separate the tines on this nib. 

All these nibs are completely stock, but they have all been in use for some time, so they have passed any break in period if that matters.


Thanks! That is very helpful information.

Would anyone be able to post similar measurements for the 149 Calligraphy? I have read elsewhere that it feels close to the #15 FA, but it would be interesting to know with some precision.






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