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What Is Meant When One Says A Nib Is Boring?


65 replies to this topic

#1 MadAsAHatter

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 17:56

I've seen where people will refer to a nib as boring, uninteresting, uninspiring, bland , etc. It's a nib, it's not supposed to do a song & dance; it puts ink on paper.  So, what does it mean when one calls a nib boring?



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#2 bayindirh

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 18:15

I've seen where people will refer to a nib as boring, uninteresting, uninspiring, bland , etc. It's a nib, it's not supposed to do a song & dance; it puts ink on paper.  So, what does it mean when one calls a nib boring?

The feeling of a pen can change dramatically according to the characteristics of the nib. Aside from line width, its cushioning, flex, line variation capabilities and other secondary features are of great interest to some fountain pen users. Some notable examples from my experience:

 

  • Sheaffer Targa inlaid nibs said to be "turned upwards" towards the end. They cushion very well, has no feedback, are wet and mesmerizing to write.
  • Cross Century's gold nib looks like a Lamy-Style nib but it also has great cushioning. It's tipping is big blob/ball so it has no variation but can write at different angles without complaining.
  • Parker Vector's medium nib writes kinda stubbish and actually changes the look of my writing so much. Also it's, oh, very smooth.
  • Lamy nibs are considered as "nails" no cushoning, no flexing, nothing. However, their mounting aligns them so well that I call them "precise". Their gold nibs' feeling is not very different from steel ones, but gold ones glide with a hard to describe sweet smoothness. However, I love Lamy pens.
  • Platinum Preppy's nib has so much feedback. You can hear it but, it's also smooth, wet and well behaving.
  • Faber Castell Loom's nib is big and has inherent cushioning. It feels between Cross and Sheaffer while it's a steel nib.
  • Vintage Pelikan 120's nib has a slight cushioning and is so fine. Again hypnotizing to write.

Some people prefer some feeling over the other and, they consider nail nibs as boring. Or some other nib as boring, according to their taste.

 

I like cushioning nibs, especially with lubricated inks but, I always return to my Lamys at the end of the day because of their practicality. For me, there's no boring nib/pen. They're only different.


Edited by bayindirh, 01 July 2020 - 18:17.


#3 Aysedasi

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 18:29

Some people swear by flex nibs.  I can't write with them at all.  Perhaps it's something to do with being a lefty....  I'm perfectly happy with 'nails', but not rinky-dinky fine ones, I prefer mediums.  I like a nib to either be glassy smooth or to have nice 'feedback' so I can feel it moving over the paper.  I don't mean scratchy, there's a big difference.  Aurora nibs tend to give me very pleasant feedback.  My recently bought Parker Duofold Centennial Classic Big Red has a wonderfully smooth broad oblique nib that lays down a lot of ink with impressive style.  


Edited by Aysedasi, 01 July 2020 - 18:31.


#4 silverlifter

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 18:39

So, what does it mean when one calls a nib boring?

 

A nib that has no unique characteristics: no line variation, feedback, or specificly memorable qualities. The vast bulk of nibs fall into this category, and for good reason: they just work.


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#5 Paul-in-SF

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 19:22

I have a Lamy 2000 that came with a very smooth medium nib. It was boring to write with. It did not grasp the paper and I felt like I did not control it very well. It did not encourage better handwriting (which for me seems to involve slowing down and taking more care with letter formation). It had no flair of any kind. 

 

I had it re-ground to a cursive italic. Now it is not boring to write with. There is some line variation based on the angle of the lines, there is a little feedback now, and when writing with it I am sort of forced to slow down a little, plus it just feels more involving when I am writing with it. It is not my favorite nib ever, but before I had it reground I was seriously considering selling the pen. Now it's a definite keeper. 



#6 sansenri

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 20:04

Boring is a judgment, so, boring is subjective.

As silverlifter says, often a nib is considered boring due to no distinctly notable character, but sometimes that is exactly what you need.

I have quite a number of M nibs (which not being on either extreme of extra fine or double broad would seem ordinary... boring some would say) but often that's what I need when taking notes at work. On those occasions all I need is reliable response and tidy writing, without any fancy attributes.



#7 Honeybadgers

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 20:47

Purely subjective, but boring nibs are not offensive in that they don't do anything wrong per se, like skipping or hard starting, but they just don't have any of the traits that you find particularly appealing (smoothness, feedback, precision, bounce, floatiness, firmness, line variation, etc. Whatever you really like)

 

For me, I find all medium nibs, no matter how "good" they are, boring, because they don't have enough precision for my tastes, nor do they have the dramatic flare of broads or wider that I also like. The only exception are medium italics or very stubby mediums like the waterman carene.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 01 July 2020 - 20:50.

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#8 Olya

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 21:18

As soon as I saw the topic (and 1st post) I already had my answer, which has been voiced already.

 

At the end of the day, it is subjective and a matter of taste.

 

Some find certain nibs boring, which others find absolutely perfect and wouldn't live without.

 

Like an "M" nib is often seen as boring, but to me it's a perfect size, not too thin, not too thick. I can write small when I need or want to, big when fancy strikes me and ink properties are nicely shown and don't get lost like with XXF nibs.

 

Smooth nibs are often considered boring, but I love smooth nibs, many do.

Though I've also come to love tooth.

 

A nib is only boring if you perceive it that way.



#9 ardene

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 21:41

For most boring means uninspiring. Various nibs have subtly or not so subtly (stubs or italics for example) different characteristics which may require adjustments to writing speed and style of holding the pen. Others appreciate springiness (especially vintage nibs), softness on paper contact (non-hooded gold nibs) or no-frills nibs for speedy writing (steel nibs), the feedback a nib gives on a particular paper or lack of it (butter-smooth nibs). Some nibs are interesting just because of design, size and patterns on them. Finally, some nibs might be deemed uninteresting because of the characteristics of the pen they are on. 
 

I can't say I have found any nibs at my disposal boring for more than a day or two.



#10 Christopher Godfrey

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 01:03

Well, I know <I> am guilty of using that word ("boring") to describe some nibs and I beg your pardon for so doing, OP!  Of course it is subjective, as others have pointed out; but, in the future, I promise to try to remember to use the abbreviation IMO (or IMHO) when using that word again!

 

For me, nibs <ought> to be soft and flexible and so "nails" are uninteresting, for the most part.  

 

Regarding this, from somewhere above (was it the OP?): <It's a nib, it's not supposed to do a song & dance...>  Of <course> they are meant to sing and dance!   :) 


Edited by Christopher Godfrey, 02 July 2020 - 01:03.


#11 inkstainedruth

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 02:32

Regarding this, from somewhere above (was it the OP?): <It's a nib, it's not supposed to do a song & dance...>  Of <course> they are meant to sing and dance!   :) 

 

:lticaptd:

I haven't had any pens where the nibs  really "sang" (although a couple did squeak.  But my first Parker 45 (which was the first pen I ever had with a gold nib and the first semi-vintage pen I ever got?  Oh, my!  When you put the right ink in that pen it just glides across the page....  :wub: 

As for "boring" nibs?  Hmmm.  Well, I didn't buy a green Sheaffer Snorkel because it had a "boring" F nib.  Instead, even though I didn't need a second black Snorkel, I looked at the other one in the case and it was anything but boring....  That was the pen with the palladium silver Triumph nib that was a stub; and -- as I discovered after having the pen for over a year (!) -- also had a bit of flex to it....  So not a gold nib like the green one, but WAAAY not boring....  :D 

But I agree with Olya -- "boring" is subjective.  I'm sure that there are people who would find my 1980s Pelikano to have a boring nib.  Or one of the Parker Vectors....  But with the right ink, on the right paper?  Any pen considered to have a "boring" nib could surprise you....

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#12 JonSzanto

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 02:40

I've seen where people will refer to a nib as boring, uninteresting, uninspiring, bland , etc. It's a nib, it's not supposed to do a song & dance; it puts ink on paper.  So, what does it mean when one calls a nib boring?

 

I find it hard to believe that is a serious question. It would be like saying that the purpose of a car is to get you from Point A to Point B.

Well, of course. Duh. And yet...

Does that mean it can't be done with flair or excitement or fun? Use your imagination, because the exact same type of thinking applies to the experience of writing with a fountain pen. 


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#13 A Smug Dill

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 06:53

I personally make a distinction between whether I think a nib — an a tangible object and a pen part — is 'boring', and whether I think the user experience (and/or outcome) from a particular nib is boring.

 

A standard JoWo or Bock broad, medium, fine or even extra fine nib in a Conid, Wancher, Ranga, or The Rocks street market (in Sydney, Australia) vendor hand-turned kit pen is boring to me. That doesn't mean they're inherently unreliable or not fit for purpose as a part of a writing instrument; far from it. However, I'm not going to give any vendor bonus points or special positive regard for fitting such nibs in their pens, any more than I'd give bonus points for garment brands putting YKK zippers on their products. I'd rather test out what ASA Pens can deliver with its brand of nibs, instead of fitting the pens on my order with Bock nibs, when I could just order the same Bock nibs from (say) FPNibs.com.

 

I'd prefer to hear how a pen manufacturer makes its nibs in-house, or at least commission JoWo or Bock to make its nibs to the brand's specifications and with the brand's imprint, and then do some QC and tuning in-house. Tell me what the non-JoWo and non-Bock party is bringing to the table, how it's putting its own signature and style on the product, with the potential of screwing it (i.e. any individual unit) up but having learnt not to in the 'customisation' process.

 

On the other hand, the Diplomat Aero I have is fitted with a JoWo (or is it Bock?) steel EF nib, and it delivers something other than what someone might expect from a round-tipped EF nib of German manufacture from one of those two major producers. If I buy another Diplomat pen, I'd want to know the company has done its 'special' part in shaping the nib, and not just that I got lucky with my one pen of that brand with a nib that is somehow unusual.

 

A Platinum #3776 14K gold F nib is pretty 'boring' to me, now that I have so many of them, but I know they're reliable and serve me well in my writing instruments. I won't give Platinum any extra points for using those nibs, but (perhaps unfairly) I might give Parker extra points for (i.e. if it were) acknowledging that it couldn't produce a fine enough nib and use Platinum-made nibs for its EEF/Needlepoint option, when considering my next purchase. Platinum is going to have to sell me on either something about the pen's design and/or construction, or its special expertise at making UEF or Music nibs that other manufacturers can't just replicate.


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#14 MadAsAHatter

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 21:50

Wow, thanks for all the great responses.  I know it's not the easiest to define subjective terms used withing a hobby especially when it can mean something different to everyone.  I didn't know if boring referred to a plain looking nib with minimal design or boring as in the way it wrote.  I think I'm starting to get an idea of what a boring nib can mean.



#15 Estycollector

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 23:32

I have no "boring" nibs. IMHO, "boring" is an odd discription for a tool. "Oh, this drill bit is boring"...LOL!!


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#16 JonSzanto

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Posted 02 July 2020 - 23:54

I have no "boring" nibs. IMHO, "boring" is an odd discription for a tool. "Oh, this drill bit is boring"...LOL!!

 

Not everyone thinks of a fountain pen as a tool. I get that you do, and many other people do, but not all people view them the same way. 


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#17 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 00:48

There are no boring nibs, only boring users. ;)

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#18 Bookman

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:45

I'm boring when I use my Moonman M2.  I bore the hell out of it.  I've told jokes, clean and ribald.  I've used it indoors and out, on smooth paper and toothy, I made Rice Crispy treats.  I get the feeling it wants me to stay away.  So I will.


I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

 


#19 JonSzanto

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 02:45

There are no boring nibs, only boring users. ;)

 

Indeed. One of the people I follow on Instagram has all kinds of nibs (and styles of writing) but in her hands a total vanilla M round blob of tipping gets used for the most amazing monoline scripts. Immaculate and remarkable in spite of there being absolutely nothing special about the nib.

Then again, we're back to is the nib itself boring or is the nib boring in use. Your point addresses both, in a way, but the individual user will always have their own viewpoint on their personal nib choices.


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#20 Estycollector

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 09:46

 

Not everyone thinks of a fountain pen as a tool. I get that you do, and many other people do, but not all people view them the same way. 

 

Since the topic is about the use of a pen, what else could it be considered if not a tool? If the OP had asked about the fit and finish of a pen being boring, then we know they are not addressing the pen as a tool. I do, however, understand your point that a pen can be enjoyed for other reasons besides use. 


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