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Which Brands Have Flex Nibs?

nibs stipula

48 replies to this topic

#21 WLSpec

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 17:48

As was mentioned, I've heard really good things about Pablo at FPNibs, and I have considered getting one of his semi-flexes for a while. I hear stylosuite does good work too with harpoon flex nibs, they don't have a website that I know of but they can be found on Instagram. (These are both modded nibs, NOT factory flex)



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#22 max dog

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 21:28

 

Aurora flex nib is a piece of garbage..WARNED..Furthermore Aurora Customer Service in Torino..really stink !!..

Regards...

Well that's the thing, when it comes to modern flex, there appears to be a lot of options with many small garage makers and bigger brands pushing a flex nib, but hardly any really perform to a level that would satisfy without tweaking and fiddling hoping and praying and getting aftermarket add ons.  The Omas Extra Flessible seemed promising but then the Omas nibs were springing left and right as people tried to flex them to get vintage level results, and then Omas went out of business.  I still feel Montblanc Calligraphy flex is really the only modern flex pen you can buy without the need for aftermarket enhancement to get decent flex.  It comes right from the factory ready to flex like a vintage flex pen.  If you scour the Fountain Pen Network over the years regarding modern flex, there was never any consensus on a modern manufacturer making a proper factory flex pen that did not require extensive tweaking adjusting or opting for some aftermarket work to get it to flex properly, until the latest Montblanc Calligraphy flex pen.  http://www.fountainp...ciation-thread/


Edited by max dog, 11 July 2020 - 21:50.


#23 Mysterious Mose

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Posted 11 July 2020 - 22:17

Re: extra nibs from Santini-Italie.  Katrina, in an email, wrote

"If you are interested in purchasing an extra nib for your pen, we usually give a whole unit set (housing, feeder and nib) and it is easy to interchange it.

 

The cost of a single nib is 100 Euros for a regular sizes (EF, F, M, STUB, B, F FLEXY, M FLEXY, SUPERFLEXY) 115 Euros for Cursive Italic and 120 Euros for a special nibs like Architect point, Chinese ecc.."

 


Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Sheaffer School

 

inks: Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Schwarz (Brilliant Black), Pelikan 4001 Königsblau (Royal Blue), Edelstein Sapphire, Edelstein Onyx, Waterman Encre Bleu (Inspired Blue), Diamine Mediterranean Blue, iroshizuku (Pilot) ama-iro (Sky Blue), Montblanc Mystery Black, Rohrer-Klingner Cassia


#24 penwash

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 15:20

"I find it strange that so far no one mentioned vintage flexible nibs."

 

I mentioned Esterbrook in the original post.

You did. But that's mentioning *one* vintage pen that has flexible nib option, and it's hardly what most would consider the representative of the excellent options available in the vintage world.

 

Actually I wasn't picking on you at all. I was kinda surprised just a few years back, FPN is teeming with vintage pen discussions. Today, it feels like no one remembers what vintage pens are around here.


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#25 silverlifter

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 15:57

Perhaps because, given the rarity of modern flex, and the cornucopia of vintage, most of us assumed OP was asking about the former--which would fit into a thread, not the latter--which would fill the board...


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#26 Mysterious Mose

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 16:56

As the OP, I'll say that my inquiry was about both vintage and modern pens.  My knowledge of vintage pens is limited, and the only vintage pen I know of that had flex nibs is Esterbrook.

 

So, go ahead: which vintage pens have flex nibs?

 

If I may characterize members of the board, I would say some members of the board are interested in vintage pens and some are not interested in them.  

 

I fall into the latter category.  Sure, vintage pens are interesting and I'm particularly interested in those brands I already have -- Pelikan, Waterman and Sheaffer.  However, I'm reluctant to own a vintage pen.  Who to buy it from?  I'm not confident that I would know who to trust.  What is a reasonable price?  How do I evaluate the pen and determine what works and what doesn't?  What about repairs?  It seems vintage pens often need repairs, such as replacement of the sac.

 

I feel entirely differently about photographic equipment.  I've bought and sold numerous camera, lenses and accessories, mostly on eBay.  I currently have 4 cameras, dating from the 1930's, 1971, 1980 and 2010.  I like film cameras.  I know where to send them for repair.

 

My interest in Hewlett Packard pocket calculators is somewhat in-between.  I have 4 such calculators, 3 of which I bought used.  I made sure all of them worked when I got them.  One calculator didn't work when I received it.  I got my money back but the seller didn't want the calculator back.  Much to my surprise, I was able to sell it, non-working.  Again, I don't repair any of them, except replacing batteries and battery packs and AC adapters.

 

So, there's an essay on my consideration of vintage pens.  If anyone has any suggestions on dipping my toes in the water I'd welcome them.


Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Sheaffer School

 

inks: Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Schwarz (Brilliant Black), Pelikan 4001 Königsblau (Royal Blue), Edelstein Sapphire, Edelstein Onyx, Waterman Encre Bleu (Inspired Blue), Diamine Mediterranean Blue, iroshizuku (Pilot) ama-iro (Sky Blue), Montblanc Mystery Black, Rohrer-Klingner Cassia


#27 aimi

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 18:00

You could try some reputable dealers to start off with like Peyton Street Pens and Redeem Pens. Willow Strong Pens also restores a lot of vintage flex (I think I learned of this site here). I dont think vintage pens have a crazy amount of upkeep, even if you melt your sac because you like to use whatever inks; theres a lot of people who can easily restore it, or maybe thats something to learn at that time as well. Im more wary about random eBay sellers.

Im sure when you started with photography things were probably hazy as well! Sometimes I marvel at what Ive learned in the past and how crazy malleable our brains are.

#28 JosephKing

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 21:18

As was mentioned, I've heard really good things about Pablo at FPNibs, and I have considered getting one of his semi-flexes for a while.

I'll give a +1 for FPNibs semi-flex.
The EF really is extra fine, the nib is quite smooth given the limitation of the size, and the semi-flex requires less pressure than the 743 FA.


 
So, go ahead: which vintage pens have flex nibs?

A Waterman's Ideal #2 nib (out of a 52 pen) can have flex if you find the right nib, and bonus is it will fit in a Noodler's Nib Creaper (if you can stand the smell). It works well enough, but I actually prefer the FPNibs nib (gasp, sacrilege).

Edited by JosephKing, 12 July 2020 - 21:18.


#29 Mysterious Mose

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Posted 12 July 2020 - 22:15

You could try some reputable dealers to start off with like Peyton Street Pens and Redeem Pens. Willow Strong Pens also restores a lot of vintage flex (I think I learned of this site here). I dont think vintage pens have a crazy amount of upkeep, even if you melt your sac because you like to use whatever inks; theres a lot of people who can easily restore it, or maybe thats something to learn at that time as well. Im more wary about random eBay sellers.

Im sure when you started with photography things were probably hazy as well! Sometimes I marvel at what Ive learned in the past and how crazy malleable our brains are.

So I've looked at those dealers' web pages.  Now I need to know more about the different models.  Can you recommend places to read up on Pelikan, Waterman, Sheaffer and Esterbrook?.

 

I looked at vintage Sheaffer and Esterbrook pens at a pen show in 2017 but they all seemed to small for me, I didn't know about price, and I most definitely did not know about the dealers.  At the last show I went to (December, 2019) I was only interested in paper.

 

What I have to do is yearn for a particular pen and then look for it.


Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Sheaffer School

 

inks: Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Schwarz (Brilliant Black), Pelikan 4001 Königsblau (Royal Blue), Edelstein Sapphire, Edelstein Onyx, Waterman Encre Bleu (Inspired Blue), Diamine Mediterranean Blue, iroshizuku (Pilot) ama-iro (Sky Blue), Montblanc Mystery Black, Rohrer-Klingner Cassia


#30 silverlifter

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 00:23

 

I looked at vintage Sheaffer and Esterbrook pens at a pen show in 2017 but they all seemed to small for me

 

Most vintage pens are on the smaller side. The larger ones tend to be more expensive as they are attractive to collectors.

 

It is possible to find a Sheaffer with some flex, but they are the exception for that brand.


Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.


#31 penwash

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 01:27

As the OP, I'll say that my inquiry was about both vintage and modern pens.  My knowledge of vintage pens is limited, and the only vintage pen I know of that had flex nibs is Esterbrook.

 

So, go ahead: which vintage pens have flex nibs?

 

If I may characterize members of the board, I would say some members of the board are interested in vintage pens and some are not interested in them.  

 

I fall into the latter category.  Sure, vintage pens are interesting and I'm particularly interested in those brands I already have -- Pelikan, Waterman and Sheaffer.  However, I'm reluctant to own a vintage pen.  Who to buy it from?  I'm not confident that I would know who to trust.  What is a reasonable price?  How do I evaluate the pen and determine what works and what doesn't?  What about repairs?  It seems vintage pens often need repairs, such as replacement of the sac.

 

I feel entirely differently about photographic equipment.  I've bought and sold numerous camera, lenses and accessories, mostly on eBay.  I currently have 4 cameras, dating from the 1930's, 1971, 1980 and 2010.  I like film cameras.  I know where to send them for repair.

I also love film cameras. Actually, were it not for single a thread about fountain pens in the photography forum that I frequented (back then), I had no idea that fountain pen collecting is a hobby.

 

Your reluctance to owning vintage pens are based on valid questions. And all of those questions have answers that are not dissimilar to the vintage camera ones.

 

Vintage pens almost always have to be restored before it can be used. Therefore the people to trust are those who restore vintage pens and have a track record of successfully selling (and guaranteeing) their restored pens.

 

Evaluating vintage pens are done via reading online (plenty of resources), going to pen shows (not available to everyone), and accumulating the names, models, brands, and general knowledge on how to distinguish the ones that worth pursuing. And here's a tip: The brand/models that are popular with collectors are not the only ones to go after, many pens that are not sought after by collectors can be restored and because they were good pens to begin with, can continue to be in service for decades to come.

 

Now, how can I tell you which vintage pens have flex? First, find restorers and ask them. Some of them specialize in vintage pens with flex, but all of them can point you in the right direction. The tricky part is that you can't tell from a photograph whether a vintage nib is flexible or not. Even when it is flexible, it may not have such high-quality of flexibility.

 

In the end, all I can say is this, hunting for a flexible (high-quality) vintage pen is as much fun as hunting for a rare vintage cameras, and the variety, quirkiness, and quality are also similar if not even more in fountain pens.

 

Hope this helps and happy hunting :)


- Will
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#32 aimi

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 03:36

So I've looked at those dealers' web pages.  Now I need to know more about the different models.  Can you recommend places to read up on Pelikan, Waterman, Sheaffer and Esterbrook?.

 

I looked at vintage Sheaffer and Esterbrook pens at a pen show in 2017 but they all seemed to small for me, I didn't know about price, and I most definitely did not know about the dealers.  At the last show I went to (December, 2019) I was only interested in paper.

 

What I have to do is yearn for a particular pen and then look for it.

 

Ah, I understand. Sorry for getting your question wrong in the first place. I totally know what you mean about needing find a specific model.

 

For Pelikans, while flex does exist, it seems like it's luck of the draw unless you're buying from someone who already knows it's a flex pen. I think you could look at the Pelikan 400 series (400N, 400NN, and 400). Finding a Pelikan flex would most likely be easiest at a pen show or from a site that specializes in Pelikan. If you are partial to Pelikan, Rick Propas at Penguin Pens sells these at fair prices, and a quick perusal of his site welcomes questions about flexibility (https://www.thepenguinpen.com/main).

 

For Waterman, someone mentioned the 52, which I've seen a lot of flex versions at Willow Strong Pens. If you found a lot of pens too small, you'd probably want to stay with the full size 52.

 

I'm not too familiar with other specifically often-flexible pens, but I'm sure other people here would know a lot more than me!



#33 A Smug Dill

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 03:55

 

 

Thanks for the links, but from those I saw only your comments/complaints about Aurora's customer service, not how the product is "a piece of garbage" for what it is designed to be and/or do. I did a further search through your posting history, and can see you posted a photo of your Aurora Flex nib on which the tines are supposedly permanently splayed, but not how they came to be so from your use and handling. You didn't share those details, nor any description or reflection on the writing outcomes the Flex nib produced out-of-the-box, before the tines became splayed.

 

Not allowing you to swap to a non-Flex nib option, and not answering your requests promptly, can certainly be construed as poor customer service, and a deterrent to you and perhaps others against buying anything of the brand, but that has nothing to do with product quality.


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.


#34 A Smug Dill

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 04:04

I'll give a +1 for FPNibs semi-flex.
The EF really is extra fine, the nib is quite smooth given the limitation of the size, and the semi-flex requires less pressure than the 743 FA.

 

 

That's exactly what worries me these days, when I read other fountain pen user's testament about how good a particular flex nib is. The pressure it requires to flex is just one aspect, and I can readily agree that a nib that only requires 50g of downward pressure to flex the nib is more flexible — so arguably better in a very narrow way — than one that requires 100g of pressure to flex and spread to the same extent. But does the more flexible nib return to a commensurately narrow line width, and promptly at that, when the pressure is reduced to 40g, and then 35g, roughly equivalent to what happens when the pressure on the less flexible nib is reduced to 80g and then 70g?

 

There's a logical difference between requiring less physical pressure and less mental concentration to produce and control the flex. I'd expect a high-precision tool, so as a robust and highly responsive flex nib, to require more mental concentration to operate; I don't know whether I'd find it as easy to vary my hand pressure with a granularity of (say) 5g instead of 3g or 2g.


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 JosephKing

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 10:09

 
 
That's exactly what worries me these days, when I read other fountain pen user's testament about how good a particular flex nib is. The pressure it requires to flex is just one aspect, and I can readily agree that a nib that only requires 50g of downward pressure to flex the nib is more flexible so arguably better in a very narrow way than one that requires 100g of pressure to flex and spread to the same extent. But does the more flexible nib return to a commensurately narrow line width, and promptly at that, when the pressure is reduced to 40g, and then 35g, roughly equivalent to what happens when the pressure on the less flexible nib is reduced to 80g and then 70g?
 
There's a logical difference between requiring less physical pressure and less mental concentration to produce and control the flex. I'd expect a high-precision tool, so as a robust and highly responsive flex nib, to require more mental concentration to operate; I don't know whether I'd find it as easy to vary my hand pressure with a granularity of (say) 5g instead of 3g or 2g.

 
Good point; thank you for that realization.  The snap back on the 743 feels stronger than the FPNibs and it does seem more precise.  You can see in the picture below that the 'g' from the 743 nib returns to a finer line sooner than the 'g' from the FPNibs.

Having said that, the FPNibs was a more enjoyable experience.  I'm more inclined to try to improve my sensitivity with the FPNibs, than I am to "muscle" through the 743.
fpn_1594632820__fpnibs_vs_7431.jpg
 
Edit: heh... I've got a lot to learn and practice
Edit 2: after playing with these nibs today, trying to keep an open mind, I'm going to double down: if you're looking for a softer, modern, responsive, flex nib, FPNibs semi-flex is a very good option.

Edited by JosephKing, 13 July 2020 - 23:17.


#36 max dog

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 11:43

A wet noodle kind of overly soft nib is not for everyone, nor practical if you want the nib to write unflexed too. The FA nib is plenty soft for easy flex, and I wouldnt want or need something softer unless Im just dedicating the pen for flex writing only, in which case a dip pen is best.

#37 JosephKing

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 12:52



A wet noodle kind of overly soft nib is not for everyone, nor practical if you want the nib to write unflexed too. The FA nib is plenty soft for easy flex, and I wouldnt want or need something softer unless Im just dedicating the pen for flex writing only, in which case a dip pen is best.

 

fpn_1594644650__chickenscratch1.jpg



#38 JosephKing

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 13:13

 

picture

 

If my chicken scratch at speed gets barely any flex out of this nib, you can see the types of forces that I'm used to applying.  And from there, you can understand why I consider the 743 FA to require "muscle". 

 

I'll agree, it's not for everyone though.

Edit: I tested my handwriting at speed as well, just to see if my chicken scratch compensated somehow, but I don't see any uncontrolled flex there either.


Edited by JosephKing, 13 July 2020 - 13:18.


#39 cunim

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 14:15

From your description of your motivations, I would go with the Montblanc calligraphy 149.  Reliable, good regular writer, reasonable flex performance, big, grailish.  Check out Fpupulin's postings in the MB Calligraphy section for impressive writing samples.

 

In contrast, most modern flex from pen makers is really poor, and nibs from customizers like Pablo are more tools than objects of desire.  A good vintage pen is a joy, but vintage is a rabbit hole full of pain.  The learning curve is steep and chances of getting a good nib on any given purchase are pretty slim.  Do you feel lucky?


Edited by cunim, 14 July 2020 - 14:01.


#40 max dog

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 17:52

 

If my chicken scratch at speed gets barely any flex out of this nib, you can see the types of forces that I'm used to applying.  And from there, you can understand why I consider the 743 FA to require "muscle". 

 

I'll agree, it's not for everyone though.

Edit: I tested my handwriting at speed as well, just to see if my chicken scratch compensated somehow, but I don't see any uncontrolled flex there either.

I'd hardly characterize the Pilot FA nib needing muscle, in fact I think the FA is softer than some vintage flex.  I can do normal un-flexed writing even with my Speedball dip pens too if I wanted, but something along the lines of the FA and MB Calligraphy in softness is a good balance between practicality and easy controllable flex IMHO.  I would agree the degree of softness that is perfect is subjective though. 

 

 

From your description of your motivations, I would go with the Montblanc calligraphy 149.  Reliable, good regular writer, reasonable flex performance, big, grailish.  Check out Como's postings in the MB Calligraphy section for impressive writing samples.

 

In contrast, most modern flex from pen makers is really poor, and nibs from customizers like Pablo are more tools than objects of desire.  A good vintage pen is a joy, but vintage is a rabbit hole full of pain.  The learning curve is steep and chances of getting a good nib on any given purchase are pretty slim.  Do you feel lucky?

Well said and articulated cunim!


Edited by max dog, 13 July 2020 - 18:02.




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