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Best Nib Size For Me



judgetim
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I have seen MB's preprinted example of writing with the various nib sizes. I have always prefered a fine in the rollerball. However, I have no idea how the fountain pens write in comparison to a MB rollerball. The local store I went to won't allow me to dip the pen they have, which is a medium nib. Any advice or concerns I should consider are appreciated.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

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I don't know about the best nib size, but you should not buy from a store which will not allow you to dip test a pen.

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I don't know about the best nib size, but you should not buy from a store which will not allow you to dip test a pen.

+1

 

There is no such thing as the best nib size. The nib size depends on the writing.

 

E.g.: I love broad/stub nibs for my correspondence or personal writing. They make me slow down a bit and thus my handwriting more legible. At the office I tend to use medium nibs because they work best for fast note taking. And if I am editing something I prefer a fine nib - a nib size I am usually neglecting.

 

The stores I know do have some test pens and I would not buy a pen I have not tested. Some time ago I bought a Pelikan M600. Wrote with the test pen and loved the nib. Sales clerk got me a brand new pen and I asked to test the nib, too. No problem. Did not like the nib at all and I asked the clerk to switch the nibs. Clerk could not understand it ("Oh, but this nib had been used!") but did so anyway.

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What is a "stub nib"? Wouold a fine nib pose any problems for me if my intent is to use the pen for frequent everyday use, including taking notes?

 

I don't know about the best nib size, but you should not buy from a store which will not allow you to dip test a pen.

+1

 

There is no such thing as the best nib size. The nib size depends on the writing.

 

E.g.: I love broad/stub nibs for my correspondence or personal writing. They make me slow down a bit and thus my handwriting more legible. At the office I tend to use medium nibs because they work best for fast note taking. And if I am editing something I prefer a fine nib - a nib size I am usually neglecting.

 

The stores I know do have some test pens and I would not buy a pen I have not tested. Some time ago I bought a Pelikan M600. Wrote with the test pen and loved the nib. Sales clerk got me a brand new pen and I asked to test the nib, too. No problem. Did not like the nib at all and I asked the clerk to switch the nibs. Clerk could not understand it ("Oh, but this nib had been used!") but did so anyway.

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

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Without a doubt, you need a store that will allow you to try the pen. You can test drive a $65,000 BMW but not a $500 pen? Odd.

Best of Luck with your search.

You may find this discussion of Nib Sizes and writing samples helpful, presented by FPN member Darius:

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?/topic/131613-montblanc-nib-sizes/page__st__15__p__1324710__hl__%2Bwriting+%2Bsamples+%2Bnib+%2Bsizes__fromsearch__1#entry1324710

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What is a "stub nib"? Wouold a fine nib pose any problems for me if my intent is to use the pen for frequent everyday use, including taking notes?

 

 

 

Hello JudgeTim, I would say that it takes time to find the right nib size for you, let's say that when I was in college I loved to write with fine RB pens and after sometime with fountain pens (not much time) I'm starting to like the broad side of this journey, and not only broad but stub broads. The stub is a nib for line variation, meaning that the vertical lines will be thicker than the horizontal lines. This particular nib size is a more usable than a sharp italic in my opinion since it has rounded corners and that helps them to be softer than a regular italic nib. It also all depends on whether or not you write with nowadays regular handwritting or palmer letter, this also makes a difference if you pick up an italic stub or just an italic. So the stub is the half point between a rounded tip and an italic.

 

But let me tell you, you might even find a different nib sizes that are correct for you, I love broad nibs because they are softer by nature than finer points but I also have an EF nib to use with my notebooks and schedule book, I use the stub for everything else.

 

If you get a broad, double broad or triple broad of montblanc, they are mostly with stub characteristics and will help you creating a line variation.

 

I will strongly advice you to try pens first, get the correct size for what you want to do and nobody will be the best advisor than you.

 

FWIW here's a video made by Bryant (an excellent seller and well known here) that shows the difference between the rounder broads and stub.

 

 

 

 

Here's also a file that shows the basic differences among the different sizes

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My suggestion is to play around with different nib sizes and see which one you like best.

 

I have discovered extra-fine nibs very recently and abandoned my previously unconditional allegiance to medium nibs.

 

Matt

 

 

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yachtsilverswan

Evening Judge -

 

Sorry to hear you were not allowed to test drive the Montblanc. Unfortunately there is no Montblanc Boutique in Utah; the nearest Boutiques are in Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and Denver. Authorized Montblanc retailers that sell other brands have varying policies on dipping their pens.

 

Strange, I thought Utah had a tradition of allowing a man to dip his pen in multiple inkwells: "poly-pen-y" I think it's called.

 

It seems you already saw Montblanc's online demonstration of their nib width choices at http://www.montblanc.com/246.php

 

Our reliably accurate Montblanc expert Darius recently posted scans of his handwriting in each of Montblanc's available nib sizes: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?/topic/131613-montblanc-nib-sizes/page__view__findpost__p__1301917

Unfortunately Darius did not scan a ruler or other size guage into the image, so comparing your handwriting size to Darius' would depend upon whether the paper Darius used was standard college ruled.

 

Qualitatively, the two greatest factors influencing nib width choice are:

#1. The size of your handwriting - smaller handwriting requires a finer nib to avoid filling in loops, as in the letters e, p, a, b.

#2. Personal preference for a bolder look to handwriting requires a broader nib. Very fine nibs can often make handwriting seem more tentative.

 

Quantitatively, my standard recommendation for line width (not nib width) to produce classically proportionate handwriting:

1. In your routine handwriting style and size, write out the lower case miniscules (letters without ascenders or descenders): a,c,e,m,n,o,r,s,u,v,x

2. Carefully measure the height of each miniscule in millimeters (a magnifying glass and micrometer may be required for the greatest accuracy)

3. Calculate the average height in millimeters for the series of miniscules

4. Divide the average miniscule height by 5 to get the line width in millimeters that should produce classically proportionate handwriting without filling in your loops

5. If you like a bolder look to your handwriting, add 0.2 mm to the final calculation; if you prefer a finer and lighter look then subtract 0.2 mm from the calculation

 

Remember, this calculation refers to "line width" and not to "nib width" because different nib shapes of the same width can produce different line widths.

 

Math and science guys often like very fine (XF or XXF) nibs because they better resolve the exponents and superscripts of formulae. But very very fine nibs can be more scratchy to use because the tip of the nib becomes like a needlepoint digging into the paper. Nibmeister Richard Binder has resurrected an older technique for grinding very fine nibs that are smoother - the Waverley Nib - read more on his website at www.richardspens.com under the Nibarama section. (no affiliation - just a fan)

 

All Montblanc Boutiques are required to maintain a full tester set - usually of 146 Meisterstucks in every available nib width. I don't know whether authorized MB retailers are required to keep a testing set - I suspect not. You can find the MB Boutique nearest you at http://www.montblanc...iquelocator.php You could try out the different nib widths at a Boutique. Testing the nibs is the most reliable way to choose.

 

If you select a Medium nib, and later want to experiment, you can have a Nibmeister regrind the nib to whatever finer point you prefer - or you can have the Nibmeister grind your spherical Medium nib into a Stub Italic or a Cursive Italic - varying degrees of ovoid nib tip shape to produce line width variation with your normal handwriting. Downstrokes with Stubs and with Cursive Italics are broader than the narrower sidestrokes. Line width variation gives visual texture and interest to your handwriting - particularly to your signature. Read more on custom nibs, stubs, and cursive italics on Nibmeister Richard Binder's website here (no affiliation - just a fan of his work): http://www.richardsp.../nib_primer.htm

 

If you select a Medium nib, and later change your mind, you can send to MB the pen, the gift receipt, and the stamped and signed warranty book within six weeks of the purchase of the pen. Montblanc's Texas based US service center will exchange the nib at no cost (assuming their is no damage to the original nib). If you take the pen to a MB Boutique to have the nib exchange, the Boutique will even pay shipping both ways.

 

The Montblanc 149 is an amazing pen. That huge springy nib has no peer in all of pendom. Of my small stable of pens, I have pens more expensive than my 149; I have pens that are flashier than my 149 - but I don't have a better pen than my 149.

 

The MB 149 is the flagship pen from a 100 year old German House. It's an iconic 50 year old design that's seen in the pockets of Presidents, Kings, captains of industry, and lots and lots of judges. President Kennedy famously loaned his personal MB 149 to the Chancellor of Germany when the two were signing a guestbook during the Kennedys' storied visit to Berlin.

 

With the care shown to any precision tool, your MB 149 will last a lifetime. Don't give up on your quest for a Montblanc.

Edited by yachtsilverswan

Ray

Atlanta, Georgia

 

Pilot Namiki Vanishing Point with Richard Binder ItaliFine 0.9mm/F Nib

Faber Castell's Porsche Design with Gold & Stainless Mesh in Binderized CI Broad nib

Visconti LE Divina Proporzione in Gold with Binderized CI nib

David Oscarson Valhalla in gray (Thor) with Broad Binderized CI nib

Michel Perchin LE Blue Serpent (reviewed) with Binderized CI nib

Montblanc 149 in Medium Binderized CI nib

Montblanc Pope Julius II 888 Edition (reviewed) in Bold Binderized CI nib

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Just my 2¢, as the owner of a MB with a "fine" nib: for the love of Anything, Test The Thing Out First!! This is just good business practice . . . and, as I'm pretty sure any good salesperson could tell you, the best possible way to firmly hook someone. If all else fails, try going back to the local store on a different day, when someone else is working there . . .

Part of the reason I say this is from my own experience. My Chopin, with its fine nib, writes like my mother's older burgundy MB with a medium nib—if anything, it may actually run a bit wider. You know how that one brand of jeans that once fit you perfectly is now too loose/tight, even though you haven't changed? The same thing holds here.

In retrospect, I probably should have gone ahead and gotten an XF rather than F for my liberal artist chicken scratch, but the bold lines of the thicker nib look impressive . . . which is why I stuck with it. My general rule, based on my own experience? The worse your handwriting is, the finer your nib should be. If you write like my Palmer-trained, ex-calligrapher mother, go for the impressive 3B. However, if your writing makes philosophy professors cringe and doctors cry . . .

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Mates,

 

I appreciate all the detailed information and advice!

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

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Ghost Plane

And for pity's sake, just because most pen shops stock F and M nibs, do NOT assume that's what will suit you. I suffered for years with the smaller nib sizes, only to sell them all the minute I discovered B nibs and wider. That's the joy of fountain pens - you can find them to write the way YOU like, not adjust your writing to what some statistician decided is "average" :thumbup:

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  • 4 years later...
Lynn St. Over

I have seen MB's preprinted example of writing with the various nib sizes. I have always prefered a fine in the rollerball. However, I have no idea how the fountain pens write in comparison to a MB rollerball. The local store I went to won't allow me to dip the pen they have, which is a medium nib. Any advice or concerns I should consider are appreciated.

Hi there. I collect Mont Blanc pens and have both ballpoints and fountain pens. The fountain pens I bought at first had medium-sized nibs on them--I really thought I wouldn't care for a fine-nib fountain at all. Just last week I got a fine nib Mont Blanc as a gift. I will never go back to a medium. Like one person's response to you I saw, I do agree that medium looks really nice for writing letters, provided you don't plan on using the reverse side of the paper. I now have some notebooks containing high-quality (Clairefontaine) paper of 90gsm, and still I'm seeing bleed-through whenever I write with one of my medium sized nibs. I read a lot of history books and science books so I'm constantly taking notes and need to be able to use both sides of the paper. You really did get great advise to your question; one person told you it depends on what you want to do with your pen, and that advice was spot on. Medium is nice for personal correspondence, but for pretty much everything else I think you'll be happier using a fine nib.

 

To be honest with you, I do not know how other brands of fountain pen writing looks in either fine or medium, as I've only ever used cheap fountains and extremely expensive fountains--I've no knowledge of any other fine pen save the Mont Blanc. Tonight I sniped a Sailor fountain on eBay because so many people here in this forum have written about how wonderful they are. I got the Sailor 1911, which is supposed to be a great pen, and I decided to get an extra-fine nib. I got it for $94...FAR LESS THAN MY MONT BLANC! I'm really champing my bit to get hold of it and see how it compares to my Mont Blancs. : )

 

Sorry this was so long; I'll sum up now. Get a fine nib. If you only wish to write letters to your friends, you could go with a medium. Personally, I'd use my fine nibs for letter writing too. A fine nib pen is the go-to pen and can handle it all, no doubt.

Homo unius libri timeo.

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Easy question; if you like fine point rollerball, you will want an EF Montblanc nib. Even then you will think it's a bit fat, but it is as close as you can get. I have spent 44 years with fine rollerball pens and nearly 50 years with fountain pens. I am always looking for a fountain pen (which I prefer to write with) that will give me the fine line of a rollerball. In the 1960s, I used Parker 45s XF flipped.

 

You will not be happy with other than EF, except for Japanese nibs.

Edited by chas0039
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Lynn St. Over

Easy question; if you like fine point rollerball, you will want an EF Montblanc nib. Even then you will think it's a bit fat, but it is as close as you can get. I have spent 44 years with fine rollerball pens and nearly 50 years with fountain pens. I am always looking for a fountain pen (which I prefer to write with) that will give me the fine line of a rollerball. In the 1960s, I used Parker 45s XF flipped.

You will not be happy with other than EF, except for Japanese nibs.

Too funny! I've been looking at Japanese flex nibs for hours now. I want a pen that has a calligraphy look to it without its being a calligraphy fountain pen. Recommendations?

 

Lynn

Homo unius libri timeo.

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slippery when wet

From my point of view, early Montblanc pens, pre 1960's. I have gone through a lot of brands, only to discover Montblanc nibs have that magic quality. Flex and spring are the two characteristics I look for.

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Too funny! I've been looking at Japanese flex nibs for hours now. I want a pen that has a calligraphy look to it without its being a calligraphy fountain pen. Recommendations?

Lynn

I love calligraphy! I love their nibs as they are the only time I enjoy other than EF. I have a number of Japanese flex nibs as well and, for me, line variation with a flex nib is just too inconsistent and not fun.

 

I use italic nibs. Most from manufacturers don't match what I want so I grind my own. I get an M or B or occasional BB and regrind to a cursive italic with an EF horizontal line. There is a Pelikan Italic M200 selling around $90 or you could get Pendleton to grind your favorite.

 

These days, anything new I get, I regrind to italic right away.

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Lynn St. Over

From my point of view, early Montblanc pens, pre 1960's. I have gone through a lot of brands, only to discover Montblanc nibs have that magic quality. Flex and spring are the two characteristics I look for.

My Montblancs are all relatively new. The oldest is my Dostoevsky MB is from 1999 if I'm not mistaken. So you're saying I should look for an MB from the 60s? I do have one, I just remembered, which is from the 60s but it has an EF nib. It doesn't make my letters calligraphy looking. Is that due to its nib being extra fine?

Homo unius libri timeo.

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Lynn St. Over

My Montblancs are all relatively new. The oldest is my Dostoevsky MB is from 1999 if I'm not mistaken. So you're saying I should look for an MB from the 60s? I do have one, I just remembered, which is from the 60s but it has an EF nib. It doesn't make my letters calligraphy looking. Is that due to its nib being extra fine?

Ahhhhh, PRE-1960. Ok, headed to ebay now...

Homo unius libri timeo.

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slippery when wet

My Montblancs are all relatively new. The oldest is my Dostoevsky MB is from 1999 if I'm not mistaken. So you're saying I should look for an MB from the 60s? I do have one, I just remembered, which is from the 60s but it has an EF nib. It doesn't make my letters calligraphy looking. Is that due to its nib being extra fine?

You need to look for nibs which have flex, combine that with say a certain amount of obliqueness or a broad nib and you should get the line variation you're chasing. Even a fine nib with good flex should give you variations in your writing. I have a 136 with a 138 nib (OB) and I can't imagine there is a better nib out there. Not all 40-50's nibs have flex though. Finding the Holy Grail is a quest which can take some time and money.

Don't be in a rush and know what it is you're looking for.

Edited by slippery when wet
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  • 6 years later...
On 7/26/2010 at 10:07 PM, Koyote said:

I don't know about the best nib size, but you should not buy from a store which will not allow you to dip test a pen.

Echo that!

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