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Flexible Nib Properties: Soft Vs. Responsive

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Hi there,


I never had a flex nor semi-flex nibs and I'm considering getting an OMAS pen with Extra-Flessible nib. Watching several reviews I've got confused about soft and responsive properties. For example, somebody said the nib was softer and less responsive than regular 18k nib. Or, in another review of an old nib the author said the nib was flexible but not soft. Can somebody explain what soft and what responsive mean? How those properties are related to each other?


Thank you.

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  • Bo Bo Olson


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I can give you my 2 cents


Soft is how easily the tines spread. So a little pressure causes the tines to react. You can have a soft but not very flexible nib.


Responsive to me is how quickly the tines go back to normal after flexed. Ie- a quick snap back.


An example of a nib that is fairly flexible but not soft is a noodlers ahab. It takes considerable pressure to get any kind of movement of the tines but they will flex


Anyway, these are my observations and opinions on nibs. -- maybe I'm wrong but it's how I judge my nibs

Edited by Sblakers
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I would say that Sblakers has things pretty much right on. You have semi-flex, full flex, and wet noodle which I guess would be what you refer to as softness. The second part is what I would call rebound, some nibs respond very quickly going from full flex back to fine line while others don't respond quite as fast. I want a flex nib with fast rebound, I don't want to slow my writing because the nib isn't responsive. The pens I like best are pens from the 20's and 30's they seem to have the best rebound. My favorites are Waterman and Moore pens.


To find more out about flex I would suggest you check out the descriptions on Richard's Pens (http://www.richardspens.com/) and Vintage Pens. net (http://www.vintagepen.net/). Both sites give excellent information on what flex nibs are all about. I'm probably prejudiced but I feel the 'vintage pens' have the best flex nibs. Good luck on finding the flex nib you want.

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Soft like a Falcon (from reading), or modern MB 18 K( have) would be a springy nib, where the tines bends but has no real tine spread.


Extra-Flessible nib....I don't know what that is, but don't think it's semi-flex think they are talking about a springy nib...1 1/2-2 X tine spread only with good tine bend.....


Semi-flex has a tine spread of 3 X a light down stroke at half the pressure of a regular flex nib.

Aurora use to make semi-flex...it is my understanding they don't any more.


Regular flex(1/1), semi-flex (1/2), 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex (1/4th) spread their tines @ 3 X a light down stroke, with decreasing pressure.

I have 27 semi-flex and 15 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex and once one has a semi-flex one can judge all other flexes.


Had heard about semi-flex, then got a Pelikan 140. Just by pressing the nib to my thumb nail...all was explained. :puddle: :happycloud9: Then wrote with it..... :vbg:


Buy a 140 Pelikan which is a semi-flex nibbed pen. A 400NN is a 'flexi'.


Flex nibs....have decreasing pressure with expansion of width of the tines, 4-5-6- or even 7 X.

Easy full flex (1/8th)

Wet Noodle (1/16th)

Weak Kneed Wet Noodle even less.


Snap back is preferred over tine expansion by those who hang out in the writing subsection....Better to have fast snap back on a 4X nib than slow snap back on a 6X.

Edited by Bo Bo Olson

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.



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There can also be a sensation of softness when writing that doesn't seem linked to tine spread, but is more like combining gentle suspension and nib smoothness. Feels like writing on imagninary velvet, (writing on actual velvet would feel weirdly draggy!)

Instagram @inkysloth
My website http://inkysloth.moonfruit.com/

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georges zaslavsky

Soft nibs aren't flex nibs, this is the case of all visconti dream touch nibs which don't produce a real line variation but are more gushy or soft nibs. On the other hand Omas, Montegrappa, Stipula, Pelikan M1000, Pelikan M800 pre 1998, Nakaya, Danitrio, Waterman le Man 100, Mb 146-149 from the 50's to the early 80's, Vintage French, Canadian and British made Parkers and some modern Conway Stewart nibs produce real flex because they are responsive and they have a real line variation when being written.

Edited by georges zaslavsky

Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time


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