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Advice Wanted - Vanishing Point Gold Nibs, 14K Vs 18K


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[Cross-posted from Nibs and Tines forum - with apologies to anyone reading this twice!

I have a question for those of you who have a longer history with the Pilot Vanishing Point - please excuse me if I'm posting this in the wrong place!

I bought a matte black Pilot Vanishing Point sometime last year (back when the Australian dollar was worth something :bawl: ), with a black-coated gold Fine nib. The pen wrote really smoothly, but laid a finer, drier line than is my preference.

To cut a long story short, the pen took a 'nosedive' off my son's lap about a month ago, and landed nib first on a wooden floor. The two Aussie nib technicians I've spoken to feel it wouldn't be worth my while (in terms of cost) to repair the nib, so I'm looking at replacing it.

So here's the question: I can buy a replacement nib (with converter) for around US$60 plus postage - that's an 18K nib, black or rhodium coated. Or I can buy a older-style 14K nib (no converter) from Anderson Pens for $50. Is it worth the cost saving, if I don't mind my matte black pen having a gold coloured nib?

The 14K nibs are only available in F or B - I'd probably buy the F if I head down this direction, but am wondering: is there a significant difference between the 14K and 18K fine in terms of smoothness, wetness, line width, performance that might favour one over the other? If you've written with both, do you have a preference for one or the other - and if so, why?

I know the 14K nibs were designed for the US / European (?) market - and that they've now been discontinued. Beyond that I'm completely in the dark. Any help / advice / information that might help me make a decision would be very much appreciated.

[Edited to correct a typo...]

Edited by Jamerelbe
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You're still trying to sort his out!


I've not used the 14k nib but suspect I might prefer it. The 18k is a little softer, and that -- combined with the narrowness of the VP nib-- makes it a little squishy...Or perhaps I might have a heavy hand. At any rate, I would suspect that the 14k nib is just a tad firmer but otherwise the same as the 18k.

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Sadly, yes - I had a couple of weeks 'out of town' immediately following the droppage of the pen, then a couple of weeks catching up...


I was also thinking (at one stage) that I might wait to upgrade to one of the new stub nibs when they arrive - but then realised that my 'use case' for the Vanishing Point (a go-almost-anywhere, deploy on all papers kind of pen) would be better suited to a Fine.


I've dropped the Andersons a line to ask them their thoughts on the 14K nib (they're selling them after all!) - but so far haven't heard back from them. Busy-ness, conflicting time zones and all that, I suppose - but I thought it might be worth asking the question over here as well.


Interested to here your opinion too though, @Koyote (as in Wile E.?): would you have any hesitations marrying a matte black VP to a gold-coloured nib? Or would you pay the extra for a matte black?

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Hmmm... Me thinks I'll take the plunge and order this nib. Like the other poster, I find the 18kt nib too soft.

Ink, a drug.

― Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister


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I'm no expert, but Richard Binder does claim that 14K is the "sweet spot" for nibs -- not too soft, not too hard, just right.

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Thanks for the feedback - at the very worst, I'm thinking the 14K nib will be no different from the 18K; and at best, given that it was intended for the US market, it may run a little wider / wetter. The fact that there's not a lot of online chatter either bemoaning or celebrating the change from 14K to 18K is reassuring too... Either way, I've "taken the plunge" and placed an order - which means about a 2-week wait before I can report back.


Would still be keen to hear from anyone who has direct experience writing with both kinds of VP nib - if such a person exists on FPN??

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FWIW, if I recall from Binder's article on nib materials, 18K is still better than steel, just not quite in the sweet spot that 14K is in. He's not a fan of 21K nibs, though, finding them a little too soft.

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