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Bb Nibs Or Speciality Nibs?


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Advice needed! I enjoy a broad nib on my everyday use pens. In fact, I'd like something broader. I've been considering the Pelikan M800 BB nibs, Visconti Homo Sapiens BB nibs, Pelikan M1000 B as the next step. I've also become very intrigued with the Sailor speciality nibs. The King Eagle looks like great fun but very hard to get hold of and very expensive (and possibly too broad - I've seen some interesting writing samples on this forum). I've tracked down a Cross Point emperor nib on a Sailor 1911 which looks like it offers a great broad line (as well as line variation). I should also say I've no experience with italic or stubb nibs. I enjoy a wet, smooth writer.


I'm looking for options / advice on what pens / nibs forum members would recommend. So what's the best broader (very broad) pen/nib?


Some constraints to help guide discussion (appreciate this may frustrate some members):

- Large pens preferred but the nib is key

- Budget up to £700/ $1000

- Not really looking to work on the nib / install in a pen - should (in an ideal world) work out of the box.

- Options should be fairly easily sourced online


Aprreciate any guidance from the well informed and experienced members of this forum. Thanks in advance.

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If you goal is a broad nib and the body of the pen is secondary, you may have some options well below your budget.


Look at the stub nibs from Franklin Cristoph, music nibs from the Japanese manufacturers, or even a stub TWSBI. You can get 1.1mm, 1.5mm, or even 1.9mm stubs from many of these places.


If you are looking for a particular grind on the nib for line variation (without needing flex), then you can get them in italic or cursive italic.



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For pity's sake, don't try a dry, draggy cheapie if you have the money to get a good wide nib. Ink flow and "soft" feeling quality nibs make all the difference and I'm speaking as a stub lover. Visconti BBs can feel blobby so I'd recommend beginning with the 1.3 stub and the M1000 BB is a very different animal from a hard as nails M800. The Cross nib from Sailor is rather advanced unless you're an artist or experienced with broader nibs as it behaves differently and requires dedication to practice until you've learned all it can do.


Consider a used MB 149 BB as they've relatively inexpensive and meet your criteria for a large pen, yet rarely problematic with good flow and ease in resale if you decide you don't like it after all. The last thing you need is a QC issue putting you off a nib size when just starting out.


The alternative is to buy from someone like Bryant at Chatterley Luxuries (no affiliation, just a regular customer) who specializes in stubs and broad nibs and can test a pen for you and make sure you're getting the full awesomeness without charging you a premium for doing it.


But do try! The broad side is addictive. And we have cookies.

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Thanks for feedback.


Certainly looking for a quality nib. I must admit to some reservation with MB pens, mainly on the grounds that as an everyday writer at work it's the one fountain pen people recognise, and mainly know for the price. However, a 149 bb will almost certainly be in my collection at some point so giving it a go sooner rather than later may be the sensible choice. Once you've got a pen that's an excellent writer you tend not to worry what others think!


M1000 BB seem very hard to find so single B seems the only option. I'm assuming that due to the size of nib this is larger than the M800 B.


Your advice on the Cross nib is very useful. For the price I may not get the best use from it.


I'd not considered the stub on the Visconti so again thanks for the suggestion. Perhaps l'll play with some cheaper stub pens first.

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I of course favor vintage German semi-flex nibs.

There you can look at great line variation also. I have two Osmia/O-F-C OBB's called BBL...broad, broad Left foot in Osmia terminology.

I have a '54 400's B semi-flex in my 605..... :D


I have a 35 Canadian Parker BB Stub nail in a '39-40 Vac.

I also have a Australian Sheaffer with a factory BB stub....in maxi-semi-flex :o :thumbup: ...a very big surprise.

I have an English jr. Doufold in semi-flex....so do keep an eye open for English or Australian Sheaffer or Parker pens; which will because they were competing with English Swan pens had to have more flex than those made in the States.


I have the semi-nail fat and blobby 605 BB nib...that has been waiting in line so long the number crumbled to do something good like make it a stub or CI. I had ordered that nib in BB to do that....LOM can be long lasting when one has better vintage nibs in BB or OB and OBB.

A modern semi-nail stub or CI of course can't match them.


I made a major mistake...not taking my own paper when checking out a nib in a B&M. I had read MB runs broad....so the M was the B I wanted.

At home on better paper I discovered my Woolf was only a M.

I made a second mistake of not telling I wanted middle of tolerance B or a B-M side of tolerance. I got the fat side of tolerance and ended up with a B=BB. :doh: I was not after a BB, but a B.

There is nothing wrong with the nib...it is the normal 'Springy' good tine bend, but only 2X tine spread that is normal in MB, Falcons and the new Lamy Imporium. It is stubbish.

A modern MB B would be BB in width....so do check out with your own paper that before buying second hand. There is nothing 'wrong' with that nib.

I do wish a bit more, so chase the '50-60s German nibs.


Vintage nibs run 1/2 a width narrower than the fat modern (after mid-'90's) nibs. Such as a B or an OB is a writing nib, not like modern times a signature nib.

I think you could get a real nice '50-60s medium-long 146 or a the huge 149.

I can only afford to chase one type of pen....ummmm, three and a half. Pelikan, Osmia, Geha and MB. Only have 5 MB's.


I lucked into a standard sized semi-flex MB 234 1/2 Deluxe ('52-54 only) KOB, one of my best balanced pens with a great nib. (Get the regular 234 1/2 it's lot cheaper....and I got mine as part of a live auction lot....400nn BP&MP&Etui, and the weird looking 2341/2 . All I knew about MB was the 145/9 and the rest that look like that.

In I hadn't Lambrou's book then.....do buy the book, I was totally ignorant, of pens. I'd only been a member here for 2 years.

:) :D :lol: :lticaptd: The prices I've seen in Buy Now for that pen, make me very happy. Luckily the nib and the balance had won me over before I found out the going then price of a Deluxe...E200....now Buy Now $1,000. :yikes: Buy the regular prewar-war and after war 234 1/2 get the same nib, if you want a nicely balanced great nibbed pen.

I got all four of the lot for E170....the dealer would have gotten it on the next bid. I never did sell the '56 BP&MP as planned. That was the only reason I went so high...so far over my then border. I was only after the 400nn. The rest were to be sold. Nope...never did sell. I found the the 350 I think it is MP to be so grandly balanced....I wrote with it and only it for some six weeks until the lead ran out. That was a huge shock too....In I've always hated MP's. From Jotters on out. My P-75 BP had a MP cartridge but I never used it. I'm very glad I never sold those two 'useless' BP&MP as planned.



At an auction house I tested out a MB nib on a rolled gold standard sized 742...a heavy pen, and had thought it maxi-semi-flex. It turned out it was just in between semi&maxi, I found out when I could test it vs other pens rather than just on my thumbnail in an Auction house. E160...I couldn't let a dealer have a nib that good with out some fight. Next bid it was his.


Then one day, when I was chasing a not as cheap as I hoped Dupont, there was a lonely '70's near mint, Large 146 with the normal 'true' regular flex nib of the time....that I didn't want nor need....and no one bid on it. :( . No one had bid on the 149 with box and papers either.

I have no idea why I bid on it. E150 and it was mine. :wacko: I don't care for Large pens...though it's light for a large pen....I can get use to it after 3-4 minutes. You can use it posted. :thumbup:

The large pens I like better are the Snorkel and the P-45.


I was still missing a '50's MB maxi-semi-flex nib!

I had them in Pelikan, Geha, Osmia, and a couple other small brands. Outside Osmia, it is pure luck to if a nib is semi or maxi. I have some 26 semi-flex and some 16 maxi-semi-flex nibs.....and they are outside of Osmia, pure luck.


Someone stated there are maxi-semi-flex nibs in the Pelikan 140's too. I wouldn't have expected that, in a second tier pen. I have two in semi-flex. Three '50's 400's in semi-flex. A gold nibbed Ibis, a 400nn, and a ('51-54) rolled gold capped/&piston cap tortoise 500 OBBB in maxi-semi-flex. (now that is a signature nib..a readable three word signature would take 2/3rds a sheet of paper.)


I didn't count my D nibbed 400 of course. Everything you have ever heard or ever hear of the D being the Nail's Nail is true. Take it with you when climbing cliffs, opening tanks...or Schwarzeneggering through 18 copies of carbon paper.


The '50-60's 146 is a medium-long pen, like a P-51. It has great balance....it had the maxi-semi-flex nib that I was missing. It was in a lot of pens. I don't remember what they went for or much of which were in it. I was and am very happy with that old properly sized 146, and it's grand nib.


IMO you can waste your money on fat and blobby modern nibs....that after you tire of them you can stub or CI.

Or you can buy vintage German semi/maxi-semi-flex BB or OB, or OBB nibs that are :notworthy1: :puddle: :drool: , a life time of perfection.

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.



The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.




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The M1000 is truly soft. Some ballpoint refugees spring them trying to flex. The M800 is so stiff in comparison that I sold mine. BB and larger are discontinued, so you'll have to hunt.

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