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Two Modern Elastic Nibs Compared


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I still can't control them properly but every day I'm getting more comfortable writing with them: flexible nibs - or whatever you want to call them. Not so many years ago, when one came in my possession, I just played a bit with it and then sold it on as soon as possible, trying to avoid the disappointments of my hamfistedness. All of them were on vintage pens; my first modern pen with a flexy nib was a Pilot Falcon - a lovely pen but using it I realized what other, more knowledgeable people meant when they remarked that modern nibs are just elastic.


More recently, my first Nakaya was a Long Cigar with an elastic medium nib. I loved the pen and on a good day writing with it was like caressing paper with a brush but on a bad day I had difficulty controlling the nib. Still, I persisted and I think that it was thanks to this pen that I became more interested in vintage flexible nibs, to the extent that I not only have quite a few of them but also that quite often they're the ones I want to write with. A month or so ago, on an impulse I also got a Marlen Aleph, with a similar nib to the Nakaya but in steel. Naturally, I compared them to each other and to a couple of vintage pens that happend to be inked at the time.








The conclusions: firstly, I'm faviourably impressed by the Aleph. Initially I found the nib rather too hard (probably because I was used to the quite soft Nakaya) but after some time it grew on me. Secondly, the Nakaya is a great pen but not one I should keep (in fact, as I'm writing this, it's on its way to another FPN member). I simply can't get enough line variation with it. Thirdly, when it comes to flex, vintage seems impossible to beat - and it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. I've just put a Waterman nib in a Jinhao pen, using the Jinhao's feed, and despite the improvised manner I did it, it works amazingly well and is moreover an excellent starter.

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Alexander, thank you for posting these excellent photos of these magnificent pens. Your handwriting samples and ink selection are excellent too.


A few details of the pens I could not help noticing in your superb photos:

1. It seems that the Marlen Aleph's transparent feed has 2 ink grooves to support the ink flow. I can see this through the heart-shaped breathing hole of the nib. I can't commend on the Nakaya feed, since it is impossible to judge from the photography.

2. The Nakaya feed reaches up a tad (~ 0.5mm) closer to the tip of the nib, compared to the Marlen Aleph feed. Presumably this also help not to brake the capillary action of the ink during flexy writing. I have noticed the same thing with the Bock Titanium nib compared to a regular Bock steel nib.

Both are great pens, the Marlen Aleph may be more affordable but the Nakaya is also a great investment in a pen too. Thanks for sharing with us.

Edited by Frank66

- Kaigelu 316 Modification (250 #6 Bock Nib / Beaufort Ink Converter)
- Titanium Bock Nib - Kaigelu 316 - Beaufort Ink

- Bock Rollerball Nib In Jinhao 886 Pen - Beaufort Ink Converter

- No affiliation with pen industry, just a pen hobbyist.

- It matters what you write, only for us it matters what we write it with.

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Thank you very much for this comparison.


I am very surprised with Marlen Aleph's performances. I was Under the impression it was quite flexible. I imagine, by your sample, and impressions, it is something as Pilot Falcon Elabo.



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Thank you very much for this comparison.


I am very surprised with Marlen Aleph's performances. I was Under the impression it was quite flexible. I imagine, by your sample, and impressions, it is something as Pilot Falcon Elabo.


In terms of line variation they are comparable but the Falcon nib I've used was softer - yet not as soft as the Nakaya nib.

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Nice comparison, thanks! The Aleph is indeed a particular pen: using the nib normally, it is almost stiff, but some pressure allows for nice line variations. Nothing close to flex, but still...



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