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XXXF and XXXXF Round and Italic Points

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As some of you may know, last week I received ten pens from Richard Binder, with freshly customised XXXF and XXXXF nibs, and I have had more than a few requests for something to be posted about them!


This is a list of the pens I had Richard customise:




I am really happy I had these nibs altered. The time, effort and money were well-spent - each nib is now perfectly suited to my tiny handwriting! :D


The pens I sent are fairly standard... nothing obscure. Most of them appear below:




Nib Shots: (Click to enlarge!)


Sailor, Pilot, Omas, Pelikan
Pelikan, JP Lepine, Lamy, Omas
JP Lepine, 2x Omas, Lamy
Omas, 2x Pelikan, JP Lepine, Lamy, Omas

Writing Samples:


Samples from about 25 of my pens appear here. The thumbnails link to large image files - 300DPI, non-resized scan. The first two images are the primary samples, written on 5mm Square grid/graph paper as a control.


I use such small nibs because my writing is so small. My lowercase letters average 1mm in height.


http://www.ciar-roisin.net/photos/nibs/Graph_01t.jpgRound Nibs.
Spirax Graph Paper, 5mm Squares.
http://www.ciar-roisin.net/photos/nibs/Graph_02t.jpgMostly Italic Nibs.
Spirax Graph Paper, 5mm Squares.
http://www.ciar-roisin.net/photos/nibs/Basildon_OCMt.jpgPaper Differences with Wet-Writing Nibs.
I have a few Fine and Medium nibs I can't write with on ordinary paper. I use these pens exclusively on Crown Mill 'Pure Cotton' paper, which is heavily sized, thus making the pens write 'dry'.
http://www.ciar-roisin.net/photos/nibs/OCM_01t.jpgTen Binder Points.
Crown Mill 'Cream Laid', Grey.
http://www.ciar-roisin.net/photos/nibs/ThankYou-01t.jpgHi and Thank You.

That’s it! I have no idea if this is a good format in which to present this data, but I’m hoping it is, and that the samples are useful! :)


(If this post format has issues, let me know.)





PS: No comments about my handwriting! I do know that I miss letters, joins and other bits!

Edited by Phthalo

Laura / Phthalo

Fountain Pens: My Collection

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Thank you, this is a great post, you have saved me a ton of time and untold millions.


Crisp Italic :cloud9:


I just had a Visconti nib changed to XXF with flex and I am having troubles deciding on an ink, they all are too wet, any suggestions? I use mostly PR blue/black.

Edited by jd50ae

Please visit my wife's website.


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GREAT post! Thanks Laura! I sure won't say anything about your hand writting! Mine with a very fine nib looks like a 5th graders. That's why I tend toward a little wider nib. However I've been thinking of getting Richard to take a Pelikan Fine and make it a XXF with flex to try out some flex writing! Did you have him put flex in any of yours?





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Wow. Fab samples, thank you. I can't imagine using such teeny nibs, but in the nib shots they do look very sexy. And in the writing sample.



Mark Goody


I have a blog.

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Laura, what a great write-up! I think this should go in the reviews section so it can be easily found. I love your photography--nice close-ups of the nibs with excellent detail.


The format is very useful -- you can certainly see the differences between the nibs. It's amazing what Binder can do to a common nib. :)


By the way, when it comes to the italics, do you find that you have a preference when it comes to cursive versus crisp? Are the crisp nibs sharp enough to snag paper when not held in the optimum position?

[MYU's Pen Review Corner] | "The Common Ground" -- Jeffrey Small

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georges zaslavsky

Some very nice nibs and quite a nice writing ;) The xxf and xxxf nibs are not for me .The best extra fine nibs I own are on my 1923 parker big red duofold and on my 1949 french vacumatic. I usually buy medium sized nibs but I do have a nice Omas Arte with a fine super flexible nib. I think all is a matter of habit. But you do have some very nice pens.

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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Laura, thanks for a very informative and useful post. I've been thinking about branching out into some customized nibs and your post has been very helpful.

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Thank you Laura, how wonderful of you to post this and what a spectacular job Richard did on the nibs!

I just sent off 6 of my pens to him yesterday; can't wait!



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Lately I have been thinking of ordering an italic nib. Thank you for posting this, as my decision is easier now.

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Hello, very interesting post. Also very tiny writing. I once knew a guy who wrote

tiny also. He used to get his face up till about 3 inches away from the page.

He could get an unbelievable amount of stuff in a small space.

Chihiro- How did you know my name was Chihiro?

Haku- I have known you since you were very small.

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Laura, thank you very much for a beautiful and informative post. I especially appreciate the comparisons, both in terms of different nib grades and different papers. I think that the moderators could open another forums for nib samples, and, as you have done, it would be extremely useful to include a comparison.


I began writing with Extra Fine nibs, but since back then I couldn't afford to have more than one fountain pen, I just accepted whatever life put in my way. And I did write with wide mediums (Parker Vector, I believe), and narrow Fines (Waterman Laureat). Then, when I had some nibs customized by Richard Binder, I began experimenting with Stub and Italic nibs. Now, I'm going back to Extra Fine nibs. To my dismay, many contemporary Extra Fine nibs write a bit too wide--except Tibaldi nibs manufactured in the 90s--and it seems that Richard Binder is the way to go.


By the way, your handwriting is beautifully relaxed and very readable.

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What lovely samples! You're really a queen of tiny nibs.


I'm really impressed by the amount of line variation a cursive italic can give even at 0.3mm.

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PS: No comments about my handwriting! I do know that I miss letters, joins and other bits!


Another dyslexic! :roflmho: And using M nibs!?!? :roller1:


Laura: I really admire your meticulous nature and the fact that otherwise arid subjects become very interesting to read :vbg: . I am liking very much your use of colors and you have given me some nice ideas regarding which ones to use (I bought PR orange burst and love it!!)

I have to go as JD regarding that Italic crisp, it is beautiful.

I am back to my original liking of F nibs, just that some were absolutely boring or uncomfortable for me. I have already an idea of which I want to be reground.

Medium nibs are suitable for when I have to write big..... :unsure: which you do once you hit 40's...

Thanks again! :thumbup:



sonia alvarez




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Thanks Laura for a really interesting post. I would be really interested what it costs to have a "binderized nib" and the timescale. Mark


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Wow. Thanks for posting -- fascinating to look at your wonderful handwriting. A .3mm crisp italic is as much a test of the penman(woman) as it is the nibmeister!


Belfast-popeye, I've ordered .5mm cursive italic Vanishing Point nibs from Richard Binder, and he pops them in the mail the Wednesday following the order. I sent a Namiki Falcon to him to regrind the M to a .5mm cursive italic and it's awaiting a 14 week backlog. Putting this info in to give you an idea of the timescale. I'd rather have a cheap, ugly pen with a Binder nib, than a jewel encrusted Limited Edition with "limited function" standard nib. If you take joy in the writing, it's the nib that matters. Just my $0.02.


Again, Laura, thanks!



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I'd rather have a cheap, ugly pen with a Binder nib, than a jewel encrusted Limited Edition with "limited function" standard nib. If you take joy in the writing, it's the nib that matters. Just my $0.02.


Again, Laura, thanks!



My sentiments exactly although I'd substitute "custom" for "Binder". There are others who grind excellent nibs.


Excellent review, Laura. Thanks for including the names of the inks. I see a couple of inks to add to my wish list.


Do you find that those tiny stubs are any easier or faster to write with than the italics?

A certified Inkophile

inkophile on tumblr,theinkophile on instagram,inkophile on twitter

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Morning folks - thanks for the kind words! I'm really glad the post is useful! :D


Now, onto questions...


Ink - I use no particular ink - anything and everything goes, unless it feathers under normal conditions. (Levenger, Noodler's Eternals.)


The 0.3mm Crisp Italic - This is a very sharp nib, and requires care to use. My writing pressure is extremely light. I can write with it quite smoothly if I revert to my right-slant handwriting, but with my left-slant writing, it catches a little. Printing with no slant also makes it quite easy to use - but again with the extremely light touch. One thing the samples do not shown is how soft that particular Pelikan nib is. This was unexpected, as I had only used the original nib a handful of times, and then put it away as the line was too thick. I bought a steel 0.3mm Crisp from Richard last year, which is very firm, so I am enjoying the contrast! I reserve my Crisp Italics for special use only, as they are not suited to daily use.


Flex - No additional Flex was added to any nib, though I was tempted by the idea. Regarding the Omi, the 0.3 Omas has the softest nib, followed by the 0.2 Omas. It's more difficult to judge the 0.1 Omas, because it's point is so very, very fine, and it only requires the lightest touch to use. The 0.3 Lepine and Lamy 0.3 are also on the slightly soft side.


Stub vs Cursive - For daily use, the 0.3 Cursive Italic is beautiful and surprisingly easy to write with - I would have no problems using it daily. The Stubs of course, are a real joy, and I can write quickly and easily with these on any slant. The Pelikan 0.3 is slightly wetter than the Omas, but I am beginning to think this is just the ink I am using. (R&K inks have a nice flow and are extra-smooth.)


There is a very large difference in feeling between a Cursive Italic and a Crisp Italic, and it bears repeating that to use the Crisp Italic you need a very, very light hand. So to those who are enamored by the Crisp Italic, think carefully about getting this kind of re-grind done! ;)


Also, I think will create another sample that shows the Stubs and Italics off a little more - they really are quite wonderful!


Time / Price - When I sent my pens to Richard, his queue length was approximately 15 weeks - but I don't know if that has changed now. There is also a nice 15% discount which applies when you send 10 nibs to be re-ground. I never thought I would get to 10 pens, but I just kept putting unusable pens aside all last year, and come January I had 10 ready to go! (I already have four put aside for this year.) :)

Laura / Phthalo

Fountain Pens: My Collection

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What a helfpul post! (Although I've already read about it on your blog. :)) My Sheaffer Imperial (vintage, I think) is on its way to Richard Binder for a nib repair. I has no idea then what I want done with it, but now I do!

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:D Wo...............oW!


Beautiful pens, superb photos, drop dead gorgeous nibs and 1mm writings!


Thank you so much for sharing...


This post is an important reference for all extra extra extra fine nib lovers. (Is it available for download?) Those superneedle points are unbelievable. The stubs and cursive italics are very impressive.


I will be interested to hear your opinions about the performance of Nakaya elastic SEF nib comparing to these customised nibs.


Better send my pens off to Richard before the 'return trip' becomes a six months wait..


Congratulations, Laura... :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Edited by thw
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"I don't know if his [Richard's] wait time has increased..."


Laura, with your posting of this thread, I can almost assure you that it has. :)


Awesome post, and thanks for sharing it!


I always love looking at everyone's writing samples. Yours, as I've told you before, is exquisite, and a joy to read. Lord, don't I wish I had handwriting like that!?!?


Love the detail on those nib shots.


Brassing Adds Character: Available by clicking on my signature.

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