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Pilot Soft Fine Medium Vs Regular Medium Gold Nib?


Mongoosey
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I'm going to purchase a Pilot Custom 912 either in a regular Medium or Soft Fine Medium. I love my Pilot Custom 74 Medium, which I find an optimal balance of Smoothness and Fineness. I don't prefer to go any finer since it will have more feedback, but I don't want anything wider because I want to use it as a daily writer and everyday carry.

 

I've read that the Pilot Soft Medium nib writes thicker than the regular Medium, so that deters me and shifts my consideration to the Pilot Soft Fine Medium nib.

 

I was wondering what your thoughts are on the matter and was hoping to receive feedback from experience, and hopefully from others who have the preference of the Pilot Gold regular Medium nibs and how they liked the Soft nibs, especially the Soft Medium Fine. Which do you prefer? Which would you use if you could only have one?

 

I need something that's forgiving, but not a chore to write with.

 

I'm worried about more feedback from the Soft Fine Medium because it's finer. I'm also concerned that pressure may increase the feedback when the tines are spread more.

 

I'm not looking for flex or flare, but something that's easy on the hand to write with especially for longer writing sessions. My hand muscles fatigue easily. Nails are a chore for me to write with and I can never use a Jowo Steel nib again.

 

Which do you find more comfortable to write with? Which is easier to write with?

 

 

 

 

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Just three days ago I refreshed my memory of the writing experience with a whole bunch of (predominantly Pilot/Namiki) pens with soft nibs:

  • Namiki Falcon with 14K gold SF nib
  • Pilot Custom 74 with 14K gold #5 SF nib
  • Pilot Custom Heritage 91 with 14K gold #5 SFM nib
  • Pilot Custom Kaede with 14K gold #10 regular F nib
  • Platinum #3776 Century with 14K gold SF nib
  • Platinum #3776 with 14K gold regular F nib
and my conclusions of the writing experience and output are:
  • The Pilot #10 F nib on the Custom Kaede is actually moderately soft, whereas the Platinum #3776 F nib is a nail
  • I don't prefer the explicitly Soft nibs at all; (especially the Pilot #5 nibs listed above) they are less forgiving for my purposes, and demand a much higher level of concentration and motor control to regulate the line width
  • The #3776 SF nib writes noticeably finer than the #3776 F nib when writing with minimal pressure. Not so the two Pilot and Namiki SF nibs, compared to the Pilot #10 F nib; the SF nibs can almost never leave finer lines than the F nib
  • Out of all the Pilot/Namiki nibs listed, the Pilot #5 SF nib (inked with Sailor Shikiori miruai, which is not exactly known for being a 'dry' or problematic ink) offered the most feedback, and the #10 regular F nib (inked with Diamine Cherry Sunburst) is the smoothest of them all. The #5 SFM nib (inked with Diamine Cult Pens Iridescink Robert) is in-between in that regard, leaves about as fine a line as the other two with minimal pressure, and the widest swells.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Just three days ago I refreshed my memory of the writing experience with a whole bunch of (predominantly Pilot/Namiki) pens with soft nibs:

  • Namiki Falcon with 14K gold SF nib
  • Pilot Custom 74 with 14K gold #5 SF nib
  • Pilot Custom Heritage 91 with 14K gold #5 SFM nib
  • Pilot Custom Kaede with 14K gold #10 regular F nib
  • Platinum #3776 Century with 14K gold SF nib
  • Platinum #3776 with 14K gold regular F nib
and my conclusions of the writing experience and output are:
  • The Pilot #10 F nib on the Custom Kaede is actually moderately soft, whereas the Platinum #3776 F nib is a nail
  • I don't prefer the explicitly Soft nibs at all; (especially the Pilot #5 nibs listed above) they are less forgiving for my purposes, and demand a much higher level of concentration and motor control to regulate the line width
  • The #3776 SF nib writes noticeably finer than the #3776 F nib when writing with minimal pressure. Not so the two Pilot and Namiki SF nibs, compared to the Pilot #10 F nib; the SF nibs can almost never leave finer lines than the F nib
  • Out of all the Pilot/Namiki nibs listed, the Pilot #5 SF nib (inked with Sailor Shikiori miruai, which is not exactly known for being a 'dry' or problematic ink) offered the most feedback, and the #10 regular F nib (inked with Diamine Cherry Sunburst) is the smoothest of them all. The #5 SFM nib (inked with Diamine Cult Pens Iridescink Robert) is in-between in that regard, leaves about as fine a line as the other two with minimal pressure, and the widest swells.

 

 

I appreciate you taking the time and providing the feedback.

 

The extra muscle effort to control a softer nib would not be to my liking.

 

And I don't care about line variation, nor do I want it.

 

I only want the least fatiguing, least effortless writing experience: That balance between unforgiving nails and nibs that flex too much (which I learned from Noodler's I do not like), not to mention that pleasant smoothness between a toothy drag and glassy nibs that run away from ya. I found the Medium nib on my Pilot Custom 74 to have the best balance of such so far IME.

 

I love the Pilot Custom 74-M, but the Custom 912 takes it to the threshold of dimensions I need for comfort and long writing sessions. I'd get the 743, but I don't really want to spend that much right now when not only does the 912 more than suffice, but it may be actually closer to what I'm looking for right now.

 

I tried the 823, and liked it a lot, but it was just too heavy for me and fatigued my hand immediately.

Edited by Mongoosey
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There's no "extra effort" or motor control required to write with a Soft nib. My everyday work pen is a Custom 912 with a Soft Medium nib and it's effortless in use.

 

The only way you're going to run in to problems is if you write with an overly heavy hand, and based on your response I doubt that will be an issue.

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There's no "extra effort" or motor control required to write with a Soft nib.

For my handwriting, there is; and, because I suffer from tendonitis in the wrist of my writing hand (right up from my thumb), I'm very sensitive to it.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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For my handwriting, there is; and, because I suffer from tendonitis in the wrist of my writing hand (right up from my thumb), I'm very sensitive to it.

 

And you didn't includes this in your original reply because...? This is a point that completely changes the context of your post,

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There's no "extra effort" or motor control required to write with a Soft nib. My everyday work pen is a Custom 912 with a Soft Medium nib and it's effortless in use.

 

The only way you're going to run in to problems is if you write with an overly heavy hand, and based on your response I doubt that will be an issue.

 

My plan was to first get a Regular Medium nib with the 912 as a daily writer/EDC, and then try out a Soft nib, either a Soft Fine Medium or a Soft Medium...

 

...unless there was good reason to go with the Soft nib first, which in my mind prior to this post, was somewhat of a risk as I've never used one.

 

I have heard a number of people say they preferred the Regular over the Soft for fast writing, which is what initially placed the Soft nib second to the Regular nib in my mind, especially since this 912 will be the only Fountain Pen I'll be using besides my Custom 74 which has dimensions that limit it to shorter writing sessions for me.

_______________________

 

The mention of the tendinitis would have been helpful, but doesn't change my initial course of eventually trying out the Soft nib since such negative feedback is an outlier from what I've researched.

 

I've also read another say the Pilot Soft Fine Medium was the best nib they've ever used among many, which does entice as well.

 

For the majority I've only been able to gather that if feels different slightly, sometimes difficult to tell any difference, and sometimes significantly more so depending on the person.

 

I've seen many praise the soft nib without trying the Regular or without comparison to the Regular.

____________________________________________

 

But I do find my writing muscles do fatigue easier than most (my reason for using fountain pens) so I do take into consideration Smug Dill's input.

____________________________________________

 

But I am very curious to hear about your input on your Soft Medium nib, Jekostas, how it writes, whether it's wetter or how it compares to other pilot nibs or other gold nibs you've tried.

 

Right now Pilot Gold nibs hit a sweet spot for me along with the price they're offered at.

_____________________________________________

 

The solution to this question of Regular vs Soft is most likely the old fashioned FPN answer: to get both lol

Edited by Mongoosey
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And you didn't includes this in your original reply because...? This is a point that completely changes the context of your post,

1. Because I was talking about my writing experience and my conclusions

2. Because it's not the tendonitis that is causing the fatigue; it just makes me more sensitive to the amount of effort in motor control I need to exert

3. Because it has more to do with the look of my handwriting and the shapes I want to produce with my pen strokes; that's where the need for control comes into play. There are photos of samples of my handwriting all over FPN, if anyone wants to know whether my handwriting is similar to theirs. Did you expect me to post a sample here too?

4. Because I didn't expect someone to jump in and tell me/everyone else openly that my conclusions are incorrect for my experience, and then find himself having to backpedal.

 

The O.P. did not ask for a technical analysis that can be applied to everyone else (including him) other than myself. He asked about subjective user experience and preferences. I believe I answered quite fully.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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I've seen many praise the soft nib without trying the Regular or without comparison to the Regular.

____________________________________________

 

But I do find my writing muscles do fatigue easier than most (my reason for using fountain pens) so I do take into consideration Smug Dill's input.

____________________________________________

 

But I am very curious to hear about your input on your Soft Medium nib, Jekostas, how it writes, whether it's wetter or how it compares to other pilot nibs or other gold nibs you've tried.

 

Right now Pilot Gold nibs hit a sweet spot for me along with the price they're offered at.

_____________________________________________

 

The solution to this question of Regular vs Soft is most likely the old fashioned FPN answer: to get both lol

 

The majority of muscle fatigue experienced when writing is caused by one of two things:

 

1. Gripping the pen too tight; Or

2. Pressing down too hard.

 

The solution to the first issue is a bit complicated, because a lot of factors affect how you grip your pen. Size of your hands, size of the grip, shape of the grip, weight/balance of the pen, etc. You've seemingly done your homework in terms of size and writing comfort and zeroed in on the 912 as your preferred shape/weight.

 

The solution to the second issue is seemingly simple: Write with a light hand. A properly-tuned fountain pen will write with zero pressure applied - simply touching nib to paper should give consistent and reliable ink flow. The problem here is that most people write with pressure out of habit, simply because it's useful to do so when using ballpoints or gel pens. If you want to use a fountain pen and expect to write for long periods of time, a bit of practice is called for to train yourself out of doing so. From experience, it's absolutely worthwhile: Learning to write with little or no pressure will alleviate many of the fatigue/pain issues you may experience in long writing sessions.

 

Now, for the issue at hand: Soft vs Regular nibs

 

What you have to realize is that there really isn't a huge difference between the two, especially when comparing Pilot nibs of the same size (#5 vs #5, #10 vs #10, etc). If you're writing with light or no pressure, you're not going to see much of a difference in everyday writing. What you will notice is that if you do press down on the Soft nibs from time to time, it provides some cushioning for your hand.

 

I will say outright that I prefer my Soft nibs.

 

I own a Custom 74 in Soft Medium (#5), a Custom Legance in Medium (#5), and a Custom 912 in Soft Medium (#10). I did own a Custom 742 in Medium, but I used my Custom 912 so much more than the 742 that I ended up selling the latter. Likewise, I prefer my Custom 74 to my Legance, but I'm not going to sell the Legance because I like the body material.

 

When I use my Custom 912 with the SM nib, I use it for work. I'm a financial advisor by trade (going on 12 years now) and use it for writing out my client interviews. When I pick up that pen, I'm often writing 6-8 pages worth of notes in one sitting. I've tried any number of other pens in that role, including the three Pilot listed above, a Platinum 3776 with a Soft Fine nib, my MB149, a Pelikan M600, a Parker Sonnet, and a couple of Deltas among others. At the end of the day, I always come back to my 912. It's the right shape and size, the nib is utterly reliable, it's comfortable to write with for long periods of time and at many different angles, and the give inherent in Pilot's Soft nibs helps cushion your hand and alleviate fatigue/cramping. It's that last point that leads most people to recommend the Soft nibs over the standard nibs.

 

I also had a Platinum 3776 in Fine but sold it to keep my 3776 in Soft Fine for very much the same reason. That said, I don't use my 3776 for work as it's a little bit too fine for my tastes.

 

 

TL;dr - I do a LOT of handwriting and can say from an immense amount of experience that if you do a lot of writing, the Soft nibs are the way to go for the cushioning and (for lack of a better term) "shock absorption" they provide.

Edited by jekostas
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Whichever pen/nib one chooses to write with, some set(s) of muscle will have to do the work, including muscles in the body to balance the seating posture.

 

It boils down to: which set of muscles do you want working.

 

Some pens and inks and papers make me breathe easier; others turn me rigid, prim and proper with more awareness in breathing.

 

Flowy inks with dark base tint make me relaxed and write lighter. Light, pale, watered, extremely shadey inks absolutely get on my nerves, especially with fine-nibbed Japanese pens.

 

Pilot Custom Soft nibs, in some nib widths, especially the sf nib, while soft, has feedback from preventing writer from exerting too much upon the nib in some styles of writing. Wispy thin hairlines and heavier densities in lines are possible with proper understanding of the nib at hand. And with the correct papers and inks. This nib width prefers inks with dark base tint, along the lines of Diamine Midnight, Green-black, Waterman Purple work due to the flow. Diamine Umber is a no unless the paper is absorbent enough and one writes with some pressure.

 

The sfm is a sweet spot for me, for my style and look I want to coax from the pen. Controllable nib width and spring.

 

SM nib is fun, when tuned wet, and can be glass smooth when the stars and hand muscles and ink and paper molecules align perfectly. Ootb I had several dry and very feedbacky. And I returned them. Nib width can run quite broad when ink starts flowing properly.

 

On some days, i feel the softness in the nibs, on others, i do not. And this varies with ink and papers - and mood.

 

If one uses Rhodia, nib width is immediately down a grade or more, especially on its non-absorbent side.

 

I cannot give measurement and figures wrt nib width. I don't see how anyone can because the range can be huge, relatively.

 

But be assured: Pilot custom nibs are generally on the finer side of things OOTB. But when when ink starts to flow properly, it could be a different story.

 

No matter what you choose to do or not do with the pen while writing, some set of muscles are already working, either actively exerting or in a supporting/balancing role, or struggling between the two roles, to create the line - the art you desire.

Edited by minddance
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if you're just looking for a regular old pen, the soft fine is bouncier, but this doesn't impact the ease of writing. You will get some line variation from the soft nibs, but they are mostly just a slightly different feel. If you write with super hair light pressure, go for the regular. If you tend to use a little pressure, the soft will be noticeably less fatiguing.

 

The FM will also be about a western F. an M will match a western M fairly closely.

 

I use both my SF and F custom 74 and 91 about equally. The 74 with a F gets a tad more use just because I like that it's a cigar shaped demonstrator.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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For my handwriting, there is; and, because I suffer from tendonitis in the wrist of my writing hand (right up from my thumb), I'm very sensitive to it.

 

 

I'm with Dill here. a soft nib will inherently require a lighter touch. My superflex TWSBI writes noticeably broader depending on the gravity caused by the sun passing overhead. You have to be much more cognizant about downstrokes with the SF than with the F if perfect line consistency is your goal. I have a very, very, very "average" grip and amount of writing pressure, trending towards a lighter touch, and I can say for certain that especially when printing, a SF nib does require a little more thought. pressing down when you start an upstroke, you'll definitely feel it in a way that the normal one does not.

 

All things being equal, I prefer the SF nib a little more, because I tend to appreciate pens that force me to be more conscientious of what my hand is doing, and it does give more of a "gold nib" experience than a steel nib, so if that matters to you, it's worth considering. But I completely see how it would annoy someone else. Dill likes extremely precise lines. Makes perfect sense that a SF nib is less to his taste.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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I appreciate the feedback.

 

EDIT: I went ahead and ordered the Custom 91-SFM.

 

I've been very curious about the Pilot SFM nib. Plus the 91, though lacking the dimensions of a "Writer" for me, is still a solid size and good for EDC. Also the nib won't be as thick as what I've heard the Pilot Soft Medium to be. And since I ordered from Japan, I still have enough for my 912.

 

I may wait to obtain a 912 seeing how I feel about the soft nib, but I'm also inclined to just go ahead and get it with a Regular Medium because I was very impressed with the Regular Medium on my 74, and I'd need to use the 912 not just for Tomoe River Paper, but all the way down to cheap Mead paper and I fear that the softness may cause the pen to be too wet for such. I need an "all-rounder", "1-pen" kind of pen.

 

Plus I've heard much input from those saying they can't write as fast with the Soft nib and I feel like I'd be in that category and I need the 912 to write fast.

 

Thank you again for the feedback. It was congruent with much of the research I've done, yet also considerate, and aided my decision to move more in this direction.

Edited by Mongoosey
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I went ahead and ordered the Custom 91-SFM.

 

I've been very curious about the Pilot SFM nib. Plus the 91, though lacking the dimensions of a "Writer" for me, is still a solid size and good for EDC.

Firstly, without any reservation, I applaud you. As far as I'm concerned, (the acquisition and/or use, for whatever personal reasons, of) fountain pens is a hobby; and hobbies just aren't pursuits in which getting the best bang for the buck from the optimal solution is the primary driver. Regardless of whether you're entitled to return a product with which you as a consumer is not 100% satisfied, for a full refund, laying out part of the budget for one's hobby to try things out is part and parcel of it, separate from being the astute, thoroughly-informed consumer thanks to the accessibility of (both reliable and unreliable) information on the Internet these days.

 

I wholeheartedly hope your purchase gives you your money's worth.

 

And since I ordered from Japan, I still have enough for my 912.

Excellent!

 

but all the way down to cheap Mead paper and I fear that the softness may cause the pen to be too wet for such. I need an "all-rounder", "1-pen" kind of pen.

Softness and smoothness (or kinaethestic feedback or lack thereof) are hard to rate or measure objectively, but the line widths you want (and/or can tolerate) can be expressed and/or shown.

 

Plus I've heard much input from those saying they can't write as fast with the Soft nib

I could write 'faster' – i.e. at my normal handwriting speed – and without undue/extra effort with a Soft nib, but the output just looks horrible to me.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Firstly, without any reservation, I applaud you. As far as I'm concerned, (the acquisition and/or use, for whatever personal reasons, of) fountain pens is a hobby; and hobbies just aren't pursuits in which getting the best bang for the buck from the optimal solution is the primary driver. Regardless of whether you're entitled to return a product with which you as a consumer is not 100% satisfied, for a full refund, laying out part of the budget for one's hobby to try things out is part and parcel of it, separate from being the astute, thoroughly-informed consumer thanks to the accessibility of (both reliable and unreliable) information on the Internet these days.

 

I wholeheartedly hope your purchase gives you your money's worth.

 

 

Excellent!

 

 

Softness and smoothness (or kinaethestic feedback or lack thereof) are hard to rate or measure objectively, but the line widths you want (and/or can tolerate) can be expressed and/or shown.

 

 

I could write 'faster' – i.e. at my normal handwriting speed – and without undue/extra effort with a Soft nib, but the output just looks horrible to me.

 

I've tried a lot of pens and have honed in on Pilot's gold nibs, which work best for me IME.

 

I had a sentiment that my 74-M was glorious OOTB, but the notion of trying Pilot's Soft nib did come to mind.

 

I rather test the Soft nib out on the 91, which I'd be able to put to much use instead of gambling on it with the 912 at twice the price.

 

I have chosen to wait to purchase the 912 until after I've tested out the 91-SFM. There is a possibility that the 912 with a Soft nib may be something that's better for me so I don't wish to go ahead and purchase a 912-Regular Medium right now only to regret not having such with a Soft nib.

 

If I had purchased the 912 with a Regular Medium nib I'd have no experience with a soft nib, would have to purchase the 91 at least to gain that experience, and if I preferred the Soft nib I'd feel compelled to purchase a 2nd 912 and that would be frivolous.

 

I believe the 912 will be my Daily Writer for a considerable amount of time and I want to get it right, get it optimal, and if worse comes to worse have a quality 91-SFM as well that sizes well into my shirt pocked ; )

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Good thinking. Smart move.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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the SFM might be a little wide for cheapo mead paper, but it won't be any wetter than the FM unless you write with pressure. So just make sure you use a drier ink like pelikan and don't press down, and you'll be fine.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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the SFM might be a little wide for cheapo mead paper, but it won't be any wetter than the FM unless you write with pressure. So just make sure you use a drier ink like pelikan and don't press down, and you'll be fine.

 

I thought that may be the case, too, especially seeing as how the softness would add to the line width even more.

 

That's why I ordered a 912-Regular Medium from J-Subculture this morning.

 

I gave a chance for the idea to gnaw at me for a while, which it did, to let me know it was important to consider.

 

I know from my 74-M that the Regular Medium works very well on Cheap Paper, especially using Kiwa-Guro, which tames the line and adds lubrication.

 

Going any finer wouldn't be necessary with the regular nibs and I fear going finer than an SFM with the wetter Soft nibs would be accompanied by too much feedback and I don't think I have a light enough touch for that right now.

 

But I've been eager to try the SFM for some time and had to try it out in the 91.

Edited by Mongoosey
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the SFM would have been better than the M. The m will absolutely be too wide for cheap paper without very dry ink.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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