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Q: I Use Western Fine Nibs. What Is The Japanese Equivalent?



A Smug Dill

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Disclaimer: Not my question personally.



I'm going to hijack for a minute because a) you have a similar pen selection to me and B) you also write a lot with your FPs. My Platinum Century 3776 with a 'm' nib is my gateway drug into Japanese pens and I'm eyeing up Pilot and Sailor as my next purchases, but I'm having a heck of a time trying to understand the different nib variations so this thread is definitely helping some. What I'm trying to figure out is if I'm used to a Western Fine and I'm writing a lot and I have small handwriting, does that translate to a soft fine? Or medium fine? Or soft fine medium?

All of my nibs bar my Lamy Safaris are gold nibs. I have some Platinum Plaisirs that I just got so I could test out what it's like to write with a Japanese pen with a steel nib (F and M respectively). My only other experience with steel is a Pelican P205 with a 'F' nib which I loathed because it was super scratchy. I have a Pelikan Souveran M600 with a 'M' nib and that thing is wetter than wet. I'm have to get an 'EF' to make it even usable for me. Because I'm a writer and I write every day with my pens, smoothe# and consistent for hours of writing is crucial. I really like the Platinum Century with an 'M' nib, but any thinner of a line would start to make me nervous. I was surprised by how thin a Japanese 'M' was.

That's the breadth of my experience right now and most of that is with Montblanc other than the one Pelikan, some cheap Lamys, and the Platinum 3776. I've ordered a Pilot Metropolitan 'M' nib as my first Pilot, but I'm super curious about the soft nibs, I can't deny. And again, sorry for hijacking. I really should start a separate thread.


I have eleven Plaisir and six Preppy pens – with interchangeable sections and nibs, so for the purposes of how ink flows from the cartridge or converter onto the page to form shaped marks by way of the nib, they are identical (to the DPQ-700A desk pen as well) – inked right now, and due to the distinct design of the nib-feed-collector-section, I wouldn't say they are typical or representative of writing with a Japanese fountain pen, manufactured by either Platinum itself or any of the Big Three (Platinum, Pilot and Sailor).

The Pilot MR is probably your best bet as try-out models for Japanese steel nibs, as they are often offered very cheaply on Amazon.com, compared to even the domestic Japanese market (in which they're sold as the Pilot Cocoon), if the step-down where the section joins the barrel doesn't bother you. The Pilot Prera, Kakuno, (discontinued) 78G, Penmanship (available with EF nibs only) and Plumix (available with Calligraphy Medium – in other words, italic – nibs only) all share the same type of nib and feed, as do the Pilot P-DPP-1S desk pens, if you prefer a differently shaped or weighted pen.

The cheapest Japanese pens with gold nibs are made by Platinum: the KDP-3000A desk pens (with a nominal price of ¥3,000 ex tax), followed by the PTL-5000A models (¥5,000 ex tax), if you prefer to buy and write with gold nibs.

Because I'm a writer and I write every day with my pens, smoothe# and consistent for hours of writing is crucial. I really like the Platinum Century with an 'M' nib, but any thinner of a line would start to make me nervous.


Being in the US, you can far more easily avail yourself of grinding services from nibmeisters of renown than most other fountain pen users in the world, so regardless of brand or country of manufacture, you can always just get a nib customised to be your perfect tool of the trade. It would cost someone like me far more to either attend a pen show and engage a nibmeister face to face (and have him or her look at my pen grip and writing technique, in order to adjust accordingly), or send a pen overseas with written instructions, to have a nib modified to my exact requirements and preferences.

Now that I have had one pen (out of over 150 in my personal fleet) with a nib customised expertly by Dan Smith, I've become an advocate of after-market customisation services used sparingly, to 'perfect' an crucial asset or resource that one uses for hours on end weekly. Getting a feel for, or even relishing, what each pen manufacturer intended for the writing instruments it produces is a different matter; I can dig the whole "buy a Pelikan for what Pelikan pens are like, and buy a Sailor pen for what Sailor pens are like" thing as a hobbyist, but that's a different matter from acquiring tools of the trade professionally.

I was surprised by how thin a Japanese 'M' was.


I was, more than once, unpleasantly surprised by how broad some European pen manufacturers think Extra Fine nibs ought to be, and how thick a line they should make on the page. I'm not just talking about for writing in Chinese hanzi and Japanese kana, either; now that I've learnt more about 'calligraphic' writing in English, I understand that forming each letter of the English letter alphabet with a single pen stroke, much less joining letters to form an entire word in cursive, is not the only way to hand-write in English, irrespective of what they teach in schools in the UK and the US.

Edited by A Smug Dill

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 for 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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Medium fine. The japanese medium will, on average, write somewhere on the finer side of what a western medium would be. the "one step down" only becomes about a half-step at most when you go to M and B. The MF will really hit home for a western F. My pilot and sailor M's really just write like mediums. a F writes like an EF. an FM splits the difference.

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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Thank you, both. This information is extremely helpful and much appreciated. I need to go check out some of the suggestions. Honeybadger- are there any Pilots or Sailors for $100 or less that you’d recommend looking into? I can’t remember if you already mentioned some in passing to me on my introduction post when the platinum century was discussed.

 

Shawnee

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I was considering buying a blue Sailor Procolor 500 demonstrator not that I prefer demonstrators, but just that it was cheaper at the time than the opaque, shimmering black one in the same series for ¥3,780 (Japanese consumption tax inclusive) when I was placing my previous order on Amazon.co.jp, to be re-shipped to me in Australia along with a whole bunch of other items, so the marginal international shipping cost for it would be low. Only the clear Procolor 500 demonstrator comes with an MF nib, though; the other colours all come with F nibs, if I'm not mistaken.

 

For the price, the Procolor 500 ought to be a step up from the Sailor Lecoule line, which comes with MF nibs only. I suspect they use the same type of nibs and feeds, and the difference is price is all due to the shape and material of the pen body; the Lecoule looks and feels kinda cheap in the hand, although the writing experience is OK. However, I do not imagine I'd enjoy the Procolor 500 more than the Platinum Balance, which is cheaper; and I already have three Lecoule and three Balance pens, not to mention several higher-end Sailor pens with gold nibs that write beautifully.

 

I see there are quite a few Sailor 1911 Standard pens with 14K gold nibs (in all the options in the Sailor's standard line-up of nib sizes and styles, including the Zoom nib) listed on eBay for just under US$100, and for US$120 or so you can get one with a 21K gold nib, so there really aren't any cheaper Sailor models i can recommend as a 'gateway' model to experience how a proper Sailor nib handles.

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 for 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 Procolor has a different nib and feed than the Profit Junior/LeCoule.

The Procolor nib is similar in design and in writing feel to the 14k gold nibs in the 1911 and ProGear lines. The Procolor section interchanges with the 14k sections.

 

I've had both the Uchimizu and Hochikuzu Procolors for more than a year and used them often. They're made from the same resin, but are lighter than the 1911 standard/midsize. They've both survive a couple of drops when capped. It's not noticeably unless you look, but the sections are oblonged with side seams rather than perfectly round without visible seams.

People pay no attention to the Hoshikuzu, It's not overtly sparkly. But people notice the Uchimizu.

 

The Procolor nibs originally came in F or MF. But have been available only in F for some time. If smugdill wasn't linking to the Sailor website, I'd suggest that was a typo.

 

There's also a 14k gold-nibbed Sailor Promenade, similar to the 1911. It has a slip-and-seal cap, a slimmer barrel, a different clip, and no plating on the nib. It's the same 14k nib/feed/section as the 1911 and ProGear lines.

 

I like the pencilly feedback of Sailor pens. So I prefer my Sailors to my Platinum Balance/Cool.

Edited by cattar
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You can get the line width but the look and sensations will never be the same as 'western fine' nibs.

 

Many of the Japanese pens have added 'feedback', some people like, some people do not.

 

If you are happy with your western fine nibs, I suggest you stick to them.

 

Many Japanese pens are 'another world'.

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I don't have any European pens with Fine pens left in my fleet, having given them all away,

Come to think of it, actually I still have a handful of pens with 'Western' Fine nibs in my fleet:

  • two Monteverde Monza with steel F nibs, which I'm confident are made neither in Japan nor in China, even though the pen bodies may well be Chinese-made; and
  • half a dozen Nemosine Singularity with steel F nibs, but only one of those is inked at the moment.

Because I'm a writer and I write every day with my pens, smoothe# and consistent for hours of writing is crucial. I really like the Platinum Century with an 'M' nib,

You can get the line width but the look and sensations will never be the same as 'western fine' nibs.

 

Many of the Japanese pens have added 'feedback', some people like, some people do not.

I just tested a whole bunch of my pens – both of the Monteverde Monza (F nibs), the single inked Nemosine Singularity (F nib), a Leonardo Momento Zero (steel EF nib), a Diplomat Aero (steel EF nib), a Delta Seawood (Fusion EF nib), an Aurora Alpha (gold EF nib), a Pilot Custom Kaede (gold F nib), a Platinum #3776 (gold F nib), a PenBBS 308 (steel F nib), and five Sailor pens (various nibs) – on the same sheet of paper, and all of the Sailor gold nibs has as little (or as much) feedback as the Aurora nib, and frankly less feedback than the Diplomat, Delta and Monteverde nibs.

 

(Oh, but I think you're going to argue, those nibs may indeed be Japanese but they have the advantage of being gold instead of steel, and you really meant comparing like for like, and weren't making a blanket statement about Japanese nibs where country of origin is everything.)

 

The PenBBS and (then the) Leonardo steel nibs offer the least feedback. The Diplomat, Delta and Sailor steel nibs tie with the Platinum #3776 gold F nib for the most feedback (which is still unobtrusive to my handwriting subjectively).

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 for 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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Since I've started this conversation, I've actually got two pens winging their way to my house as I type - a Platinum 3776 'soft fine' and a second hand Sailor 1911M with a 14K 'h-f' nib. Sailor has got me intrigued, I can't lie. I've lost hours of my life trawling through Sailor fountain pens online. It's almost embarrassing. I do love my Platinum 3776 with its 'M' nib and weirdly enough my vintage Montblanc 342 with an 'EF' nib writes like my 3776 but a slightly thinner line. I'm NOT digging the gold Pilot Metropolitan with a 'M' nib that I got in order to test out Pilot's nibs. It's very wet and seriously heavy. It's worse than my MB 149, which was my heaviest pen up to now. So I'm a bit put off by Pilot right now.

 

I'm really starting to fall in love with the thinner line of a Japanese pen. I just have to be more orderly on how I pursue it, otherwise, I'm going to have to re-mortgage my house. LOL. I am going to look at the procolor and the promenade though . . . one or two more can't hurt, can it?

 

At some point, I'll do a writing sample with all the new pens. I've got 6 inked right now, which is way too many.

 

 

shawnee

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The Japanese nibs are unique. They are another world. Enjoy your pens! Once you get into the mode of Japanese pens, it can be addictive.

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The pilot steel nibs and gold nibs are different experiences.

 

I prefer Sailor's nibs, then Platinum's variety of nib experiences, then Pilot's steel nibs or the gold falcon nib. The other Pilot gold nibs are too smooth.

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The other Pilot gold nibs are too smooth.

 

Have you tried the Pilot #10 14K gold F nib (I have two – not on a CH912 or C742, but a Custom Kaede and the 'Hannya Shingyo', and I think some folks reported that the nib on the Custom Kaede feels different and softer than the F nib on a CH912) or the Pilot Capless 18K gold F nibs? If so, I'm just wondering if you feel they're also too smooth.

 

...

 

I'm struggling to decide whether to get a Sailor 1911 Standard with a 21K gold EF nib for ¥10,765 (that's less than US$100) right now. Of course I don't need another EF nib or another 21K nib by Sailor, but I love the (larger-sized) 21K gold Fine nib on full-sized my Sailor Pro Gear, and this seems to be a good price on Amazon.co.jp; and I have a shipment for the reshipper to send to me in Australia, so the marginal shipping cost is entirely weight-based effectively without another 'flagfall' or handling surcharge.

 

The thing that is really holding me back is that Sailor's EF nibs only seem to come in the most boring black pen bodies and only in gold-coloured metal (as opposed to rhodinated or two-tone).

Edited by A Smug Dill

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 for 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 haven't written with a Hannya Shingyo or the Custom Kaede.

A review of the Pilot Custom Kaede reveals the nib as a slightly different design that appears soft enough have a bit of spring/bounce.

I would probably enjoy it. I put the pen on my list of considers.

 

I do like the original nib on Pilot's older faceted capless. But I think it's mainly because I like the idea of the capless, and the faceted capless is comfortable in my hand.

 

The falcon nib I referred to upthread, is the SEF on the Pilot Resin Falcon.

 

----

 

In Sailor, I haven't gone to EF.

I love the F nibs. And the MF, especially on a ProGear.

 

I use EF in a dip nib now and then.

I had an EF in a Platinum. But I didn't use it often, so I let go of the pen.

 

If you think you'll love that Sailor EF nib, that pen is a good price.

(And I understand the desire for rhodium or two-tone. That would give me pause as well.)

If you did love the nib, the pen's section can exchange with other 1911 Large or ProGear pens (with gold trim).

Edited by cattar
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the pen's section can exchange with other 1911 Large or ProGear pens (with gold trim).

 

 

I'm not so sure about that. The Sailor 1911 Standard's and Professional Gear Slim's sections are interchangeable, and the 1911 Large's and (full-sized) Professional Gear's sections are interchangeable. That cheap 21K gold 1911 EF nib is a medium-sized nib attached to a Sailor 1911 Standard.

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 for 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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Ah. I thought the deal was on a full size ProGear.

 

If the deal is a progear slim with a 21K....

Then that pen's section will fit on other progear slim and 1911 standard/midsize.

 

The question is do you want that nib, or would you rather having something else for the same amount?

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I would appreciate some nib advice as I am on the points of buying a pilot decimo but can't decide on nib size. I like my twsbi eco fine, lamy fine,pilot Mr medium ( but could go finer).

Opinions vary and there is nowhere to try one out, I don't really want to buy one then send it back so should I play safe and buy medium? Thank you in advance for your replies :)

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In my own experience, as well as from what I've read on here, there's a significant jump in line width between the F and M nibs for Pilot Capless.

 

Mind you, I only have one Pilot Capless M nib (and probably never want to acquire or touch another), even though I have over ten Pilot Capless F (and maybe three EF) nibs here.

 

I can test a Pilot MR steel F nib against a Pilot Capless 18K gold F nib, using the same ink and same sheet of paper, if you want,but I don't want to ink up either the single Pilot MR steel M nib or the single Pilot Capless 18K gold M nib I have sitting somewhere at the back of the drawer.

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 for 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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Since I've started this conversation, I've actually got two pens winging their way to my house as I type - a Platinum 3776 'soft fine' and a second hand Sailor 1911M with a 14K 'h-f' nib.

Good on ya!

 

Sailor has got me intrigued, I can't lie. I've lost hours of my life trawling through Sailor fountain pens online. It's almost embarrassing.

Oh, I do it with a variety of pens and brands almost daily. I spent hours today trawling and deciding what (not) to get and add to my shipment of recent purchases from Amazon.co.jp, and it isn't a good look. One gets numb to the near-embarrassment after a while. :P

 

I'm NOT digging the gold Pilot Metropolitan with a 'M' nib that I got in order to test out Pilot's nibs. It's very wet and seriously heavy.

Interesting. I think the Pilot MR nibs are on the wet side (although I almost never use the single M nib of that type I have, so my comment really applies only to the F nibs), but considering that you have more than one Pelikan pen, I imagined the Pilot MR is no match for those in the ink flow department.

 

My one and only Pelikan has a customised nib, so it certainly doesn't write overly wetly. However, I'm not really looking forward to experiencing three factory-condition Pelikan F nibs on pens that are on their way to me in the post.

 

It's worse than my MB 149, which was my heaviest pen up to now. So I'm a bit put off by Pilot right now.

Pilot has some nice pens, but I don't include Custom 74-whatever and Custom Heritage 91-whatever in that comment. I love the Pilot Capless Vanishing Point pens, and the Elite 95s and Custom Kaede are good too; then, of course, the 'Hannya Shingyo' is one of my most prized fountain pens for its stark beauty.

 

I'm really starting to fall in love with the thinner line of a Japanese pen.

Excellent!

 

I am going to look at the procolor and the promenade though . . . one or two more can't hurt, can it?

My 'problem' with the Sailor Procolor 500 is that, for slightly less money, I could get a Platinum PTL-5000A (with a choice of nib width) that is fitted with a bona fide gold nib; and, based on what I've read from the product data-sheet, the Procolor is very lightweight – about the same as the Lecoule, and I don't like how light the Lecoule is. And, on Amazon.co.jp earlier today, I could get a Sailor Promenade with a 14K gold nib for less than double the price of the cheapest Sailor Procolor 500 listed, so if I'm only going to get one more Sailor, it certainly won't be the Procolor with a steel nib, even though it has a Sailor 1911 style nib (now that I've inspected the product images more closely).

 

At some point, I'll do a writing sample with all the new pens. I've got 6 inked right now, which is way too many.

I look forward to hearing how you get along with your new Japanese pens, and seeing the comparative writing samples.

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 for 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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Thanks cattar,i did look on there and there doesn't seem to be much difference although people have said there is a big drop from medium to fine. I was going to go for a fine but I think I'll probably go for the medium :)

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