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Difference Between Steel, Gold And Titanium Nibs



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Arijitdutta

I don't own any gold nibs right now, except my grandpa's Pelikan P1. All the pens I own are steel ones. Out of curiosity, before trying another gold nibbed pen, I would like to know the difference between these nibs.

 

I know gold nibs add a little bounce to them, whereas steel nibs are nails. Don't know anything about titanium ones though. For example I have a Sailor Shikiori which gives off a very very pleasant feedback I like despite it being a nail. Now if I move on to a Pro Gear, what is going to change?

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Jerome Tarshis

First, let's get rid of some of those generalizations. I own and write with some gold nibs that haven't got any bounce to them, and are nail-like to the point of annoying me. What is widely considered to be, at least technically, the best fountain pen ever made, the Parker 51, came with gold nibs that had a kind of life to them, but nothing like bounciness.

 

By contrast, the steel nib on my Monte Rosa 042 is much like other Montblanc nibs of the 1950s in being quite bouncy. I wouldn't want to say "semi-flex," but others do say that freely. The original and still the best flexible nibs used by commercial artists and calligraphers were and are disposable dip-pen nibs made of steel.

 

There are plenty of bouncy steel nibs in fountain pens. But not so many of those are in current production. As fashions changed, there were fewer bouncy nibs of whatever material. However, it is worth remembering that many fountain pens of what we speak of as the Golden Age were perfectly stiff. Then as now, different people had different preferences.

 

It can also be true that the same model can have nibs of differing stiffness over the product life of the pen. I have owned two examples of the Aurora 88 small fountain pen (in Italian the model name is Piccolo, which is to say, small). The pen has been manufactured since 1989. My first example had a painfully stiff gold nib. The second has a less inexorably stiff nib. And from my reading I gather that there are still other examples, perhaps from different product years than my pens, that had relatively yielding nibs. All of them gold, same pen model, perceptibly different feel.

 

Some generalizations hold, I imagine. Many do not.

Edited by Jerome Tarshis
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I have several solid gold nibbed Sheaffers. They are lovely but the nib neither performs nor feels different than any of my steel nibbed Sheaffers or Lamys. One of the Gold nibs is quite thick and has no give at all. One of the old steel nibs is quite thin and has a lot of flex.

I ride a recumbent, I play go, I use Macintosh so of course I use a fountain pen.

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There's little difference between them. Granted, in general gold and titanium nibs tend to be softer than steel, but the actual line variation you get from that is at best marginal. If you want flexibility, use dip nibs. They cost £1 each, last a decent amount of time and flex better than any fountain pen nibs vintage or modern.

 

I think this debate is similar to whether nickel, silver, wood, gold and platinum flutes sound different. And the answer is a simple no for the 99 percent of us.

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I have several gold nibs, titanium nibs and steel nibs. I like them all for different reasons. Yes, there is a difference (although some may disagree - go for it!).

 

First let me say that I write with a light hand, with little pressure. And none of my nibs are "flex" nibs. Because I have a light hand, flex isn't a big deal to me.

 

I have found that by and large my gold nibs are wetter. They aren't necessarily "springy-er". Generally, they are "softer" in the way they feel as they write. Then, the titanium nibs are similar but with a bit more feedback.

 

The steel nibs vary. Some are nails and others have a similar softness to the titanium only without the feedback.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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There's little difference between them. Granted, in general gold and titanium nibs tend to be softer than steel, but the actual line variation you get from that is at best marginal. If you want flexibility, use dip nibs. They cost £1 each, last a decent amount of time and flex better than any fountain pen nibs vintage or modern.

 

I think this debate is similar to whether nickel, silver, wood, gold and platinum flutes sound different. And the answer is a simple no for the 99 percent of us.

+1

Engineer :

Someone who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

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I tend to use gold nibs just for a 'feel good' factor and doubt there is any technical superiority.

 

Gold and steel can both be flex or nails, depends on the nibs.

Engineer :

Someone who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

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I have found that by and large my gold nibs are wetter. They aren't necessarily "springy-er". Generally, they are "softer" in the way they feel as they write.

+1

 

This is another reason I tend to prefer gold nibs.

Edited by 1nkulus

Engineer :

Someone who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

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Easy enough to make a steel nib wetter.

 

True, but any excuse to get some bling. biggrin.png

Engineer :

Someone who does precision guesswork based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge.

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The primary difference:

Steel nibbed pen = $

Titanium nibbed pen = $$

Gold nibbed pen = $$$

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

Oscar Wilde

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Dont_Flexme

The primary difference:

 

Steel nibbed pen = $

Titanium nibbed pen = $$

Gold nibbed pen = $$$

One of the better descriptions of the difference I've seen. I've got both gold and steel nibs and I find the metal is secondary to the craftsmanship.

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Inky-Republic

I like stubs, so it's generally stainless for me.

Have no issue with gold plated stainless if the aesthetics and colour of the pen furniture demands it (#6 Leonardo/Bock gold plated stubs are a favourite).

Have found that a gold nib re-ground to a stub is not a good idea.

I do have one pen with an E.F. gold nib and find they are excellent for detail (and probably a better feel than stainless at that end of the width spectrum).

I gave up trying to find a modern nib in any material that is truly full flex, so have purchased a vintage Waterman 52 for that. (nothing modern is remotely like it)

Have not tried titanium at all - but guess that's the next trip to take within the life experience thing!

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Bo Bo Olson

Don't see why a gold nib would be problematic if ground. Have a BB semi-nail Pelikan 600 ground to 1.0, and a 18K nail OB Lamy Persona ground to CI.

 

I have a slew and a half of German gold and steel vintage semi-flex and maxi-semi-flex that are mostly stubs. The factories make them so for brands that offered a tad of flex, MB, Soennecken, Kaweco, Pelikan and Geha and others.There is no problem.

It is the tipping that is ground as is, not the steel or the gold.

 

It comes from what era and which country to what you are offered in gold and steel. I'm much more into vintage pens, in one gets a better nib.....one gets a better balanced pen, in that was a major selling point.

IM0 modern large pens lack balance, that posted old standard and medium-large pens.

One of the few Large pens with balance is the thin Snorkel, but again it had to have great balance as a flagship....had to beat the P-51....which it did.....modern large pens are IMO :(, when it comes to balance.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

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Inky-Republic

Don't see why a gold nib would be problematic if ground.

 

Usually a gold nib is tipped with some harder exotic metal to assist in wear resistance and smoothness (iridium or similar) With most of the gold nibs I've seen ground out to stubs, this protective tip gets ground right off in the process.

 

Whats left (gold) doesn't then last too long.

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BaronWulfraed

That would seem to imply either a poor grinder, or starting with a pen with much too little tipping for grinding.

 

If starting with a B or BB, there should be enough tipping to allow for grinding to a M-width stub.

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The non-"soft" Japanese gold nibs I've used are very stiff. The aforementioned Parker 51 gold nibs are stuff. Modern latest pelikan gold nibs are pretty stiff (for non-M1000 series). On the other hand my steel- nibbed Kaweco Perkeo (Bock #5) and Conklin Duragraph (steel #6) are quite soft/springy--especially the Kaweco.

 

I would always read individual pen reviews, as nibs really vary from brand to brand and model to model. Some generalizations don't hold for all nibs.

 

With that said, Ive not tried titanium nibs, but I've read a lot of user opinions stating they feel more like a paint brush--musher than gold, with worse snap back.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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Karmachanic

With that said, Ive not tried titanium nibs, but I've read a lot of user opinions stating they feel more like a paint brush--musher than gold, with worse snap back.

 

Titanium nibs are not flex nibs, and are not marketed as such. If one wants a flex nib with snap-back I would suggest purchasing a nib with those characteristics.

Edited by Karmachanic

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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I didn't even mean flexing for flair. I meant that I keep reading periodic user reports about the mushy paint brush like feel vs springy and not mushy gold and steel versions.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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