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Frustration At Current Pelikan Nibs


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I've just received my first modern Pelikans, a broad M805 and a medium M815 with an additional spare M805 Broad nib.


All three nibs sadly have featureless blobs where once Pelikan had faceted grinds to form a crafted writing surface. This isn't what I expected.


All three are aggressively over polished, have baby bottom also some attempt at a top and bottom grind, applied with no care, just a nominal and pointless feature. I'm highly disappointed in the nibs, to be quite frank, in terms of the tipping, they are (bleep) and not what I expect at this price point. This is where Mont Blanc have many points over Pelikan.


The saving grace, I intended to grind all the nibs myself but am limited due to the over polishing from the top and around to the bottom of the tip, I need to grind quite far back in order to get level thus loosing too much valuable tipping.


On the medium nib, the top 'careless nominal' grind is sloped down towards the tip in such a way that a properly formed top grind can not be applied, too much tipping has been carelessly removed.


It would be great if these could be ordered in a state that bypasses the nominal carless top and bottom grind & over polishing, in my opinion the nibs are rendered useless. Unless of course large featureless writing is your things then you may as well get a biro.


Very unimpressed.


Of my three brand new nibs, I can rescue both the broads although one doesn't have enough tipping after the awful treatment at factory to get to a cursive italic thus it will have to settle at a loose stub. The medium...thats a loss, just plain (bleep) which I will likely just flick off on the Bay.


Massive thumbs down on current Pelikan nibs.







This is one of the broad nibs part way through grinding, this is the top grind but note the dark patch of the inside of the right hand tine near the tip, that is what remains of the over polished and unequal polishing of the nib, one tine polished further back than the other. Why on earth they would they baby bottom right around to the top of the nib? I have to either grind the top grind down further or cut the final CI face grind even further back into the tipping to remove the visible top side baby bottom.

In my opinion this is unacceptable from Pelikan, they are ruining the nibs to such an extent that even grinding them sometimes isn't even an option.




Also note the slit isn't central along the nibs stamped embellishing, also the slit isn't central through the tipping material with one tine being wider.


These are hands down the worst modern nibs I have received beyond a $10 fountain pen (and Visconti) and sadly here ends my venture into modern Pelikan pens, three strikes.

Edited by jaytaylor
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Those fat and blobby double Kugal/ball nibs....are designed so if one don't have three minutes to learn how to hold a fountain pen behind the big index knuckle, one don't have too. One can continue to hold it like a ball point.....


The old Kugal nibs were the ball on top, somewhat thicker point but flat and stubbish bottom, just in case you did want to hold it like a fountain pen....back in semi-flex days. It was made for those who liked to hold a fountain pen like a pencil, or one of those newfangled ball points.


A modern 400/600 are semi-nail, the 800 after '97 a nail, and the 1000 is regular flex, except those once made by Bock which are semi-flex.


The 200 is still a tear drop formed nib, so has a cleaner line. Is regular flex like the semi-vintage 400/600/381 & Celebry pens..........I do like those nibs. I drifted into really likeing nice springy regular flex nibs from the wetter semi-flex.

Unfortunately, the 800's nib is only for a 800.

If you get an old 800's nib....not only is it a nice springy regular flex, but it is narrower than the 1/2 a width narrower than modern 400/small 600/200. The 800 once had it's very own 'narrow' width.


I have an old chart...so old it's pre-Japanese, so is '80-90's. Japanese pens became main stream after 2000, as far as I can tell. This was way back when Waterman was fighting Pelikan in flame wars yere...Narrow Nib vs nib swap.....ah, the good old days.

Now I guess Waterman is just a fat western nib :headsmack: ....don't know don't see much here on Waterman now they divided up the sub sections.

Conway Stewart was by far the widest, then came Parker which was always wider than Sheaffer and Pelikan :lticaptd: , with the 800 having it's own narrower width, then came Waterman.

Now the Fat and Blobby Pelikan is wider than Parker much less Sheaffer............ :doh: May even be Conway Stewart width.


Send back the pen with the poor slit.....send your other 800 off to a good nib master and get it stubbed (stub can be done at home) and when the other comes back have that one made into a CI. I do recommend you take a picture showing exactly what angle you hold your pen for a CI grind, so it sits just right. I think there are two or three different styles of CI and a good professional can get it right easier than hoping at home.


There are a number of modern Pelikan nib bashers here. We bash for years. So your disappointment is well known.


Lately someone said the round nib was exactly what he wanted, in he could 'rotate' the nib with out thinking about it....that was a big AH for me.

I don't "rotate" a nib all over the word, willi nellie.

I cant an oblique or keep the nib straight.....the latter is left over from learning to use a fountain pen, before we were ever allowed to use a ball point in school, back in B&W TV days. So I never had that Ball Point Rotation of the nib problem.


I swapped a nice M for a BB on a 605 when new in sooner or later I was going to stub or CI the nib. It had a slight baby bottom, but in I was going to and did get it made into a B/1.0 stub it being baby bottom was not the end of the world, except the start of the first letter.

I had a '50-54 semi-flex B on that 605 :notworthy1: :thumbup: :puddle:

But you can't put such a nib on your 800.


I do have a couple W.Germany nibs, a 600 OBB and 200 OM. They are that slight tad more springy than the '90-97 era nibs. I got to play some three days with a W.Germany 800 I trans-mailed to a fine lady in Spain. That was such a nice nib.

I don't care for the 800 as a pen.

If I was to stumble into a W.Germany 800, I'd hospitalize my wallet to get one.


You might be able to get one of those nice and springy I think they were 14 K W.Germany 800 nibs from Penboard de.

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.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:


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




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I agree that modern Pelikan nibs can be frustrating, I have many Pelikans, most of them are pre-1997 and their nibs are fantastic, recently I got three more modern pens, a white stripe M605, a gray striped M805 and brilliant red M101, all of them with extrafine nibs and all of them that write a too much tick line (no hard start or skipping for me).



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I just bought my first Pelikan, an M1000, which I had to return because of baby's bottom.


It was a broad nib, which to my understanding increases the likelihood with Pelikan to have baby's bottom, so I have returned it in exchange for a fine which I expect to receive on Tuesday.


Here's to hoping that one is better, if not I'll be walking away from Pelikan altogether.

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Have you tried EF and F? I have not tried the M and B's, but of the modern nibs I've tried, personally I find that the current grinds on the EF nibs are quite good in comparison to Montblanc. Some even have a stubbish quality. Since F's write more like M, you may as well try that as well.

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Sorry to hear about your poor experience with modern Pelikan gold nibs. :(


My first Pelikan was steel M205 EF and I enjoyed it's smooth writing paired with a wet feed but it was wider than my Japanese F.


An experienced pen collector did comment on how decent the Pelikan steel was these days so that was a plus on the steel.


Then I got my first M600 F and posted about how wide a Fine it was compared to what I was used to and asked FPN about possible grinds. I never did get it ground and got used to the "medium" fine with different ink.


Later down the road my dear supportive spouse also got a M600 F and it is finer than mine?! She loves her "pretty bird".


Then gold struck and I came upon 3 pretty birds later, 2 of which concerns this topic:


M800 M Stub (nib artisan unknown) and M101N M Cursive Italic but "please more stubbish" by John Mottishaw




Quite simply, these are some of the best writing nibs I own- right up there with Waterman wet noodle, Indy Pen Dance modified Jowo flex, Pilot Custom Urushi and Sailor KOP.


They write themselves with effortless line variation and pleasurable expression.


Particularly the 14K M101N softness paired with Mottishaw grind is preferred over my wife's more flexible birdies 400NN and 140


This M101N is among my most cherished of pens ticking off: heritage homage, balance, ergonomics, writing experience, quality, maintenance, etc.


So the saving grace as pointed out is also the lesson I learned with Pelikan modern gold:


  • Factor in a nib grind to account for QC nib variability :mellow:


The writer gets a better nib albeit at extra cost :unsure:


Pelikan is what got me to fall in love with nib grinds, opening a new door. :P


And despite the cost; I'm more inclined to have all new modern pens ground.


Silver linings among the clouds.

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I agree with what has been written here. I got a M400 fine nib for my M200 because I found it beautiful. It did not write like a fine though. I should have returned it, but didn't. Later I got it reground to a fine stub, which I like very much. On the other hand, the fine steel nib on my M200 writes perfectly, but is lacking in its looks.

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The 200/100/150's nibs are the traditional width.....1/2 a width narrower than modern 400/600/800&1000. The 200's nibs are the same width as the vintage and semi-vintage gold nibs. The then width was made for the flowing western cursive script.


And back in the day before Japanese became mainstream....@ the year 2000 and later,

Japanese use a tiny printed script so mark their nibs one size small compared to western. Because their script is so tiny.


It's hard to believe that Pelikan was once narrower than Parker and Shaffer. Waterman was once the main (not counting Aurora) narrow western nib.

How ever the Pelikan EF was narrower than Parker, Sheaffer and Waterman.....once upon a time.


So if one insists on using Japaneses nibs widths as THE standard.......why buy Western?

And knowing that Japanese are skinnier than marked, why complain about Western being the size marked....(with tolerance of course...even Japanese nibs have tolerance.)


Before they made fat and blobby stiffer Pelikan nibs, for those with out the physical coordination or the three minutes it takes to learn how to hold a fountain pen,....the modern fat and blobby nib is made for the so the cross over ball point user will buy a fountain pen in he can hold is just like a ball point. And rotate it like crazy.... :wallbash:

Grumble cubed.

Edited by Bo Bo Olson

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.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:


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




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Sorry they're so disappointing. Remind us, which eBay user are you? We want to be sure not to buy these (bleep) nibs when you try to sell them.

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I think it's something more common in modern nibs of many pen makers today, at least based on my experience. I don't think Pelikan is unique in this regard. In an effort to create ultra-smooth nibs, over-polishing seems to take place. The trend seems to be to try to get a very wet nib with limited or no feedback for many makers. My experience with modern (post-2000) tips:


-Pelikan M400 medium - very wet and very wide. More of a broad nib than a medium. Sits in my parts drawer.


-Pelikan M400 fine - nice writer. smooth and without baby's bottom. Less character than M200, but still pretty good. Runs wider than stated size.


-Pelikan M200 medium - a nice, smooth nib. What I would call a medium. No reliability issues.


-Pelikan M200 medium - this is a second pen. Very rarely hard-starts. May have very slight baby's bottom, but not a bad nib still.


-Pelikan M205 fine - pretty good. A nice, balanced nib. Smooth and reliable.


-Conklin Glider medium - it's a medium but had lots of baby's bottom issues initially. Needed work to be acceptable. Very smooth. Still have this pen.


-Other Conklin nibs (All American, etc) - more baby's bottom issues. Smooth, but over-polished. These are gone.


-Levenger True Writer Gold Tortoise - it has a visible baby's bottom shape, yet hard starts are not really an issue.


-My wife has several ultra-fine Pilot pens - baby's bottom not an issue here. They're smooth but run very fine compared to size.


I have more vintage pens than modern ones. Most of the vintage pens are Sheaffer and Pelikan. I've owned many others that I have sold over the years. My experience is that vintage nibs only very, very rarely have baby's bottom. Once in awhile you come across one, but I could count on one-hand the number of first-tier, vintage pens that had baby's bottom. Whereas it seems to come up with greater frequency on modern pens. Pelikan is not immune, but it's not just Pelikan, and in fact my experience was that the worst offender seemed to be the modern Conklin nibs.

Edited by Ray-Vigo
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I have just bought a second hand green stripe M400 with OB nib (it also came with a matching R400 roller ball) for a reasonable price from a German commercial seller. They arrived today beautifully packed but amazingly the seller had not checked for a free filler piston, which was totally seized. I have had to deal with this before in another second hand pen and luckily had a bottle of Herbin pen cleaning fluid to hand. I warmed some of this in a syringe (5 seconds in the microwave) and having unscrewed and rinsed the nib unit, squirted the Herbin onto the stuck piston in the now open barrel. I left it in a warm place for close to 2 hours. To my relief, I was then able to free off the piston with minimal force. I washed out the barrel thoroughly in warm water with a final rinse of the distilled water I keep for film developing. I then filled with Pelikan Violet ink.


Now the pen: it is quite a pleasant nib but not quite as broad or as flexy as the nib on my stolen M800. It seems slightly less oblique than the larger bi-colour M800 nib but that may be due to its lesser flex. It is one colour (gold) and quite a short nib. The only thing I really miss is the heft of the M800. I could not find an M800 for sale with an OB nib from a reputable seller in really good condition and not a pre-historic (for a using not collecting) pen. The M400 feels a bit light and flimsy. Oddly the R400 Roller Ball feels noticeably more substantial. However, with the rollerball for form filling (with NCR paper), it will make a nice travel set. Another more substantial pen is going to have to wait until my insurance company pays out for the burglary at my French house, where over €12,000 of contents were stolen.


A post above compared modern Pelikan nibs unfavourably with Mont Blanc. One of my other stolen pens was a quite recent (2014) MB 149 Meisterstuck with OBB nib (special order). It was horrible. Writing with it was like writing on sandpaper and it had very poor ink flow. it went back to MB and came back totally unchanged (I suspect they did nothing at all to it). A subsequent visit to a nib doctor effected a very modest improvement. I then attacked it myself by writing for 15 minutes at my preferred angle on well soaped 10,000 grade silicone carbide wet and dry jeweller's polishing paper. That made it much smoother but of course did not cure the poor ink flow. It is the one of my stolen pens that I will miss least.



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To give due credit to the seller of my M400/R400 set, who I advised of the problem I had had with a stuck filler piston, more for future sales than anything else, he has sent me a €20 refund. Somehow apparently, this pen had side-stepped their standard pre-sales check-over, which includes a clean, for which obviously the filler piston would need to be free. In respect for this excellent after sales service, I have asked him to look out for an OB or OBB flex nib M800 or M1000 Souverän fountain pen for me.



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I have come through many rather poor modern Pelikan M800/M805 pens, most were misaligned and were poorly grinded (with a baby bottom or uneven grinding or both).


Nevertheless, you could have returned/exchanged the pens/nibs (Pelikan CS is excellent), couldn't you Also broad Souveran modern nibs are always blobby, it is widely known. As for the off-center cut, first of all it is only a bit off-center, secondly it happens (to this extension or even more) to any brand and has always happened, even to very expensive Japanese pens. Sure always somebody comes with a sort of "OK, but I have never seen Nakaya/MB/Winnie the Pooh pen with a such a problem and have never heard of", perhaps not, but others have.


Anyway, I sincerely understand your frustration.

Edited by aurore
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I agree with what has been written here. I got a M400 fine nib for my M200 because I found it beautiful. It did not write like a fine though. I should have returned it, but didn't. Later I got it reground to a fine stub, which I like very much. On the other hand, the fine steel nib on my M200 writes perfectly, but is lacking in its looks.

The steel nibs are pretty good, especially compared to other steel nibs.


I think part of the problem is buying pens online. I've just come back from a trip to Berlin where I intended to pick up the new Lamy Studio All Black. I visited the stationary store Moranga and the owner kindly steered me to M2xx Pelikans instead. Now, I have a tray of them at home and wasn't looking for one, but the M205 blue marble just looked way more interesting than the Lamy. Then she had me trying out all kinds of nibs (including the one on her own pen), inks, paper combinations, got out two magnifiers so I could check the tipping and slit. It was well after closing time, but I finally got an F nib. I usually get more sophisticated nibs, but why? I am enjoying this pen a lot, it has a beautiful Binde, but remains a tool for writing - which it does well, even at 30,000 feet over Greenland.


My point is, I used to get all my pens in a store, with dedicated owners who helped me select a nib to match what I really wanted. Now that most sales are over the internet, other things - marketable finishes like the new All Black or Pelikan's grey and metal stripes - have become the main selling point. The nib is kind of an afterthought. Pelikan is following that trend, unfortunately. But if you want a pen with a perfect nib for your hand/paper/ink combo, it's still best to visit a b&m store.

Edited by Calabria

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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I have 3/3 meh Pelikan modern nibs:


1 M400 Fine: baby's bottom, had skipping issues

1 M101N Medium : blobby and broad, not particularly crisp lines (I do not mean line variation)

1 M800 IB nib: uneven contact of tipping with paper resulting in jagged edges of the drawn lines, particularly bad along the left edge and also writing vertical lines the top edge can be very jagged, very picky with writing angle far more than any other stub or cursive italic nib I've had.


All 3 don't write crisply. I like a good clean edge between clean paper and ink line, with good saturation, and none of these nibs provide it except with highly saturated inks.


All 3 are getting expert help and custom grinds as a result. The first one was a surprise when I first received it, after all the good things I'd read about Pelikan pens. The second one (IB) was a bit of a disappointment as I had gone through a lot of work to get that nib. And the third pen/nib was purchased with the certain expectation that it too will be presented to a nibmeister. It's the least problematic of the three, but a blobby, very broad "medium" is pretty uninteresting to use for writing. I'm taking 2 out of the 3 to an upcoming pen show for custom grinds. The IB nib is to be tuned a bit to make good contact with paper.

Edited by Intensity

“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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The semi-vintage springy regular flex (pre'98) with the tear drop tipping and vintage nibs ('50-65) flat stub semi-flex, have good clean crisp lines.


I don't know about the new 101N, if the 400 nibs, fit it. The old full tortoise one won't.


Penboard de. could get you semi-flex a 400 nib. A OB is more like a modern OM....****

The vintage and semi-vintage nibs run @ 1/2 a width narrower than the modern fat and blobby nibs.


For a long time I had a '54 Transition B nib on a 605, :notworthy1: :puddle: Then I finally got the BB nib I'd swapped when new, from a M, stubbed. I had always intended to stub or CI that nib. I got it extra wide in I didn't know if I was going to go for a B or a M when made a stub or CI.


**** I had other brand semi-flex OB's just not in Pelikan. When buying a vintage '50-54 400, the nib width is marked at the piston cap, not the nib. At a live auction I won a 400 OB.....in I didn't have it. I got home and it was so, so very skinny. It was an OM, just like my other 400 from that time. :huh:



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.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:


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




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