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Question About Carène Nib Widths


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I have, regrettably, allowed what ought to be a simple and concise request to turn in to another of my trademarked Screeds :blush:
I apologise to you all in advance.

I have a request for your help, dear reader, in the form of information from those of you who are Carène owners.
I am thinking of buying a Carène - both because it is a Thing of Beauty, and because I have read lots of praise of them on here from people who already own them.
I already know that their nibs are stiff, and have read about the need to return a couple of drops of ink to the bottle when using a converter, and to NOT let my fingers wander down on to the edges of the inlaid nib. I have also read about how to adjust the interior brass collar so that the ‘stern end’ of the pen's barrel lines up at the correct rotational angle when screwing the barrel back on after re-filling.
I also know about the pen's huge feed/ink collector, and that it is very hard to disassemble for cleaning, and so to never fill it with e.g. iron gall inks, or ‘high-maintenance’ inks, or inks with shimmer particles, or any remaining vintage supplies of the fast-drying ink that was developed for the original Parker "51" (some say that this ink was the inspiration for the blood of the ‘Alien’ in the Ridley Scott film...).

I also know that the above intellectual knowledge isn't enough, and that I really ought to feel one in my hand to check its size, mass, weight, and balance before I ‘just buy one’, but...


...doing that would require me to travel Some Way in order to see one ‘in the flesh’. On England's overcrowded roads. To a city that I have never previously visited, let alone driven or parked in. On a weekend :yikes:

Now, even though I am willing (keen) to do so, doing it wouldn't tell me everything that I need to know before I place my order - because the only store that I can find anywhere near me that stocks the Carène ONLY has them with ‘Medium’ nibs.
I.e. I won't be able to try out different nibs for width, wetness, smoothness, etc.
(Additional info: Personally, I would feel bad if I were to go to the store just to try one in my hand, because the chain doesn't stock the pen in the finish that I want anyway. I suppose that I could ask whether they could order it, but knowing how Corporate chains tend to operate here, I would be surprised if the staff in any store (including the manager) is allowed the freedom to do so.)

I do know that, should I decide that I don't like the width of the nib that I order, I can simply send it back to the vendor for replacement, but I would far rather 'get it right first time' if at all possible.
I would be very grateful if some of you would post photos that show samples of your writing with Carènes of different nib widths.

My own preference is for nibs that run fairly narrow, so I would like in particular to see samples written with Carènes with EF, F, or M nibs - but other potential future purchasers would presumably appreciate samples written with the B or Stub nibs, or with any of the obliques that can be had.

Ideally, in order that I can evaluate the appearance of the writing accurately, I would like to remove as many of the variable factors as possible from the samples, so I would like to see pictures of writing samples made using some of the ‘commonly-owned’ inks & paper that I already own myself.


So, I would like you to please post pictures of writing samples that conform to the following formats:


I would like to see samples that have been written on one or more of the following types of paper:


  • lined Rhodia paper (whether from No.13 pads, No. 18 pads, or Webnotebooks, or some other 90gsm Rhodia paper, but with the distance between ruled lines indicated), or, as I am in the UK;
  • a sheet from a ‘WH Smith’ Wide-Ruled Refill Pad, or;
  • ‘Basildon Bond’ paper (but this would also need the poster to add in some pencil-ruled lines and indicate their separation).

I have named those papers because I already have an idea of their particular tendencies to show things like shading, line-spread, feathering, bleedthrough, etc.
Of course, it might prove to be useful for non-UK residents if some of you were to post samples written on papers that are commonly owned in other countries, but I freely admit to having a selfish desire to see samples written on those particular papers ;)


As for ink, please use:

  • Waterman ‘Serenity Blue’ or ‘Havana Brown’, or;
  • Parker Quink ‘Blue’ or even ‘Washable Blue’, or;
  • Pelikan 4001 Black or Violet, or;
  • Noodler's Black, or (if anyone has them);
  • Pelikan Edlestein ‘Tanzanite’ or ‘Topaz’.

Again, I am familiar with those inks, and they seem likely to be safe to put in to a Carène.


I would also be grateful for any other advice culled from your experience of owning the pen - things such as:
Do you find that a particular nib width tends to ‘write wet’ or ‘write dry’?
Does ink tend to feather or show/bleed through from certain nib widths?
Are there any inks that have given you problems in your Carène?
Are there any inks that have made the experience of writing with the Carène especially delightful?
Will posting the cap cause scratches on the lacquer of the barrel?


My thanks in advance for your help.

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.


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I've just emptied my Carene so no writing scans I'm afraid. But I'll have a go at the other questions:


Line width from a medium nib is generous. Noticeably wider than any of my other medium pens, but you wouldn't say it was exactly broad. I like it because it shows off ink colour and forces me to be a little more careful with letter shapes.


Flow is also generous. All my gold or gold-plated nibs seem to have this characteristic. As a smudge-prone lefty this can be problematic in combination with smooth paper and humid weather.


Much as I appreciate Waterman inks, I bought my Carene to use with iron gall inks. KWZ inks have given no problems so far, though I'm careful not to let any pen dry out completely.


Design and build quality are extremely high. The lacquer has remained smooth under daily use. The inlaid nib does wick ink so that touching any part of the metal will get you inky fingers, but you could say the same about any nib. The long smooth section is extremely comfortable, but quite light and puts the balance further backwards. For this reason I don't use the pen posted.


I'm not a fan of Waterman's choice of colours. The red has a hint of pink, and the other colours are just dull. They have done nicer colours in the past, so I keep my eyes open for new finishes.


My Carene is definitely one of my favourite pens. I don't feel the need for a second one, but if this one broke I'd buy another. Although I enjoy a bit of calligraphy from time to time, the Carene begs to be a daily writer and the medium nib is perfect for this. It's a tiny bit of luxury in a knockabout workplace.

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This is what I have inked at the moment, with a couple of other common pens for comparison; on a Rhodia notepad.



"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."


B. Russell

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have neither your preferred paper nor ink at hand, but here is a writing sample of my Waterman Carène in the Marine Amber finish with a medium nib on TR-paper with Sailor Jentle Oku-Yama ink.


Edited by aronW
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