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Help In Deciding About A Custom Nib Grind - Italic


bbbdco

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I'm fairly new to the world of fountain pens, and would like some advice on the topic of an italic nib. A little background first. I studied calligraphy and italic handwriting quite intensely about 30 years ago from an artist Benedectine Nun, who is now deceased. I completely changed my handwriting from the old Palmer to Italic, which I continue to use. Eventuallly, I even went on to teach a course in college on beginning calligraphy. After 20 some years, I have rediscovered my old artistic interest in fountain pens, calligraphy, and italic. I have 3 old Osmiroid pens (two 65s and one 75) I have all the nibs from extra fine up through B4. All the nibs and pens work fine after 30 years. I've recently purchased some beginning Fountain pens: Pilot Metropolitan, TWSBI ECO, Lamy Safari, and the Pilot E95S....all with either fine or extra-fine nibs. Now I'm thinking of investing in a good italic cursive nib. I've been re-learning to write with my old Osmiroids. I guess my main question at this point is: would getting a specially ground cursive italic nib produce a better writing pen than my old Osmiroids? I know there are places that will grind nibs for you. I have discovered Marc Bacas at Nibgrinder.com. I'm debating whether I should purchase a pen from him, and have him grind a cursive italic for me. Would a custom ground pen like this work better, more smoothly than my old plastic Osmiroid? Or is the Osmiroid considered a pretty good writing pen? And then there is the question: if I do decide to have him produce a nib for me...there are so many nib options: JoWo, Bock, gold, amongst others. He makes 3 different italic nibs...one for formal italic, one regular cursive italic, and a very smooth cursive italic. I'm thinking I want something along the lines of a fine nib. (something between the Osmiroid extra fine and fine.) I see that I can send pens in. Waiting time is 2 months. Or if I purchase a pen from him, it is expedited. He mostly stocks TWSBI pens. Any thoughts you can share with me on this topic would be appreciated. I know there are other options also. I've heard of Franklin-Christoph nibs. And Goulet Pens also sells some italic nibs. Or I could get a Jinhao and experiment on grinding my own. Don't know how tough that is. Just not sure what I should do and would love any input from anyone. Thanks.

Dan Mueller

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I would suggest that as soon as the world calms down, you go to pen show and try out the nibs in person.

Welcome aboard.

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Would love to do that. But living where I do (South Dakota) I don't think I'm within a thousand miles of pen show.

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Osmiroid is the best pen you can get for italic. It's all about practicing until you really like the result. Pen accumulations only puts a big dent in your wallet and not much improvement in your italic writing.

 

You can grind your Osmiroid to even sharper/crisp yourself with a brown bag paper

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Looks like you are already on the right track. TWSBI is, in my opinion, a great place to start with stubs/italics. The ECO comes with a stub nib (used to have one) and it has nice crisp variation if I remember it correctly. Franklin Christoph, as you mentioned, is another great place to look, as they have SIG stubs/italics which are loved by everyone I've heard of who owns one, and Mike Masuyama italics, (I have a medium Ci) whic give SUPER crisp variation. I don't have any experience with Osmiroid, but I've heard good things. So if I were you I'd go with an ECO stub to complement the eco you already own and see how it feels, and then maybe something a little more crisp on the edges. There are so many awesome stub/italic options out there, I'm sure you will find what you are looking for.

 

Osmiroid is the best pen you can get for italic. It's all about practicing until you really like the result. Pen accumulations is put a big dent in your wallet and not much improvement in your italic writing.

And, yeah, if you can't make it to a show, getting an inexpensive stub/italic might be your best bet to try it out and then moving onto something custom ground (or the FCs, which are pre ground and wonderful).

 

Good luck finding the right pen.

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Hello and Welcome to FPN!! Glad to have you as a member!! The Denver Pen show in October wouldn't be to very far away. Mark Bacus does good work!

PAKMAN

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Just for fun, I took one of my cheap Pilot Varsity pens today. I got out my Dremel and a grinding wheel and an old stone sharpener. I played around, and lo and behold, I created my own first italic Pilot Varsity. I'm not saying it's the best, but for a first try, it actually turned out okay. In the end, I'll perhaps order a pen from one of the nib grinders. I haven't tried writing with an italic pen for many years, so this isn't my best handwriting. I need to warm up and get more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

handwriting.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Welcome!!! :W2FPN:

"The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."  - Selwyn Duke    

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome to you. Your writing is briliant already ! :)

A wise man once said    " the best revenge is wealth "   but a wiser man answered back    " the best revenge is happiness "

 

The true definition of madness - Doing the same thing everyday and expecting different results......

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Hello and Welcome to FPN!!

To sit at one's table on a sunny morning, with four clear hours of uninterruptible security, plenty of nice white paper, and a [fountain] pen - that is true happiness!


- Winston Churchill



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Welcome to FPN!

 

By way of background: I began using chancery cursive in college, writing with an Osmiroid pen and learning from Lloyd Reynolds' workbook. I stopped using italic in med school but resumed about 10 years ago. I also use italic now for my everyday writing.

 

As Inky-Fingers said, you will be hard pressed to find an off-the-shelf modern italic pen that writes better than your Osmiroids, unless you want to drop $450+ on a modern Aurora 88 or Optima with a super-sharp formal italic nib, for example.

 

If you are willing to spend the time exploring web sites that sell used and vintage pens, you may be able to find some good vintage fountain pens with italic nibs. Both Sheaffer and Parker made gold italic nibs in the '90's that are quite good without any custom grinding. It's a shame you can't get to a pen show, because those are great resources for finding vintage pens with exotic nibs.

 

I wouldn't mess with the inexpensive beginners' pens like the Pilot Metropolitan. They aren't as good as what you already have. For the same reason, I wouldn't bother with a TWSBI. They are great for those who want just more character for their Palmer-type writing, but not for some one like yourself, IMO.

 

If you get a pen that takes either a JoWo or Bock nib, they can be ground to your preference and provide excellent italic (or Uncial or Gothic, or Foundational, or ... etc) writing. There are many very competent nib grinders, fortunately. If you want to discuss specific options, feel free to send me a private message on this site.

 

Happy writing!

 

David

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With your background, I would highly recommend that you contact Mike Masuyama. There are many excellent nib grinders all of which produce excellent products. But you mentioned that you would like an italic nib that is fine. Mike produced a 14k medium cursive italic that is simply amazing. He has a long waiting list and may not respond for a few days (because he is so busy), but he is clearly worth the wait.

 

My first Masuyama nib came with my Franklin-Christoph (also a 14k medium cursive italic) fountain pen. That might be another alternative for you.

"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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Hello and welcome to FPN.

Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous  Who taught by the pen

Taught man that which he knew not (96/3-5)

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