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Fountain Pen Feedback and other Terms?



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dparker999

I'd love some help from the group.   What do you look for in an ideal pen from a performance point of view?    I see the term "feedback" all the time but really don't understand what that means?   I've had many pens that are slow starters, skippers, wet, etc.    These are pretty obvious terms but feedback is not.     I used to blame myself when a pen was slow starter, skipped, etc.    I also need to figure out a baseline using the right ink and see if a pen still skips/starts slowly with that ink, it is the pen and only the pen.      Does anyone have a system they follow to tell whether the pen if tuned properly, when to send it to a nib meister for work, etc?        I appreciate all the feedback of this group.

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Well known nibmeister Richard Binder, on the Reference page of his useful website Richardspens, defines it as “the sensation of resistance to motion when the pen is traveling across the page.”  One might use as an example, the feeling that a pencil gives when writing with it as one level of feedback.  In fountain pens, as in pencils, ithe amount of feedback will be affected by a number of variables, including the nib ( affected by its shape, size, and grind), the nib’s feed (how much ink it feeds the nib), the paper, as well as the ink.  In the case of a pencil, the softness of the lead and the sharpness of the point will probably affect its feedback.  Like pasta, the amount of “tooth” people prefer in terms of cooking doneness and in pens will vary, and is a very individual thing.  Nib problems, like misaligned tines, might also cause unpleasant degrees of feedback, which can be improved upon.  Doubtless many others will have additional comments here, but this may serve as a starting point.

 

http://www.richardspens.com/ref/gloss/F.htm

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dparker999

 

Thanks Carrau -  I've been a Bender fan for a long time and actually have a home in his state of New Hampshire!   I should have checked his website first.      

 

What about processes for checking out a pen's need for tuning?    I have a beautiful Aurora F that is so scratchy, I never use it.    It writes well, never skips, etc but us just scratchy.   I have other pens that skip, hard to start.    Is there a test or process I can follow to ensure everything is optimized on my end?   

 

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I define feedback as the amount of resistance you get nthe section as you move the pen around on the page.

 

With some nib/ink/paper combinations (it is not always the nib). A "smooth" experience is where the pen gildes over the paper and you get not much sensation from the nib as it moves across the page. 

 

Some pens give you a sensation more akin to writing with a pencil. You can feel the friction as the nib carves a groove into the paper - and that is transmitted from the nib  into the section and barrel and into your hand.

 

You can get this with pencils - try a 2b pencil an HB pencil and a 2h pencil - each pencil will feel different as you use it on the same sheet of paper because of the harder/softer nature of its core. 

 

Feedback isn't necessarly unpleasant -and somethimes it is nice to have as the feedback informs your hand about what is happening on the page. The tactile sensation can give you a little bit more control and precision - if of course you are concentrating on what you are doing. There are degrees. It can be soft like drawing with your finger in sand - or hard like scraping your nails on something.   

 

Part of it is simply the width of the nib - the narrower the nib - the greater the likehood of feedback. 

 

In additon the sharpness of the nib also had an effect -and this is influenced by how different brands handling of the tipping as well as the individual characteristics of each pen. 

 

In my experience, coated papers need a sharper or narrower nib. The nib needs to make indents through the coating to allow the ink to settle in the grooves. A nib that cannot make an impession on the surface is laying ink on the coating or not getting through it - which means the coating clogs the nib which hampers ink flow. This is why some pens do better on coated papers than others.  

 

The material of the nib can make a difference - but not always. You would think that an 18K nib would be softer and produce less feedback than a 14K nib or a steel one - but again it depends upon the tipping, the sharpness and thickness of th enib. I certainly do have softer 18K nibs that are smoother than most, but I also have 18K nibs that are not much different from 14K or steel nibs. 

 

 

 

 

 

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dparker999

 

Thank you Sandy 101.    My handwriting is rather small so I've always gone with F nibs.   Some write very smoothly (Pelikan, Omas) while others write very scratchy (A beautiful Aurora Optima I have).     I've am at the point where I am sending the Aurora away to be adjusted because I love the pen and never use it.   

 

I also have paid a lot more attention to cleaning the nibs, ensuring they are clean when I am done with them for the week (I ink 2 new pens every Sunday night), and then store them carefully.    My goal is to make sure that at least I've done everything I am supposed to do to optimize a pen before sending it out for adjustment.   

 

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