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What is in your opinion the best flex nib, pen ever?


Finriel

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I want to get into flex tip pens, but I’m not sure which one to get. I may want to go for a old 14k maxi-flex pen from the early 20th century. On the other hand I’m trying to keep the price down, so maybe I go for a modern beginner pen. Like a noodler creaper. I want it for mostly spencerian and copperplate scripts. What pen(s) do you recommend?

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I can warn you ahead of time that the overarching sentiment you will receive in this thread will be skewed towards "Vintage" pens.
However, I do not agree...I'll stop there.

You will be hard pressed to achieve Spencerian with a Noodlers pen. They are wholly tinkerers pens and you WILL tinker daily if you wish to use it.

In my opinion, the best flex nib there is (comparing price, flexibility, nib size options and quality)...is the "Secretary of De Flex".
Bar none.

 

1388411813_PenRealm-SecretaryofDeFlex-4.jpg.f1a86d464cfb18af347cff5c595c6c45.jpg1892241622_PenRealm-SecretaryofDeFlex-6.jpg.c2f00f1543db023e2e866814563c5602.jpgPerfection.thumb.jpg.20f52ff63ac7ffc0fe520cde3a59bf6a.jpg

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There is enough variation from nib to nib to make it impossible to say that a particular model is the best.  My Waterman #7 pink may flex more or flex easier or have better snapback than yours.  

 

My favorites are Sheaffers.  When Sheaffer did something, they did it really well, even if they didn’t do it often.

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6 hours ago, Detman101 said:

I can warn you ahead of time that the overarching sentiment you will receive in this thread will be skewed towards "Vintage" pens.
However, I do not agree...I'll stop there.

You will be hard pressed to achieve Spencerian with a Noodlers pen. They are wholly tinkerers pens and you WILL tinker daily if you wish to use it.

In my opinion, the best flex nib there is (comparing price, flexibility, nib size options and quality)...is the "Secretary of De Flex".
Bar none.

 

1388411813_PenRealm-SecretaryofDeFlex-4.jpg.f1a86d464cfb18af347cff5c595c6c45.jpg1892241622_PenRealm-SecretaryofDeFlex-6.jpg.c2f00f1543db023e2e866814563c5602.jpgPerfection.thumb.jpg.20f52ff63ac7ffc0fe520cde3a59bf6a.jpg

 

 

What’s with the warning and the scare quotes?  It’s as if vintage pens or interest in them were somehow reprobate.  

 

 

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a Brause rose nib and a quality dip pen / nib holder

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3 hours ago, gyasko said:

 

 

What’s with the warning and the scare quotes?  It’s as if vintage pens or interest in them were somehow reprobate.  

 

 

Its not that they're a reprobate pursuit...it's simply that they're not for beginners to flex during COVID days.
If you seek a vintage "Flex" pen, you have to be prepared for a loss of time, effort and funds in order to reach your expected goals. Especially now that there are no "face-to-face" transactions for vintage pen deals. The only options you have are to buy NOS, Ebay or on forums such as this. All risky proposals when you're buying "sight unseen".
If the OP can make it to a pen show, they will have a greater chance of obtaining a proper vintage flex pen the first try.
Outside of that...the path will be rough.

As always, I am only speaking from my own experience with obtaining a "Vintage Flex" fountain pen and by no means speak for those who entered the Fountain Pen hobby during normal pre-covid years.

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2 hours ago, Mech-for-i said:

a Brause rose nib and a quality dip pen / nib holder

I would thoroughly endorse this option. A few nibs and a holder is undoubtedly the best way to find out whether flex is for you. I'm right handed, so tend to use an oblique holder, or elbow nib, but a straight option may be better if you're either left handed, or are planning to switch to a fountain pen at the earliest opportunity.

 

Alternatively, the simple mod to let you use a zebra g nib (or many others) in a very inexpensive FP is also a good way to find out whether flex suits your hand or is something you want to pursue.

 

I use both vintage and modern, and also customise my own nibs, but that's not for everyone! However, I also use a pretty wide range of other pens including pretty much every shape and size nib you could ask for, though I have remarkably few F nibs - it's either EF or the broader the better for me. 

 

It's important to consider whether you want to learn the scripts properly, which is a big investment in time, especially for practice, and involves slowing things down a lot, or whether you're looking for something you'll use for everyday writing as well. 

 

If you're after the latter, then you may be looking for a very different beast - either a vintage semiflex (to start with), or a modern pen with a fairly flexible nib, rather than one designed purely for a beautiful hand.

 

After all that rambling, I will just say that the Creeper is not where I'd start. Unless you're happy to do some heavy modification, it's not flexible enough for copperplate, not fine enough for spencerian (IMO) and not particularly nice to use, other than, curiously, as a shorthand pen, which it does quite well.

 

If you want a cheap starter pen with a bit of flex to just try things out, I'd tend to recommend Fountain Pen Revolution (unless you're prepared to buy directly from India). They have some decent pens, good feeds and the ultraflex is good enough to get a feel for what it's all about without spending a lot of money. Kevin's always super helpful and looks after his customers very well.

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4 hours ago, Mech-for-i said:

a Brause rose nib and a quality dip pen / nib holder

 

This is also where I would start, although I have had no problem with inexpensive holders.

 

If your hand is too heavy for the Brause nib, then a Zebra G nib might work well for you.  

 

 

 

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The best would a pen holder and vintage flex nib. As far as a fountain pen a vintage Waterman fills the bill for me.

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If you wish to write like the esteemed master Mr. Mussleman, then you should use what all top calligraphy masters still use, a steel dip pen and holder. 

 

If you wish to use a fountain pen, then there are vintage and modern versions, each with advantages and disadvantages. 

 

As for "best" it really all depends on the usage. There was a reason they made 1000s of different types of dip pens in the day, and not just for marketing. Depending on your style of writing, how large you write, what kind of writing (business, personal, ledger, ...), how fast you want to write, how good your penmanship, etc... you would find the right pen for you and stick with it. Offices would often order a dozen different pens for the different types of writing going on. This was, obviously, easier with dip pens, but some, like the large dip pen manufacturer, Esterbrook, recognized the need for different types of nibs and created the interchangeable Renew Point nibs for their fountain pens.  

 

Unfortunately, the answer to "what is the best xxx" seems to always be "it depends."  

 

With dip pens, even ones named "Inflexible" still had more flex than many modern fountain pens labeled as "flex."  Here's an example from an Esterbrook Flyer which they labeled as "firm". 

2019 01 07 flyer penmanship.jpg

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

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7 hours ago, gyasko said:

There is enough variation from nib to nib to make it impossible to say that a particular model is the best.  My Waterman #7 pink may flex more or flex easier or have better snapback than yours.  

 

My favorites are Sheaffers.  When Sheaffer did something, they did it really well, even if they didn’t do it often.

 

 What Sheaffer flex-nib pen(s) do you own?

 

 I've never had the good fortune of seeing one, let alone using one...

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Thank you all so much for the help!

 

I don’t have much experience in fp’s and next to none in dip pens. I want to start learning copperplate and Spencerian, but I want to do it right. I don’t want to just learn with just a random bic pen or $11 ball point.

 

I like the idea of using a vintage flex nib and pen holder, but am a little intimidated: do they have ink inside them, are they  dip pens, if so how would you properly maintain and use one, and if not what ink would be safe to use inside them, would I have to store them in a particular way?

 

Basically how do just nibs and pen holders work?

B5B6B43F-3D72-44E5-B5FE-EB593F77DD7B.jpeg

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Oh my. What a rabbit hole. It for some reason didn't occur to me that these nibs flex.

 

Well anyway it seems it doesn't have to be expensive to start off with the right tools. Seems like dip nibs are considered wear items whereas fountain pen nibs are expected to last longer and be used more conservatively.

 

https://www.jetpens.com/blog/the-best-pointed-pen-calligraphy-supplies-for-beginners/pt/888

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They're about as simple as you can get. Put nib in holder, dip in ink and write! When the ink runs out (or just before, you'll soon learn when that is), dip again. After use, clean and put away and they'll last longer than you might think (provided you haven't mistreated them!) 

 

In terms of choosing your holder, all the oblique holders you've shown above are for right handers. If you're left handed, you need a straight version - you're already writing (provided you underwrite) a the right angle. I like a very plain holder, which I find more comfortable, but there are some beautiful examples (including vintage options) out there. It's also worth having a straight holder for more upright styles (if you want to try some so-called 'modern' calligraphy. 

 

I'm sure the jetpens link above will have some excellent suggestions, otherwise, there are some very inexpensive kits available from most pen stores or art supply houses, which usually include a few nibs so you can see what you get on with. 

 

It's a great way to start.

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A dip pen is called such because you have to dip it into ink in order for it to write. They used to just be called "pens" until fountain pens became more common, then "dip" was added to distinguish them from pens which contained their own ink (which flowed like a "fountain").

 

I also have a few tips for starting out with dip pens on my site. The Steel Pen – Writing, history, and the history of how we write

 

Check out the various posts under "Using Steel Pens." It would also be helpful to check out the basic terminology and anatomy of a pen in my post on the topic. Basic steel pen anatomy. – The Steel Pen

 

Particularly important is the post on Pen prep. Using Steel Pens: Part 5 – Pen Prep and Bits and Pieces – The Steel Pen   If you don't prep your pen, whether modern or vintage, the ink will not stick or not flow properly and you will be frustrated. 

 

I've written a number of posts on FPN explaining things to think about as you try out dip pens. Here's my most comprehensive one. 

 

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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If we're talking dip pens, the titanium Zebra G, IMO. Ease of use is second to none, they're common, affordable, and very forgiving. Everyone can do wonderful things with them, and they can still improve anyone's skills. 

 

For fountain pens, I'd argue the adjustable Wahl nibs. They can have custom tailored flex at the tip of your fingernails, giving them huge versatility. It's a horrid shame they aren't still just being made everywhere (the pilot justus 95 is great and I love mine, but it's a pale shadow by comparison)

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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On 5/6/2021 at 12:14 AM, Honeybadgers said:

the pilot justus 95 is great and I love mine, but it's a pale shadow by comparison

 

^—The Justus is not a flex nib or even a semi-flex nib, despite what YT vids want us to believe. It’s a soft nib with adjustable softness and flow. Using a Justus as a flex pen is likely to spring it.

 

Great suggestions here, thank you! I’m ordering a Brause and a Zebra G Ti straight away.

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Have you looked on eBay? I just looked and saw two available in one purchase, albeit for like $55.99 plus shipping for $4.

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