Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Size 10

Most pen companies nowadays barely go beyond the F, M and B triad of nib points in their pen catalogs. The exceptions to this general rule are either variations on those —mostly in the shape of extra fine (EF or XF) or double and triple broad (BB) nibs—, or either non-symmetric points—stub/italic and oblique nibs.

These five exotic nibs by Pilot.

And this scarcity of nibs is a common complaint among pen aficionados. Japanese companies, though, seem to have a wider policy of nib points. Pilot, for instance, manufactures its size 10 nibs in fifteen different points. Ten of them are variations on the F-M-B theme, albeit with the very nice addition of soft, i. e. semi-flexible, variations for F, FM, and M nibs. The remaining five nibs do show some exciting character. In no particular order, they are as follows:

-- Waverly nib (WA). This is a very smooth fine nib. Its geometry allows for a wide variation of writing angles. No line variation can be achieved with this nib. Sheaffer had a similar waverly geometry on its iconic triumph nibs.

All in all, this is a very comfortable F nib.

Size 10 waverly nib.

-- Posting nib (PO). This is a very characteristic one: the nib point is hooked down. It makes this nib very rigid and draws a very thin line. As a result, this point is quite toothy—after all, the contact between nib and paper is very reduced.

In conclusion, a very rigid extra-fine nib.

The posting nib. Very rigid and extra fine.

-- Falcon nib (FA). This is the very flexible version of the size 10 nib. It has the sides cut to allow for the impressive flexibility, at least in contemporary pens. The problem, though, is that the feed does not seem to be up to the challenge of providing all the ink the nib demands. In dipping mode, however, the pen behaves nicely. Its bigger relative, the size 15 falcon nib, does not show these problems.

Therefore, this is a very flexible nib with serious performing problems.

The very problematic falcon nib in size 10.

-- Stub nib (SU). This type of point is relatively common in other manufacturers. It is non-circular: the vertical stroke is wider than the horizontal, thus allowing an obvious line variation. It is fairly smooth and nicely wet.

In summary, a nicely performing stub nib, like some others in the market.

The stub nib on top, and the music nib on bottom.

-- Music nib (MS). Only Japanese pen companies seem to implement their pens with this type of nib. It is a variation on the idea of a stub nib—an additional slit and a third tine make this nib richer in ink flow and thicker in stroke. This Custom 742 with music nib has been reviewed on these chronicles.

As a result, this is nicely looking and original stub nib with a generous ink flow.

Writing samples with the five nibs covered on this chronicle. The squares on the paper are 4x4 mm^2.

Pilot also offers a coarse nib (C) among its more exotic variations, but that is only an extra wide point (BBB) and, therefore, it is not unusual to Western users. All in all, these exotic nibs enlarge the writing experience, and that is what many of us look for in pens.

My thanks to Kinno-san.

(Pilot Custom 742 with several nibs – Diamine Teal)

Bruno Taut
August 15th, 2011
[labels: Pilot, Sheaffer, plumín]

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the graph paper 5mm squares?

Bruno Taut said...

They are 4x4 mm^2.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.

BT

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Your blog is an obligatory read!

Carlo Danao said...

Hello Bruno Taut,

Thank you for posting very informative articles. I am learning a lot and I really enjoy reading them.

I would just like to ask you a few questions regarding some of the #10 Pilot nibs because I am very much interested in purchasing the classy and elegant-looking Pilot Custom Heritage 912.

Is the line width produced by the waverly nib exactly the same as the regular Fine nib? How does the Waverly nib feel when you are already writing with it as opposed/compared to the Fine nib? What are their differences in actual writing? What would be the advantages or disadvantages one nib has over the other? Which would you prefer? Same with PO vs EF.

Would the "Waverly", "PO" nib and "EF" nib be any good for daily writing? And cursive writing at that. I rarely write in print.

Oh and one last question. I don't know if you have any experience with the Pilot Metropolitan/MR/Cocoon with a steel Fine nib but would a #10 Fine be comparable/similar with such a steel F in terms of line width?

Thank you so much and please pardon me for my numerous and silly questions for I am just a fountain pen newbie trying to learn as much as he can.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks for passing by and commenting, Carlos Danao. And excuse my delay in replying.

Your questions are not silly--they are simply personal in their answers. Whether a nib point is suitable for daily writing or not depends mostly on the user and no general answers can be given. Some prefer very rigid nibs, some rather some limited flex... Some like fine points, other broader..

Personally, I enjoy soft points (SF, SFM, SM) by Pilot. The WA (waverly) nib is also very nice and I have used it for daily writing with great pleasure. It is VERY smooth. I have read that the waverly nib was made out of an FM nib, but I cannot confirm that.

Posting nib is very rigid and extremely fine. It is smooth, but cannot be compared to thicker points due to the limited lubrication any fine point can offer. EF is a bit broader, and gives under pressure albeit without proving any significant line variation.

Anyway, all my words might be meaningless. Nothing is better than trying them by yourself.

Thanks for your comment. Cheers,

BT

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