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Thread: Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

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    Default Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

    I've always used medium nibs, because all the fine nibs that came with the cheap pens I've bought were seriously "draggy", especially on upward strokes. That's made me reluctant to shell out $25 for a name brand, fine nib.

    I love the glass smooth feel on a quality medium or broad nib, but on occasion, I'd like a finer line. It's a hobby, after all. Is there such thing as a glassy smooth, low drag fine nib, or is high friction just a trait of such nibs?

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    Senior Member fountainpenkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

    It somewhat depends on the sorts of strokes you're making--very large, fast strokes with something in the EF or F range are impossible to make 'glassy smooth', but high friction under normal writing conditions (i.e characters mostly fitting within 5-6mm ruling) is, luckily, not just the nature of the beast. The flow adjustment and tuning has to be right--perhaps try buying a vintage American pen with this nib grade (there are plenty of 'em, especially Parkers and Sheaffers) from a very reputable seller (e.g Ron Zorn of Main Street Pens, David Nishimura of Vintagepens.com etc.).
    From my limited experience with TWSBI, which is so often recommended, you're not all that likely to find the level of smoothness you're looking for.

    Another thing you could do: get some basic nib tuning equipment—the superfine grit sandpaper, the brass shim, a loupe—and play with those cheap fine nibs you have. There are many good resources online now to serve as guides!
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; August 2nd, 2021 at 07:36 AM.
    Will
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    Default Re: Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    It somewhat depends on the sorts of strokes you're making--very large, fast strokes with something in the EF or F range are impossible to make 'glassy smooth', but high friction under normal writing conditions (i.e characters mostly fitting within 5-6mm ruling) is, luckily, not just the nature of the beast. The flow adjustment and tuning has to be right--perhaps try buying a vintage American pen with this nib grade (there are plenty of 'em, especially Parkers and Sheaffers) from a very reputable seller (e.g Ron Zorn of Main Street Pens, David Nishimura of Vintagepens.com etc.).
    From my limited experience with TWSBI, which is so often recommended, you're not all that likely to find the level of smoothness you're looking for.
    I was thinking more along the lines of a fine #6 Edison or Franklin-Christoph nib, compared to the fine nibs that come with those cheap Chinese pens. Some of the Chinese medium nibs are okay - others are not. They aren't consistent. The Edison medium nibs I've used are super smooth. I can't buy expensive pens, so I tend to buy things like Jinhao pens, and fit them with decent nibs. I do know how to align and tune my own nibs.

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

    I’m a big nib guy — stubs and BBs please — but there are some xf nibs that even i want to write with. I’ve found a few of those great xf nibs on old Sheaffers and Montblancs. Vintage MBs aren’t cheap, so….

    I suggest a non-OS vintage Sheaffer. Forget the collector’s item pens like the oversize numbers or the ones in fancy/rare colors or patterns. It doesn’t need to be a white dot model, either. A humble Craftsman in a plain color will have an excellent nib. Find an XF or F — easy — and go to town.

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    Senior Member fountainpenkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyCyclePilot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    It somewhat depends on the sorts of strokes you're making--very large, fast strokes with something in the EF or F range are impossible to make 'glassy smooth', but high friction under normal writing conditions (i.e characters mostly fitting within 5-6mm ruling) is, luckily, not just the nature of the beast. The flow adjustment and tuning has to be right--perhaps try buying a vintage American pen with this nib grade (there are plenty of 'em, especially Parkers and Sheaffers) from a very reputable seller (e.g Ron Zorn of Main Street Pens, David Nishimura of Vintagepens.com etc.).
    From my limited experience with TWSBI, which is so often recommended, you're not all that likely to find the level of smoothness you're looking for.
    I was thinking more along the lines of a fine #6 Edison or Franklin-Christoph nib, compared to the fine nibs that come with those cheap Chinese pens. Some of the Chinese medium nibs are okay - others are not. They aren't consistent. The Edison medium nibs I've used are super smooth. I can't buy expensive pens, so I tend to buy things like Jinhao pens, and fit them with decent nibs. I do know how to align and tune my own nibs.
    Both Edison and FC have a great reputation for regular and specialty nibs so that sounds like a good way to start. My own experience with an FC with a Masuyama stub was excellent in the nib department.
    Will
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    Senior Member silverlifter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyCyclePilot View Post
    Is there such thing as a glassy smooth, low drag fine nib, or is high friction just a trait of such nibs?
    It really depends. Generally speaking, yes, there are smooth fine and extra fine nibs. But your script, ink, and paper can all impact on the "feel" of the nib. Even broad nibs can feel draggy with dry inks on some coated papers.

    I have an extra fine nib in a Montblanc 34 and it is one of the smoothest nibs I own. Both Franklin Christoph fines I own (a SIG and a CI) are also extremely smooth. FC nibs are very dependable, I'd recommend them for your first foray into smaller points as they have a 30 day swap program
    Last edited by silverlifter; August 2nd, 2021 at 11:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

    Pilot Metropolitan is a great budget choice for Japanese fine (finer than Western) which is dependably smooth out of the box. If you prefer a hint of feedback and yielding, Platinum Century 3776 or Pilot Vanishing Point are also options. If you prefer very firm and smooth, Sailor is an option.

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fine and Extra Fine Nib Smoothness

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguarish View Post
    Pilot Metropolitan is a great budget choice for Japanese fine (finer than Western) which is dependably smooth out of the box.
    Mine wasn’t very smooth.

    I’m my experience, Pilot nibs have required some sort of adjustment for flow or alignment or more finishing as often as any other pens.

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