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Thread: "Springy"?

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Thumbs down "Springy"?

    There's a word popping up to describe nibs in classified advertisements: "Springy." If it has been around for decades, I hadn't noticed, but recently as I was perusing the classifieds in FPN, it struck me how often "springy" appears. My firm nibs' tines spring. After all, that's the way their tines work. So how do I define springy? I don't, other than it's not a nail.

    I submit that "springy" is another of those vague terms that a potential pen buyer had better clarify before sending payment. After all, a seller wouldn't want a buyer to confuse springy with semi-flex, right?

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    Junior Member eachan's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Are soft and springy the same thing? I would use one of those words to describe a nib with tines that bend with only the slightest pressure but doesn't give line variation as the tines don't separate. My Platinum 3776 Soft Fine is a modern example but I often come across such nibs in the Swans I restore.

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    I don’t think it means much at all. I hear 14k Pelikan m800 nibs which i consider firm described as “springy”. I think people have even described Lamy 2000 nibs as springy. I wouldn’t consider those to be anything but firm. Maybe people who say springy use more pressure than i do.

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    Senior Member Pterodactylus's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    In my understanding springy is less than semi-flex.

    To make an example with pens a lot of people know:

    Modern Pelikan M20x Steel nibs I describe as springy.
    They are not complete nails like the Pelikan M60x gold nibs.
    But they have significant less flex than the vintage Pelikan semi-flex nibs of the 50s (as e.g. many 400, 140, 100 nibs)

    They just feel softer than complete nails..... just springy

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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    If it's on the web it must be true.
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    If it's on the web it must be true.
    LOL Indeed that must be the case.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Words don't necessarily mean anything.

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    Senior Member AzJon's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    I agree with Ptero, including the Pelikan comparisons. The M200 steel nibs are springy, M600 nibs are nails. Its less a matter of line variation, though, and more a felt response, imo.

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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    I have no issue with using the term "springy". I use it to describe a firm nib that is not a "nail".

    Example: Sheaffer Triumph nibs are mostly "nails" because the tines are not yielding to any amount of pressure.

    Like this guy:



    You can push this guy as much as you like, all you're going to accomplish is either a dent or a hole on the notepad.

    Some Parker Vacumatic nibs are also nails, but some of them are "springy", which means they will produce a bit of line variation when enough pressure are applied, but it won't be comfortable for prolonged use in this way. As an aside, uncommonly, there are also Parker Vacumatic nibs that are truly semi-flex.

    If we use this definition, it would be hard to confuse a springy nib with a semi-flex (or any other flex), which (depending on the quality) will readily and consistently produce line variations.
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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    ...Some Parker Vacumatic nibs are also nails, but some of them are "springy", which means they will produce a bit of line variation when enough pressure are applied, but it won't be comfortable for prolonged use in this way. As an aside, uncommonly, there are also Parker Vacumatic nibs that are truly semi-flex.

    If we use this definition, it would be hard to confuse a springy nib with a semi-flex (or any other flex), which (depending on the quality) will readily and consistently produce line variations.
    So "springy" is between a nail and semi-flex. That's been called "firm" for as long as I recall, before the new springy was sprung upon us.

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    Senior Member Wile E Coyote's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    ...Some Parker Vacumatic nibs are also nails, but some of them are "springy", which means they will produce a bit of line variation when enough pressure are applied, but it won't be comfortable for prolonged use in this way. As an aside, uncommonly, there are also Parker Vacumatic nibs that are truly semi-flex.

    If we use this definition, it would be hard to confuse a springy nib with a semi-flex (or any other flex), which (depending on the quality) will readily and consistently produce line variations.
    So "springy" is between a nail and semi-flex. That's been called "firm" for as long as I recall, before the new springy was sprung upon us.
    Springy is not flex. Flex implicates that there would be line variation in proportion to force applied. Springy would be a similar feeling to a flexible nib but exhibit no line width variation.

    A nail would be equivalent to a firm nib.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    My own understanding matches penwash's.

    Until we can establish either a system of measurement or system of common reference nibs for each classification, and until such a system is widely adopted, then words describing line variation and deflection will remain fuzzy in the minds of many.

    At one point I did an experiment to measure line width at various pressures (measured with a gram scale) for a variety of nibs. It was interesting.

    "When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science." —Lord Kelvin

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    I don't use a term like that, but I can go along with the differentiation between that and actual flexing. A Platinum 3776 nib, especially the soft versions, has some give to it, in the sense that the nib bends (if you will) upward but the tines don't spread. The effect is like shock absorbers, smoothing out your writing experience and adding a 'comfort', but it does not primarily lend character to your writing through line width variation, as a traditional flex nib would.

    All that said, I don't trust a textual descriptor of a nib at all. Words fail unless the nib is positively, absolutely a 12p nail.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    ...Some Parker Vacumatic nibs are also nails, but some of them are "springy", which means they will produce a bit of line variation when enough pressure are applied, but it won't be comfortable for prolonged use in this way. As an aside, uncommonly, there are also Parker Vacumatic nibs that are truly semi-flex.

    If we use this definition, it would be hard to confuse a springy nib with a semi-flex (or any other flex), which (depending on the quality) will readily and consistently produce line variations.
    So "springy" is between a nail and semi-flex. That's been called "firm" for as long as I recall, before the new springy was sprung upon us.
    Well it is firm, therefore I said it's not flex.

    But you'd agree that there are some nibs that are total nails.
    And there are some that will yield with some pressure but not in the way that a flex nib would.

    I am currently working on an ink-flow starved Sheaffer Imperial whose nib is a firm Broad, but it is not a nail. Therefore I call it Mr. Springer (haha).

    Maybe if you have a very light-handed writing style, the difference between nail and springy do not matter, but I've met and talked to many pen people who like "springy" nibs.
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    Senior Member AzJon's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    All that said, I don't trust a textual descriptor of a nib at all. Words fail unless the nib is positively, absolutely a 12p nail.
    Fact. I recently bought a "Super Flex" that was almost too stiff to be considered semi-flex, imo.

    I also broadly prefer the term "bouncy" to "springy" mostly because of its association to "springing" a nib.

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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    My inclination is that it's between semi-flex and the nail. The Pelikan M200 nibs come to mind. They have a little give. You can feel it when writing more than you can see it in the lines when you write. They don't produce the same line variations as my old Feathertouch #5 nibs do, but they're not as rigid as the Lifetimes (or Pelikan M400s if you're comparing to modern).

    (As an aside, the Feathertouch #5 is one of the most underrated nibs out there, but that's another matter).
    Last edited by Ray-VIgo; September 11th, 2020 at 03:18 PM.

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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    I think of "spring" as a notch below semi-flex.

    On a grade scale..... Nail, firm, spring (or soft), semi-flex, flex, wet noodle (ridiculous and uncontrollable)

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    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by AzJon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    All that said, I don't trust a textual descriptor of a nib at all. Words fail unless the nib is positively, absolutely a 12p nail.
    Fact. I recently bought a "Super Flex" that was almost too stiff to be considered semi-flex, imo.
    Flex sells, so sellers exaggerate. Even the writing samples and photos can be deceiving. There are too many invisible factors that go into it, especially pressure.

    I do trust text on the nib. For example, if a Wahl says “Flexible” i will accept it as having some flex. I will try to ignore whatever claims a seller makes.

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    Senior Member AzJon's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AzJon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    All that said, I don't trust a textual descriptor of a nib at all. Words fail unless the nib is positively, absolutely a 12p nail.
    Fact. I recently bought a "Super Flex" that was almost too stiff to be considered semi-flex, imo.
    Flex sells, so sellers exaggerate. Even the writing samples and photos can be deceiving. There are too many invisible factors that go into it, especially pressure.

    I do trust text on the nib. For example, if a Wahl says “Flexible” i will accept it as having some flex. I will try to ignore whatever claims a seller makes.
    For sure. It was just a shame because this was a seller who I've seen sell a number of pens they have listed as "flex" and have lovely pictures to back the claim. However, once the pen was in my possession, it quickly became apparent that the line variation achieved required significant force on the nib. I was disappointed, to say the least, not only for the pen, but because a seller that I though was good was, in fact, not as genuine as I had assumed.

    No worries though, it was still a good price, so I passed it along, proper flex-grading and all, to a very happy new owner.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Springy"?

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    ...I do trust text on the nib. For example, if a Wahl says “Flexible” i will accept it as having some flex. I will try to ignore whatever claims a seller makes.
    Don't forget "Maniflex." If it was supposed to be a flexible manifold nib, I am confuddled.

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