Ask John #2
Have a question for John regarding pens and nibs? Send in your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org!
1. You created a great Crisp Italic nib for my Caran ‘d Arche Ivanhoe pen. I ❤️ it. Would a stub nib be suitable for me? I have your Nakaya desk pen too. Also, what pen under $200.00 do you suggest?
Absolutely, a stub might be your next nib customization. The difference would be that the stub will not show as much line-width variation - that is the difference between the broadest down-stroke and the finest cross-stroke. The results also depend on the size of the tip that you start with - the average size after customization will be finer, as in the case of your Ivanhoe pen, than the original stock tip. That said, the stub will probably feel smoother than your crisp italic, as it will have more contact surface area with the paper - a customization to stub will always be more user-friendly than the crisp formal italic you already have.
My favorite pens under $200 are:
I have placed a link here to new fountain pens under $200 which you can click on for a complete list. Frankly we do not sell any pens that I do not like.
2. What is the best ink for my Pelikan Souveran? Does it really make any difference, and if so, why?
- J Chavey
Hello J Chavey,
This is a great question, and there are almost as many opinions on this topic as there are inks — or writers. See our article on which inks to use with your pen for more information. I recommend sticking with inks formulated by pen manufacturers as they have a stake in keeping their pens working well. Even among those, there are a few cautions. If you use a pigmented ink, for instance, such as Platinum Carbon Black or Sailor Kiwa-Guro, be sure to flush the pen out with fresh water more frequently, and do not allow that ink to be left behind for months in the back of your drawer (in this case we might have to disassemble the nib and feed in order to clean it for you).
Your Pelikan has one of the best piston filling systems made. It can stand a lot of abuse, but flush it out if you plan to leave it unused for more than a month or two. Inks in so many colors offer so much variety and pleasure. Experiment and enjoy!
3. So, in one of your answers you say "We can make nibs more flexible . . ." Does that mean that I, myself, could make a nib more flexible? If so, how? Or did you mean that manufacturers can make nibs more flexible?
Thanks for this question as this is a good place for clarification - adding flexibility to a nib is one of the trickiest customizations I perform, and it’s definitely not something that can be done without proper and extensive training. Some nibs, such as the Pilot 912 FA, Pilot Falcon, and Nakaya Fine Soft (available on any Nakaya pen) are already somewhat flexible, but I am not aware of any manufacturers who offer making their stock rigid nibs more flexible on a custom basis. What they make is what you get from them.
Nibs that are already semi-soft make the best candidates for adding additional flex. By and large, 14K nibs are better candidates for additional flex than 18K or 21K nibs. See our article on the best nibs for flex for more information.