Spencerian Customization for Fountain Pens

This customer video, featuring the Mottishaw Spencerian customization on a Pilot Falcon Resin, has gone viral and received over six million views! The Spencerian modification adds flex to an already semi-soft nib and grinds the nib tip to needlepoint. But the Falcon Resin is not the only or even the best pen for this customization - below are our choices for the Spencerian modification, ranked in order of suitability...

1. Pilot Custom 912


Another offering from Pilot, the Custom 912 can be made available with the notched FA nib, seen at left. The FA provides the most flexibility of any contemporary solid gold nib, and serves as an even better starting point for the Spencerian modification than the original Falcon Resin Soft Fine. The Custom 912 can also use the high capacity CON-70 converter, which nearly doubles the ink capacity of this pen compared to the original Pilot Falcon. If you are serious about having a fountain pen modified for Spencerian calligraphy, the Custom 912 is the clear best choice.

 

2. Pilot Metal Falcon

 The Pilot Metal Falcon uses the same nib as the original Falcon Resin and is available in four colors - BlackBrownBurgundy, and Sapphire. A weightier pen than the Resin, the Metal Falcon, like the Custom 912, also has the added advantage of utilizing Pilot's high-capacity CON-70 converters. The Metal Falcon's rhodium-plated solid gold nibs have exactly the same writing qualities as the original yellow gold Falcon nibs, and they are equally suited to the Spencerian modification.

3. Pilot Falcon Resin

The Falcon Resin with Spencerian modification is the pen that appears in the video, and besides the original Black with gold trim, versions in Black with rhodium trim and Red with rhodium trim have also been introduced. Pilot-Namiki has changed branding so that the pen is now known as the Pilot rather than Namiki Falcon Resin, but there have been no changes in the writing qualities of the pen or nib itself. With or without Spencerian customization, these dependable and highly affordable writing instruments can serve as an excellent introduction to the world of quality fountain pens.

4. Nakaya Pens

Any Nakaya brand pen, such as the Naka-ai Writer Ama-iro seen above, can be fitted with a Fine Soft nib which can then be given the Spencerian modification. Although the Nakaya nib is somewhat less well-suited to the Spencerian modification than the Pilot nibs indicated above, Nakaya's hand-crafted Urushi pens offer a writing experience like no other.

5. Platinum Century Pens

The parent company to artisanal offshoot Nakaya, Platinum Pens offers a Fine Soft nib on its flagship Century series pens which, like the Nakaya Fine Soft, is very well-suited to the Spencerian modification. Platinum's pens offer excellent value, and make an excellent choice for those on a budget wanting to try the Spencerian modification on pens other than the Pilot Falcon series.

6. Eboya Large Pens

Any Large size Eboya fountain pen, such as the Kyouka Large Tanshin Red and Eboya Ricchiku Large Ricchiku Kaze seen here, can be fitted with a 14k solid gold Fine nib which can be given the Spencerian modification. While this nib as not as innately well-suited for the Spencerian modification as the Pilot and Omas nibs referenced above, Eboya's hand-crafted ebonite pens offer distinctive designs and a superb writing experience. Please note that the nibs for Eboya Medium and Small size pens are not as suitable for the Spencerian modification and are subject to the caveats immediately below.

Other Pens with 14k Nibs - the Needle and Flex Customization

While many other pens we carry, including some offerings from Aurora, Bexley, Pelikan, Platinum, and Sailor, are sold with 14k nibs which can then be ground to needlepoint and given some added flex, these nibs are less inherently suitable for this combination of modifications and do not result in a true Spencerian customization. Size and rigidity of the original nib and the deepness of inscriptions in the nib face are among the factors affecting the suitability of any given nib for the Spencerian customization.

While we will regrind to needlepoint and add flex to the extent possible on such a nib when requested, please note that this Needle and Flex customization is an approximation rather than the true Spencerian modification. Please note as well that the Spencerian cannot be performed at all on any pen with an 18k, 21k, or steel nib.

Using the Spencerian Customization

Please note that the Spencerian modification is a highly specialized customization used for writing Spencerian copperplate script--significant skill and practice is required, and this will not be a customization that is suitable for most everyday usage.

For those skilled in the use of flexible nibs, a nib modified to the Spencerian customization can produce remarkable line width variation. At the lightest touch, the nib can produce a 0.1mm line. The thickest 1.0mm line can be produced using about 8 ounces of hand pressure at an angle approximately 30 degrees off the paper. At a low angle, the feed will hit the paper, or "bottom out," preventing the writer from damaging the nib by applying too much pressure. At a higher angle, it is possible to bend the nib too far and damage it in the process.

For those wishing to learn copperplate calligraphy, we recommend the book below...

Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy

This step by step manual by noted calligrapher Eleanor Winters provides a clear and engaging introduction to mastering the art of this calligraphic technique. Along with a fascinating history of copperplate, the book provides a stroke-by-stroke demonstration of each letter, mark, and number, along with sections on color, retouching, and suggested papers. Generous practice pages and ample instructions add to the book's appeal - this volume is a perfect complement to your Spencerian-modified Nakaya or Pilot-Namiki pen.