Spencerian Customization for Fountain Pens

This customer video, featuring our Spencerian customization on a Pilot Falcon Resin, has gone viral and received over fourteen 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. Our optimization allows for a continuous flow when writing with a slow and practiced hand.


2. Pilot Custom 743

Also offering a notched FA nib, the Pilot Custom 743 is slightly larger than the Custom 912 and can also use the high capacity CON-70 converter. As with all the pens suitable for the Spencerian modification, our workshop adjusts ink flow to meet the needs of the customization, and no third-party after-market part is necessary.

3. Pilot Custom 823

Available in both Amber and Smoke versions, the Pilot Custom 823 is a piston-filler pen with a generous ink capacity and is already one of Pilot's most popular offerings with our customers. Normally provided with only limited nib choices, we can equip this pen with the same #15 14k solid gold FA nib as the Custom 743 above, making it equally suitable for our Spencerian customization.

4. 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 Extra Fine 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.

5. 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 a variety of colors in 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 - choose the Extra Fine for Spencerian. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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. The Platinum Medium Soft nib, when available, can also be used for this customization. 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.


Spencerian Customization - Frequently Asked Questions

1. What paper do you recommend for the Spencerian customization?
In general, hard, smooth-surface papers such as those provided by Clarefontaine, Rhodia, and Tomoe River will work best with the Spencerian customization. Avoid delicate and/or fibrous papers which will drag on the nib and even clog the tines with fiber.

2. What's the difference between your Spencerian, Needle & Flex, and Elastic customizations?
Spencerian combines flex with a regrind to needlepoint for the maximum flexibility available on a contemporary nib. Needle & Flex is a similar procedure we provide on other 14k nibs that are not as inherently suitable for the Spencerian customization because of tine length, imprint, or other factors. Elastic is a unique procedure which cuts notches in the side of the nib - we only perform this modification on Nakaya and Platinum Century brand Fine Soft and Medium Soft nibs.

3. I've heard that a straight out of the box FA nib can have a hard time keeping up with the feed on the Custom 912. Is there anything you can do to prevent that?
While any nib and feed can have ink flow issues, our complimentary nib tuning services test and adjust ink flow for your personal preferences. Since the Spencerian modification turns your nib into a specialized tool for creating copperplate calligraphy, in this particular instance we optimize ink flow for the customization itself rather than your personal preferences - our experience is that with careful attention in the workshop the FA nib and Custom 912 feed can provide an excellent ink flow, but results can vary depending on the ink and paper you use and even the climate where you live. We do not recommend the use of third-party after-market parts.