What Nib Tipping Sizes Are Usually Available?

What is the difference between hard, soft, and flexible nibs?


Common Tipping Sizes

With some variance among different manufacturers, most fountain pens are made available with a range of different nib sizes - Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, and Extra Broad are most common, with both finer and broader sizes often available as well. And if a manufacturer does not supply their pens with tipping points in the size you prefer, we can usually do a regrind or retip to your specifications.

Stock Exotics

Some manufacturers also make stock nibs available in italic, oblique, or stub. However, these stock nibs tend to be more rounded and provide less line-width variation than customizations to italic, oblique, or stub. On the other hand, due to their width, these stock exotic nibs often provide an excellent starting point for those customizations.

Hard and Soft Nibs

Most contemporary fountain pen nibs are hard, meaning they are designed to be rigid and to provide a consistent line width. Some, such as the Pilot Falcon series nibs or the Soft Fine and Soft Medium nibs created by Nakaya, are designed to be soft, meaning they provide for line width variation depending on the amount of pressure used when you write. Expanding on this, John can provide a customization for added flex to most 14k nibs, whether hard or soft.

Hard Nibs Are Smoother, Soft Nibs Scratchier

It may sound counter-intuitive to those new to the world of quality fountain pens, but rigid hard nibs almost always provide a smoother writing experience on the page than do semi-flexible soft nibs. Hard nibs are designed to slide easily across the page, while soft nibs are deliberately designed to give slightly under pressure, which provides the benefit of added line-width variation but the drawback of a less smooth writing experience. See our page on differences between hard and soft nibs for more details.

Broader Nibs Are Smoother, Finer Nibs Scratchier

In general, the broader the tipping size of a nib, the smoother it will write, and the finer the nib tipping point, the scratchier it will be on the page. With that said, rigid Fine and Extra Fine nibs can often be made to write very smoothly on the page when properly adjusted for ink flow and the end user's preferred writing pressure - see our nib set-up and optimization page for more details.

More Questions About Nib Choices?

Have questions about which stock nibs are available, or which would be right for you? Don't hesitate to contact us at (323) 655-2641 or [email protected] with your questions.

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