There are a variety of different types of fountain pen nibs options available. What is a fountain pen nib, really? The actual part of the pen used for writing is called the "nib". A fountain pen has an ink reservoir at its tip. Ink flows out from the reservoir into the nib (point) of the pen when pressure is applied to the nib by writing. There are several different kinds of nibs, including italic or stub nibs, calligraphy nibs, left-handed nibs, music nibs, fude nibs, zoom nibs, flexible or smooth nibs, oblique nibs, etc.
There are lots of reasons why people love fountain pens. Many people enjoy the variety of designs and materials that go into making these products. Some people prefer the filling mechanism, and the ability to refill their pens using bottled ink, which makes them more economical and environmentally friendly. But it's probably the nib that's important for most people. It's where the pen touches the paper, so it’s the most important part of the writing or drawing experience for people who write or draw with pens. And fountain pens come in a variety of different types of nibs, so we're going take a closer look at them here.
Nibs come in various shapes and sizes but the most common type has a simple slit cut through its length, which allows the user to draw lines using capillary action. Liquids tend to flow into small spaces. Ink gets itself into the slit and the end of the slit touches paper. Ink is attracted to paper because the tips of the pen form their own tiny gaps, and paper has tiny gaps between the fibers, so the ink sticks to the paper.
Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs | History
The quill replaced reeds across Europe by the early middle ages and remained the main writing instrument of the west for almost a thousand years until the seventeenth century. A quill is made by cutting a nib off the end of a feather taken from a larger bird, such as a duck or goose. Traditionally, feathers were taken from the left wing of these birds.
Quills have the advantage of being more durably made and more flexible than reeds, and they can also hold fountain pen ink in their hollow shafts, which allows them to write for longer periods without needing to be refilled. The quill pen has been used for writing since ancient times, but its popularity began to decline after the introduction of the metal nib. For business purposes, a quill pen has been replaced by ballpoint pens, dip pens, and fountain pens. However, they remain popular for personal use and art.
The Anatomy Of Fountain Pen Nibs | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
One of the most important things when buying a fountain pen is choosing the right fountain pen nib. Fountain pens come in different sizes and shapes, but there is some confusion regarding the difference between nibs and nib sizes.
So this blog post explains the anatomy of the fountain nib and provides the information needed to make an informed decision about these topics. A fountain pen nib has a body, a breather hole, two shoulders, a slit, tines, and a tip. Below we've labeled the different sections and explained their functions.
The Nib Tip | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
The tip of the pen is the part of the nib that touches the paper. It’s where the fountain pen ink lands on the page. Ink travels from the feed to its tip through the slit.
The Nib Slit | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
The slit is the narrow groove where the nib meets the body of the pen. It starts just below the breather hole and extends down to the point of the nib. The slit allows the ink to flow from the cartridge to the tip of the pen via capillary action. Cartridge pen nibs don't have slits. They have grooves instead.
The Nib Breather Hole | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
Its purpose is to let air pass through the pen and replenish the ink inside. The hole also serves another purpose to end the slit. If the breather hole didn’t exist, nibs would break apart during use.
The Nib Tines | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
The tines are where the ink comes out from the pen. Flexible nibs usually have longer and thinner tine than rigid nibs. Stiff nibs usually have shorter and thicker tines than flexible nibs.
The Nib Shoulders | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
The shoulder of the nib provides the tine with the strength and rigidity required for them to function perfectly. The shoulders are located on either side of the tine. They help prevent the tine from breaking off.
The Nib Body | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
The body of the nib is what holds all the parts together. It can be made of plastic, wood, or metal.
That is the anatomy of fountain pen nibs. Now you know how they work and why you should care about them.
Factors When Choosing A Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
Choosing types of fountain pen nibs is not easy because there are many factors to consider. You need to think about what you want your nib to do, how much ink you will use, how often you plan on using it, and whether you want to spend money on a special nib. If you are looking for something inexpensive, then you may want to choose a cheaper type of nib. On the other hand, if you want a high-quality nib, then you should pay more for one. For each part of the nib, refer to the section on nibs anatomy. Consider these factors when choosing a fountain pen nib.
Tip Size | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
The size of the nib refers to its width. The bigger the nib, the wider the line the pen will draw. One of the most important factors when choosing a fountain pen is the size of its nib. Choose a tip size depending on what you're going to be using the pen for as well as its writing style. Smaller tips are great for everyday use and smaller writing. If you want to create line variations when writing, wider tips are better than narrower ones.
Line variation is when some lines are thicker than others, for example, vertical strokes are wider than horizontals. The line variation is most affected by the shape of the pen’s nib. We will discuss this in the next section. There are several common types of fountain pen nibs including an extra fine (EF), fine (F), medium (M), and broad (B). Other sizes include stub, italic, music, and zoom.
Things to consider
Narrower nib pens tend to be less scratchy than broad nib pens. Shorter nibs lay down less ink than longer ones and can be harder to control. Nib width has an effect on how smoothly the pen writes. A wider nib makes for a smoother writing experience.
Tip Shape | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
The shape of the nib will greatly affect the style of writing. If you're looking for tips, you can choose between round or square. Round tip pens can vary in size from one another, with larger tips producing thicker lines. For daily writing, round-shaped nibs are ideal because they're easy to grip and hold onto. They range from extra fine to broad depending on their size.
Square-shaped tips (also known as italics, stubs, or calligraphy nib) are designed to alter the width of lines by changing the angle at which they're drawn. With italic nibs, the outer edges of the individual tines have sharp edges. With a stub nib, the outer edges of each tine have a slightly rounded edge instead. And with this rounded edge, you get a smooth writing experience because the edges don't catch the paper. An italic pen has sharper line edges than a regular one. Nib sizes vary in width as well, typically ranging from 1.1 mm to 1.9 mm.
Another nib tip shape would be an oblique nib. Nibs with round and square shapes have equal lengths of tines. A blunt nib will have its tines cut straight across, making them all the same length.
Things to consider
What is your writing strategy and what is your desired outcome. Do you need a pen for everyday use or would you prefer something a bit fancier?
Nib Material | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
Nib shapes and sizes vary by brand, so they can affect the writing experience, but not nearly as much as the material used for making them. Nibs made from the most commonly used materials today include stainless steel and gold. Stiffer nibs tend to be made from stainless steel rather than gold. Stainless steel nibs aren't necessarily better than gold nibs. Some fountain pens use a special material called “gold tips” which make the writing point that touches the paper become smooth and similar to gold.
Things to consider
Check the cost. Because gold is a precious metal, they're usually more expensive than stainless steel. Colors don't necessarily indicate the material. Some stainless steel pens are gold-colored. Check the label on the pen.
Nib Flexibility | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
One of the last things we need to talk about is nib flexibility. When pressure is applied, this simply means how much the pen bends. A stiff nib will not be able to bend at all with pressure; however, a flexible nib will be able to bend quite easily. Wet noodle pens are very flexible. As the writer presses down on the nib, the tines on the end of the pen separate and create a wider line and more variety. Today fountain pens usually have little or no flexibility and most people don't even know they exist. There are different types of nibs available for fountain pens including soft nibs and flex nibs.
Overall Nib Size | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
The nib size refers specifically to the width of the nib. It doesn't really affect the performance of the pen other than the larger the pen the farther away from the grip to the point where you write. Nibs are sized by number, starting at 3 for the smallest and ending at 15 for the largest.
Nib Swap | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
Some brands may offer their fountain pen nibs individually, so they're able to be swapped out for different sizes and materials. Some people, however, don't let their nibs be sold without the pen they use them with. Other brands offer a free nib exchange within the first 30 days of purchasing one of their fountain pens. When purchasing a pen for the first time, you might be unsure of the size and shape of the nib you'd prefer. You could choose from these options when making your selection.
Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
There are many types of fountain pen nibs available today; each nib type has its own unique characteristics. Some are designed for beginners while others can be used by advanced writers. The type of nib you select depends on the style of writing you want to do. If you want to write in cursive, then you should go for a fine nib with a pen barrel. The pen barrel is made from stainless steel, plastic, or resin material. If you want to draw pictures, then you should go with a broad nib. The following are some of the most common types of fountain pen nib:
Most fountain pens are usually available either in fine or medium points. Most brands of writing instruments share these features. Some fine points are better than others. They don't have to produce a 0.7mm thickness for them to be considered "thin". Most pens are usually between a 0 to 45 millimeter line width, with the Japanese nibs being on the thinner end and the Italian & German nibs being on the wider end. Using a finer nib pen is still better suited for small, more deliberate handwriting styles than larger, less deliberate ones. It’s best suited for general purpose writing but favors those with smaller, neater handwriting. And people who want ink that looks good but doesn't bleed through paper. Those who want a calligraphy style to their handwriting.
Extra Fine is the most popular size for fountain pens. It’s usually used by people who write small and neatly, but not necessarily large amounts. The tip of the pen is so tiny and delicate that it might cause some writers to experience scratching. Because ink tends to be on the thinner side, you won't get nice pools of shading and shine in the ink that is applied to paper. On the other hand, though, less ink on the paper means it dries faster and is less likely to smear.
Best suited for technical, precise, and deliberate writers who want to improve their writing skills. Those who are switching from using 0.3 mm gel pens or needlepoint tips. Not suitable for writers who write quickly and whose handwriting is large. Those people who love seeing the sheens, shadings, and shimmering qualities in some inks.
Most fountain pens use a "medium" point size by default, but some may offer an additional choice of smaller or larger point sizes. It's the middle ground between thin and thick paper. It doesn't give off any more feedback than other methods. Scratchy feeling like the finer sizes will be. With this size, paper quality should be more of an issue because the higher flow of ink onto the page could cause feathering, bleeding through, and show-through. As for the size, there's a difference between western and eastern sizes. For example, a western medium nib is similar to an eastern broad nib. A medium nib pen is best suited for general purposes and signatures. Not suitable for writing on cheap paper, small handwriting.
We're going to dive right into the deep end of things here. Broad nib pens tend to lay down more ink than fine nib pens and will keep up with fast, gestural writing. When using a broader nib, the ink's shading, sheening, and shimmering become more apparent. You need to use special fountain pen-friendly paper for handling the large amounts of ink required by fountain pens. With higher quality paper, longer drying times may be an issue, especially for left-handers. Best suited for quick signatures, letters, and journals. Those writers enjoy the fine qualities that their ink has on paper. Suited for cheap (or recycled) paper; those who like quick drying times; small note-takers.
Stub / Calligraphy Nib
A stub nib has a distinctive shape. Instead of having a rounded ball of tip material to create a monolinear line, the rectangular shape of a stub nib provides a broad vertical stroke and a thin horizontal one The purpose is to give your handwriting a decorative touch. The degree of line variations will depend on how well you polish the edges of the stub.
A highly rounded stub pen might not produce much line variation but will likely be smoother than a sharper nib that creates more dramatic line variation. They can be adjusted and fine-tuned by an experienced tinner. With a broad nib pen, you can expect to get deeper levels of ink on the paper with longer dry times. Suited for aspiring calligraphers who want to add a bit of flair to their everyday writing. People who love seeing the depth and darkness of their ink on paper And those large note-takers, high-quality paper, and those who prefer slower drying times.
Round nibs, otherwise known as regular nibs, are by far the most popular type of fountain pen nib today. They're simple to use. They're perfect for writing at almost any angle. And they're usually made from fairly soft materials so they don't require any pressure when writing. These nibs are easy to use and perhaps some of the best for beginners, but they're also among the most boring nibs out there. As said previously, you essentially get a very wet ballpoint pen. Writing with fountain pens overwrites with ballpoint pens or any other pen for that matter. They're great for everyday use, taking notes, and when you need a lot of writing space.
They come in a wide variety of widths, ranging anywhere from extra fine to extra wide for most good fountain pen brands. Many pen manufacturers only offer this style of nib because they know people love them for their good but not exciting writing characteristics. A round pen won't give you any line variations and will only be able to produce shading with thicker nibs.
The fude nib is a relatively new addition to the world of fountain pens. It was designed specifically for fountain pens. It's a combination of a stub and round nib. The fude nib is a hybrid between a stub and round nib, which means it gives you both the benefits of each. This nib often used for calligraphy and script writing. It produces a nice thick line with little effort. If you're looking for something different, then the fude nib is definitely worth trying.
A left-handed nib is a pen designed for writing. Regularly rounded nibs are similar to left-handed nibs, but they're usually smoother, rounder and ground at an angle instead. This ensures you can write with these pens left-handed, which require the nib to perform when pushed across the paper, rather than being pulled like a right-handed pen.
Nibs are a type of pen tip that provides variations in line quality by providing different angles or amounts of pressure. Examples of calligraphies include cursive italic nib, flex nibs, slant nibs, and stubs. When people talk about calligraphist nibs, they usually refer to the interchangeable nibs of fountain pen nibs, which are flexible nibs that can be dipped into ink for writing. Don't use fountain pens with calligraphic ink because it will damage your nibs.
Italic Nib Or Cursive Nib
An italic nib is a type of pen used for writing. A broad and flat tip has a wide and flat point with a straight edge, which provides the maximum line width variation. It is the most delicate pen type, which makes it especially sensitive to the writing angle when used for calligraphy. A true italic pen will be able to write sideways.
The italic nib is similar to the stub and the oblique nib; they're all members of the broad pen nibs. Italics are very broad, and also very flat. They result in a very sharp edge, which makes them look very different from regular. They are usually hard and scratchy to use. They're fun to write with and offer lots of decorative possibilities, but they require a lot of ink and paper and therefore need a feed that is capable of keeping up with them. They give very high shading because they are made from a wide and flat material.
A flex nib is a type of nib that allows the user to adjust the amount of pressure applied to the paper. The flexibility of the nib means that the writer can vary the amount of pressure applied while still maintaining control over the flow of ink. Flexible nibs are often used for calligraphy, where the writer must apply varying degrees of pressure to create various effects.
This type of nib is ideal for calligraphy ink, as it allows the writer to vary the amount of pressure on the paper without destroying the nib. However, they're not suitable for every kind of writing. If you want to write fast, then a flex nib might not be what you're looking for.
An oblique nib is a pen design for calligraphy. A broad but flat fountain pen tip is called an oblique nib. It is cut at an angle so that it suits the writing angle of the user. Typically, the angle is around fifteen degrees. Thanks to its tip design, it offers line width variation, with an overall wider downstroke and narrower cross stroke. This results in a more even line thickness.
They have a slightly curved shape, making them easier to grip and hold. They're great for calligraphy pens and are perfect for writing with a light hand. Because they're angled, they don't produce much shading, but they do make lines thicker.
Reverse Oblique Nib
A reverse oblique nib is an ink pen used for writing. A reverse oblique nib has been modified so that it works better for a left-handed person. It is a broad pen, cut at an angle so that it suits the writing angle of the user. Normally, the angle is around fifteen degrees. It has a rounded tip shape which makes it easy to control and gives line width variation, with the broadest downstroke and thinnest cross stroke. It's a good choice for calligraphy or lettering. Reverse obliques are great for writing with a light touch. They're also great for people who like to write quickly.
A dip nib is a type of fountain pen nib that has a small hole in the end. The nib is dipped into ink before being placed onto the paper. This method of filling the nib prevents air bubbles from forming inside the nib. Dip pen nibs are generally used for fine handwriting and lettering.
Dip nibs are best suited for short strokes, as they tend to clog easily if used for long periods of time. They're also difficult to clean properly, so they should only be cleaned by soaking them in water for a few minutes.
A pen nib with a very narrow, but thin tip with a straight cut is called an architect nib. It has large line width variations, with a thin downstroke and broad cross stroke designs, making it the opposite of an italic nib. It is not particularly good at curved lines but is better than most other tools.
They're especially useful for creating straight lines and quickly highlighting and shading lines - which makes them ideal for architectural drawings. They're pretty good for drawing lines. With the right ink, they'll provide nice shading too.
A music nib is a pen designed specifically for creating musical notes. A nib may have three points, but not necessarily. The extra channel (between the tines) provides an additional ink flow, making the pen a wet nib. It has a lot of lines, so you can easily write notes on them. It has a broad downstroke and a thin cross stroke. The writing results look similar to that of a stub nib pen, with the music nib having thinner tines and feeling slightly wetter. Because they're so wet, the drying times for these pens are long and you'll need really good quality fountain pen paper.
Needlepoint nib pens have small and thin tips that will write just like a needle. The cheap paper doesn't perform well. To use a needlepoint, choose a smooth, thick paper, which is satin paper at 90 gsm. The writing result is similar to a fine-liner. They give no line variation at all, so they're often too thin and stiff for most people.
They're very scratchy, so they provide lots of feedback. If you're just starting out, recommend buying a regular Fine or Extra fine nib pen first, because they're easier to use and won't cause as much discomfort as the needlepoint. Needlepoint pens and extra fine nibs are ideal for people with very small writing styles and a delicate touch. Those who like to write faster and bigger should consider getting something larger, wetter, and easier to hold.
A gold nib usually made from 14K gold because softer metals would be too soft for writing. Steel nibs are harder and have a more rigid feel to them than gold nibs. They're not as stiff and usually allow for some flexibility, so they tend to give a bit of a line variation. However, don't expect huge differences between regular and flex nibs, since they're not intended to be flex nibs in the first place. You should always check the authenticity of any gold nib before buying them. Look for the 14K or the 14C stamp on the end of the nib. If it doesn't contain gold, it probably isn't worth anything.
Many manufacturers offer gold-plated nib tips for a more premium look. With gold-plating, there is a regular stainless steel nib underneath, so they're mainly decorative things and don't affect the writing experience at all. Some nibs are said to contain iridium, which is an extremely hard metallic element that is used to protect fountain pen nib tips from wear and corrosion.
The pointed nib has a flexible tip and comes to a sharp end rather than a blunt one. Using thick and thin lines is achieved by varying the amount you press down on the pen. On down strokes, thick lines are created when the nib pushes down on the paper, causing the nib tine to spread out and allow more ink to flow through a widened slit into the paper. Thinner lines produce lighter pressure, which creates fewer flexing of the tine tips. The finest hairline lines are created by using both upstrokes and downstrokes. Because of the shape of the pointed tip, thick lines can only come out when you're writing on an upstroke. Too much pressure may cause the nibs to dig into the paper when writing.
Pointed nibs originated in the 17th century and were initially created by hand from quills in a similar fashion to broad-edge nibs. Toward the end of the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century, high demand for nib pens coupled with steel manufacturing processes eventually led to the mass production of steel nibs. Writing with pointed nibs also led to new styles of handwriting such as the English round hand and copperplate scripts during the 17 th and 18 th centuries, as well as Spencerian script in the nineteenth century. Sketching, drafting, and technical drawing require pointed pens. You don't need to buy special pens just so you can draw with them. Any pointed nib used to draw.
Nibs have their origins as early as ancient Egypt when they made from metals like copper and bronze On the other hand, the quality of writing achievable using these pens was inferior to the quality of writing achievable with reed pens. Metal nib pens were made in the late 1700s by two British men named William Wise and Peregrine Williamson. These pens had a steel nib covered in brass. Attached to a long wooden shaft called a ferrule. This design allowed the user to change the nib easily without having to remove the entire pen body. In addition, the ferrule prevented the nib from bending.
In the mid-1800s, the nib became a separate piece of metal instead attached to the ferrule. This design gave the pen better flexibility and increased its durability. It also allowed the nib to be changed if it broke or wore out. By this time, the nib was usually silver or brass. This is best to write with because it doesn’t scratch the paper. However, it does not hold up well over time. Silver is very soft and will tarnish quickly. Brass is harder than silver, but it scratches easily. If you want to use a metal nib, choose one that is stainless steel. Stainless steel is hard enough to resist scratching while remaining flexible enough to write smoothly.
Care And Maintenance | Types Of Fountain Pen Nibs
With maintenance, there aren't really any things you need to worry about when using a fountain pen nib. If the pen isn't dropped, or if it's not used too heavy-handed, then the nib would be fairly resilient. Metal is usually strong enough to withstand most accidents, so it's unlikely to be the weakest part.
Only inks containing iron gall ink may pose some risks to a nib. Iron gall inks are quite acidic, and they will react slightly with steel. You can use them safely with any type of pen, including modern steel nib pens. With these inks, there is a greater chance of clogging up the ink flow, so the nib is less likely to be the first thing to be damaged.
Some people believe that a nib adjusts itself to fit its owner's taste; however, this isn't true anymore. It seems like it makes no sense for a fountain pen to adjust to your writing over a longer period of time but then adjust to the person who uses it after just a short time. A nib is adjusted by filing it down slightly so that it doesn't wear out quite as quickly. However, this adjustment usually occurs slowly over time and takes many years to happen.
The fountain pen nib, which is the core component of the pen, and which requires the most attention and maintenance, ensures the longevity and reliability of the pen for years to come. Below we've provided some useful tips for keeping your nibs in good shape.
Store Your Nib Well
If you're not using your pen right now, don't leave it lying around in an open container. Clean its nib first. The acids in the inks combined with the oxygen start oxidation which corrodes your pen tip.
A nib grinder is a tool that allows you to sharpen your nibs. There are two main types: manual and electric. Manual nib grinders are more popular because they allow you to control the amount of pressure applied to the nib while grinding. Electric nib grinders provide a consistent and uniform grind. Both types of nib grinders are available at most retailers.
Keep The Cap On When Not Writing
It may be obvious, but keep the cap on when the pen isn't in use so it won't get damaged by bumps, drops, etc.
To keep your nib section clean, rinse it with cold water until the water runs completely clear. This helps remove any blockage and old ink. It also gives you an opportunity for a change in color.
Clean Between Refills
It doesn't matter whether you use different colors for refills, but you should clean out the nibs between each one. It's a good habit to get into that dramatically increases the life span of your pen.
Blow Out The Residue
Blow gently into the nib assembly after each cleaning to remove any residual trapped moisture.
Nibs are most important for every fountain pen. Here we've listed some of the most important things to think about when buying a nib for your fountain pen. Fountain pen nibs come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, materials, and designs. However, there are some things that affect their performance most significantly. If you're looking for a fountain pen nib, hopefully, this fountain pen nib infographic helps you choose the best one. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We’ll be happy to assist you in making the right decision.
What Types of nib is Available?
the shape of the tip nib size flexibility or stiffness width of the nib the material of the nib Most nib types come in different materials and sizes, so those two features are less important in order to recognize different nib types.
What types of nib are used in fountain pens?
Most fountain pens nowadays use regular nibs.
What are the different types of nib?
In my mind, there are three main categories of nib types: regular nibs specialty nibs calligraphy nibs Each nib falls in one of those categories.
What are the characteristics of a nib?
Determined by a nib's most important features.
What the different materials used for fountain pen nibs?
The three main materials used for fountain pen nibs are steel, gold, and iridium.
What are the benefits of line variation ink?
line variation shading ink usage smoothness speed of writing
What is a good writing nib?
Tip shape: round Line variation: none Shading: only with broader nibs Ink usage: moderate Smoothness: very smooth Speed of writing: fast Round nibs, or regular nibs, are the most common nibs nowadays. They usually made from stainless steel.
What is a bad writing nib?
Line variation: too much Shading: too little Ink usage: too much Smoothness: not smooth enough Speed of writing: too slow A wide variety of nibs exist, including those designed specifically for calligraphy. These nibs tend to be narrower than standard ones.
How do I know which nib is suitable for me?
You can find a list of nibs on our website. You will see the available nibs that suit you.
How long does a fountain pen last?
A fountain pen lasts as long as you take care of it.
How often should I replace a fountain pen nib?
If you want to write with a fountain pen, then you need to change its nib at least once per year.