Handwriting - Level 4 Price:
This one is no exception. Please note — I am keeping the focus of this article to modern German-made 6 or 5 steel nibs. There are plenty of vintage steel nibs that offer qualities that modern steel nibs do not.
There are also plenty of steel dip nibs that also offer very different qualities. In addition, some Japanese specialty nibs are completely different than what I am presenting within. This article stems from a conversation that happens at least on a weekly basis with my clients.
While discussing a custom order with a client, the client would like to have my opinion as to whether or not they should spend the extra money on a solid gold nib. Since the price of gold has gone crazy in the last good handwriting and how to acquire items years, this becomes a very legitimate issue.
Nib manufacturers and penmakers are having to raise prices significantly on their gold offerings, creating a very large differential between their steel and gold nibbed pens. You will be impressed. The only exception is when a client wants their nib to be more flexible.
The bottom line, which I will add elaborate upon…a quality modern steel nib will offer virtually everything that a modern gold nib can, with the exception of flex to provide line variation.
This may seem like a broad statement, but allow me to elaborate… Steel as a fountain pen nib material seems to have received a bad reputation. Sometimes this is legitimate, and sometimes this is not warranted at all. The reasons that steel as a nib material has received this reputation, in my opinion, stems from a couple of items: Experiences with low-quality steel nibs, and a general belief that a great pen cannot be had with a steel nib.
Before getting into the reasons that steel has received this bad reputation, allow me to state the differences and similarities between steel nibs and solid gold nibs. Besides price, the biggest difference between modern steel nibs and modern gold nibs is flex.
Flex occurs when more downward pressure is added to the nib, causing the tines to spread.
This spreading of the tines will lead to a wider line with more ink onto to the paper. So by pressing a little harder, the line becomes wider, causing variation.
Modern steel nibs are made from stainless steel and are either left as polished steel, or plated in gold, typically. Due to the rigidity of stainless steel, these nibs offer very little or no flexibility and line variation.
Since solid gold is a softer material than stainless steel, the tines can spread much farther than steel, giving more variation in line. Gold nibs can be altered to add even more flex by thinning the underside, along with other methods.
I find that 14k nibs react to this thinning much better than 18k. If you generally write at a fast pace, a flexible nib may be lost on you. Writers that really exploit all of the offerings of a flexible gold nib usually write slowly, deliberately, and will carefully determine when they will push to create the nice line variation, creating a more appealing script.
The pen user needs to evaluate whether or not this added flexibility and line variation is worth the difference in cost. Some people will argue that gold is less susceptible to corrosion than steel, and this is correct, but probably not very relevant to modern nibs.
This was probably much more of an issue with vintage pens. Decades ago, there were two factors relating to this. The steel alloys were not as resistant to corrosion as modern stainless steel, and inks were probably more harsh. Actually, the feed would probably realize a lot more detriment before the nib.NOTE: This Verse by Verse Commentary page is part of an ongoing project to add notes to each verse of the attheheels.comore many verses do not yet have notes, but if the Lord tarries and gives me breath, additions will follow in the future.
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