Last Week’s Ink: The Nibs

No new carries this week. The Esterbrooks from last week will be around for another week. Since all were new nibs for me I figured I’d recap my initial impressions. These pens will stay my daily carry throughout the coming week.

These are all vintage pens and nibs, so there’s likely to be variations even among the name nib types, so these can’t really be considered reviews,  just my experience.

Click on any of the pictures to get a higher resolution image of the nib. All pictures are straight from my Penvelope 6 case and the nibs reflect any ink spattering or creep that has occurred.

Esterbrook J with nib #2668

Esterbrook J with nib #2668

Esterbrook #2668 nib

Esterbrook #2668 nib

Even though the #2668 nib is listed as a “firm medium” and I prefer fine nibs, it looked looked to be on the thin side of medium. so I figured this would be my daily writer and I filled it with Montblanc Bordeaux, my favorite ink.

I liked the nib. It was a smooth writer without any skipping or hard starts. Unlike some of the other nibs it wrote immediately whenever I pulled it from the case. The longest it went unused was about 2 days.

The line put down is on the thin side of a medium, very nice, but nothing spectacular. This will make a good daily writer which is how I used it the past week. I used it to take work and meeting notes.

Esterbrook J with #2442

Esterbrook J with #2442

Esterbrook #2442 nib

Esterbrook #2442 nib

The Esterbrook #2442 nib is listed as a Falcon stub and I didn’t know what that meant. I’ve also seen it listed as being used for backhanded writing. When I looked that up it seemed to refer to a grip used by lefties. I’ve also seen this described as a firm smooth nib that was popular with executives. No offense to lefties, but it doesn’t seem like a nib for lefties would have been popular with execs sixty years ago. So I was confused and anxious to give this nib a try. I filled it with another favorite but discontinued ink –  Montblanc Racing Green.

The nib seemed OK at first, then I started having problems, mainly skipping but with the occasional hard start. With some experimentation I found the angle of the nib affected performance. It performs better at a lower angle. I’m not a lefty, but the flow was good when I wrote with my left hand, of course my writing was terrible. It also wrote well when I used an overhand grip with my right hand above the pen, similar to the way some lefties write to avoid smudging ink.

As you can see from the pictures there’s ink all over the nib. It was carried with my other Esterbrooks and this is by far the worst. They all travel in my Penvelope 6 case but do bounce around in my computer bag as I travel.

One useless fact is that the nib is knife sharp. I accidentally stabbed myself through the fingernail with it but the nib seems no worse for wear. Short story – I reached for stuff sliding off a table with the pen in one hand and it found the fingernail on the other hand. That was after all my experimentation so it didn’t affect my experience.

Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with Nib #1554

Esterbrook Dollar Bandless with Nib #1554

Esterbrook #1544 nib

Esterbrook #1544 nib

I put the #1554 nib in my Esterbrook Dollar Pen. It’s listed as a firm fine nib used for clerical and shorthand writing. I expected to like this pen and picked R & K Sepia. A newer ink for me but one I’ve liked in testing.

This was my most problematic nib. The nib was dry after being unused overnight and it took some coaxing to get going the first time I pulled it out each day, even if it was first thing in the morning.

The nib was also rough and caught on and dug into the paper while writing, even smooth paper like Rhodia. Rhodia was better but that was relative, it was still a rough writer.

Not a pleasant nib to write with.

Esterbrook J with nib #9128

Esterbrook J with nib #9128

When I pulled this pen out to use the #9128 nib the first time at work there was ink all around the cap threads. I figured it was leaking but when I got home and took a good look I saw it was a blue-black ink, not the light green that I filled it with. This is the pen that had all that old ink in the cap. The pen was ink free when I did the initial writing samples a couple hours after inking it. So I took the pen apart thinking there might be ink in the body. But it seemed ink free. So I’ll give the pen another thorough cleaning and try again.

Because of this I haven’t used the nib.

Esterbrook J with nib #9048

Esterbrook J with nib #9048

Esterbrook #9048 nib

Esterbrook #9048 nib

The Esterbrook #9048 nib is an extra flexible fine nib which I’ve seen described as for shaded writing, I’m not experienced with flex nibs so flex nibs are lost on me. Still, it’s a fine nib so I wanted to give it a try. I picked Noodler’s Apache Sunset for this nib since even I can get some shading from this ink.

There is some flex to the nib, even though it’s a steel nib and I did get some line variation. I won’t go as far as to say there was any shading to speak of. The nib also seems suited for general writing. I didn’t have any flow problems with general writing.

With flex I did have some railroading and some inconsistent ink flow. But this is from an inexperienced flex writer so it could be me.

Esterbrook J with nib #2048

Esterbrook J with nib #2048

Esterbrook #2048 nib

Esterbrook #2048 nib

The Esterbrook #2048 nib is referred to as a Flexible Extra Fine Falcon and a Flexible Fine (shaded). It’s a thin nib so I’d put it in the extra fine category. After the experience with my other Falcom nib (#2442) I expended some discomfort using this nib, I was wrong.

I picked Diamine Oxblood ink for this nib since I like it in my thin nibs. I don’t see shading in this ink with my thin nibs and didn’t see any here. I did get some line variation when I varied the pressure but it wasn’t really noticeable since the nib is so thin.

This nib was a joy to write with. My favorite of the batch. It seems to glide along the paper and it’s not a nail. It helped that I really like Diamine Oxblood as I’m partial to burgundy inks.

Esterbrook SJ with nib #2314F

Esterbrook SJ with nib #2314F

Esterbrook #2314-F nib

Esterbrook #2314-F nib

The Esterbrook #2134-F nib is another one I was looking forward to using. It’s a fine oblique nib also called a fine stub.

The nib took a little practice. It provides the best shading when I hold the pen normally but rotate the pen counter-clockwise about 15 degrees so the nib is at an angle to the paper.

I used Iroshizuku Fuyo-syogun (gray) ink. Despite the thin line there’s some nice shading from light to dark gray, This is another nib that performed well without any skipping once I rotated the nib,

I’m beginning to enjoy stub nibs the more I used them and I think this is one I’ll grow to like more over time.

It’s been an enjoyable week getting to know these Esterbrook nibs. It’s the many nib selections that piqued my interest in Esterbrooks and it’s been fun exploring them.

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