Esterbrook pens are nice and are built like tanks, holding up well over the years. But what really interests me with Esterbrooks is the variety of nibs.
The 9314B is my latest acquisition and came to me as NOS (New Old Stock) along with an Esterbrook SJ pen. Being a 9xxx series nib it’s part of their “Master Point Series” which are iridium tipped. “Relief” is what Esterbrook called their left-oblique nibs. Richard Binder’s site discusses left-obliques among other nib types. This particular nib is a left-oblique broad stub. Since this is an old nib, even if it is NOS, performance between nibs of the same type may vary widely and your experience may vary.
Printing on the box includes “9314B Relief Broad Stub”, “Master Durachrome Renew-Point”, and “Made in U.S.A. Esterbrook Garden N.J.”
I prefer extra-fine and fine nibs, but a broad nib seems better suited for trying out an oblique nib so I wanted to give it a try. I’ve used Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun and Noodler’s Habanero so far.
It took a little practice to find the sweet spot of the nib. The pen is rotated counter-clockwise about 45 degrees (just a guess) from my normal position (I’m a righty). My grip is the same, I just rotate the pen. It seems like I have to rotate the pen a little more than I’ve seen in some videos, such as this one by John Mottishaw, but it’s where I get the best performance.
I did use the nib briefly with the SJ pen but found that the pen was just a little too small for my tastes. It was a bit difficult to keep the oblique nib aligned properly as I wrote. But that was because the pen was just too small for me, nothing due to the nib itself. It’s perfect in the full size Esterbrook J pen.
The oblique nib provides a little more excitement than a plain old broad nib and it’s nice change from the safety of thin nibs. Although I can’t really use the nib for note taking a work. I typically jot down quick notes and it’s too cumbersome to have to find the right nib position each time I pick up the pen just to write a quick note. It’s not difficult, but the nib isn’t forgiving. Plus, as I reach around a keyboard, books, coffee, etc… on my desk to write notes my writing posture isn’t always conducive to the proper alignment of the this nib.
I did enjoy using the nib for longer writing sessions. My writing needs to be a little bigger with the large nib but it’s not too different than normal. The nib isn’t a gusher, at least not with the inks I used, but it’s wet enough for me and the flow is consistent.
I did have some issues using Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun ink on Maruman Eco Spiral Note paper. At first I thought I was having problem finding the nib’s sweet spot, but it was skipping even when held properly. Switching to Doane Paper without changing my grip resulted in proper flow from the nib. Noodler’s Habanero didn’t have the same problem with the paper and Fuyu-syogun worked well on other slick papers such as Rhodia.
- Some nice line variation although subtle with my normal writing.
- The nib needs to be used properly aligned to its sweet spot.
- Can skip if the nib doesn’t stay properly alight while writing.
- The nib is more finicky on slicker fountain pen friendly papers such as Clairfontaine
Despite being a broad nib, I expect use this nib more than my other broad nibs.