I’ve been accumulating Esterbrook nibs since discovering them early last year. There’s some I’ve never used and I want to remedy that this year. After spending some time debating which nib to use I decided to just start with the lowest number and work my way up. So I’ll begin with the Esterbrook #1314 Flexible Stub.
The Esterbrook #1314 is one of the least common nibs making it it the second most expensive Esterbrook nib. Since it had the word “flexible” in the name, and flex nibs are lost on me I wasn’t actively looking for one. When browsing eBay I cam across a lot of nibs, which included two 1314s and a couple other nibs I didn’t have. I ended up winning the auction for less than $6 per nib. This also gave me a chance to compare two similar nibs – did age affect them differently?
The 1314 is a “Dura-Crome” nib which means the steel was rolled over to form the nib and there’s no tipping material. Esterbrook stubs are also what’s referred to as left-oblique or left-footed oblique nibs. I’ve seen this nib described as being for “social use and manuscript writing“.
For swappable nibs, and because I can have multiple nibs with the same grind I use my own inventory numbers. In the this article along with the writing samples and pictures you’ll see the number E005 and E006 referenced. This is just my assigned number to keep them straight and doesn’t mean anything beyond that.
To my untrained eye the nibs look nearly alike. The E006 nib seems a little rougher on the bottom of the nib where the steel is rolled over. This might be the roughness I’m having with the nib since holding it at a higher angle results in it being smoother.
Flex writing is a skill I don’t have, even in a small dose so I’m not a good tester of flex. But this is a steel nib and while pressing down does spread the tines and vary line width it takes a lot of pressure. I would get fatigued pretty quickly. The rougher E006 nib also catches more on the paper when I apply pressure to flex.
The E005 nib came with the box and if I remember right was billed as “NOS” and it looks like it it could be. The other nib also appears in good condition without any staining but looks a little more worn on the threads,
Using the same ink in both pens would have provided a good comparison, but would have been boring. So I picked two different Iroshizuku inks.
The E005 nib was pretty forgiving when used on courser paper, including some cotton fiber paper. At least when used as a standard stub, not attempting any flex. This nib was fun to use as a plain old stub, without trying any flex writing. It’s a wider nib that I’m used to so it’s not something I’d use for something like note taking at work or other places where I usually write fast and small. I can see myself using it with a brighter ink, such as the Yu-yake for more casual writing.
The E006 nib was more problematic on rougher paper and I didn’t even attempt trying it on the cotton fiber paper. If this specific nib was my only copy I probably wouldn’t use it that mush. Only when I was using a nice smooth paper and when I was willing to write slower. That smooth paper and slow writing wouldn’t be for flex, it would be to avoid biting into the paper when used as a regular stub. I typically use a light touch but this nib likes and even lighter touch than is typical for me.
It’s not that the E006 nib was terrible. If it’s all I had I might blame my inexperience and write slower, since slower writing tends to keep me more focused and concentrating on using the nib consistently. But it’s also more fatiguing. Having the better performing nib let’s me know it’s not me, it’s the nib,
Double-click to get full size photo. Paper is a Maruman Septcouleur wire bound notebook which is a smooth paper.
Photos are with the pen inked up.