FP101- Nib Sizes and Grinds

Fountain pens look cool, but what matters most is how they write. The most important factor that affects your writing is the nib, specifically the tip of the nib that touches the paper. Fountain pens nib tips come in different sizes and shapes, so I wanted to cover the basics of fountain pens nib sizes.

In this Nib Sizes and Grinds video, I cover:

Stub, Cursive Italic, Crisp Italic, and Oblique Nib Grinds
There are certainly more nib grinds out there, but these cover about 99% of what’s available from modern pen manufacturers. Custom nib meisters will have more options for making more specialty nibs, but this info should help to get you started enjoying your fountain pen hobby. 
If you have any questions or feedback, I’d love to hear it in the comments below! See the other Fountain Pen 101 videos here.
Write On,
Brian Goulet
2017-10-11T13:45:51+00:00 July 13th, 2012|Fountain Pen 101|21 Comments
  • What ink did you have in that Ahab? That looks really good.

  • It's actually a Konrad (same nib as the Ahab though, so I can see how it would look like an Ahab here). The ink used is Noodler's Apache Sunset, a favorite of mine!

  • ransky

    Brian, thanks! What inks were you using? They look great.

  • snedwos

    Also remember that you can also have round oblique nibs. Good video!

  • snedwos

    On another note, is that a jam-jar shaped ink bottle I see on the desk there? Any new ink brands you want to talk about?

  • Liz I.

    Brian, I'm a fountain pen amateur, but I've accumulated a "few" Lamy pens because they fit my hand and my budget and give me something pleasurable to write with. I've noticed that two pens currently on my studio worktable, a Lamy All Star and a Lamy Safari, write very differently, even though both are medium steel nibs. (The All Star writes broader. And wetter.) Is this just normal variance or ???? The All Star has Noodlers Black and the Safari has Noodlers Lexington Gray.

  • The drawing I did is with Noodler's Liberty's Elysium, I had Noodler's Black in the Monteverde stub, and I used Noodler's Apache Sunset in the flex pen. Wow, I just now realize they're all Noodler's inks, I swear that's a coincidence!

  • Yes, that's a jam jar with ink in it. It is a new ink, but not something I'm ready to talk about yet 🙂

  • Part of it could be the nib, part of it could be the inks. What would be an interesting experiment would be to swap the nibs on your pens and see how they write with the opposite inks 🙂 There is some variation from one nib to the other, keep in mind that though there are machines that do the bulk of the work making nibs, the final grinding/polishing work is usually done by hand.

  • snedwos

    I think I know what it is, but I'll keep quiet, then.

  • 🙂 I should be announcing it soon, you won't have to hold it in for long!

  • Liz I.

    Thanks. I should try that! I also have a Lamy fine point nib lying around that I could swap out on the All Star. (Found out that I really like the medium point better.)

  • I'm a medium fan too! It depends on the paper though, some paper you don't have much of a choice than to go with a finer nib….

  • the obliques are for any kind of writer? is any suitable for a lefty?

  • Generally yes, though I haven't heard from a lot of lefties that use oblique nibs. Usually obliques and italics put down a pretty fair amount of ink which may be a problem for lefties who have a tendency to smear their writing with their hand, so it's going to depend on your individual writing style.

  • I recently got a 1.5mm Kaweco Sport from you and I haven't had much problem using it regularly 🙂 I wish I could try the obliques to know which angle suits me best. Thanks for the info!

  • Yeah, unfortunately, I don't know of many companies that make obliques at all, at least not in any pen less than several hundred dollars.

  • Rachel

    I’m just starting out with my first fountain pen (A Monteverde Artista Crystal) and I noticed that it was extremely expensive and difficult to find a stub / italic nib for this brand of fountain pen. I was wondering if other nib brands would fit into my pen without a problem of staying in and such. (Let’s say a Lamy nib in a Monteverde pen? Would it fit and work well?)

  • Rachel

    I'm just starting out with my first fountain pen (A Monteverde Artista Crystal) and I noticed that it was extremely expensive and difficult to find a stub / italic nib for this brand of fountain pen. I was wondering if other nib brands would fit into my pen without a problem of staying in and such. (Let's say a Lamy nib in a Monteverde pen? Would it fit and work well?)

  • mars

    Hi Brian!
    I’m a returning newbie. Got my first calligraphy kit at 8 years old, and am just discovering the beauty of fountain pens. Have a few questions for you:
    1. What brand is your flex pen?
    2. I notice you haven’t really mentioned any Sheaffer pens in the videos I’ve seen so far. Is that because of quality, or just personal preference towards the Lamy’s and Pilot’s?
    Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge – I’m learning a lot! =)

  • Marilyn

    Hi Brian!
    I'm a returning newbie. Got my first calligraphy kit at 8 years old, and am just discovering the beauty of fountain pens. Have a few questions for you:
    1. What brand is your flex pen?
    2. I notice you haven't really mentioned any Sheaffer pens in the videos I've seen so far. Is that because of quality, or just personal preference towards the Lamy's and Pilot's?
    Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge – I'm learning a lot! =)