email inbox gets a plethora of interesting pen related questions, and I
spend a good deal of time crafting thoughtful responses to each person
who writes to me. A lot of times, the questions I get are good ones that
I feel are worth sharing with you! I’ll be posting highlights of some
of my more interesting email questions every Mailbox Monday. These are
some emails of mine from the past week or so:

I am in the market for a good flex pen. After trying the various Noodler’s models, I am looking to go with a higher quality option. I have decided to go for the Namiki Falcon. I do have a couple of questions however. I am trying to decide between the soft broad nib and the soft medium one. Watching your initial impression video (featuring the soft medium), I am wondering how the soft broad compares. How much wider is the line? Does it have the same amount of flex? If not, does it have more or less? Any help you can give me would be much appreciated!

I personally have the soft-medium, and it is my favorite. Here is how the three nibs compare:

The broad is quite broad, and will be good if you like to write large. Personally, I find the medium can be flexed to about the same width as the broad, but with a thinner unflexed line. The broad is a bit wetter which is good if you like your inks to be very bold, but the downside to that is there will be much more of a tendency to feather and bleed on cheap paper, and the dry time will be longer.

I do have one more question regarding the Custom 74. Can it take the Con70 converter (purchased separately) or is that the converter that ships with this pen? I understand that the Con70 is the largest convertor that Pilot provides and seeing as I like to write forever, I figure large is the way
to go right from the start.

The Custom 74 actually comes with a Con-70, one of my favorite things about it :) The one that comes with it is silver though, the ones you buy separately are black. They’re the same, though. 

I would like to purchase a TWSBI 540. I usually prefer a western fine nib. If I bought a TWSBI 540 should I go with a medium nib, since Asian nibs are generally finer by one size than our western nibs, or is the TWSBI nib generally true to our western sizes? Many thanks.

Even though the TWSBI pens are made in Taiwan, they actually use German nibs. So they’ll write a lot like other Western pens. You can compare writing samples I’ve done of the 540 to any other pen/nib we carry in the Nib Nook.

I have some ink behind the piston seal of my Lamy Z24 converter. I dont know what to do. Could you tell me how to disassemble it? I watched your vid on it but I needed your advice.

Unfortunately, these converters are not easy to disassemble. The concept is the same for taking these converters apart as any other converter, except that the metal part that holds the back of the converter on doesn’t unscrew…it is friction fit and must slide off. It’s VERY tight though, and hard to do without marring the converter.

What is the actual difference between Lamy’s LH nib and their M nib? Will there be a sample up on Nib Nook anytime soon?

The size is about the same for both, but the LH nib is ground in such a way that it is smoother in a ‘push’ motion, that would help out lefties. I can’t really tell that much of a difference myself since I don’t write left-handed and hardly know what I’m ‘feeling’ when I try to write that way, so I’ll have to see once some true lefties start using these nibs how big of a difference it really makes. We’ll be putting it up in the Nib Nook really soon, but as a spoiler alert, it looks a lot like the medium Lamy nib.

I had a question about the Platinum nibs. I see the Century and ‘vanilla’ 3776 on the page there, and the nibs appear identical (except for the gold) –

Are the nibs identical in size/design? The only difference is the construction material?

The biggest difference between this 3776 and the Black Century is that the Black Century has a gold nib, and the other (much less expensive) 3776 has a steel nib. Aside from that there are some minor aesthetic differences with the center band and trim rings, but another difference you can’t really see is that there is an inner cap seal on the Black Century that works wonders to keep your pen from drying out. Platinum claims more than a year can go by with the Black Century stored inked up and the nib won’t dry out. This is how all of the new 3776’s are going to be coming in the future, and the ‘old’ version will be phased out, eventually.

We all know about Baystate Blue and the controversy that surrounds it. I happen to think it is the best color around and want to consider some others. Do the other “Baystate” colors have the same properties that require caution, or is it just the Blue?

Well, there are only two other Baystate colors, Cape Cod Cranberry and Concord Grape. They are formulated similarly to Baystate Blue, so all typical disclaimers about not mixing them with other inks apply (they can mix with other Baystate’s though). These colors are vibrant, but not as vibrant as Baystate Blue. I think you could probably find inks in other brands that are close enough to Cranberry and Grape to pass, but there just is no substitute for the Blue :)

for taking the time to read my emails! I’d love to hear what you think
in the comments. I’ll be compiling this coming week’s emails into next
week’s Mailbox Monday post!