FP Nib Info
Franklin-Christoph features fountain pen specialty nibs, customized by the Japanese nib master Yukio Nagahara, along with S.I.G. nibs ground in house, and a host of various factory formed nibs. Our High Performance Steel (HPS) and 14K specialty nibs include many choices achieve exquisite distinction in performance for your handwriting style. All pens that we ship have been tuned and tested, and sometimes ink tested, so you may at times find traces of ink residue or more likely a little remaining water within the nib and feed.
Smaller F-C pens use the #5 size nibs, while larger pens use the #6 size nibs. The nib units (nib, feed, and housing) unscrew and are interchangeable between pens - #5s with other #5 pens, and #6s with other #6 pens.
- Classic Italic nibs consist of a flat tip with flattened bottom iridium. Italics are typically used more for slow calligraphic writing, with stark edges for broad down strokes and very thin side strokes. These Italic nibs are sometimes called "Sharp Italic" are best suited for calligraphers, or the otherwise trained hand, unless made as "cursive" - see below.
Franklin-Christoph Italic nibs are customized on the smoother cursive side as described below.
- Cursive Italic nibs - you might hear the word "cursive" used when describing a kind of italic nib. This is usually where the nib master smooths the contact line of the nib and the corners so that what is contacting the paper is a little smoother and more forgiving for normal cursive writing. The bottom of the iridium is still sharper than a stub, however, making the portion of the tip that is in contact with the paper thinner than a stub. These nibs usually offer mild feedback. Our Fine C. Italics are round to approximately .55mm. Medium C. Italics are ground to approx. .7mm. Broad Cursive Italic nibs are ground to approx. .9mm. Mr. Nagahara only grinds the cursive italics for us, and not sharp italics. Whether you see MI or MCI, etc, they are all cursive italics at Franklin-Christoph.
- Stub nibs are similar to cursive italics but with the bottom iridium left more rounded though flatter than a stock medium or broad nib, so that a larger vertical surface touches the paper. What you give up in line sharpness of the italic, you gain in smoothness with the stub. A Stub nib still gives you line variation but is easier to write with in your everyday handwriting. Our Medium Stub nibs are ground to approx. .7mm. Broad Stub nibs are ground to approx .9mm.
- Needlepoint nibs are carefully ground to a smaller tip. Needlepoints are commonly used in printing and numbering with small clean lines. We recommend these nibs for this kind of specialty writing/drawing. Our needlepoints are ground to approx .25mm. Try our extra-fine for a more ideal nib for use in script writing which has a .35mm - .4mm.
N = Needlepoint .25mm
FCI = Fine C. Italic .55mm
MCI = Medium C. Italic .7mm
MS = Medium Stub .7mm
BCI = Broad C. Italic .9mm
BS = Broad Stub .9mm
F-C Ground by Audrey Matteson
- S.I.G. Nibs are our in house nib grind, the S.I.G. for Stub. Italic. Gradient. - the smooth feel of a stub with the line variation closer to a cursive italic. Gradient - means that it offers similar line variation at different angles from steep to shallow - more versatile for various angles of handwriting. This nib variation was originally developed by the late Jim Rouse.
Factory Shaped Nibs
- Cursive Calligraphy nibs - these are actually factory made nibs which are very much like the stub nib tips, but are outside of the normal nib tip range so warrant reviewing here. The 1.1cc is very much like a broad stub, while the 1.4cc (on #5 nibs) and the 1.5cc (on #6 nibs) are like double broad stubs. These are not iridium tipped, which is not particularly needed on large HPSteel italicized nibs, and write smoothly with stub like line variation.
- The Christoph nib is a factory produced nib exclusive to Franklin-Christoph. It has a two slit / three tine design commonly known as a music nib. This nib has a broad downstroke and thin sidestroke like any italic. The thickness of the lines can be controlled with angle as well. It's a versatile nib with a smooth feel - used for cursive writing, lettering, gothic printing, calligraphic writing and of course for creating music notes. To create music notes, the proper way to angle the nib is with the broad edge perpendicular to the page line, creating a thin downstroke and thick sidestroke. This allows for the thin vertical lines and easy filling in of the ball shapes on music notes. The two nib slits spread the ink nicely for a consistent level of ink on the paper, with the feed designed for the ink to spread amongst its comb. As popular as this nib is, if you have really small handwriting it might be too broad for you. Otherwise, it can be a joy!
- Extra-Fine, Fine, Medium, and Broad Nibs are more rounded on the end and are more forgiving. These are designed for everyday handwriting. They don't typically give you line variation, but they are more forgiving with rolling the nib tip, and thus are very popular. See handwriting samples below.
- If this is your first foray into trying an italicized nib, we recommend you try a stub over a cursive italic. The stub or cursive calligraphy nibs are more forgiving and smooth feeling than the sharper italics while training yourself to write with this type of nib, or just for faster writing in general.
- If you are new to fountain pens or tend to write with more hand pressure with your normal rollerball or ballpoint, we recommend a steel nib over a gold. The gold is soft and will spread too wide with too much hand pressure. Steel nibs are more likely to retain their shape and position over time.
- The Needlepoint is a highly specialized nib and doesn't work well with most cursive handwriting. It is mainly for lettering, character drawing and fine printing. It will naturally feel scratchy (lot's of feedback) when making more circular cursive motions.
XF = Extra-FIne .4mm
F = Fine .5mm
M = Medium .6mm
B = Broad .8mm
1.1 = Cursive Calligraphy
1.4 Cursive Calligraphy (#5 only)
1.5 = Cursive Calligraphy (#6 only)
1.9 C= Christoph Nib (#6 only)