Fountain Pen Nib Types: A Comprehensive List

As you go further in your fountain pen journey, you’ll realize the importance of the pen nib in making your writing experience the best it can be. You will also discover that there is more to sizes and grinds than fine, medium, and broad nibs. It can be tricky to understand the difference between these nibs, so we’ve prepared this comprehensive list of nib shapes, sizes, and materials. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with different nibs so you can choose the right one for your needs.

 

Regular Nibs

Fountain Pen Nib Types: A Comprehensive List - Lamy Pen Nibs

Regular nibs, or round nibs, are the most common fountain pen nibs today. The shape of the nib allows you to write from any angle. These nibs write smoothly and provide a consistent line width, making them easy to use and beginner-friendly. How much ink your pen will lay on paper depends on your chosen width. Here are the different types of regular nibs that you can typically find:

 

Extra Fine Nibs

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Extra fine nibs create very thin, fine lines. These nibs are used for small handwriting and intricate details.

 

Fine Nibs

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Fine nibs produce thin, fine lines and are ideal for precise handwriting. These nibs usually give line widths ranging from 0.3 to 0.6 mm.

 

Medium Nibs

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The medium nib is a good size for daily writing because of its versatility. It produces a standard line width ranging from 0.6 to 0.8 mm.

 

Broad Nibs

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Broad nibs produce a wider line that lays down more ink. They can be used for bolder writing or artwork. Broad nibs (up to double broad) create line widths measuring from 1.0 to 1.4 mm.

 

Calligraphy Nibs

Calligraphy nibs provide line variation from thinner, finer lines to bolder, thicker strokes. This can be done by applying varying degrees of pressure as you write or through the writing angle.

 

Italic Nib

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Also called the cursive nib, the italic nib is rectangular with sharp edges and is suitable for calligraphy, formal lettering, and precise print handwriting. The sharp edge makes the nib stiffer and scratchier to write with compared to regular nibs. They also require more ink and can display ink properties like shading, sheen, and shimmer, thanks to the broad, straight lines they create.

 

Stub Nib

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Fountain Pen Nib Types: A Comprehensive List - Lamy Joy Fountain Pen

A stub, on the other hand, has a broad, flat tip with rounded edges. This gives you some line variation, with thin cross strokes and broad downstrokes. It is very similar to the italic or cursive nib, except that it doesn’t have sharp edges. The rounded edges allow you to write easily without the need for special techniques.

 

Flex Nib

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Flex nibs are, like the name suggests, soft enough to provide some flexibility when you apply pressure as you write. These nibs require some skill to use because technique is needed to achieve beautiful results. These nibs require plenty of ink as well as a feed that can keep up.

 

Oblique Nib

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Oblique nibs are broad, flat, and cut at an angle to suit the user's writing style. Usually, the nib is cut at around an angle of 15 degrees. The tip shape allows it to provide line variation, specifically, a broader downstroke and a narrower cross stroke. This nib is best for writers who write at a certain angle and prefer a smooth writing feel.

 

Reverse Oblique Nib

Reverse oblique nibs are similar to oblique nibs but designed for left-handed writers.

 

Specialty Nibs

Specialty nibs serve very specific functions and purposes. They can be similar to regular and calligraphy nibs but are ultimately unique in their own respects. These nibs can give writers who are particular with their preferences the style or flair they are looking for in their writing that simply isn’t possible with other pens.

 

Architect nib

Architect nibs are very narrow but have a thick tip with a straight cut. With this nib, you get plenty of line width variation, with thin downstrokes and broad cross strokes. Some people refer to this as the opposite of an italic nib. It is called an architect nib because it is designed for straighter lines rather than curved ones. This nib type is also frequently used by architects for their drawings.

 

Music Nib

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The music nib, as the name suggests, is used to write musical notation. The nib may have more than two tines, but this is not always the case. The extra channel between the tines provides more ink flow, making the music nib a wet nib. You get plenty of line variation, with broad downstrokes and thinner cross strokes. The writing this nib produces looks similar to stub nibs or other broads, but the music nib is wetter and springier given the slimmer tines.

 

Zoom Nib

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The zoom nib creates different line widths depending on the angle at which you write. With its bulb-shaped tip, it creates thin lines as you write at a high angle and thicker lines when held at a lower angle.

 

Fude Nib

Fountain Pen Nib Types: A Comprehensive List - Sailor 1911 Calligraphy (Fude De Mannen) Fountain Pen

The fude nib is a bent fountain pen nib that is turned upward at an angle, giving you the ability to write thick lines and form many line width variations. “Fude” means “bent” in Japanese, an appropriate name as this nib is designed to imitate the calligraphy brush.

 

Waverly Nib

The waverly nib is also a bent nib but upturned ever so slightly to give the writer a smoother writing experience.

 

Posting Nib

The posting nib, on the other hand, is a nib with a slightly downturned bend to create fine lines with minimal pressure.

 

The Bottom Line

You may be surprised to learn that there are more types of nibs than fine, medium, and broad sizes. Nibs can be designed to be versatile or serve very specific functions, depending on your needs and preferences. By understanding which nib does what, you’ll be able to choose the right one for your fountain pen journey.

Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting

Author: Ramona

1 comment

Claudio Puviani

“Architect” nibs have never been used by architects or technical draftsmen. That’s a myth that doesn’t seem to want to die. When technical drawings were still done with ink, it was done using ruling pens. Fountain pens don’t have the precision, consistency, and rigidity of a ruling pen. They also don’t use the same kind of ink.

It might also be worth adding that music nibs, when used by musicians to quickly jot down musical notation, are rotated 90 degrees to the left because the vertical lines have to be thin and you can draw the notehead (the bubble part of the note) in a single stroke going left to right. Left-handed musicians sometimes rotate the pen to the right and make the noteheads right-to-left. One of my friends is a musician and he sometimes uses an architect nib (a Naginata Togi) to write musical notation because it actually feels more natural than a true music nib, of which he has three.

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