Category Archives: The Basics

Lamy Nib Sizes – What Nib Size Should I Get?

When you don’t have an opportunity to try a pen out, it can sometimes be difficult to know what nib size you want.

If you’re new to fountain pens, here are some considerations to think about:

1. Size of your handwriting: if you have smaller handwriting, or frequently need to write in smaller spaces, then consider a smaller nib size.
If you would like to use your pen to express your handwriting with more ‘character’ you may also consider a broader nib, as you will be able to get slightly more variation with it.

2. Dry time of ink, or when and where you’re writing: if you’re on the go or need to move quickly, you will probably benefit from having your writing dry faster. While ink and paper are pretty important factors in how fast your writing dries, the finer the nib size, the faster it will dry as there’s less ink on the page.
On the other hand, if you’re writing letters or journaling at home, the dry time may not be as big a factor for you.

3. Smoothness of writing: of course there will always be buttery smooth EF nibs and scratchy B nibs, but in general with all things similar, an EF nib may be just ever-so-slightly scratchier as it’s …an extra fine point on your page. There’s less lubrication from the ink, so the nib may not glide quite as smoothly – but it also does have to do with the maker. A beautifully made Sailor EF nib may end up better than a B nib from a poorer company.

4. Calligraphic or italic nibs: these are designed specifically for calligraphy and have a straight across cut as opposed to a rounded edge. This enables you to draw a consistently fine line in one direction, and a consistently broad line in the opposite direction.

5. Left-handed: Lamy does make a left-handed nib, which I would put at between a fine and a medium. The nib is slightly more rounded than the other nibs, to make it smoother as you ‘push’ into the paper from the left side. While it is not vastly different from writing with a regular nib, but each person’s writing experience can be quite personal.

Lamy Nib Sizes

The Lamy Safari is a terrific pen to start with. It’s durable and consistent, isn’t prone to leaks or cracks, and is pretty forgiving in maintenance. The added bonus of being able to buy and swap out just the nibs as you get used to fountain pens is also nice.

You can look at the samples to get a sense of how wide the line will be, and compare it how you generally write.

The nib size samples above were written with Noodler’s Burma Road Brown.

You know your own handwriting and what you’re doing best, but if you really have no idea what size nib you’d like, I would suggest going with a Fine nib. It’s a good standard nib size for everyday writing, and Lamy nibs are smooth, with good flow.

How to Clean a Fountain Pen with a Converter

If you have a fountain pen that takes a cartridge or converter, and you have the converter for it, this is the post for you on how to keep it clean.

This includes pens like the Lamy Safari with the Lamy converter or the Jinhao 126 that is used in the demonstration.

What you will need:
Your fountain pen
A converter that fits your fountain pen
Two bowls of water (or a bowl of water and the sink)
A cloth that can get a little inky

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Step 1: Swish your nib around in a bowl of clean water.

Step 1: Swish around the nib in the water. You will likely get quite a bit of ink right away, as the water will draw some of the ink from the feed and around the nib.

Generally, it is recommended that you use distilled water so you don’t get any of the minerals or fluoride building up in your pen, but I feel pretty comfortable with tap water at room temperature.

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Step 2: Draw water up and down through the converter.

Step 2: Draw up the inky water into the converter to begin flushing the nib. The water will be quite dark, but much diluted from the “pure” ink that was just in the pen. I like to move my nib around to the cleanest part of the water in the bowl as sometimes the inkiest water just kind of sits where it was just pushed out. Draw up and flush out several times until the water has been totally muddied up.

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Step 3: Wipe the nib to draw out ink.

Step 3: At this point, you can wipe off the nib to draw out any concentrated ink still left. The feed and nib use capillary action to draw out the ink when writing, so you should be able to draw a little water and ink onto your cloth.

This step is optional, but you should have a cloth handy anyways, so you might as well.

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Step 4: Repeat with a bowl of clean water – expelling ink back into the dirty bowl.

Step 4: Draw up water from the second bowl of clean water, and dispense that water into the dirty bowl. Do this several times until the water runs clear, and then maybe do it a few more times after that.

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Step 5: Wipe again.

Step 5: Wipe off. If you see any residual ink on your cloth, you will want to flush out a few more times.

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Step 6: Leave pen nib down on a cloth to dry overnight.

Step 6: Leave your pen nib down on a cloth or paper towel to draw out any moisture. You can do this overnight, and it’s particularly important if you’re cleaning your pen because you’re not using it and you want to store it – you don’t want moisture trapped in.

How to Fill a Piston Fountain Pen with Ink

Using the Noodler’s Nib Creaper Piston-Fill Flex Fountain Pen, which we just did a review on here.

We just got in our Noodler’s Pens (and a few new inks!), and we figured we could take some pictures on filling the Nib Creaper as we inked it up for testing.

The Creaper is a piston-fill or piston-filler fountain pen.

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For piston-fillers, you don’t need a converter or cartridges (as the pen has the “converter” built right into the pen barrel”) so all you need is a bottle of ink. Here, we’re using J. Herbin’s Poussiere de Lune.

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You can see the piston rod through the clear barrel – it moves up and down to draw ink into the barrel of the pen itself.

ImageStep 1: Twist the back of the pen so the piston rod is all the way down. It’s like a syringe, so as you twist the rod back up, ink will be sucked up into the barrel of the pen.

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Step 2: Submerge the nib and the lower part of the grip section into the ink bottle. Don’t be afraid to get the pen inky, as you can wipe it off easily. If you don’t submerge the nib far enough into the ink bottle, you’ll end up drawing air into the barrel.

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Step 3: Twist to draw up the piston rod and ink. You will probably get a small air bubble because there is air in the feed to begin with. If you want it as full as you can get, try emptying the ink and drawing it up again a few times. Generally speaking, piston-fill pens hold much more ink than cartridges or converters, so you’ll get quite a bit of ink.

ImageStep 4: Wipe off any drops of ink.

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And off you go! Because you drew ink up through the feed, your feed should already be wet and should write without too much hesitation or skipping.