The nib, heart of the fountain pen

The nib is the true soul of the fountain pen. Generally built with precious materials, and crowned by a rounded metal tip, it is certainly the most important part of the pen because it determines the style and quality of the stroke. Precisely for this reason, there are different types of nibs for fountain pens, which differ mainly (but not exclusively) according to the size of the tip.

What is the nib?

The essential components of a fountain pen are the ink chamber and the nib, from which the ink comes out onto the sheet. Undoubtedly, the innovative ink distribution system between the barrel and nib represents the quality element that allows the fountain pen to achieve a unique stroke in terms of fluidity and expressiveness. In any case, the inimitable style of the fountain pen is given by the nib, which is the real heart of this type of pen.
The nib is generally made from precious materials; in the most important and expensive models it can also be made of gold.

Fountain pens with gold nibs can be found in our store

The nib is crowned with a rounded tip of iridium, a material from the platinum family, which is soldered and then meticulously polished. Obviously, the more precious the material used for the nib, the greater the softness and elegance to the handwritten stroke.

Why is the stylus so important?

When writing, the fountain pen should never be held vertically, but diagonally, forming a 45° angle between the nib and the writing surface. In fact, with the pressure exerted on the pen, the ink automatically flows out on the sheet and you need to find the right position to avoid staining the paper. The nib is so important precisely because it is the tool with which the ink is transmitted from the ink chamber to the sheet. It follows that the style of writing and the quality of the stroke of a fountain pen vary mainly according to the characteristics of the nib.

Passionate about pens? Read also the in-depth study dedicated to the ballpoint pen

Different types of nibs

One of the fundamental rules for choosing a fountain pen is that the type of nib must adapt to the writing style of the person using the pen.
A person who tends to write with a thick stroke, for example, will be better off with a wider nib, on the contrary, those used to writing with a smaller stroke, will have to find a thinner nib. For these reasons there are various types of nibs.

The difference between types of nibs is mainly due to the size of their tip, but not only.

Below, the most common types of nibs:

  • Extra Fine (EF).
  • Fine (F).
  • Medium (M).
  • Large (B).
  • Extra-large (BB).
  • Large Oblique (OB), which allows a thick but smooth stroke.
  • Medium Oblique (OM), with a particular oblique design to increase the sensation of smoothness.
  • Left Hand (LH), is the stylus specifically designed for left-handed people.

Taking care of the stylus

Cleaning the nib is an essential operation to ensure the proper functioning of the fountain pen. If the stylus is not used daily or in any case continuously, the stylus should be cleaned at least once every three months. Otherwise, the ink could dry up, and as a result the pen will write badly or will no longer write.
Once the pen has been disassembled, the ink cartridge must be removed and the nib cleaned. The first fundamental rule to follow in order to do this correctly is to use only water, at room temperature, without using any other product or solvent, which could damage the pen. Finally, the nib must be dried with the utmost care. If after the first wash the nib remains dirty, it should be left “soaking” in water, changed often, until the ink is removed completely.