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Understanding fountain pen nibs, and choosing the right one

The business end of any fountain pen consists of three parts - the nib housing, the ink feed and the fountain pen nib itself. It is usual that the whole assembly is mounted inside a decorative casing called the Nib Section, via a corresponding thread on the housing.

Nibs come in a variety of sizes, the most popular ones being size 5 (or #5) and size 6 (or #6), but size 8 (or #8) fountain pen nibs are also gaining in poularity, which are designed to fit in oversized pens.  Sizes are so called because they are designed to fit around an ink feed which is 5mm, 6mm or 8mm in diameter respectively.
Housing Feed Nib

Any pen, be it commercially available or a vintage marque, or one made from a pen kit, is designed to take a nib of a certain size - a fountain pen which takes a size 5 nib can’t be fitted with a size 6 nib, and vice versa. For instance, (and these are only examples), Jinhao X750, Conid Bulkfiller, TWSBI VAC700 and all Namisu models take a size 6 nib, whereas Faber Castell Basic, Jinhao 950, TWSBI 500AL and Baoer 388 all take a size 5 nib. In some cases, it may be necessary to swap the new nib into the existing housing of the pen, either because the housing has unique threads and can’t easily be replaced, or because it is an integral part of the Nib Section.

In the world of pen kits, (again, only as examples), Pristina, Statesman,  Roman Harvest and El Grande all take a size 6 nib, whereas Mistral, Baron, Classic Elite and Omega all take a size 5 nib. We have “kit compatible” housings to fit many, but not all pen kits, and in some cases it may be necessary to swap the new nib into the existing housing that came with the kit.

Size 8 nibs notably fit Conid fountain pens, but as far as we know there are currently no pen kits made which take them. However, custom pens, or so called kitless pens can be designed to take any size of nib, and we have thread taps to enable the internal threading of the Nib Section for all three sizes.

Bock’s standard size 5 nib is called a type 180, but, to complicate things a little, they also produce a shorter size 5 nib, called a type 060, which is used for example by Karas K, Messenger and most Kaweco models. In addition, there is a type 076, which whilst it’s the same visible length as type 180, is wider across the shoulder. Type 076 is used for example by Visconti for many of their models, and is also useful for custom pen makers who want a size 5 nib that looks a bit more substantial. The housings of types 180, 060 and 076 are identical, so makers only need one set of tools to facilitate the section for any or all of them.

We keep most of Bock’s full range of type 180 fountain pen nibs in stock, and a small range of types 060 and 076. We are happy to obtain by special order any nibs that we don’t have in stock.

Bock’s standard size 6 nib is called a type 250. They also produce a type 220 which is narrower across the shoulder, but which is only available in solid gold. We keep Bock’s full rage of type 250 fountain pen nibs in stock, but type 220 is only available by special order.

Irrespective of type or size, each nib is then available in a choice of point widths - extra fine, fine, medium, broad and extra broad, and in a choice of finishes including polished steel, 23k gold plate, rose-gold plate, coloured lacquers, solid titanium and 18k solid gold.  We also have standard size 5 (type 180), short size 5 (type 060), wide shoulder size 5 (type 076) and standard size 6 (type 250) calligraphy nibs in three different point widths, and medium point left handed nibs in both sizes.

In addition we keep a small quantity of size 8 type 380 nibs in stock in 18k solid gold and in solid titanium.

If you need help choosing a fountain pen nib, please feel free to contact us - we are happy to help.

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Beaufort Ink
Great Wotton Cottage Studios
EX17 5DL
Beaufort Ink is a trading name of Beaufort Ink Ltd
Company Registration No. 13302793
VAT Registration No. GB266698248

© Beaufort Ink
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