I just finished up two reviews and have three more pens inked up for the next round, so I have a pile of pens around me ready to write. I figured I’d capture writing samples from each of them for a quick comparison of nib grades and inks.
The first four samples are all from “Extra Fine” nibs. I use the quotes because it’s very, very clear that different companies have different ideas of what the grades mean.
The last two samples are from Chinese pens. The nibs aren’t marked, but I generally expect Medium grades from these. Of course, the concept of “Medium” varies wildly among Chinese pens, so take that for what it’s worth. Both the Duke and Yiren pens write a finer line than my Jinhaos. Whether this puts them into the Fine/Medium category or just the Medium category probably depends on your own definition. For me, I put both squarely in the “True Medium” column.
So after comparing these samples, I have a few thoughts on the matter:
- Yes, it’s true: Japanese pens are finer than their Western counterparts of the same grade. The Lamy 2000 EF (German) is much broader than the Pilot VP EF (Japanese). The TWSBI Diamond 580AL EF (Taiwanese) falls somewhere in between. I expected the Pilot to be comparable to the TWSBI, but it’s about half as broad as that. I’d almost call the Pilot EF closer to Ultra Extra Fine…but I’ll reserve judgement on that until my Platinum “official” UEF comes in, and I can see how it compares to the Pilot.
- The Goulet EF nib (made by JoWo, a German company) is even broader than the Lamy 2000 EF. It seems to be slightly finer than the Duke and Yiren pens, though, so I’d probably classify the Goulet EF as Fine/Medium.
- What does the term “EF” even mean? I’ve got four EF samples here, and they’re all vastly different. The difference among them is striking. I recently tried a Visconti EF DreamTouch nib…and that was easily the broadest EF (or F for that matter) nib I’ve ever written with. What gives?
- Chinese fountain pens are a real adventure. Their QC is up and down, and you never really know what to expect from their pens (I’ve tried three Jinhao pens so far, and haven’t had the best of results from them…I have to wonder what everyone else likes about them). So far, this Duke and Yiren both seem like really nice, consistent writers. And they’re both beautiful pens, too.
- Yiren is the Chinese Bigfoot! How cool is that? I have no idea if the pen is named after that creature, but it makes me smile to think that it is.
So what are your thoughts? Are the nibs on your pens just as “all over the place” with regard to line weight, or has you’re experience been more consistent?