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How & Why I Created the Nib Score

July 09, 2021 2 min read 2 Comments

Fountain pen reviews can be tricky because it’s difficult to communicate how a certain pen feels when writing. We can say a certain nib is dry or wet, but to what degree? It’s so subjective. What may be dry to me may not be the same for you.


That’s why I decided it’d be a good idea to come up with a relative score. If I score the Pilot Metropolitan a certain way, for example, and you’ve had experience with the same pen, you can now use those scores as a baseline. This baseline is helpful when looking at a review for a pen that you’ve never picked up before. Now you can easily tell how dry or wet the nib is.


So my next thought was: which traits should I try to score? I thought it would be useful to focus on the nib since that’s the business end of the writing experience. Physical attributes like length, weight, and diameter can already be easily quantified. In a sense, those attributes already have a built-in relative score.


I chose three traits:

Flex - how easy it is to spread the tines and create line variation (1 being a nail and 10 being a wet noodle)

 

Flow - how wet or dry a nib writes (1 being like a desert and 10 being a gusher). The ink will also have an affect on how wet a pen writes, so I'll make sure to test various inks known to have properties such as dry, wet, lubricated, sheen, shimmer.

 

Feedback - how smoothly the nib glides across the paper (1 being like glass and 10 being full of friction)


Here are scores of the fountain pens I’ve already reviewed. As I do more reviews, I’ll keep adding them to this list.



Pen

Flex

Flow

Feedback

Pilot Metropolitan

3

6

5

Lamy Safari

2

2

3



I’m by no means saying this is the perfect system, but I’m hoping that it helps to communicate what it is I feel like when using these fountain pens. What are your thoughts? Is it helpful or not so much? Are there ways I could improve communicating a pen’s performance? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!


2 Responses

Chris
Chris

July 17, 2021

Thanks for the comment Dany! You’re right that some inks are “wetter” than others. But nib/feed design and materials also have a huge affect on how wet a pen writes. I’m using these pens with many types of inks, including the wet Iroshizuku, the relatively dry Pelikan 4001, “lubricated” inks, permanent/archival inks, as well as shimmering and sheening inks.

Dany P
Dany P

July 15, 2021

I like the NIB scores that you created.
The only thing that I don’t think necessarily carries through to others is the Flow.
The flow seems to also be very dependent on the ink used. So unless it’s the same ink used by everybody, the score may be drastically different.
In other words, your flow mileage may vary.
With that said, I’m new in the fountain pen world, so please remember that my comment is from a newbie.

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