The nib is the heart of any fountain pen. Nibs are usually made from stainless steel or gold and occasionally, titanium. All pens (except calligraphy) are available with a medium nib and this is the default grade when you first view a fountain pen on this site. Most fountain pens will then have a drop-down menu where you can select any of the other nib grades available for that pen. Depending upon our stock, different grades of nib may have different lead times and this will be reflected in the 'availability' shown on the page when a different grade is selected. There is usually no difference in price between the grades.
The medium nib suits the overwhelming majority of writers. Customers are advised to only select another grade if they are sure that that is what they need. If when you receive the pen you find that it does not suit, we will exchange the nib for another grade free of charge for the first 14 days.
Standard nibs are available in different grades which produce different stroke widths. Each nib has a small 'blob' on the point (which is actually called the nib) and which is usually made from an iridium alloy. This nib is spherical in nature and is made to, ideally, have a circular 'footprint' on the page, irrespective of the angle at which the pen is held -within reason!. This circular footprint means that the stroke width remains the same whichever direction the pen moves. Different manufacturers provide a different range of nib widths, but nibs are available from BBB (triple broad) to EEF (extra extra fine).
Calligraphy - italic and stub nibs
We are often asked about italic nibs. An italic nib has a rectangular 'footprint' on the page which results in different stroke widths depending on the direction of the stroke. Some italic nibs are also very flexible. This gives an additional control over the stroke width as increasing the pressure causes the tines of the nib to splay and produce a wider stroke. This technique requires some skill and practise. Very few manufacturers offer an italic nib and those that are available are generally on more expensive pens. A stub nib however will also give both broad and narrow strokes, this time depending upon the direction of the stroke only, rather than the pressure applied. The stub nib is cut with a square end and usually has no 'nib' (the little blob found on the end of other nibs). Stub nibs are more widely available at reasonable cost and are generally found in calligraphy pens.
Left handed and oblique nibs
'Standard' nibs have a spherical tip or 'nib' which allows them to write well at many different angles. This means that a standard nib will suit most writers, including left handed writers. Some writers however find that an oblique nib is more comfortable and left handed writers will sometimes find that a left handed nib is more suitable for them. A left handed nib has the left side of the nib chamfered away so that it doesn't tend to 'dig in' to the paper. Lamy's left handed nib is produced primarily for the Abc children's pen, but can be fitted to all of their pens that take the steel nib.
Some replacements are supplied as a 'bare' nib, but the majority are now supplied as a 'nib unit', which is the nib and feeder assembly, which usually screws into place, or the complete nib, feeder and grip assembly which replaces the complete front part of the pen.