Fountain Pen Nib Sizes

There’s a lot of things to consider when you’re looking for the fountain pen nib size that’s best for you. The pen should feel perfectly natural in your hand, a nib that doesn’t fit your writing style may hamper your joy. Hopefully this article will give you an idea of what to look for.

First, let’s talk about the anatomy and the mechanics of the fountain pen nib

a.  This is the fountain pen nib - you will be inserting either a converter or disposable ink cartridge into the back of it when you are ready to use the fountain pen.  To get to it, you would remove the pen cap and then unscrew the nib from pen body to load the ink. 
    converter b.  This is a converter - used only with bottled ink.  You use a converter instead of a disposable ink cartridge.  Not every fountain pen will come with a converter, some only come with an ink cartridge.   You fill the converter with ink from the bottle of ink you purchased, and then insert it onto the back the nib.
    ink c. This is a disposable ink cartridge. If you use this, you will press / insert the narrower end of it into the back of the nib until you feel it puncture the seal. Most fountain pens use a universal 1/4 inch cartridge, sold by Dayspring Pens and many other places. ( NOTE: Parker brand fountain pens have their own end fitting on them, and therefore requires that you use a Parker brand
    cartridge. )

    The wing-like design of a nib is important to the mechanics of the pen; it’s not just a peacock-looking pen tip. Here’s why: when you press the pen down on the page, the whole nib is bent back a little. The two tines spread out, widening the ink channel (or slit) for more ink to flow. This also causes the breather hole to open just a little bit wider so that air can travel up into the ink cartridge and push ink towards the nib. These two co-occurring actions are what make the pen really work.

    I think about three things when I’m looking for a good fountain pen:

    Cross Fountain Pen

    1. Ink Flow

    Different sized nibs act completely differently because of the size of the point of contact and the amount of ink flow. Fine nibs have the benefit of conserving ink, but wider nibs have the benefit of added smoothness. More ink flow means the nib slides across the page with less resistance, but it also means that it’s more likely to actually bleed into the page. This is why having good paper is also really important.

    2. Flexibility

    The amount of flexibility that the tines have is pretty important. The amount of flex determines the variable width of the lines you write. So you might get a fine nib, but the variable width may play into medium nib territory if you press firmly enough. Most of the time, however, fountain pens are pretty stiff, and they usually have round nibs (as opposed to the flat italic nib) which gives you only so much variable width. Trying to get more width out of them than they’re designed for (ie. pressing down too hard) may result in a broken pen (and ink going everywhere).

    3. Your Writing Style

    The previous two points are about aspects of the pen, but the biggest thing to consider is actually your handwriting. If your lines tend to be densely packed together, I’d recommend a fine nib pen. If your strokes are pretty wide and flowy, go with a wide nib pen.

    All these things together are what I think you might do well to consider when trying to find the right fountain pen. Hopefully this helps you in your search. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Dayspring Pens for personal help.