Flex Nibs - Today


Flex nibs, while still widely available in dip pen form, are quite rare on modern fountain pens. This is partly due to the popularity of script styles using flex pens having diminished in the early part of the 20th Century towards more rigid nibs, and partly because of the skill they require to be used without damaging the nib's tines. The Pilot Namiki Falcon is an example of a modern pen with a somewhat flexible nib, although its degree of flexibility is very moderate by vintage standard, reducing the danger of damage and difficulty of use. An even more flexible contemporary pen is the Pilot Custom 742 and 743 with Falcon nib. These pens are much more flexible than a Pilot Falcon (aka Namiki Falcon). A very few "nibmeisters" (or nib-modifiers) can both add flex and grind down the tips of modern 14K nibs to more closely match earlier examples of fountain pen flex nibs. There have also in recent years been several relatively cheap flexible nib fountain pens come onto the market, namely Noodler's Creaper and Ahab models, which use steel-alloy nibs in lieu of 14K gold-alloy nibs to achieve a wide range of flex. These nibs, while often a great introduction into the ability—and art, as most calligraphers would argue—of flexible nibs for new users, they lack some of the control and finesse of gold nibs, and the capability to make hairlines that traditional steel dip nibs possess. These nibs also don't possess the same "spring-back" that some 14K fountain pen nibs offer. They are, however, more forgiving in the accidental case of over-flexing, given steel's more resilient characteristics, and at a price point that's accessible for most people.

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