Esterbrook #314 Relief nib.

Above are the black inks chosen for testing.

The Esterbrook #314 Relief dip nib is a joy. This one is in the photographs and is Made in the USA. I have very many of them in the two original boxes. In amongst them are ones Made in England too. No little brass reservoir is added to contain more ink volume. But this plain and straightforward little nib still performs with longevity with ‘one dip’ into the ink bottle.

Chosen were all black inks. Those tried were 2 fountain pen inks (Montblanc Mystery Black and Parker Quink), 1 India (Sennelier), 1 China Brevillier’s) ink and 1 Rotring Art ink. The latter 3 performed with more richness and contained themselves well with no ink spidery crawl into the paper. The fountain pen inks were more prone to a small amount of ink crawl. The initial testing paper used was wallpaper lining scrap paper. Porous and slow written progress required.  Cleaning the nibs well after writing is paramount. The heavier inks are metal staining, prone to collective layering on the nibs surfaces when used many times and nib feeds are ruined if allowed to dry thoroughly.

My writing tends to be a bit close and erratic so larger format page space is a nice luxury when using elongated sentences in order to provide decent spacing between sentences. Large written volume of subjects like story/journal writing for simple recording value is not something the dip nibs are great for. The overall look is crammed. 

When writing involves a contained short subject in smaller journal sizes, like a line or two of poetry or simple thought, it becomes more aesthetically pleasing. With art picture decoration surrounding the words to build a dip into reading scenario. Dip nibs are for small presentations I feel. 

This is a sketchbook paper with Brevillier’s black calligraphy ink chosen. The small top paper is Khadi cotton paper with Dr Ph Martin’s Bombay Grass Green India Ink.

I must admit. With the fine and the finer medium nibs of the various fountain pens I own, it is easier to write. The results are that spacing, presentation and readability are a much easier outcome. Whatever the chosen subject matter to write down. The finer italic are wonderful. Especially for Greeting Cards. 

As yet, finding a fine dip nib is elusive. Many of the nibs I have tried so far have been truly awful performers. Pointy sharp and prone to both scratch and catch on the paper. A lot of them also run out of dipped ink after one or two words. 

I have a few more to test and will whittle down the favourites akin to having a favourite fountain pen collection. Also the Rotring/Pelikan art pen Graphos nibs (rather like fountain pens with ink supply contained in a chamber serving the nib) and the italic dip nibs are yet to be tested.  

Having a go at the discipline of Calligraphy is a non starter. 

So. The Esterbrook #314 Relief (USA) nib. Beautifully smooth. Great dip ink longevity. A medium nib size lettering outcome. Great for a few written lines akin to Buddhist sayings, a simple philosophical statement, a verse or few lines of song lyric or poetry. 

Fun day mucking about with dip nibs and inks. A lot of rubbish written down. A process of finding new decent nibs. At present it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

2 thoughts on “Esterbrook #314 Relief nib.”

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