Dip Nibs. A ‘toe in the water’. First dip into developing better analyses.

William Mitchell italic nibs 3, 4 and 5. No ownership currently of numbers 1 and 2.

Recently I have been buying dip nib bundles. I’ve written a few exploratory blogs in the past on dip nibs. And uploaded a few photographs too. I feel the time has arrived to begin organising a critique on some of the dip nib goodies. The stars of the show. I got interested in getting more of a variety in both design and makers after seeing a nib chart on the internet. I often wondered why some nibs were called the names they were. Bookkeepers, people’s, post office, etc. These descriptions added on to the name given to the shape of the nibs. They also have a romanticised name attached sometimes too. I used ‘The Ladies Pen’ this morning. Very nice too. Sounded like Tom Good in The Good Life then. ‘Very nice they are too Jerry’.

The reality is that some of these nibs are scratch and catch fright-fests. Sometimes I wonder if it is the shape, the material used or that I simply do not understand how to wield them and apply them for their intended use. But whatever ink drops off the end of any nib onto the paper…. uninteresting they are not. There is a romantic entity to dip nibs. I found that out a few Christmases ago. Not in the nature of routine and regimented calligraphy, but in the art of self expression. A sharp fright-fest nib unusable for writing script can produce a lovely drawing line. The tines split open and a double fine controlled line from wide to thin can result. A nib that dumps out a huge ink blot becomes a wonderful scrawl borne from being dragged out the small heap of ink blot hillock and off on a spidery legged journey into the surrounding paper. A little Whiskery Kisskery alien dandelion seed equivalent. Very nicely pleasing in red spilled ink too.

Please tap on the individual photographs below to enlarge.



The Esterbrook Relief 314 short stub is my favourite. The Silver Wonder too. I found that one out late last night. This morning I found another one unused. There are others choices of decent nibs too. A couple of dozen it seems from trying ones out over the last year or so. Many more that are simply awful as writers though. Here? A few photographs of my morning excursion for half an hour. Used some Khadi hand made in India paper. Although, I’m going to catalogue these new nib findings. Need to find a journal/notebook with the type of paper that laughs in the face of diversity. The type of paper that can take on all comers of the nib and ink world. Like Robert Downey’s presentation of Sherlock Holmes. Fathom it out before it actually happens. And just to add……Bob Downey’s clothes sense in those two films is phenomenal.

Please tap on the individual photographs below to enlarge.

I’m just going to upload these few photos presently. They show the writing produced. Can’t analyse. No knowledge or insights of any sound advice to note down and actually perform that task. A nib is a nib is a nib. Albeit different styles. No fountain pen attached to really get your teeth into. Well not literally. That would devalue the pen! A dip nib has a bit of wood for you to hold and flourish and a metal tube to catch and carry the nib securely in it’s pincers. The nib is the thing that makes the investigation of true interest.

Any suggestions of what to include for dip nib analysis would be most welcome. No advice re: quills though. I don’t do feathers.

6 thoughts on “Dip Nibs. A ‘toe in the water’. First dip into developing better analyses.”

    1. Yes please. I don’t often use the wider nibs, but it would be good to have the option. They write phenomenally well. I can do swaps. I have so many nibs now that I could shake a dozen lifetimes at them and still not use them. The Ladies Pen nib I mentioned for example? About 9 sitting here. Brand spanking never used and shiny. And dozens upon dozens of other individual makes where there are lots. Esterbrook Relief, Brandauer Clan Glengarry, and many other individuals I have loads of each. Your welcome to have as many as you want Ianto. I get a strange ebay head on at times! Mind you…..I bet you’re exactly the same. 😆


      1. Thanks, Gray, but it’s ok. I’d happily say yes to all of your nibs, but not actually get round to using any of them!! Probably best to swap with someone who’d enjoy using them. I’ll either leave the nibs in the shop for you, or we’ll arrange a hook up. I also have some other nibs that might be looking for a good home…..😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cheers. That’s good of you. I have a plan to get into town next week for a break from decorating. Not sure which day. If you are in town before you could drop them into the shop. I could do a Mach SwapShop ideal and offer a Dyfi Wholefoods item in return. Amazing that part of Mach Swapshop isn’t it? ‘Something from Dyfi Wholefoods’. Makes Angie all proud so it does. If your not in town I’ll let you know when I shufty to the charity shops next week. And yes. I will try to think of others who may want some of the nibs. Great suggestion. Cheers.


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