Author Topic: Nib Review  (Read 14054 times)

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2015, 02:32:01 PM »
@Erica:

Any chance you could post a higher resolution scan of the word comparison, making it easier to see the differences among words, especially the thins?

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2015, 03:56:22 PM »
Thank you, Erica! This is extremely useful. And boy, do I agree about the 303. Indeed very scritchy/scratchy, and it will make you work for it! But I have to admit, I like the "splits" and "splats"! Kind of like ink fireworks. :)
Just as a side note, if you like sritchy-scratchy, then the 303 is your nib, at least the modern one.
Erica is reviewing the modern Gillott 303. I think the 303's reputation as an excellent nib for copperplate was earned by the earlier, bronze 303. The vintage 303 is really a different nib and infinitely superior to the modern 303. Below you will see why. On the left is a modern 303 (actually 25 years old). It has stamped grooves (to increase flexibility), the tines are slightly misaligned (hence the scritchy-scratchy), and has fine point. On the right is a vintage 303, hand-ground, perfectly aligned tines, and much finer point In all, the vintage is a much better nib, fully deserving its good reputation. Don't give up on the 303--just get the right one.

Offline Raayynuh

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2015, 04:16:04 PM »
Thank you, Erica! This is extremely useful. And boy, do I agree about the 303. Indeed very scritchy/scratchy, and it will make you work for it! But I have to admit, I like the "splits" and "splats"! Kind of like ink fireworks. :)
Just as a side note, if you like sritchy-scratchy, then the 303 is your nib, at least the modern one.
Erica is reviewing the modern Gillott 303. I think the 303's reputation as an excellent nib for copperplate was earned by the earlier, bronze 303. The vintage 303 is really a different nib and infinitely superior to the modern 303. Below you will see why. On the left is a modern 303 (actually 25 years old). It has stamped grooves (to increase flexibility), the tines are slightly misaligned (hence the scritchy-scratchy), and has fine point. On the right is a vintage 303, hand-ground, perfectly aligned tines, and much finer point In all, the vintage is a much better nib, fully deserving its good reputation. Don't give up on the 303--just get the right one.


Great info here! Modern 303's you really have to check yourself before even bothering using one. I love love the modern ones, but you end up having to throw away a bunch because of quality control. Before I even try to use a modern 303 I check the tines and flex them against my thumb nail. If they are at all misaligned, or sometimes chunks will just be missing, I just throw them out. When you get ones are that properly aligned though, I think they are great. Sharp though, but that helps remind me to keep a light hand.

I'd love to try the vintage ones, but have not had the opportunity.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2015, 04:20:14 PM »
Aw thanks so much Michael!  ;D

I gave my copy of the new issue to my teacher yesterday.  Now I need to order another copy!  The nib review is great, Erica, along with the rest of the issue. 
Cheers, Michael
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2015, 04:25:46 PM »
@Erica:

Any chance you could post a higher resolution scan of the word comparison, making it easier to see the differences among words, especially the thins?

I just attached a PDF at 150dpi which looks a bit pixelated on screen but if you print it out, is viewable.  ;)  I had to attach it to this post as it wouldn't let me attach to the first one for some reason!  :) Hope that helps!
Truly, Erica
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2015, 04:28:09 PM »
Just as a side note, if you like sritchy-scratchy, then the 303 is your nib, at least the modern one.
Erica is reviewing the modern Gillott 303. I think the 303's reputation as an excellent nib for copperplate was earned by the earlier, bronze 303. The vintage 303 is really a different nib and infinitely superior to the modern 303. Below you will see why. On the left is a modern 303 (actually 25 years old). It has stamped grooves (to increase flexibility), the tines are slightly misaligned (hence the scritchy-scratchy), and has fine point. On the right is a vintage 303, hand-ground, perfectly aligned tines, and much finer point In all, the vintage is a much better nib, fully deserving its good reputation. Don't give up on the 303--just get the right one.

Exactly!  ;D Thanks Mike!
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline AndyT

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2015, 06:46:34 PM »
Whilst I agree with Mike that the old 303s were much better made, I also like the action of the new ones and their sharpness.  The best of the lot in my opinion was the second version (very soft and sharp), but my stock of those is running very low ... the modern nib is more to my taste than the firmer vintage type in spite of the frequent annoyances. 

Digressing a little further, the vintage 404s really do knock the current product into a cocked hat.

Offline RyanR

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2015, 06:51:37 PM »
Thank you for this Erica! It's great to see all of the different nibs with the same hand and same word. Since I am just starting out and trying all the nibs for the first time, it's sometimes hard to feel all the nuances. That being said, I sure can feel the difference between something like a Nikko G to a Leonardt Principal, etc. It sure is fun trying all the nibs!

I read that you recommended the Hiro/Leonardt 41 and Nikko G, and in Eleanor Winters book she recommended the Gillott 303/404 so that's what I'm sticking mostly with to learn the letterforms. After I have the basic stroke down, I figured I would try all the nibs to see which ones work best for me.

This is a great reference that I will surely use many times in the future! 

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2015, 07:29:23 PM »
Digressing a little further, the vintage 404s really do knock the current product into a cocked hat.

ROFL!  ;D  ;D  ;D Truth!
Truly, Erica
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2015, 07:32:55 PM »
Thanks Ryan! I like the Hiro41, especially for modern and when you are first learning, because it gives this softish squared edge kind of automatically. And the Nikko G is my fail safe. I really love the lush thicks of the 404. The 303 is not my best friend but the vintage ones were definitely a lot more user friendly. I think all four of those are good beginner nibs (although the 303 might cause some serious frustration if you get a few naughties).

I think that is a great plan to try out the different nibs when you are ready to see which ones you feel work best for you. I was pleasantly surprised going back to some older nibs I hadn't used in a while.  ;)

Thank you for this Erica! It's great to see all of the different nibs with the same hand and same word. Since I am just starting out and trying all the nibs for the first time, it's sometimes hard to feel all the nuances. That being said, I sure can feel the difference between something like a Nikko G to a Leonardt Principal, etc. It sure is fun trying all the nibs!

I read that you recommended the Hiro/Leonardt 41 and Nikko G, and in Eleanor Winters book she recommended the Gillott 303/404 so that's what I'm sticking mostly with to learn the letterforms. After I have the basic stroke down, I figured I would try all the nibs to see which ones work best for me.

This is a great reference that I will surely use many times in the future!
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline handmadeletters

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2015, 09:00:31 AM »
Just as a side note, if you like sritchy-scratchy, then the 303 is your nib, at least the modern one.
Erica is reviewing the modern Gillott 303. I think the 303's reputation as an excellent nib for copperplate was earned by the earlier, bronze 303. The vintage 303 is really a different nib and infinitely superior to the modern 303. Below you will see why. On the left is a modern 303 (actually 25 years old). It has stamped grooves (to increase flexibility), the tines are slightly misaligned (hence the scritchy-scratchy), and has fine point. On the right is a vintage 303, hand-ground, perfectly aligned tines, and much finer point In all, the vintage is a much better nib, fully deserving its good reputation. Don't give up on the 303--just get the right one.

Thank you for this! You reminded me that Pat Blair mentioned in a workshop that she prefers the vintage ones, bc they're much more reliable than the modern ones. Do you have an idea of how one can find vintage 303s?

As Elaina mentioned below, it's really hit or miss with these guys, and you just have to resign yourself to tossing them. But when they do behave, the hairlines they produce are just glorious! And I agree, Elaina, that the 303s are a good way of practicing a lighter hand. I know I can see that in your work, especially. :)

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2015, 09:26:01 AM »
Thank you for this! You reminded me that Pat Blair mentioned in a workshop that she prefers the vintage ones, bc they're much more reliable than the modern ones. Do you have an idea of how one can find vintage 303s?

They regularly appear on eBay. The latest large lot (103 pieces) went for about $4 per nib.

Offline MH

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2015, 04:01:48 AM »
A very useful review. Thanks Erica.

I feel better now about not being able to get the 303 to work for copperplate in my first ever calligraphy class.

Offline Ergative

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2015, 01:31:54 PM »
When I first started I taught myself with a 303 on toothy paper, because that was all I had. When I moved to a Nikko G on Rhodia it was like night and day. I haven't yet gone back to the 303, but I suspect starting out with those materials taught me to have a really, really light hand.
Clara

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Nib Review
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2015, 09:03:15 AM »
Thought I'd post this here so that it can easily be found.