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Nib Mini Reviews – BWIPS ’22 Haul

Posted in Fountain Pens

Before I dive in, I want to readdress my blog schedule. A few posts back, I mentioned that pen posts would be released on Fridays and non-pen posts would be released on Tuesdays. Well, I have so many things to write about now that that plan needs to change. Moving forward, short of some major problem, I’ll post every Friday, most likely about pens or pen-related topics. I may post up to 4 other times a week, with varying subjects.

OK, with that out of the way, I can jump into the nib reviews. I picked up 5 new nibs at BWIPS. I’m really enjoying testing out various nibs and nib grinds right now. It adds extra character to my writing and helps make older pens “new and exciting” again.

What to skip directly to a specific review? Go ahead: Architect | Secretary of de Flex | Esterbrook 9314F | Esterbrook 9128 | Oblique

comparative writing sample
A comparative writing sample of all five nibs. In order, top to bottom: architect, Secretary of de Flex flexed, Secretary of de Flex unflexed, 9314, 9128 flexed, 9128 unflexed, oblique, oblique reverse.


The first nib I picked up was an F architect grind from Damien (All in the Nib). I’d left a nib with him when I got my oblique from him a couple months ago. I didn’t want to take up one of his work slots when I could “pre-order” what I wanted.

Next to a normal nib, the architect grind does lend some additional character to my writing. But I’m not sure how I feel about the architect grind in general. I feel like it doesn’t give as much character as I want. The work is great; the nib is wet and smooth. And there is a difference in vertical and horizontal lines. But, I love oblique and cursive italic grinds so much that the architect seems lackluster in comparison.

architect writing sample

I’m guessing that at least part of that is the nib size. Perhaps I’ll try a M architect at some point.

To recap… Grind work: 10/10. Grind style: 7/10? Ish?

Secretary of de Flex

Next up was the Secretary of de Flex (SodF) from Kirk Speer (Pen Realm). I’d previously seen an image on Instagram showing the capabilities of the SodF. I’m happy I bought this nib.

Secretary of de Flex nib, top view

It doesn’t require much pressure to flex, but it’s not a full-on wet noodle. So I can still write normally with it. The feed keeps up nicely, even when writing quickly. The SodF is fabulous for shading inks. You can see how awesome Diamine Golden Honey looks below.

secretary of de flex writing sample

Esterbrook 9314F

The 9314F is a “Relief Fine Stub.” The nib needed a bit of work, but it writes decently now. The weird thing is that it looks like a very slight oblique. And it writes when held like an oblique, but it doesn’t write like an oblique.

Then again, it doesn’t really write like a sub, either. There is an almost imperceptible difference between the horizontal and vertical strokes. Oddly, the nib seems to prefer a lower angle. The lower I write with it, the wetter the line. But, overall, I don’t see myself using this one very much.

9314F writing sample

Esterbrook 9128

The 9128 is a “Flexible Extra Fine.” I really enjoy this nib.I definitely want to try out other vintage Esterbrook flex nibs.

This one is pleasantly bouncy, although not as much as the SodF. But you can also push it to get some nice line variation. I’m pretty surprised, actually. There is a bit of tooth, but I”m not bothered, especially given how nice the nib performs. I definitely want to get a couple more of these in case they wear out quickly. I’m also curious to see if they will all perform the same.

9128 writing sample


My last nib purchase was an oblique grind from JC Ament (Nib Tailor). I specifically requested a more rounded oblique from him, as the one I have from Damien is more crisp. But this isn’t a comparison between the two.

JC’s oblique glides nicely across paper, likely a result of the rounder edges. I really enjoy the line quality and the ability to write with the reverse. Granted, the reverse line is at least a B, probably a BB, but it’s fabulously smooth.

oblique writing sample

Well, those are my five new nibs. Are there any other nib grinds you think I need to try? Or any awesome flex nibs? Let me know in the comments. I love hearing from you.

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