A guide to fountain pen nibs
All of the fountain pens on this site are available with the full range of alternative nib sizes, so you don't have to settle for the standard medium nib if you don't want to. Just select the nib grade you want in the drop-down box on the relevant fountain pen product page. There is no extra charge for selecting the nib of your choice, and can easily be changed. Unless stated otherwise, the fountain pen nibs can be removed and changed for alternate sizes and/or styles; the nibs aren't glued or especially fixed to the pen. Most of our nibs are in stock for purchase, however some rarer nibs require extra days for delivery. This will be stated when you choose your nib.
We also offer replacement fountain pen nibs for many of the brands we sell. This means you can buy just the nib section of a pen to replace a broken or worn out nib. We offer nib sections from Parker, Waterman, Lamy, Sheaffer, Diplomat and Faber-Castell.
Selecting a suitable nib
The choice of which fountain pen nib to use stems from your writing style and personal preference.
If you are buying a gift and are unsure as to which nib to choose then we recommend you use the size of the user's handwriting as a guide. Those with small handwriting will generally prefer a finer nib grade, while broader nib grades are generally more suited to larger handwriting.
The following nib guide and images are taken from Parker, but all manufacturers follow a similar pattern.
Extra extra fine nib
An extremely fine point for precise figure work.
Not intended for general writing.
Extra fine nib
For fine line writing with a light touch.
Excellent for general writing and note taking.
Moderate pressure produces a fine line.
For average writing pressure, average line width.
General all-round use.
A heavier, rounded point for wide lines.
Extra broad nib
A large rounded point excellent for heavy lines and bold signatures.
Extra extra broad nib
Developed for people who like to write boldly and rapidly and want a special flourish to their signatures.
Oblique nibs are intended for those who slant the pen when they write and are precision ground at an angle on the tip of the writing point. A person holding the pen at an angle can get the same writing effect and smoothness of line as someone holding the pen straight.
Generally used by right handed writers.
Reverse oblique nib
Generally used by left handed writers.
Italic and calligraphy nibs
An italic nib provides flair and line variation in handwriting, while maintaining a smooth writing experience. A calligraphy nib tends to have sharper corners which gives a crisper line and more variation in line width. Writing with a calligraphy nib tends to be slower as the nib needs to be held at the correct angle continuously in order to prevent skipping.
Straight italic nib
Cut straight across.
Provides flair and line variation.
This guide from Manuscript helps to show the difference in the most common calligraphy nibs.
Nib Care Guide
- If you are not going to use your pen for a while, keep it empty and clean the nib before storing it. The acids in the ink together with the oxygen starts oxidation which corrodes your nib if ink is left in the pen
- If you can, write with the cap attached to the end of your pen. If you accidentally drop your pen, hopefully the heavier end will reach the floor first rather than the nib
- Replace the cap when you put your pen down, or keep it attached at all times, to prevent the pen from rolling off of raised surfaces
- Rinse your nib and section at least once a month with cool water until the water runs clear
- We do recommend cleaning your fountain pen between each ink refill
- Gently blow into the nib assembly to remove any excess water
- You can then place in a new cartridge or freshly filled converter