Let’s Talk About Stub/Italic Nibs

Stub and Italic Nib writing samples

Last week, I posted a link to Richard’s Pens informative article about the difference between stub and italic nibs. As I own a few fountain pens that fit this description, I thought I’d put them altogether to see the differences. I own a Lamy Studio with a 1.1 mm italic nib, a Kaweco Sport with a 1.1mm italic nib and a vintage Esterbrook with a # 2442 nib known as the fine stub.
Stub and italic nibs

In the close-up above you can see that the Esterbrook nib is much narrower than the 1.1mm nibs that flank it. If I had to guess, I’d say that the Esterbrook is half the width of the other two.

In the writing samples at the beginning of the post (or click on the photo to see a larger version on Flickr), you can see that the character of the writing is different with the italic nibs versus the stub. The italic nibs create much sharper angles between its wide lines and its fine lines — it could almost be described as crispier. The stub softens the variation of the line widths but still allows the shading from the ink to show.

All three of these pen models easily allow you to swap out the nibs at a fairly reasonable price. Have you considered a stub or italic nib? Do you like it?

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6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Stub nibs give anyone’s writing a bit of extra flair, without the precision required of a true italic. Loads of fun! Thanks for the great comparison pics.

  2. I love the line variation my Lamy and Kaweco stubs give me 🙂 (I have a 1.1mm Lamy and a 1.5mm Kaweco). You might also like the Pilot Plumix stub, it’s finer than the 1.1mm, I have mine fitted in a Prera and it’s by far my favorite pen 🙂

  3. Nice Esterbrook! I’ve never gotten an italic nib for mine. I have one of those cheap chinese calligraphy pens with an italic nib that I use mostly when checking out new inks. I seem to be more into flex nibs.

  4. Thanks for this article. I LOVE stubs! It seems like lately when I buy new pens, all I want are stubs. Love the way I can get line variation without the sharpness of italic nibs. And yes, they do make my handwriting look much better. My normally loopy handwriting looks almost elegant with a stub. I totally agree; stubs rock!

    1. The difference between a stub and an italic is how sharp the corners of the nib are. Think of it like a crisp corner edge like the edge of a sheet of paper is an italic nib. A softer rounded edge on a nib is a stub. Obviously there are degrees of subtlety, but that’s the general difference. That said, Lamy does not cut their 1.1mm nibs very crispy and I think of them as more of a stub. YMMV.

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