Pen Review: Sailor Fude de Mannen Fountain Pens

Sailor Fude de Mannen fountain pens

A couple of days before I left for the Atlanta Pen Show, the amazing Joey Feldman sent me two Sailor Fude de Mannen fountain pens to try. I had been wanting to try these fountain pens for ages since many artists and calligraphers had raved about them but I had had a hard time finding anyone who had them in stock. Along came Joey with a couple he wasn’t using and voila! I’m flush with the funky nib wunderkinds.

Sailor Fude de Mannen fountain pens

The big deal about the Fude de Mannen fountain pens are the bent angle nibs that look like the nibs are broken but they are purposely bent to allow for brush-like ink flow from a fountain pen nib. This allows from very expressive line quality for calligraphy and drawing depending on the angle at which the nib is aligned with the paper. The more parallel the nib is aligned with the paper, the more ink will be applied to the paper; the steeper the angle, the finer the line.

Sailor Fude de Mannen 40º nib

The first one is the Sailor DE 40º Brush Style Calligraphy Fountain Pen. JetPens lists it for $16.50 and says its navy blue but it is so dark that I thought it was black. The trim is gold toned and it is a particularly long pen. The body is a lightweight plastic though so the length is not particularly noticeable once I started using it though I didn’t post the cap as it requires a bit of force to post it and makes the pen ridiculously long and a little back-heavy. The 40º pen does not have a clip but there is a roll-stop bit of plastic on the cap to keep the pen from rolling away.

Sailor Fude De Mannen 55º nib

The smaller pen is the Sailor Profit 55º Fude de Mannen Fountain Pen. I was only able to find it on Amazon for $21.66. Its a shorter pen, more traditional in length and the cap posts much more easily and the weight is more evenly distributed when the cap is posted. The Profit also writes with a much broader stroke overall which looks much more dramatic. When angled just right, the 55º is pretty much a firehose of ink which can be a lot of fun. Angled at a steeper angel, it cam be used more like a traditional broad nib.

Both pens use the Sailor cartridges or the Sailor converter.

I found the 40º pen to be a little bit scratchier on paper compared to the Profit 55º. I don’t know if it was the angle of the nibs or the specific nibs themselves. It could have just been a fluke of the pen I have but the Profit 55º skated like butter on the paper where there was a little more resistance with the 40º, for whatever reason. I might buy another one just to see if it was this specific pen that was a little rough or a difference between the two product lines. Either way, at around $20 per pen, I can hardly complain about quality control since the overall pen is very well done and the nibs are very unique and almost impossible to get in any other configuration without going into the hundreds-of-dollars price points.

Sailor Fude De Mannen writing drawing samples

I had a lot of fun drawing and trying out different lettering styles with these pens and I will definitely continue to experiment with these. Since the price points on these pens are so reasonable as well, I might even try using some permanent inks so that I can add some watercolor and marker to the drawings as well. Then I really have an excuse to buy another one and just label one “carbon ink” and one “water soluble”. If you like trying out different types of tools and $20 won’t break your bank, I definitely recommend picking one or both of these up. The scale you prefer to work will determine whether the 40º or the 55º will be more to your taste. If you work in sketchbooks smaller than A4, then I would recommend the 40º if you work A4 (US Letter or larger) than the 55º is probably a better option or if you like to work in big, bold shapes and patterns.

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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. The Sailor fude is by far my favorite drawing pen ever! I think the difference you’re noticing in scratchiness is not a factor of the nib angle (40 vs 55). I have several, and smoothness can vary even from pen to pen of the same model. Still, for the price, I’ve never had a serious complaint about any. (Until I got the 21kt gold version. . . and then it was very hard to use the $20 versions again. 😉 )

    – Tina

    1. hi Tina
      how do you get the 21kt gold version? i can’t wait to try out the difference that this pens agility can be improved. BYW a gold version of a Lamy nib is also an improvement to their regular nib and more noticeable to left handers, I am told,
      who do more pushing of the pen than right handers would.

      1. Hi John! I got mine from several years ago by special order. Unfortunately, the gold nib fude for the Sailor 1911 is no longer available and hasn’t been for years. Sailor kept saying they were releasing them a few at a time, but as far as I know, it has never been available in the U.S. after that. If you want one that’s a close second though, it’s made by Franklin Christoph! It’s fairly limited in production also, but I think they still make it.

  2. Help, your description of a fire hose is perfect. I wanted to use the pen for architectural lettering but the ink just bleeds all over the place. Is there any way to restrict the ink flow?

    1. I’ve been using my Sailor fude pens for years now, and they continue to flow generously, although I don’t consider it bleeding (as in out of control). If you like to tinker, there is a YouTube out there by a guy who has made his own fude from a Lamy Safari by bending the nib ever so gently, a little at a time. Apparently you can design your own line width range and therefore manage the ink flow better. When I first heard about it, I had an impulse to try it with an old Lamy, but I’m so spoiled by my Sailors that I quickly became complacent again.


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