Last weekend, I went to Kansas for the weekend to hang out with two fellow pen nerds, Jesi and Jaclyn. We played with the Pentastic folded nibs a lot. It inspired me to show these to you, my lovely readers.
I have been using the Toronto Pen Company Pentastic CxPO brass folded nibs (C$40.00) designed for tester bottles (sample vials) since the Toronto Pen Show in 2018. These brass folded nibs were designed to fit into standard dip pen holders and made small enough to fit into most fountain pen ink sample containers.
Folded nibs are dipped into ink like a dip nib and then are applied to paper at various angles to create various stroke widths. They require some experimentation to find the “sweet spot” to get the best flow and the look you want. Some people like to get lots of line variation, others prefer more of a calligraphic look and some like the occasional spatter or bloop that might happen.
Depending on what paper is used, or what ink, folded nibs are far more likely to bleed or feather because folded nibs lay down a lot more ink than a dip nib. Folded nibs are not flexible but, because the surface area is broad and smooth, the line width can vary as a result of the large open slot that allows ink to flow out.
To demonstrate how the nibs work, I tried three different papers, both nibs and two shades of the Sailor North America Ink Series: Colorado and California. The first paper I tried was Rhodia Uni Bloc No. 18 Blank ($13.75), my standard pen and ink testing paper. The folded nibs definitely laid down more ink than the Rhodia paper could handle in this case. I didn’t find this the case with all the inks I tried over the weekend but these inks are pretty wet. Just so you know. The blobbing and feathering occurred most often at the moments when I had to dip my pen.
The next stock I tried was a mixed media sketchbook, the Bee Paper Aquabee Super Deluxe 9″x12″ Sketchbook ($15.59), which also had some bleeding and feathering issues when the ink was heaviest. Again, it was probably most likely when I had just dipped for more ink. The ink colors look better though. The nib on the left created the thinner lettering on the top two lines and the nib on the right created the lettering on the bottom two lines.
Finally, I used the Col-o-ring OVERSIZE ($15) and the Colorado ink and BOOM! I wasn’t really expecting it to outperform the Aquabee paper. I swear. I wasn’t trying to make a pitch for our little notebooks. But the proof is in the pudding, which in this case is a lot of sheen and no feathering. Paper performance aside, the top lettering was done with the folded nib shaped like a butter knife (the nib on the right in the photo above) and the wider lettering at the bottom was done with the folded nib shaped more like a palette knife (the nib on the left with the flat end).
As for the nib holders, the black holder is labeled “Free Penholder” and I have no idea where it came from. The other is one of my favorites as you can tell by the accumulated ink stains. It’s a Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Holder Model 40 ($8.25). It’s a blonde wood with a soft rubberized grip. If you don’t have a dip pen holder, buy this one. You won’t regret spending a couple extra dollars but you won’t have to empty the bank account.
What we discovered over the weekend was that the Pentastic Folded Nibs were great fun for using up ink and paper. We wrote out quotes, the silly things we said and the ridiculous things the kids said. It was fun to practice our lettering, let loose and play and make a mess. You definitely have to be ready to cut loose and be messy. But it’s great fun and the Pentastic nibs are well made and tons of fun.
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