I’ve been using a lot of dark and pastel inks lately, and earlier this week I suddenly decided enough was enough. I needed some pink. And not just any pink… I wanted bright, in-your-face, rebelling-against-your-bad-day pink. It also occurred to me that I didn’t have a single Sailor inked up, but I didn’t really feel like any of my Sailors matched up well with the type of pink I had in mind.
Did I choose to give up on the perfect pink, or did I ditch my Sailors for another pen brand?
Neither. Instead, I grabbed one of the smallest but most impactful accessories in my pen collection. Then, I reached for my hot pink Franklin Christoph, carefully borrowed a nib from one of my Sailor Pro Gears, and just like that, my pocket 66 was eye-dropped with rebellious bright pink and fitted with one of my favorite nibs.
Flexible Nib Factory makes a variety of nib housings and feeds that allow you to take your pen customization to the next level. The housings are specifically designed to take nibs from some of your favorite brands like Pilot, Sailor, or Platinum, and fit them into standard Jowo or Bock housings. This opens up all kinds of new possibilities, including allowing you to use some the best nibs on the market in some of your favorite custom pens.
In addition to custom housing, Flexible Nib Factory makes replacement housing and feeds for Jowo nib units. The goal here is to keep the Jowo nib, but change up the feed and housing- either for the sake of asthetics or functionality (or both!). One option is a clear acrylic feed which looks particularly good in clear demonstrator pens.
You can also purchase ebonite feeds and housings, which improve ink flow and even come in a red version. These ebonite feeds are especially useful for flexible nibs, as they help provide a more steady and consistent ink flow as you change line variation on the page.
The pocket 66 (or any Franklin Christoph pen that takes a #6 sized nib) is a particularly great choice for the swap as the majority of Flexible Nib Factory’s custom housings do not allow for the use of a converter or cartridge (i.e. to use the feeds you must be able to eye-dropper the pen). This means you want to make sure your pen of choice does not have a metal body, section, or threads.
The hot pink match-up sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole. I quickly had an army of pocket 66s fitted with a variety of Sailor nibs, Platinum nibs, custom nibs, and crazy grinds.
A couple of notes:
- At first, I was nervous (an understatement) to remove my Sailor and Platinum nibs from their original pens. A year of pen-shows at the NibSmith table will train that fear right out of you. The most accurate way of describing it would be that swapping nibs between pens is not as tricky as you are likely imagining it to be, but it’s also not something you just do on a whim without thinking about it.
- Pens have different ways they fit into their respective feeds. For some, the entire section with nib, feed, and housing simply screw out of the pen- and you can easily screw in another nib, feed, and housing of your choice (Franklin Christoph, Carolina Pen Company etc.). However, not EVERY pen works this way, so you want to verify how your pen of choice functions before you start trying to twist or yank the nib out. For example, with Sailor pens the nib and feed are friction fit into the section of the pen. So you will need to grab some type of grippy material and pull the nib and feed directly out of the pen for removal.
- Even for nib housings that screw out of the pen, once you have the housing, nib, and feed removed- the nib and feed are typically (but not always) friction fit into the collar. The photo below shows a Carolina Pen Company Jowo nib and feed that have been removed from the housing.
- Putting the nib and feed back into housing is pretty easy, but you want to make sure you understand exactly where the feed should be aligned with the nib, and keep that alignment as you insert the nib and feed into the housing.
Flexible Nib Factory includes detailed instructions on their site, but if you’ve never fully removed a nib, you may want to watch some videos or read some articles about your specific pen and practice on pens at the lower end of your collection first. TWSBI Eco nibs and feeds are friction fit into the section and removed in basically the same fashion as a Sailor or Platinum so they may be a good first candidate if you have one on-hand (BUT TWSBI feeds are significantly more fragile than Sailor or Platinum feeds- so you have to be extra careful to not push too hard on the feed against the nib).
Once you get the hang of things, swapping nibs between pens could not be any simpler, and Flexible Nib Factory housings and feeds are one of my favorite ways to bring even greater variety and customization to my pens. Everyone needs a hot-pink eye-dropped Sailor-Franklin Christoph frankenpen in their life this week, don’t you think?
- Pen: Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 ($155), Flexible Nib Factory Housings ($12)
- Paper: Yamamoto Paper Cosmo Air Light 75g – A4 ($9.50 for 50 sheets)
- Stamps: Well-Appointed Desk “The Daily Grind” Rubber Stamps ($10)
DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were purchased with my own funds. Please see the About page for more details.