Sometimes, the best pen is the one you already have. But maybe, it just needs a little “something something”?
In this case, the pen in question is the Pilot Custom 912 ($240) which originally shipped with the FA/Falcon nib — its considered one of the softest Japanese nibs straight out of the package. It did have some nice flex but the feed could not keep up with ink flow and the nib just wasn’t flexy enough.
So, I enlisted the help of nib magician, Gena Salorino of Custom Nib Studio to modify the nib to her legendary “Spencerian” nib modification ($120).
I also reached out to Flexible Nib Factory for a red ebonite 3-slot feed replacement ($42).
I realize that the investment in both time and money for this pen may be more than what many folks can comfortably spend on a pen alone but I spread the expenses over the whole year making it a little less sticker-shocking.
But when we get past the cost of the pen, can we talk about how beautifully it works? The nib is so flexible. Next to a vintage “wet noodle”, the Spencerian grin on the 912 is the most flexible, accommodating nib I’ve ever used. And its smooth at the same time. Unlike writing with a dig nib which can be pokey, especially on toothier paper, the Spencerian nib grind on the Pilot 912 is smooth and silky while also being bouncy with a wide line width variation and character.
Check out the original post about the Custom 912 with the unmodified FA nib to see the difference in the line width variation.
The feed really helps the ink supply keep up with the nib’s needs. After writing for awhile, I did need to pause and let the feed keep up but I really put it through its paces. I basically covered a 12″ x 16″ page with ink. In more daily writing or a smaller scale page might have better results. I kept a scratch pad to rest the nib on to help the ink flow stay consistent.
The range of line weights and the light hand needed to create the line variations is mesmerizing. I had such a fun time just testing and writing all the sample text.
Super special nibs like this Spencerian grind is worth the investment, at least for me. If you have a dream for a special nib, save your pennies and prepare to wait (I handed my pen over to Gena in late June at the St. Louis Pen Show and I picked up the adjusted nib in San Francisco in late August). The wait is totally worth it!