The Pen Doctor XXIV

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Pelikan Nib Interchangeability

I just acquired a used Pelikan 605 with an EF 14 K nib, which I like a great deal. What I'm wondering is: can I buy and use an M700 18K nib in the 605?

Rx: As shown in our chart of nib interchangeability, the nib will fit, but it will be slightly small and may not please you aesthetically. Here are an M600 nib (left) and an M700 nib (right) for comparison.

M600 nibM700 nib

If what you’re after is an improved writing experience, you should know that 18K does not write better than 14K. The whole myth of 18K has been foisted on us out of necessity by pen makers who need to justify using 18K but don’t want to admit that they do so because they have to, not because they want to. It all started centuries ago with a still-on-the-books French antifraud law that says you can’t sell something as gold unless it’s at least 18K. In France, if it’s not 18K or richer, it has to be labeled METAL, so pen makers try to convince us that 18K is better because it has more actual gold in it. As it turns out, however, 18K is not as good as 14K for making nibs. See this article for a fuller explanation.

Note
Note
As I write this, with gold selling at $1,663.80 per Troy ounce, the gold in an M700 nib, at $146.00 street price, is worth about $4.23 more than the gold in an M400 nib, at $98.00 street price.

If you really want an 18K nib anyway, the right nib is an M620/M640 nib. These nibs are made for the M640 Beauties of Nature series and for the (retired) M620 Cities and Famous Places series. They are the same size a your M605’s present nib.

Other Nib Interchangeability

I have a Jinhao 750 pen. I removed the nib and the feed mechanism looked like the ones on Pilots, in the fact that there is the nib that kind of wedged between the inner pen wall and the feed system. So the question is … could I use the flat metal Pilot nib and put it in the Jinhao feed in some way? What about other nibs, can they be interchanged with the original Jinhao nib?

Pen case

Rx: In general, nibs do not interchange between dissimilar pens. Many European manufacturers use stock “commodity” nibs that can be interchanged, although the nib sleeves and feeds they use aren’t always interchangeable. (For example, Bexley and Edison both use JoWo nibs, but they use different feeds and sleeves.) But the Japanese manufacturers all have their own proprietary designs that just won’t slip into the pens of other makers. Many Chinese nibs are designed to look like the European commodity nibs, but they are enough different (usually thinner) that swapping them around does not necessarily work well, if at all. Read this article for a discussion of Chinese nibs that are imprinted IRIDIUM POINT GERMANY.

Pencils in a Pen Pouch

I have three Pelikan 3-pen pouches. I have three Pelikan 600s in one, a MB classique fountain, roller ball, and pencil set in the second, and plan to use the third for my Parker set of fountain pen, ball point, and pencil. The pencil has a sharp point that I think will not be good to the pouch bottom, so I am asking you for suggestions re something to put over the end that would protect the pouch. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Rx: Sharpie marker caps work fairly well for this application. Remove the clip, file off the nub, and insert the cap, closed end first, into the Pelikan pouch. They stay put, and they provide the needed protection. (Thanx and a tip o’ the hat to Jim Hataway.)


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