Fountain Pen Nib Selection Guide

Use this guide to find the perfect nib for every style of writing!

Fine, medium, broad? Oblique or straight? When it comes to nibs there are a number of choices and with good reason: every person's handwriting is different! iPenstore offers the perfect nib for every style of writing and every preference. Discover how to find the right one for you in this Fountain Pen Nib Guide.

Entry-level nibs

A nibs
The beginner's nib is the perfect choice for early writers: it's particularly robust and is equipped with a spherical writing tip. This enables it to glide effortlessly over the paper and promotes a relaxed grip. "A" nibs are suited to both right and left-handed writers as the large tip is especially forgiving. The Pelikan Pelikano and Schneider Ray fountain pens are available with the "A" or "M+" nib.

M nib
This nib suits almost everyone: the M nib is an all-rounder suitable for most scripts and writing styles. This is why we stock most fountain pens with an M nib as standard. The secret is its rounded tip: no sticking, no scratching and a line that is neither too thick nor too thin. M nibs are best for average writing pressure, average line width and general all-round use.

Left-handed nib
Especially for left-handed writers: the most LH nibs have the same properties as their M nib – with a small yet significant difference: it is slightly oblique making it ideal for left-handed writers who frequently tilt their hand when writing. Other pens made for left-handers use an "A" nib and adjust the grip for a left or right handed writer (Pelikan Pelikano and Schneider Ray).

Individual nibs

Tip: when choosing the correct nib width the important thing is the size of your own handwriting: the smaller your script, the finer the nib should be. A larger script on the other hand will generally look better with a broad nib.

Fine and broad nibs: EF, F, B 
F nibs are excellent for general writing and note taking. Moderate pressure produces a fine line.
EF nibs are for fine line writing with a light touch.
B nibs have a heavier, rounded point for wide lines and bold signatures.

Writers with a straight grip will feel particularly at ease with these nibs.

Calligraphy nibs: 1.1 mm / 1.5 mm / 1.9 mm
Calligraphy nibs are also known as cursive or italic nibs. Rather than having an iridium ball, they have a straight, flat tip. This permits the writer to create a script with different stroke weights – perfect for beautiful penmanship.

Premium nibs

Gold nibs
Whether for writing comfort or good looks: a gold nib always makes the difference. In high-quality writing implements it contributes to creating a refined and harmonious overall look. The 14 carat bi-color gold nibs from Lamy are part platinized (platinum coated) and ensure a particularly harmonious and rounded script. Vanishing Point by Pilot are solid 18 carat gold and available in standard gold finish, rhodium-plated silver and black oxide. Some Diplomat pens use two-tone 14 carat JoWo nibs.

Custom ground nibs

Custom nib
We've partnered with Gena at Custom Nib Studio in Los Angeles to provide custom ground nibs for our Rosetta Magellan and Vulcan fountain pens. Gena trained with Master Nibmeister John Mottishaw for the better part of four years learning the fine art of tuning nibs, customizing nibs and vintage fountain pen repairs.

Cursive Italic
Our most popular custom nib. Cursive Italic nibs have a wider down-stroke and narrower cross-stroke. The Cursive Italic nib is slightly position sensitive. Popular with artists and calligraphers and smooth enough to make a good everyday writer. With practice, a cursive italic gives your handwriting extra personality.

Oblique Nibs
Oblique nibs are cut at an angle for those who slant the pen when they write. Left Oblique nibs are slanted down to the left and are generally used by right handed writers. Reverse Oblique nibs are slanted down to the right and are generally used by left handed writers.

Left Oblique
Left Oblique nibs are cut at a 30 degree angle. Sometimes called a left-foot oblique, they're especially suited to users that rotate their pen to the left.

Reverse Oblique
Reverse Oblique or Right Oblique nibs are just the opposite of the Left Oblique; also cut at a 30 degree angle, but to the right. Some lefties who rotate their pen to the right (clockwise) love this customization because it makes the top surface of the nib more visible, but it is best suited to advanced users as it is very position sensitive.

Stub nibs have slight line variation (wider down-stroke, narrower cross-stroke) but are still smooth and user friendly. A great place to start if you are new to fountain pens.

Formal Italic
Similar to the Cursive Italic, but a straighter cut and crisper corners to give you the most line-width variation between cross strokes and down strokes. This nib is very position sensitive and more appropriate for advanced users or those familiar with calligraphy.

Architect's Point
Sometimes called a Hebrew Point or an Arabic Point, this grind creates line width variation opposite of a cursive italic - it has a wide cross-stroke and a narrow down-stroke. Named after the style of writing used by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is well-suited to those writing in Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, or block printing.

Other nib services from Gena

Tune + Smooth
She'll adjust the tine alignment, smooth the writing surface, increase or decrease ink flow - whatever needs to be done to get it writing right.

Straighten Bent Nib
If your tines are bent, chances are she can fix it. Available for gold nibs only.

Regrind to Smaller Tipping Size (M to XXF)
Gena can regrind almost any nib to the smaller tipping size of your choice: Medium, Fine, Extra Fine, or Extra Extra Fine. This can also be added on to any other regrind.

Contact us by email (, or call (888-747-7367) for information and current pricing on any of these services.

For further information on nib sizes, and fountain pen nibs in general, check out our Fountain Pen Nib Tip Chart Blog, complete with nib point sizes for each brand we stock at


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