TWSBI is one of our most popular pen brands, and it’s also a personal favourite of mine. We’ve been carrying it for years now, since our earliest days at 906 Dundas West, and it’s been excited to watch them expand their lines and release special editions. As a retailer, TWSBI is also one of our favourites to do business with, pandemic or otherwise.
I have been long remiss in not having all the nib sizes together on a page to compare. I have occasionally done writing samples of one or another, but it’s difficult to compare when they’re not on the same blog post (or paper, or using the same ink, etc.).
The usual caveats: everything is quite dependent on your ink and your paper. The more absorbent your paper, the more the ink will spread out, and your lines will appear thicker. Different inks also behave differently, some a bit drier, with less ink coming out onto the page, and giving a thinner line. Even how much pressure you write with can affect how broad the line is on the page.
I lack the ability and the tools to be precise with digital calipers or gauges, but I am hoping this post will give you an idea of how the nib sizes compare against each other and what it looks like on the page, especially if you’re trying to decide something like if you should get the extra fine or the fine.
The ink is Noodler’s Raven Black, a fairly wet black ink, and a Rhodia top spiral A4 pad. I am normally a loyal user of the yellow Rhodia pad, but it’s not always the best for a more neutral photograph (as neutral as my photos can get, in any case).
Over the years, I have skated back and forth from one end of the nib sizes to the other, with admittedly only short dalliances with the 1.1 stub. My handwriting is too wayward to make any use of the stub nib, although some might argue that wayward handwriting is the perfect candidate for a little extra help. I think I’m beyond that. My circle letters (e, a, o) tend to get a bit too jumbled up and illegible when the nib is too wide. I mean, I guess they do that no matter what. Let’s not get into it.
I find TWSBI nibs to be slightly finer than Lamy nibs, but definitely not as fine as Japanese nibs like Pilot.
I have historically chosen broad nibs, liking to see the ink shading in particular, but over time, I’ve found I reach for my fine nibs the most. I like how they feel on the page when I’m writing with them. My favourite fine nib is on my TWSBI AL-Mini Blue. Even my extra fines are great for when I’m trying to take some quick notes. I do still have my broads, and when I sit down for a letter or a thank you note, I love seeing the personality of a pen and ink on a page.