Quest for Fountain Pen Line Variation

My fascination with all things fountain pen is now leading me on a quest to find a pen (or maybe just a new nib) that creates beautiful line variation. Those of you that are similarly afflicted know what I'm talking about.

I recently purchased my first stub nib pen, and the line variation has me wondering "who's handwriting is that?" It's almost artistic. So, I began surfing the web incessantly (Google really is your friend), watching youtube videos, poring over the pen sites, i.e. pendemonium, fountain pen network, richard binder, etc. in search of knowledge about how to create the most beautiful line variation.

Through my research I found out about dip pens. I bought one at an art supply store, and have been having great fun with it. The one I bought, though, is a "crow quill" which means its smaller than traditional dip pens. It's scratchy writer, and the ink bleeds through on almost every type of paper I've tried. I can buy an assortment of dip nibs for $15, but I'm wondering if I will have similar bleeding issues. So, I'm steering clear of these for now.

I also discovered that the folks over at will custom grind fountain pen nibs, and for a mere $20 plus $5 shipping. I'm considering having my medium nib Waterman Phileas custom ground to a "cursive italic". Since I love my stub nib, I'm thinking this might be similar.

However, today I discovered that I can buy a flexible fine Esterbrook Renew nib (#9048) for $40 thru richard binder's website. I bought an Esterbrook pen for $5 at an estate sale a couple years ago, so I can sort of justify spending another $40 to get a flexible nib.

I'm in a quandry. Buy the Estie flex nib or go the custom grind route for my Waterman. I'm trying to avoid doing both. Have any of my fellow fountain pen addicts here written with a "cursive italic" nib and/or an Esterbrook #9048 flex nib? I'm kind of leaning toward the Estie nib, but that's today. HELP!


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Email Sam at Pendemonium and

Email Sam at Pendemonium and ask her the same questions.

She also has Esterbrook nibs available at a much cheaper price and will be more happy to communicate with you about your needs and send you the nib(s) that gives the most line variation.

It would also be cheaper for you to buy a Pendemonium custom italic pen. If this is not for you, you can resell it easily and you wouldn't have to sacrifice your Waterman.

I had many pleasant interactions and great transactions with Pendemonium, I recommend them enthusiastically.

I had one interaction and two transactions with Binder, they were my last.

Pendemonium has a nib master on site who has
many decades of experience. Their prices are fair and their knowledge invaluable.


Sam has always responded very quickly to my emails. I never thought to ask about the Esterbrook nibs. I'm embarrassed to learn that Sam is a "she". Assumed a "he". Ooops!

These are all great tips. Thanks!