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Review: Speedball 6-Nib Calligraphy Lettering Set

This is the 6-Nib Calligraphy Lettering Set by Speedball. By the way, Speedball also sells many other types of sets with dip nibs for different purpose.

This set comprises of a straight nib holder and six calligraphy dip nibs. You will have to get your own ink as this set does not come with ink.

The nib holder is made of plastic and is rather light in weight.

C1 nib

C2 nib

C3 nib

C4 nib

No.101 nib

No.512 nib

As you may see from the pictures above, the metal nibs come in varying sizes, namely:

  • C1
  • C2
  • C3
  • C4
  • No.101
  • No.512

Each of the nibs C1 - C4 have a silvery and gold finish to it. In contrast, the No.101 nib has a reddish-brown copper finish and the No.512 nib, an entirely silver finish.

Nibs C1, C2, C3 and C4 are italic, flat-chisel nibs ideal for Roman and/or Italic lettering. You will find the name - 'Ross F. George' and words 'Speedball' and 'U.S.A.' engraved on the front body of these nibs.

The C1 nib produces strokes with the thickest width, followed by C2, then C3 and C4 (which produces strokes with the thinnest width amongst the four italic nibs).

The 101 and 512 nibs are flex nibs which are great for drawing fine, thin lines and strokes. You can find the words 'Hunt', 'Imperial' and 'U.S.A' engraved on the body of the 101 nib, and the words 'Hunt', 'Ex-Fine', 'Bowl Pointed' (yes that's right, 512 is a bowl-pointed fine nib) and 'U.S.A.' engraved on the stainless steel body of the 512 nib. Notably, the tines of the 101 nib is considerably more flexible than the tines of the 512 nib (flexibility in this context refers to the tines' ability to spread). And because the tines of the 101 nib can spread much more than the 512 nib, the 101 nib is capable of creating lines and strokes which are thicker in width than the 512 nib.

Please do be mindful that before you start using these nibs, to use a damp tissue paper to gently wipe the nibs - especially the area around the slits and tines of the nibs where ink flows out. Because the surface of new nibs are usually coated with a chemical residue which will hinder proper ink flow (you may end up with scratchy strokes).

At the back of the packaging, you can find a short introduction and instruction on how to insert the nibs into the pen holder,

For more detailed instructions, there is an instruction booklet within the packaging that covers topics such as how to hold and move the pen, how to properly load the pen with ink as well as some cleaning tips.

The instruction booklet also provides some helpful tips on lettering and drawing methods as well as technique to create the 'flourishing effect'.

This is how the back of the nib looks like - hemispherical, curved contour at the bottom half to fit the pen holder

As you may see from the pictures above, there is a circular groove at the top of the pen holder - this is where you insert the nib.

What I like about this removable nibs is that I do not have to worry about applying a bit of force while cleaning/wiping the attached nib - because if the nib comes out of the pen holder, nothing is damaged! The nib was after all designed to be removable. But in contrast, when I wipe the irremovable nibs of some of my art/fountain pens, I have to be careful not to apply much force - because I might end up pulling out the nib and damage the pen. This has happened to me before, when I had ended up pulling out the 'irremovable' nib of an art pen from its body while I was wiping the nib. I tried inserting back the nib, but the pen was already damaged - writing with it was never the same as when it was in good condition.

But of course, please do still handle these nibs with care! (especially the 101 nib which is so flexible that it spreads out quite easily)

I use J Herbin's pen cleaning solution - 'Nettoyant Pour Stylo' to clean the nibs after use. Simply just pour a little of the liquid, dilute it with water and then soak your nibs in there for about 5 minutes.

Below is an example of the strokes drawn by the respective nibs

Quite honestly, I do find it a tad inconvenient to keep having to dip the nibs into the inkwell quite often as this isn't a loadable, but a dip pen. But if you don't mind this bit of inconvenience, Speedball's 6-Nib Calligraphy Lettering Set is actually quite a steal given its inexpensive price and good quality.


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