What are broad nibs?

A broad nib is also known as broad-edged nib or chisel-edged nib. It is rigid and has a flat edge. Different thickness can be created by changing the pen angle. The most common brands are as follows:

 

BRAND MADE SIZE STIFFNESS LEFT-HANDERS
Leonardt Hiro Tape UK 7 In between Not available
Brause Bandzug Germany 9 Very stiff Not available
William Mitchell UK 10 Flexible Yes
Leonardt Round Hand UK 10 Flexible Yes
Speedball C Series USA 7 In between Yes

 

Depends on your budget, it is recommended to buy a range of nibs to test out and experiment with them. As with all pen nibs, the right nib for you will vary from user to user. When I am writing Italic, my favourite brands are Leonardt Hiro Tape and Speedball C Series, they are stiffer than William Mitchell and Leonard Round Hand, but more flexible than Brause Bandzug. However, when I am writing Gothic (Fraktur), I would prefer Brause Bandzug so that I can create a clean sharp edge more easily. Some nibs are available for left-handers, their chisels are left-oblique cut.

 

 

 

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(Left) Leonardt Round Hand Square-Cut - For right-handers

(Right) Leonardt Round Hand Left-Oblique-Cut - For left-handers

 

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(Left) William Mitchell Round Hand Square-Cut - For right-handers

(Right) William Mitchell Round Hand Left-Oblique-Cut - For left-handers

 

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Leonardt Hiro Tape - For right-handers. This brand does not have left-hander version.

 

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Brause Bandzug - For right-handers. This brand does not have left-hander version.

 

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(Left) Speedball C Series - For right-handers

(Right) Speedball C Series Left-Oblique-Cut - For left-handers

 

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甚麼是 「平尖」?

「平尖」,顧名思義筆尖是平的,書寫時利用手指和手腕運筆,配合筆尖的角度,從而做到粗幼不同的效果。用平尖來書寫的字體有很多,當中包括:意大利斜體﹝Italic﹞, 歌德體﹝Gothic﹞, 歌德斜體﹝Gothicized Italic﹞基礎手寫體﹝Foundation﹞, 加洛林體﹝Carolingian﹞和安瑟爾體﹝Uncial﹞。與「點尖」不同的是,「平尖」的寛度尺寸有很多,從小號0.5毫米開始到大號5.0毫米,視乎筆尖的牌子。常見的品牌有 5 個,每款筆尖的特性和剛硬程度也有不同,各有千秋。

除外,「平尖」也有左右之分,市面上的「平尖」大多是設定給右撇子的。根據統計,全球大概百分之九十的人都是右撇子。因為需求不高,左撇子的「平尖」比較難找到,而且價錢一般會比右撇子的稍高,還有並不是每個牌子都有左手專用的筆尖,比如英國的 Leonardt Hiro Tape 和德國的 Brause Bandzug 都沒有左撇子平尖」的。

 

到底哪一個牌子最好

在我的店裡,經常會有客戶或學生問,初學者到底應該買哪一個牌子?坦白說,每個人都不一樣,必需要用過才會知道哪一種比較適合自己,不應該人云亦云。就像吃東西一樣,網上食評說這家餐館很好吃,但同時也有人說不好吃,那到底好不好吃就必須你親自試過才真正得到答案。同樣道理,買筆和筆尖都一樣,因人而異。

筆尖價格大概是澳幣 3 塊 4 塊左右,相等於墨爾本當地一杯咖啡的價錢。所以如果真的對西洋書法有興趣的話,建議每個牌子都買一個來試試手感。筆尖的好處是,它不是食物,沒有食用期限;儘管可能這一刻你是新手,試用後覺得不合適,不懂得拿捏,但經過練習,體會可能不一樣。

簡單來說,德國的 Brause Bandzug 在所有牌子裡面是最剛硬的。英國的 William Mitchell 和同樣是英國的 Leonardt Round Hand 相對柔軟度最高。而英國 Leonardt Hiro Tape 和美國的 Speedball C Series 算是剛柔並重,比較中性。

經驗分享,Brause Bandzug 對我來說太剛硬了,所以在書寫意大利斜體的時候我會選擇用 Leonardt Hiro Tape 或 Speedball C Series。但如果是寫歌德體,我一般會使用Brause Bandzug,出來的效果會比較清晰整齊。如果是歌德斜體的話,我會用 William Mitchell 或者 Leonardt Round Hand,柔韌度比較高。但說到底,我的最愛還是英國的 Leonardt Hiro Tape 平尖。