The feed is arguably the most important part in a fountain pen. True, the nib is the business end that lays down your drawn line, but if the feed doesn't feed ink to the nib correctly, it doesn't matter what nib you're using.
We've produced a variety of feeds over the years in our search for what works best with popular nibs. All our current feeds can be divided into two categories:
- Large nib feeds, which support the Zebra Manga G, Brause Rose, our Sketch nibs and other nibs of a similar size and shape.
- Small nib feeds, which support popular drawings nibs, including the Gillott 303, Leonardt Principal, and Manga G nibs made by Tachikawa and Nikko.
Large nib feeds
We designed these feeds for the Zebra Manga G, Brause Rose, and our Sketch nibs. They also fit other nibs of a similar size and shape.
We've produced these feeds for the past ten years using several different configurations. These feeds fit directly into our Fountain Pens and Pump Pens and provide three different flow rates.
- Standard works with thinner inks, such as Noodlers
- Rich works with thicker inks, such as traditional India ink and Golden Hi-Flow acrylic.
- Full works with the thickest inks and paints
By default, we ship the standard feed with our Fountain Pens and Pump Pens, which works in most situations. You can order all three feeds separately or in a kit.
We can't predict with certainty which feed will work best for you because many variables control the flow rate of ink through a pen. The most important factor is the type of ink you use, which can vary in viscosity and surface tension - the two principal variables that determine flow rate.
You can usually insert and remove these feeds by hand. We sell a Nib and Feed tool that lets you remove feeds and nibs when they get stuck, but you can also use a firm rod with the right diameter.
Small nib feed
We've designed these feeds to fit popular nibs that are smaller than our large nibs including:
- Gillott 303 and 404, which is a stiffer version of the 303
- Gillott 170
- Leonardt Principal
- Manga G nibs made by Tachikawa and Nikko
These feeds have a simpler surface geometry than our large nib feeds due to the smaller size of the nibs they feed.
There are several problems fitting feeds to smaller nibs. The first problem is the small size of the nib. Matching a feed to a nib is not easy, and the smaller the nib, the more difficult it is to get a good fit.
The second problem is the variable quality of popular dip nibs. The Gillott 303 is a very popular drawing nib and has been for over 150 years. They are made today using the same inexpensive spring steel and similar rough edge dies used in the beginning. You have to juggle the nib and feed to find the "sweet spot" that provides the best feeding. The Leonardt Principal nib is higher quality, but it is still made from uncoated spring steel that can rust quickly.
These problems are less true with the Tachikawa and Nikko Manga G nibs, that are blanked, stamped and plated using modern industrial processes.