About Our Manga G Nibs
There is a trend towards putting Manga G nibs into fountain pens. We do it at Ackerman Pens, we like the results, but they aren't always satisfactory. There are three reasons why.
- Flow pattern of ink
- Shape of the ink channel
- Shape of the nib tip
Flow Pattern of Ink
With fountain pen nibs, ink flows in a direct path from the breather hole down the ink channel to the tip of the nib. No ink should flow outside this channel. If it does, you wipe if off the surface of your nib.
With dip nibs, ink flows all over the surface of the nib. Ink adheres to the surface through static electricity and surface tension, but generally moves downward through the force of gravity to the tip of the nib. There is no ink "channel" in a dip nib. There is a slit, but the two sides abut each other, so nothing passes between them.
Solution: Employ an overfeed device that stores ink on top of the nib and feeds it to the tip through capillary action and surface tension.
Shape of the Ink Channel
This is related to the first problem but more specific. The channel is the slit that runs from the breather hole to the tip of the nib. (It's not called a "breather hole" in a dip nib, but we will use this term because we are trying to obtain the performance of a fountain pen nib from the Manga G nib.)
Ink channels in fountain pen nibs are actual channels designed to transport ink. There is a gap between the two sides that encourages the flow of ink through the channel. In dip nibs, they are simply slits in the nib material. There is no gap.
A Zebra Manga G nib is on the far left. The other five nibs are all fountain pen nibs. You can see through the channels in the five fountain pen nibs. You cannot see through the slit in the dip nib (Manga G nib). You can see that the ink channels in the fountain nibs are slightly V-shaped with the wide part at the bottom by the breather hole and the narrow part at the top by the tip. This shape encourages the flow of ink from the breather hole to the tip through capillary action.
Solution: Widen the channel in the dip nib, in this case the Manga G nib.
There is no easy way to modify the channel in a Manga G nib. The two tynes are delicate and can bend easily. That's why we recommend using overfeeds. This encourages the flow of ink over the surface of the dip nib in the normal fashion. You can position the tip of the overfeed to stop where you want it to. The closer you can place it to the tip of the nib helps keep ink flowing to the tip.
Shape of the Tip
When viewed from the side, almost all fountain pen nibs run straight across the top or spine of the nib from the back to the front of the nib. This is not the case with Manga G nibs, which dip at the tip, as shown below.
The dip provides extra spring at the tip, but it only provides a problem when used as a fountain pen nib. Because of the dip, it is not possible to bring the point of the underfeed close to the tip of the nib where it should be. If the feed extends near the tip, the rest of the nib rides up on the feed, which reduces the flow of ink from the feed to the nib. The underfeed has to stop short of the dip, which reduces the flow of ink to the tip. After all, no ink is flowing up the channel.
Solution: Again, an overfeed device. The overfeed delivers ink to the top from the top, and bends back out of the way when the nib flexes. It is not possible to straighten the tip of the Zebra Manga G without jeopardizing the spring of the tip and threaten the performance of the nib.
The best solution we offer is our Manga G with Overfeed Pump Pen that includes a Manga G nib with the modified V-shaped ink channel.
We offer a variety of pens that let you use Manga G nibs: Fountain Pens, Pump Pens, and Demonstrators. We carry three Manga G nib manufactures: Nikko, Tachikawa, and Zebra.
The Nikko G Nib
- The least expensive G nib
- Medium flex
- Smooth — no scratchiness
- Recommended by Michael Sull
The Tachikawa G Nib
- More expensive than the Nikko but less than the Zebra
- Finer hair lines
- More flexible than the Nikko G
- Hard to start for some people
- Some nibs are coated with oil, removed with rubbing alcohol, or passing the nib through a flame
- Recommended by Connie Chen
The Zebra G Nib
- Produces the finest hairlines because it has the sharpest tip
- The difference between hairline and swell requires more pressure
The Titanium Zebra G Nib
- Twice as expensive as the Zebra but lasts much longer
- Titanium-coated to last longer
- More flexible than standard Nikko but produces thicker hairlines
Connie Chen provides a YouTube video Calligraphy Nib Review: G Nibs illustrating comparisons of each G nib.
Related article: Using Manga G Nibs as Fountain Pen Nibs
Cheer and Happy Scribbling!