Left handed fountain pen nibs?

For all you fountain pen experts out there, is there such a thing as a special nib for south-paws? My S.0. is a leftie, and is getting rather avid about journaling. She's been kind of interested in fountain pens, but hasn't found any that really worked for her. I know there is supposed to be a certain slant from the nib to the paper, so I wondered if there was a difference between lefties and righties.

Admittedly, I know nothing really about them. I have a bad bad unbreakable habit of pen spinning, so my two fountain pens are kept pristinely in their cases. The world is much safer if I only have gels or ball points in my hands.

-thanks for letting me pick your collective brains

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I think most nibs work well "out of the box" for lefties or righties -- the bigger problem being that southpaws will tend to drag their hands through the nice wet ink and make a smudgy mess.

If you search for "overwriting" on Fountain Pen Network (fountainpennetwork.com) you should get a number of tips. You can get nibs reground to handle the angle that a leftie will naturally use, but there's still the wet-ink-on-hand issue.

I've seen pictures of the contortions lefties must use, I'll try to post links if the spam filter will allow them.

EDITED to add: found on Richard Binder's excellent site. I'm breaking up the link

www.richardspens.com [slash] ref_info [slash] nib_left.htm

locate oblique nibs

From the research I've done and seen (I am a southpaw as well), you need to find an oblique nib. I guess you can email the maker of your pen or the company you wish to buy from and see if they manufacturer these nibs.

I once had a fountain pen set that also said that if you cut the nib x degrees (can't recall if it was a 45 degree or what) the other way you can also mimic the style of a right hand pen holder. I don't necessarily recommend this as it'd ruin yer nib. But that's another possible solution for us lefties.

Good luck and happy hunting,

Left handed nibs

I have a left handed friend who loves the Pelikano jr. pens for left handers. She said the nib makes all the difference so she uses this one even though she does have a few fancier ones.

pen 1 link

I also found this one:

pen 2 link

The nice thing is the price. She could see if the nib really helps her before getting a more custom nib on a fancier pen.

My Blog

I'll second that.

The Pelikano Jr. is, by all accounts, a great inexpensive pen.

(I'm a lefty, but have no problems using most pens right out of the box.)

[ blog | photos ]

Can't speak for other lefties...

.... but I always have the impression that my pens that don't like my left-handedness don't like being _pushed_ across the paper, rather than being pulled or drawn. Some nibs like being pushed less...


Guess that would depend on how one writes

My father was a lefty, I'm not. He did not write "over the top" ? but like a mirror image of a righty, except he wrote the same left to right. As long as I remember he used a Sheaffer Snorkel and didn't tear up paper. He wrote lots in his job. But they spent lots of time practicing writing in school back then. Have never tried his pens to see if they would write for me or if they were worn for a lefty.


I don't think over-the-toppers push. I don't write "over the top" and I push. My Parker does fine with it, as does my cheapo 75 cent pen. A couple others I've tried, though, don't seem to like my writing style--at least when I go cursive. Printing is almost never a problem.


Maybe a "ball" nib would be best...

In earlier discussions about nibs for lefties, some people mentioned oblique nibs. But, if there's any pushing action involved, it seems to me that what's called a "ball" nib might work best. This is a nib that is well rounded, so that it writes the same width no matter which direction you move the nib, and it's pretty smooth in any direction. An oblique nib is cut at an angle and may be an italic type with sharp corners. That nib probably would catch on the paper if it's not held at the right angle and if it's moved upward in relation to the nib, i.e., pushed. A lot of Sheaffer nibs were ball nibs, and you'd probably want a medium to get smoother movement.

Also, it looks like a quick drying ink is a requirement. I don't have a lot of experience with those (never did any comparative testing), but the Noodler's Swishmix line of inks from www.swisherpens.com might fit the bill. They're also pretty water resistant.

Hope that helps,

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein and Buckaroo Banzai

Was a different Swisher's ink

Sorry, it wasn't Swishmix, it was the other Swisher ink made by Noodler's.
This is from www.swisherpens.com, and they indicate that lefties were considered in the use of this ink. I haven't used it, but it might be worth a try. No, I don't have any interest in the company. :-)

Swisher Pens Bottled Fountain Pen Ink was developed for us by Nathan Tardif (he also makes Noodler's ink) as a quick drying ink which was intended for use on good quality paper, Vellum (Rhodia Tablets), Linen (International Paper - Beckett Cambric Writing) and many other types of paper (see list below for our favorite types of paper to use with these inks). It can used on most other grades of paper, but some feathering may occur when used in a pen with a "wet" nib. In our tests, we found the black to be darker than most (if not all) conventional black inks we sell (Noodler's black was the closest). It should also be noted that our ink dries almost instantaneously when used on some types of paper. This has been proven to be very beneficial to left-handed writers. When tested on several popular brand of Vellum, Linen and Pure Cotton papers, our ink took approximately 14 seconds to dry to where it was "smudge" free. When tested on Cambridge writing paper, it took about 2 seconds for this ink to dry. (Drying times may vary due to humidity and type of paper used).

Rhodia - High Grade Vellum
*Ampad - Evidence Item 20-151
Ampad - Evidence Recycled Item 534032 @ Staples
Ampad - Gold Fibre Item 20-074
International Paper - Beckett Cambric Linen Writing Paper
Clairefontaine - Pupitre Tablets
Mead - Five Star Binders
*Cambridge - Writing Pads (These pads can be found at office supply stores)
*Georgia-Pacific 92/24 (Can be found at Walmart) Ink Jet Paper
*Recommend these for left-handed writers as our ink dries almost instantly on these papers without much (if any) feathering when using a fine or medium nib. However, very "Wet" nibs and humidity may still cause some feathering on these papers.

The Yellow ink can be used to mix with the other inks to create alternate colors and also may be used to highlight.
If you find other papers that work well with our inks and would like to recommend them to our customers, please let us know. Thanks!

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein and Buckaroo Banzai

Push vs. Pull

Righties have problems with nib-pushing, too. I think it's borne of years of bad practice with ballpoints. :) For me, the mark of a good pen is one that is a wet-enough writer that it lays down a line while just being glided over the page. If I catch myself pushing, it usually means I'm gripping too hard and treating the pen like something that's laying down a greasy-inky line, not a smooth buttery line.

I have a cheap Sheaffer school pen I picked up years ago with a fine nib, and it's especially sensitive to being pushed. Writing with it is good practice for keeping my hand at a nice angle and relaxed.

Another set of lefty photos

Here's another set of photos to show some of the many variations of left-handed writing: http://www.nibs.com/Left-hand%20writers.htm

The best advice for trying to find a fountain pen that works for a lefty is to take the lefty to a pen store. A good pen store should let you try out pens you're interested in, so you can find a pen that's right for you.

If you're near a pen show, go visit with Susan Wirth, whose table will be set up for lots of testing. She specializes in unusual nibs and can give you good advice.

Do you procrastinate?

Guess I'm an underwriter, then...

Just checked the link above and it looks like I'm an underwriter who pushes on a 30-degree tilted paper.

I've always been able to use pens out of the box, but I also had an elementary school teacher for a mother who was able to teach me how to avoid getting my hand inky. My main pen is a Rotring 600 (medium or broad nib depending on day) with cartridges. They're generic school ink that I picked up on a trip in Germany. I've also used Lami Safaris, a Waterman Phileas, and various disposables. The key for me wasn't the ink as much as it was finding a pen that was comfortable to hold.

Speaking of pen spinning...

Getting back to the pen spinning thread...


Yeah, it might not be a useful skill, but you might impress someone. Probably work better if it's NOT a fountain pen! It reminds me of break dancing for pens!


"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein and Buckaroo Banzai