If you’ve been following the TPK blog for a while, you’ve probably seen me use the Brause EF66 nib umpteenth times. I’ve written about this gem of a nib a couple of times before in posts about nibs in general … but today I thought it should be the star of its own blog post. Its flex and impressive strength (well, for its size) render it deserving of such an honor!
First, let’s talk a little bit about Brause: Brause is a German company that was established in 1850, and has been making steel nibs ever since. The EF66 is one of their most popular nibs, along with the Rose and the Blue Pumpkin. I love all three of these Brause nibs, but the EF66 (a.k.a. “the Arrow”) is my favorite because it has the ability to make hairline upstrokes and thick downstrokes (as shown in the Janet Style envelope art below).
The Brause EF66 works so well for pointed pen calligraphy because of its flex. This nib has tines that will splay out a significant distance if you exert a bit of pressure. That means that when you pull your pen down to make a downstroke, the tines work together to make a nice, wide line. However, when you lightly push up to make an upstroke, the tines spring back together to help you achieve a fine line. The difference between the EF66 and comparable nibs (e.g. the Hunt 101) is the EF66’s comparative strength. While other fine nibs have extremely delicate tines that catch on paper very easily, the Brause EF66 is more cooperative.
That said, the EF66 is not a nib that I would recommend for someone who is completely new to calligraphy. Before you attempt the EF66 nib, I would definitely spend a few weeks playing with the Nikko G nib. I say this because the Brause EF66 will probably not be kind to you if you haven’t gotten your bearings yet as far as pressure exertion (ink spatter will ensue); conversely, the Nikko G is very tolerant and great to learn on.
Before you buy the EF66 nib, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a holder that will fit it. Both of the Speedball plastic pens won’t work because they were designed to accommodate larger nibs.
If you look at the photo below, you can see that both the straight plastic holder and the plastic-flanged* oblique holder have a groove for you to insert nibs into. The curve of that groove doesn’t match the curve of the end of the EF66 nib, so there’s a lot of resistance when and if you try to wedge the nib in there. Don’t get me wrong; it can be done … but as you’ll see in the video at the end of this post, it’s not ideal.
*The flange is the part that protrudes out to the side; it’s the part that has a “3” etched on it in the photo below.
The straight calligraphy pens you want to use for this nib have universal inserts. If a pen has a “universal insert”, that means it has little metal curved “petals” like the ones pictured below. You can wedge any calligraphy nib between the outside of the petals and that metal rim.
If you wish to use the Brause EF66 with an oblique holder, which is what I do, you’ll want to get an oblique that is specially fitted for this tiny nib. If you can order one from Rodger’s Pen Box (“RPB”), that’s ideal; but this metal-flanged plastic holder will work — though not as well. Note that Rodger Mayeda, who makes pens like the one in the photo below, has a difficult time keeping up with demand. Effectively, I asked him what a good commercial alternative to an RPB pen would be. He suggested the Zanerian Rosewood holder, but cautioned that the flange will need to be adjusted with pliers to: 1. fit the EF66 nib, and 2. get the angle of the flange to be flatter to the paper, which will help to prevent catches on the upstroke. Rodger also mentioned the Hourglass Adjustable Holder (also available for lefties!), but the caveat there is that non-movable adjustable flanges don’t accommodate nibs of different lengths very easily, especially short nibs like the EF66. To sum it up: if at all possible, I recommend ordering of Rodger’s custom-fitted obliques for the EF66 nib … but you can make do with a substitute. By the way, I’ve got great news for you if you’re in the UK/EU: Penman Direct is under new ownership and will be stocking RPB pens next month!
I enjoy using the EF66 with an oblique pen versus a straight pen because the oblique pen gives me, as a right-handed person, a better angle. (If you’re a left-handed over-writer, an oblique may be a very good choice for you, too, as it has the same angle-correcting effect.) While it is more than possible to write using the EF66 and a straight holder, I find it a lot easier to use an oblique. You can see in the photo below, in fact, that I’m using my Rodger’s Pen Box oblique to create all the calligraphy for the Kaitlin Style Premium Worksheet revamp. (The new version of the worksheet will be available on Saturday, and will be provided free of charge to all current Kaitlin Style Premium set owners. See this Saturday’s blog post for detailed information!)
While the text of this blog post serves as a sufficient introduction to the Brause EF66 nib, I think it’s more effective to show you the nib in action! In the video below, you’ll learn the reason why I don’t recommend the EF66 for beginners (prepare for an ink spatter!), see a comparison between the EF66 and the Nikko G, and learn a surprising way to get manufacturer’s oils off your nib! (If you cannot see the video, you may watch it on Vimeo by clicking here.)
One of the most common questions I get is: “I live in _______; where can I purchase calligraphy supplies?” For this blog post, I did some detective work that I’m very proud of — particularly when it comes to Australia and Canada! Here’s a little list of where you can purchase this nib online:
Australia – Ornasonova
Canada- Wonder Pens
Germany – Gerstaecker
Malaysia – Alcee Store
Philippines – The Craft Central
Singapore – Overjoyed
United Kingdom – Scribblers
United States – Paper & Ink Arts
If you are from a country other than those listed, and you know of a store to purchase the Brause EF66 nib from online/locally, please comment! I’d love to add your country to the list to help others in your area. As TPK’s readership grows, I am trying to be more conscientious about giving non-US-based options for purchasing supplies!
I hope you enjoyed this little post about a little nib — thanks so much for reading. 🙂