Friday, June 4, 2021

Review: Esterbrook Scribe Nib

Esterbrook Scribe Nib by New York-based nibmeister Joshua J. Lax.

Last month, I wrote about Esterbrook's fountain pen accessories, the MV (modern to vintage) Adaptor, an accessory that allows fountain pen owners to enjoy vintage Esterbrook nibs in their modern Esterbrook fountain pens, and the Gena Salorino Journaler nib, a "medium stub grind" based on the vintage Esterbrook 9314M nib. Now here's the second new nib offering from Esterbrook Pen Company, The Scribe Nib. 

To keep on with the tradition of providing good quality specialized nibs, the company launched the Esterbrook Custom Nib Program to highlight exceptional American nibmeisters. Following the successful release of the Journaler nib, the Esterbrook Pen Company launched The Scribe Nib, crafted by New York-based nibmeister Joshua J. Lax of J.J. Lax Pen Company.

The Scribe Nib is an architect nib modified from a Broad Esterbrook nib.

The Scribe Nib is Josh's take on an architect nib. An architect nib writes thin lines on the downstrokes and thick on cross strokes. Writing out the letters such as t and f will have thin downstrokes and thicker lines when we cross them. To create The Scribe Nib for a wider audience, Josh was given the task of cutting these nibs en masse, keeping the integrity of an architect, while avoiding any catch on the top or bottom as one writes with it. Working on The Scribe Nib, Josh also took inspiration from the Near East, rather than the more common architect nibs based on European and Far Eastern styles of writing. 

Joshua J. Lax attended Richard Binder's master class on fountain pen restoration and nib work. He is the founder of the Big Apple Pen Club and helped design a pen for ASA Pens of India.

Regular B nib (left) and The Scribe Nib (right). Notice the difference?

So what is an architect nib? An architect nib is cut into a pointed tip like an arrow and it's ideal for people who like writing block letters, or those who like writing in print. This nib produces a different type of line variation depending on how a writer holds the pen. An architect nib is actually the opposite of stub nibs and produces thin downstrokes and wide cross stokes. This nib is very expressive, though it takes some getting used to.

The Scribe Nib is cut from a regular No. 6 B nib and fits the Slim, Standard, and Oversized Estie fountain pens. It's available for US$60 from Esterbrook and is purchased with a fountain pen. It will be a replacement for any standard nib, and the pen will come with The Scribe and not as a second nib unit.

The Scribe Nib is my first architect nib and Josh's work is an exceptional one.

It was my first time writing with an architect nib and I was surprised at the shape of the nib. I am more used to writing with stubs, italics, and regular broad nibs, which are all the opposite shapes of an architect nib. I got used to it after writing a whole page of text and I love the thick cross strokes as I wrote with it. The nib wrote smooth and Josh's nib work is exceptional. There really wasn't any catch on the top or bottom of the architect nib.

I got used to writing with The Scribe Nib after a full page. I love this nib's wide cross strokes.
The Esterbrook Pen Company and Joshua J. lax did an exceptional job with The Scribe Nib.

In the depths of the Scriptorium (place for writing), Scribes were employed to keep track of it all. Most of what we know about the history of this part of the world is because of them. Writing in Aramaic, the scribes were drafting with characters that had spiritual meaning.  And while they were often writing and copying the mundane, they were also responsible for religious and political manuscripts and for catering to the needs of the sultans as court calligraphers. Tughras, the signature of the sultans, were designed and executed by the scribes, each a complex commission. It is in these seals that we see the curves, movement and arching flourishes the scribes were so adept at.

The Scribe Nib is meant to capture these same elements and rhythms for the modern writer. It is a very specific nib that Josh has managed to make usable for everyone. It gives the writer the flexibility of fine downstrokes and broad horizontal strokes and can also be used in reverse for additional variation. Whether you are looking to add more flair to your writing style, are looking for an architect without the need for a personal grind or want to expand your calligraphy skills this is an excellent addition to your collection or as a gift for someone to treasure in theirs.

The Esterbrook Pen Company and Joshua J. Lax have done an exceptional job and The Scribe Nib is  unique and excellent. This nib would be a great companion to a new Esterbrook fountain pen. Get one for your writing pleasure now!

Rants of The Archer thanks the Esterbrook Pen Company and Kenro Industries for providing The Scribe Nib for this review. The nib is available at To learn more about the Esterbrook Pen Company, where to buy their pens and accessories, and for other details on purchasing their products, visit their website at or follow them on social media:

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Thanks for your thoughtful and well photographed nib review! I was looking into this pen/nib and was undecided on it until I read and saw about it here. I had a custom architect nib done at a pen show in 2019 and I didn't love it - sold it. But with this newer grind by JJ Lax I will give it a go! Best to you in '22!