I got me a TWSBI Mini (love it), a TWSBI Vac 700 (dig it), a TWSBI Classic (solid) and, our focus here, a TWSBI 580 (meh). Other than the decent collection of Parker Jotters I have, I’m fairly sure these four pens make TWSBI the most popular pen manufacturer in my collection (excluding the various inexpensive Pilot G2s or Pentel Energels I’ve got here, there and everywhere). I’m more or less all in when it comes to TWSBI and, for the most part, the investments have paid off nicely. The one exception; however, may be the 580. It’s certainly not a bad pen but the investments I’ve put into the pen just haven’t paid off they way I had hoped. Yes, “investmentS” plural.

Like the vast majority of my fountain pen purchases, I bought the 580 with a fine nib. But that’s not all. At the time of the original order, I decided to throw in the broad nib thinking that, for the extra $20, it would be like getting two pens in one. But that’s still not all. A couple of weeks later I was enticed by the notion of a 1.1 stub nib and was unable to fight off the temptation. So, that’s one pen and three nibs. But, the spending on the 580 doesn’t stop there. I really, really, really wanted this pen to work for me and knowing that the vast majority of my writing is done with a fine nib, I took the 580 and fine nib to the recent Philadelphia Pen Show for tuning. I managed to get on Richard Binder‘s sign up sheet and he did solid work smoothing out the nib for me. Even after all this, the 580 and I are still trying to work out our differences. Thing is, I really like the look of the 580 and all my other TWSBIs are all-stars in my collection so I’m not ready to give up yet.

What’s not working out between me and the 580? (1) I can’t get the broad or stub nibs to behave consistently. Maybe it’s my lefty hook. Maybe my relatively small lettering doesn’t work with wider nibs. Maybe I haven’t found the right ink yet (tried Fuyu gaki, Noodler’s Bernake Blue, Waterman Mysterious Blue – seen here). Maybe I hold the pen too upright and the 580 nib is more sensitive to angle than the Mini, Classic (same nib as Mini) and Vac 700. Still, no matter what I do with the wider nibs I get bits of skipping. (2) The fine nib works…well, fine, especially after some tuning from Mr. Binder. But, the nib does seem to dry out quicker than my other TWSBI pens. If I don’t use it consistently it’s a bit of a struggle and a fair amount of doodling before the nib responds well again. In short, the 580 just seems to be too moody for my liking. My Lamy 2000 can be persnickety as well but once I get that bad boy going it’s all good – very good in fact. Right now, the 580 doesn’t seem worth the fuss. I’ve tried to meet you more than half way, but TWSBI 580…it’s not me; it’s you.


If I were to be totally honest, the 580 may be a “Give It” pen for me. But, I’m not there yet. I’m going to keep working with the tuned-up fine nib. I haven’t tried many of my favorite inks yet and I’m hoping against hope that the right combination is still to be discovered. Right now, we’ll “Desk It”.

Okay, bear with me here. The TWSBI 580 is like the Rush album Vapor Trails. I’m a decent fan of Rush (not a die-hard, but definitely a fan) to the point that I have most of their studio albums including Vapor Trails. When VT first came out in 2002 I couldn’t stand it. The music was solid but the sound quality and the overall mix made the album practically unlistenable for me. Thankfully, the band realized there were issues and recently released an improved version. Now, I consider VT among my 3 or 4 favorite Rush albums overall and so it may be with the 580. The mix isn’t working for me right now but I’m hoping I’ll find the right ink one of these days and the pen will start to rock.

The thoughts of others on the 580:
The Pen Addict
Tyler Dahl
Delectable Pens
Ink on Hand
Fountain Pen Day


9 thoughts on “TWSBI 580

  1. Todd- You’re brave to blast the mighty 580 / TWSBI brand for all to read. Just kidding…I have a 540 and never fell in love with the stub nibs as I ran into the same challenge you did but with a Broad on finer I love mine. I have held off on the 580 until they put a little more color in them. The 700, not so much here. The filling makes me nervous as much as I think it’s cool and after extended writing sessions it always seems to dry on on me temporarily even when I unscrew the cap a little. I remain a fan from the brand but not all their products appeal to me.

    1. I too have noticed that the 700 gets a bit dry after prolonged writing and the filling mechanism does require a bit of coordination. It’s definitely not as rock solid as my Mini but when I want a big meaty pen, the Vac 700 is one I often go for.

  2. I do find that the fine nibs on the TWSBIs do dry out a little faster. I have yet to try a stub nib on my TWSBIs so, as a fellow lefty, I’m curious to see how that would work. I have a 1.1mm stub on my Lamy Studio that took some time to get it to perform consistently but now it works like a dream. Maybe some super lubricated inks like Pilot Iroshizuku for yours? Keep us posted on your final outcome.

    1. Yeah, I think I need to keep giving the stubs a try. So many folks swear by them that I think it must be me. I don’t think I’ve tried Kon peki in the 580 while it’s rocking the stub yet so it’s definitely a combo worth trying. So many pens! So many nibs! So many inks! It’s enough to drive a person crrraaaazzzzyyyy!

      Thanks for stopping by.

    2. have a Diamond 580 here, and yes, it does prefer the more runny inks. Iroshizuku as well as Diamine work wonders in it. Broad nib, tended to run a little dry, also requiring some fiddling to start if unwritten with in a day or so. Just fixed that following a youtube tutorial.

      Happy to say I now have a wet- B nib


      1. Mark – Thanks for stopping by and sorry it took so long to respond (work stuff and vacation kept me away from the blog for a while). I keep going back and forth on my 580. I had some work done on the nib and I like it a bit more now, but I’m still not 100% sold. It’s such a solidly made pen that I’m willing to keep giving it a 2nd, 3rd, 4th… try though!

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