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Smoothing A Soft / Flex Nib


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#1 tomattarashinu

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 13:16

I picked up a cheap used Japanese fountain pen. It has a 14k "soft" nib. When I got it, I cleaned it out and aligned the tines. It was a little scratchy. I used some 12000 micro mesh and smoothed it out. It writes beautifully when writing with a soft hand. When I "flex" this nib it digs into the paper. I didn't try it before smoothing so I don't know if it was like that before or if I caused it. Smoothing really involved a few figure 8s and a few infinity signs. Very little time on the mesh I can't seem to find a problem when looking at it with a 10x loupe. The shape seems ok to me but I am a beginner at nib smoothing.

I was thinking that I need to use the micro mesh between the tines to round out the inner edge or the tipping but I don't want to risk creating a babys bottom.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

P.S. This is my first post. Please be gentle. :embarrassed_smile:

#2 KrazyIvan

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 16:26

It may be between the nib tines. In what direction does it scratch? It may also be just the really fine nib.

Edited by KrazyIvan, 04 February 2013 - 16:27.


#3 tomattarashinu

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 17:09

It scratches on downstrokes only when flexing (or adding pressure). It is a Japanese fine nib so it is pretty fine.

#4 Mickey

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 17:47

Soft nibs tend to be a bit scratchier and your smoothing efforts may well have made matters worse. By removing material from the middle of the nib, you also sharpened the edges between the tines. A tiny amount of bevel between the tines (a small BB or baby's bottom) is desirable, particularly with a flexible nib (too much BB, however, and the pen won't write properly). Other than waiting for use to round over the inner edges a bit, I don't know that there's an easy solution to your problem short of a trip to a nib technician. The finest grades of mylar-backed abrasive might be used to put a little cheek back on the pen, but I don't know that that's anything to be undertaken by the novice pen dabbler.

But I believe that since my life began

The most I've had is just a talent to abuse.

Hey ho, if love were all.

 

With apologies to Noel Coward


#5 KrazyIvan

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 17:48

Maybe just a couple of flexes on the down stroke over micro mesh will do it. I have a Conway Stewart that is a bit scratchy too but it is just the nature of the nib being so fine.

#6 tomattarashinu

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 18:26

I have a feeling that I have made matters worse. I don't want to damage this pen but it was cheap enough to afford to try it myself.

Can I put the bevel inside by flossing the tines with micro mesh or is there a more specialized technique?

KrazyIvan suggested a few downstrokes with pressure over the micromesh. Is that going to put the correct shape on the inside of the tines?

Thanks for your help!

Soft nibs tend to be a bit scratchier and your smoothing efforts may well have made matters worse. By removing material from the middle of the nib, you also sharpened the edges between the tines. A tiny amount of bevel between the tines (a small BB or baby's bottom) is desirable, particularly with a flexible nib (too much BB, however, and the pen won't write properly). Other than waiting for use to round over the inner edges a bit, I don't know that there's an easy solution to your problem short of a trip to a nib technician. The finest grades of mylar-backed abrasive might be used to put a little cheek back on the pen, but I don't know that that's anything to be undertaken by the novice pen dabbler.



#7 Mickey

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 18:52

I have a feeling that I have made matters worse. I don't want to damage this pen but it was cheap enough to afford to try it myself.

Can I put the bevel inside by flossing the tines with micro mesh or is there a more specialized technique?

KrazyIvan suggested a few downstrokes with pressure over the micromesh. Is that going to put the correct shape on the inside of the tines?

Thanks for your help!


Soft nibs tend to be a bit scratchier and your smoothing efforts may well have made matters worse. By removing material from the middle of the nib, you also sharpened the edges between the tines. A tiny amount of bevel between the tines (a small BB or baby's bottom) is desirable, particularly with a flexible nib (too much BB, however, and the pen won't write properly). Other than waiting for use to round over the inner edges a bit, I don't know that there's an easy solution to your problem short of a trip to a nib technician. The finest grades of mylar-backed abrasive might be used to put a little cheek back on the pen, but I don't know that that's anything to be undertaken by the novice pen dabbler.


I've only had to do this a couple of times, so I'm sure the pros have more efficient methods. This is probably easier to do than to describe, so make sure you understand what I'm describing before vandalizing your nib. Be sure you know what material you're trying to remove and how this method will remove it. Above all, go slow. Better to repeat this procedure a couple of time than mess up your nib. Test the nib thoroughly before repeating. (Remember, soft or flexible nibs tend to be scratchier than their rigid counterparts.) If you over do it, you could well end up with baby's bottom, which is a much worse problem than a little scratchiness.

Slip a small piece of the finest grade mylar abrasive film (not micro mesh !!) between the tines. Grasp the edge of the film and gently curl it slightly (abrasive side in), so that the abrasive is pulled toward the edge of the iridium pellet, then rotate the sheet (in the plane of the slit) a couple of times. Remember, you don't want to remove very much material. Reverse the direction of the curl and gently remove the film from the slit. Reverse the direction of the film and repeat for the other tine. Test the nib. Repeat only as necessary. Overdoing is worse than not doing.

But I believe that since my life began

The most I've had is just a talent to abuse.

Hey ho, if love were all.

 

With apologies to Noel Coward


#8 tomattarashinu

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 19:11


I have a feeling that I have made matters worse. I don't want to damage this pen but it was cheap enough to afford to try it myself.

Can I put the bevel inside by flossing the tines with micro mesh or is there a more specialized technique?

KrazyIvan suggested a few downstrokes with pressure over the micromesh. Is that going to put the correct shape on the inside of the tines?

Thanks for your help!


Soft nibs tend to be a bit scratchier and your smoothing efforts may well have made matters worse. By removing material from the middle of the nib, you also sharpened the edges between the tines. A tiny amount of bevel between the tines (a small BB or baby's bottom) is desirable, particularly with a flexible nib (too much BB, however, and the pen won't write properly). Other than waiting for use to round over the inner edges a bit, I don't know that there's an easy solution to your problem short of a trip to a nib technician. The finest grades of mylar-backed abrasive might be used to put a little cheek back on the pen, but I don't know that that's anything to be undertaken by the novice pen dabbler.


I've only had to do this a couple of times, so I'm sure the pros have more efficient methods. This is probably easier to do than to describe, so make sure you understand what I'm describing before vandalizing your nib. Be sure you know what material you're trying to remove and how this method will remove it. Above all, go slow. Better to repeat this procedure a couple of time than mess up your nib. Test the nib thoroughly before repeating. (Remember, soft or flexible nibs tend to be scratchier than their rigid counterparts.) If you over do it, you could well end up with baby's bottom, which is a much worse problem than a little scratchiness.

Slip a small piece of the finest grade mylar abrasive film (not micro mesh !!) between the tines. Grasp the edge of the film and gently curl it slightly (abrasive side in), so that the abrasive is pulled toward the edge of the iridium pellet, then rotate the sheet (in the plane of the slit) a couple of times. Remember, you don't want to remove very much material. Reverse the direction of the curl and gently remove the film from the slit. Reverse the direction of the film and repeat for the other tine. Test the nib. Repeat only as necessary. Overdoing is worse than not doing.


Ok. It's 4am here. I should go to bed and give it a shot tomorrow. Thank you for the advice. I will post my results tomorrow when I finish.

#9 tomattarashinu

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:54

I flexed it a little to spread the tines and stuck in some 15000 mylar, I pulled it, ever so gently, to a good working position, curled the mylar and rotated it to create (hopefully) a rounded bevel. I repeated on the other side. To be honest I did not really see the difference in the loupe.

At first, the flex scratch was eliminated but a new scratched was introduced. I cautiously smoothed it out again and it seems to be ok now. Much better when flexing and usable when writing. There is still one more tiny scratch that I would like to get rid of but it is much better. I will wait to do my final tuning. I don't want to undo what I just did or remove too much tipping.

Thanks for your help! :thumbup:

#10 KrazyIvan

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 16:26

I usually try to figure out which direction a scratch occurs and if everything is lined up, I write in that direction on my buff sticks, Mylar or wet/dry sand paper (cautiously and depends on how bad the scratch is)a few times to eliminate the scratch. That was my reasoning behind suggesting flexing on Mylar sheet.

I am glad it worked out for you. :thumbup: