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What is the Proper way to Repair a Bent Nib?


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44 replies to this topic

#21 ZeissIkon

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 01:48

What's the best method to learn? Don't wanna damage any vintage pens, no matter how lousy


I'd suggest prowling eBay for bottom-dollar, part-grade fountain pens and practice on their nibs. The nibs I've recurved have been stainless nibs on Chinese pens that had gotten sprung by excessive force when attempting to test for flex -- except my Wearever, which I've had off and adjusted a few times, still trying to get the nib to hold the proper gap from the feed. Maybe it's time to fiddle with it again.
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#22 Buzz J

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 13:13

What's the best method to learn? Don't wanna damage any vintage pens, no matter how lousy


To a normal person, it is a tedious process. Remember that the scale you are working on is tiny. You should have a mental snapshot of what the nib looks like before you attempt anything. You should also have an idea of what you are trying to achieve with each tweak. After each tweak, you must check the results against both these mental pictures. After each tweak, you are in effect reevaluating the nib like the first time (no king xes).

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#23 CraigR

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 16:59

I have tried my hand at some nib repairs. Started out by bidding on some pen lots and ended up winning some pens that were badly mangled (undisclosed and unintentional). Since they were unusable, I figured I would try to repair the nibs. Bought some pen repair tools on-line and Da-Book. I also devoured Richard's and Ron's sites for advice as well as this forum. First lesson learned - Just because you have the tools and you have some instructions does not mean you can repair a badly damaged nib. The average pen owner or collector just does not do enough repairs, under the supervision and mentoring of a master, to become proficient. I have a lot of pens and I can adjust the flow on many of them to suit myself. I also can re-sac most of the pens that use one. Heck, I even learned to repair a few of my Snorkels. But, I would never attempt to fix a nib like the original poster showed us. Just way beyond my ability, experience and comfort level. I would send the nib/pen to one of the masters, and there are a good number scattered across the USA and the rest of the world. Have a look at the posted rates for their services. Can you spell BARGAIN?

I also own a car. I can clean, wash, wax the car and air up the tires. I also can fill the gas tank, check/add oil and do minor maintenance. But, for real repairs and body work, I take it to a professional. There are plenty of people who love working on their own stuff, cars and pens. I do too, but I like to call in the pros when needed and preferably before I have made the matter worse.

Just wondering if the Spa or Mr. Z's has a special posted "rate" for those of us who send in a pen that we have tried to fix first. (Kinda like $25 to fix it or $35 if you watch or $75 if you help.)/Craig

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#24 ethernautrix

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 17:15

For a good repair job, I defer to the experts.

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#25 Kelly G

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 17:32

Just wondering if the Spa or Mr. Z's has a special posted "rate" for those of us who send in a pen that we have tried to fix first. (Kinda like $25 to fix it or $35 if you watch or $75 if you help.)/Craig


How true. That reminds me of a time when my wife and I were having a home built and were going to save some money by painting the exterior ourselves. We then decided that maybe we could save more money by hanging the sheet rock ourselves - we had done some of that in a previous house and we're both pretty handy. The general contractor indulged us and asked the drywall contractor about a "deal". He said it was $5,000 if we hung the rock and he did all the finish work or it was $5,000 if he hung the rock and did all the finish work (price is an estimate from my failing memory). Lesson learned.
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#26 JamesX

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Posted 09 December 2009 - 17:41

I followed this post with interest and will be grateful if you can provide me the contact details of the Texas based repair specialist since I too need to get a couple of pens attended to. Thank you

This is the first time I have ever used the repair service. I also haven't got my pen back yet. So I have no idea how good he is. According to the website, he has had 30 years of experience and the few sentence of conversation I had with him over the phone give me the impression he know what he is talking about.

The Official Repair service for Waterford Pens (at least according to the place I bought it) is

Hampton-Haddon Marketing Corp.
4700 Wissahickon Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19144
www.waterford.com
(888) 300-1909

When I contacted them regarding my nib damage the nice lady informed me that an 18k gold nib replacement is going to be ~$100 and if the damage is minor I could get it repaired for far less. She then referred me to a nib repair specialist.

At first I was going to just get a new nib from Waterford but reading the forum I realized that nib could be adjusted for individual's writing style. So I contacted the repair specialist regarding the repair and adjustment. The contact info is

Louis
(210) 493-6135


He either owns or works for http://www.theinkflow.com/' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>The Ink Flow.

I Should have my pen back by the end of next week. I can post a review about it then. I want to emphasize again that I have no idea how good this repair person is. So might not want to jump the gun and send in your pen too :)

Edited by JamesX, 09 December 2009 - 17:44.


#27 MT4

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 10:58

I have tried my hand at some nib repairs. Started out by bidding on some pen lots and ended up winning some pens that were badly mangled (undisclosed and unintentional). Since they were unusable, I figured I would try to repair the nibs. Bought some pen repair tools on-line and Da-Book. I also devoured Richard's and Ron's sites for advice as well as this forum. First lesson learned - Just because you have the tools and you have some instructions does not mean you can repair a badly damaged nib. The average pen owner or collector just does not do enough repairs, under the supervision and mentoring of a master, to become proficient. I have a lot of pens and I can adjust the flow on many of them to suit myself. I also can re-sac most of the pens that use one. Heck, I even learned to repair a few of my Snorkels. But, I would never attempt to fix a nib like the original poster showed us. Just way beyond my ability, experience and comfort level. I would send the nib/pen to one of the masters, and there are a good number scattered across the USA and the rest of the world. Have a look at the posted rates for their services. Can you spell BARGAIN?

I also own a car. I can clean, wash, wax the car and air up the tires. I also can fill the gas tank, check/add oil and do minor maintenance. But, for real repairs and body work, I take it to a professional. There are plenty of people who love working on their own stuff, cars and pens. I do too, but I like to call in the pros when needed and preferably before I have made the matter worse.

Just wondering if the Spa or Mr. Z's has a special posted "rate" for those of us who send in a pen that we have tried to fix first. (Kinda like $25 to fix it or $35 if you watch or $75 if you help.)/Craig


Craig,

While I also do some minor (OK, sometimes it is not exactly minor) repair jobs in my car, I depend most of the times on pro guys. But in my case, there are lots of car mechanics (some of them are even reliable) near where I live (which doesn't happen with nibs), and my car is worth more expensive repair jobs than my nibs ;-) It is also true that my pens can wait for me, and my wife and kids can't wait for my "car repair experience"

Just MHO

Martin
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#28 Ron Z

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 12:45

Just wondering if the Spa or Mr. Z's has a special posted "rate" for those of us who send in a pen that we have tried to fix first. (Kinda like $25 to fix it or $35 if you watch or $75 if you help.)


While it is tempting to charge more just because the pen was worked on by the owner before it got to us, successfully or not, we don't. But sometimes it does end up costing more because remedial work is necessary before we get to doing the actual repair.

Both Richard and I like to teach, and give a lot of advice about pen repair. That's why I'm here, that's why Richard has so many articles and so much information. It's also why we do seminars, and let people just sit and watch at a pen show. I've also gotten into long discussions with folks about repair at shows. But there are some things that can not effectively be taught in a single post, or even a series of posts... and some things that I know you can't do without a fair bit of experience.

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#29 MT4

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 14:04

Both Richard and I like to teach, and give a lot of advice about pen repair. That's why I'm here, that's why Richard has so many articles and so much information. It's also why we do seminars, and let people just sit and watch at a pen show. I've also gotten into long discussions with folks about repair at shows. But there are some things that can not effectively be taught in a single post, or even a series of posts... and some things that I know you can't do without a fair bit of experience.


Dear Ron,

I am aware of your goodwill here (and Richard's too, of course). In this world ruled by money, it is nice to know somoeone is generous enough to teach something just because knowledge has to be spread, or for the enjoyment of it.

As I live about 5000 miles away, and have not been travelling abroad in the last months (about the last 500 months, my whole lifetime up to now!), I can't take your witnessed lessons. If you ever make a video, or a macro pictures series showing your work, just let me know and I'll download it immediately! As far as I am aware of, we don't have many options regarding nib work (retipping, straightening, etc) locally.

Rgds.

Martin
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#30 gyasko

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 17:20

If one wants to learn how to reshape the tipping, steel nibs are great. However, it's much harder to repair bends in steel nibs simply because steel has more of a memory than gold. I'd hesitate to say that one should jump into working on gold nibs right off, but i will say that one shouldn't get too frustrated by lack of success with steel nibs. When one is learning, it's the experience that counts and not the end result. Of course, if one is working with a nice pen, one wants the results, too!

I've repaired nasty bends in gold nibs, but i'm not sure i could have done that without a lifetime of experience with dip pens and school pen nibs. (I used dip pens as a kid, and with dip pens, one is always messing with the nib. We also used fountain pens in school, and being kids, none of us had any respect for the pens, which we knew were just school pens anyway. If we thought doing something to the nib would make it write better, we did it.)

#31 JamesX

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 22:35

Got the pen back few days ago.

Just tried it out today.

The repair job was decent. I was hoping they can fix the little bump from the bending of the tip, but maybe that was too much expectation. The pen still scratches the paper (maybe that is unavoidable now). I really lack the experience to know what is possible to repair and what is not.

But the flow of the ink is much better. It is even better than before the damage. It is not too wet and flows free enough to leave nicely satuated lines.

Overall I think it is worth the repair price, but worth is subjective.

#32 nicmar

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 23:13

Got the pen back few days ago.

Just tried it out today.

The repair job was decent. I was hoping they can fix the little bump from the bending of the tip, but maybe that was too much expectation. The pen still scratches the paper (maybe that is unavoidable now). I really lack the experience to know what is possible to repair and what is not.

But the flow of the ink is much better. It is even better than before the damage. It is not too wet and flows free enough to leave nicely satuated lines.

Overall I think it is worth the repair price, but worth is subjective.


Good that you are happy with the repair, but from all the pictures of samples of professional repairs or totally destroyed nibs???, the most damaged nibs I've seen look like in the pics that they are perfect. Maybe I've got a lot to learn, but I sure would ask the restorer about why the bump is still on the pen and why the pen still scratches. Course I would remark that the ink flow was much better also. Just takes an email or a call no longer than 2 minutes. I'm thinking if this is a good reputable nib professional which he probably is, he won't mind in the least giving you an answer and in my case, only then would I be satisfied as I would feel a little more educated and not wonder why this dang XXX pen of mine that I paid money for has a hump and scratches. Just my opinion.

#33 ZeissIkon

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Posted 28 December 2009 - 01:38

I'm with Nicmar -- if the pen just came back from repair for a bent nib, the nib should be in factory condition -- no visible bump, and no scratching. I'd certainly contact the worker and ask if there was a problem that prevented a complete repair (I'd have hoped they'd have contacted you in that case). FWIW, if the nib isn't too badly bent, I can get one to like-new appearance and operation with very primitive tools -- fingernails, a tabletop, bamboo skewers, and a loupe to see what I'm doing; I'd hope someone offering services for hire in this regard could do at least as well.
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#34 crowdog

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 01:31

As a newbie, I had to chime in. I work with kids with Autism, and happen to take my Sheaffer school pen to a home with me. I accidentally dropped it, and my clients brother must of picked it up. His sister gave it back to me, and the thing looked like it had been used as a nail.

Now it is a cheap pen, so sending it in, wouldn't be cost effective. Maybe if I was grinding it too, or something, but even then.

So I have embarked on trying to get it back to some semblance of "ok" myself. It was the first pen I found, and was a nice wet writer. It is now writing, but still scratchy on horizontal strokes.

I would like to learn some ways from here as well, because I don't have money to spend on repair, but would like it repaired.

I understand this is an art, but arts can be learned. I try to teach every parent I come in contact with, how to do what I do with their child. Of course if I had an expensive pen, with an expensive nib, I would make sure it was done right. I collect watches as well, and I do very little repair on them.

Oh, by the way, my reform seems to have a vapor lock..what can I do. When it is fully "up" the ink doesn't flow well at all, so I have to turn it a couple of times, but then it is loose, and I am afraid of turning it further and having ink all over. Whew that was a long sentence.

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#35 Ron Z

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 01:48

I have to agree - if the nib was sent for straightening, it should be pretty close to perfect and should write well when it comes back. Go look at the Pilot nib picture that I posted on page 2 of this thread. When it came into me the left tine was bent in an inverted U - pointing down, the right tine was bent 90 degrees to the right and down. The picture is what the nib looked like when I was done. It wrote very nicely too.

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#36 Tony_Stark5

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 22:58

If you think you're up to it it doesn't sound like to hard of a repair you'll just need to go slowly and test the nib often. First find yourself a small mirror smooth flat head screwdriver shaped tool or a couple smaller diameter wooden dowels. If you have a magnifying glass or jewelers loupe you'll be better using this than trying to squint with your eyes as you smooth out the tines of the nib. Go slowly and check your work often. Depending on how the tines have bent you will first with your fingernails gently bend them back into place, dip the nib and check the line that it lays down. If your tines are spread apart, gently rub each tine on the edge of a wooden table/desk/chair to coax it back to centered. Look at your tines and see if they are aligned along the center of your nib slit, if not gently rub the tines to align them on the edge of your table or with one of your screw drivers or dowels, gently now and don't forget to check your work as you go. If the tip of your nib is bent up or down very gently bend it back to straight, your tines might bend out or in slightly as you do this so try the above. If once your tines are bent back to straight but you see slight ripples in the gold you can place the rippled part of your nib on the edge of your table and take your mirror smooth screw driver and very gently rub the gold of the nib back to shape, check your work often. Now your nib may look repaired but when you test it the ink flow has changed. If the ink flow is wetter than before gently rub each side of the nib on your table edge to bring them closer together and this should help create a drier ink flow. If your ink flow is drier than before go get your self the thinnest razor blade/utility blade that you can find and starting at the nib slit hole gently swipe your blade down the nib slit and this should help create a better ink flow. Now if you look head on at your nib and notice that one tine is higher than the other you can gently bend the higher tine underneath the lower tine to help even them out. Check your work. Now you may find that your nib is slightly scratchier than before but you've got your tines straightened and everything is even so you'll have to smooth out your nib a touch. If you have 2000 mesh to 12,000 mesh micro mesh go through your grades and smooth your nib. If you don't have these exotic materials you can just get a cardboard box or a paper shopping bag and take a few swipes clockwise and a few swipes counterclockwise and check your nib, if it's still scratchy, repeat. Now everything should be okay and you can use your pen just like before if not then you may have to send it in to an expert repairman for repair.


I don't mean to sound cranky but I am stunned that you would give this type of advice to folks. This procedure may work for you but the potential to further damage a nib by following your advice is extremely likely IMHO. Razor blades in slits bending tines together on the edge of a table and swiping a nib clockwise and counter to smooth it is just plain bad advice.

You don't know me but I work for one of the most respected Nib meisters out there and I know what we do to fix a bent nib and the tools and techniques you are touting make me cringe!! SORRY.

I am sorry if I offended you. Yes there is potential for further damage however it is my firm belief that if one takes the process slowly and thinks about what they are going to do after reading up on the subject then the owner of a pen is more able to conduct repairs which will result in a pen that is best suited to their needs. Yes it takes practice and patience and if someone asks for advice on how to do something themselves the options should be laid before them so that they may make an informed choice on their own. I gave this advice because most everyone has access to the simple tools of a table edge and a dowel or polished screw driver and their fingernails. Only the owner of a pen can honestly judge if they might be capable of repairing a problem or if it would best be left in the hands of a professional such as yourself. I was raised that if I am going to use a tool I must also be able to maintain and care for it. Now I may be a freak of nature for this belief that if I am willing to put in the time to learn to care for my tools than others may be able to do it as well. On a daily basis I use many of the same tools that you as a professional use, and have been doing so for many years, but more often than not I use the very ones I suggested because they allow me to get closer to the nibs that I am working on with a better feel for the process. And of course the main ingredient for any type of repair work, or any type work for that matter, is thinking things through before attempting to do something. So I explained the basic process using tools that most anyone would have on hand instead of suggesting up to and beyond $1000 in specialized tools that can do the same work but the process whether or not one uses specialized tools is the same; think, look, think, gently try a step, test, think, try another step if necessary, think, test, repeat.

Now as there are professionals here who have put in the time and effort to learn their trade I understand that you may be downright mortified at the simple methods that I suggested. However many of the problems concerning a nib can be approached by the owner of the pen if they understand that it is their responsibility to know the process, think, go slowly and test often when undertaking a repair. Isn't this a good part of why the FPN has evolved into what it is today? So again I apologize for offending you and I knew full well that others would also offer opinions and suggestions. I only offered the most accessible one for someone who may want to attempt such a repair after thinking through the process and coming to an honest conclusion that they may or may not have the skills necessary. And be honest, if you had not attempted such a repair wouldn't a suggestion like mine make you think about first sending the pen in to a professional? Much like JamesX ended up doing.

Hi sir,
I have a Parker Sonnet Gold Cascade Fountain Pen that I recived as a gift recently. THe nib was bent and I had it sent into Parker for repairs and they replaced it with a new nib. I just wanted to ask about how how hard I'd have to push to bend it again, I don't want another bent nib...
Thanks!

Edited by Parker Pen 27, 16 October 2012 - 11:34.


#37 peecee57

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 16:12

And here I was thinking "ball-peen hammer, probably 6-8 oz." And of course if that didn't work, get a bigger hammer and it will go easy, as Vern always used to say. :vbg:

That's not a hammer, you need to use a 2lb lump hammer.. match that with a 10cwt blacksmiths anvil and you'll get any nib straightened !! :P  :P



#38 Unky

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Posted 04 January 2014 - 02:34

I dropped my Fountain Pen tip in the kitchen today and it hit the hard porcaline tiles tip first.

How instead of a straight tip I have a Curved tip.

I managed to make it relatively straight (it is gold tip so pretty soft) and it writes relatively well but it no longer glides over the paper.

Is there a easy way to repair it? or should I just send it back to Waterford to get a Nib replacement?

I had a similar situation a couple of month's back. Having let my uncle (a fountain pen user) use a pen of mine, he unintentionally dropped it nib first on a granite counter. Luckily there was a pen show going on so I knew what to do. It was a simple process; step 1 go to pen show and find out where Richard Binder was located. Step 2 sign up for repair service. Step 3 let Richard repair the nib correctly while talking. Step 4 enjoy using the pen again.
I did have the advantage of there being a pen show going on. I am sure that a reputable nibmeister/repair specialist could fix the problem if you shipped the pen to them for repair. There are many good repair specialists Richard Binder, Ron Zorn, and Tim Girdler for instance.
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#39 sbremser

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 20:01

First I wholeheartedly agree with the professionals who have posted, (and thank you for it).

If you have a valuable pen, DON'T try this at home, send it to a pro.

But, if the pen isn't worth spending the money on repairs and postage, and you know you might wind up with trash, then carefully try it. I bought a Waterman Phileas at a thrift store, complete with box reservoir and a full bottle of ink for $15.00.  But when I looked closely at the pen, the right hand tine was clearly bent.  Using advise from here, I wrapped a needle nose pliers in tape, a high powered hands free magnifying glass  and gently massaged the tip back into place.  I now have a fully functional pen.  



#40 inkstainedruth

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 00:56

I did a first pass at repairing a bent nib (Esterbrook with a 9128 nib that looked like an S in profile).  I figured that I might as well give it a try since it was already pretty much toast.  I very carefully used a couple of pairs of jewelers pliers.  Then, I took the pen to DCSS and had pros look at it, and Mike Masuyama got it into better shape than I had.  

OTOH, I would *definitely* have gone to the pros for a gold nib.  And I will also point out that before I got to the head of the sign-in list at Mike's table I had three *other* repair people tell me to toss the 9128 nib and get a replacement (um, no -- every 9128 I've seen since that has been listed for pretty much more than I paid for the pen and nib *and* the repair combined).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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