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Vintage Sheaffer Flat-top

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#1 Catsmelt


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Posted 26 January 2007 - 22:59

I've got a jade Flat-top that appears to fall in the date range of 1926-1938 (five line imprint on the nib, but still retains the flat serrated feed).

For all I can tell, the nib is in fabulous shape -- solid, no dings or cracks and there's tipping. My only gripe is that the nib is very extra-fine, which I don't really prefer and leaves little tipping on the nib.

Now, this pen comes from my father-in-law, it's personalized, there's a lot of wear on the furniture, the cap doesn't seem to screw all the way down (it rotates 90 degrees and seats firmly) and the plastic is irregularly discolored.

It's by no means a collectible specimen, but it's a fine specimen if you catch my drift. I want to use it, but the extra-fine needly nib keeps that from happening.

I have three questions:

1) Is it considered blasphemy to have a nib like this ground into something else (I play guitar, and in this world, there are things that just shouldn't be done to certain guitars)?

2) If the first question is answered "no," what sort of options might I have? To have it ground to a fine or medium, I imagine it would need to be retipped. Are there options that would allow it to be ground, but not need tipping?

3) If the first question is answered "yes," where does that leave me (other than eternally damned).

I'm not selling it, so that shouldn't be a consideration. I just want to use it, and pass it along to my daughter.

Thanks for your help.

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#2 Kelly G

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 00:29

I don't know about the re-grind issue - I'm not a nibmeister. It would seem logical that re-tipping would be necessary to gain enough tipping material to get a broader nib.

Have you considered locating another nib? This might be possible - medium Sheaffer nibs can be found - broad is more difficult, but it's worth a check around. I've sometimes found parts off of otherwise damaged pens on e-bay or you could ask on the marketplace.

I'm not of the opinion that it would be blasphemy to get the sort of nib you want on this pen. It sounds valuable to you because of the sentimental connection but not collectible otherwise. It would probably mean more to your daughter if she knew you used it all the time.
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#3 Richard


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Posted 27 January 2007 - 01:30

QUOTE(Catsmelt @ Jan 26 2007, 05:59 PM)
Is it considered blasphemy to have a nib like this ground into something else?

The pen's not mint stickered. It's your pen, and it's your business, no one else's. Do with it what you will, and damn the torpedoes. Making it wider, no matter how much wider or with what final shape, will require retipping and -- most likely -- adding gold. It would likely be more economical and more aesthetic to find a replacement nib.

QUOTE(Catsmelt @ Jan 26 2007, 05:59 PM)
...the cap doesn't seem to screw all the way down (it rotates 90 degrees and seats firmly)...

Sounds right to me. This is the benefit of multiple-pitch threads; you get a fair amount of screwdown with very little rotation. 90° seems pretty close to normal for a Flat-Top of that vintage.
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#4 david i

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 03:54

Richard's work with regrinding is superb, and he is well able to have nib retipped.

On a pen such as this, i would note that an alternative option would be to obtain a matching style nib from a donor pen with more plump contour. Exotic nibs are rare, but Mediums can be found. Richard can do a nib swap and adjustment very well, too :-)



#5 Roger W.

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 03:59

My experience with flattops indicates that most caps take 360 to 450 degrees of rotation - a full turn to a turn and a quarter. A few of them do occassionally have a shorter throw and I don't think that really indicates that there is anything wrong.

The nice thing with flattops is that there are nibs in abundance so you can find a replacement in a medium easily. Wider than that will require modification and, sounds more like a user grade pen, would not be blasphemy but, would also not be original to the pen. Your choice, the hobby has no mantras on care or use unless you count the chant of some "do whatever the hell you please - it's your pen!"

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#6 Catsmelt


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Posted 27 January 2007 - 06:20

Thanks for all your helpful responses.

Looks like I'll be searching for a replacement nib. Into the queue it goes for triage.

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