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Questions On Nib Wearing And "breaking In" The Nib...

nib wear wear point

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23 replies to this topic

#1 Inflection

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 15:39

I've heard it said that fountain pen nibs "wear in" to the angle you use to write with them (at least in older, softer nibs), and that you should avoid loaning out your pens because the person you give it to will write at another angle and give it a second wear point, ruining the nib. Is this true? Are you able to tell by looking at a nib where the wear point is? If this is true, how common is this phenomenon? (Should I loan my pens out or not?)

 

I collect pens from the early-mid 20th century, so should I be concerned with this?



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#2 Beckwith

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 16:02

Over a long period of time, I find that pens can adapt a bit to their owners as the tipping gets very, very slightly worn. But loaning out a pen to someone for a little while, probably even a few weeks or longer, shouldn't be enough to make a difference. The comparable experience is writing with a mechanical pencil when the lead wears down in one direction. Unlike a pencil, however, the tipping on pens is relatively resilient, so it takes a LOT of writing to start to shape the nib to the writer.



#3 ethernautrix

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 20:03

I suspect that the paper of one of the notebooks I used a couple of years ago (not the usual kind I bought) made two of my pens' nibs write a bit fatter. I don't mean on the notebook's paper; I mean on other notebooks, which is why I noticed it. I'd been using these two pens the most in that notebook, which I filled, and then used the same kind of notebook I'd used many times, and I was able to compare the line widths in the new notebook with the line widths in the older notebook, and the line was definitely wider. Argh.

 

Am I absolutely certain it was the notebook paper? Not 100%, but it's probable.

 

What was puzzling is that I'd used that brand before, and the paper felt the same - until I compared it to other notebooks I'd written in of the same brand, and the suspect paper was a tad rough in comparison, but I would haven't expected it to wear down my nibs.

 

So far, it's the only time I've noticed such an unlikely occurrence, and I'm even more careful about the paper in notebooks. Using the Seven Seas notebook - a joy!


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#4 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 20:09

It is possible in 7 years of daily 8 hour a day use to wear the iridium down. In that you are not using it so often don't worry.

 

 

The tipping of the nibs made after the War are perfect....a war improvement over the pre'war nibs which can be lumpy...one of the reasons one should be very, very careful in smoothing such a nib. Chunks can be ripped out.

 

I'd not expect normal paper to make a big difference in 'widening' a nib...with out a long time to wear the nib..

 

I would expect the paper to be of lesser quality than before or a different ink to make a difference in width.

A different amount of sizing...some one saving a cent or two for his bonus....that a ball point user would never notice, could well be the problem.

What paper is it....there is often variance in same brand papers....ie I've read from Brazil.

 

Have you tried that nib on slick paper like Clarefontain Trumphe?


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#5 jar

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 22:17

The user wears in far sooner than the nib.


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#6 bizhe

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 23:45

I asked a question a few months ago about the clay finishing on papers, does it affect nibs, and the only reply I got was no it doesn't don't worry about it. But I'm not completely convinced. At the same time it doesn't bother me any more because if the nib wears down then that means it's time for a new one. And how many of us here can claim to have worn down a fp nib?

#7 MusterMark

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 23:56

I have an oversize Sheaffer Balance from the late 1930s that seems to "prefer" cursive. When I bought it, I wrote in print. The pen just writes so much more smoothly in cursive that I went back to cursive for most of my daily writing to adapt to the pen. A little of both pen adapting to the hand (someone else's in this case) and the hand adapting to the pen.



#8 Scrawler

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 00:16

I have noticed this phenomenon with Esterbrook 2xxx series nibs. Some I have used have developed a 'foot' that does not match the angle I hold the pen at. But these are folded tip nibs. The only iridium tipped nib that I have right now that has worn in a way that is uncomfortable for me to write with is a Liberty pen from around 1912.



#9 sargetalon

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 00:51

There are much better reasons than that to not lend your pens out. My understanding is that this is a non-issue for all practical purposes.

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#10 Inflection

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 01:15



There are much better reasons than that to not lend your pens out. My understanding is that this is a non-issue for all practical purposes.

 

Someone might want to go edit the Wikipedia article on "Fountain Pens" then, because the perception apparently it extends even there:

 

 

Users are often cautioned not to lend or borrow fountain pens as the nib "wears in" at an angle unique to each individual person. A different user is likely to find that a worn-in nib does not write satisfactorily in their hand and, furthermore, creates a second wear surface, ruining the nib for the original user. This, however, is not a point of concern in pens with modern, durable tipping material, as these pens take many years to develop any significant wear.

 

From Wikipedia: Fountain Pen



#11 jar

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 02:06

 

Someone might want to go edit the Wikipedia article on "Fountain Pens" then, because the perception apparently it extends even there:

 

 

 

From Wikipedia: Fountain Pen

Which is why Wikipedia should never be taken as authoritative.

 

I have hundreds of previously owned and used fountain pens and have never found one that had tipping that was so worn in I could not immediately use it.


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#12 sotto2

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 00:47

Loan your pens to a whole lot of people, then, in the aggregate, the wear will be evenly distributed, and if you ever get the pens back, they should write almost exactly like they did when you loaned them out.  :)


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#13 Scrawler

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 01:01

Loan your pens to a whole lot of people, then, in the aggregate, the wear will be evenly distributed, and if you ever get the pens back, they should write almost exactly like they did when you loaned them out.  :)

:lticaptd: :headsmack:



#14 dms525

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 04:55

The user wears in far sooner than the nib.

 

Bingo!

 

I write almost exclusively with custom ground italic nibs. Each is unique, and I find I must accommodate to the peculiarities of each one when I switch to it from writing with a different pen. If I have not used the index nib for a few months, it may take me several lines before I "dial in on" that nib's sweet spot - the pen angle, rotation, pressure, etc.  Although I suspect my crisp italic nibs are more finicky than almost all round nibs, I think this phenomenon is true more or less of all nibs.  I have also learned not to pass judgment on a new pen/nib for at least several days, to see if I will accommodate to it or if any problems I find at first persist.

 

David



#15 dcwaites

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:07

As Scrawler said, it would really only be a problem with steel folded tip nibs. The only one of those I have, other than some dip nibs, is an old Pilot Varsity pens, which originally came with folded tip nibs.

 

Certainly if a user wrote with a pen regularly, especially with substantial pressure, you can wear your tipped nibs. I have a Parker 51 with a flat spot on the nib where it has been written flat.


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#16 David_W

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 02:27

I have a 1983 vintage Parker 25 where I have worn a pronounced flat spot on the tipping. It took eleven years of using that pen as my primary writing instrument at school and university, often using paper of questionable quality, to get it to the state it is in today. Even so, all I've done is broadened the line somewhat and possibly changed the angle of the sweet spot from that set in the factory. If I gave someone else that pen to use, it shouldn't take them long to 'dial in' to its characteristics.

 

Adapting to the characteristics of that Parker 25 is like changing between the three pens I have inked on my desk at the moment. Two are Lamy Accents with EF nibs - both those pens write similarly, though one has a broader line than the other at the moment. I'm not sure whether this is to do with the nibs, the feeds or the inks - I could swap the nibs over, though I don't fancy the mess of switching nibs on inked pens as both pens contain nano pigment ink. This underlines that even supposedly identical pens can write differently - every feed and nib is unique and the user has to get used to its characteristics.

 

The Yard-O-Led with a F nib writes noticeably broader than the Lamys, and the sweet spot is found at a much lower angle than on the Lamy nibs. The Yard-O-Led is a much broader and heavier pen than the Lamys, which takes a little getting used to as I switch between pens.



#17 AustinMalone1999

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:39

Certain tipping materials wear easier. If you see a large ball of tipping material you should be good. And in case of an emergency you could always have a nibmeister re-tip it.



#18 Blue_Moon

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 08:12

Certain tipping materials wear easier. If you see a large ball of tipping material you should be good. And in case of an emergency you could always have a nibmeister re-tip it.


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#19 Sasha Royale

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 09:30

Considering the relative hardness of even soft metal to the hardness of paper, wearing of the nib is unlikely in a decade or two.  

The danger of lending your fountain pen lies not in nib wear, but in "ignorant abuse" or DROPPING .   

 

Forty-five years ago, I lent ("Loan" is not a verb.) my sterling silver Parker 75 to the hottest coed, you ever imagined.  She dropped it.

She dropped it nib down.  She dropped it nib down onto a tile floor.  Replacement of a bent nib and cracked section cost a week's pay.  

(I never got past first base.)


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#20 sotto2

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 17:58

Considering the relative hardness of even soft metal to the hardness of paper, wearing of the nib is unlikely in a decade or two.  
The danger of lending your fountain pen lies not in nib wear, but in "ignorant abuse" or DROPPING .   
 
Forty-five years ago, I lent ("Loan" is not a verb.) my sterling silver Parker 75 to the hottest coed, you ever imagined.  She dropped it.
She dropped it nib down.  She dropped it nib down onto a tile floor.  Replacement of a bent nib and cracked section cost a week's pay.  
(I never got past first base.)

This is the very definition of "wisdom".

Edited by sotto2, 07 June 2014 - 19:45.

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