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Close Up Photos Of Abrasives Used On Nibs


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#1 mhosea

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 21:26

In another thread the use of ungraded abrasives for nib smoothing came up, and I decided to post some digital microscope photos of abrasives that I've used on nibs for smoothing or grinding, as well as one that I have not, namely the brown paper bag. I'm not an expert in the use of these materials, but perhaps experts can comment.

In these photos I have an inset picture of a the medium tip of a Pilot Vanishing Point. It is about 0.75mm wide (the writing surface is, of course, a little smaller).

First let's take a look at a brown paper bag. This is one from my local grocery. I thought two close-up photos at different spots was worth it for this material.

20236815065_a7e5b535ca_n.jpg20242609851_805919a957_n.jpg19614160774_6caa1df36e_n.jpg

This material is complex. The fibers are obvious, but their efficacy as an abrasive is unknown. The surface also seems to include other material that might be abrasive. Some folks swear by it, but for my money there are too many unknowns, and graded smoothing materials too readily available, as higher-end nail care products in the cosmetics section if nowhere else.

Here we see the gray 12000 grit Micromesh surface of the ubiquitous gray-white-pink buff sticks. I also have some small sheets of the same stuff, sold by Revell for model finishing.

20048779790_76ed9d36c9_n.jpg20048779880_22f8dc8948_n.jpg

And the 2 micron Mylar lapping film:

19614161364_3913f08a3d_n.jpg20236815765_9738dce63a_n.jpg

And the 0.3 micron Mylar lapping film used for the highest polish:

20048800268_a85dfcda25_n.jpg19614161494_745dc2eeb5_n.jpg

The closest thing I personally have used to the brown paper bag is 3M Wet/Dry polishing paper. This stuff is better used for polishing pen bodies, but the 1 micron paper seems good as a late stage step in polishing nib tipping to me, except that the fibers dislodge and have to be flossed out afterwards. You have to be careful to use it lightly so as not to put lateral pressure on your nib tipping (vintage nib tipping can break off if it is exposed to too much side-to-side force). Apparently, it works because the fibers (which probably aren't abrasive at all) are impregnated with a polishing compound. The fibers, which are not tightly packed, probably brush up against the edges of the nib slit like a hungry house cat's whiskers on your pant leg, perhaps taking off small burrs or "micro-mountains".

19615852093_bef90d73b3_n.jpg20048780270_fa18fa2e0c_n.jpg

The following materials are more abrasive, and I've used them for nib shaping and grinding (not smoothing).

Here are the pink 2400 grit and white 4000 grit parts of the gray-white-pink buff sticks.

20048799748_ea87d818ea_n.jpg20210542956_479a5838df_n.jpg

19614160974_21dc051627_n.jpg20210542946_1f92ec53c8_n.jpg

And here are some of the more abrasive Mylar lapping films that come in the kits that I often buy, the 3 micron and 5 micron films.

20048800118_0f4774490b_n.jpg19614161354_d48c8d1167_n.jpg

20050209039_56f0431f84_n.jpg20050209089_105668f816_n.jpg

And finally, I occasionally use the finest two stones of a Lansky knife sharpening system, though only for grinding, never smoothing. The flat surfaces come in handy for removal of Baby's Bottom or grinding a round nib to a smooth cursive italic. Of course they have to be followed up by smoothing with some of the other materials above.

This is the 600 grit hone. When you use something like this, you have to mean it. Oddly, it doesn't seem to work all that well. I can take material off faster with the coarser grades of Mylar lapping film.
20048799898_0dfd4c8ab8_n.jpg19614161144_cd6729758d_n.jpg

And the 1000 grit hone. This is the one I use for taking out Baby's Bottom. It removes tipping material very, very slowly.
19614161034_fbb0116c5c_n.jpg19615851933_b6cf18f8b8_n.jpg

Edited by mhosea, 03 August 2015 - 02:01.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.


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#2 TheRealScubaSteve

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 00:31

Very cool, thanks for sharing.



#3 ArtsNibs

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 05:01

Awesome post - thanks!

#4 DevrimJan

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 06:50

I never got to thanking you for your wonderful contribution to the other thread, so, thank you!



#5 Beechwood

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 09:51

Very interesting and informative post, thank you for taking so much trouble.


How many people does it take to comment on a question on FPN? One to give advice and make suggestions. Another one to repeat everything that the first poster has said. Fourteen to share their own experiences of their pens and comment on how the original advice was flawed.
Seven who just want to increase their post count. One to say that they have no regrets about doing anything and people should follow their example. Another to say that if there is anything wrong with the pen it is just down to using Diamine Shimmer ink. Six to argue over whether its a worth doing anything with it and the OP should just throw it away and buy their Parker 51. Another six to condemn all of the above as being  stupid and anyway they would rather be on FP Geeks. One to say that the pen is cheaper where they live. Five people to post pics of their own pens. One to say that if the OP had Faith then the pen would work - and gets banned very quickly.

Finally, one to close down the thread because it has lost its way.
 


#6 Chrissy

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 10:37

Excellent thread. Thanks.


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#7 mhosea

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 15:31

Let me know if you have any requests.  One person mentioned using a piece of glass, but by nature the surface of glass would be highly variable (ranging from etched glass with scratches gouged in it as well to the super-smooth surface of a highly polished Newtonian mirror), so I felt that capturing the surface of a piece of glass was thoroughly pointless.  I've been thinking about buying some of the high-end nail buffing products and comparing those.  I once bought a foam block that had 4 different grits labeled.  The finer of the two seemed useful for smoothing, but my guess at the time was that the finest was a slightly coarser grit than 12000 micromesh.  The one I bought is now too worn to be useful.


I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.


#8 PaperQueen

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 16:49

I've been thinking about buying some of the high-end nail buffing products and comparing those.

 

I'd love to see those under a microscope. They shouldn't be hard to find---if you live anywhere near a Sally Beauty Supply, Ulta, or similar shop, they'll have them in stock, near nail polish. 

 

For that matter, even Target might have them. 

 

UPDATE:
I checked at Target yesterday---they don't. Have definitely purchased them at Sally and Ulta, though.


Edited by Paper_Queen, 04 August 2015 - 18:40.

Why are there fourteen samples of dark plum ink on my desk? Because I still haven't found the right shade.

Is that a problem...???  : : : sigh : : : 

 

Update: Great. Finally found one I love (Lamy Dark Lilac) but I can't get more. Ah, life in my inky world....


#9 mhosea

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 18:33

I ordered a 4-way block (well, 6 of them, actually, because I find them useful for other things), a "MAKIYO burnishing stick", and a 0.1 micron disk from vintagepens.com.  If the last is what I think it is, even at $12 it is cheap, but at 0.1 microns, we're not likely to see much going on in the photo.


I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.


#10 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 21:25

Mirrors and the inside of water glass was used to resharpen rationed Gillette Blue Blades in WW2.

Some one mentioned using a hand mirror with rim to keep the water on the mirror while removing drag or smoothing.

 

Rolls Royce made an attached one blade safety razor for WW2 with some sort of automatic sharpening system....that did not work well. Or well enough to replace a Chrome single blade razor of after time after the Blue Blade. Thinking now, it could have been used too much and lost it's angle. It went from how nifty to too bad it don't work.


www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens and inks only; not the users or inks of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#11 Christopher Godfrey

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 00:26

Nein, Bo Bo: entschuldigen mich! Nothing to do with Rolls Royce -- the Rolls razor actually worked brilliantly: my Pa used one for years. And not automatic: you stropped it yourself by using each side of the inside <lids> of the tin case, each lid inside covered with a different grade of abrasive...really rather clever; but, in any case, commercially undermined by the advent of the electric razor.

#12 mhosea

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 01:35

I'd love to see those under a microscope. They shouldn't be hard to find---if you live anywhere near a Sally Beauty Supply, Ulta, or similar shop, they'll have them in stock, near nail polish. 
 
For that matter, even Target might have them. 
 
UPDATE:
I checked at Target yesterday---they don't. Have definitely purchased them at Sally and Ulta, though.


Well, I got some 4-way blocks in that are labeled "Princessa". Here is the finest step 4 "Shine Nail".

20170444128_167a9542d8_n.jpg20349955762_99b92ac24b_n.jpg

If you want you can click through to look at the other surfaces on Flickr.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.


#13 PaperQueen

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 14:04

Well, I got some 4-way blocks in that are labeled "Princessa". Here is the finest step 4 "Shine Nail".

20170444128_167a9542d8_n.jpg20349955762_99b92ac24b_n.jpg

If you want you can click through to look at the other surfaces on Flickr.

 

Interesting---thanks for doing this, Mike.

 

The green side must equate to the grey on 4-way buffer sticks (kind of rubbery, for lack of a better word)...? 

 

Are any of these surfaces something you feel appropriate for nibs? From the photos, it almost looks like the blue side might be consistent enough for use, but I'm not sure about the grit. 


Why are there fourteen samples of dark plum ink on my desk? Because I still haven't found the right shade.

Is that a problem...???  : : : sigh : : : 

 

Update: Great. Finally found one I love (Lamy Dark Lilac) but I can't get more. Ah, life in my inky world....


#14 Beechwood

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 16:09

Mirrors and the inside of water glass was used to resharpen rationed Gillette Blue Blades in WW2.

Some one mentioned using a hand mirror with rim to keep the water on the mirror while removing drag or smoothing.

 

Rolls Royce made an attached one blade safety razor for WW2 with some sort of automatic sharpening system....that did not work well. Or well enough to replace a Chrome single blade razor of after time after the Blue Blade. Thinking now, it could have been used too much and lost it's angle. It went from how nifty to too bad it don't work.

 

 

I may have got the wrong idea here but I think the razor made by Rolls was not made by Rolls Royce but the Rolls Razor Company and  so named to give the impression it was made by Rolls Royce.

 

Pic attached.

 

Sorry, OP, seem to have hijacked your excellent thread and material


How many people does it take to comment on a question on FPN? One to give advice and make suggestions. Another one to repeat everything that the first poster has said. Fourteen to share their own experiences of their pens and comment on how the original advice was flawed.
Seven who just want to increase their post count. One to say that they have no regrets about doing anything and people should follow their example. Another to say that if there is anything wrong with the pen it is just down to using Diamine Shimmer ink. Six to argue over whether its a worth doing anything with it and the OP should just throw it away and buy their Parker 51. Another six to condemn all of the above as being  stupid and anyway they would rather be on FP Geeks. One to say that the pen is cheaper where they live. Five people to post pics of their own pens. One to say that if the OP had Faith then the pen would work - and gets banned very quickly.

Finally, one to close down the thread because it has lost its way.
 


#15 mhosea

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 16:53

 

The green side must equate to the grey on 4-way buffer sticks (kind of rubbery, for lack of a better word)...? 

 

Are any of these surfaces something you feel appropriate for nibs? From the photos, it almost looks like the blue side might be consistent enough for use, but I'm not sure about the grit. 

 

I'll have to try it on something and assess the results.  The 12000 grit Micromesh on a foam backing is hard to use very early in the smoothing process because of the softness.  My impression from touching the green side is that it is similar but a somewhat coarser grit than the gray 12000 grit Micromesh.  It is more reminiscent of sandpaper to the touch, but it is probably usable.  From a practical writing perspective, high polish is not necessary, as it's scratchiness that makes a pen unpleasant to use to the point of needing to be "fixed".  Even if it feels like a felt-tip pen or a pencil, that is better than the tines digging into the paper on some strokes .

 

The other sides I think are too coarse for smoothing, except perhaps that the blue might work in Binder's methodology to "break the edge" leading into the tines.


I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.


#16 PaperQueen

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 18:17

Thanks for the added insight, Mike---much appreciated. 


Why are there fourteen samples of dark plum ink on my desk? Because I still haven't found the right shade.

Is that a problem...???  : : : sigh : : : 

 

Update: Great. Finally found one I love (Lamy Dark Lilac) but I can't get more. Ah, life in my inky world....


#17 mmg122

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 19:09

Excellent info, Mike. Thanks.

#18 Ron Z

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 20:45

I suspect that the green block is coarser than 12000 micromesh. Not that it won't work, but you won't get the fine polish that you get with micromesh or 0.3 micron film.


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#19 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 07:39

Beechwood, that was the razor I also had. But as I said, alas it needed a professional barber sharpening, just like a good straight razor does every few years.

(No matter what stropping tools one has at home sooner or later it must be sent back to the factory or a barber found who can sharpen them.. Between learning about straight razors for personal use (grew a beard instead), needed the info for my Western.)

 

For the duration of the war the Rolls blade probably remained sharp enough.

 

That "Princessa" and finest step 4 "Shine Nail" sure looks 'lumpy'.

 

This is a good pinned article.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 09 August 2015 - 07:40.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens and inks only; not the users or inks of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#20 mhosea

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 08:14

That "Princessa" and finest step 4 "Shine Nail" sure looks 'lumpy'.


I actually tried it today as part of the re-polishing after taking out some baby's bottom. Yup, it's lumpy. I know I've seen better 4-way nail blocks, where side 2 is more like side 4 on the Princessa blocks. I guess that goes to show the difficulty of using something that isn't graded--two blocks of different brands may be very different in their effective grits. I think that green side would work for somebody in a pinch, but it feels too coarse for a final step. The blue was OK for a little shaping, but the other two surfaces I just wouldn't use on a nib.

Edited by mhosea, 09 August 2015 - 08:14.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.




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