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Close Up Photos Of Abrasives Used On Nibs


46 replies to this topic

#21 creedo

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Posted 29 September 2015 - 16:18

Very nice! I have never seen abrasives at this level of magnification. Thanks for the effort! 



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#22 Shubhranshu Das

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Posted 31 October 2015 - 12:05

Hi,

I have read this with great interest... However I have found it difficult to get micro mesh locally in India... What alternatives would you suggest.... I wouldn't want to take a risk using Emory paper or whatever is the local equivalent....

Thank you

#23 mhosea

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Posted 31 October 2015 - 17:22

I have read this with great interest... However I have found it difficult to get micro mesh locally in India... What alternatives would you suggest.... I wouldn't want to take a risk using Emory paper or whatever is the local equivalent....


I didn't re-read the thread before responding here, so apologies if I repeat myself (I'm sure I've written everything I'm about to write somewhere online). I think "alternatives" are mainly about consistency and fineness of the grit. Anything that is used for fingernail "shaping" is going to grind the tip, not smooth it, but there are some products, or parts of mult-sided products, that are supposed to "shine" the nail after all the shaping is done. Those might be OK.

The problem we sometimes face is that the stuff is available, but it is available because it is used in industry, and so sellers may not sell to individual consumers or may not sell in low quantities. You might be better off finding what you want globally and then just paying the shipping charge and be done with it. Having said that, sometimes the products are available but hidden in niches. For example, 50mm-by-50mm 12000 grit micromesh sheets are sold by Revell for work on building models. The same might be available under another brand from some online store that caters to hobbies that involve building models. The bottom line is that perhaps somebody "locally" needs extremely fine abrasives for something, and so we need to find out where they get their supplies.

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#24 Vintagepens

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Posted 03 January 2016 - 22:11

I'm rather late to this thread, so first a belated thanks for these photos -- very useful and informative.

 

Not sure if it would make a difference in terms of the abrasives' appearance under the microscope, but it's worth noting that lapping film isn't all the same. In particular, the diamond is far superior to the aluminum oxide. For whatever reason, it is much tougher -- very difficult to scrape off the Mylar backing, even when a sharp tip edge digs in. 



#25 kmeredith923

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 00:26

This is quite interesting to me. I'm as new as it gets and had only seen video about how to smooth a nib, but didn't have the materials yet was sitting with a scratchy hosebeast of a pen. The pen was literally $.99, so I had nothing to lose. Ironically enough I'd visited Wal-Mart that day and bought a 6 sided Emory stick of the sort pictured..they do make a 7 sided block, but since the lowest grit feels like it's just plastic-y nylon I don't see the point of going further. I tentatively did some figure 8's on the lowest grit polishing side..nothing. a little more force..nothing. long story short I got to the 3rd stage in before making a difference, then walked my way back down to try to refine. It ended up working pretty well. My nail file is a bit inky, but the pen writes nicely now.

Attached Images

  • 614y2xe-suL._SX522_.jpg

Edited by kmeredith923, 11 April 2016 - 00:30.


#26 Ron Z

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 14:44

Its fine to experiment with these things on 99 cent pens, but I would be very, very cautious using it on a quality pen or one that you care about.  The micro-mesh sticks that we use are not simple nail polishing sticks like this, but are a bit specialized and their properties have been tested and proven.  They aren't available at Walmart, but they are relatively inexpensive.  By contrast, damaging a nib because you used what is handy can be a very costly mistake.


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#27 Biber

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 15:12

I think it would be very informative if this thread could include similar magnified shots of the various papers (both high end and not so high end) commonly used with fountain pens.


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#28 Christopher Godfrey

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 15:15

Meredith, listen to what Ron says: he knows!  The smoothing sticks most commonly used are easily available from several pen sites and they are inexpensive -- better, I think, to go with something tried-and-tested?  Additionally, I would suspect that with those rather deep pads, there might be the danger of the pads tipping over whilst you are smoothing?  The others are very shallow in depth and therefore in no danger of tipping over.  I could be wrong, of course.  :)



#29 kmeredith923

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 15:31

You are all right, of course, but as I said it was $.99 and basically nonfunctional so I had zero to lose. It will be a very long time before I'm comfortable with nib modification/smoothing on anything else!

#30 mhosea

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 18:35

I think it would be very informative if this thread could include similar magnified shots of the various papers (both high end and not so high end) commonly used with fountain pens.

I can probably oblige. Maybe later in the week, unless somebody else with a digital microscope beats me to it. Not sure about calibrating to the others, though. It's been awhile since did the scans above.
 
 

You are all right, of course, but as I said it was $.99 and basically nonfunctional so I had zero to lose. It will be a very long time before I'm comfortable with nib modification/smoothing on anything else!

 

One of the early multi-surface sticks I got was much like the one you show.  The finest few surfaces were all very good for smoothing, but there wasn't much of them, so the sticks wore out really quickly.  One of the 4-sided blocks I got was similar, but the more recent ones, the "Princessa" ones, are markedly inferior.  I recommend against these for nib smoothing.  So there you have it.  The problem with recommending these more-readily-available options is that one doesn't know which kind will actually be on the shelf to buy.  If you know the look and feel of both kinds, then you are in good shape, but recommending to a newbie who doesn't know is problematic.

 

On a related note, David Nishimura speaks the truth, I think.  He doesn't mention that he sells them, but I do think the mylar sheets he sells are tougher, and that's not an advantage to be sneezed at because anybody who smooths more than few pens doesn't want to be tossing these things in the trash after a handful of uses, and the finer mylar sheets quickly change character as the surface wears, especially the white.  I have one of the 0.1 micron sheets he sells, and it is orders of magnitude tougher than the white mylar sheets.  OTOH, 0.1 microns is maybe going to polish the nib a little smoother than I really want.


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#31 Biber

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 18:53

I can probably oblige. Maybe later in the week, unless somebody else with a digital microscope beats me to it. Not sure about calibrating to the others, though. It's been awhile since did the scans above.
 

 

That would be wonderful if you would. Most appreciated.


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#32 mhosea

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 04:44

OK, so I haven't had the time to organize and make a post of it, but the Flickr album here has low and high magnification shots of Tomoe River (cream), Rhodia, the standard Field Notes paper, and Original Crown Mill.  I used bright oblique lighting to bring out the texture, such as it was, and there is a stroke of Waterman Purple in each.  Later, when I get the chance, I'll try to come back and get the images working so that you won't have to click through to see them.


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#33 Biber

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 15:29

Wow, thanks for the paper shots. Somehow they all look like white bread.  It's very interesting to see how they compare to the much maligned brown paper bag. 


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#34 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 21:18

This is quite interesting to me. I'm as new as it gets and had only seen video about how to smooth a nib, but didn't have the materials yet was sitting with a scratchy hosebeast of a pen. The pen was literally $.99, so I had nothing to lose. Ironically enough I'd visited Wal-Mart that day and bought a 6 sided Emory stick of the sort pictured..they do make a 7 sided block, but since the lowest grit feels like it's just plastic-y nylon I don't see the point of going further. I tentatively did some figure 8's on the lowest grit polishing side..nothing. a little more force..nothing. long story short I got to the 3rd stage in before making a difference, then walked my way back down to try to refine. It ended up working pretty well. My nail file is a bit inky, but the pen writes nicely now.



I dug one out and fixed a raspy Hero 359---the Hero-Fari! :D

#35 kmeredith923

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Posted 16 April 2016 - 23:55

I think it also helped that the file block I used was a very high priced one from a very famous, high quality brand. I probably wouldn't have attempted it with one of the blocks you can get for a buck. Zero quality control on those that becomes apparent using them on fingernails, not going to trust them to not maul a nib if they mauled a nail.

#36 mhosea

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Posted 18 April 2016 - 00:29

So you don't have to click through to Flickr:
 
26388182891_e280078e05.jpg
Tomoe River Paper (cream) low magnification
 
26388182911_7eb0c9c7aa.jpg
Tomoe River Paper (cream) high magnification
 
26362025302_d332a03229.jpg
Rhodia low magnification
 
26428431506_973b420329.jpg
Rhodia high magnification
 
26362025352_05e7c9dc77.jpg
Field Notes low magnification
 
26388183011_72b170b4b3.jpg
Field Notes high magnification
 
26181506840_338f2ce62d.jpg
Original Crown Mill low magnification 
 
26388183031_3913e36e4e.jpg
Original Crown Mill high Magnification

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#37 Ebonite And Ivory

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 14:22

Thanks for the effort. Cool!

I am happy to meet you. Please message me if you have any questions or want to be pen friends. 

 


#38 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 01:09

The good quality brown paper bag is only good for removing drag off of pens that sat in the back of a drawer for a generation or two.

 

It will bring the nib up to good and smooth, the step under butter smooth. It will never give you butter smooth and to grind a nib to a stub or CI would take ages...if possible. It is good for removing micro-corrosion/iridium rust....drag.

It can if you don't constantly rotate the tip...give you a flat spot also.

 

First and always for either micro-mesh or good quality brown paper bag, make sure your tines are aligned. :angry: 

 

The other good thing a good quality brown paper bag does is teach you to rotate the tip of the nib while doing circles left, right......squiggles up and down and left and right. A 15 second set then test.....might need 3-4 sets to get rid of the drag. If you do six and it's still dragging it's time for the micro-mesh.

I only had that happen with rolled steel tip of a Chinese pen. 

 

With micro-mesh one is using a 3-4 second set and one should be on the smoothest after after 4...one on the rough stuff, two-three on the middle rough stuff....max.  ...Smoothing.

For nib grinding???????? I never really got to that, in I have stubbish semi-flex nibs on the whole.

 

If the tip is rotated it is harder to ruin a nib with a good quality brown paper bag, than with a micro-mesh stick....less is taken off.

 

In it is much larger than the little sticks, you can learn the movements easier. Eventually you will go over to micro-mesh and you will. Even I did. I did have enough practice that I could shrink my movements and knew what I was doing....and how not to use excess pressure.

 

Old Grizz (RIP) said doing figure 8's cause baby bottom.

 

Not everyone knows what a good paper bag looks like...coming from round plastic bowling bags.

I'd not use one that said 'recycled'; just as I'd not use recycled writing paper....no one knows what sort of sharp, gouging crud is in the paper. 

 

Micro-mesh is better than a brown paper bag....if you have an old junk pen or two to practice on. :rolleyes: Richard Binder gives two junk pens with one of his smoothing sets.

 

I haven't used the brown paper bag since micro-mesh and lapping paper became cheaper and more widely available than 7-8 years ago.

I think the last time I used a brown paper bag was 1 1/2 years ago.

 

If you are a student and have a bit of drag....the brown paper bad will help. If you want more...like butter smooth....be very careful with micro-mesh. What is gone is gone.


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.


#39 Vintagepens

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Posted 26 December 2016 - 23:13

Indeed -- there are a lot of things I used to use for pen repair that I haven't since better alternatives became available.



#40 bizhe

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 01:16

Which USB microscope was used for this?



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