I used steel punches under my nibs in lieu of a nib block. Crude, but it worked, so I will be glad to get a real nib block.
As for learning:
Get a few scrap nibs from "junker" pens, and play with it on the nib block.
That is how I learned, though I'm still a novice at this stuff. As they say, you learn from experience, and I'm still learning.
A stainless steel nib will be harder to shape than gold, but it can be done.
WARNING, I am NOT a nib meister, so what I am describing may be all wrong, but it works for me.
On a bent nib, I will press and burnish down the center ^ of the bend to flatten it. It is just easier for me to do it this way.
I don't work on the leg of a bend, unless I have no choice. Then you end up using your fingers.
As is stated in the links provided above, too much burnishing could work harden the nib, so be careful how much you burnish.
I use several "tools" that I scavenged from around the house.
For the concave side:
- a small spoon shaped dental tool that I got from one of the online pen tool sellers. It is sold to scrape ink sacs off the inside of the barrel.
- a wooden chopstick. The good thing about the wood chopstick is that it won't scratch the gold like a steel burnisher could. But it is softer and will require more effort. They do sell stainless steel chopsticks that would work, though you may have to round and polish the end.
For the convex side:
- a steel punch, to flatten on the convex side of the nib. Because it is steel, I roll the punch over the nib rather than drag it.
Go look in your tool box or kitchen drawer, you might find something that you can use.
For example, rather than the steel punch, I could have used the handle of a stainless steel butter knife to work on the convex side of the nib.
WARNING, be VERY CAREFUL when working around the tip of the nib. If you slip, you could damage the tipping or break off the tip of the nib.
Edited by ac12, 07 October 2015 - 18:57.