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Mabie Todd Dip Pen #4 Nib Help

dip pen mabie todd flex nib

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#1 FountainDip

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 02:35

I recently acquired a Mabie Todd # 4 nib (18K) and dip pen from eBay. The nib looks to be almost in mint condition. I'm very new to Dip pens, so I might be missing something on how to use it. I thought that this was a flex nib, but I don't see the tines separating when I put a little pressure. It instead writes like an extra-fine nib. The ink doesn't flow very freely, and I've only used it with fountain pen ink so far, and not India Ink or other calligraphy inks. The nib feels scratchy, but the times are perfectly aligned.

 

Is there anyway to make the ink flow more freely or improve the flex? How much pressure can I put on it? I've attached a couple of images for the nib.

 

Thanks.

 

 

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#2 Water Ouzel

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 04:36

Not all Mabie-Todd nibs are flexible.



#3 Tootles

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 05:00

Not all Mabie-Todd nibs are flexible.

 

This ^^

 

And although it is hard to tell from the photograph, it looks like there is no tipping on the nib. 

 

Nice #4 nonetheless!



#4 FountainDip

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 05:53

You're right. I tried the fingernail pressure test mentioned in this post, and it's definitely not a flex nib: http://www.fountainp...ure-on-the-nib/

 

I've been experimenting with my inks, and so far the Mabie Todd seems to like Noodler's Hunters Green fountain pen ink the best. I also have a Leroy Fairchild # 3 14K dip pen. This is the complete opposite, and only prefers heavier calligraphy inks. I put ink on top of the nib using a dropper, and it works beautifully without globbing too much ink on paper. 

 

I'm beginning to like using dip pens over fountain pens at my desk as I can vary the ink I use with it for short periods and not having to worry about it drying out like fountain pens  :)



#5 jabberwock11

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 05:59

This is a dip pen nib, you can not think of it in the same way that you think of a fountain pen nib.  dip pen nibs are rarely tipped as tipping does not allow for the fine hairlines that dip pens are so good at achieving.  Most dip pens are much sharper, and therefore much scratchier than what you are used to.  A dip pen requires a lighter touch and different angle than a fountain pen.  With a few changes in technique you will find it much smoother.

 

As to the flexibility, while even stiff dip pen nibs are usually more flexible than most fountain pens, not all dip pen nibs are flexible and as Mabie Todd was a leading manufacturer they made many nibs for general writing, which were not terribly flexible.  The #4 is just the nib size, not the model, so your #4 may just be a general writing or ledger nib.  If this is the case then you will be able to get some extra flex with a bit more pressure, but it will never be a very flexible nib.

 

As far as flow is concerned, there are many things that can affect dip pen flow.  The most obvious is that oils from the hand and fingers can coat a dip pen nib and cause the ink to not flow properly.  Cleaning the nib with some windex or alcohol, followed by a rinse and dry should cure this.  The other big thing is that not many fountain pen inks work well with dip pens, they just aren't designed for this sort of use (many so called calligraphy inks are just as poorly designed).  Using a reputable ink that is known to work well will with dip pens will help here, I would suggest a good sumi ink or walnut ink.

 

In any event, it is a nice looking nib and I am sure that with a few tweaks it will write nicely.

 

Here is a good site for dip pen supplies and ink:

http://www.paperinkarts.com/


Edited by jabberwock11, 29 October 2015 - 06:02.


#6 Tootles

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 06:12

 

This is a dip pen nib, you can not think of it in the same way that you think of a fountain pen nib.  dip pen nibs are rarely tipped as tipping does not allow for the fine hairlines that dip pens are so good at achieving

 

EoC apologises for offering a correction, but this information is not right. In the pen drawer EoC has 4 of these dip pens - an Edward Todd #1, a Mabie Todd #2, a Mabie Todd # 3 and an ES Johnson #4.  All have tipping. 

 

While it is certainly the case that disposable steel dip nibs have no tipping, the same cannot be said about gold dip nibs.



#7 jabberwock11

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 06:46

While I concede that my statement was overly broad, I still maintain that the overall intent of statement was correct.  I own about a dozen different gold dip pen nibs, and only one is tipped.  So, let me offer a middle ground: few dip pen nibs have tipping, but tipping is far more common on gold nibs than on steel nibs.  In any event, tipping or no, dip pens are still quite different than fountain pens and still require a different approach (although, perhaps less so with a tipped dip pen nib).

 

Any dip pen nib which does not have tipping (especially seeing as dip pen nibs TEND to be much sharper than most fountain pen nib) will be much more scratchy than the average fountain pen nib. without a change in technique an untipped Mabie Todd #4 will continue to feel scratchy, and even with a change in technique this nib is still likely to feel a bit scratchy.



#8 Shangas

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 13:05

Dip pen nibs on a whole rarely had tipping - the vast majority of them were designed to be disposable. I'm sure some of the gold pen nibs had tipping (gold being valuable and whatnot), but even then, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't. And yes, dip-pen nibs do require a different touch when writing, and are generally rougher than fountain pen nibs. 


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#9 Goudy

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 15:18

All my Mabie Todd dip nibs are tipped, including my No.4. See this thread for some pictures and a writing sample. Tipping material can get damaged or lost, of course. Even when it's present, fine tipped dip nibs tend not be as smooth, on average, as FP nibs. Flex can be very variable - some have almost none. As to how much pressure to use, I'd say go easy until you get a feel for this type of nib.

 

My favourite inks for vintage dip nibs are Prout's Brown and the iron galls such as Blot's, ESSRI and Diamine Registrar's. These kind of inks will give a finer line than typical FP inks or Indian Ink, and work well with flex nibs.

 


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