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Nib Smoothing

flatspot smoothing micromesh lapping film sharp scratchy

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#1 Nestor

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 21:17

Greetings everyone :D ,

This is my first post in this forum and I need your help. I want to learn hot to properly smooth a nib, without creating any flatspots, sharp edges etc. My issue is that most of the tutorials online recommend methods such as drawing figure 8's which often lead to flatspots. My goal is to learn how to remove material, in a way that the nib gets a well rounded shape. I did refer to Mr. Wim Geeraets's which was excelent and very informative. However no matter how smooth the nib turned out there was, always a spot that was scratchy and when i managed to smooth that spot another one (scratchy) appeared. If anyone would be kind enough to share any information or methods of smoothing nibs in way that no flatspots or edges corners appear, It would really help me and perhaps other members of this forum.

Thanks in advance,

Nestor 



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#2 grainweevil

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 11:04

Nestor, are you familiar with Richard Binder's Nib Smoothing Workshop notes? They're available here in PDF form, and may contain the knowledge you seek. Oh, and welcome to FPN. :)



#3 Karmachanic

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 11:47

Ludwig Tan's excellent tutorial:   http://www.marcuslin...ludwig-tan.html

 

I suggest you start with nibs you are prepared to loose. I purchased inexpensive Jinhao nibs and happily destroyed several in the learning process.


"Want little. Need less. Love more."


#4 Nestor

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 12:12

Nestor, are you familiar with Richard Binder's Nib Smoothing Workshop notes? They're available here in PDF form, and may contain the knowledge you seek. Oh, and welcome to FPN. :)

Thank you :)  Yes I am, this was the first method I tried, however I probably did not understand the motion he explains to do when smoothing the nib. Especially the part where he uses the 0.3 micron lapping film which is supposed to knock the micro-mountains of the nib. I used micromesh sheets and not buffing sticks (I don't know if that makes any difference). Not only did the nib get any smoother but after using the lapping film it got even worse. I couldn't stop till my nib got smooth which led to removing all the tipping material off a sheaffer with a triumph nib. There are no videos that demonstrate Richard's method and since using the written instructions failed, I really don't know what else to do.



#5 Nestor

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 12:19

Ludwig Tan's excellent tutorial:   http://www.marcuslin...ludwig-tan.html

 

I suggest you start with nibs you are prepared to loose. I purchased inexpensive Jinhao nibs and happily destroyed several in the learning process.

I will definitely look into it, though I don't have either Arkansas stone or crocus paper, nor do I know any sellers who do. I would be far happier if I destroyed some Jinhaos while learning, because for now the only pens I destroyed were a Parker 51 and a Sheaffer Valiant touchdown which are not that cheap.



#6 Karmachanic

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 13:03

I will definitely look into it, though I don't have either Arkansas stone or crocus paper, nor do I know any sellers who do. I would be far happier if I destroyed some Jinhaos while learning, because for now the only pens I destroyed were a Parker 51 and a Sheaffer Valiant touchdown which are not that cheap.

 One doesn't necessarily need a stone or crocus cloth. A set of micromesh pads 4000 to 12000 plus a sheet of 2000 wet/dry paper should do.

 

Slowly, slowly, little by little


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#7 grainweevil

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 13:32

I used micromesh sheets and not buffing sticks (I don't know if that makes any difference).

 

Rather depends what you have the sheets resting on - buffing sticks have some "give" or cushioning that can help to prevent flats forming. Exactly what you don't want in, say, forming an italic, but ideal for smoothing something in the round. You also need to move the tip around, up, down, left right, rotate it as you smooth etc. You're polishing an apple rather than a car bonnet, if you see what I mean. And don't get hung up on what variety of stone/cloth/etc is mentioned. They're all just forms of abrasive and will all smooth - or ruin - a nib with equal ability, grade for grade.

 

Karmachanic's advise is sound - cheap nibs, lots of practice, take your time. Don't be afraid to stop, walk away, and return to the nib another day. Some days it just never seems to want to go to plan!



#8 Nestor

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 20:00

 

Rather depends what you have the sheets resting on - buffing sticks have some "give" or cushioning that can help to prevent flats forming. Exactly what you don't want in, say, forming an italic, but ideal for smoothing something in the round. You also need to move the tip around, up, down, left right, rotate it as you smooth etc. You're polishing an apple rather than a car bonnet, if you see what I mean. And don't get hung up on what variety of stone/cloth/etc is mentioned. They're all just forms of abrasive and will all smooth - or ruin - a nib with equal ability, grade for grade.

 

Karmachanic's advise is sound - cheap nibs, lots of practice, take your time. Don't be afraid to stop, walk away, and return to the nib another day. Some days it just never seems to want to go to plan!

I can see what you mean, though in Richard's notes a very specific motion is described which isn't just randomly sliding the nib around in multiple directions. My problem and the reason why I posted in the first place is not so much the abrasives that are being used, but the motion that one must do on them,  in order get buttery well rounded smooth nib. 



#9 Karmachanic

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 20:42

Coarser micro mesh for shaping, finer for polishing. In conjuction with specific motions decribed by both Mr Binder and Mr Tan. Buy yourself a Jinhao X750 and a dozen Jinhao nibs. You'll need a 10X loupe as well.

 

Practice, practice, practice.

Follow the instructions, gain experience. Learn. There is no other method that I am aware of. Go for it! :)


"Want little. Need less. Love more."


#10 Nestor

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 22:15

Coarser micro mesh for shaping, finer for polishing. In conjuction with specific motions decribed by both Mr Binder and Mr Tan. Buy yourself a Jinhao X750 and a dozen Jinhao nibs. You'll need a 10X loupe as well.

 

Practice, practice, practice.

Follow the instructions, gain experience. Learn. There is no other method that I am aware of. Go for it! :)

 You are right I will definetely buy some cheap pens, there are no Jinhaos in Greece. However I think i can find some platinum preppys or something like that to practice on. The problem with Mr. Binder's instructions is that in some parts I don't understand the motion he is describing. In particular the third part of nib smoothing where he explains the process of knocking the micromountains of the nib, by using the 0.3 mylar paper, it the part that I dont get at all. Perhaps you could be kind enough if you have understood what kind of motion he is describing, to explain it to me?



#11 Karmachanic

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 22:42

One can purchase Jinhao pens and nibs here.

You want to run, but right now you cannot even stand. Buy the pen and nibs, and start doing. Follow Mr Tan's instructions to start with.

Gain some understanding, and experience, from which confidence will develop. Now is not the time to worry about micromountains!

Develop some basic skills first. Start doing. Understanding will follow.

This is all I have to offer.


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#12 Nestor

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 23:08

One can purchase Jinhao pens and nibs here.

You want to run, but right now you cannot even stand. Buy the pen and nibs, and start doing. Follow Mr Tan's instructions to start with.

Gain some understanding, and experience, from which confidence will develop. Now is not the time to worry about micromountains!

Develop some basic skills first. Start doing. Understanding will follow.

This is all I have to offer.

Well I think I can stand alright even run maybe! I have repaired quite a few bent nibs with crossed tines etc. Even smoothed them to a certain point. What I was looking for was the last few steps that will perfect the nib, getting it to a buttery smooth point. Micromountains are in this territory, of the final polishing and quite honestly what I was more interested in. Thank you for your replies!



#13 minddance

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 01:11

First, you need to identify where the scratch is coming from, whether it is the outer visible tipping or the inner tines. Normally the outer parts are quite well smoothened by manufacturers, except some Japanese brands where, i cannot confirm if it is intentional or otherwise, they leave some angled cuts. I have seen this with Pilot Custom, Sailor gold nibs.

Normally the scratch, for me, comes from the inner tines. At writing angle, 2 tines do not always meet the paper completely, especially at loops or in bigger and faster writing. The pressure at the 2 tines will almost always be different. This exposes the inner tines to the paper.

Some manufacturers round the inner tines pretty well, e.g. my Pelikan m800. Whereas some manufacturers leave the inner tines rather unfinished, e.g. my Sailor gold nibs. No problem with the Sailors as long as the tines do not have too big a gap.

Jinhao nibs are actually quite smooth. If you get them to practise smoothing, you will be unsmoothing them, possibly creating sharper inner tines as a result. (A new problem created) Then trying to smooth them again.

It depends also on how big a gap you want the tines to separate at the tip. A big gap demands real smooth and rounded inner tines. A small gap is usually more forgiving of the inner tines because the 2 tines work as one, not as 2 or 3 or 4.

Therefore, closing the gap between tines can sometimes make a pen write smoother. (But this does not solve the actual problem because if you write with slightly more pressure, the inner tines are exposed to paper again)

These are points I did not see on the attached notes by both Binder and Ludwig Tan. But Binder addresses the issue of inner tines.

Practice is a good thing only when it is done in the correct direction. The essence is to identify the problem, not trying things out and 'practising' haphazardly.

It certainly helps to have high powered magnification with ample lighting so that you can observe and take notes of what you have done to the nib(s).

And sometimes, fingernails are your best friend, not always abrasive films.

No mountain is too micro because it will be felt, especially when you want glass smooth writing.

Good luck.

Edited by minddance, 18 January 2019 - 01:37.


#14 Nestor

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 09:02

First, you need to identify where the scratch is coming from, ...

I couldn't agree more. Most of the times the exterior of the nib, especially after smoothing it with 0.3 micron lapping film, has a mirror finish. It is only when I write with a tiny bit pressure and perhaps an angle where they always begin scratching. So this leads me to believe that it is an inner tine smoothing issue. Which leads me to the question, how should one smooth the inner tines of the nib (without creating inkflow issues such as baby's bottom). I tried to slit 0.3 micron lapping film between the tines with a small angle away from the tine I wanted to polish and then moved it upwards and downwards. This did improve things a bit but still there was scratchiness (perhaps because this process smooths the bottom of the nib more than the front). 

What would you recommend to smooth the inner tines? Also I did not get the part where you said "And sometimes, fingernails are your best friend, not always abrasive films". Is there a trick I am missing?  :lticaptd: 







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: flatspot, smoothing, micromesh, lapping film, sharp, scratchy



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