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Lapping Film For Polishing Nib Tips


20 replies to this topic

#1 Thymen

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Posted 13 June 2020 - 06:26

I have been trying to find mylar polishing film, to smoothen and polish the nibs of some of my pens. But, it is hard to get where I am.

 

However, there are several other kinds of polishing/lapping films, mostly used to polish the edge of knives. Made by KME and/or WickedEdge, they range from 9 um to 0.5 - 0.1 um, the latter two being equivalent to 60.000 and 160.000 grit. The abrasive used is diamond. I can get these easily.

 

Would these be OK to use to polish pen tips? It is only intended for the final polishing, not the shaping the nib. And which one, the 0.5 or the 0.1 um?

 

https://www.kmesharp...kmedilafia.html



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#2 minddance

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 04:36

you will inevitably 'shape' the nib, or the surface of the nib in contact with paper, writing surface if you like, to be more specific. I am not talking about changing the nib shape in the macro sense but some form of shaping will take place.

#3 Honeybadgers

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 07:31

They will work just fine. You will need to go at them pretty carefully if your goal is to get rid of any scratchiness, because we normally start with micro mesh in the 10,000 grit range before moving onto the micron stuff. The micro mesh is a slightly padded surface that does a good job at doing "all the edges", whereas this is a hard plate, so you'll need to move it around a LOT to avoid creating a small flat spot. But mylar is usually put on a hard surface so the plates will work the same.

 

But for final polishing, a 0.5 and 0.1 would do the trick just fine. I use those stones with my wicked edge and the quality is exceptional. Bonus is that you'll practically never wear them out.

 

If you like your nibs to be absolutely glassy smooth, you need both 0.5 and 0.1. I personally don't like most of my pens that smooth, so I usually stop at 0.5 on most. It will give a pleasant amount of very mild drag, but no toothiness.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 15 June 2020 - 07:32.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#4 Thymen

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 17:32

Thanks for the replies. I will order some 0.5 and 0.1 um films.  I will place the film on some sheets of paper for the 'all the edges' effect.

 

I just want to make some of my nibs a bit smoother, not shape them. 



#5 GAtkins

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Posted 15 June 2020 - 18:00

If you have a piece of leather, like a belt or similar, or a cutting mat, those can be used as backers as well.

 

Glenn



#6 Thymen

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 15:03

Bought it, tried it.... don't like what it is doing to my nibs.

 

Even a few figure-8 on the 0.1 um makes the nibs very scratchy. Not what I expected from a 160.000 grit abrasive. And I used a soft surface as backing.

 

Tried it on some Moonman nibs, gave it a try with my Pelikan M100-F (for which the films were actually intended), same results. Scratchy nibs.

 

Managed to get them fairly smooth again with a leather strop. But these films will definitely not see a nib ever touching them again...



#7 Dr.X

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 15:36

Hmm. Unexpected.

 

I was taught not to use figure 8s, though I'm sure many use them and it works. At the mylar stage, I just use sharp little (short) pushes to get rid of 'mountains' on the tip. I'm not describing it well.

 

I'm sure you checked the alignment of the tines - for me this has been the most common cause  of scratchiness. Or the inside edge of the tines being too sharp (being careful not to create baby's bottom when I try to fix it).



#8 Honeybadgers

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 18:47

Bought it, tried it.... don't like what it is doing to my nibs.

 

Even a few figure-8 on the 0.1 um makes the nibs very scratchy. Not what I expected from a 160.000 grit abrasive. And I used a soft surface as backing.

 

Tried it on some Moonman nibs, gave it a try with my Pelikan M100-F (for which the films were actually intended), same results. Scratchy nibs.

 

Managed to get them fairly smooth again with a leather strop. But these films will definitely not see a nib ever touching them again...

 

Check your tine alignment and also be aware that those strops will take some breaking in. I probably should have mentioned that there is always a bit of residual grinding material that sits proud on those hard plates, so you might want to try honing a knife edge 10-20 times before you put a nib to them.

 

Also, don't do figure 8's. Move the nib ALL over.

 

I'd avoid using a strop. That's TOO soft, and can work its way in between the tines and cause baby's bottom.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 17 June 2020 - 18:48.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#9 Thymen

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 19:06

The 0.1 um film feels very smooth when I put an inked nib on it. I expect hardly any material removal at all, and that it would take a long time of polishing for the nib to be noticeably smoother. But it does make the nibs scratchy very quickly.

 

Up til now I used a piece of smooth leather with some well-worn polishing compound rubbed in to it. Lightly polishing the side of the nib tines first and then two very light strokes at the actual writing angle to remove the burr but not too much get baby's bottom. It does most of the nibs very well, but the Pelikan M1000 simply would not become a smooth as I would like. And I do not dare to take it too far.

 

So I thought I final brush-up with an ultra-fine polishing film might do the trick.... but alas, just the opposite.

 

Edit: 

@Honeybadger: I will 'wear in' the film with a knife, and try again with some other (cheap) nibs.

 

Edit:

I removed the adhesive backing and stuck the films to a strip of MDF, which is smooth and very flat. Then wore it in by using a knife edge. Cleaned the surface, and tried again with a Moonman pen/nib.

With 'figure 8' I mean also rotating the pen over it's axis, to get a spherical contact surface. No pressure.

 

It does make a difference, the nib does not get scratchy immediately. The nib I used was already very smooth, times properly aligned, and it did not deteriorate. So far so good.

 

Tomorrow I'll try some other nibs that I would like a bit smoother.


Edited by Thymen, 17 June 2020 - 19:44.


#10 Honeybadgers

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 22:54

It's a much harder media than the lapping films you're used to. each one can do hundreds of knives. So be patient to wear it in, and it'll do the job really nicely.


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#11 monologion

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 15:44

I would try these: link . Micro Mesh 8000 and 12000 do proper smoothing job to my nibs.



#12 XYZZY

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 15:59

I would try these: link . Micro Mesh 8000 and 12000 do proper smoothing job to my nibs.


+1 for micromesh but -1 for the soft pads. I ordered a set and promptly returned them: the soft pad backing on those is really soft.

#13 Christopher Godfrey

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Posted 21 June 2020 - 14:48

Goede dag, Thymen!

 

I know that you would probably prefer to shop in Europe; but look here and see their offerings of mylar and -- wonderful! -- the "buffing sticks" that they sell:

 

https://andersonpens...ies/micro-mesh/

 

By the way, Richard Binder <did> teach us to do the last of our smoothing in figure-8s on the buffing sticks (when he gave a local "smoothing clinic" some years ago)...rolling the nib from side to side to avoid any flat spots, of course...(just saying).

 

PS: I see that they say they are "out-of-stock" of the buffing sticks; but they will surely get them back soon.


Edited by Christopher Godfrey, 21 June 2020 - 14:55.


#14 jekostas

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Posted 24 June 2020 - 20:01

I'm a little late to the party here, but some advice:  Paper-backed diamond grit abrasives, even sub-micron abrasives, will remove material much more quickly than you might expect.  It's also easier to take chunks of tipping material off of your nibs if you press too hard.

 

This isn't to say that they can't be used to good effect, but it requires patience and a practiced hand.



#15 alexwi

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 05:45

I would try these: link . Micro Mesh 8000 and 12000 do proper smoothing job to my nibs.

I have those.

 

The most extreme thing I've ever used them for was turning a broken Parker 45 nib into an italic. Started with a grinding stone and finished off the job with these pads.

 

I've never tried Mylar sheets, so can't compare, but the micromesh pads are great.

 

alex



#16 Thymen

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 14:57

Thanks for all the advice, people!

 

I am going to order some micromesh, the diamond lapping films I will not use for nibs anymore!

 

Even at '160.000' grit they are still very abrasive. Micromesh abrasive is based on silicium, I understand, perhaps this is less aggressive.



#17 corgicoupe

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 15:40

Those buffing sticks are usually available in beauty supp;y stores, at least here in the USA.


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#18 alexwi

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 16:42

I wonder what the abrasives from kmesharp.com did to your nibs.

 

Did you check them with a loupe and noticed anything out of the ordinary? Any facets created on what should be mostly a sphere?

 

Based on specs, they should've been OK grade-wise, but it's possible that they were too aggressive for this application, which is something that I believe has little or no relation to grit value.

 

Having said this, there are those who use stones to modify their nibs, like this fella:

 

http://artimannias.b...-de-plumas.html (there's a button to translate on the right side of the page).

 

alex


Edited by alexwi, 27 June 2020 - 16:45.


#19 Thymen

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 17:30

Alex;

 

I checked the nibs with a loupe before and during, and I did not really notice a difference in the shape of the tipping. When doing the polishing on the diamond film, I hardly noticed any 'feedback', and none at all after the 'wearing in'. The pens were inked, and the ink served as a lubricant.

 

I do not know why the results were so bad. It just happened to all of the nibs I tried to get smoother.

 

In order to get them as smooth as before, I used a piece of leather with some buffing compound that I wore in thoroughly with my woodworking chisels. Followed by some more on the cardboard back of a notepad, all the time rotating and raising/lowering the pen in order to prevent a flat spot.

 

I actually wanted to have the lapping film only to smooth my new Pelikan M1000 nib. Did not dare to use the leather strop/cardboard as not to void the warranty. I assumed 160.000 grid might be of very small impact, but I was wrong.

 

I re-did all the (Moonman) nibs I touched with the diamond film with the strop and cardboard, took a long time, but all is well. Did the same with the Pelikan, and that one is smooth enough now. The rest will be by done regular use.



#20 alexwi

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 19:27

The closest I've come to a leather strop was at a barbershop, so my ignorance might, yet again, shine through :-)

 

I can't imagine buffing compound on leather as something that could inflict more damage on metal than diamond dust.

 

I'm glad it ended well for you. Nothing like the feeling of having screwed up a nib, let alone an expensive one.

 

Alex





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