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OldGriz's brown paper bag trick


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61 replies to this topic

#21 rbbrock

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Posted 21 January 2007 - 05:12

What a handy idea. I will have to give this a try; I'll pop in for an edit with my results in the morning. smile.gif

Edit: Wow, I didn't notice that I resurrected a dinosaur with this post... laugh.gif

Edited by rbbrock, 21 January 2007 - 23:07.


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#22 Bill Wood

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 05:53

that's amazing. I've got to try that with an old copper CND penny

Bill w
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#23 Bill Wood

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 05:57

Well this is really strange - dumped a few pennies out from a jar on the kitchen counter and out pops - a 1980 American Lincoln penny. Fate - somebody's tryint to tell me to keep this nib smoothing on my desk.

Bill W.

#24 rroossinck

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 19:49

(Back from the dead...)

Does this technique (either of 'em, really) work with steel nibs as well as with gold ones, or is the steel too hard to feel/see the same benefits?

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#25 OldGriz

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 20:25

QUOTE(rroossinck @ Mar 27 2008, 03:49 PM) View Post
(Back from the dead...)

Does this technique (either of 'em, really) work with steel nibs as well as with gold ones, or is the steel too hard to feel/see the same benefits?


Yes, in fact I first started using the brown paper bag system on the custom pens I make that have steel nibs....
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#26 tym

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 00:28

QUOTE(Gerry @ May 3 2006, 09:43 PM) View Post
The info I have regarding copper content in pennies is that the last year it was used extensively was 1981 in the US, and 1996 in Canada when the copper content was about 98%. After those years the coins were made mostly of steel with a little nickel and copper used for colour. Today Canadian pennies ate 92-94% steel.


Actually, 1982 and later US pennies are copper plated zinc, not steel. The only time steel was used in US one cent coins was in 1943, when the steel was zinc-plated.


#27 Gerry

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 04:57

QUOTE(rroossinck @ Mar 27 2008, 03:49 PM) View Post
(Back from the dead...)

Does this technique (either of 'em, really) work with steel nibs as well as with gold ones, or is the steel too hard to feel/see the same benefits?


Actually, it shouldn't matter since in most cases the tipping material used for either Gold or Steel nibs is neither gold nor steel, it's usually a very hard alloy usually called Iridium (but doesn't contain Iridium either). So, the results obtained on one should be similar to the results obtained with the other.

There are quite a few proponents of these smoothing techniques, but in my mind they appear to defy logic. Smoothing is best accomplished with proper abrasives like lapping film, which is constructed with extremely fine but very hard grit. Even so, with the fine grades, the abrasive action can be very slow. Something as soft as copper or brown paper bag material seems unlikely to wear a tip perceptively in a reasonable amount of time.

Regardless, neither technique will damage a nib AFAIK, so if it gives you the results you need, fill your boots... rolleyes.gif

Regards,

Gerry

#28 Romeo Dog

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 13:30

Well, skeptic that I am, I had to try the paper bag idea. It actually works.

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#29 MT4

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 15:11

QUOTE(whv @ Apr 14 2006, 12:13 AM) View Post
another trick that i picked up from a local repair guru is to write for awhile on the outside of a glass tumbler that has been through the dishwasher often enough to lose the glossy surface. makes for a very fine abrasive.


I'm a photographer, and I remember about someone who built his own large format camera, focusing ("frosted") glass included. If this is helpful to someone I'll google around and post the links I find.

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#30 superfly

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 15:46

I must say that the brown paper bag is a great idea, but it doesen't always work, especially if you are working on a cheaper pen, that didn't spent much time in the finishing department.

For that reason, I made a step further, and combined the paper bag with the jeweler's polishing compound, aka Jeweler's ruoge. I use the white compound, French Dialux Blanc. Simply, take a bar of the polishing compound, and smear it onto a brown paper bag (I use IKEA wrapping paper), work it well with another piece of paper, and start drawing circles and figures of eight on it. It works far better than just naked paper, because there is actually an abrasive over the paper. At first, I feared that the nib will load with the gunk from the compound, but it washes well with a water with some diswashig liquid added....

I'll start another thread about this, for easier reference...


cheers,
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#31 DeaconKC

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 20:59

I'm glad someone linked me to this. The brown bag worked on a Waterman Combustion that had a serious skipping problem. This cured it in about 10 minutes. Hasn't helped a really scratchy Indian ED I have, I think that one is going to need some serious attention.......
But THANK YOU for setting me onto this!
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#32 pankajwillis

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 21:10

I know this kind of thread is great for people for whom this worked, or will work.

But I want to add a word of caution for new people like myself out there. I have nearly ruined one of my pens doing this. I highly recommend keeping patience, and

1) order one of the smoothing kits from some where (Richard Binder's website for example), or better still
2) send it to a professional who can do it for you or better still
3) send it to the pen company for a replacement. A lot of good companies happily replace nibs (I have personally tried montblanc and have heard good things about some others). Or better still
4) Stick with what you already have. I know it is great to have a flawless dream-like smooth pen. However, the process of smoothing is essentially removing 'personality' from the nib, and making it conform to an artificial norm. A pen with a texture is just as sweet as one that is smooth. Remember, a manual watch will probably never be as accurate as one of those cheap electronic ones. But that's what add's to its charm.

I am the kind of person who would have results today instead of tomorrow. But some times patience really is useful. Even if you decide to go for trying to smoothen out, it is worth getting the right stuff.

And really, 'the lesser the better' applies so well here. It is so easy to loose control and over do it. But there is no going back.

Abstinence really works better here.



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#33 antoniosz

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 21:43

Sorry to hear about your pen but could you please tell us what exactly happened?
Was is the penny trick or the brown bag?

AZ


QUOTE (pankajwillis @ Jan 27 2009, 04:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But I want to add a word of caution for new people like myself out there. I have nearly ruined one of my pens doing this.



#34 Rick Krantz

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 22:05

QUOTE (tym @ Mar 27 2008, 07:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Gerry @ May 3 2006, 09:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The info I have regarding copper content in pennies is that the last year it was used extensively was 1981 in the US, and 1996 in Canada when the copper content was about 98%. After those years the coins were made mostly of steel with a little nickel and copper used for colour. Today Canadian pennies ate 92-94% steel.


Actually, 1982 and later US pennies are copper plated zinc, not steel. The only time steel was used in US one cent coins was in 1943, when the steel was zinc-plated.



Actually, in 1982, the composition of the Lincoln Cent (US Penny) was changed during the year. the only way to determine whether your 1982 dated Lincoln Cent is copper, or zinc, is to weigh it, and that includes both Philadelphia and Denver mints. If you want to be sure you are using a copper Lincoln cent, be sure to use one from 1981 or prior, and at the same time, if you are planning on using the Lincoln Memorial, you need to find one dated from 1959 or later.

Ultimately, since the later date cents are copper plated, I guess using a post 1982 cent would work similar.
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#35 J0rdan

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 22:08

If you're in a tight spot (don't have a bag on hand), the back of a legal pad will work well using this method.

Edited by J0rdan, 27 January 2009 - 22:09.

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#36 pankajwillis

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 22:43

QUOTE (antoniosz @ Jan 27 2009, 09:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sorry to hear about your pen but could you please tell us what exactly happened?
Was is the penny trick or the brown bag?

AZ


QUOTE (pankajwillis @ Jan 27 2009, 04:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
But I want to add a word of caution for new people like myself out there. I have nearly ruined one of my pens doing this.



It was the brown paper bag trick. I am not sure whether it really has a standard grit level, and even if it does - what the hardness of the material is. In my understanding, there is no standardized paper material, most of the 'sanding' is either imaginary, and one might worsen the situation by maligning the tans etc. It would be akin to rubbing your skis on a road in attempt to polish them up!

My pen was much worse than what I started out with. Luckily I stopped at some point, and went through the correct procedure. You need the right material, with the right micro abrasive. Otherwise you might just end up making it worse. I even tried to use one of those polish clothes you can get in an autoshop.

But really, there is a world of difference in using the right material. I ordered one of the pen smoothing kits, and that really is the way to go if you need to. Even with those, it requires a serious level of skill, and self-control to not screw up your nib.



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#37 DeaconKC

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 17:27

As a follow up note. I used it for quite a while on a Marala 2 eyedropper and it has slowly been getting better. Last night I finished a short story, 8 pages, using this pen. Before the BPB treatment, I would have never considered trying this amount of writing. While not buttery smooth, it was certainly useful and did not distract me at all. Thanks again!
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#38 piembi

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 12:09

Some days ago I found a German source for Micro Mesh.
Ordered a sheet of 6000 and 8000 Micro Mesh and wrote a few cirles with some of my pens that had been a little bit toothy.

Well, this is the best I have ever had to smoothen a nib! thumbup.gif

#39 asimplemaestro

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 03:25

Worked for me! Awesome! Thank you.

#40 dizzypen

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 15:30

Sorry to resurrect this post from the dead, but the penny trick is AMAZING! It worked quite well on my slightly scratchy XF Lamy. thumbup.gif
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