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  1. jabberwock11

    Zebra G Nib In An Aldo Domani

    Last night I spent a ton of time looking for a suitable, inexpensive flex pen. My first stop was, of course, Noodler's Pens, but there were just too many statements about these pens being difficult to flex properly. Coming from a dip pen background I really wanted a flexy pen, and Noodler's just didn't seem to fit the bill. My next stop was Fountain Pen Revolution. I came close to pulling the trigger on a Guru or a #6 flex nib and ebonite feed combo, but the Guru just didn't appeal to me and I wasn't sure if the offered nib and feed would properly fit into any of my pens, so I kept looking. That's when I found internet gold. It seems that several people have successfully managed to pair up Jinhao X450s and X750s with Zebra G nibs. I have a Jinhao X750 and several G nibs, so I was super excited to give it a try. Now, I have attempted to pair a Zebra G with a fountain pen in the past, but with no success (it did not fit into my Monteverde Invincia or my Regal Andrew). With past failures to point to, and several folks unable to make this mod work properly, I was a bit skeptical as to how well this process might work...but I was hopeful. This morning, as I was about to empty and flush my Jinhao X750 I thought of my Aldo Domani two tone. The Aldo Domani was a cheap pen that could be purchased from Office Depot for around $15 or $20, and while it is a nice enough pen, I never really used it much. It has a huge nib and is a fairly wet writer, so I figured that I would give it a try. I didn't particularly want to go through all of the trouble of draining my Jinhao anyway (I actually have it earmarked to receive a 0.8 stub tomorrow, so it works out well this way). I did a quick detour from my desk to my pen storage and grabbed my Aldo Domani, as I had just cleaned out this pen last week I knew that it was good to go. A quick tug on the nib and feed and I was ready to experiment. I carefully mated a Zebra G with the Aldo Domani's feed, mimicking the placement of folks who have successfully paired the Zebra G with a Jinhao. The nib stuck up in the back (which seems to be how it sits in successful pairings with Jinhaos as well), but the feed seemed to conform to the overall shape of the nib. I mentally crossed my fingers and slid the unholy union home. It seems that I had chosen wisely, as there was little difficulty in seating the pairing into the pen. I fiddled with the overall placement, and then dipped my new frankenpen into a bottle of Pelikan 4001 Brilliant black, sucking up ink with a converter. My first concern occurred after I had the pen inked, but not clean. A couple of drops of ink began to fall from the tip. Normally this would mean that the pen was leaking, and I thought that this was an indication of failure. As it turned out, once the pen was cleaned there was no further spillage. I shook the pen a bit to encourage flow, took a deep breath, and began to write. It had worked! I had successfully paired a Zebra G nib with an Aldo Domani fountain pen! I have been playing with the pen for the last hour and have discovered a number of pros and cons to this pairing. In spite of the draw backs, I do consider this experiment to have been a success. I managed to pair a flexible dip pen nib to a fountain pen and found an inexpensive way to get a good, flex pen, but it is not without its issues. I have found that this pen and nib combo eats ink like crazy. I had to advance the converter several times, and went from a full converter of ink to 1/4 full in the space of two A5 pages. I also found that the nib dries out quickly when not in use, even when capped, and can require a couple of shakes to get going. In terms of performance, I discovered that the constant ink flow made the Zebra G nib less able to return from flex to hairline. This last bit is to be expected when using fountain pen ink on a dip pen nib, and may also be a result of my relatively poor penmanship, but it is still worth noting. Some words of caution: dip pen nibs are meant to be disposable. They are used and abused before being tossed away. They have no tipping and are not resistant to corrosion. In other words, they are not meant to be used as permanent or even semi-permanent nibs. If you try this, keep that in mind. I would suggest emptying and flushing the pen at the end of the day to help preserve the nib. Also, if you do try this on your Aldo Domani, or any other fountain pen for that matter, you may end up killing the feed, or the nib, or even the pen. As with any modification, try this at your own risk. Pros: Cons: --Good, easy flex --Eats ink like a starving teenager eats junk food --Easy to pair --Dries out quickly when not in use --Inexpensive --Poor return to hairline --Tons of line variation --Dip pen nibs are not meant to be in constant contact with ink Here are some pictures of the mod (my phone did not want to focus, and the lighting is poor, but you get the idea), as well as a writing sample to show line variation (my broad edge handwriting is pretty good, but my pointed pen handwriting is not. So, please forgive this handwriting. I am a naturally left handed person forced by poor teachers to use my right hand at an early age...and I worked in medicine for many years, but I am working on it):
  2. I fit a Nikko G, a common Copperplate dip pen nib, into my Creeper. The advantage of the G is that it allows one to draw finer hairlines than the Noodler nib. Also the G can be used as a replacement nib if you damage the Noodler nib. You should have no trouble modifying the Nikko G nib if you are used to grinding Noodler nibs with a Dremel, for instance, see Pterodacylus' thread: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/240492-noodlers-ahab-ease-my-flex-mod/ ----------------- The procedure I used for modifying the Nikko G was to: 1) Narrow the body of the nib. 2) Reduce length of Nikko G to match the length of the Noodler's nib supplied with the Creeper. 3) Clean. Details (G=Nikko G nib, N=Noodler nib): 1) The G has a smaller diameter arc than the N. When placed on top of the feed, the extra arc perches the nib above the feed. This prevents insertion of both G and feed into the Creeper pen. By narrowing the body of the G, the height of the discrepancy is reduced enough to allow insertion. Having no experience with heat-setting a nib to an ebonite feed, I don't know if heat-setting would accomplish the same thing. Grind both sides of the G body; conveniently, the cuts in the side of the body, up near the breather hole, provide a guide for how much metal to remove. Remove metal from the cut all the way to the base. See photo. Hold the nib in your hand while grinding. Dip nib frequently in water to keep it cool (not only saves your fingers, but also preserves the temper of the metal). The grindstone does not care if the metal is wet. I put down a pad of newspaper on my workbench to catch grinding particles. If dampened, it will hold them and keep them from dispersing. I used the large cylindrical grind stone pictured. Due to the diameter of the stone, I ended up grinding off most of the small tab of metal on the tip-side of the cut; this does no harm, though it leaves a sharp barb, that will need to be deburred (to protect your fingers when you insert/remove the nib, and to keep cleaning tissues from snagging and leaving bits behind). I deburred all cuts using wetordry sandpaper. There will be slivers of metal left on the sides of the nib after grinding. Be careful when sanding. There will also be slivers on the damp newspaper. Metal workers know how important it is to deburr - In this case, not only to save your fingers, but also to keep the nib from scratching and gouging the feed and pen. 2) Hold the G up to the N, match tips, and mark the base end of the G to match the length of the N. The G is much longer than the N, and if it is not reduced in length, it will be impossible to screw the cap onto the pen. Also, if the length is not reduced, it will be hard to achieve the feed/tip distance necessary for good ink flow. I used a Dremel cutoff wheel to cut to length. The nib gets very hot very quickly when using the cutoff wheel, so take light cuts and dunk the nib in water frequently. Don't worry, if you forget, your fingers will remind you :-) I deburred with the conical grinding wheel and sandpaper, but you could deburr with just sandpaper. Round the corners a bit to keep them from digging into the feed or pen body. 3) Clean the nib with soapy water + ammonia to remove finger oils and any oil/grease from the grinding wheels and sandpaper. 4) Test fit: i) If the nib + feed won't enter the pen w/o excessive force, then you need to remove a bit more metal along the sides. ii) Check exposure of the nib: on my pen, if I measure more than 2.0 mm of nib metal exposed (from pen to tip), the screw-on cap will bottom on the tip. You can grind off more from the base if the nib sticks out too far. Or, you could wrap a couple threads on the pen with tape to stop the cap a couple turns early. Don't forget to debur between each test fitting. Benefits: 1. As you can see on the test sheet, the hairlines from the G are much narrower than the hairlines from the N. I can get narrow hairlines with the N if I float the pen over the paper, certainly. But the G makes achieving hairlines easier. Wide lines are also very easy to achieve. 2. Replacement nib for the Creeper, if ever necessary. 3. Feed not altered, so reinstallation of the Noodler nib easy. 4. Last, but not least, you will make our benefactor, Nathan Tardif, happy. He designed the pen to take other brands of nibs, and takes a deserved pride in his accomplishment. Negatives: 1) The Nikko G is plain steel, while the Noodler nib is stainless steel (tested with a magnet). I don't know how long the G will withstand rust. 2) Dip pen nibs are scratchy, compared to fountain pen nibs. The G may require a higher grade of paper than the N to avoid catching the point. I tested some Georgia-Pacific paper from Wal-Mart ("Standard Bright, Multipurpose, 20 pound", next grade up from their "Basic") and had no trouble with the G. <Incidentally, Bay State Blue, diluted 50% with distilled water, showed much less feathering on this paper than when I wrote on it with full strength ink.> The demo paper in the photo, using Waterman ink, is a copy paper of unknown origin (my wife picks up recycling from various locations around Bozeman). On a vendor's site, the Noodler pen write-up was somewhat dismissive of the pen due to thick hairlines. With the G on your pen, you can scoff at that criticism :-)

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