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Can These Phileas Nibs Be Repaired?



TwelveDrawings

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TwelveDrawings

As I mentioned on another thread, I dropped two Waterman Phileas pens onto the sidewalk. As RMN wryly observed: "Murphy's first law for fountain pen owners. The chance a pen drops nib down on concrete is proportional to it's value..." That was painfully true for me.

 

I have checked with several of the best nibmeisters. None that I found would repair a steel nib (which the Phileas has, despite some gold plating). Nor do they do repair/replacements on the Phileas because the pen—and therefore the nibs—are no longer made. I know that the Kultur and Harley use similar barrels and tips, but I would like to repair what I've got if possible.

 

So....I am taking the advice of Sailor Kenshin and asking if anyone can suggest a fix. There are three pens in the photo, but one is a perfectly new nib just for comparison purposes. I made amateur attempts to straighten the other two nibs, which did not result in either being useable.

 

HELP!

 

www.TwelveDrawings.com

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I would encourage you to try; what have you got to lose?

 

I've never tried a steel Waterman, but have had success on other steel nibs. I found it necessary to remove the nib from the feed, and find the patience to go slowly with light pressure using tools softer than the steel. Or you can try grinding it into an italic.

 

Kultur or Harley Freewheel FPs are usually available for $15 - $20. If you really like the pen a L'Etalon nib is the same thing in 18k.

 

Good luck!

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TwelveDrawings

I would encourage you to try; what have you got to lose?

 

I've never tried a steel Waterman, but have had success on other steel nibs. I found it necessary to remove the nib from the feed, and find the patience to go slowly with light pressure using tools softer than the steel. Or you can try grinding it into an italic.

 

Kultur or Harley Freewheel FPs are usually available for $15 - $20. If you really like the pen a L'Etalon nib is the same thing in 18k.

 

Good luck!

Hello estroids,

 

You are the first person to offer a note of optimism on my question. I am intrigued when you describe using light pressure using tools softer than steel. Can you tell me more? Softer than steel might mean stiff wood like the end of a chopstick. Or do you mean a softer metal, like copper?

 

If it is possible to put into words, what is the most crucial aspect of a good repair? Is it adjusting the groove which bisects the nib so that it is uniform in width? Is it making the two sides of its tip align perfectly with each other? I suspect this, but would like to hear from someone who has done it.

 

I know I am an amateur. But let's me realistic, the nibmeisters apparently can no longer make money repairing these economical pens. It is up to we, the owners, to educate ourselves.

 

Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

 

--TwelveDrawings.com

Edited by TwelveDrawings

 

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Ernst Bitterman

If you're intent on DIY, you'll want to get along to a hobby store and get some jewelry pliers with nylon pads on the jaws; they help immensely with this sort of thing. Chopsticks are also surprisingly useful as an ad hoc burnisher.

 

If it is possible to put into words, what is the most crucial aspect of a good repair? Is it adjusting the groove which bisects the nib so that it is uniform in width? Is it making the two sides of its tip align perfectly with each other? I suspect this, but would like to hear from someone who has done it.

 

Tip alignment is the primary concern; that's where the smooth lives. Getting the slit profile right isn't trivial, but you've got a broader zone of "good enough". You'll need to pull out the point and feed to see to #1, because getting the tines back in shape will call for bending them into space occupied by the feed when they're in place. Pulling is best done after a soak, and is easier if you've got some kind of grip enhancer like rubber gloves.

Edited by Ernst Bitterman

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

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TwelveDrawings

If you're intent on DIY, you'll want to get along to a hobby store and get some jewelry pliers with nylon pads on the jaws; they help immensely with this sort of thing. Chopsticks are also surprisingly useful as an ad hoc burnisher.

 

 

Tip alignment is the primary concern; that's where the smooth lives. Getting the slit profile right isn't trivial, but you've got a broader zone of "good enough". You'll need to pull out the point and feed to see to #1, because getting the tines back in shape will call for bending them into space occupied by the feed when they're in place. Pulling is best done after a soak, and is easier if you've got some kind of grip enhancer like rubber gloves.

Thank you for the detailed instructions. I am dropping both nibs/barrels into a solution of warm water with a drop of soap (not detergent). Tomorrow, I will gently pull the metal nib out of the feed/barrel. I assume the rubber gloves are used to grip the nib without further distorting it.

 

One step at a time. Thanks again, Ernst.

 

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Ernst Bitterman

The ideal is to grab point and feed together quite close to the face of the section and pull them as a unit... which a dim memory suggests they effectively are. Can someone else confirm that there's some alignment tabs/slots on that model's point and feed that lock them together? I think that's the case, but I'm not 100% certain without having a tug on my own, which I'm some hours away from being able to do.

 

...and on that note, back to work!

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

fpn_1465330536__hwabutton.jpg

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" ... But let's me realistic, the nibmeisters apparently can no longer make money repairing these economical pens. ..."

 

Really? Who have you talked with? I am new(ish) to the hobby but I have had nib work done on a dozen or so pens; from a MB146 to a low grade Kaigelu, and my experience is, the price is the price, be it a VW or a RR. Be prepared for sticker shock, I suspect that repairing your nibs by a pro will cost more than the pen did, but if you love you pen ...

 

Contact Greg Minuskin, he does good work and has pretty quick turnaround times. I do have an affiliation in that I am a satisfied customer. But I have had nib work done by others that I also was vey satisfied with. On the other hand, DIY could be an economical learning experience with lower grade pens (no offense, I have a Phileas too)

 

But I understand sentmental attachment. My first 'real' FP was a Pelikan 120 I bought new as a young man in the late 60's. I had it repaired recently (it was leaking) and paid as much for the repair as I did for the pen (I would gladly have paid more). I like the idea that it will probably still be working for another 45 years. I don't like the idea that I will probably be gone and forgotten by then.

 

PS: I really like your drawings, wish I had that kind of talent.

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I have a spare Philieas section with a medium nib. If it could be of use to you for doing those wonderful drawings, let me know.

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TwelveDrawings

Very practical, astute and wise questions and suggestions all around. For me, at least, my cheap but dependable Phileas is an instant classic. I'm the kind of guy who goes back to the same 100 yards of beach for vacation each year, even though there are thousands of miles of more interesting beach elsewhere. It is a harmless habit.

 

This is a forum for learning, and I have already learned much. I will report on my success removing the worst of my crimped nibs. Sure, I could toss it or buy a different pen. But what would I learn from that? :)

 

Thanks to each of you. — TD

 

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On the Phileas/kultur there are a couple of small tabs on the sides of the feed that slide into small corresponding slots in the section. You can twist the feed a few degrees to get it loose but rotating it would cause minor damage and perhaps get things thoroughly stuck.

 

At the back end of the nib there are two ears that are bent straight down that fit into mating cutouts, or depressions, in the feed. The nib cannot be pulled out without the feed; those tabs keep them securely fixed together. Once the nib/feed assembly is out they are easily separated. I've found that most modern Waterman nibs have a similar arrangement; the nibs are securely fitted and cannot be adjusted in or out to tune the flow.

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TwelveDrawings

Painfully true, NedC. When I have a chance to gain experience, I take it. A lot of those experiments end up in the trash, but my brain is better for taking the journey. -- TwelveDrawings.com

 

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Maybe, but due to their lack of ductllity stainless nibs are much harder to straighten out than gold nibs.

the Phili nibs are not stst because they do corrode (pit).

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TwelveDrawings

the Phili nibs are not stst because they do corrode (pit).

Now that you mention it, I have seen closeup photos showing pitting from rust on a Phileas nib. I am curious now why ALL steel nibs are not corroded considering that the ink is water based.

 

Normally, I would apply a light coating of oil to prevent such oxidation...but does anyone actually do that? Seems oil would spoil the flow of ink. Thoughts, anyone?

 

-- TD

 

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Sailor Kenshin

I wouldn't? Oil and water don't mix, and oil might indeed interfere with ink flow.

 

Not that I've bothered with this myself, but maybe just wipe the nib with some kind of lint-free cloth before putting it away for the night.

My other pen is a Montblanc and...

 

My other blog is a tumblr.

 

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I wouldn't? Oil and water don't mix, and oil might indeed interfere with ink flow.

 

Not that I've bothered with this myself, but maybe just wipe the nib with some kind of lint-free cloth before putting it away for the night.

The nib I removed from its section was corroded on surfaces inside the section....

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TwelveDrawings

Naturally concerned by the mention of corrosion, I Googled around and learned the following. Corrosion is possible on any nib, be it steel, stainless steel, and even some grades of gold.

 

Nib corrosion seems to be fairly rare, but it does occur. Blame is usually placed on 1) acidic ink or 2) failing to wipe down the nib before storing.

 

Some say they wipe the nib down daily. Such wiping would not remove the ink trapped between the nib and the feed, which Force discovered upon removing a nib. Thus, the need for non-acidic ink.

 

If anyone can correct or clarify, go for it. -- TD

 

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