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Nibmeisters..where Do They Come From, What Do They Look Like?



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Firstly, I just joined, So, hi there.

 

I been thinking about nibmeisters for sometime now and I have some queries with regards to that,

 

1, Where do they come from?

Where do they get trained for the art, is there a school for nib grinders and pen restorers?

 

Or are they all downsized former employees of FP manufacturing companes who have come out to ply their trade outside. If yes, what with so many smaller companies shutting shop of late due to poor interest and demand, will we one day be left without nibmeisters to approach in times of distress?

 

Or, are they coming from a long line of nibmeister lineage in whose heritage rests the arcane secrets of nib grinding and filing, Passed on from father to son and so forth for all eternity?

 

Or, are they aliens from outerspace who try to emancipate mankind into super-concsciousness by promoting and modifying FPs?

 

 

You see, not many nibmeisters around in India. I'd like to contact this alien group to check if they have missed us somehow. :(

 

 

[should this be in 'Repair and Q&A? Please move it there if it should, I was not sure.]

Edited by MensRea

Plastic man got no brain,
Plastic man don't feel no pain,
Plastic people look the same, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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I think that India has quite a lot of fountain pen users and makers - see here for a story http://www.fountainpenrevolution.com/

 

There will always be a scale of capability and skill in any craft including the preparation of nibs. The "nibmeister" I think is a recent American title.

 

In history most writers would have the skill to shape their own quill pen using a penknife and they would get practice as the tip would wear comparatively quickly. The customisation of fountain pens into stubs, crisp-italics and obliques was quite common in the mid 1900's here in the UK. More advanced skills such as changing the curvature, thinning, heat treating, tip welding and electro-plating could all add up to make the difference between a nib-tweaker and a full nibmeister?

Edited by WestLothian
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I opened my pen drawer this morning and a small fuzzy beast rushed out, chattering its little teeth and twitching its tail. It dashed across the room and dived into an open pencilcase that had fallen on the floor.

I believe this was a young Nibmeister, in its juvenile phase, but I'm yet to have confirmation of its identity from the Natural History Museum's species identification department.

Instagram @inkysloth
My website http://inkysloth.moonfruit.com/

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I opened my pen drawer this morning and a small fuzzy beast rushed out, chattering its little teeth and twitching its tail. It dashed across the room and dived into an open pencilcase that had fallen on the floor.

I believe this was a young Nibmeister, in its juvenile phase, but I'm yet to have confirmation of its identity from the Natural History Museum's species identification department.

laughed to tears!!!!

http://josephchow42.smugmug.com/SmugPreview/FPN/i-RXgD3pQ/0/O/phpPA0FkQPM.jpg

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There will always be a scale of capability and skill in any craft including the preparation of nibs. T

A very important point I discovered.

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All of the above ;). Oh, and you may find them under soem rocks as well, just turn big flat rocks around... ;)

 

There are nibmeisters, or nib enhancers as I prefer to call them, in India for sure. Often they are not on the internet however, I am afraid. So best to look around for pen shops, and ask if the manufacturers also do special nibs - if they do they likely employ someone who is capable of doing nib enhancements. Next step would then be to try and trace them. oh, even the shop owner may be a nib enhancer, you never know.

 

HTH, warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever

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Thanks for the responses. Yes, India does have lot of FP users and sellers, and as WestLothian put it 'nib tweakers'. The man I frequent does wonders with bent nibs, toothy nibs and replacement nibs. But when I asked him to alter a nib to make stub, or flex and such, he says he can't do that. I did ask him who I can approach, he had no idea.

 

In the same vein, can i learn to do it? I'm quite young and can learn something new. Is there any place I can start?

 

And Inkysloth, if you capture one of those, send him over here. I'll give it a good home.

 

Edited by MensRea

Plastic man got no brain,
Plastic man don't feel no pain,
Plastic people look the same, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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Thanks for the responses. Yes, India does have lot of FP users and sellers, and as WestLothian put it 'nib tweakers'. The man I frequent does wonders with bent nibs, toothy nibs and replacement nibs. But when I asked him to alter a nib to make stub, or flex and such, he says he can't do that. I did ask him who I can approach, he had no idea.

 

In the same vein, can i learn to do it? I'm quite young and can learn something new. Is there any place I can start?

 

And Inkysloth, if you capture one of those, send him over here. I'll give it a good home.

It's like any other skill, get some instruction and then start practicing. It seems that many people start with learning to smooth, tune and make simple repairs with their own pens (getting bottom-dollar Chinese or Indian pens is a good place to start here, also vintage sac fillers are good beginning learning pens). Then there's more complex pen repairs (bent nibs, trying to fix problem Ahabs, cutting your own italics, that kind of thing). The hardest bit is probably retipping (smelting a new tip of hard alloy onto a nib and shaping it) which I think needs special equipment since you'll deal with melted metal.

 

Making an italic is relatively easy in theory (grind or cut tip bits off until tip is italic shape, smooth until useable), but you need lots of practice to do it reliably. Making a round nib bigger means retipping and handling molten metal, for that you might need an apprenticeship with a pen fixer willing to take you under their wing for a while.

 

If you want to make a semi-nib more flexy (there really isn't a way to turn a total nail into a flex nib, you can only modify so much) the 2 ways I've seen on FPN involve using a dremel to grind away the sides.

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/240492-noodlers-ahab-ease-my-flex-mod/ makes a wing shape

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/246808-noodlers-ahab-flex-modification/ shaves the shoulders thinner

Edited by WirsPlm
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I believe it's a genetic thing - nibmeisters all have rather long noses, some that come to a sharp point, others end in varying degrees of roundness, a few are actually fairly blunt, even flat at the end, but they all have the long nose thing going for sure. :)

 

But be warned, although all nibmeisters have long noses, not all people with long noses are nibmeisters.

 

Dan

Edited by DanF

"Life is like an analogy" -Anon-

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l279/T-Caster/DSC_0334_2.jpg

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I must admit, I had never heard the term of 'Nibmeister' until I joined FPN.

I know there's a plethora of pen restorers, but is a Nibmeister an actual profession, or just an enthusiastic amateur who has converted a spare room into a makeshift workroom or is based in the garden shed?

Long reign the House of Belmont.

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@inkysloth: I abhor places on the internet where posts can be given a +1. And yet I find myself wishing I could +1 yours. It caused a seasonal ho ho ho.

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If you wish to learn then there is a lot of information available. Power tools are not a good idea in my opinion - not even Dremels; nobody should be in such a hurry to reshape a nib that they require these. The correct abrasives are much finer than you can normally get for power tools anyway. The coarsest that I would use for reshaping is lapping film around 30 micron then finishing with 5 then 0.5 micron. The site in India is here http://solutions.3mindia.co.in/wps/portal/3M/en_IN/Abrasive_Systems/Home/Technologies/six/ The most useful item for nib shaping rather than simple tweaking is a stereo microscope with a useful working distance to let you see the shape, test the writing and work to develop the tine contact area with the help of x5 - x50 magnification.

Edited by WestLothian
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Wow, thanks for the links. I'll go over them and take it up. Of course, I don't plan to be a master nib tuner overnight, it will take it's time. Say, if I start now (I'm 25) smoothening nibs with cheap pens, give it a couple of decades I may well have something to do when I retire. Good thing nibs and pens come cheap and aplenty over here. And apprenticeship under one of the pen manufacturers here can be a fun option down the line, although I can't take it up full time (I'm studying to be a surgeon, you see)

 

If someone knows a book written on this topic please let me know.

Cheers.

Plastic man got no brain,
Plastic man don't feel no pain,
Plastic people look the same, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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And Dan, I do have a rather blunt nose I hope I can overcome this handicap. :( Will a prosthesis work?

Edited by MensRea

Plastic man got no brain,
Plastic man don't feel no pain,
Plastic people look the same, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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"Nibmeister" … the very word itself conjures up the Hansa or German Guild of those learned in the skills and tools of the nib artifers' craft! Remembrance of the years of apprenticeship spent sleeping on a bed of pen sacs under the workbench, eating stale ends of rough roggenbrot left over from the fashioning of pistons for the fulhalter, wearing ragged clothes so stained with ink that a young boy could be mistaken for a blotter.

 

But then, after the apprenticeship of nine years and acceptance into the Hansa, determining the true angle of an Italic, judging how flex is flex to be a "wet noodle", smelling the arome of the ink with the famous 'long nose' to measure the smoothness of a finely-worked point!

 

In short, to be such as he in this video demonstration of the art of the Nibmeister!

 

 

 

 

post-106466-0-94028500-1386837944.png

Edited by Dickkooty2
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"You see, not many nibmeisters around in India"

Wrong.

There are people who do. Only thing they are not famous. Most are working for small shops and do not call them selves as nib miesters as thier primary bread earning money comes from pen selling rather than nib work,which they do for free.

But there was a company called Arul Script in Thanjavoor who were doing nib works alone with out any pen making or selling pens, but they closed around ten years back.

Then there was Famous Pen Makers in Kovai, but after the death of their craftman, they sinked.

Edited by mohan
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+1 to what Mohan said.

 

Just because they are not active or listed on the internet doesn't mean they don't exist.

 

There are some experts in India who restore the nibs, retip them, manufacture gold nibs.

 

If you are looking for someone to make a custom pen ebonite with gold nib, try Ratnamson. They adjust the nib width to your specifications. They also engrave your name on the nib, if you wish.

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@Mohan: Well, I stand corrected then. But that's why I'm here, to find these hard to find people. They seem to be a dwindling lot from what you tell me. I remember my grandfather having a custom made pen which he told me he got in Kovai, it was black ebonite with gold nib and never left his side and we were never allowed to touch it. Sadly it was lost after he passed away, or some relative has it stashed away in his desk drawer. :unsure:. Pity such great shops had to shut down. I'm still on the look out for a good man who can do this work, and am going to prepare for the worst by learning the stuff myself.

 

@Dickkooty: That video was a laugh, Cheers!

Edited by MensRea

Plastic man got no brain,
Plastic man don't feel no pain,
Plastic people look the same, yeah, yeah, yeah.

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