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My Attempt To Regrind A Nib From M To An Fine/extrafine, And To A Fine Italic


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This is my first attempt to regrind a nib and i wanted to share it with you. I have always had difficulties finding a really fine nib that would suit my need and taste. The western fine nibs are more like a medium to me, and the japanese fine nib i bought ( pilot 78g) is not fine enough.

To solve this issue i searched for a very low cost pen, but with a nice look, and i discovered the Dollar 717i fountain pen that has a medium nib. It is a really nice demonstrator pen, with piston filling mechanism that hold 1,2 milliliters of ink, and i bought about 20 pens for 18€ on a lot sale on ebay.

I had only sandpaper available for this attempt, in particular 1200 grit paper, i know it is not the right one, is too heavy, but i wanted to give it a try.

Armed with patience and after watching this online guide, i started grinding the italic nib and i ended with a result nicer than i would have expected.

After that result i was inspired to try to grind the medium nib of the dollar pen to a fine/extra-fine, i used the same starting tecnique for the italic nib, but later i went by inspiration, and adjustment by adjustment i obtained what i consider a nice fine nib how i like it.

I am waiting to receive a package with a 40x magnifier to better see what i am doing when i will try to grind some more nibs the next time.

I still need to smooth better the nibs , in particular the fine/extrafine, because they are not scratchy, but give more feedback than i like!

What can i use to smooth the nibs without changing them? If someone know material largely available in italy or at least in europe, and cheap, it would be great!

I found that i really love the fine italic nib :wub: :wub: :wub:

Here are some picture of the pens and a writing sample:

Black pen= Original Dollar pen with no modifications to the Nib

Red Pen= Dollar pen with Fine/extrafine grinded Nib

Blue Pen= Dollar pen with Fine italic grinded Nib

For scale the square's side is 5 millimeters long




Edited by searchworlds
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  • searchworlds


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  • Calamus plasticus


Good results ! Very rewarding when your pen writes better after you have tuned it.


My advice is get a lot finer paper, micromesh is my favoured weapon of choice, 6000, 8000 and 12,000 get used quite a bit by me.


Just remember yoy cant put it back if to take too much off. (dont ask how I know :blush: )

Money may not make you happy but I would rather cry in a Rolls-Royce


The true definition of madness - Doing the same thing everyday and expecting different results......

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Handy little pens, i have got one. They start blotting when too much air in the reservoir so you want to fill them rather often and maybe even leave the piston in the middle way when filling, which is not a problem with these because they have a smart blind cap on the actual screwing knob. They can also dry out while writing so the feed truly is not perfect but the nib writes great.


I have used 1200-grit sand paper too for grinding (some other pens), just using less pressure and a smoothed spot on the paper in the end. I think it's ok.

There are other ways than the easiest one too.

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Calamus plasticus

Very nice, those grindings. I especially like the italic.

If you like real EF nibs you have to try a Sailor Ef: it's just incredible.

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Indeed it is very rewarding when your pen writes better after you have tuned it.

Thank to all for advices, i have ordered some micromesh in the finer grits to refine the smoothness of the nibs and i can't wait to try it.

I am also really curious about the sailor extra fine nib now, if i have the chance i will try it for sure.

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Gilberto Castaneda

Against all recommendations, but seeing that you have limited supplies of nib grinding goods: use the brown paper bag. Go slow.

Sorry of I kick the nest wasp by recommending this, but you seem quite brave by doing this without a loupe to begin with.


Good luck.



Gilberto Castañeda


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Thanks, i will try the brown paper tecnique!

I have tried to grind two more Dollar pen nibs, this time a really extra-fine, and an extra-fine italic. The writing sample are the last two in the page added to the previous ones.

What do tou think? I am really enjoying the fine and extra-fine italic Nibs, particularly now that are really smooth. :)

I tried also another thing... that could be considered heresy. I have softened the plastic of the section with heat and i tried to reshape it to a more confortable concave form ( for me ), and i am happy with this result. I thought i would have ruined it, but it went well.

It is really nice to customize a pen to make it really your own , to make it the way you like it!

I hope you like it and thanks to all for the advises!


Edited by searchworlds
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Wow, go you! I've been focused more on nib smoothing than reshaping (I like all kinds of nib sizes), but this is impressive. FYI, the Pilot Penmanship has an EF nib (pen is around $8 or 9), it's definitely smaller than the 78G F nib but still smooth(ish, it's an EF nib so there's unavoidable feedback), I like it quite a lot although the pen itself looks a bit odd. Fortunately you can swap most of the low cost Pilot nibs around, so you could put the EF nib into your 78G.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great post. You've inspired me to go back to my leisurely grind of a M Kaigelu nib down to F, but the comical part is how insanely stiff the thing is. After a few rounds of grind-shape-buff-test I can't say it is going much in the F direction, but I'll keep at it just the same. Maybe I'll end up with a version of the old Esterbrook manifold nibs, something ultra stiff.


As for tuning/polishing stuff I've compiled an expanded kit over time as I think most people do. As of today it includes:

  • Standard starter kit
  • Nail buffing sticks
  • Green jeweler buffing wheels
  • Brown paper bags
  • 20x loupe (don't know how tuning could be done without a loupe)
  • Buffing pads left over from one of those headlight kits (to remove glazing)
  • Spark plug gap tool (super thin ones are insanely perfect for tine spacing adjustments)

I think at some point I'll probably be able to handle 80% of my needs when my skills build up. The one thing I doubt I'll ever master is straightening a bent pen body -- that seems to be the ultimate skill.



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  • 2 years later...

Great job. The brown paper bag method, or any paper, I've never found does much of anything. When a nib gets scratchy I find it's one of three things. 1. The tines are out of alignment. Straighten them 2. I polish the nib using a Revell Monogram R7046 Micro-Mesh Pad I get for $5 US on Amazon. 3. And once I obsessively polished the inside edges of the tines. I've got access to sharpening stones, polishing compounds, etc... but I find the micro-mesh pad works the best. I mostly just run the nib over the micro-mesh pad the same angle pressure as when I write. I increase the angles a bit so that any smoothing I do extends just beyond where my nib will touch the paper when I write. If I polish when I actually needed to straighten the tines, the 12000 hasn't done anything bad.

I envy your F italic nib. My handwriting has always been pretty awful, but I've found that when I write with the Nemosine .6mm stub (italic...) nib my scrawl is more legible.

Inspired by your results I think I'm going to try grinding my own .5 or .4 italic nib.

For magnification I have some loupes, but I also have a 100x microscope that I paid about $10US. [Carson 60X-75X MicroMax LED Lighted Pocket Microscope (MM-200) is what I have, there might be better models in the same price range.] Usually my 22x loupe is enough.

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Against all recommendations, but seeing that you have limited supplies of nib grinding goods: use the brown paper bag. Go slow.

Sorry of I kick the nest wasp by recommending this, but you seem quite brave by doing this without a loupe to begin with.

Good luck.


I would suggest the same brown paper bags, if you can’t wait on the micromesh.

You could also use it after the micromesh for an even smoother write.

Nice job on your nib grinding. Thanks for the writing samples.

Look forward to seeing more.

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