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Nib Experts, Help Me Out?



Sailor Kenshin
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Sailor Kenshin

Is there a type or grind of fountain pen nib that still has tipping material, yet still allows for natural line variation while writing normally? And is it possible for the hobbyist to try this at home?

 

I have plenty of pens with italic, cursive italic, and other non-tipped nibs, so that's not what I'm asking.

 

The Waterman Carene Medium nib has been aptly described as 'stubbish.' This is the sort of thing I'm looking for.

 

Thanks!

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I'm really confused. Pens with italics, cursive italics, etc still have tipping material, and if ground properly (and held correctly) do exactly what you seem to be asking.

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SujiCorp12345

I'm really confused. Pens with italics, cursive italics, etc still have tipping material, and if ground properly (and held correctly) do exactly what you seem to be asking.

Yes, I'm pretty sure all my stubs still have their tipping.

Pelikan 140 EF | Pelikan 140 OBB | Pelikan M205 0.4mm stub | Pilot Custom Heritage 912 PO | Pilot Metropolitan M | TWSBI 580 EF | Waterman 52 1/2v

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Sailor Kenshin

And I don't think mine do....Lamy, Pilot, Rotring, Diplomat, Nemosine....just took a look, and tipping either absent or so minute as to be invisible.

 

No, what I'm seeking is a tipped nib that will still allow for letter-form variation in normal writing. Is there a name for this? Does it even exist?

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One can stub a rounded nib (usually a M or a B ) and it'll be what you're looking for. My stubs have tipping...

 

 

 

~Epic

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I think you are asking "Can a nib with tipping be ground to a cursive italic or stub?" If I got it right, the answer is "Yes!"

 

The pens you cite that are not tipped all have steel (as opposed to gold) nibs. These are usually but not always untipped.

 

AFAIK, the technique for grinding a tipped gold nib to a stub or cursive italic is exactly the same as the technique for grinding and untipped steel nib.

 

David

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You could work on one of your own pens and if you had a medium nib using fine abrasives you could give yourself some line variation, but do some research first and use a pen you aren't afraid of botching up on. I've had several of my pens, an M and a B, ground to cursive italic. Check out Pendleton Brown's site, I've had him modify one of the nibs and it writes wonderfully.

 

To clarify the difference in various nibs go to: http://www.richardspens.com/ and do a search for nibs. The site has a wealth of information. Also, check out this site: http://www.franklin-christoph.com/specialty-nib-info.html . It has some good diagrams of the differences in cursive italic and stub nibs. They also offer a nice range of nibs for most of their pens.

Edited by linearM
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Yup...with tipping...that's what I think I'm after. Thanks!

Yes, that is possible, based on almost any nib with tipping - I do it all the time.

 

As indicated by linearM, there are nibs without tipping, used for Calligraphy, which normally are steel nibs, as those are more durable than gold nibs without tipping :).

However, there are many nibs out there with tipping which are either italics from the word go, or have been ground into an italic.

BTW, do note that a stub used to be just another word for an italic. These days it has become a word with a slightly different meaning, I'll get to that later.

 

There are two ways of grinding a nib with tipping into an italic, or three if you also count snipping of the tipping as a method (not recommended, but I know at least one person who does, or did, this, I am afraid).

 

The two methods are:

1) Grind simply into an italic, IOW, grind away from both sides of the tipping to create an italic (spade shape). Generally, the nib cannot really be used in reverse.

2) Grind away as little as possible to create an italic, if possible from one side only, the normal side, so that the reverse side may made to work for reversed writing, and possibly be ground into a different nib size or type.

 

Personally, I always use method 2.

 

As to stubs: the name has come to mean a rounded italic, with relatively little line variation, making it very easy to write with. I normally call a rounded italic with a line variation of about 2 to 2.5 (ratio of vertical to horizontal stroke widths) a stub. It is of course possible to do italics with higher line variation factors, but at 3 and above, they require a hand used to writing with these nibs, as they hook more easily into paper, even when rounded. They often get closer in thickness to knife edges, and become relatively wide, which makes handling them a bit more difficult.

 

BTW, a proper calligraphic nib normally has a line variation factor of 5 and above, IOW, they become very sharp very quickly. A 1 mm nib now has a thickness of 0.2 mm. This will cut paper when not held properly.

 

Anyway, doing your own nibs is a lot of fun, IMO anyway, but do take things slowly, and practice on cheap nibs or pens first. It is too easy to make a mistake, and those mistakes often tend to be costly to fix.

Start doing things by hand, slowly, easily, one small step at a time, studying all the documentation you can find first, and give it a try.

You can find quite a few bits of info here: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/11309-repair-reference-information/

 

One thing though, that nobody (but me) seems to mention: Standard grit sizes and Micro Mesh sizes are not the same. Micro Mesh sizes are roughly twice as coarse as standard grit sizes. However, because they use a very soft and pliable backing material for their stuff, they are less abrasive as e.g. mylar sheets with exactly the same physical size abrasive grains, which have a hard backing. However, especially for creating italics and such, hard backing material is a requirement.

 

Generally, I'd suggest you start with true 8000 grit material for rough work, and final polishing at 10000 to 12000 grit. Or even do all with the finest stuff. It is a little harder to not overdo things, especially when starting out.

Once you master the techniques, you can then go on to use coarser material for the rough shaping, although I would not recommend anything coarser than 3000 - 4000 grit. Tipping disappears very fast at 3000 - 4000 grit.

Also, I would recommend Al-oxide grits rather than anything harder. Si-carbide removes material very quickly, and leaves scratches much more easily than the softer Al-oxide material.

 

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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Sailor Kenshin

You could work on one of your own pens and if you had a medium nib using fine abrasives you could give yourself some line variation, but do some research first and use a pen you aren't afraid of botching up on. I've had several of my pens, an M and a B, ground to cursive italic. Check out Pendleton Brown's site, I've had him modify one of the nibs and it writes wonderfully.

 

To clarify the difference in various nibs go to: http://www.richardspens.com/ and do a search for nibs. The site has a wealth of information. Also, check out this site: http://www.franklin-christoph.com/specialty-nib-info.html . It has some good diagrams of the differences in cursive italic and stub nibs. They also offer a nice range of nibs for most of their pens.

Don't worry...I have plenty of pens worthy of Science Projects. ;)

 

Thanks, and thanks also to Wim. Great info!

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Yes, it's possible but at the same time it depends on what size of nib originally and what intended final size for the nib too. For example, wider italic nibs have more noticeable variation vs a small stub or CI in my handwriting.


Although, I think it's very possible to start using household items but not sure if it'll necessarily be 100% successful in the project too. Yes, I may be just projecting as quite a few of my DIY ideas never went anywhere other than mild disappointment.

Tempus edax rerum

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Check this out: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/html/ngFPNv102.html. You might find it helpful.

That is the article I wrote many moons ago ;).

 

I should really create an update to it :).

 

I never use Micro Mesh anymore at all these days, only mylar sheets, and I would also recommend everybody to practice on cheaper pens first :).

 

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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No, what I'm seeking is a tipped nib that will still allow for letter-form variation in normal writing. Is there a name for this? Does it even exist?

You can try a 50's Pelikan semiflex B nib....

I have a 140 and a 400 with B nibs and both have excellent line variation.

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The 140 OB is a real fine semi-flex nib. In modern it's like a 'fat' M, in vintage nibs are a bit narrower than modern. It is a writing nib, not a signature nib.

If you want a tad more line variation for a certain letter or descender you press a bit harder.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

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So......... Is there an italic nib with tipping available or do they have to be custom? I have lamy, jowo, italix, goulet, and none have tipping.

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Most of our italic pens do not have tipping. It makes the tip too thick thereby diluting the stroke. Tipping is rarely found on hand ground nibs but is frequently a feature of manufactured nibs. We are going to inttroduce a additional pen range in February which will have a manufactured italic nib with tipping, however there is no real advantage to the writer. Solid gold nibs have to have tipping otherwise there would be a very serious wear issue. Gold nibs can be ground to an italic but there are limits to the kinds of nibs that can be produced. A stub nib has a rounded tip (to stop digging into the paper) it has little to do whether it is tipped or not. The Waterman Carene has an excellent solid gold stub option, the Parker Sonnet italic on the other hand, writes as if it was an ordinary medium with almost no line definition at all.

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Most of our italic pens do not have tipping. It makes the tip too thick thereby diluting the stroke. Tipping is rarely found on hand ground nibs but is frequently a feature of manufactured nibs. We are going to inttroduce a additional pen range in February which will have a manufactured italic nib with tipping, however there is no real advantage to the writer. Solid gold nibs have to have tipping otherwise there would be a very serious wear issue. Gold nibs can be ground to an italic but there are limits to the kinds of nibs that can be produced. A stub nib has a rounded tip (to stop digging into the paper) it has little to do whether it is tipped or not. The Waterman Carene has an excellent solid gold stub option, the Parker Sonnet italic on the other hand, writes as if it was an ordinary medium with almost no line definition at all.

 

 

A lot of that could be easily misunderstood by members, so I'd like to add a little clarification.

 

Tipping is iridium or some other hard metal that is welded to the end of gold nibs (and many steel nibs). This is the wear-resistant portion of the nib that touches the paper. Gold in particular is too soft to withstand the friction / wear.

 

It is initially in a "ball" shape, and is ground to the desired width. It retains much of that "ball" shape on the writing portion, although the top of the nib is usually ground flat or to a peak. (think a Montblanc nib vs a standard Bock Nib).

 

That ball of iridium (or similar material) - i.e.: the tip or "tipping material" can be further ground into other shapes. Grind it at an angle and it is an oblique, for example. Nibmeisters (and factories) create stubs and italics by grinding the top and bottom of the material flat. They round the edges and corners to make it less "crisp" (i.e.: smooth), which sacrifices some line variation (the difference in width between the down stroke and cross stroke) as you go from crisp italic to cursive italic to stub.

 

Hand-ground nibs (by someone who knows what they're doing) do not lose the tipping material. I'd be happy to photograph nibs I've had ground or that I've ground myself. The fact that the tipping material is still present (and is the writing surface) is plainly evident. A quick visit to John Mottishaw's, Richard Binder's, Greg Minuskin's and many other similar sites will yield a wealth of pictures of ground nibs, attesting to this.

Edited by dneal
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