Jump to content

Untipped Gold Nibs -- How Long Do They Last?


Recommended Posts

Sometimes I see pen auctions with 14k nibs that appear as if the usual iridium tipping has been worn down to nothing. The cost of retipping is often more than the cost of the pen, so am unlikely to pursue the better option for cheaper pens.

With an untipped steel nib, I can pretty much grind it to a stub and expect it to last a long while.

With more delicate gold, however, I'm not sure how long an untipped nib will be good for.

Does anyone have experience with this? Will an untipped gold nib likely last a good while?

Edited by spaceink
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 8
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • spaceink


  • Bo Bo Olson


  • KBeezie


  • Custom


Top Posters In This Topic

Would depend on the weight of material in the nib and how well-tempered the gold was. Wouldn't want to do it unless only way to keep that pen going. That said, did have one Montblanc 146 that had a bad nib. Converted it to a stub italic and wrote regularly with it for over five years. Sad to say, it got lost. But was writing fine up to the time it took a hike.




From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off, I have to say that I have never seen a gold nib that wasn't tipped. Untipped gold plated nibs are common, but not solid gold ones. I have an antique gold nib that had the tipping applied so it is invisible from the top.


That said, a hard, carbon steel dip nib will last for 20 to 30 pages before it begins to develop sharp edges and wants to dig into the paper. However, a couple of gentle swipes on a fine stone will remove the edges and put the nib back in business. So, gold being softer than steel (and probably gold alloys too), I would expect an untipped gold nib to get "edgy" more quickly. But then, dressing the sweet spot should be even easier.

Edited by Paddler

Can a calculator understand a cash register?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not very often that I see untipped gold nibs, as well. Perhaps the ones I saw were antique 14K nibs with the "invisible" tipping?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have one Sheaffer that is worn down so far that there is no iridium tipping left. It still writes fine, but I don't use it much in fear that it'll get worn down too much, too fast.

Derek's Pens and Pencils

I am always looking for new penpals! Send me a pm if you'd like to exchange correspondence. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14K Untipped with thicker materials, it's mainly matter of years (5-10+) versus decades (50-100+), and also depends on heaviness of hand and roughness of paper and frequency of use (ie: daily writings of dozens of pages etc).


I've only seen an untipped gold nib twice, tiny little nibs that were on pens from the early 1900s (eye dropper), and compared to tipped nibs from around the same time, they seem to be almost twice the thickness. I'd imagine paper and such was more ... abrasive compared to what we can choose now days but that's just speculation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

When I first got vintage German '50's pens, I thought something was wrong. Thought some idiot tried to make them stubb and failed. They did not have the American Bump Under tipping.

I was not then use to the flat minimum of most German pens.


Pelikan seems to be all flat...stubs.

Some of the pens like a couple of my Osmia's only had a pad in the middle of the OBB nibs...there must have been a touch of tipping towards the edges, in the edges seem fine. But I could think there was only the middle pad.

In Osmia was a top of the line pen, with a good name for it's nibs.

'Iridium' is more expensive than gold.


I'd say all gold nibs were tipped. There were and are rolled steel tipping like some Chinese pens and the Esterbrooks.


Once when pens used pure iridium in the 1890's and later, iridium which was mined in an inch or so deep layer in Italy. The nib tipping then was called 'diamond' tipping, and one finds that on the gold nibs of the '1894-5 Montgomery Ward catalog.

You could for good money have your gold nib retipped even then. One must think then iridium was very lumpy and chunks fell out.


@ WW2, 'iridium' tipping was perfected.


'Iridium' in from at least the '20's the tipping was at first an iridium compound with other hard rare earths. The more one got into the '30's the less iridium was used in the tipping, having been replaced by cheaper or easier to mine rare earths.


I do have a gold nib with no tipping, but think someone chopped it off and smoothed it up well. As soon as my boat, the Flying Dutchman gets in, I'll be sending the semi-flex now BB nib off to be retipped.

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.



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




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've 'converted' several nibs where a tine has broken. They have all turned out to be very smooth broad nibs and a delight to write with.


As I don't use them that much I cannot comment on their potential life other than to say no pressure is needed to write with them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Most Contributions

    1. amberleadavis
    2. PAKMAN
    3. Ghost Plane
      Ghost Plane
    4. inkstainedruth
    5. jar
  • Upcoming Events

  • Blog Comments

    • bramley
      I have the Sailor Naginata and some fancy blade nibs coming after 2022 by a number of new workshop from China.  With all my respect, IMHO, they are all (bleep) in doing chinese characters.  Go use a bush, or at least a bush pen. 
    • A Smug Dill
      It is the reason why I'm so keen on the idea of a personal library — of pens, nibs, inks, paper products, etc. — and spent so much money, as well as time and effort, to “build” it for myself (because I can't simply remember everything, especially as I'm getting older fast) and my wife, so that we can “know”; and, instead of just disposing of what displeased us, or even just not good enough to be “given the time of day” against competition from >500 other pens and >500 other inks for our at
    • adamselene
      Agreed.  And I think it’s good to be aware of this early on and think about at the point of buying rather than rationalizing a purchase..
    • A Smug Dill
      Alas, one cannot know “good” without some idea of “bad” against which to contrast; and, as one of my former bosses (back when I was in my twenties) used to say, “on the scale of good to bad…”, it's a spectrum, not a dichotomy. Whereas subjectively acceptable (or tolerable) and unacceptable may well be a dichotomy to someone, and finding whether the threshold or cusp between them lies takes experiencing many degrees of less-than-ideal, especially if the decision is somehow influenced by factors o
    • adamselene
      I got my first real fountain pen on my 60th birthday and many hundreds of pens later I’ve often thought of what I should’ve known in the beginning. I have many pens, the majority of which have some objectionable feature. If they are too delicate, or can’t be posted, or they are too precious to face losing , still they are users, but only in very limited environments..  I have a big disliking for pens that have the cap jump into the air and fly off. I object to Pens that dry out, or leave blobs o
  • Chatbox

    You don't have permission to chat.
    Load More
  • Files

  • Create New...