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Untipped Gold Nibs -- How Long Do They Last?



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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
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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.

 

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Randal

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?

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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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

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

 

 

 

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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.

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