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Would You Stub A Souverän Nib?



prime.lens

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Over the last year, I have been practicing grinding nibs. I bought Chinese pens and nibs in bulk and have gone through a few dozen of them to practice and I am quite happy with my recent results. However, I have not ground any expensive nibs so far, my logic being that even if I like the grind, it's not worth it to remove the tipping material. Am I right on this? I have two Souverän M400 nibs -- one M and one B -- and I really want to switch out one of them for a stub nib. I am trying to decide if I should take a crack at it or keep looking for a stub nib at a good price or a trade? Thoughts and suggestions?

 

 

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If you know how to do it, do it.


I would stub the M as it a stub M is more suitable to my writing. But make sure it is a round tip in modern nib as the old one is already ground by Pelikan.

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This will not be much help but only you can answer the question you pose for yourself as it only depends on your own perception of risk. I guess that the very fact that you are asking means that you would really like to do it yourself but you want someone to say, "Go for it. You can do it". You have taken the parachuting lessons; you are standing at the open door of a plane, several thousand feet above the earth; and you need a gentle shove. Who wouldn't!

 

A few dozen cheap nibs = experience but with a hint of doubt.

 

How many of those few dozen have been abject failures? How many tips have gone flying off into the far distance? Has your success rate increased as you have gained more experience?

 

Are you using a grinding machine or just stones/micromesh? If it's the latter, I would have thought that you have more scope for incremental grinds with intermittent checks on progress.

 

The question crystallises into, "Would £200/$300 be a devastating loss? Or would it just prompt a few expletives before seeking a replacement unit". It's just another version of the widows/orphans question when considering investing in stocks and shares.

 

Someone will come along with a far more decisive answer.

 

Cheers,

David.

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My concern isn't so much that I can do it, but whether self-stubbing is ever a good idea for expensive nibs because I am losing the tipping material. Obviously, I don't have the ability to re-tip. With a Chinese nib, I don't really care about longevity or the original tipping material. But with a good/expensive nib I would of course want it to last. So is it worth it to throw away the tipping material to get a custom grind, or should I just pony up and buy a tipped factory stub nib? How rapidly might the untipped stub nib deteriorate?

 

This will not be much help but only you can answer the question you pose for yourself as it only depends on your own perception of risk. I guess that the very fact that you are asking means that you would really like to do it yourself but you want someone to say, "Go for it. You can do it". You have taken the parachuting lessons; you are standing at the open door of a plane, several thousand feet above the earth; and you need a gentle shove. Who wouldn't!

 

A few dozen cheap nibs = experience but with a hint of doubt.

 

How many of those few dozen have been abject failures? How many tips have gone flying off into the far distance? Has your success rate increased as you have gained more experience?

 

Are you using a grinding machine or just stones/micromesh? If it's the latter, I would have thought that you have more scope for incremental grinds with intermittent checks on progress.

 

The question crystallises into, "Would £200/$300 be a devastating loss? Or would it just prompt a few expletives before seeking a replacement unit". It's just another version of the widows/orphans question when considering investing in stocks and shares.

 

Someone will come along with a far more decisive answer.

 

Cheers,

David.

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My concern isn't so much that I can do it, but whether self-stubbing is ever a good idea for expensive nibs because I am losing the tipping material. Obviously, I don't have the ability to re-tip. With a Chinese nib, I don't really care about longevity or the original tipping material. But with a good/expensive nib I would of course want it to last. So is it worth it to throw away the tipping material to get a custom grind, or should I just pony up and buy a tipped factory stub nib? How rapidly might the untipped stub nib deteriorate?

 

As far as my feeble knowledge goes, stub grinds DON'T completely remove the tipping material. The skill lies in re-shaping the tipping material that is there so that it is transformed from a "ball" shape to a "chisel" shape (for an italic grind). The stub would be somewhere between those extremes, depending on how much line variation you want and on how crisp you want it to be. Richard Binder's explanations are far better informed than mine.

 

Sure, makers like Lamy, Pilot, and TWSBI, use stub nibs that don't have tipping materials but I suspect that their main concern is in the use of economical manufacturing techniques. Also, they offer steel nibs. I presume your Pelikan nib is a gold one and, it being a soft metal, it may not be wise to lose the tipping altogether. Respected and skilled nib specialists would probably modify a tip rather than remove it altogether. That is certainly the case with the expensive [modern] Onoto gold nibs that I have had ground to either oblique stub or oblique cursive italic by the inestimable John Sorowka.

 

David.

 

PS: I wish you luck and good judgement in whatever you decide to do. I shall have anxiety-by-proxy until we hear how goes. Please let us know.

Edited by the_gasman
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You have some really great responses already, and the_gasman hit on the question I have.

 

Does your method involve clipping off the iridium pellet, and then stubbing the remainder of the nib? If so, then no I wouldn't advise stubbing a nice nib. First you should practice reshaping the iridium tip into a stub / italic.

 

If you have been stubbing your practice nibs by reshaping the pellet (which I would argue is the correct way), you are confident enough to do it to an expensive nib and you are willing to accept the risk of loss; then why not?

 

Done properly, a stub / italic leaves plenty of iridium. At some point you would wear it away through writing, but that's an enormous amount of use - and I doubt you would get there in your lifetime.

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EclecticCollector

I have had M600 and M800 broad nibs stubbed by Mike Masuyama. As dneal says, Mike stubs them by shaping the tipping material while removing as little as possible. In fact according to Mike there is so much tipping material on the broad nibs that he's able to regrind them wider if I later decide I need a wider line!

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Thanks for the wonderful responses. I have been grinding them directly without shaping the tipping material -- the results look very like the Pilot and Nemosyne stubs I have -- i.e. without any tipping. I will practice some more before going to work on the Pelikan nib.

 

Are there any online videos of hammering out the tipping material to reshape? I have been watching this wonderful video of Kohei Kubo shaping newly retipped nibs (starts at 9:40), but I haven't found anything on reshaping already existing tips.

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The first expensive nib I reground was a Broad nib on a MontBlanc Meisterstruck 149. Love that pen and wrote with it quite a bit over the fifteen years I had it. Almost cried when it got lost in Dubai. The current nice nib that I reground is a Lamy 2000. One of the best everyday carry pens I have.

 

I also have a number of pens, tipped and untipped, that I have reground to an italic nib. Nemosynes, Lamys, Noodler's Ahabs and Konrads, Bexley 801's, and so on. One factory-stub Aurora Tu that I retouched to a sharper, finer nib. Since I write habitually in an italic hand, I find regrinding and sharpening an essential part of maintaining my pens. So I say, "Go for it!" Of course, use a bit of prudence as well. Which you seem to have well under control.

 

Wouldn't try flattening the iridium pellet -- think there would be too much risk of damaging the pellet, since the iridium is so hard. But Ludwig Tan's video on making an italic tip on a nib is a great template to follow.

 

Best of luck,

Yours,
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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Thanks for the wonderful responses. I have been grinding them directly without shaping the tipping material -- the results look very like the Pilot and Nemosyne stubs I have -- i.e. without any tipping. I will practice some more before going to work on the Pelikan nib.

 

Are there any online videos of hammering out the tipping material to reshape? I have been watching this wonderful video of Kohei Kubo shaping newly retipped nibs (starts at 9:40), but I haven't found anything on reshaping already existing tips.

 

You don't want to hammer it into shape, you want to grind it. A agree with Ludwig Tan's tutorial being a great resource (although I wasn't aware there was a video).

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I'm so glad you posted this. This has been my dilemma as well. I've been grinding all sorts of chinese pens and extra Knox nibs and such. Recently went out on a limb and ground a Kaweco nib (not too expensive). I've been pretty happy with the results and have been eyeing my M600 nib but that's a big step up in expense if I mess it up. Problem is I'm a cheap b*stard. Oh and a coward.

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you don't need to hammer anything, just grind away, smoothen, test, and grind again as needed patiently. grind with a wet nib, use a loupe to check your results, and test it on good paper so you'll know if some little corner snags or grates against the surface.

Check out my blog and my pens

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I recently ground my first gold nib. (Like many of you I had experience with many Chinese pens.) I found the process went rather well and I got it almost right--- then decided I could make it better and went a little too far. Next time I'll know when to stop!

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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I've had a shoebox full of Pelikan nibs reground, to stub and CI,I have never done anything more than Mylar smoothing on my own.

 

Here is a middle way for you: Send your spendy Pelikan nib out to a pro, Pendleton Brown or Danny Fudge and have them stub it. Then when you get it back explore it minutely with a loupe, I assume you have a loupe. Should be a good template from which you can work. I just got a nib back from Danny fudge which he ground to CI. His price is very reasonable, contact him and you will be surprised.

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My concern isn't so much that I can do it, but whether self-stubbing is ever a good idea for expensive nibs because I am losing the tipping material. Obviously, I don't have the ability to re-tip. With a Chinese nib, I don't really care about longevity or the original tipping material. But with a good/expensive nib I would of course want it to last. So is it worth it to throw away the tipping material to get a custom grind, or should I just pony up and buy a tipped factory stub nib? How rapidly might the untipped stub nib deteriorate?

 

Go for it.

 

You want to do it, you've practiced, you want a stub--take a crack at it.

 

If you're nervous about your inability to retip, keep this in mind: very few nibmeisters know how to retip nibs, but all of them know how to grind 'em.

Ink, a drug.

― Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister

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