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A 2014 video on transforming an inexpensive standard steel nib into a cursive italic stub, produced by Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink, suggested a hacking experiment with the nibs of Jinhao 599 pens. The pens are currently available on eBay for $2 or less. I started with a Jinhao 599 with a Medium nib because this particular pen uses a more traditional nib with a slightly longer body and tines, unlike the more modern-looking nib on Fine versions of the 599. The investment in materials, tools, and equipment totals about $10, so there is very little risk involved.

 

The question behind the experiment is: Can a rank amateur lop off the tip from a medium nib on a Jinhao 599 and make it write fairly well -- or, more ambitious -- make it write smoothly? To my great surprise, the answer is yes. Another contributor to the Fountain Pen Network, Ian the Jock, has confirmed the experiment with a $2 Baoer pen. I've tried this technique twice now -- the first time with a Jinhao x450, sometimes available for $1, shipped from China (!) I accidentally lopped off too much of the Jinhao x450 no. 6 nib, resulting in a 1.7 mm cursive italic stub. It was rather broad, but still wrote well. For people who like to learn on Chinese pens and try other types of nibs, there is very little stopping us.

 

Resources and results of the experiment are posted below.

 

Nathan Tardif's Nib Transformation Video

 

 

The Method

 

Using a pair of diagonal cutters, lop off the tip of the nib. In Tardif's video, he just does it by sight. Place 2000-grit wet-dry automotive abrasive paper on a hard surface and smooth off all the external sharp edges. It only takes a few strokes. Then pick up each tine and use the abrasive paper to make a couple of light passes on the inner surface of the tines. Ensure the tines are aligned, and the gap between tines is moderate. A 10x loupe is essential for this. A separate video, by Brian Gray of Edison Pen Company, is helpful here, as are notes available on Richard Binder's website.

 

http://www.richardspens.com/pdf/workshop_notes.pdf

 

Brian Gray's Nib Alignment Video

 

 

The Nib and Pen

 

fpn_1444675822__jinhao-599-green-section

 

fpn_1444675807__jinhao-599-green-pen.jpg

 

A Writing Sample

 

fpn_1444677326__writing-sample.jpg

 

 

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You've started something now Bob.. :lticaptd:

There'll be Chinese pens with cursive italic nibs all over the shop now.

You've done a great job on the 599, and the ink matches it perfectly.

Great handwriting too...very distinct.....are you a teacher? :D

 

Ian

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Thank you Bob for your post. This is my first day as a member of FPN and I am really glad I came across your post. Actually this is my first year I was acquainted with fountain pens and this fountain pen hobby has been so fascinating. I am a dental technician by profession, and I have tried customizing my jinhao nibs before using the tools that you mentioned, plus my tools on my work bench. By intuition I have used the 2000 sandpaper bought from a car paint shop, and used it as mentioned in Nathan Tardif video. My question is: Could you please give us some recommendations as to where exactly we can look for replacement nibs and feeds to practice on? Thank you. Frank66

Edited by Frank66

- Kaigelu 316 Modification (250 #6 Bock Nib / Beaufort Ink Converter)
- Titanium Bock Nib - Kaigelu 316 - Beaufort Ink

- Bock Rollerball Nib In Jinhao 886 Pen - Beaufort Ink Converter

- No affiliation with pen industry, just a pen hobbyist.

- It matters what you write, only for us it matters what we write it with.

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Frank,

Welcome to FPN. It looks like you're from Greece. Kalós órises! Your experience as a dental technician is the best background I can imagine for creating new nib shapes and tuning them. The skill seems to require the ability to conceptualize an extremely small shape in three dimensions; to sculpt it with abrasives and tools under; to modify its planes, edges, and the space between the shapes ever so slightly, checking frequently with magnification; and then to smooth and polish its various microsurfaces.

 

In terms of shaping and tuning nibs, many Jinhao pens are now $2 or less, which makes them great experiments. There are a couple of vendors on eBay who also sell no. 5 Hero and no. 6 Jinhao nibs separately, including laonan123 and heijing1314. Buying an entire pack of 12 Jinhao 599s with the Fine nib from "jewelrymathematics" is only $24. That particular colored demonstrator model of the Jinhao 599 uses a longer, more traditional design for the nib, which provides a wider margin of error when you snip it off. Also, "ycpens", the guy behind the eBay store "jewelrymathematics" is an active participant on the Fountain Pen Network, and his service is excellent. (Honestly, I have had great luck with all the Chinese vendors on eBay, especially xiongfu1990. The mysterious, excellent, inexpensive, and little-known Hua Hong brand is only available from xiongfu1990. Ian the Jock, another FPN contributor, has assumed the mantle of Head Honger, the brand's biggest ambassador.)

Bob

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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Thank you Bob for your post. This is my first day as a member of FPN and I am really glad I came across your post. Actually this is my first year I was acquainted with fountain pens and this fountain pen hobby has been so fascinating. I am a dental technician by profession, and I have tried customizing my jinhao nibs before using the tools that you mentioned, plus my tools on my work bench. By intuition I have used the 2000 sandpaper bought from a car paint shop, and used it as mentioned in Nathan Tardif video. My question is: Could you please give us some recommendations as to where exactly we can look for replacement nibs and feeds to practice on? Thank you. Frank66

I don't know about feeds, but I just scored 50 misc nibs on Ebay for $7 - including shipping. They may not fit my Jinhao, but my husband has dip pens and duct tape. :D We can do a lot of practicing and find out what works for us.

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Feed sources seem a little tougher to find for me too, richila. If I identify any, I'll let you know.

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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Frank,

Welcome to FPN. It looks like you're from Greece. Kalós órises! Your experience as a dental technician is the best background I can imagine for creating new nib shapes and tuning them. The skill seems to require the ability to conceptualize an extremely small shape in three dimensions; to sculpt it with abrasives and tools under; to modify its planes, edges, and the space between the shapes ever so slightly, checking frequently with magnification; and then to smooth and polish its various microsurfaces.

 

In terms of shaping and tuning nibs, many Jinhao pens are now $2 or less, which makes them great experiments. There are a couple of vendors on eBay who also sell no. 5 Hero and no. 6 Jinhao nibs separately, including laonan123 and heijing1314. Buying an entire pack of 12 Jinhao 599s with the Fine nib from "jewelrymathematics" is only $24. That particular colored demonstrator model of the Jinhao 599 uses a longer, more traditional design for the nib, which provides a wider margin of error when you snip it off. Also, "ycpens", the guy behind the eBay store "jewelrymathematics" is an active participant on the Fountain Pen Network, and his service is excellent. (Honestly, I have had great luck with all the Chinese vendors on eBay, especially xiongfu1990. The mysterious, excellent, inexpensive, and little-known Hua Hong brand is only available from xiongfu1990. Ian the Jock, another FPN contributor, has assumed the mantle of Head Honger, the brand's biggest ambassador.)

Bob

Bob,
Thank you for your welcome note. (Kalos sas Vrika!) Surely will look into buying more nibs to play with in the places you mentioned. I have bought pens from heijing1314 and jewelrymathematics before as I have numerous chinese pens. I tend to like finer nibs, nevertheless, I have enjoyed my 2 black Jinhao 450 (M Nib, writes rather broad to my taste), and my 2 Jinhao x750 (black and ivory) retrofitted with FPR #6 and #5.5 EF nibs, which took forever to receive. My ivory Jinhao x750 has a flexy FPR nib and although it was somewhat difficult to fit it in the section, it writes superbly. Out of my Jinhaos I mostly enjoy the Jinhao 159, which writes rather a M to B line, however the nib flexes somewhat and that is nice; sometimes I use the pen upside-down to get a finer writing. I also like the Jinhao 15 black Slender which writes quite FINE but the nib is rather too stiff for my taste. I had a Jinhao 8812 Wood Brown Medium nib which had phenomenal looks, however, I could not get used to its narrow ''smooth spot'' when writing and its rather broad nib, so I gave it away to a friend. Out of my Jinhaos, I like the 15 and 159 the most.

I also own a Parker Sonnet in F nib, which replaced a M nib which I have now somewhat restored after a fall accident, but do not use anymore. I have it inked in black Pelikan ink, and this pen and ink were my first introduction into the fountain pen world. The Fine nib writes well but rather broad for my taste, but what I do not like most about this pen is that it starts to skip if I do not use it for 2-3 days, which is disappointing in a way. According to my experience, my Jinhaos take way longer time to dry out and skip.

From jewelrymathematics I have also got a HERO LISEUR 606 NOBLEST black & silver FINE nib, which I adore, because it fits well in my hand, writes quite fine (XF would be more appropriate) and never dries, plus it is metal, and sometimes I like to carry a heavier pen in my trouser pocket, this way I can feel it is there, whereas a lighter pen sometimes feels like you are not sure if you still have it in your pocket, or forgot to take it with you.

I also have 3 Heros 606 (red, green & black) which write superbly but dry and skip if I do not use them for more than 1-2 weeks. Interestingly enough, an Accounting xtra Fine Iridium Nib Hero works like a horse pen after I opened the tines a little bit.

Out of the German fountain pens, I have a Lamy Vista Demonstrator EF, which I adore (nowdays always inked in Pelikan Violet), plus a Lamy Vista F (black) which is just OK for my taste.
As far as Japanese pens are concerned, I only have PILOTS (so far). I love my PILOT 78Gs, I have two in F nibs, one is permanately inked in pilot Teal ink from a pilot parallel pen which I had bought and never really used it, but the different color ink ampules that came with it were plenty and thus very useful. And I also have 2 PILOT LUCINAs in M and F nib. They write superb, they never skip or dry, their "smooth area" is greater compared to the other pens mentioned above, which allows for easier writing according to my taste. However I wish there was a nib somewhere in between the M and F, but I do not want to sound hysterical, so let me just say that I use the M lucina more than the Fine one.

As future pens I am thinking into TWSBI Eco EF (I love it when you can see the ink shaking inside the demonstrators plus it takes a lot of ink as a piston filler). I also thought about the TWSBI 580 but I was thwarted because you cannot see the ink in the section as well as you can in the ECO. As an everyday writer, I am also looking into a Pilot Prera F or M in Grey-blue color, a Pilot Stella 90 F or M, or a Pilot Custom 91 M or F. I may need help on this one, deciding which pen to get and which nib.

As far as inks are concerned, I may need to look more into Herbin and Iroshizuku inks which I have access to, unfortunately I do not have access to Montblanc inks that I have heard only good things about. My current INK list contains just the basic pallette I am afraid, and it includes WATERMAN inks (Florida Blue, Havana Brown, Harmonious Green and Red), PILOT inks (blue, blue-black and black) and PELIKAN inks (blue, black, Turquoise and Violet). Sometimes I do ink mixes but the viscosity of the ink, I feel, changes perceptibly when you mix certain inks.

Still have not completed my first year since I started using fountain pens, sometimes I ponder how much I have been missing. Thanks for reading. Frank66

Edited by Frank66

- Kaigelu 316 Modification (250 #6 Bock Nib / Beaufort Ink Converter)
- Titanium Bock Nib - Kaigelu 316 - Beaufort Ink

- Bock Rollerball Nib In Jinhao 886 Pen - Beaufort Ink Converter

- No affiliation with pen industry, just a pen hobbyist.

- It matters what you write, only for us it matters what we write it with.

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Frank66,

Thank you for the information about the FPR nibs and feeds. I am going to check those out. You have an amazing ink selection already! I have a TWSBI 580 AL and really enjoy writing with it. I agree that it would be fun to see the ink in the section, though, as with the TWSBI ECO.

Bob

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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I bought a number of #6 Jinhao nibs just for this purpose - to practise on and to turn into nibs I couldn't cheaply get for my X-750s. One I turned into a very nice EF nib and the other into a Medium Fine (0.6mm) stub.

I also bought some $1.50 599s just to get at the nibs. One of those has been turned into a very nice EF for my Jinhao Century Mk II.

 

I use a fine cosmetics filing stone to carve the nib to the shape I want (it generally only takes a few minutes of careful strokes, and is not worth investing in a speed-controlled Dremel ) and a stack of micromesh pads to get the nibs smooth.

 

I hate to say it, but my $5 X750 with $1.50 MF Stub is nicer and crisper to write with than my $xxx Pilot Custom 742 Sutab.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif




“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.


And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


Granny Aching

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Dcwaites, thank you for sharing this experience. Do you have any suggestions on sourcing this kind of a cosmetics filing stone? Also, any thoughts on feed sources? I've been using a 10x Belomo loupe but sometimes wonder if 20x might help.

Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter | Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers

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Frank66,

Thank you for the information about the FPR nibs and feeds. I am going to check those out. You have an amazing ink selection already! I have a TWSBI 580 AL and really enjoy writing with it. I agree that it would be fun to see the ink in the section, though, as with the TWSBI ECO.

Bob

I would contact FPR first before ordering. Some of their nibs are slightly thicker than the ones used on certain Jinhao or other chinese pens. Thus trimming of the inside of the pen barrel or of the sides of new nib or the feed itself itself was needed in my case. That has been my limited experience. If I lived in the states, I would order straight from Goulet. Now does anyone know where I can find #6 EF replacement nibs for my Jinhaos in Europe? Frank

- Kaigelu 316 Modification (250 #6 Bock Nib / Beaufort Ink Converter)
- Titanium Bock Nib - Kaigelu 316 - Beaufort Ink

- Bock Rollerball Nib In Jinhao 886 Pen - Beaufort Ink Converter

- No affiliation with pen industry, just a pen hobbyist.

- It matters what you write, only for us it matters what we write it with.

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Dcwaites, thank you for sharing this experience. Do you have any suggestions on sourcing this kind of a cosmetics filing stone? Also, any thoughts on feed sources? I've been using a 10x Belomo loupe but sometimes wonder if 20x might help.

I have sometimes used an instrument sharpening stone called Arkansas stone (white grit). Hope this helps. Frank.

- Kaigelu 316 Modification (250 #6 Bock Nib / Beaufort Ink Converter)
- Titanium Bock Nib - Kaigelu 316 - Beaufort Ink

- Bock Rollerball Nib In Jinhao 886 Pen - Beaufort Ink Converter

- No affiliation with pen industry, just a pen hobbyist.

- It matters what you write, only for us it matters what we write it with.

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Share on other sites

I bought a number of #6 Jinhao nibs just for this purpose - to practise on and to turn into nibs I couldn't cheaply get for my X-750s. One I turned into a very nice EF nib and the other into a Medium Fine (0.6mm) stub.

I also bought some $1.50 599s just to get at the nibs. One of those has been turned into a very nice EF for my Jinhao Century Mk II.

 

I use a fine cosmetics filing stone to carve the nib to the shape I want (it generally only takes a few minutes of careful strokes, and is not worth investing in a speed-controlled Dremel ) and a stack of micromesh pads to get the nibs smooth.

 

I hate to say it, but my $5 X750 with $1.50 MF Stub is nicer and crisper to write with than my $xxx Pilot Custom 742 Sutab.

Could you please describe the technique you used to grind your nibs on the stone? Is there any link that you could refer us to? My experience with this, although limited, has been utterly unsuccessful as I ended up misaligning the nib tines as I was grinding them. In retrospect I should used some tape to hold the tines together when grinding them. Surely I must have done something wrong, it would be nice to hear how you did it, whenever you find the time to reply. Frank.

- Kaigelu 316 Modification (250 #6 Bock Nib / Beaufort Ink Converter)
- Titanium Bock Nib - Kaigelu 316 - Beaufort Ink

- Bock Rollerball Nib In Jinhao 886 Pen - Beaufort Ink Converter

- No affiliation with pen industry, just a pen hobbyist.

- It matters what you write, only for us it matters what we write it with.

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After seeing Nathan's video a while ago I tried to make a stub from a Pilot 78G fine. It worked very well. I've gone on to make several stub nibs. I use a nail buffer stick and block for the shaping and smoothing. The stick is useful for removing burrs and getting the shape correct while the buffer block makes the nibs smooth.

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I do this on a regular basis with a cheap pens when i don't like the nib :)

Sam here.... i love fiddling around

vaibhav mehandiratta

architect & fountain pen connoisseur

 

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