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Zebra G Nib In An Aldo Domani


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Last night I spent a ton of time looking for a suitable, inexpensive flex pen. My first stop was, of course, Noodler's Pens, but there were just too many statements about these pens being difficult to flex properly. Coming from a dip pen background I really wanted a flexy pen, and Noodler's just didn't seem to fit the bill. My next stop was Fountain Pen Revolution. I came close to pulling the trigger on a Guru or a #6 flex nib and ebonite feed combo, but the Guru just didn't appeal to me and I wasn't sure if the offered nib and feed would properly fit into any of my pens, so I kept looking. That's when I found internet gold.


It seems that several people have successfully managed to pair up Jinhao X450s and X750s with Zebra G nibs. I have a Jinhao X750 and several G nibs, so I was super excited to give it a try. Now, I have attempted to pair a Zebra G with a fountain pen in the past, but with no success (it did not fit into my Monteverde Invincia or my Regal Andrew). With past failures to point to, and several folks unable to make this mod work properly, I was a bit skeptical as to how well this process might work...but I was hopeful.


This morning, as I was about to empty and flush my Jinhao X750 I thought of my Aldo Domani two tone. The Aldo Domani was a cheap pen that could be purchased from Office Depot for around $15 or $20, and while it is a nice enough pen, I never really used it much. It has a huge nib and is a fairly wet writer, so I figured that I would give it a try. I didn't particularly want to go through all of the trouble of draining my Jinhao anyway (I actually have it earmarked to receive a 0.8 stub tomorrow, so it works out well this way). I did a quick detour from my desk to my pen storage and grabbed my Aldo Domani, as I had just cleaned out this pen last week I knew that it was good to go. A quick tug on the nib and feed and I was ready to experiment. I carefully mated a Zebra G with the Aldo Domani's feed, mimicking the placement of folks who have successfully paired the Zebra G with a Jinhao. The nib stuck up in the back (which seems to be how it sits in successful pairings with Jinhaos as well), but the feed seemed to conform to the overall shape of the nib. I mentally crossed my fingers and slid the unholy union home. It seems that I had chosen wisely, as there was little difficulty in seating the pairing into the pen. I fiddled with the overall placement, and then dipped my new frankenpen into a bottle of Pelikan 4001 Brilliant black, sucking up ink with a converter.


My first concern occurred after I had the pen inked, but not clean. A couple of drops of ink began to fall from the tip. Normally this would mean that the pen was leaking, and I thought that this was an indication of failure. As it turned out, once the pen was cleaned there was no further spillage. I shook the pen a bit to encourage flow, took a deep breath, and began to write. It had worked! I had successfully paired a Zebra G nib with an Aldo Domani fountain pen!


I have been playing with the pen for the last hour and have discovered a number of pros and cons to this pairing. In spite of the draw backs, I do consider this experiment to have been a success. I managed to pair a flexible dip pen nib to a fountain pen and found an inexpensive way to get a good, flex pen, but it is not without its issues. I have found that this pen and nib combo eats ink like crazy. I had to advance the converter several times, and went from a full converter of ink to 1/4 full in the space of two A5 pages. I also found that the nib dries out quickly when not in use, even when capped, and can require a couple of shakes to get going. In terms of performance, I discovered that the constant ink flow made the Zebra G nib less able to return from flex to hairline. This last bit is to be expected when using fountain pen ink on a dip pen nib, and may also be a result of my relatively poor penmanship, but it is still worth noting.


Some words of caution: dip pen nibs are meant to be disposable. They are used and abused before being tossed away. They have no tipping and are not resistant to corrosion. In other words, they are not meant to be used as permanent or even semi-permanent nibs. If you try this, keep that in mind. I would suggest emptying and flushing the pen at the end of the day to help preserve the nib. Also, if you do try this on your Aldo Domani, or any other fountain pen for that matter, you may end up killing the feed, or the nib, or even the pen. As with any modification, try this at your own risk.


Pros: Cons:

--Good, easy flex --Eats ink like a starving teenager eats junk food

--Easy to pair --Dries out quickly when not in use

--Inexpensive --Poor return to hairline

--Tons of line variation --Dip pen nibs are not meant to be in constant contact with ink



Here are some pictures of the mod (my phone did not want to focus, and the lighting is poor, but you get the idea), as well as a writing sample to show line variation (my broad edge handwriting is pretty good, but my pointed pen handwriting is not. So, please forgive this handwriting. I am a naturally left handed person forced by poor teachers to use my right hand at an early age...and I worked in medicine for many years, but I am working on it):












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I have Zebra G's in Noodler Ahabs and Konrads. They are just terrific nibs. The Ahabs have the standard nibs and the Konrads have the titanium nibs. I have not experienced any corrosion whatsoever, and I don't bother cleaning the pen after use. I have had the same nibs in the pens for months. I so love these nibs that I ordered a pen from Scriptorium and sent her some feeds and nibs to fit into the new pen.


They do seem to gulp ink, as you say. But I have a feeling that the ink itself is preventing corrosion. I mostly use deAtramentis Archive Ink, as I use these for sketching as well as practicing copperplate and kanji.

Edited by vorpal
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If EoC may be so bold to suggest that Jabberwock11 posts this in the Frankenpen Catalogue thread?


As an aside, this one thinks the marriage of Aldo and Zebra looks very nice, but is surprised at the comments on snapback as this has nothing to do with the body of the pen and everything to do with the nib. This one has not noticed any difference in this property on Jinhao/Zebra combo. It is thought then that perhaps the feed is situated too far forward. Unfortunately EoC is too new to this game to be sure if this is a correct assumption.

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I have the t-slots on the nib lined up with the last fin on the feeder. I've found that it's really difficult to adjust the nib to any other position. It's nice that there are alternative pens...I have never heard of the Aldo, but will go search and see about them.

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I have the t-slots on the nib lined up with the last fin on the feeder. I've found that it's really difficult to adjust the nib to any other position. It's nice that there are alternative pens...I have never heard of the Aldo, but will go search and see about them.


On the Jinhao 450, EoC has the t-slots lined up with the 3rd fin from the end. Meaning that the feed is further forward than in vorpal's example.

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With the Aldo Domani the feed needs to be fairly far forward for the ink to flow properly. The fins are about in the same place as EoC's Jinhao. I would say that the Aldo Domani has a slightly longer and thinner feed than the Jinhao. The flow and drying issue on this was corrected with some slight adjustment to the nib, so I no longer have issues with the return to hairline or hard starts.

As to the corrosive statement, I have no real empirical evidence of this other than the natural tendency of most dip pen nibs to corrode and degrade with regular use, especially when in continuous contact with ink. It is entirely possible that the Zebra G will do much better when compared to most dip pen nibs, but I would be amazed if it faired as well as a standard fountain pen nib.

On a side note, I have done the opposite and used a couple of fountain pen nibs in dip pens with great results. The tipping makes them excellent general writing nibs in any straight dip pen (some of the smaller ones might work well in an oblique holder as well).

Edited by jabberwock11
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Could we get a picture of the feed/nib combo? That is, a picture of the underside so I can see how they line up? I'll try to take some pictures of my Noodlers, as well.

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