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Diy Cursive Italic Grind On A Montblanc 149



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Thought I would post my DIY home nib grind I did on my newly purchased Montblanc 149. I bought the pen on auction for a great price ($300 USD). It was a new old stock (W. Germany made so from 80s-early 90's) never used and in great condition. The nib was a fine & ran VERY dry. I wanted something unique and fun with this pen as I have (too) many fine nib pens.

 

I fixed the flow issues first to get it to write wetter (not too wet as I have some of those too), but it was still just a plain fine nib and was a bit scratchy. I smoothed it to be nice and smooth every which way, but again nothing special. So wanted to make it a fine cursive italic but when I looked into getting it done, there really any places around Vancouver (Canada) that grind nibs. Also, there seems to be a big backlog of pens in the queue for any nibmeisters in the US so pondered doing it myself.

 

I restore & sharpen straight razors as another hobby, and get kitchen knives shaving sharp (I have actually shaved with my Japanese Nakiri knife before). So I looked into how the nib is actually ground and as I have tools to remove material.

 

After doing some reading and watching I thought I would first try it on an super cheap pen that I never used. First up was a Wingsun Hero 590 that I got on eBay for $3.31. The pen had a band fall off right away when I got it and was super cheap. It wrote but nothing special - what can you expect for $3 anyways.

So I took it too my stones and within a couple minutes I had a very crisp italic. Then got rid of the smooth edges with a nail buffer and voila, the pen was super fun to write with and performed very well!

 

So then I decided to give the Montblanc a go since this one turned out so well. I spent a little more time on the pen, made sure to go nice and slow and it tuned out great. I had to remove a bit more off the tip as the variation wasn't much at first. But it didn't take much to get it to where I wanted it. Did the same process as on the cheap pen, stones + nail buffer to remove sharpness, and it writes great!

 

Check out the writing samples below of the Wingsun & Montblanc 149. You might not want to grind a high-end pen, but if you've been wanting to play around, order a few cheap pens and see what you can do. I just ordered a Jinhao X750 in broad that I'm going to grind to an italic to see how it goes!

 

Wingsun Hero 590 Writing Sample

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Montblanc 149 Pen + Writing Sample

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Nib close up

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Writing close up

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Edited by nmatell
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Kudos on your bravery! Looks like you did a very nice job. Can you please post a photo of the underside of the nib showing the grind? I, too, have been using whetstones and grinding some Chinese pens into cursive italic but haven't had the courage to grind any gold nibs.

"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'll try to take a couple pics tonight & post. I don't have a setup to get clear shots from a USB microscope or anything like that. I have some macro screw-on lenses for my DSLR and will see what it can do.

 

If you've done a few cheapo pens, its the same process. I just went a bit slower as I figured the stones would remove metal a bit faster with the softer gold, and didn't want to mess up my pen! I figured whats the worst that can happen. If I mess it up, I'll send it off to someone who knows what they are doing, will have to wait a while, and pay some money. Something I would would have to do anyways if I didn't do it myself.

 

I did have to remove a bit more of the very tip to square it off, more than on my practice cheap pen. The nib was quite long so didn't get much variation until I got it down further so I could see a bit of a square nose to it. I went almost to the end of the tipping, but still left a little "meat on the bone."

 

I only did one practice pen before moving on to this one, so sounds like you know what you are doing!

 

I did send the pen off to someone up in Easter Canada when I got the pen to do the same thing, but got it back & wasn't happy. Not much line variation and was scratchy as hell & dry. Hence the thought for DIY.

 

Also when I sent the pen, I made a custom container from electrical PVC material so it wouldn't get busted. After it glued it all together and waited a bit for the glue to dry I put the pen in to check the final fit. Except when I took it out, a bunch of glue hadn't dried yet and was all over the pen! After I changed my pants, I quickly went to the store to get some wet fine grit sand paper and plastic buffing compound. After about 20 min the pen looked great! Good to know how to make a messed up pen look like new, but wasn't the scenario I was looking to try it out on. The gloss finish looked perfect and had no trace of anything too it.

 

I didn't take pictures, due to the panic, but it looked REALLY cool with the mat finish on the pen. If I ever desire to pick up another one, I will do the whole pen that way to make it really unique. The mat finish from the super fine sand paper (3000 grit) looked really cool with the gold trim. Sort of like a tasteful mat black paint on a hot car, looks sexy if done properly.

Edited by nmatell
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That looks amazing! I did a few Jinhao x450 and 159s from their fine to cursive italic and full 1.1 italics that are buttery smooth. It was a lot of fun to do more so after watching Nathan Tardiff's (Mr Noodler himself) video on how to grind a nib. I am so grateful for this community. Thank you for sharing your adventure.

If there is righteousness in the heart, There will be beauty in character. If there is beauty in character, There will be harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, There will be order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, There will be peace in the world. Bhagawan Shri Satya Sai Baba

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Nice Job!. Isnt it exciting to see the results of your work right there in ink and paper? Keep working at it. Practice makes perfect after all...😀

I dont have to tell you how almost meditative, and relaxing it is to get totally focused on a nib. I know for me, I get so engrossed in the nib, that i loose track of all time and worries. Knife sharpening has a similar effect on me. I can spend hours on my favorite blades. I wonder if the same holds true for you when it comes to Straight razors?

By the way, Aurora Blue-Black performs well with your nibs. Its a favorite of mine as well.

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Bhavna, I couldn't find the Tardiff video on YouTube, do you happen to have a link?

That looks amazing! I did a few Jinhao x450 and 159s from their fine to cursive italic and full 1.1 italics that are buttery smooth. It was a lot of fun to do more so after watching Nathan Tardiff's (Mr Noodler himself) video on how to grind a nib. I am so grateful for this community. Thank you for sharing your adventure.

"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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Hey OCArt, here is a thread I read about using stones to grind a nib. It also talks about using a Dremel, but you can do a lot of damage very fast. Especially since the regular stones are very coarse. Slow & steady by hand for us amateurs is probably the best idea. Can catch your mistakes early!

 

https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread.php/10567-So-you-wanna-grind-yer-own-nibs

 

I took the same approach I do with knives & razors. Inspect as you go, try to do it with the least number of strokes (therefore removes less material), focus, & just understand & enjoy the slow process.

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I wonder if the same holds true for you when it comes to Straight razors?

 

If you enjoy doing knives, go get yourself a straight razor! Just like fountain pens, get a cheap one & try it out. I started with a gold dollar razor for $20. Learned how to get it to give a great smooth shave that I enjoyed. Then I customized it, then ponied up for a nice high end razor that caught my eye. Haven't bought blades in years. Don't want to turn this into a knife or razor sharpening thread, plenty of sites for that. But give it a try, its fun & rewarding just like fountain pens.
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Bhavna, I couldn't find the Tardiff video on YouTube, do you happen to have a link?

Here you go:

https://youtu.be/rG6_4GK8QCE

 

If that doesn't work, the YouTube channel is called InkNeedLastForever

Edited by Bhavna

If there is righteousness in the heart, There will be beauty in character. If there is beauty in character, There will be harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, There will be order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, There will be peace in the world. Bhagawan Shri Satya Sai Baba

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If you enjoy doing knives, go get yourself a straight razor! Just like fountain pens, get a cheap one & try it out. I started with a gold dollar razor for $20. Learned how to get it to give a great smooth shave that I enjoyed. Then I customized it, then ponied up for a nice high end razor that caught my eye. Haven't bought blades in years. Don't want to turn this into a knife or razor sharpening thread, plenty of sites for that. But give it a try, its fun & rewarding just like fountain pens.

Writing a western with a barber minor character had to learn a bit about that.

Western has dip pens of course....AAAAndrew has been a great help on that.

 

The price of a modern Gillette shaving apparatus blade head was and is so very expensive, that I decided to go brush and straight razor, fancy English soaps, and so on. Being retired would have time to do it properly.

 

Was willing to go second class, in I couldn't really afford a French singing razor....German would do. :rolleyes:

 

Best Badger was back then just under Silver Tip, no super badger....and not having a barber chair and someone to put hot towels on my face decided to forgo the softer silver tip.

 

The deal breaker was I could not find a good strop.. :angry: ..not a single horse hide one with Irish linen back to be found anywhere in the world, or even a second class seal hide one....(so one shouldn't look in the 1902 Sears and Roebuck catalog to find top of the line stuff.) $500 seemed reasonable, had I been able to get a first class strop. ...... So I grew a beard. :P

Edited by Bo Bo Olson

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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BaronWulfraed

If you enjoy doing knives, go get yourself a straight razor! Just like fountain pens, get a cheap one & try it out. I started with a gold dollar razor for $20. Learned how to get it to give a great smooth shave that I enjoyed. Then I customized it, then ponied up for a nice high end razor that caught my eye. Haven't bought blades in years. Don't want to turn this into a knife or razor sharpening thread, plenty of sites for that. But give it a try, its fun & rewarding just like fountain pens.

https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/?s=razor&btnGo=

Yes -- a 7-part series on straight razors ... on an AirGun blog.

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Here are some close ups of the nib. Best I can do with the gear I got. The nib was a bit tricky as the end did curl up a bit. I didn't want to try to bend the very tip down to not damage the nib, and didn't want to grind it down past the tipping material. So it was more finicky than a regular nib that shoots out straight all the way to very end. This one had a bit of an up tick at the very nose.

 

It ain't perfect or pretty, that's for sure! A nibmeister will probably throw-up a bit in his mouth if he see's these pics, but it works great! Love the feel and accent it gives to the writing. It's a bit smoother than say a pencil, which is the type of feel I like when I write (not a super buttery smooth kinda guy). That's the fun part of doing this, you can get the pen just how you want it for you. For me: don't want it scratchy, smooth but I want to feel & hear it when I write, and wet but not too much. I'm going to polish the top to remove the super fine scratches next time I flush out the pen (they aren't visible without magnification).

 

 

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The tines look like one is wider than the other, but its just from the lighting - they are the same width

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post-141233-0-98728300-1566322929_thumb.jpg

Edited by nmatell
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Nmatell and Bhavna, thanks for the links and pics!

"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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