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Successful Nib Adjustment With A Knife Sharpening Whetstone

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I just received one of these in the mail. It's a 10x2.5x1 cm double sided whetstone intended for knife sharpening. It has two sides with two different grit: 5000 and 12000. The green side is made of corundum which is supposedly the next hardest material after diamond. I got it off ebay for about $7 and I have to say that I've already adjusted nibs on 3 different pens (including my brand new Wing Sung 618) and the results are very positive. I started with light, 8-shaped strokes on the 5000 side and then did the very fine adjustment on the 12000 side. My Wing Sung went from sharp nail to butter soft in a matter of minutes. I am very pleased with this item and I feel that it's going to be all I am going to need in my nib grinding tool set for quite some time. Have you ever tried this?



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These make me very nervous.


But why? Why does it make you more nervous than sandpaper? Not everyone has their own advanced workshop at home so I think finding items that work and get the job done is always a plus. I agree that you can damage your pens by grinding their nibs in the wrong way. It does take practice and cheap pens to experiment on. But it's not rocket science either.

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They would make me nervous for two reasons.


1. Even at this “grit” they can be aggressive in taking off material. You need a very careful touch.

2. At that price, I would be afraid of inconsistency between blocks, and inconsistency across the surface of a block.


If you’re getting good results, then cool, keep at it. Sharpening stones at high grit numbers get very expensive very quickly because it can be difficult to make a good, consistent stone. Mylar sheets mounted on a flat surface are inexpensive and more consistent.


And, BTW, “Nervous” does not mean “stop doing that.” It just means I’ve been burned in similar situations, and advise caution.


I’ll still check out the stones, but for my kitchen knives, not nibs.


“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."


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For a particular project only on steel, I've used Ohishi 1K/6K and Shapton Pro Kuromaku 8K, 12K in progressive degrees and finish off by stippling on 3M 0.5mic lapping film.


When I asked a professional cutlery/knife sharpener expert about this unique application, they thought I was drinking my ink, :D but was kind enough to steer me various quality manufacturers.


The only advice I have is: If you think you're going slow, go slower; check the work constantly and oft times if it is good enough, it is good enough.

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I've used whetstones to rescue bad nibs, and it worked pretty well. I haven't tried any reshaping yet, just evening-out poorly-cut tines. After each adjustment the nib was rough and I found I needed to write a few lines on a piece of cardboard before judging my progress. Better-quality nibs might have harder tipping material requiring a proper polishing step.


Whetstones cut pretty quickly, but cutting speed can be reduced by using light oil as a cutting fluid instead of water. Don't do this with an expensive stone, and note that after using oil you can't go back to using water.

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You did more than adjust the nib...

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

Oscar Wilde

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So does this mean that even if two different materials have the same 'grit' grade, one might take off the tipping more aggressively than the other? Or is it that cheap whetstones are to be avoided because inconsistency might be high?


The one I use now looks and feels like sandpaper. It seems to work well. I also managed to totally mangle a gold nib by using a 3M micromesh. Since I don't have the latter any more, I don't know if it was the abrasive used that was more damaging or just me being clumsy.

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Christopher Godfrey

Why does it make you more nervous than sandpaper?> I wouldn't dream of using sandpaper, either!


Why on earth use anything but the tried-and-tested, usual mylar films that are so very often written about in these pages in many threads? Finish off your work with those natty buffing strips that cost just a few cents each? is not something I wish to introduce anywhere near any of my valuable, flexible nibs...and take note of what one particularly well-respected expert has to say, above (Ron Zorn)...

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A Smug Dill

Why on earth use anything but the tried-and-tested, usual mylar films that are so very often written about in these pages in many threads?

I know you weren't asking me, but I'm going to reply anyway.

  • I don't have any Mylar films on hand — not now, and never did.
  • I strongly believe a hallmark of intelligence (from a cognitive science perspective, and not as a veiled insult to anyone here or elsewhere) is being able to adapt and/or utilise what's immediately and/or readily available for oneself.
  • If I have to personally 'work on' a nib I own, that would mean it — as a non-living, unfeeling, inorganic and material possession of mine — has at best failed to meet my expectations of it as a product or tool, and at worst incurred my displeasure or ire. The last thing I would care about doing with it would be to treat it tenderly and/or as if it was a valuable or worthwhile object. If my bedroom door somehow wouldn't budge when I tried to open it or move it out of my way, I'd shove it; and if that didn't get my outcome or at least displace it, after two minutes of fruitless troubleshooting I'd kick it down (and have done so before; it cost me more than the price of a good pen to replace properly).

Finish off your work with those natty buffing strips that cost just a few cents each?

I've done that before, many times over. I also bought a whetstone, similar to what the O.P. showed, specifically for the purposes of reshaping nibs — either to my liking, or to ruin and oblivion — that I don't like; I just haven't felt annoyed enough to use it yet, since I snapped the gold #10 FA nib on my Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with my fingers in anger a couple of years ago.


is not something I wish to introduce anywhere near any of my valuable, flexible nibs...

Then please don't, for your sake.


I don't consider any 'flexible' nibs I have to be either precious or more pleasing than their not specifically (and not particularly) flexible kin; and any nib I own that displeases me would fall a long way down in the hierarchy of what I consider valuable to me. Heating it in the flames of my gas stove and then hitting it with a hammer would not decrease its value to me; but actually 'working on' it with a Micromesh pad, emery board, or even a whetstone would be giving it a chance not to end up in the garbage bin but actually be useful.


and take note of what one particularly well-respected expert has to say, above (Ron Zorn)...

I understand not many others here are as ready to tell their pens and nibs to "shape up or ship out", but I personally am, especially if and where salvaging or partially recouping the price I paid for a pen is not worth the hassle of selling it. That's how I usually think of cheap pens, Chinese pens (and, for disclosure, I'm Chinese and grew up in Southeast Asia), pens with old brand names but of questionable production quality these days (including Parker, and I'll find out shortly about Cross), or even something like a gold Pelikan M8xx nib that failed to perform nearly as well as its steel M200 kin. Whereas I wouldn't even dream of 'fixing' a gold Sailor or Platinum nib by reshaping the tipping or taking off any material with Mylar, Micromesh, a nail buffer or emery board, let alone sandpaper or a whetstone.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Bo Bo Olson

Cheap is what one has with your stones and 'sandpaper' which no one of any repute recommends here.

I'm sure there are master wood workers with a fine touch to go at a nib with 'sandpaper'. :yikes:

That or so cheap they buy brand X beer.


There are folks that sharpen lots of knives that might have that touch :unsure: ........my first and last touch of a nib to a knife sharpening stone.....a smooth Arkansas one showed me that 'iridium' is soft material. I was very 'noobie' then........ :crybaby:Only had then 50 years of knife sharpening experience.


What is gone is gone.


95% of scratchy is holding a fountain pen like a ball point or misalignment of the tines.


And much of the 'adjustment' is just misalignment ... so one is shaving off tipping from a down nib instead of adjusting both nibs to be even.

Place thumbnail on the breather hole, press down so that tine goes under the lower one....do that for 1- 1.5 seconds, test, after two or three tries mostly the nib is adjusted and even.


You do have a 10X????....or Chinese 40X loupe which is only 10 X in reality? One has to see if a nib is aligned.

You have been to Richard Binder's site for nib info???? Shows you aligned and misaligned nib tips.

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.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,


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



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