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Vintage flex nib tines


GradenF

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Of the few vintage flex/semi flex pens I’ve acquired (waterman 52, 555, CF, Pelikan 30, 140) it seems they all have very tight tines that need opened up. 
 

Is this because that is how they were used back then and have not changed?(Hard starts galore if I use them like this) Or has the spring of the nib pushed down the feed over time and it just needs re-heat set, pushing the feed up to open the tines?

 

I have tried brass shims with other pens and I have not liked the result. It always seems to make the nib somewhat scratchy and I would hate to do that with this pens. Is there a preferred option for opening up tines that is not using metal shims? 
 

 

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For hard starting, I'd always try a different ink first, before messing with the nib, especially a vintage flex nib. Maybe try Waterman ink. That's pretty widely respected as a well-behaved ink. Another thing to consider is a clog or obstruction of some kind from dried ink. 

 

Just a couple of things I'd investigate first that don't harm or alter the pen or nib at all. 

 

Andrew

 

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On 7/3/2024 at 3:58 PM, GradenF said:

(waterman 52, 555, , 140) it seems they all have very tight tines that need opened up.

I have two 52's, a 554...and have now only one 140..had two and have 8-10 or so semi-flex stubbed Pelikan '50-65 pens.

And none of mine were ....' your tight'... or had problems laying ink. They are tight tined as they should be.

 

The '52's and the 555 could have a sac problem....in that is normal they are only good for  hopefully a decade now (use to be 30-40 years) ....if you Don't Use Supersaturated Inks...that seems to age ink sacs quite rapidly. Weeks, or even just months...according to my reading here.....I was never into saturated inks, much less supersaturated, so am still good to go. I like two toned shading inks.

 

I have no idea what your Pelikan problem is. Just looked at a vintage '50's 140, a 400...and a semi-vintage W.Germany 600. All have tight tines.

As mentioned dead ink, or the wrong ink.

What ink are you using?????

 

Pictures would be a great help.

Including one or two of wide gapped nibs you think as normal. Which are they?

 

Old pens are not Ahabs to be tweeked and gouged at the feed.

Your old Watermans are smooth feeds/ no combs for fast ink supply. If you go gouging, you could dig and ruined almost impossible to replace feeds.

Max take them out and scrub with a tooth brush.

 

WARNING .... you will have to fiddle quite a bit to get the nibs back to Wet Noodles, if they were.

Read what Mauricio has to say on his site. He sold and repaired superflex nibbed pens. I have my two Wet Noodle 52's from him.....and I wouldn't dream of removing those Wet Noodle nibs.

 

I sent a 554 Gothic off to be re-saced....in it's an antique, I didn't want to screw it up with my ten thumbs. It and another pen went off, a new sac and a new gasket. Both were for me, only 'semi-flex'.

Both came back Wet Noodles, in Francis fiddled around...and knew what he was doing.

 

I have a Soennecken nibbed (Frankenstein) pen, that I of course as noobie took the feed and nib off. Pure luck, I kept getting it back on as a Wet Noodle. That pen is on my Don't Remove feed and nib  list........not that I was ever into that. All my cheap used vintage pens seemed to have good enough nibs.

And I was a bottom feeder for years. After all pens cost beer.

 

Do read what Mauricio said about the fiddely work setting the feed and nib so it's perfect.

Remember what I said about someone else sticking the nib and feed on those two  semi-flex pens, a 554 and a German no name, War pen. the ink cleaned off the 554's nib easy.dytuhVt.jpgESo591S.jpg

 

An ultra sonic cleaner where you only put the section, feed and nib into it might well clear out your problem....ask around,  a lot of folks have ultrasonic cleaners...used to clean jewelry.

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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On 7/5/2024 at 12:25 PM, AAAndrew said:

For hard starting, I'd always try a different ink first, before messing with the nib, especially a vintage flex nib. Maybe try Waterman ink. That's pretty widely respected as a well-behaved ink. Another thing to consider is a clog or obstruction of some kind from dried ink. 

 

Just a couple of things I'd investigate first that don't harm or alter the pen or nib at all. 

 

Andrew

I almost exclusively use Noodler's bulletproof inks. I know, I know. I have read all about how they shouldn't be used in any pen let alone vintage pens. I simply refuse to use non-permanent inks, and it seems like everyone says to only use washable inks in vintage pens to keep them safe. I am not aware of a good alternative for permanent inks in vintage pens. Noodler's also seems to be the most affordable which I enjoy, but I love my vintage pens far more than any modern that I have and would prefer to use them exclusively.

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IG inks.....

Could be I'm being mean and rotten.

 

You know you risk vintage pens, by refusing to listen to others that might know more than you......not me. I only have Apache Sunset and  Golden Brown.

But you are more informed than me about the dangers of permanent ink in your pens. (Though piston pens used a stronger IG ink than is mostly made today.)

 

I live in Europe so we don't write checks, bank wire is dirt cheap by us. I don't need a permanent ink, and have outside of my IG inks, just one...and I don't care for it's tone.

I don't need permanent.

If one uses a fountain pen for more than writing checks...why not other inks in other pens?

 

Reserve one pen for check writing....and clean it very often. Buy modern pens that can take hard Noodler's inks.

 

Do not use any Supersaturated inks in rubber sack pens....

I don't know is it's still true but many reported their 10 year sac dying in days, and weeks.

Noodlers once had a very bad rep with rubber sac's.

 

I like two toned shading inks so don't have to worry about that.

Buy a nice cheap modern Noodler ink proof pen, and save irreplaceable vintage pens.

Which are they by the way?

 

 

 

 

 

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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I had a Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen 20 years ago, does the flex nib on the Falcon feel like vintage flex nibs?

 

Also surprised that a Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen is $200 now, I think I paid like $80. 

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49 minutes ago, Bo Bo Olson said:

IG inks.....

Could be I'm being mean and rotten.

 

You know you risk vintage pens, by refusing to listen to others that might know more than you......not me. I only have Apache Sunset and  Golden Brown.

But you are more informed than me about the dangers of permanent ink in your pens. (Though piston pens used a stronger IG ink than is mostly made today.)

 

I live in Europe so we don't write checks, bank wire is dirt cheap by us. I don't need a permanent ink, and have outside of my IG inks, just one...and I don't care for it's tone.

I don't need permanent.

If one uses a fountain pen for more than writing checks...why not other inks in other pens?

 

Reserve one pen for check writing....and clean it very often. Buy modern pens that can take hard Noodler's inks.

 

Do not use any Supersaturated inks in rubber sack pens....

I don't know is it's still true but many reported their 10 year sac dying in days, and weeks.

Noodlers once had a very bad rep with rubber sac's.

 

I like two toned shading inks so don't have to worry about that.

Buy a nice cheap modern Noodler ink proof pen, and save irreplaceable vintage pens.

Which are they by the way?

 

 

 

 

 

Which noodler’s inks?

 

Black

HOD

Dark matter

X feather blue

Zhivago

 

I have more but those are the ones that I have put in my vintage pens. 


I have a few Noodlers pens that I put more inks in. I actually enjoy them a lot. 
 

Also, you are saying that IG inks are safe for vintage pens?

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10 hours ago, GradenF said:

Also, you are saying that IG inks are safe for vintage pens?


Overgeneralization. Acidic inks tend to play better with "vintage" materials like celluloid and rubber. Most modern IG are on the mild side.

 

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10 hours ago, Centurion said:

I had a Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen 20 years ago, does the flex nib on the Falcon feel like vintage flex nibs?

 

Also surprised that a Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen is $200 now, I think I paid like $80. 

The Falcon is a soft nib, not flex, unless it's modified like you can see on some extreme videos on YouTube. 
Stock, it's completely different from flex nibs...yes you can push the Falcon nib to get some tines splitting and variation of line, but that's really not recommended in the long run.

 

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11 hours ago, Centurion said:

I had a Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen 20 years ago

 

Pilot 912 FA nib is softer, one might even say flexy. As seen here. 

20 years ago gas was $1.50 a gallon.

Add lightness and simplicate.

 

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German, out side of nail Lamy....and Artus(Lamy sub-brand) can be regular flex, but yesterday and today I've run into Artus nibs that were semi-flex at least.

 

Most German pens from 1950-65 for Pelikan '70 for MB and '72 for Geha were factory stubbed semi-flex nibs....With luck  1 in 5 may have been maxi-semi-flex.

If bought on the German Ebay Auction section, is still 1/3 cheaper than Stateside prices that the profession seller even in Germany will wait to get. He has a garage and don't need to heat it.  He offers the normal inflation high Stateside prices in both places and starts his auction prices high  continually, and for only €10 less you can 'buy now'. 

 

That way one won't be puzzled about  what a Pilot nib is not.

 

From my reading a 'soft' Pilot half moon ground nib is @ springy regular flex like a some Estebrook nibs, or a nice Wearever:yikes:(a nicer nib than the body (their top pens were second tier like Esterbrook), even if cheap)  or if buying newer used pens, a '85-now Pelikan 200.

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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Those should be great pens from Waterman, ect.. were they well cleaned and feed channels cleaned? Some of the old inks in the day left quite a bit of residue there, most of those pens can use any ink that doesn't damage the rubber sac.... I don't use glitter inks but other than that should be ok if cleaned out well, occasionally tine adjustment needed but not that often if aligned ok

Regards, Glen

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There are ammonia based pen cleaners one can buy for such problems. Or make at home.

I have a jar from 15 years ago that is still ok. I've only cleaned 10 or so of my 120 pens in it, or needed too.

 

Old Waterman pens, or any suspected superflex pens needs a lot of work setting the feed and nib just right for perfection.

 

Please read what Mauricio says in his site, a man who sold superflex pens said about the fiddly work needed to do that to get the most out of a nib and feed.

I horse swapped two wet noodle 52's from him.

Not all 52's are wet noodles, or even superflex.

...........

I sent this 1918-30's 554 Gothic to Francis for a new sac as a semi-flex. He fiddled right and it came back a Wet Noodle.NBpOOil.jpg

 

This pen needed a complete rebuild of the piston end, and it too went off as a semi-flex and came back to me a Wet Noodle from Francis.

ESo591S.jpg

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Bo Bo Olson said:

There are ammonia based pen cleaners one can buy for such problems. Or make at home.

I have a jar from 15 years ago that is still ok. I've only cleaned 10 or so of my 120 pens in it, or needed too.

 

Old Waterman pens, or any suspected superflex pens needs a lot of work setting the feed and nib just right for perfection.

 

Please read what Mauricio says in his site, a man who sold superflex pens said about the fiddly work needed to do that to get the most out of a nib and feed.

I horse swapped two wet noodle 52's from him.

Not all 52's are wet noodles, or even superflex.

...........

I sent this 1918-30's 554 Gothic to Francis for a new sac as a semi-flex. He fiddled right and it came back a Wet Noodle.NBpOOil.jpg

 

This pen needed a complete rebuild of the piston end, and it too went off as a semi-flex and came back to me a Wet Noodle from Francis.

ESo591S.jpg

I’ve looked at his site. From what I can find (or can’t) he doesn’t actually give any information on how to properly set the nib and feed, but to send it to a professional. That’s great and all but I would like to learn the all the nuances and just sending the pen away won’t help me do that. 

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He is the professional. Looking for business, with the know how.

 

 IMO, one has to know how much of the nib that should  in advance of the feed, and that would be a tiny amount, so the nib and feed can be properly set in the section.

 

I didn't set either of those two pens I spoke of; that was how they came to me, that Francis set properly from semi-flex to wet noodle.

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Bo Bo Olson said:

He is the professional. Looking for business, with the know how.

 

 IMO, one has to know how much of the nib that should  in advance of the feed, and that would be a tiny amount, so the nib and feed can be properly set in the section.

 

I didn't set either of those two pens I spoke of; that was how they came to me, that Francis set properly from semi-flex to wet noodle.

I understand that completely. I haven’t otherwise heard of non-wet noodles becoming wet noodles just by nib and feed placement. I just hope this knowledge is actually shared at some point for the good of the community. But I do understand that he needs business

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It's not that difficult to remove and reset, clean the feed channels and replace the nib on Waterman vintage pens anyway, but with caution due to the age of the HR caution needed

just knock out the nib clean nib/feed and replace if you try to adjust the tines just be careful to avoid the iridium at all costs, for detailed info on nib adjustment there are a number of resources and it really isn't rocket science, and can test with different settings to adjust flow. The tine gap is primarily the issue if the nib is the problem but changing that is something I would do on cheaper pens before the more valuable ones if you have taken apart lever fillers before it is not really different. this one I like:

Sheaffer Pen Service Manuals : W. A. Sheaffer Pen Co : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Regards, Glen

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6 minutes ago, GlenV said:

It's not that difficult to remove and reset, clean the feed channels and replace the nib on Waterman vintage pens anyway, but with caution due to the age of the HR caution needed

just knock out the nib clean nib/feed and replace if you try to adjust the tines just be careful to avoid the iridium at all costs, for detailed info on nib adjustment there are a number of resources and it really isn't rocket science, and can test with different settings to adjust flow. The tine gap is primarily the issue if the nib is the problem but changing that is something I would do on cheaper pens before the more valuable ones if you have taken apart lever fillers before it is not really different. this one I like:

Sheaffer Pen Service Manuals : W. A. Sheaffer Pen Co : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

I have a decent amount of experience to where I feel very comfortable taking out a nib and feed and tuning with them a bit. I am just more cautious with vintage and vintage flex especially. But as far as taking a semi-flex and turning it into super flex or wet noodle, I have no clue how that would work

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The nibs were set in wrong; set so flex was taken away. Had I known, I might have looked harder or even taken a picture.

Set the nib deeper takes away flex.

The only magic done was setting the nib a tad further out on the feed.

...........

I press a nib onto my thumbnail to see @ what flex the nib has.

There is semi-flex, and half the pressure less, maxi-semi-flex in German pens of '50-70 and before.

So what might have thought just semi-flex could also have been maxi-semi-flex. The tines did not seem to want to spread out more than 3X with regular tine bend.

....Superflex spreads to 4x seldom, and mostly 5-6 x and a real 7 X is rare  except for You Tube and Ebay buy a nib sprung for your convenience by Olympic Splits &co.

 

That is my system's limit of tine spread is 3 x for a well mashed regular flex, 3x tine spread vs a light down stroke. semi-flex takes half the pressure of a springy regular flex to reach 3X. maxi, half of that or 1/4th the pressure needed to reach 3 X, as a well mashed regular flex.

I can feel  not wanting to go more than 3 X.

 

There were posters that spoke of nibs a bit springier than most semi-flex. Then I had a Rupp nib that certainly was a maxi-semi-flex; still is the most flexible of my maxi-semi-flex nibs. I tested my 20 semi-flex pens and found I had 5 maxi-semi-flex pens.

 

(It took me a long time to make my system. Originally I thought my Pelikan 400nn OF was a semi-flex. But I hadn't had enough pens to find out there was a maxi-semi-flex, which that Pelikan 400nn OF was and is.

 

I have some 35 semi-flex pens, and some 16 or so, maxi-semi-flex pens.

 

That 3 x for semi&maxi, is where I feel the tines  are not over stressed. If one wants to spring a nib...just press harder, sooner than later your wish will be granted.

Do read Richard Binder's fine article of Metal fatigue.

.............

The tines on the two pens mentioned, did not tine spread nor bend in the first stage of superflex (4-5-6 X); Easy Full Flex. That is half as much pressure needed to max a maxi-semi-flex or 1/8th the pressure to mash a regular flex to 3 x.

Wet noodle is half of that. Or in the lower third of dip pen flex.

Weak Kneed Wet Noodle a term invented by John Sorowka, the English nib grinder, I haven't been able to quite decided, is it 1/32 of a regular flex or twice as little as a Wet Noodle, or 1/64 even more flexible....in the middle of the dip pen flex rates.  I have a MB Safety Pen with a Simplo # 6 nib, that is a WKWN.

I keep hearing echoes from the corners of the room...learn to write.

 

So how the nib was set to the feed and how deep both were inserted into the section made a difference.

 

I just know when I tested that pen, and had previously the black one, they passed for semi/maxi-semi-flex, more towards semi-flex. When they came back to me, both were set in a way that they were Wet Noodles....

 

My 3 basic Wet Noodles were two 52's one a two stage 7x, the other a 6x, a 7X Soennecken (the best) nib that by gosh and golley, I managed to fit in just right, the two times as noobie I yanked that nib out for some odd reason. After getting that first 52 from Mauricio, I never dreamed of taking that Soennecken nib out of the Frankie it was found in. Nor the 52's or any pen of mine that is a Wet Noodle.

 

It's not a problem in I have no need to nib swap, in my pens have good enough nibs, and I have enough superflex nibbed pens, I don't have to go looking for , for  my Degussa superflex nibs in the shot glass and a pen to see if I can fit it too.

Regular flex is mostly better for two toned shading inks, than semi-flex and flexier nibs.

 

These two  the Waterman and the BCHR, mentioned makes 5, and if I look around hard enough I know I have another one or two. Somehow it rained wet noodles on me. I had been more or less happy with the original 3. (still haven't learned to write)

 

That is not counting my Superflex; Easy Full Flex nibs...which I really don't know how many of them I have...10?

This no name is at an Easy Full Flex...not quite a Wet Noodle...but a nib that I remember because it don't quite make it...according to my system of grading nibs. Is it, or is it not. was a question I asked my self a couple times with this pen.jOUWDHW.jpg

 

I have an Artus Ballit with a steel Degussa nib on it that is a Wet Noodle!!! shocked the hell out of me in I'd never inked it.

I had been rating Degussa steel nibs I have in a super mini beer mug shot glass as Easy Full Flex, but those are loose. Could be I'm wrong and they are flexier, if mated with a feed.

UdXOFxY.jpg

The one with the arrow clip. I'm going to have to ink that pen.

 

The other black one, the Artus 92 steel nib just makes it into semi-flex.

The black ones are out because the blue one my wife found at last Saturday's flea market, was unexpectedly Easy Full Flex for a Artus 92 nib.

I had thought Artus nibs to be regular flex, in I'd had a couple 92 nibs that were. I hadn't realized that the 92 nibs were so differentiated; expecting sameo, sameo.

In reference to P. T. Barnum; to advise for free is foolish, ........busybodies are ill liked by both factions.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, GradenF said:

I have a decent amount of experience to where I feel very comfortable taking out a nib and feed and tuning with them a bit. I am just more cautious with vintage and vintage flex especially. But as far as taking a semi-flex and turning it into super flex or wet noodle, I have no clue how that would work

Ah I see, well flex is definitely a characteristic of the nib shape, in 14k nibs the stiffer ones are thicker, and often the vent hole is not as far back from the tip,  and tines wider with the shoulder of the nib is closer to the tip (shorter tines) those things are hard to change at all, except by reshaping grinding away some areas (and not worth trying for manifold nibs at all) some nibs that have some flex can be improved but it requires reshaping the tines, I do mess with mine but in general would not advise this especially if the nib has quite a bit of value from it's vintage. (I have played around alot with this though and on a less valuable nib it is fun, say like a warranted or Waterman 2A,  Sheaffer junior or 33 which are common nibs to make them more flexible...warning though you may damage/destroy a nib and likely alot of smoothing needed after working on one but I also like to try to solder nibs that are cracked, ect)

Regards, Glen

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