Author Topic: Polishing Nib  (Read 345 times)

Offline InkyFingers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 728
  • Karma: 56
  • All creations not equal.
    • View Profile
Polishing Nib
« on: September 04, 2022, 09:37:07 PM »
When you have found a nice pen that you enjoyed writing with, and you wanted to extend its lifespan...

and it is a vintage pen that is sought after ....

or any pen that you enjoy.

Richard has a very detailed way to preserve such a pen.

You can read it here:
and a PDF here:

Here's what I do:

New nib often is over polished so that it feels very smooth (outer side of the tine and inner side of the tines).  That's alright, but it won't last long as steel pens are pointed, narrow and won't hold its shape for long.

Here's a picture of a new nib (each pointed tines are well rounded).

Here's a worn-out nib that started to dig into the paper that I was writing with.  It is still usable, but one has to be extra careful, and light handed.

Note that the tines are no longer the same length, and the tines are misaligned.

Step one:  Follow Richard's instruction on aligning the nib's tines.  What I usually do is a bit different from Richards', I pinch the tines are 1/2" from the tip with my thumb nails against my fleshy index finger.  Then I stroke it a few times outward.  Don't put too much pressure on the tines, as this will give the nib a bit of a curl.  (You see these metals are thin.)  That's okay if it happened, don't try to straighten it.  Just as long as the pen is not misaligned anymore.  Look at the center lines, both tines are perfectly matched.

Step two: Flatten the tip to equal lengths.  Please check with loupe after 20 iterations.

Step three: Flatten the two tines width, so that they resemble the original nib
Note how the lapping paper is held.  This is done on both tines.  Please check the loupe after 20 iterations

Step four: Round out the points by doing circles at different angles to the lapping paper.  Note at all times, the lapping paper is help with one hand, and on the other hand, the pen.  Do this for -90 degree, 0 degrees, and 90 degrees.  Check with loupe, then use the paper to polish the ends.

You did it:  It should look like this:  Those unpolished areas on the tines are dried ink.  You can polish them buy why bother!
The outer side of the tines is very well polished, but not the inner sides of the tines.  What does this mean?  Scratchy at first.
Once you start writing with it doing drills (push/pull) shading, the inner side of the tines will be well polished too.  If you done it as shown there, the lines that this renewed pen can lay down a very thin line.

As always, these skills come with practice.  Wanna it give it a go?

But most of all... don't forget to do your drills!

« Last Edit: September 19, 2022, 11:52:37 PM by InkyFingers »

Offline AnasaziWrites

  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2277
  • Karma: 166
  • Ad astra, per aspera
    • View Profile
Re: Polishing Nib
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2022, 10:26:55 AM »
Very nice demonstration of how to save a nib, @InkyFingers
Unfortunately, we can't see the whole photos, because they are too big to be displayed on this forum.
Could you resize them down, say to 960x640 and replace the larger photos with photos this size? If you can't, I'd be happy to resize them for you and send them in an email to you for posting.

Secondly, if it is worth your time, I have a number of Gillott 604ef nibs that could use this treatment, and if you are willing to do it, you may keep half the nibs I send you. I don't have time to do it myself.

Offline InkyFingers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 728
  • Karma: 56
  • All creations not equal.
    • View Profile
Re: Polishing Nib
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2022, 08:05:29 PM »
I've resized the images.  It looks okay for me (maybe it's my high resolution monitor.)

Offline Cyril Jayant

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 163
  • Karma: 20
    • View Profile
Re: Polishing Nib
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2022, 09:49:58 AM »

This is a great idea. Polishing and re-polishing your old Dip pen nibs.
I was really interested in this as I have seen an experience calligraphers who do this simply using  kind of nail file to tune his nibs.
He ia an ornamental engrossing penman and his is amazingly maintain all his hair lines and without tune the nibs it seems very unlikely to get his consistency.
He even tune all of  his brand new regular nibs( Hunt 101/ and Leo EF before prep.
So I believe tuning some older nibs to reusable stage again is a good methods to many penman. Also it is worthwhile to add that skill to make use of your favourite nibs to give few more extra miles on the journey.