Author Topic: Unused older nib  (Read 495 times)

Offline Mark T

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Unused older nib
« on: November 23, 2023, 05:19:07 AM »
I have bought several old 'new' nibs, and would appreciate some advice on what to do by way of nib preperation.
I'm assuming that a really old nib wouldn't have an 'oily' coating, and that a nib from the 1940/50 and younger probably would, so is there a difference in how to 'pre-clean them' so to speak.
Also,....
One nib I bought has rust on the 'shoulder/side' (sorry, don't know if there is a proper term for the parts of a nib other than the tines) which has also spread to the inside of the nib..... is there a solution to use which will stop the rust from getting worse, or is it a case of biting the bullet and counting my loses.
Any help greatly appreciated.
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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Unused older nib
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2023, 09:46:11 AM »
I have bought several old 'new' nibs, and would appreciate some advice on what to do by way of nib preperation.
I'm assuming that a really old nib wouldn't have an 'oily' coating, and that a nib from the 1940/50 and younger probably would, so is there a difference in how to 'pre-clean them' so to speak.
Also,....
One nib I bought has rust on the 'shoulder/side' (sorry, don't know if there is a proper term for the parts of a nib other than the tines) which has also spread to the inside of the nib..... is there a solution to use which will stop the rust from getting worse, or is it a case of biting the bullet and counting my loses.
Any help greatly appreciated.
@Mark T

No difference in preparing an old or new nib. Like Schin, I use rubbing alcohol on a paper towel (reply 20) to prepare a nib.
Check this thread out:
https://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=248.0
It's old but still good.
Regards rust, if it is not near the tip and not extensive, it may be usable and the rust can be removed with WD-40 or any rust remover, whereupon you will need to prepare the nib again to remove the oil. If you have a bunch of these rusted nibs, give them a light coating of oil and prepare them as you use them.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2023, 09:49:13 AM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Unused older nib
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2023, 10:58:36 AM »
Thanks @AnasaziWrites . I have a little container of NikkoGís that must have gotten some water or something in as they were covered in a bit of rust. My husband used WD40. It cleaned them up nice but I havenít had a chance to see if they still work well.
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Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Unused older nib
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2024, 11:18:59 AM »
If you're looking for some standard terms for the parts of a pen, I have a modest proposal based on what the parts were generally called in the golden age of dip pens.

https://thesteelpen.com/2017/10/14/defining-terms/

I do use the flame method myself, but the trick is to flame only the middle of the nib for about 1.5 seconds (a long one-second), take the flame away, and then do it once more for a delicate nib, maybe one more time for a larger nib, and then wipe it off with a tissue. The heat will soften the shellac (most vintage nibs used a form of shellac to protect the nib from rust, which is why alcohol can work), and then you wipe it off. If there is still pooling of the ink, or it won't stick, then try it again.

Do not put the flame directly under the tip, keep it centered on the space where the ink will go, the concave side of the center of the pen. The heat will still transfer to the delicate tip, without affecting the temper (it has to get pretty darned hot to really affect the temper, but this can happen at the very small and delicate tip)

Also, if you flame, make sure you put the nib into a holder. You don't want to be holding it in your fingers as you heat it up.  :o

I have captured some of my thoughts on this sometimes contentious topic. (including why I never use the saliva method) https://thesteelpen.com/2017/10/23/using-steel-pens-part-5-pen-prep-and-bits-and-pieces/

Hope this was helpful.
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Offline BrightStar

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Re: Unused older nib
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2024, 06:34:13 PM »
Hi @AAAndrew - I routinely subject my sprung Leonardt Principals to a hot flame for 10-15 seconds followed immediately with a douse in cold water. This seems to toughen the tines and help the sprung problem; the weakened tines making a clicking sound and crossing over one another.

Is there any science to back this up, tempering or such?

Offline darrin1200

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Re: Unused older nib
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2024, 07:33:57 AM »
Hi @AAAndrew - I routinely subject my sprung Leonardt Principals to a hot flame for 10-15 seconds followed immediately with a douse in cold water. This seems to toughen the tines and help the sprung problem; the weakened tines making a clicking sound and crossing over one another.

Is there any science to back this up, tempering or such?

I don't fully understand the science myself. But I believe, because of the small size of the nib, a butane (BIC) lighter is hot enough to temper steel.
Darrin McArthur
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Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Unused older nib
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2024, 01:05:56 PM »
Excellent article @AAAndrew ! I would add with the saliva, not only is it the metals going in the mouth but also the nibs are stored in old boxes, in warehouses, etc. with rats, spiders, and who knows what lurking. But Ö I think it was Dr. Joe Vitolo that said the saliva does have some protein in it that makes the ink flow well. So even if I use the flame method (which I have been using for 40 years - yes Iím that old), I always put a little saliva into a paper towel and wipe down the nib.

The other reason for not putting the nib in your mouth is that is removes the protective coating from the entire nib. While you donít want it on the inking part, you do want it on the rest so as to avoid rusting inside your holder.

I have recently used a spray bottle of alcohol with a cotton ball and that seems to work really well. Sometimes a bit too well in that it feels like it has stripped the nib and maybe Iím imagining it but it doesnít last as long.
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Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Unused older nib
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2024, 12:07:27 PM »
Hi @AAAndrew - I routinely subject my sprung Leonardt Principals to a hot flame for 10-15 seconds followed immediately with a douse in cold water. This seems to toughen the tines and help the sprung problem; the weakened tines making a clicking sound and crossing over one another.

Is there any science to back this up, tempering or such?

If you want to really start to get do-it-yourself tempering, you can do what you just described, which will make the tines more brittle, then heat up again to a lesser degree and let it cool in the air. That will soften it a little and add some elasticity back. This is not an infinitely available fix as it will eventually destroy the nib, but could be interesting.
Check out my steel pen history blog
https://thesteelpen.com/