Author Topic: One day it works, the next it doesn't?  (Read 1132 times)

Offline carriligraphy

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One day it works, the next it doesn't?
« on: August 28, 2016, 06:10:14 AM »
Hi, I'm still pretty new to calligraphy and have spent the past couple months focusing on copperplate. I've offered to do my sisters wedding invitations - I'm nowhere near good enough to do it for money but she seems to like them. So I'm doing the envelopes, using a Gillot 303 nib and Higgins Eternal black on hobbycraft envelopes. The first day or two was fine, it even looked pretty good if I say so myself! But then I had to renew the small ink pot and everything went wrong. The nib kept scratching the paper creating tiny clumps of fibres on the tip, it seemed scratchier and jagged. I've cleaned the nib with nib cleaner, sucked the daylights out of it (after I read saliva helps), but no dice. Only things I can think are different, the fresh ink and the temperature of the day which is about 10c lower than the past couple days.
Is this normal? I'm assuming it's just me but thought I'd check if this happens to more seasoned calligraphers and if there's anything I've done it can do.
Tia
(Ps I would put a pick of the envelopes up but I can't seem to upload a pic from my phone)

Offline silvereye

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Re: One day it works, the next it doesn't?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2016, 06:28:15 AM »
Have you tried using a new nib?  Im a beginner too and doing my own wedding envelopes and place Cards.  Same thing happened to me and Imthe problem was resolved once i replace the nib.  I did practice a lot before I started on the actual  place cards by which time the nib has worn out already.

Offline carriligraphy

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Re: One day it works, the next it doesn't?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2016, 07:47:01 AM »
No, but it was a brand new nib to start with. I've done a fair bit of practice and the cards but I would have expected a new nib to last more than two - three weeks? Any idea how long nibs take to wear out?
I've tried today and it seems ok again, so guessing it must have been me?

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: One day it works, the next it doesn't?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2016, 12:17:41 PM »
I would have expected a new nib to last more than two - three weeks? Any idea how long nibs take to wear out?
There is no one simple answer to that question. How long a nib lasts depends on many things--what kind of nib it is, the ink, the paper, how heavy or light your touch is, even what script you are attempting, and naturally how much you write per day with it. A fine nib with iron gall ink on rough paper with a heavy hand and lots of flexing (or some combination of these) can be worn out in less than a day. A broader nib doing a monoline script in a fountain pen used sparingly might last years.
The Gillott 303 you mentioned, for me, using it daily for two hours might last a week or a bit longer at best, but then I'm pushing the nib to flex a lot. When it shows any signs of catching or losing it's fineness, out it goes, sometimes even after a day or two. When you notice your writing degenerate in quality (using the same ink and paper), try a new nib. If it solves the problem, it's probably the nib. If it doesn't, look elsewhere for the source of the problem. After a few nibs, you know how long a nib lasts under the conditions to which you subject it.



Offline Leanda

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Re: One day it works, the next it doesn't?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2016, 01:22:49 PM »
There's no easy answer. Before I start any big job I always have a few of the same nib on hand - always brand new. Some nibs come straight from the factory damaged. You just have to change up and try again. :)

Offline AndyT

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Re: One day it works, the next it doesn't?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2016, 03:56:09 PM »
The modern 303 is my nib of choice 95% of the time: it has some notable merits but longevity is not among them.  As AnasaziWrites says, there are various factors at work - ink, paper and your lightness of hand or otherwise being the main ones - but I certainly wouldn't expect to get a whole wedding's worth of envelopes out of one even under the best of circumstances.  Let's face it: these are cheap high performance nibs and there has to be a payoff.  When it starts to play up there's nothing to be done except change it.

Offline carriligraphy

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Re: One day it works, the next it doesn't?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2016, 07:42:40 AM »
Thanks everyone, I did end up changing the nib and it was much smoother. This is the first set of wedding invites I have done and the first time I've really used the Gillot 303 for anything except a bit of practice. Already I'm noticing the new nib is starting to scratch again. Think I'll order a few more for future use

Offline schin

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Re: One day it works, the next it doesn't?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2016, 12:59:26 PM »
The 303 is a pretty sensitive nib, it could be that you are pressing too hard and wearing out the tines of the nib after only a few envelopes. It happens.. which is why nibs are cheap and we stock up on them!

If you're not married to the 303, consider buying the Nikko G or Zebra G.. these are more beginner friendly and will last a lot longer. You can get them on Amazon, paperinkarts.com or Johnnealbooks.com
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