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Thread: making nibs?

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    Default making nibs?

    Does anyone have any information on how nibs would have been made c. 1900 or earlier? I don't reckon they had precision grinding disks or machines (beyond maybe a press or drill). Any insight as to how one might cut a nib slit into a gold nib blank?

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Sorcery.

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Quote Originally Posted by heraclitus682 View Post
    Sorcery.
    Very likely.

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Elves

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Watchmaker tools, lathes and mills were quite good by the 1890ies. 1900 isn't quite the same as the pleistocene.

    To cut a slit, you could use wire and polishing compound. With some time, and a few changes of wire, you 'd get there. Think paper-cuts : a weaker material can cut a stronger substance, given the right conditions. And steel nibs were produced in industrial amounts during the second half of the 19th century. Not sure how they cut the slit, but they were stamped from sheet metal. If they used a judiciously shaped chisel in the stamp, everything could be done in one operation: there'd be a V-groove along the slit, and the points of the tines would tend to bend together, creating a nice channel for the ink.

    I've just taken a closer look at a Zebra G and a John Mitchells' EF Nr.047. They both have a slit that is slightly wider along the top, and very tight along the bottom : the V-groove. Both also have been quite roughly ground on the top of the tip, at 90 to the slit. Probably for better spring action. And the Zebra G's are bent down a little at the tip, which makes the tines push together.

    Gold nibs for wet noodles were forged and tempered, according to mostly forgotten recipes. Conceivably, one could cut the slit with a chisel, and then reshape the tines into alignment.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers.

    Lukas

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Quote Originally Posted by lukitas View Post
    Watchmaker tools, lathes and mills were quite good by the 1890ies. 1900 isn't quite the same as the pleistocene.

    To cut a slit, you could use wire and polishing compound. With some time, and a few changes of wire, you 'd get there. Think paper-cuts : a weaker material can cut a stronger substance, given the right conditions. And steel nibs were produced in industrial amounts during the second half of the 19th century. Not sure how they cut the slit, but they were stamped from sheet metal. If they used a judiciously shaped chisel in the stamp, everything could be done in one operation: there'd be a V-groove along the slit, and the points of the tines would tend to bend together, creating a nice channel for the ink.

    I've just taken a closer look at a Zebra G and a John Mitchells' EF Nr.047. They both have a slit that is slightly wider along the top, and very tight along the bottom : the V-groove. Both also have been quite roughly ground on the top of the tip, at 90 to the slit. Probably for better spring action. And the Zebra G's are bent down a little at the tip, which makes the tines push together.

    Gold nibs for wet noodles were forged and tempered, according to mostly forgotten recipes. Conceivably, one could cut the slit with a chisel, and then reshape the tines into alignment.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers.

    Lukas
    Thank you!

    Most modern videos I've seen involve the gold nib being stamped out of a sheet, having the breather hole drilled out, getting a pulse-welded tip, and then being mechanically slit down the middle with (presumably) a very fine cutting disk.

    I've been doing some metalsmithing, though nothing with gold yet, and was just curious. Might have to think about the process a bit more and give it a go one of these days!

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Tools to make watches, clocks, jewelry, sculpture and nibs have been around for a long time. Craftsmen have always been inventive and come up with tools for the job at hand. To cut a slit one would have needed a saw blade. IE: a wire with teeth held in a frame. I am attaching a note from a discussion on this subject from a jewelers forum.. Hope this helps.

    As I understand it, the jeweler's saw was invented (in Europe)
    during the Renaissance. It was developed along with a demand for
    another recent invention: the clock. Prior to the jeweler's saw,
    metal was cut from sheet using chisels. Jewelers had the skill
    necessary to make the precision clockwork mechanisms (although very
    crude by today's standards), but chisels deformed the gear teeth.
    The saw blades were simply a series of chisels in a row, on a steel
    blade. Celini probably had this new tool in his workshop along with
    another incredible new invention: the drawbench.

    I have an old saw frame in my collection. It was made by Morris in
    England, around the early 1600s. The blade is relatively short, only
    about 3". There are thumbscrews used to tighten the blade, similar
    to the modern saw frame, and a tensioning screw at the end of the
    frame. The back is not adjustable.

    In its day, this must have been just as incredible as the laser
    welder is to us today. Since you had to make your own blades, it may
    not have been a lot faster to use, but a lot more accurate. And, it
    linked jewelers and watchmakers together for over 500 years.

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Quote Originally Posted by NibsForScript View Post
    Tools to make watches, clocks, jewelry, sculpture and nibs have been around for a long time. Craftsmen have always been inventive and come up with tools for the job at hand. To cut a slit one would have needed a saw blade. IE: a wire with teeth held in a frame. I am attaching a note from a discussion on this subject from a jewelers forum.. Hope this helps.

    As I understand it, the jeweler's saw was invented (in Europe)
    during the Renaissance. It was developed along with a demand for
    another recent invention: the clock. Prior to the jeweler's saw,
    metal was cut from sheet using chisels. Jewelers had the skill
    necessary to make the precision clockwork mechanisms (although very
    crude by today's standards), but chisels deformed the gear teeth.
    The saw blades were simply a series of chisels in a row, on a steel
    blade. Celini probably had this new tool in his workshop along with
    another incredible new invention: the drawbench.

    I have an old saw frame in my collection. It was made by Morris in
    England, around the early 1600s. The blade is relatively short, only
    about 3". There are thumbscrews used to tighten the blade, similar
    to the modern saw frame, and a tensioning screw at the end of the
    frame. The back is not adjustable.

    In its day, this must have been just as incredible as the laser
    welder is to us today. Since you had to make your own blades, it may
    not have been a lot faster to use, but a lot more accurate. And, it
    linked jewelers and watchmakers together for over 500 years.
    Huh. I kind of assumed that particularly fine saws were a more...recent creation. Beyond that, I also largely assumed that a saw blade, even a very fine jewelers blade would leave too many burrs in the metal. Though, I suppose that could be taken out with appropriate polishes.

    Do you mind my asking what forum this was?

    Thanks for the info!

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Also, just found this, which is fascinating: https://maas.museum/inside-the-colle...entines-day-2/

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Stamping is how it has been done for quite some time. The metal has to be rolled out to the correct thickness first. The metal for a nib has to be springy and can not be dead soft after heating. Today we are very lucky to have laser welders to re tip nibs as that does not effect the temper. Stamping hardens the metal so it makes sense to cut it out and form it with stamps. Fine abrasives are used to polish the edges, they are made from powered stone or shell. Also look into ancient metal working like the Thracian gold work done in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC. Look at the amazing detail and think how they did it.

    Jewelers website and info/ forum.


    https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/jewele...-history/18151

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Quote Originally Posted by NibsForScript View Post
    Stamping is how it has been done for quite some time. The metal has to be rolled out to the correct thickness first. The metal for a nib has to be springy and can not be dead soft after heating. Today we are very lucky to have laser welders to re tip nibs as that does not effect the temper. Stamping hardens the metal so it makes sense to cut it out and form it with stamps. Fine abrasives are used to polish the edges, they are made from powered stone or shell. Also look into ancient metal working like the Thracian gold work done in the 3rd and 4th centuries BC. Look at the amazing detail and think how they did it.

    Jewelers website and info/ forum.


    https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/jewele...-history/18151
    Many thanks!

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Here is a cool link with all the information as to how it was done on the subject.

    https://archive.org/details/historyofinventi00fole

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Quote Originally Posted by NibsForScript View Post
    Here is a cool link with all the information as to how it was done on the subject.

    https://archive.org/details/historyofinventi00fole
    Ok, now that is cool! I wonder if I can find a copy of it somewhere....Or just get it printed off.

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Quote Originally Posted by AzJon View Post
    Also, just found this, which is fascinating: https://maas.museum/inside-the-colle...entines-day-2/
    Different pen manufacturers used different alloys for tipping material. i.e. Iridium-Osmium alloys. The Parker 51 used Rutherium Osmium & Tungsten. Modern nibs do not use Iridium, probably due to its cost and difficult to work with, such as voids in the materia.
    Iridium in this case is similar to Kleenex for facial tissue.
    We have met the enemy and he is us.
    -Pogo

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AzJon View Post
    Also, just found this, which is fascinating: https://maas.museum/inside-the-colle...entines-day-2/
    Different pen manufacturers used different alloys for tipping material. i.e. Iridium-Osmium alloys. The Parker 51 used Rutherium Osmium & Tungsten. Modern nibs do not use Iridium, probably due to its cost and difficult to work with, such as voids in the materia.
    Iridium in this case is similar to Kleenex for facial tissue.
    For sure. IIRC, someone went and analyzed tipping material from a number of pens from the early 1900s and basically none of them contained iridium as the major component. If I can dig up the article, I'll post it here.

    Edit to add: I was mostly impressed by the method of setting the iridium ball on the gold and heating until the gold melted and attached the iridium that way as opposed to modern pulse welding. Same basic idea, just faster.

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    You might enjoy this: https://youtu.be/3xkOETcaVSk -- Rathnam Pens hand-making a nib with a hammer and lathe

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    Default Re: making nibs?

    Quote Originally Posted by asciiaardvark View Post
    You might enjoy this: https://youtu.be/3xkOETcaVSk -- Rathnam Pens hand-making a nib with a hammer and lathe
    Holy damn! Whew. That was a hell of a ride. His blow-pipe torch was crazy!

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