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Thread: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

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    Junior Member Octavius's Avatar
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    Default Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Hello my friends,

    Today I'm pleased as Punch!

    I've found a pen that really suits me - it has a fine nib (actually the barrel says "EF 811" so maybe it is an Extra Fine).

    Anyways, the beautiful thing is that the nib is not smooth and so doesn't glide across the paper, getting away from me. My hands are not as steady as they used to be (nothing serious) and this pen really helps maintain some legibility to my handwriting.

    (As an extra bonus, the nib has a wonderful scratchy sound to it. Some folks might find it annoying but it is music to my ears. Why do I like that? Any theories?)

    So it occurred to me that maybe I should look through my collection and roughen up some nibs.

    Maybe start with 600 grit wet 'n dry. Want do you think?

    Cheers!

    IMG_1796.JPG

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    Senior Member INeedAFinancialAdvisor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Three things:

    1) nice pen
    2) I love it when someone finds a pen they really connect with
    3) there is no such thing as too smooth :P

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    Junior Member Octavius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Ha!
    Wait 'til you get to 70...then you might need a not so smooth nib.
    Yes,I really connected with this pen...only you guys here would know what I mean so that's why I posted.
    It's a rather unassuming pen compared to another Matador i have ...a gold nib and the clip is a snake!
    I'll photograph it tomorrow when the sun is up.
    Cheers!
    Last edited by Octavius; June 9th, 2020 at 05:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    It may seem contrary to a pen users instincts, but I get where you are coming from. I have pens that glide and pens that write like pins. Some have generous flows and others are stingy. For my particular use, each pen has its own individual writing characteristics. Some I'll tame a bit, some need an overhaul. It seems to be the glassy smooth ones that can be an issue. I don't mind some feedback, which works out fine for the numerous Indian pens I like to use. For your purposes, roughing up the nib may get you where you want to go but one does have to be cautious. A cheap Chinese nib, give it a go and see what happens. A gold Pelikan or Sailor--------I think I passed out for a moment.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Not an expert but 600 grit is way, way too coarse in my experience. I'd start at 3600-4000 grit if it were me.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    If you don't know what you are doing, if you have never done this before, if you don't have the proper tools/items to treat the nib well, don't do it.

    Or, at the very least, practice on a couple of very cheap pens/nibs that you don't mind if you mess it up.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    Not an expert but 600 grit is way, way too coarse in my experience. I'd start at 3600-4000 grit if it were me.
    600 grit wet & dry sandpaper to "unsmooth" a fountain pen nib is a really bad idea. Be prepared to throw away any nib on which you attempt this.

    I've never used any micromessh lower than 12,000 when smoothing a nib. Reshaping a nib from one type to another may need something coarser but smoothing won't.
    Last edited by Chrissy; June 9th, 2020 at 03:16 AM.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Junior Member Roe D Hym's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Octavius, ditto on the advice about not using 600 grit--it is way too course. I would use nothing less than 3600 micro mesh. To give you a real world example. There is an expression in the horology world, desk diving scratches. These are the micro scratches one gets when the clasp of a watch bracelet that rubs on a desk. Typically the bracelet is on a dive style watch and most of the activity involved is not from diving but laying one's wrist on a desk. I have taken them out starting with 3200. If 3200 will take out micro scratches imagine what it will do to a nib. 3600 is a tad smoother but still course enough to reshape. I think starting at 8000 and if needed graduating to 6000 then, if needed, 4000. This should do the trick as long as you do minimal work at each level--say 3 figure 8 and 3 cross hatches. Others more knowledgeable may have better advice.
    Last edited by Roe D Hym; June 9th, 2020 at 03:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Not sure this is related, but there are dip pen nibs in my collection that require a light touch to write smooth and especially on some mediums. Perhaps your pen requires a light touch and not to have the nib modified. Maybe I am incorrect, but if we only used one pen, our muscle memory would develop for that pen and it would perform as desired. I've not evidence to support my theory. However, a light touch is uncomfortable at first, so do not become discouraged.

    As a honer of straight razors, 600 grit is really coarse and only used for bevel setting. I agree with Ron not to attempt this yourself.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Again, it's something to be careful about as others have said but I completely agree with your thinking. I dislike those ultra-smooth nibs that slide greasily across the paper. I need a little feedback and it's quite easy to induce. It doesn't require such a harsh abrasive as you suggest and it doesn't take much work to reduce the polish on the nib.
    Regards,
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    Senior Member AzJon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    I also think, purely subjective experience, that some tipping material just lends itself to having a bit of feedback.

    For example, I have a vintage German Mercedes pen that came to me with a graphite-like feedback. The feedback was pleasant, but I wanted to give it a few passes on 12000 grit micromesh to see if I couldn't smooth it up a bit.

    Literally nothing happened. Did a few passes and the feedback stayed the same. This is not the first time I've had that happen on a pen, but it is the most recent. I genuinely believe that whatever the tipping composite is determines how smooth a nib can be. Not that I mind, I enjoy that tactile feedback.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Quote Originally Posted by AzJon View Post
    I also think, purely subjective experience, that some tipping material just lends itself to having a bit of feedback.

    For example, I have a vintage German Mercedes pen that came to me with a graphite-like feedback. The feedback was pleasant, but I wanted to give it a few passes on 12000 grit micromesh to see if I couldn't smooth it up a bit.

    Literally nothing happened. Did a few passes and the feedback stayed the same. This is not the first time I've had that happen on a pen, but it is the most recent. I genuinely believe that whatever the tipping composite is determines how smooth a nib can be. Not that I mind, I enjoy that tactile feedback.
    I agree with that. 50s/60s Conway Stewarts often have a sort of granular appearance to the tipping and cannot be rendered absolutely smooth. They tend to "sing".
    Regards,
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    I'm afraid I'm one of those people who like my nib tips to be really smooth so that they glide across the paper. It depends on the sound frequency but I tend to not like some of those nibs that give noisy feedback.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    I sat an exam once with a very noisy pen. I got some annoyed looks from those near me but it was all I had with me, so I had to continue. I must say in mitigation for myself that I'd just got the pen and I didn't know it would be loud.
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    Junior Member Octavius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    "...I sat an exam once with a very noisy pen. I got some annoyed looks from those near me..." Love it!!

    OK, so, are you all telling me to forego the 600 grit?

    Thanks for saving me from myself.

    (Thanks also for the comments about the tipping material)

    I'm off to find my particular noisy Vacumatic for my Quantum Mechanics exam tomorrow.

    BTW, here's the snake matador that I mentioned to INeedAFinancialAdvisor:

    Matador Snake 2.JPG

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    Senior Member AzJon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Quote Originally Posted by Octavius View Post
    "...I sat an exam once with a very noisy pen. I got some annoyed looks from those near me..." Love it!!

    OK, so, are you all telling me to forego the 600 grit?

    Thanks for saving me from myself.

    (Thanks also for the comments about the tipping material)

    I'm off to find my particular noisy Vacumatic for my Quantum Mechanics exam tomorrow.

    BTW, here's the snake matador that I mentioned to INeedAFinancialAdvisor:
    Hey! That looks like mine!


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    Junior Member Octavius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Nice, AzJon.
    Is it hard rubber?
    More importantly, is it worthy of taking exams where people are trying concentrate?
    Cheers!

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Lovely chasing on that Matador. I've had a few of those recently and they are robust and reliable pens.
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    I sat an exam once with a very noisy pen. I got some annoyed looks from those near me but it was all I had with me, so I had to continue. I must say in mitigation for myself that I'd just got the pen and I didn't know it would be loud.
    Writing an exam with a new (to you) pen and only bringing one?! You like to live dangerously!

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anybody unsmoothed a nib?

    Quote Originally Posted by INeedAFinancialAdvisor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    I sat an exam once with a very noisy pen. I got some annoyed looks from those near me but it was all I had with me, so I had to continue. I must say in mitigation for myself that I'd just got the pen and I didn't know it would be loud.
    Writing an exam with a new (to you) pen and only bringing one?! You like to live dangerously!
    I had a back-up ballpoint but, you know...
    Regards,
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