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Thread: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

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    Default HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    I have a Sheaffer Balance with a Feathertouch #5 nib. I am using Iroshizuku ink. The nib will lay ink in all motions but a 50° upward stroke with paper turned. This would mean the nib is moving almost due right in relation to my hand. It's fine when writing script but when practicing upstrokes (right) it will stop laying ink in short order. It does not run out on downstrokes (left).

    The nib is a bit dirty in the photos but looks aligned to me and I can't see anything that would cause the right side of the nib to behave differently than the left.

    Please advise.

    image0.jpegimage1.jpegimage2.jpeg

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Hello!

    Here is an image that may help to understand the direction that is not conducting ink. It is only in this one direction.

    The pen is laying at the angle I an making these strokes.

    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    I suspect the tines are not truly aligned.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    @FredRydr, I removed the ink and cleaned the nib. I then looked at the nib under a 30x handheld loupe. I turned the pen so the breather hole was facing the loupe and the pen tip was tilted vertically at about 45° towards the loupe to reveal the surface of the nib that contacts paper. To my eyes it seemed the right tine has more "iridium" than the left and is almost imperceptibly longer than the left at that angle.

    To my eyes it doesn't seem enough to matter, but I am a neophyte. Having watched various videos I expected the alignment to be significantly worse to make such a difference.

    I moved down to a mountable 14x loupe and took photos of the nib and zoomed in optically. Note that there's some ghosting from the loupe. Does this look misaligned?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me about alignment of nib tines will come along as I only ever work on my own nibs.
    From your pictures, your nib tines do not align exactly how they should. Firstly there seems to be a little of what we call "baby's bottom" that means the tines are not exactly flat where they meet together in the centre. Also, one tine does look fractionally longer.

    You have the choices of sending it to a nib smith to be fixed or having a go at fixing it yourself.

    If you wanted to try to fix it yourself have a look at SBRE Brown's nib smoothing YouTube video. Or as many nib smoothing videos as you can find.

    If this was my pen I would ensure that the tines are perfectly aligned end on when I looked through the loupe. i.e. place the pen horizontally between your fingers and thumb and hold the loupe directly in front of the ends of tines so that you can see if they are exactly level on the horizontal plane. If one looks slightly higher or lower than the other then you need to carefully get them level with your thumb nail and index finger.

    Once they are level you could very carefully and gently use a nib smoothing board to ensure they are inline and flat together and both exactly the same length.
    You don't need to use anything rough or any excessive movements. Just a couple of passes at a time, then check, until you can't see the baby's bottom in the centre and both tines look like they are exactly the same length.

    It's not too difficult a job but you need to be really careful. You can always take a long time, being careful, and using tiny steps. You can never put back material that you've taken off by doing too much too quickly.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Excellent advice, Chrissy! The OP can't go wrong if he sticks to that.

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    Baisao (October 18th, 2020), Chrissy (October 11th, 2020)

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Hi Chrissy — thank you for your insight! I’ve been watching sbrebrown’s videos and it looks straight forward.

    I’m pretty competent sharpening/finishing my kitchen knives with water stones and strops. I imagine there’s not much difference: steady hand, slowly, proceed with care. In fact, I have the same micromesh pack for finishing blades to #12,000.

    https://youtu.be/tquFBCKlqh8

    I noticed in this video he starts at #1500 to correct a baby’s bottom, with 8 strokes of horizontal and vertical figure eights each. He then moves sequentially through finer grits.

    My question is, having never worked with “iridium”: is there enough tipping material left of the nib to start at #1500 as he did?

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    I'm not a pro and defer to them.

    Meanwhile I personally would start at 3000 or 4000 and check every few strokes through the loupe.

    The other thing is the nib tip may be slightly bent inward, in other words the nib tips may not be parallel.

    Also, is it possible one side appears longer but in reality both tines are bent in the same lateral direction?

    Maybe practice on a cheap pen or two or three first. It's easy to find replacement nibs for wing sung, for example.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Vintage nibs rarely have the generous ball of tipping that modern nibs always seem to offer. If the Balance was my pen, I would not use such a coarse grit.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Vintage nibs rarely have the generous ball of tipping that modern nibs always seem to offer. If the Balance was my pen, I would not use such a coarse grit.
    Thank you for confirming my hunch. I normally start my carbon steel kitchen knives at #2000. I can do this because I don’t wait for them to get terribly dull, but even #2000 is pretty course in my opinion. Using #1500 on a nib seems like driving a Ferrari over a motocross circuit.

    I had noticed there was generally less tipping material on the vintage pens compared to modern pens but assumed it was wear over time rather than a difference in manufacturing or engineering philosophy.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    I'm not a pro and defer to them.

    The other thing is the nib tip may be slightly bent inward, in other words the nib tips may not be parallel.

    Also, is it possible one side appears longer but in reality both tines are bent in the same lateral direction?
    Yikes! That never occurred to me. I feel confident grinding/polishing but an alignment like that— and being able to diagnose if it is an alignment issue— is probably beyond me.

    I may have to send it off to a nibmeister.

    What is the ballpark price of getting a nib adjusted? (I have no idea if it’s $2 or $300)

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by Baisao View Post
    What is the ballpark price of getting a nib adjusted? (I have no idea if it’s $2 or $300)
    Each nibmeister sets their own prices so you should visit their sites. A flow issue like this should be able to be cured by someone who has worked on a lot of nibs. I can't pull in all the links, but look for some of these folks (names with asterisks are people that I have had work done with and can personally recommend; any others have been recommended by friends or I've seen their nibwork):

    Mike Masuyama* / Mike It Work
    Dan Smith* / the Nibsmith
    Gena Salorino* / Custom Nib Studio
    John Mottishaw* / Classic Fountain Pens (nibs.com)
    Mark Bacas / NibGrinder
    Linda Kennedy / Ink-de-Pendance (sp?)

    That should give you something to go on.
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; October 12th, 2020 at 01:10 AM. Reason: typo
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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Thank you, Jon. I'll reach out to them and see where it goes from there.

    And thanks to all of you who have given advice. I am very grateful to you for generously sharing your wisdom.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by Baisao View Post
    Hi Chrissy — thank you for your insight! I’ve been watching sbrebrown’s videos and it looks straight forward.

    I’m pretty competent sharpening/finishing my kitchen knives with water stones and strops. I imagine there’s not much difference: steady hand, slowly, proceed with care. In fact, I have the same micromesh pack for finishing blades to #12,000.

    https://youtu.be/tquFBCKlqh8

    I noticed in this video he starts at #1500 to correct a baby’s bottom, with 8 strokes of horizontal and vertical figure eights each. He then moves sequentially through finer grits.

    My question is, having never worked with “iridium”: is there enough tipping material left of the nib to start at #1500 as he did?
    I tend to not use sheets of micro mesh and definitely not sharpening stones for smoothing. I use a nib smoothing board. Pink and white on one side and grey on the other. And I don't use the pink and white very much.
    If I was using micro mesh pads I would probably start at 8000 then quickly go to 12,000. 1500 sounds too rough for me.

    It's not only the price that you need to consider with a nib smith. It's also the length of time you won't have your pen.

    Kirk Speer (Pen Realm) is also now doing nib grinding for Dromgooles'. He was at the Lone Star Pen Club online meeting last Saturday when Joshua from The Pelikan's Perch was a special guest.
    Last edited by Chrissy; October 12th, 2020 at 01:42 AM.
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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Chrissy, you are dropping lots of pearls!

    I think the grey surface on the board is #12,000 grit. I wouldn’t use my water stones for multiple reasons but some of the buffing compounds might be useful on other pens.

    I never thought to look for local clubs.

    I’ve reached out to Gena and if that doesn’t work out I’ll seek out Kirk.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Also if you are anywhere near Houston make a pilgrimage to Dromgoole's on Rice Blvd. Call them and see when the Doctor will be in.
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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Also if you are anywhere near Houston make a pilgrimage to Dromgoole's on Rice Blvd. Call them and see when the Doctor will be in.
    He has his own web site at Pen Realm so he could be contacted there.

    Better yet sign up to the current run of online meetings at The Lone Star pen club. See the Meetings and Geek Gatherings forum.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Also if you are anywhere near Houston make a pilgrimage to Dromgoole's on Rice Blvd. Call them and see when the Doctor will be in.
    He has his own web site at Pen Realm so he could be contacted there.

    Better yet sign up to the current run of online meetings at The Lone Star pen club. See the Meetings and Geek Gatherings forum.
    I’ll do just that!

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    It's now en route to Gena Salorino.

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    Default Re: HELP REQ: Feathertouch #5 does not lay link well on upstroke

    I agree with Fred. I would not go after a minor alignment issue with such coarse abrasion. I would look to gently re-aligning. If you prefer leaving it to a professional, that's understandable. There are some good suggestions listed above for repair options.

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