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Thread: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

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    Default Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    I have a couple of vintage pens, third tier makers not worth much, with damaged nibs. I'd be interested to know if anyone has fitted a modern jowo or bock nib to a vintage pen, and if so how to go about doing this.

    Are there any particular nibs/pens that fit well together?

    Welcome thoughts.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    For many this was a rite of passage in lerning the repair craft, my goal was to produce a working pen out of a nonworking pen such as a Wearever or a Salz Brothers pen and used whatever I could. It might help if you ahve a box of feeds and nibs from parts pens, typically just IPG nibs.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Iíve used steel JoWo and Nemosine #5 and #6 to some of the older Sheaffer lever pens. The feed has to be in good condition in order to do this, and it is hit or miss, I suspect because a lot of these feeds were hand made. It does work, though you may have to heat-set, which can be challenging, and I still havenít mastered.


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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Certainly possible to fit new nibs to old pens. I receive the reverse request more often. In general you want to find a nib that has the same profile and size and test for fit then adjust feed assuming it fits.

    First thing to do is make sure your replacement nib has the right curvature, then make sure it doesn't hit the inner cap. Once you have that worked out adjust flow.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Thanks all for your replies.

    It is good to know that as a matter of principle modern nib to vintage pen can happen, even if fettling maybe required to make it work properly.

    If any one else reading this thread has examples of vintage pens to which they have added modern nibs, please do provide some details. Thanks to radonactionservices for the first such example!

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Unfortunately I can't say I have, however I have been thinking about Bock nibs. They are suppose to be of a reliable quality, and if I understand it right, they are still making both steel and gold nibs. A buttonfiller I have needs a tiny nib, I guess I shall have to search for vintage generic nibs to find one. Vintage pens have all kinds of size differences, and you likely need to tweak things a bit to get it right for the feed.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Fitting a nib into a pen, whether it's vintage or modern, follows the same principles. If a "harmony" between nib, feed, and section can be realized, then you most likely would have a working pen.

    The harmony is achieved when:
    1. The nib curvature matches the feed. This means that the tip of the nib is not lifting away from the feed when both are inserted into the section.

    2. The nib and feed fit into the section snugly (not to tight as to warp the nib, nor too loose as to allow ink to seep out).

    3. The feed is not too long (for this trio combination) as to cause ink to pool excessively in the channel (this will result in a very annoying problem which ink will drop from the underside of the nib when writing).
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    ...The harmony is achieved when:
    ...
    3. The feed is not too long (for this trio combination) as to cause ink to pool excessively in the channel (this will result in a very annoying problem which ink will drop from the underside of the nib when writing).
    Too long feeds cause this? More explanation, please.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fermata View Post
    For many this was a rite of passage in lerning the repair craft, my goal was to produce a working pen out of a nonworking pen such as a Wearever or a Salz Brothers pen and used whatever I could. It might help if you ahve a box of feeds and nibs from parts pens, typically just IPG nibs.
    NNOOOOOO!!!!!! Vintage pens, even the lowliest of them do not deserve the indignity of an IPG nib!!
    Sent from my constipated POS computer at work.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    ...The harmony is achieved when:
    ...
    3. The feed is not too long (for this trio combination) as to cause ink to pool excessively in the channel (this will result in a very annoying problem which ink will drop from the underside of the nib when writing).
    Too long feeds cause this? More explanation, please.
    Yeah, I figure that one needs more elaboration.

    It's a special case, but it does happen. Here's how I found out:

    I had a pen that I restored, tested and sold to a buyer. The buyer loves the pen, but she noticed that in almost random times, a drop of ink would fall on the paper. So she contacted me and I promptly asked her to ship the pen back to me.

    First suspect, a tiny hole in the brand new ink sac, rarely happens, but not impossible, so when I got the pen, I replaced the ink sac and started to test the pen according to the buyers' writing volume (which she told me about).

    Surely, on the third page, a drop of ink fell on the paper. Puzzling. I checked and re-checked the nib/feed/section alignments and fit, nothing seems wrong. And for those who don't know me, I have done this ... many, many times, so if there's something off, I'd probably know it intuitively if not definitely.

    Much, much later, I finally thought of something:

    1. If the ink channel is of a certain depth (remember, we are talking about old feeds, there is no *standard* ink channel depth after decades of unknown usage and condition).

    2. And the feed is of a certain length.

    3. And the section is longer than the feed (as in this case).

    It is possible that the amount of ink pooling in the channel to be too much *sometimes*, just enough for gravity to pull a drop of ink off the nib onto the paper *sometimes*. I also think that temperature and air pressure may have a role, but I can't control those.

    Time to test this theory. I shortened the feed so the amount of ink that can pool in the ink channel at any given time is lessen. Fast forward to many days of testing (on and off), I can't get the ink to drop in the middle of writing anymore.

    ** A similar fix would be to replace the feed with one that is either shorter or has shallower ink channels.

    The pen is now back in my *very gracious and patient* buyer's hand and she wrote me that the problem is solved for her also.

    Hope this clarifies.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Modern nib to a Vintage Pen?????
    I alway think the other way round as I think it enable the unknown skill to be shown up through a new reborn pen.

    For me, modern nibs and vintage nibs are compleately two different Characters in writing aspects .

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Cyril, yes I appreciate my request was out of the ordinary! I donít have the skill to use a vintage flex nib, I prefer to write with a modern stiffer nib - YMMV 😊 Also I wanted to avoid a lot of time and effort sourcing potentially expensive vintage nibs if I could just use a modern replacement.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by da vinci View Post
    Cyril, yes I appreciate my request was out of the ordinary! I donít have the skill to use a vintage flex nib, I prefer to write with a modern stiffer nib - YMMV 😊 Also I wanted to avoid a lot of time and effort sourcing potentially expensive vintage nibs if I could just use a modern replacement.
    I'm not sure what skill you're talking about. Cursive calligraphy with flex is indeed hard, but you can just write normally with a flexible pen as well. I don't eve like calligraphy, and I like a little flex in a nib. It just gives a tiny bit of variation and character to my letters. However none of that has anything to do with "vintage".

    Vintage nibs are not all flex. All three of my vintage Sheaffers are nice smooth writers but they have no flex. Most of my other vintage pens have so little flex that you'd never notice if that's not what you were looking for. People are always talking about flex these days. It's a fashion, and it's often misunderstood. I think It's a mythical goal for inexperienced people who don't actually know what they're looking for.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    People are always talking about flex these days. It's a fashion, and it's often misunderstood. I think It's a mythical goal for inexperienced people who don't actually know what they're looking for.
    This.

    I definitely don't understand it and don't particularly like writing with flexible nibs that only seem to make my writing look wobbly.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    I think It's a mythical goal for inexperienced people who don't actually know what they're looking for.
    I think it would be more accurate to say it's often a mythical goal, etc etc. Not always.

    Anyway, I am one of those strange and rare creatures who've fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen. Schmidts and the odd Bock #060. Some of the small Indian nibs are quite handy for such uses too. In the main it's more a case of looking among the off sizes in smaller nibs rather than the #5s and #6s, and as with all nib swapping ever, it always seems to boil down to trial and error.
    In the words of Paul Simon, you can call me Al.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    I write with a heavy hand and frequently find that vintage nibs donít suit me. Some modern nibs the same. Like Ole Juul I have vintage pens with no flex which I enjoy very much for example the Sheaffer Triumph nib or the P51 as well as more traditional nib types.

    Price is also a factor - the pens whose nibs I am looking to replace are not top tier and have steel nibs already. The gold vintage nibs I have seen sell on eBay (and I mean fairly standard sized CS nibs rather than Onoto #7s) sell for far in excess of the value of the pen itself.

    Grainweevil, would you share which makes/models of pens you have switched nibs on?

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by da vinci View Post
    Cyril, yes I appreciate my request was out of the ordinary! I donít have the skill to use a vintage flex nib, I prefer to write with a modern stiffer nib - YMMV 😊 Also I wanted to avoid a lot of time and effort sourcing potentially expensive vintage nibs if I could just use a modern replacement.
    I'm not sure what skill you're talking about. Cursive calligraphy with flex is indeed hard, but you can just write normally with a flexible pen as well. I don't eve like calligraphy, and I like a little flex in a nib. It just gives a tiny bit of variation and character to my letters. However none of that has anything to do with "vintage".

    Vintage nibs are not all flex. All three of my vintage Sheaffers are nice smooth writers but they have no flex. Most of my other vintage pens have so little flex that you'd never notice if that's not what you were looking for. People are always talking about flex these days. It's a fashion, and it's often misunderstood. I think It's a mythical goal for inexperienced people who don't actually know what they're looking for.
    This is what people are looking for:



    The ability to produce continuous lines in varying width. Not only that, but also the *writing experience*, which unfortunately no photograph can convey.

    NOTE: I am not posting this photo (my writing) as *the* example, let alone a good one. It's just to illustrate that what people are looking for is not "mythical". It's real, but to achieve that you need two things:

    1. A flexible nib.
    2. Practice. The "skill" comes after a lot of this.

    Modern "flexible" nibs rely on modifications (cut-outs) to achieve some flex.

    Have you ever seen a really good vintage flex nib that needs to be cut-out to achieve the flex?

    I haven't.

    So "vintage" has a lot to do when you want to experience the most from flex writing.

    Of course, if this doesn't float your boat, moor somewhere else. The coast is big
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    I have stuck Noodlers, Goulet, Jowo, Bock nibs into vintage pens, however it seems like sacrilege and usually go back and find the correct or close to it 14k vintage back in it.


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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    I've put modern nibs on vintage pens and I've put vintage nibs on modern pens. For example, I have a Pelikan 140 nib unit fitted with a modern feed and modern Pelikan nib. The unit unscrews and it works when you want a small, vintage Pelikan but you need a more rigid, modern nib with a ball-shaped tip for notetaking or any environment where vintage nib is not as optimal. If you want to go back to vintage, just swap out the unit for the original. I've also put modern nibs in second tier pens like a Morrison's Tourist, and a few others. My preference in a modern nib is the Pelikan M200 steel in medium or fine (if they fit).

    I've also put vintage nibs in modern pens. I have a Sheaffer No Nonsense Old Timer (the black chased type) with an original 1920s Sheaffer Flat Top era nib from a desk pen. The challenge there was getting a nib that would fit because of the gauge of the metal of the modern nib being thicker than most 14k gold nibs. But once I found a good nib, it went fine.

    So there's nothing to say you "cannot" retrofit nibs or the like. The issue is finding a close fit, and you need to be careful selecting the nib based on the shank length and width, as well as the gauge of the metal. Hard rubber feeds are more forgiving than celluloid because hard rubber develops flexibility when warmed enough, but can also return to its original shape if you need to re-try. Celluloid is not as resilient, though gentle heat is needed to soften it up just a bit to fit the nib (don't cook it though). Pens with a screw-in nib unit are even better because then you work with just the unit collar and feed, and as long as you have the right unit parts, it should screw together.

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    Default Re: Has anyone fitted a modern nib to a vintage pen?

    Thanks for your input Ray-VIgo, appreciated.

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