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Thread: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

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    Default Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    I love my Esties - I bought a number from a seller who tends to include a NOS nib, usually (but not always) a 9 series in the "Firm Fine" range.

    I'd be interested to know, from those more experienced, whether these nibs are usually problematic? I've three of them now, and all have a bit of a tendency to inconsistent flow, and a distinct dryness, even used with relatively free flowing ink (as far as I know, anyway). Has anyone else noticed this as a problem with this series of nibs? Any solutions I could/should try?

    Thanks for any help

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    Hey John!

    I don't believe I've ever met a 9xxx Estie nib that I would call problematic. Of course, when I'm using a fine (or extra fine or cartographer) nib, I generally don't want a gusher of a nib, but it shouldn't be so dry that it's not consistently applying ink to paper as per your direction.

    If I had three mis-behaving nibs, I'd wonder what they had all been through together. I'd probably start with a thorough cleaning (warmish water and a couple drops of dish soap followed by a thorough rinsing with plain water) to see if that helped the situation. If that didn't result in at least one nib moving up from problematic to at least adequate, I'd contact the seller. It has not been my experience that Estie nibs of any size, shape or flavor misbehave.

    Have you inspected the tines with a loupe for alignment?

    My dos centavos,

    =) Eriquito
    Hijo de Ragnar

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    Thanks Eric. I've not really worried about them too much, because the nibs already in the pens were pretty nice (I put the 9s in out of curiosity, and changed back after finding them not as nice).

    I'll set aside a J to test with, and give the nibs a proper cleaning - thanks for the tip.

    No loupe here, I'm afraid - at least, not yet...

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    No loupe??!!

    I can hardly remember my pre-loupe fountain pen life. I picked mine up a few years ago here:

    http://richardspens.com/?page=accessories/loupes.htm

    I purchased the 10x. I love it. Someday I'll ge myself the 20x, just for fun

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    I know! They (the loupe) seem to be kind of the badge, and honeycomb decoder for the fountain pen geek

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    I'm just starting to use a loupe and I cannot believe the difference it makes in looking at detail. A simple magnifying glass, which is what I had been using, simply can't hold a candle to an even inexpensive loupe, in my opinion.

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    I can't wait to get a proper loupe! Meanwhile I'm using an old 135mm camera lens, which works ok.
    "I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original. - Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 - 1809

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    John, I only have two - a 9555 and a 9461 - but neither suffers from the problem you describe. The flow is perfect, until about two strokes before they run completely out of ink.

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    Any suggestions on which loupe with a light to get?
    I have read and seen on Dr. Brown's YT channel that the triplet has better optics. But I need more light now that I am nearing seventy-one years of age. I like the one Here
    So any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    Hello Jim. Here's a loupe recommended by a razor honer in the US, who knows whereof he speaks:

    40x LED Illuminated Jewelers Loupe

    I use a 9x eyeglass for nibs as well as razors, but do most of the work by feel anyway. The extra magnification might well be a good thing, but chances are the depth of field will be very shallow indeed. Anyway, at that price it's probably worth a try. If you want something of better quality I'd suggest you look into Bausch and Lomb or Belomo optics. Hope that helps.

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    I find that the lighted loupes do not produce enough light to actually be useful. I find that it is more important to have a good adjustable desk light. Good light plus good optics equals good vision. I use a 10x Belomo that I got from Richard Binder and that plus a good desklight is all that I need. I use my 2x reading glasses pretty much always when playing with pens, and I also have a 3.5x hood that I use for closer work. The hood has LED lights on it, and while the LED's do produce light they are pretty much worthless. I also have a 30x scope that I have used on occasion for fun, but that was only because I was interested in the details of a crack that I already knew was there. I never pick it up for actual pen work. A true 30x or 40x magnification is so close that really there is nothing useful to be gained at that level of detail. I have a handful of 2x magnifying glasses that outperform the claimed 30x+ cheap stuff simply due to the optics.

    I suggest that you get a nice adjustable desk lamp for light. You probably already have one somewhere, or know somebody that has one sitting in a corner, or you can get one at thrift stores or garage sales cheaply. Then get something with decent optics at 10x or at most 20x.

    For reference, I cannot read the labels on small items at all without help and the print in a standard sized paperback book is difficult for me but possible.

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    I have a few Estie fine nibs now, including some 9128 nibs, and the used nibs that arrive with decent ink flow have been somewhere less than 50% of the total.

    On reading around, the consensus seems to be the feed channel tends to be clogged more readily on them. I've managed to convert one 9128 from totally clogged to slightly clogged with repeated use of an ultrasonic cleaner and 10% ammonia solution. There are recommendations to usee a very fine piece of wire to try probing the feed channel. It will probably work but you need to have a piece of wire that's both fine enough to not accidentally deform the channel and stiff enough to be useful for poking at the clog.

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    Quote Originally Posted by ardgedee View Post
    There are recommendations to usee a very fine piece of wire to try probing the feed channel. It will probably work but you need to have a piece of wire that's both fine enough to not accidentally deform the channel and stiff enough to be useful for poking at the clog.
    I don't remember who suggested it, but I used a banjo string - it works pretty well

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    I had tried some guitar string but nothing I had was a fine enough gauge. I might drop by a guitar shop and ask for some clippings.

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    Thanks for the good advice.
    Jim

    Thanks also to
    Jeph
    Last edited by Jim2100; November 28th, 2013 at 01:18 PM. Reason: Spelling

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    Quote Originally Posted by ardgedee View Post
    I had tried some guitar string but nothing I had was a fine enough gauge. I might drop by a guitar shop and ask for some clippings.
    I did hunt around to see if I could find the packet, but it's vanished :/

    From memory, I think high G is what you want - and be prepared for slight embarassment when the people in the music shop talk enthusiastically about banjos, and you have to admit that you want the string to sort out ink flow in a pen

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    Quote Originally Posted by John the Monkey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ardgedee View Post
    I had tried some guitar string but nothing I had was a fine enough gauge. I might drop by a guitar shop and ask for some clippings.
    I did hunt around to see if I could find the packet, but it's vanished :/

    From memory, I think high G is what you want - and be prepared for slight embarassment when the people in the music shop talk enthusiastically about banjos, and you have to admit that you want the string to sort out ink flow in a pen
    G is the third thinnest string (low to high EBGDAE), and I would think it would be way too wide for a nib slit. E is the highest (thinnest) string on a guitar. When you look at guitar strings, you will see measurements on the packages. They will say something like 9-42 or 10-46 or something. The lower number is the diameter of the thinnest string in thousands of an inch. So on a 9-42 the high E is .009 in diameter. The thinnest I've see is .008. I believe banjo strings run the same way. I'm not as familiar with the banjo, but I don't believe I've seen any thinner than that.

    However, having said that, I have never used them for anything other than playing music, so I don't know if they would work for nibs or not.

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    Default Re: Are the Fine Nibs Usually Problematic?

    Quote Originally Posted by chad.trent View Post
    G is the third thinnest string (low to high EBGDAE), and I would think it would be way too wide for a nib slit. E is the highest (thinnest) string on a guitar. When you look at guitar strings, you will see measurements on the packages. They will say something like 9-42 or 10-46 or something. The lower number is the diameter of the thinnest string in thousands of an inch. So on a 9-42 the high E is .009 in diameter. The thinnest I've see is .008. I believe banjo strings run the same way. I'm not as familiar with the banjo, but I don't believe I've seen any thinner than that.
    Ah, High E makes much more sense - and the 009 number rings a bell. FWIW, it did improve the nib I wanted to get working.

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