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Thread: Sheaffer Lifetime Nib Question

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    Default Sheaffer Lifetime Nib Question

    I recently acquired a post war Sheaffer Sovereign with an open nib marked Sheaffer Lifetime. The tines are splayed and the center of the feed does not align with the center of the nib. How can I address this problem short of sending it to a nib meister? Are these nibs friction fit or do they thread into the pen?

    Thanks,
    NK

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Lifetime Nib Question

    They aren't threaded and are friction, but not in the way current/modern pens are. You typically can't easily remove the nib and feed simply by pulling, and most vintage work is done by removing the section and then using a knockout block to knock out the feed from the rear. However, it may be possible to wiggle the nib from side-to-side and pull it out; rubber 'spider mat' or other gripping material may help.

    One note, though, is that sometimes tines will mis-align a bit if the nib is off-center from the feed, due to the feed not being a perfectly round surface. See if you can move the nib over the center of the feed (you should be able to see the ink channel on the top of the feed right through the breather hole of the nib) - you can push on the side of the nib with your thumb and hopefully nudge it back to senter. There is an off-chance that your nib will have it's tines come back to normal and not too open, though this all depends on how badly they are open (and, of course, if it really was damaged in a fall or something, this likely won't address it).

    If the nib has suffered more distinct damage, I'm hesitant to suggest a way to work on it yourself, but mild splays can be put back in shape by careful downward bending of each side of the nib, alternating back and forth, using enough pressure to cross the tine underneath the opposite one. Frankly, a photo or 3 would help know if this is user-addressable.
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    Senior Member jos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Lifetime Nib Question

    A few pictures may help indeed. I associate a post-war open nib Sovereign with the injection-moulded plastic models from 1948-50 and I think that these did not come with Lifetime nibs anymore. An ill fitting replacement nib may eventually explain the tine spreading and non-alignment of the feed.

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    Senior Member Ron Z's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Lifetime Nib Question

    Some of the Sheaffers had collars around the nib and feed that were just inserted into the section. The celluloid shrinks, and the nib comes loose, or they crack resulting in a loose nib. Not uncommon on the open nib pens of the 40s. Sometimes you can fix it easily, sometimes I end up making a new collar/bushing to fit into the section, or I replace the section and bore it out to the right diameter for that particular nib and feed. The hard rubber feed often compresses, as does the inside of the section, and takes on the shape of the nib. This can be lifted out of the feed, which often is enough that the nib won't shift when nib and feed reset in the section.

    A nib is a wedge, thinner at the tail than the tip. It should be a close fit when you put the lined up nib and feed into the section. It often takes considerable force, and some heat, to get the nib and feed firmly set in the section. Always check to make sure that the tip of the nib will clear the end of the inner cap when the cap is screwed on until it stops.

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    Chrissy (June 18th, 2022), Jon Szanto (June 17th, 2022)

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sheaffer Lifetime Nib Question

    Thanks to Ron for the additional info. Anything he types likely supersedes anything I have!
    "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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    Default Re: Sheaffer Lifetime Nib Question

    Thanks to all who answered my question. I'll not attempt to do this job myself.

    Regards,
    NK

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