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Thread: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

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    Default Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Hi,

    Got this pen today with a splayed nib that I'm trying to fix.

    It had what seemed some kind of crystal (it seemed clear, glass-like) stuck between the tines. After a bit of coaxing with a brass shim, I was able to remove most of it:
    st dupont fidelio 04.jpg


    And after a bit more, I was finally able to remove it completely. Whatever that thing was, it was as big as the space between the tines.

    Closing the tines has been quite a challenge and I'm stuck at this point after trying a few things, such as crossing the tines over and pressing them to overlap with my nails and then lying the nib on one side on a piece of hardwood, crossing over the tines and pressing with another piece of wood.

    This is as much as I've been able to close these darn tines:
    st dupont fidelio 08.jpg


    Any ideas?

    Thanks!


    Alex

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    Senior Member dneal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Crossing the tines is the correct procedure. No wood needed.

    Push one tine under the other, alternating tines as you go. Only push down enough to get it under the other tine.

    -edit-

    I've got a nib on the desk, so I opened the gap and made a quick video. This is a loose nib, but you can do this while it's still in the pen. There's no need to pull it.

    It might appear as if I'm pushing down more than I actually am. Only push down enough to get one side under the other. You'll likely hear a "click".

    I'm also pushing quite far - to illustrate the process - but you also get a feel for it after a while.



    You can see the gap that adjustment achieved in the pic. That will be slightly wet, but you can fine tune to your preferences and ink.

    Don't forget to balance the tines afterward.

    TineAdjustment - 1.jpeg
    Last edited by dneal; May 30th, 2024 at 03:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by alexwi View Post
    Hi,

    Got this pen today with a splayed nib that I'm trying to fix.

    It had what seemed some kind of crystal (it seemed clear, glass-like) stuck between the tines. After a bit of coaxing with a brass shim, I was able to remove most of it:
    st dupont fidelio 04.jpg


    And after a bit more, I was finally able to remove it completely. Whatever that thing was, it was as big as the space between the tines.

    Closing the tines has been quite a challenge and I'm stuck at this point after trying a few things, such as crossing the tines over and pressing them to overlap with my nails and then lying the nib on one side on a piece of hardwood, crossing over the tines and pressing with another piece of wood.

    This is as much as I've been able to close these darn tines:
    st dupont fidelio 08.jpg


    Any ideas?

    Thanks!


    Alex
    Having taken a hiatus from fountain pens (or at least from tinkering with any), I'm struggling to remember all the work I used to do to fit old nibs to old feeds, old nibs to new feeds, new nibs to old feeds, and new nibs to new feeds, not to mention merely adjust the flow rate without any other purpose. Before I say more, I have a question. If you take a sheet of thin paper, will it slide between the top of the feed and the bottom of the nib up to the wings? Or is the nib too tight against the feed for that?
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Hi,

    Thanks for going as far as shooting a video just for me :-)

    That's what I meant when I wrote about crossing the tines over, but in the case of my nib, it's crazy hard and my nails aren't up to this particular challenge.

    Yet, even though I do manage to get the nibs crossed, albeit not as much as yours, they don't seem to be budging, but I'll give it another shot later today.

    The only other time I came across a nib that wouldn't budge when trying to adjust it, it was with a Parker 45, but in that case, given how short those nibs are, it's to be expected. I wonder if the challenge I'm having is related to the lack of a hole at the start of the slit.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Nope. The nib's in contact with the feed where it matters. Why do you ask?

    It's a bit unconventional in that it actually wraps around the nib. Here's a picture of this model (not my pen):


    (from https://www.peytonstreetpens.com/st-...orks-well.html )

    Alex

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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    I'm wondering if I'm going to have to take the nib to a goldsmith, explain (at least 20 times, to be sure s/he understands what I need), and have the tines brought together for me.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by alexwi View Post
    I'm wondering if I'm going to have to take the nib to a goldsmith, explain (at least 20 times, to be sure s/he understands what I need), and have the tines brought together for me.

    Alex
    I wouldn't risk doing that. You probably wouldn't find a jeweller that would take it on as a job since it's not something they are trained to do. You would be better off taking it or sending it to a nibsmith who would understand exactly what needed doing and would know how to do it.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by alexwi View Post
    Nope. The nib's in contact with the feed where it matters. Why do you ask?

    It's a bit unconventional in that it actually wraps around the nib. Here's a picture of this model (not my pen):


    (from https://www.peytonstreetpens.com/st-...orks-well.html )

    Alex
    It can still be done the way I showed. Whether or not you can do it is a different story. I'm not trying to be snarky with that, but acknowledging individual people have individual limitations.

    You shouldn't take it to a goldsmith. You should send it to repair person. Ron Zorn is a member here, and should be easy to get in touch with.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by alexwi View Post
    Nope. The nib's in contact with the feed where it matters. Why do you ask?
    I don't think the nib should be in direct contact with the tip of the feed underneath the tines. A thick piece of paper shouldn't fit, but a thin sheet should slide between the two for a little way up the feed, at least. The shape of the rest of the nib is neither here nor there. We're just talking about the part of the feed that's underneath the tines along the slit and especially at the tip of the feed. You want a tiny gap for capillary flow between the feed and nib body underneath the tines. It would be hard to bring the nib in contact with the feed there without it pressing up on the tines at all. If it is pressing up on the tines at all, it will be fighting against your efforts to close the gap, since closing the gap also moves the tines closer to the feed.

    Ditto on the correct choice of repair person. Need a fountain pen repair guy or nib smith. Biggest problem is the wait. The good ones are busy.
    Last edited by mhosea; May 30th, 2024 at 04:07 PM.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    In a perfect world, the nib is in direct contact with the feed along the length of the feed (particularly the tip); although in practice manufacturing tolerance isn't that precise.

    Capillary action needs the contact to work most efficiently, and it's what you're trying to achieve when you heat-set a nib to the feed. You're establishing that contact. Ink will "pool" and fill/jump a small gap, but you lose some control over the regulation because of the excess ink there.

    The paper test is to see if you are at least close enough.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by mhosea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alexwi View Post
    Nope. The nib's in contact with the feed where it matters. Why do you ask?
    I don't think the nib should be in direct contact with the tip of the feed underneath the tines. A thick piece of paper shouldn't fit, but a thin sheet should slide between the two for a little way up the feed, at least. The shape of the rest of the nib is neither here nor there. We're just talking about the part of the feed that's underneath the tines along the slit and especially at the tip of the feed. You want a tiny gap for capillary flow between the feed and nib body underneath the tines. It would be hard to bring the nib in contact with the feed there without it pressing up on the tines at all. If it is pressing up on the tines at all, it will be fighting against your efforts to close the gap, since closing the gap also moves the tines closer to the feed.

    Ditto on the correct choice of repair person. Need a fountain pen repair guy or nib smith. Biggest problem is the wait. The good ones are busy.
    My problem right now is the excessive separation between the tines at the tip, though.

    The long wait for a nibmaster is also what made me think of a goldsmith. Maybe it's a good thing that I still haven't gotten a reply on how to remove the nib from the section ;-)

    Alex

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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by alexwi View Post
    My problem right now is the excessive separation between the tines at the tip, though.
    The "though" makes me think I've not yet communicated my point clearly enough. The nib is a bent piece of metal, and the way it is formed, the tines move in the direction of the feed when the gap is closed and away from the feed when the gap is opened. One never bends the tines horizontally. So, you want your tines to move closer together. Fine. That means the tines need to bend slightly down in the direction of the feed. Crisscrossing them will do that without doing anything excessive. But if the feed is maladjusted to the point that it's already touching the tines, those tines are going nowhere. You can't tune a nib with a maladjusted feed. If I am right in my assessment of your situation, it's not your nib that needs adjusting, rather the feed, or at least the two must be adjusted together.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by mhosea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by alexwi View Post
    My problem right now is the excessive separation between the tines at the tip, though.
    The "though" makes me think I've not yet communicated my point clearly enough. The nib is a bent piece of metal, and the way it is formed, the tines move in the direction of the feed when the gap is closed and away from the feed when the gap is opened. One never bends the tines horizontally. So, you want your tines to move closer together. Fine. That means the tines need to bend slightly down in the direction of the feed. Crisscrossing them will do that without doing anything excessive. But if the feed is maladjusted to the point that it's already touching the tines, those tines are going nowhere. You can't tune a nib with a maladjusted feed. If I am right in my assessment of your situation, it's not your nib that needs adjusting, rather the feed, or at least the two must be adjusted together.
    Mike - this isn't the case really.

    There is elastic deformation (think flex nibs) where the material returns to the original shape. There's plastic deformation (which is what one is trying to achieve with nib tuning) where the material retains the new shape.

    It is true that deforming a nib in the direction similar to flex writing will spread the tines. That's obvious to any person with fountain pen experience. "Springing" a nib is causing plastic deformation. You can do it slightly to open the tines and increase wetness/flow. Similarly, creating plastic deformation by pushing down on a nib (or "nib smashing" as one member pejoratively termed it) is a way to close the tines and decrease wetness/flow. Either of these methods are when you just need the slightest final nudge one way or another.

    One does indeed bend the tines (creates plastic deformation) horizontally - as my short video shows. Because the other tine is in the way, you cross over or under. You are creating elastic deformation up or down, and plastic deformation horizontally. Conversely, pulling the wings pulls the tines apart horizontally. The nib shouldn't have an up or down bend unless you're trying to get a Waverly/Fude sort of result (or whatever the opposite bend is called - which escapes me at the moment).

    With the exception of true vintage flex nibs (which I'll omit for this discussion), the feed is irrelevant to adjustment/tuning of the tines. The nib is adjusted appropriately regardless of the feed adjustment. See the pic above. I can put that adequately adjusted nib back in the pen it came out of.

    Feed adjustment is a separate and distinct adjustment. Most plastic feeds from reputable makers are close enough and need nothing done to them. They're harder to adjust because you have to heat them just like you do ebonite - but the thinner fins will warp (or melt!) depending on how you heat them. Ebonite has its own peculiar properties and problems.

    Just as plastic feeds are harder to adjust, they're more resistant to deformation. You can usually repeat the process in the video above with the nib mounted (I'll make a video of that too, if you want). In the case of the OP's nib, I would probably hook a finger nail under one tine and raise it slightly as I pushed the other underneath it. Again, the horizontal will deform plastically, and the vertical will deform elastically. Oftentimes there will be ever so slight vertical plastic deformation, which requires very minor rebalancing of the tines.

    -edit-

    I'll add that with vintage pens (even non-flex), the ebonite feed often does play a part in adjustment. Usually it will slightly open the tines, but "slight" makes for a big difference in wetness. While you can reset the feed (heat it so the spring of the nib deforms the feed appropriately), that creates risk of damage that could be avoided by simply adjusting the nib - by crossing the tines - while the entire assembly is installed in the pen.
    Last edited by dneal; May 30th, 2024 at 09:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    One does indeed bend the tines (creates plastic deformation) horizontally - as my short video shows.
    I don't agree. Crisscrossing the tines bends them down towards the feed. Mostly they snap back elastically, but the plastic deformation moves the tines down towards the feed as the gap at the tip is narrowed. We're only talking a few thousandths here, but if there is no gap between the nib and feed, the tines cannot move down at all, and you won't be able to narrow the gap. On the practical side, I've fitted dozens and dozens of nibs to feeds they didn't come with, and also with feeds that they did come with but which needed adjustment. On more than one occasion I've moved the tip of the feed up too much so that when I reinstalled it with the nib, it pressed up against the tines. I've done this with both plastic and ebonite feeds. It causes the tines to move apart. When that happens, you can crisscross until the cows come home, but as long as the feed is pushing up on the tines, the gap will not narrow because you don't bend a sheet of metal in the same plane as the sheet. It will crinkle before it bends in that direction.

    A nib starts off as a piece of flat sheet metal. It's bent to have the curvature it needs to fit over a cylindrical feed. The gap between the tines is a kerf from the cutting wheel. That kerf is a constant width from breather hole to tip when it is cut, but in the finished product, the kerf narrows from breather hole to tip in a more or less linear fashion. To see how to get to that configuration from the constant width kerf, I suggest making yourself a nib model with some card stock. Start off with a flat piece of card stock roughly the shape of master sergeant rank insignia. Make it much bigger than a nib so that everything will be exaggerated and easier to see. Bend it around something cylindrical to give it the approximate curvature of a nib. It should still be a straight line across the top when you look at it from the side. Now cut yourself a slit between the tines. Be sure to remove a little strip of material like cutting wheel cutting through metal would, and make sure your kerf is constant width. Crisscross the tines and look to see how the tines move in three dimensions as you do. Push the tipping together and watch what happens. Steel and gold alloys are not the same as card stock, but they're going to bend in the same directions. For a reality check, in case you are toying with rationalizations why what happens with card stock doesn't happen with metal, pick up any nib without an upturned tip and look at it from the side. Compare them along the top to a straight edge. Even if they have an upturned nib, they bend down towards the feed before turning up.
    Last edited by mhosea; May 31st, 2024 at 01:02 AM.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    I can see how you would think the plastic deformation is down/vertical. In many cases that is correct and one can choose that approach.

    However, that doesn't explain how one can cross over (up/vertical) and still create the required horizontal plastic deformation, nor does it explain how pulling the sides of the tines horizontally opens them.
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Y'all just sent me down a rabbit-hole.

    The bottom line, as seen from the video below, is that the slit is cut after the nib is shaped, and when the slit is cut, the tines are pulled in opposite direction (due to tension created by the bending in the material).

    Of course, none of the videos I saw show how the tines are subsequently pushed together, but I'm pretty sure that they use the cross-over method we all know.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3waG7gi61A&t=1214s

    "Aaaaanywho," I guess the best approach to adjusting this nib will be to remove it, but so far no one's answered that question.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    We're just having a side-bar.

    The nib and feed should pull straight out of the plastic sleeve. There's lots of opportunity for catastrophe.

    I'm trying to not say this harshly... but if you can't tune it as it sits, you probably aren't the person to try to pull the nib.
    "A truth does not mind being questioned. A lie does not like being challenged."

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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    I'm not new to adjusting nibs, but appreciate your advice and opinions. Oh, I've also done catastrophe ;-)

    I tried again, and this time I succeeded bringing the tines together. The only thing that I think I did differently was holding the tines crossed for longer each time (10-12 seconds).

    dupont fidelio after tightening tines.jpg

    Then I managed to get the tines almost lined up, but it writes buttery smooth, so I'm going to leave that alone for now:
    dupont fidelio tines mostly adjusted.jpg

    The only thing remaining is a good rinse. I put some ink in the cartridge that came with it and it writes well, but needs a bit of coaxing to start after sitting on the desk for a few minutes.

    Thanks for all your help and suggestions!

    Alex

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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Looks good, well done, and enjoy that nice pen!
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    Default Re: Need help closing tines of S.T. Dupont Fidelio

    Quote Originally Posted by alexwi View Post
    Y'all just sent me down a rabbit-hole.

    The bottom line, as seen from the video below, is that the slit is cut after the nib is shaped, and when the slit is cut, the tines are pulled in opposite direction (due to tension created by the bending in the material).

    Of course, none of the videos I saw show how the tines are subsequently pushed together, but I'm pretty sure that they use the cross-over method we all know.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3waG7gi61A&t=1214s

    "Aaaaanywho," I guess the best approach to adjusting this nib will be to remove it, but so far no one's answered that question.

    Alex
    To be absolutely fair you would have been better off to ask both of your repair questions on this single thread rather than asking how to pull the nib on one thread and how to straighten the tines on another. Both were related to each other after all.

    No-one sent you down a rabbit hole. You asked how to close the tines and we told you how to do that. In great detail. And we told you not to go to a jeweller that could have been an expensive mistake.

    If you had said do I need to pull the nib before straightening the tines then we would have answered that question too.
    Last edited by Chrissy; June 1st, 2024 at 01:41 AM.
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