Nib Repairs: Before & After
Confronted with a damaged or mangled nib unit, many pen owners may throw their favorite writing instrument in a drawer and think it beyond repair--and that is how many vintage fountain pens have come to light after years of being lost and forgotten. But the repair and restoration work that can be done on a 14k or greater gold nib unit can often be astounding, returning both nib and pen to full functionality. Whether you have a contemporary pen that has just taken a nose-dive off the dining room table, or a vintage pen that has been sitting in a box for the past fifty years, the nib repair work done here at Nibs can often result in a pen that writes as well as or better than when it was first sold.
This S.T. Dupont nib was worked on by someone with pliers and/or other metal tools, probably in an effort to straighten the tines. The repair involved straightening and untwisting followed by a light re-grind in order to have the tips match for length, a crucial quality when contacting the paper. It was necessary to remove some of the rhodium plating in the immediate vicinity of the tips in order to finish the surface.
Although these two pictures do not show the nib before work began, they show the progress of the repair.
This Waterman Ideal 14K Music nib had one tine partly broken off, shortening the tip. We had to shorten the other tines and make it into a wider music point. The process involved a splint and spacers in order to keep all three tines in alignment. Then a piece of iridium wire was welded to the tines. This restored nib is now a very broad and wet writer.
The Parker Black Giant is one of the landmarks of fountain pens. It was produced in very small numbers by Parker as a show model, attracting attention to other more affordable and practical models at the sales counter. These are rare pens, and working nibs even rarer.
This nib as seen on the left was unusable, with a mangled slit and with tines worn so thin as to be unworkable. So this re-tip had to start almost two-thirds of the way back towards the heart-shaped vent hole. In order to preserve as much of the original nib as possible, It was necessary to cut back the tines and start over with an entirely new front end.
The restored tines were fused onto the nib using electro-welding and then gold solder. It was then possible to retip the point to Medium. When examining the nib in person, the line of the join is just barely visible at a forty-five degree angle to the nib slit. And while a certain amount of care must be used in handling a restored nib of this kind, this is nonetheless a fully functional unit that writes well and has returned this pen to full working condition.
This Aurora Leonardo Da Vinci took a nose-dive. The softer 18K metal responded well to straightening.
This Extra Fine Sailor nib as seen from above had seen better days. The Extra Fine is Sailor's most delicate tip, especially in the soft 21K gold.
This Pilot inlayed nib had a very bad day. The left tine was bent under and twisted. The right tine was bent to the left just below the tipping.
This is the same nib three hours later after being straightened, polished, and reset. We were able to preserve the original tipping, and make this a nib that writes well once again
Above: This is a customer's Senior Parker Lucky Curve nib from a circa 1925 jade pen. The customer informed us that it had been dropped on its tip. The crossed tines presented several challenges: they had to be straightened and realigned, and good ink flow had to be reestablished.
Above: This Montblanc 146 nib suffered a collision with something firmer than itself. We don't know how it happened, but partly because it is an eighteen karat nib, it was able to be straightened without fatigue to the metal. The feed was also slightly deformed and had to be returned to proper alignment under the nib.
This Sailor 21K gold nib went through the wash with the cap off. In the left image, notice how the tines are lightly hammered through repeated and consistent blows.
21K gold is soft and pliable, and more easily returned to its correct shape than nibs with lower gold content. After straightening, this Medium-Fine size Sailor nib is ready for smooth sailing again.
Above: Straightening of the body and the tines of the nib.
Above: We straightened this super flex nib after the tine was caught on rough paper.
This Moore's Maniflex nib was cracked all the way through the imprint and into the tail.
Through the whole crack repair and straightening process, we were able to save the original tipping on this Waterman's Patrician nib. Note the typical Waterman's bevel on each side of the tipping.
With multiple imprints as well as being in three separate pieces, this nib was a challenge to assemble, re-engrave, and fit into the section.
We were asked to rebuild the tines on this Azura. Although fragile, this pen can write again.
Smallest Nib We've Ever Worked On...
This is one of the smallest nibs we've ever worked on. (That's a real penny next to it.)
The Zero size Montblanc Simplo was worth working on.