Tips and Hacks

I Am a Nibmeister!

Okay, well I would not put myself in the same category as some of the renowned nibmeisters and modifiers known throughout the fountain pen community.  However, today was a very exciting day for me.  I ground my own custom oblique nib!

I have a vintage Lady Sheaffer from the 1970s and the nib was never quite right.  It was a decent fine nib, but always a little scratchy.  I had used some fine grit emery paper on the nib before to smooth it out, but it was still never quite right.  I decided to take another shot at smoothing it out today, but had no intention of a full nib modification.  When using emery paper on a nib, one minor adjustment is actually huge.  If you change one little thing, it throws off the whole balance of the nib and you have to keep grinding it to get it back to a comfortable state.  After continually grinding the nib down for what must have been about an hour, I ended up with a slanted, oblique nib.  And now, the nib is actually smoother than it’s ever been and it’s oblique!

I don’t really have a tutorial on which way to grind the nib, I just kept grinding it and it sort of happened organically.  I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.  (The writing sample was made with J. Herbin’s Ambre de Birmaine.)

Toothpicks are our friends

Here was my issue:

I had a Platinum Preppy pen with an empty cartridge.  I didn’t want to turn the pen itself into an eyedropper because I like the clean, clear barrel.  I tried to rinse the empty cartridge, but the water got trapped inside due to the cartridge’s little floating ball designed to hold ink inside the cartridge.

Here was my solution:

I exchanged a few emails with Margana the Inkophile, and she suggested the genius idea of inserting a toothpick into the cartridge to prevent the ball from blocking the neck of the cartridge, thus allowing the ink to flow out.  I tried it, and I had an empty cartridge in about 15 seconds.  Brilliant!  I was able to refill the cartridge giving my Noodler’s “The Heart of Darkness” (and my Preppy) some attention in the rotation.  Yay!


When you can’t get ink of of a cartridge because of the little floating ball, insert a toothpick, and rest the cartridge (opening down) into a cup with some well crumpled tissues.  You’ll have an empty cartridge in a jiffy!  (Yes, I just said jiffy…)