Friday, December 31, 2010

In which we use nail clippers to prove a 'point.'

Stubbing fountain pen nibs.   It's all the rage.

For those of you who hate jargon, stubbing a fountain pen nib means that you tediously grind off the tipping material, using Arkansas stone or something similar, testing and re-testing your work until you have the italic/stub/cursive nib you thought you should have just gone out and bought in the first place.

But, being an incurable tinkerer, I had always wanted to try this.  I just didn't want to use a 'good' pen.  And by 'good' I mean anything I liked and didn't have multiples of, or any pen that cost more than fi' dolla.

This summer, my science experiment came to life.   I stumbled on an ancient, chewed-up lever-filler fountain pen at a garage sale.

"Oh, too bad you weren't here earlier," said the kindly old seller.  "Someone bought a whole box of them."
Weeping copious tears, I nevertheless bought that dog toy of a pen, took it home, strapped it down, and got out my nail clippers.  Muahahaaaaa!!!!

 Applying clippers and files, I tested the pen with each step, asking it how it felt, and taking copious notes.   The results are posted below.

Then I stubbed a Stypen 'parrot.'   This pen was new, and cost all of tree dolla.

I smoothed the Stypen far less than I did the cheapo lever pen, and if you ask me, it writes better. Maybe the Stypen nib material is softer and more amenable to this sort of thing?   Maybe the chew-toy pen psychically communicated to the Stypen that it would be far less torturous to just give in?

At any rate, it was an interesting, low-cost experiment.

First, the cheapo garage sale pen (ONE dolla!), after cutting---and the tool used to cut it. 

Now, the ink tests done with it. (I start writing from the left) I could really feel it chewing into the paper, so it needed lots of torture, er, amendment, with nail files:

The Stypens, Stubbed, not-stubbed (After and Before):
And the Stypen ink test: 
So, pretty much for the cost of about four dollars (plus the materials I had on hand) I defied the laws of pen repair and pretty much just used a manicure set to produce two nice italic nibs.  The Stypen 'Parrot' is currently one of my best writers.

Bow down in fear before me, cheapo pens everywhere!

1 comment:

  1. Funny, informative, creative! I'm not surprised!