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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Flip That Nib!



Have you ever tried flipping over your pen to write with the nib upside down? It's not always ideal, but it can work well if you need to write really small or if you have super-absorbent paper that you want to write on without it feathering and bleeding like crazy. It's not always an amazing writing experience, it's usually a little scratchy and you have to write a little slower and with a lighter hand than normal, but it works in a pinch if you need to write really smal. 


Have you ever tried flipping your nib? 


22 comments:

  1. As a matter of fact, yes, I have! Even waaaaay back when the only fountain pen I had was a Sheaffer school pen bought in a grocery store, I'd do that if I needed a very fine line. Still do it occasionally with my TWSBI, too. :D

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  2. Cool! Yeah, I think probably a lot of people have figured this trick out, but for new folks getting into pens, it's a neat trick that most probably wouldn't think to try....or maybe someone might try it accidentally if they didn't know how to hold a pen in the first place! ;) That's kind of why I mentioned the right way to hold the pen in the beginning of the video...juuuust in case ;)

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  3. I love to draw with the nib flipped. I get nice fine lines that way. :D

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  4. Hey Brian, what ink did you use here...love the blue......
    Greetz
    Jolanda from the Netherlands

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  5. I have certain pens that I routinely flip. In my experience, vintage nibs seem to do this more gracefully than those on modern pens.

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  6. Well if you do it then that's about as good a testament to the nib flip that I can ask for! I just love your artwork!

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  7. That would be Noodler's Liberty's Elysium, that has a permanent home in the Pilot Custom 74 I use here : )

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  8. Interesting...I don't have a lot of vintage pens, so I've only done them with modern nibs really. I have found that the finer the nib the scratchier it writes upside down, generally. Of course, if you have a fat nib that's when you're more likely to need to flip it anyway!

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  9. I learned about flipping nibs through drgoretex of FPN. He made a semi custom pen for me and polished up the flip side of the nib so I could get hairlines out of it. I started grinding nibs for myself and do the same, just in case. :)

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  10. Yeah, it's definitely something you can have a nib adjuster do for you if you're already having nib work done!

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  11. Thanks for the tip! What size nib were you using in your Pilot Custom 74? I got an EF nib TWSBI and love it for writing on paper like that in a moleskine without too much bleedthrough... but if it's comfortable enough to use, I might try a much broader nib and flip it when writing on FP-unfriendly papers.

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  12. I have a medium on my Custom 74, but it's Japanese so it's a tad finer than the equivalent TWSBI medium would be. The custom 74 upside down isn't as pleasant as writing with a EF nib right-side up, but if you'd only be doing short notes in your moleskine then you'd be okay. You likely wouldn't want to sit down and journal a full session with a nib flipped over, though.

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  13. Have HAD to do this several times try and get a vintage Sheaffer School Pen to work again - perfect way to try and adjust the distance between the nib and the feed before resorting to heat. I'm being careful, I promise! ;-)

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  14. I would use that technique at your own risk, it would be easy to bend it improperly. I really only recommend flipping the nib for the purpose of writing, not for adjusting nibs.

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  15. That's true. Thanks for the warning! Don't worry, I'm not abusing it, honest! Just temporarily bending the nib slightly to get the capillary flow back again - sorry I didn't make that clear =)

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  16. Yes, I actually do regularly due to much of the paper school hands me. So...
    In some spare time, I actually smoothed the backside of the nib (the side that's normally facing you when writing) to see if I could get it to write smoothly when writing upside down.
    Ironically, what that did is that it made that pen (a Hero 7022) write smoother with the nib flipped than it wrote right side up. So now, that pen writes a relatively smooth M line right side up and a buttery smooth F line flipped!

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  17. Well how about that! As if people didn't look at you weird enough when you write with a fountain pen, right? ;) Not that most people would probably even know the difference!

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  18. Ah! Found my answer. It can be done.

    What do manufacturers says about this way to use pens? Are they okay with it to the point they'll honor the warranty on flipped fp?

    A pilot decimo - medium nib gets to what I guess is extra-fine, (thinner than a Pilot Cavalier - fine nib), and it still writes well. Not sure I should still do it.. would it wear the nib faster?

    The cavalier fine doesn't write well flipped.. ink doesn't flow too well, skips a bit, and scratches.. or it might be that it gets to fine to see.. ;)

    Nb. Paper is gridlined blueline hard cover 192 pages, not sure of the paper quality.. I know it loves to drink fp inks.. a lot.. (shadows and bleeds most of the time).. No worries getting my first Rhodia really soon. :-) Hope it's as good as everyone seems to say.

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  19. The picture upload didnt work, here it is.
    http://goo.gl/wXpN7

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  20. Each pen is going to work differently when the nib is flipped, some will be fine, others won't work well (like your Cavalier). As far as the warrantee goes, you'll have to use your own judgement. I'm pretty sure if you end up bending your nib or something because you pressed too hard while writing upside down, most manufacturers would not consider that a warrantee issue. You really shouldn't be pressing hard enough to bend it though, you need a light touch when flipping. If you're uneasy about it though, just don't do it, or wait until your pen is out of warrantee anyway.

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  21. So this is a bit late (10 months is not as bad as some of the tasks on my "honey do" list! :-) .. But this is also a good technique to get very fine lines for sketching. See the following video as an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNZKLGIBN7s

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  22. Oh, heck yeah! That's Ced Nocon, legit comic book artist and the man who drew a couple of the pieces of artwork I have behind me in my more recent videos! The drawing of the wounded soldier and the medic is an original he did for me out of Noodler's Purple Heart, all done with an Ahab, using this same nib-flipping technique.

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