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Friday, July 5, 2013

Goulet Mylar Paper Tutorial



  • What is Mylar Paper (0:42)
  • Disclaimer (1:54)
  • Goulet Mylar Paper (3:12)
  • How to Use Mylar Paper (4:28)
Concluding a slew of pen tuning supply videos, here is my tutorial on Goulet Mylar Paper. This is one of the lesser-known tools that you can use to smooth your fountain pen nib, and it's one of my favorite because it can really take that nice nib and make it incredible. This pair of 4.25"x5.5" sheets includes one 1-micron and one 0.3 micron sheet of Mylar paper, which is a super-fine abrasive used to make your nibs write glassy-smooth. I wouldn't really consider Mylar to be a repair tool like the Micro-Mesh, it's really more of a honing tool used to take a good nib and make it smoother than you would expect from most pens. It's pretty simple to use, and is harder to misuse than the more aggressive Micro-Mesh. That said, I still need to stick a disclaimer in here…

Warning: Using an abrasive like Mylar paper to smooth your nib voids just about every pen manufacturer's warranty, so make sure you're only working on pens that are out of warranty, or that you're confident you will never need to have serviced by the manufacturer or returned to the retailer. It's best to practice on inexpensive pens that you don't mind screwing up if things go bad.

It's always best to first check your nib for proper alignment before trying any nib smoothing remedies. Often a scratchy nib is simply a matter of one tine bent lower than another, and you can see this symptom with the aid of a loupe or other magnifying glass. If the tines are aligned and the nib still writes scratchy, then Micro-Mesh is often a good measure for more severe scratchiness. If your nib is writing satisfactory but you just want it to write a bit smoother, then you will likely benefit from the use of Mylar paper.


Goulet Mylar Paper comes in two-sheet set, a 1-micron and 0.3-micron for getting nibs glassy smooth.





How to Use Mylar Paper

Using Mylar paper to smooth your nib is a bit of an art form, and may take some practice for you to be able to do reliably. It is not as aggressive a material as Micro-Mesh, so you will need to be patient when working with the Mylar. It's always best to take a conservative approach when working with any abrasive on your nib. Use a light touch and be very patient.

Only one side of the Mylar paper is abrasive. There is a shiny side that just shows the backing to the abrasive, and that will get you nowhere if you try to use it to do your smoothing! The duller side is the one that has the abrasive on it, so that will be the 'working' side that you will want touching your nib. You'll notice that the paper itself doesn't feel very abrasive to the touch, that's because 1-micron and 0.3-micron particles are pretty dang small. It's often hard to tell which side actually has the abrasive on it. You can tell most easily by reflecting a light off the Mylar, the shiny side is the non-abrasive plastic backing, and the duller side is the abrasive side that you will use to smooth your nib. But the shiny side down on your desk, and the dull side up.

Hold your inked-up pen as you normally would, and lightly make figure-8 patterns about 10-15mm tall on a paper of your choice. It's best to use a smooth paper for this, but that's up to you. If your nib feels consistent (not scratchy at any particular point) but simply has more feedback than you would like, then it's time to break out the 1-micron Mylar paper. (If it does actually feel scratchy, you may want to consider Micro-Mesh as a precursor to Mylar, as it's more aggressive at fixing scratchy nibs). Have your sheet of Mylar next to your paper, on a flat and stable surface. Make the same figure-8 pattern on your Mylar as you did on your paper, applying very light pressure and going fairly slow. You will want to keep even pressure throughout the figure-8. It's best to only do a few figure-8's at a time on the Mylar before checking back on your paper. If you want it to feel smoother, then keep repeating this process until it feels as smooth as you like, then stop. If you find after several cycles of this with the 1-micron Mylar that it's just not quite as smooth as you'd like, then you can repeat the same process with the 0.3-micron Mylar.



We offer the pair of the 1-micron and 0.3-micron Mylar paper in a set at Gouletpens.com for $4.95, and one set should be enough to do all of the pens in your collection for years to come. This stuff really doesn't wear out very much, so as long as you don't lose it or damage it, this should be the only set you'll ever need.

Write On,
Brian Goulet 

3 comments:

  1. How often should the nib be polished or smoothed out?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Micropolishing films or lapping films with aluminum oxide can also be had in slightly coarser grades for general shaping, and the finer grades like these can work well for polishing and deburring the edges of the nib slit with a flossing technique.

    They're also pretty popular among some straight razor users who like them for honing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Armando,

    My experience is that once a nib is tuned and smoothed, the only time I'll have to go through that process again is if the nib stats to feel "wrong". But as long as you use common sense and care for your nib, and use decent quality paper, you shouldn't have to re-tune or re-smooth a good nib.

    Actually I find a nib may get better over time as I use it.

    That said, if you write on the likes of cardboard or brown paper grocery sacks, be prepared to work on your nib more often. Which in the long-term will only end badly.

    Keep in-mind, smoothing a nib is actually removing material from the nib. That is not something you want to do on a regular basis.

    ReplyDelete

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