Thursday, September 11, 2014

Recovering What Seemed like a Lost Pen

"Happy Birthday, honey," she said.

I opened the gift bag; the two nibs I was hoping for were in it. I was elated. "Thank you so much!"

I have some Chinese fountain pens that are quite nice; right weight, right feel, right line width ( medium nib ). There is only one small problem: they tend to write poorly. Unfortunately, this is the entire point, the 'sine qua non' of owning a fountain pen. Being addicted to fountain pens ( as I've previously confessed to ), I could not quite give up on their use and recently looked for help as a techie would ... on the internet. I found several sites that took the skipping and difficult starting of these particular pens for granted. I also found several references to a specific brand of replacement nib, the reviews for which said things like, "no more hard starting"; "hardly any skipping any more"; "works like a dream with the new nib;" and "very pleased."

The nib seemed expensive, costing more than one hundred fifty-percent of the ( admittedly quite inexpensive ) cost of the pen. While I am addicted, I am also fiscally conservative ( some would say 'cheap' ) and I found myself unwilling to spend even that relatively small amount of money to procure a test nib.  My wife doesn't understand my addiction, although she does 'get' that I am addicted. I didn't really want to deal with whatever issue she might have with that kind of expenditure, either. Especially thinking that maybe perhaps there is a possibility that the nib would not pan out. Asking for one or two of these nibs for my Birthday seemed perfect.

In the post admitting my addiction, I said I had recently spent some time with these pens. I was removing and reinserting the nibs on a couple of pens, to be sure I am able to perform that sort of maintenance. Confident I would be able to replace the nib(s) that came with the pen(s), I asked for this Birthday present. 

After celebrating my birthday with a noon Mass and a lunch at a very Russian restaurant, I could no longer contain myself. Taking the nibs to my office, I hurriedly removed the nib from one of my X450 pens. The nib is in two pieces, a plastic feed ( which is not replaced with this type of nib ) and the nib itself. I placed the new nib over the feed and tried to reinsert it; it would not go. Gulp. Warm forehead. I assured myself the nib would fit without the feed, put the nib on the feed again, pushed the assembly together into the pen body. Success! I filled the pen with ink, and tried it.

The results, comparing scanned images of the writing with the old nib
Three writing samples, all showing significant skipping. Unretouched.
 to images of writing with the new,
Two pens, two inks, neither showing any signs of skipping. Unretouched.

speak for themselves.

If you would like to comment but don't care to use the comment field, send an email to

No comments:

Post a Comment