Sunday Rambling

I’ve spent the day repairing pens.  I only fixed five but that’s because they were all in a bad state.  Three Swans, a Waterman and a Conway Stewart, all with buckled nibs and other problems.  Many thanks to Laurence Oldfield for his nib straightening kit.  I bought the full set a few years ago and it has transformed my work.  I buy pens with badly bent nibs that other people don’t seem to want.  Keeps the price down for me and my customers.  I’ll try to straighten any nib, no matter how bad.  The ones I find most difficult and time-consuming are those with a sharp bend near the tip.  They take a lot of work and the fear is always there that I’ll detach the tipping.  I’ve done it a few times and it does bring out the language that my mother never taught me.  I suppose those particular bends come from a plummet straight onto a hard surface.

I plan to concentrate on Mabie Todd pens.  They’re what I enjoy working on most and they’re what I admire in a fountain pen.  I suppose if I see a pen of another brand at a bargain price I might buy it, but for the most part it will be Swans, Blackbirds and Jackdaws.  I might as well enjoy the time I spend on repair, conservation and restoration even more than I do now.  Mabie Todd pens will do that for me and they are what my customers want.

I will write here when I can but life is making more demands on me which means less time for the blog.  I was writing three or four entries every week for eighteen months or so and I covered a lot of ground.  I’m glad I got that done as it makes the blog more of a reference for anyone trying to find out about their new old pen.  I will also be pleased to write about any rarities and oddities you find, if you send me the photos.  It will always be done but it may take some time, as I’ve said above.  Even though I may not be able to concentrate on the blog as much as I have done, it will always remain online.

7 thoughts on “Sunday Rambling

  1. Nibs, hi thanks for your regular pen news, I bought a small box in a junk shop about the size of 20 cigs in it was a number of pen nibs the housing for them different, not sure if they are fountain pen or other type. I will send you a pic if you want. When we were at senior school me and my mates all had three or more fountain pens in our top blazer pockets all makes now collectable. Bob.

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Are you able to fix nibs that are bent sideways and if so is there a trick? I find those as difficult as ones bent right over at the tip and they both tend to go in the too difficult pile for now until I have more time

    Thanks for the blog

    1. Hi Simon,
      I’m not able to repair everything! Sometimes the complexity of the damage defeats me. I find that most nibs can be gradually persuaded to regain their original shape using a mixture of the concave and convex tools I have. I use round-nose pliers too but very, very carefully because it’s easy to make matters worse with them. With sideways bends of the tines they’re often the only answer. Get one tine right then start on the other. If nibs are bent right over at the tip to the extent that a crease has been made I can’t get rid of that. I can repair the nib so that it will write properly but it still has a hint of that crease. Looks bad.

      I’m no expert. I see the work that others have done and I am awe-struck. I know enough to know what magic they have applied to bring a thoroughly trashed nib back to its original condition.

      Edit: I filed the outside of my round-nose pliers down to less than half their original width. Makes finicky work between the tines a little better.

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