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Dip Pen Modification

Are two lines better than one?

IMG_3013I have picked up a lot of vintage broad edge dip pens over the past week or so – mostly Coit models from the 50’s and 60’s. With so many I decided that it would be cool to try modifying one to produce a split line (Coit actually made multi-line nibs but I have yet to get a set). This is a modification you can do at home and I will walk you through the steps and show you how mine turned out. First the obligatory – you do this at your own risk, I am not responsible for you destroying a small Kansas town as a result of trying this out. Ok – that said lets cover what you need and get started.

– A set of small metal hobby files.
– A set of high grit hobby or nail sanding pads or paper.
– If your eyesight sucks like mine a jeweler’s loupe helps.

IMG_3014So first you need to decide what pattern you want to make and if the nib you have will work. The trick is making sure that when you divide the nib into sections each has at least one ink channel to feed each section. Check the graphic and you can see that even after removing the center part of the nib both sides have at least one channel left to feed ink to the paper. For mine I wanted channelsan offset asymmetrical design and with the nib having enough feeds I set about removing material. Start with one of the sharper “V” shaped files and use a channel in the area to be removed as a starting guide for the file. Once your notch is wide enough switch to the square sided file and get your edges cut back about 1/8″ – 3/8″. This may take a little while but go slow so you don’t remove too much material or hurt the nib edge.

IMG_3015Once your new notch or notches are carved you need to smooth out the edge as it may have some brass burrs from the filing. Using some higher grit nail or hobby files you should be able to get the surface back to a nice smooth finish. Check your ink flow and nib feedback and continue to sand until you feel no roughness to the nib.

I will offer one other approach with a HUGE warning – this can be done with a Dremel tool and a cutting disc. The biggest issue with this approach is the disc cuts through brass very quick and you can easily remove far too much material and ruin the nib.

So if you do it right you will end up with another tool in your arsenal for making some interesting letters like the one below – good luck and if you have any questions post below or hit me up on twitter or instagram @calligraphynut.


4 thoughts to “Dip Pen Modification”

  1. Wonder if you could do sort of the same thing with a Pilot Parallel? Ink feeding is different, but would be a cheap experiment!

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