The nib of a fountain pen is simultaneously the most useful and most beautiful part of a pen.
Nevertheless, it is also the most delicate part of the pen, and as such, requires special care and attention. If you wish to replace the nib of your pen, you’ll have to follow a careful set of instructions to avoid damaging your stationery.
Depending on the make of your fountain pen, you can remove the nib by either gently tugging it out of place or unscrewing it from the feed. Then, switch it out with a new nib by pressing or tightening the replacement into the feed. Allow the nib to refill with ink and then test whether it can write.
In this article, we’ll explore why you might need to remove a nib and how you can do so without damaging your pen. Use this information to take care of your stationery and make adjustments as you see fit.
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Why Change a Fountain Pen Nib?
Any pen you buy will come with a stock nib made from either steel, titanium, or precious metals. The more you use your pen, you may want to switch things up to get a variety of writing styles. Here are a few reasons why you may wish to change your pen’s nib:
- Line Size – Nibs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each of which produces a different writing experience. The most common nib sizes are fine, medium, and broad. Fine nibs produce a thin, precise line, while medium nibs produce a thicker, more robust line. Broad nibs produce an even thicker line and are often used for calligraphy or other artistic applications.
- Aesthetics – Some nibs give your pen a fancier, more expensive look. Gold nibs are the most expensive, but they are also the most flexible, providing a smoother writing experience. Steel nibs are less expensive, but they are also less flexible, which can result in a scratchier writing experience. Titanium nibs are the most durable but they are also a little pricier.
- Maintenance – No matter what material or size, all nibs require proper care and maintenance in order to function properly. If you force a pen against the paper, it can damage the nib and produce a poor writing experience. You may then have to change to nib to fix your pen, prevent leaks, and improve the pen’s functioning.
We’ll go into more detail about how to tell if a fountain pen nib is damaged in the next section. If you suspect that it’s bent or cracked, you’ll likely have to change it to repair your fountain pen.
How to Check if a Fountain Pen Nib is Damaged
If your fountain pen is not writing properly, the nib could be damaged. Pressing the nib into paper with too much aggression can bend the tip and lead to cracks that will ruin your writing experience. So, if you’ve been struggling to write, follow these steps:
- Check the Ink – If the ink level is low, simply refill the pen. If the ink level is fine, but the pen is still not writing properly, the problem may be with the nib itself. If the nib is dry, simply dip it in water and then shake off any excess. This will usually fix the problem.
- Clean the Nib – If the nib is still not writing properly, it may be necessary to clean the nib. This can be done by soaking the nib in a pen cleaning solution, or by using a nib cleaner. Once clean, dry it off completely to prevent further clogs and rusting.
- Inspect for Damage – Once the nib is dry, check for any signs of physical damage. If the tip of the nib appears bent or the split leading into the feed has cracked, you’ll need to replace the nib.
After removing a nib, it is important to store it in a safe place, such as a pen case or stationery desk. This will help to protect the nib from further damage, and it will also help to keep the nib clean and dry.
How to Remove a Fountain Pen Nib
Whether you want to remove the nib for aesthetic purposes or to replace a damaged nib, you’ll have to be careful to avoid damaging the feed. You won’t need any special tools to remove the nib but we do recommend using patience and gentle fingers. Follow these steps to change out an old nib:
- Drain the Pen – We recommend draining your fountain pen to prevent ink from splattering across your desk, clothes, and hands.
- Pull the Nib – Grab the barrel of your pen with one hand and, using your index finger and thumb, gently pull the nib out from the feed. It should come without much resistance but, if it doesn’t, do not force it. Some nibs are screwed into place depending on the make of your fountain pen.
- Unscrew the Nib – If you can’t pull the nib from the feed, try twisting it counter-clockwise. If it is screwed into place, this will loosen the nib and you’ll be able to then pull it away from the pen.
- Replace the Nib – Using a new nib, either press or screw the base of the nib into the feed. The two pieces should line up so the ink can flow into the nib and allow you to write.
Once you’ve replaced the original nib, refill your pen, and wait a few seconds for ink to flow into the nib. Test it out by drawing a line or writing on a piece of paper. If it’s still not working, you may have to adjust the alignment.
For extra caution, take time to research whether your pen’s nib screws or presses into place. If your pen uses a screw-in nib, you’ll have to purchase specially threaded nibs designed for your pen. Your pen brand should have these available in stock, ready for purchase. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new materials and sizes and enjoy the experience of writing with a fountain pen.