What to Expect at Our Nib Customization and Pen Repair Weekend Event

Esterbrook Nib

On Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 we will be hosting our 1st (but hopefully not last) special event starring Linda and Mike Kennedy, of Indy-Pen-Dance. Linda does amazing custom nib tuning and grinding, and Mike does top-notch pen repairs. Usually they can be visited in person only at select pen shows in the US, but we managed to book them for this special weekend.

So, what does this special event entail?

On Site Pen Repairs

Bring in your pens, both vintage and modern, that need help. Mike can clean them for you, triage what is wrong, and explain what needs to be done. Many repairs can be done right here on site that day, but depending on what needs to be done to get your pen back in working order, some pens will need to go back to their workshop in Indiana for more extensive work.

A simple sac installation, J-bar replacement or cleaning out of dried ink can often be done right there on the spot. Multiple pens, or complicated repairs, or parts that need to be made will go back with them to be completed at home.

The advantage of bringing in your pen to Mike in person is the opportunity to have him closely examine it, help you understand what is and is not possible, and help guide you to understanding the costs, and whether or not you want to move forward. Some pens may have sentimental value to you, and cost is not an issue, but some pens may cost more to fix than they are worth.

For pen repairs, there will be a sign up sheet each day. Bring in your pens, sign up, and feel free to shop the store while you wait for your appointment. There will be a new sign up sheet each day.

Hours for the event are Saturday 9:30am – 5:00pm and Sunday 10:00am – 2:00pm.

Nib Tuning and Nib Custom Grinds

 As with the pen repairs, there will be a separate sign up sheet each day for nib grinds and tuning, and each person can have up to 2 pens looked at by Linda, in 2 separate sittings. Sign up for 1, have it tuned or ground, then sign up again for another time slot. We will not be taking sign ups in advance.

You can bring in pens that you already own, or you can buy a pen from us that day & have it custom ground or tuned to your taste right then and there.

What is involved with a pen tuning? Sometimes a pen writes a little too dry or too wet for your taste. Sometimes a pen may act a little finicky with certain inks or certain paper. Linda can help you discover what the problem is and adjust your nib accordingly. Sometimes a nib and feed need to be reset, sometimes the tines need to be adjusted, and while these may sound easy, it does not always end well if you try DIY nib tweaks. It is always best to leave it to the pros!

Custom Nib Grinding is essentially taking a standard stock nib and altering the tipping to create a different line width and performance. Having a nib customized involves sitting with Linda, showing how you hold your pen, how much pressure you use when writing, etc., and discussing what you would like to change.

What constitutes a “custom nib grind”? Basically anything other than the standard nibs that come stock on fountain pens. Most fountain pen manufacturers offer nibs in standard sizes of Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad and 1.1 or 1.5 stub sizes. Please note that not all brands offer all of these nib sizes. Sailor, for example, also offers a Zoom, Music and Medium Fine nib size options, Platinum offers a Soft Fine, Pilot has a Soft Fine Medium, and other brands have specialty nibs as well.

A custom nib grand would be considered an alteration or variation of one of these standard nib sizes.

In general terms, some common custom grinds include (but are not limited to):

Stub nibs are often the easiest place to start. The cut is more squared off than the typical rounded tipping end, and the grind can create the thick/thin lines that people love to write with. This may or may not work with how you hold your pen, or what angle you hold the pen to paper, so be sure to ask about tips or tricks when using a stub. You also want to make sure that the edges are not too sharp for your writing habits. Stub nibs can be wet writers.

Needlepoint nibs are ground to a very, very fine point. Needlepoint nibs have recently become trendier and if you like a super-fine nib, this may be an option for you.

Architect Point/Hebrew Italic nibs are ground like a reverse stub or cursive italic , giving your handwriting some broader cross-strokes and narrower downstrokes.

Architect Grind

Cursive Italic nibs have slightly rounded edges to prevent the nib from snagging on the paper, and the grind offers nice line variation. These are very popular nibs and can be used for work and personal writing, since the line width is not too unwieldy to use for regular writing.

There are, of course, many other nib grinds that nibmeisters offer. For our event specifically, from the Indy-Pen-Dance website, these are the most common grinds that they list:

Stub Grinds From $55:
0.7mm or broader $55
0.6mm or finer $65

Cursive Italic Grinds from $55:
0.7mm or broader $55
0.6mm or finer $65

Crisp Italic Grinds from $55:
0.7mm or broader $55
0.6mm or finer $65

DailyItalic™ Grinds from $55:
0.7mm or broader $55
0.6mm or finer $65

Architect Grind $75 (requires broad nib)
Regrinding Round Nib from $55 – requires nib broader than desired finished size.
0.7mm (M/B) or broader $55
0.6mm (M) to 0.3 (XXF) $65
0.2 mm (3XF) Needlepoint $75

Don’t forget, this event is Saturday April 30 9:30am – 5:00pm and Sunday May 1, 10:00am – 2:00pm only.

You are welcome to bring in a pen you already own and of course, we have hundreds of pens for sale in-store that can then be customized.

We hope to see you here!!!