From shop to paper (preparing your first pointed nib)
Now that you have procured a batch of G nibs, you can hardly wait to use them. You sit down at the nearest hipster coffee joint, pull out your paper, pen, ink and nib. You notice eyeballs around you peeking out from behind smartphones and laptops, watching your every move. It's time to dance—your maiden voyage.
You dip your pen into the ink, perfectly orchestrated to the new Spotify acoustic playlist. Like a conductor raising his baton, you gingerly lift the pen out of the inkwell and place it on paper. With confidence, you pull towards you. Alas, there is nothing but a blob of ink on the paper. Where, and how did you mess up?
You see, the nib on your holder was manufactured some time ago, in a factory somewhere far away. Being made of metal, the nib is prone to rust. The kind workers at said factory knew all of all this, and had coated your nib in a layer of oil / lacquer to prevent rust from forming.
That's why the nib could sit in a shop for months without degrading. And now that the nib is in your hands, ready to fulfill it's only purpose, it's time to get rid of that oil.
There are several ways to do this, and it really depends on which makes you feel empowered.
Brushing the nib
with toothpaste. Or detergent. Apply a little bit to the nib, rub it in, wash off. Well, I guess this works because you use detergent to clean oil from your plates after meals as well?
Do remember to dry the nib well, else the rust monster will come for your nib.
Flaming the nib
like you would flame a marshmallow over a camp fire. I usually use a lighter, holding the tail of the nib with a piece of cloth and making a few quick passes over the flame with the top and bottom of the nib.
Be careful not to heat the nib too much, as you might cause structural damage to the metal.
Suck on the nib
like you would suck on a lollipop. A very sharp, metallic lollipop. There are several individuals who strongly advocate this method, and students of their classes have to suck on nibs to prepare them for use.
Be careful not to stab your tongue.
Using boiling water
you would have to dip the nib into boiling water then into cold water in quick succession. Repeat several times.
Piercing vegetables / fruits / roots
I have heard of people piercing potatoes or tomatoes, but since food is hard to come by where I live, I have not had the opportunity to try this method out. Anyway, just stick the nibs into a potato and start wondering what you are doing with your life.
Make sure to remove the nibs after about ten minutes. Leaving the nibs in the potato too long will cause it to rust.
Alignment of nib on holder
When installing a nib onto a holder, make sure to handle the nib by its body—never by its tines— to preserve the quality of the nib.
On a straight holder, the nib should be pushed in as much as possible.
On an oblique holder, the point of the nib should line up with the axis center of the pen.
Inking of nib
Once the nib is installed in the holder, it's time to load some ink. Not much technique to this, just dip the nib into ink such that the vent is covered, then remove.
If you notice that very little ink is on the nib, you might have to repeat the preparation stage again. Sometimes frying chicken near the nib or touching the nib with greasy hands will coat the nib with oil again.
In general, the vent should be filled with ink. You don't have to shake off excess ink or tap the side of the ink well unless your ink is extremely watery.
Our next post will explain how to use the nib, so remember to check back in a few days!
@YakiUjohn the potato