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The Stubbening

Posted by Dirck on 11 May, 2015

I’m sure we all remember back in ye aulden tymes of this screed of mine when I made a noise about the modern urge to mess with point geometry.  You’ll also note that the noise was referent to vintage pens, so when I explain what I got up to this weekend you mustn’t shout “Hypocrite!” too loudly.

There is, indeed, the dust of a lot of tipping littering the cavern floor in my Grotto of Hunched Squinting.  An aside– I’m thinking of hiring an Igor to take over some of the hunching for me, although the squinting is built into the task.  A client recently left a couple of pens with me.  One, a Jinhao 159 (that company’s Montblanc 149 look-alike) had nothing wrong with it. but he thought he’d like it made over into a stub, or perhaps even an italic.


Click upon for closer examination

Since removal is relatively easy and replacement is ridiculously difficult, the stop awaiting client examination is a 0.7mm stub, which I’ve indulged in my trick of leaving as a fine round tip on the reverse.  By “my trick” I don’t mean to claim it as my own, as others have done it– it’s just something I like when a stubbing is in the offing.  There’s plenty of tipping left, but I’m at a point where it has pretty much parallel sides the rest of the way down; if this isn’t broad enough, then we’re bidding farewell to the tipping and heading for the land of italic pens.  Even this won’t get a much wider line– I figure at the place I’d have to stop for fear of the feed tapping on the paper, it would get up to 1.1mm at best.

The other pen he left with me definitely had something wrong with it.  Rather than describe it, I’ll get you to make your own visual aid.  First, press you hands together in front of you, as if in prayer or preparation for a dive.  Now, fold your fingers together, leaving only the index fingers pressing against one another.  Imagine these fingers to be the tines of a pen, with the uppermost joint the tipping.  Finally, slide the tip of the let index finger down to press right into the middle of the pad of the right.  This was the state of the Parker Urban I was handed, and the client’s description is understandable and understated: “It’s really scratchy.”  I don’t honestly know how ink was getting down that all the way to the tip.  I think another use of the word stubbed might well be applied to that poor point.  There was a limit to how much remediation I dared do to stressed tipping like that, too; it’s now writing again, thanks in large part to a removal of some tip material with the abrasives.

While I have all the articles of grinding laid out, I decided to cast a die as far as my Faber-Castell gift of recent delivery.  I mentioned that I had gotten a bold with an eye to amendment, but was hesitating in the face of how very smooth and delightful all that tipping was.  I won’t say that I don’t have some regrets.

Not visible; a vandal's tears of remorse

Not visible; a vandal’s tears of remorse

You’ll note that there’s two “post-work” samples.  The problem of doing a lot of point-grinding, with the attached hunching and squinting, is that one begins to have I want to stop doing this replace I want to do a superior job of this as the guiding principle.  That initial sample came out to the satisfaction of a guy who wanted to stop peering through magnifiers and stand with the vertebrae in the stack natural selection intended.  If that sounds like it’s not going to be satisfactory to a less afflicted person, you’d be quite right.

I emerged from the Grotto, and over the loud crackling of my spine asked my wife to give the pen a try.  “That’s a lot more pressure than it should need,” she said, after a couple of false starts.  I married well.  Indeed, I’d arranged to produce a sort of baby-bottom effect, and the darkness of the first sample is a result of my unconscious spreading of the tines to overcome the problem.

I did not instantly fly down the stairs to address the matter.  I had lunch, went shopping, took my son to a birthday party, made supper, watched Miyazaki Hayao’s latest and possibly final work, slept for several hours, ate breakfast and then sauntered back to the Grotto.  I’ve left the point in more of an italic than stub configuration, and my current regrets at the loss of that smooth, smooth blob is underlined by the very narrow lateral strokes of an almost-sharp edge, because there was a lot of household stuff to see to yesterday and I wasn’t going to rush the job.

I don’t think I’m quite done with this one.  The owner isn’t entirely satisfied.

Today’s unamended pen: Parker 50
Today’s ink: Chelpark black


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