Tip of the Nib
One of the most crucial parts of a fountain pen is the tip of the nib, also known as the tipping material. This is the part of the pen that comes in contact with the paper when you are writing. It is important to know a little bit about the tipping material since the quality and health of the tipping material will directly affect the quality of your handwriting.
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This article will give you a better understanding of the variety of tipping materials that are used for fountain pens. By equipping yourself with the right knowledge now means that you can make a better purchasing decision later.
Why the Need for a Tipping Material?The main nib body is usually made of gold or steel. This material is not hard enough to withstand the wear and tear associated with the constant friction with paper during handwriting. To remedy this problem, tipping material is attached to the end of the nib. (Also see article: How does a Fountain Pen Nib Works). The tipping material is made of a mixture of metals that are harder than steel or gold.
The Material Used to Make the TipThe tipping material can be seen at the tip of the nib. It forms a ‘ball’ on the end of the nib. This is the part that comes in contact with the paper during the writing process. Originally, the tipping material was made from iridium. However iridium has become a scarce material making it expensive to be used as a tipping material. Nowadays, the tipping material is made from a metal alloy consisting of a mixture of ruthenium, tungsten and rhenium. The performance of this metal alloy is the same, if not better than the original iridium tipping. This is the result of improved manufacturing and quality assurance processes.
The Shape of the Tipping MaterialThe shape of the tipping material dictates the size of your writing. If more of the surface of the tipping material touches the paper surface, then the resulting handwriting is thicker. In general, the nib size is grouped into three categories: fine, medium or broad. For most writing styles, a medium nib size will suit your needs. For more information on nib sizes, see article: Fountain Pen Nib Sizes.
How to Remedy Scratchy Writing Experience
Sometimes the finish of the tipping material is uneven or there is a sharp protrusion. This can result in a scratchy writing experience. Craftsman remedy this by carefully polishing the tipping material with micromesh (a type of sandpaper) to smooth out the surface.
- The size of the tipping material dictates the thickness of the lines you produce. A broad nib will produce thicker lines, while a fine nib will produce thinner lines.
- The tipping material is a metal alloy composed of a mixture of ruthenium, tungsten and rhenium.
- The tipping material can be polished using micromesh to smooth out any roughness or sharp points.