Preparing your dip nibs for use

August 23, 2016

You need to prepare your dip nibs each time you use them. When you are using a new dip nib for the first time, you have to make sure there is no coating on the nib. Many manufacturers coat their dip nibs to protect them from rusting and to look better for purchase.

The coating can be something as light as a thin oil to a dried shellac. You have to remove the coating if you want ink to flow over the nib smoothly. Old timers used to pop new nibs into their mouth and roll it around with their tongue to clean it, but we aren't expecting you to do that.

You can wipe off an oil coat. You can peel or burn off a shellac coat. Gillott 303 nibs usually come shellacked.


Start by scratching the surface to tear the coat, then scrape it away. You can also hold the nib over a flame to burn off the coat, first from one end, then the other. If you don't remove the coating, the ink will flow poorly over the nib, or might not flow at all.

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