We are happy to offer you our custom in-house nib services provided by our reputable nib specialist, Anabelle Hiller, who has been working with us and been tuning your purchased nibs behind the scenes since 2018.
Here is how it works:
Select the desired nib customisation
If you want a Architect, Left Foot Oblique or Right Foot Oblique grind, please upload a picture of you holding a fountain pen (from the side and front – see below for samples)*
Click ‘add to cart’
Fill out any necessary information we may require in regards to the service in the comment field during the checkout.
Ship your fountain pen(s) to us. (if the pen was bought with us, this step can be skipped)
We will return the fountain pen(s) to you once the Nib Customization is done and approved by our nib specialist.
Nib Customization will take about 1-2 weeks to be done.
What services do we offer?
General nib adjustments are usually reversible tweaks done to the nib to achieve an ideal writing experience, such as:
Smooth and tune
This service includes the polishing of the tipping material as well as aligning of the tines to achieve the smoothest feel possibible. This service is also a free option for any pen purchased from Appelboom, by simply checking the ‘Tune & Smooth’ box on the pen’s product page when you order it from us online.
Ink Starvation / Baby’s Bottom
Many things may cause a nib to suffer from ink starvation, meaning the pen, despite being fully inked, will not write or randomly stops writing after a few words or sentences. More often than not this is due to what the pen community refers to as a baby’s bottom. Simply put, this describes the overpolishing of the nib which prevents the ink from ever touching the paper. Whatever the cause of the issue may be, we will take care of it for you.
Increase / Decrease ink flow
If your pen performs fine but simply writes either too wet or too dry for your liking, meaning it leaves too much or too little ink behind on the paper, we’ll happily adjust this issue for you with this service.
Nib grinding refers to the (mostly) irreversible reshaping of the tipping material. This happens with highly abrasive tools under the microscope and will affect the line width and variation produced by the nib. Fountain pens with a custom nib grind can not be returned.
Standard nib tipping usually comes in a round shape in sizes ranging somewhere from EF, F, M, B to BB or even BBB depending on the brand. Round grinds will have a consistent width in all directions and display no line variation. A standard nib reduction will reduce the tipping size by one step, i.e. from B (broad) to M (medium), or F (fine) to EF (extrafine).
For an exact nib size we suggest sending a writing sample of the desired nib width for your custom grind to match.
Stubs and Italics
If you wish to add a bit more excitement to your handwriting, the rich line variations these grinds provide might just be the thing for you. In a standard hand position these grinds will create a broader up and down stroke and a finer side stroke, adding a calligraphic flare to your handwriting.
A crisp italic grind will have the most line variation, meaning the contrast between the side and down stroke will be the strongest due to it’s fairly sharp edges. While this nib will provide a very clean and sharp look, it also comes with a very low tolerance of hand rotation as you write.
A cursive italic positions itself right between a crisp italic and a stub, creating a bit more line variation than a stub, but allowing a greater tolerance in hand rotation than a crisp italic.
A stub grind will provide less extreme line variation and less crispy looking lines compared to a crisp italic, but allows for more freedom and rotation in the hand as you write. Depending on your personal writing style and technique this may be beneficial to you if you are not used to cursive or crisp italics, or if you prefer a subtle line difference visually.
If you naturally hold your pen at a rotated angle and wish for line variation in the nib, stubs and italics might not have served you well in the past. If that is the case, we recommend an oblique grind. To ensure we grind the nib at the exact angle that suits your personal handwriting, we need you to provide pictures and/or videos of your handwriting.
Left Foot Oblique (pictures required*)
The left foot oblique compensates for a writer who rotates their pen counter-clockwise. They are referred to as ‘left foot obliques’ due to the resemblance of a left foot when the imprint on the nib faces you.
Right Foot Oblique (pictures required*)
The right foot oblique compensates for a writer who rotates their pen clockwise. They are referred to as ‘right foot obliques’ due to the resemblance of a right foot when the imprint on the nib faces you.
Architect / Hebrew / Arabic Grind (pictures required*)
Effectively, an architect / hebrew / arabic grind will give you the same effect as a stub grind will, but rotated by 90 degrees, meaning your downstrokes will be finer and your side strokes will be broader. Due to the nature of this grind, knowing the writer’s writing angle is of utmost importance to our nib specialist, to ensure maximum writing comfort. For this reason we ask for photos and\or videos of the customer's hand as they hold a pen.
*For the Architect, Left Foot Oblique, and right Foot Oblique nib grinds we need two pictures of you holding a fountain pen. These pictures can be uploaded in the option menu. The pictures have to be from the side and the front (see below two samples).
Left foot oblique
Right foot oblique