Cleaning Your Dip Pen

Care and maintenance of your calligraphy tools is extremely important.  In fact it is difficult to overstate how important proper care, cleaning and maintenance of your tools really is.

This post focuses on how to clean your broad tip nibs.

I have used embedded videos in this post.  I created the videos and I apologize for how some of the videos cut off at the end.

When you are done using you nib(s) you should clean them as soon as possible.  Even if your ink is archival quality just leaving the ink on the nib will cause greater wear and tear on your nibs and can cause pitting and weakening of the nibs metal.

First things first, remove your nib from your nib holder.  This ensures the pen holder is kept clean and dry which is very important for most pen holders.

Bring your nib(s) with you to a sink along with a dedicated toothbrush for cleaning your nibs.  Yes, that’s right, a toothbrush.  Personally I used water, soap and a toothbrush to clean my nibs.  I do not use “nib cleaning solutions” as I have never found them to do a better job than simple water, soap and a toothbrush.

Once you are ready to clean you nib simply use your toothbrush to clean along the underside of the nib and across the nib.

When it comes to cleaning metal, water is actually your friend. But like some friends, they shouldn’t hang out with each other for too long.  Don’t worry, I’ll cover how to dry you nib in a minute.

If you have a detachable reservoir, then take it off and clean it like a nib. Clean the top of the nib just like you the video showed cleaning the bottom of the nib.

However, if you have an attached nib you will need to clean between the reservoir and the nib.

Now you pen is clean.  But its wet.  Its time to separate the water and the metal as they are not going to do each other any good.

And there you have it.  A clean dry nib.  If the pen as an attached reservoir don’t worry  the procedure to dry it is just the same.  The capillaries work for water just like ink. They pull the water along the nib to the tip and the underside of the nib.  Drying the nib in this manner will pick up the water in the reservoir.

Having a clean nib every single time you do calligraphy is paramount to creating good calligraphy.  If you are using a shellac based ink, substitute in ethyl alcohol for soap and water.  In theory you can buy some cheap where you get rubbing alcohol, but that usually has added chemicals in it.  Cheap terrible vodka also works and in my opinion does a better job.  I’m sorry.

I hope this post and videos are helpful to your learning how to clean your dip pen nibs properly.



2 responses to “Cleaning Your Dip Pen

  1. Pingback: New Calligraphy Kit? New Pens/Nibs? Some tips on how to get started and a reminder for the rest of us. | scribescribbling·

  2. Pingback: What Inks Will Corrode My Pens? | scribescribbling·

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