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Calligraphy Nibs Flex Scale (FS) and How To Prep New Nibs

The Curious Artisan

This flex scale is based on personal point of view of Dr. Gail Madalag to come up with a useful guide and reference. Brand new nibs were used to test the flexibility. Flex scale (FS) ranges from 1 (least flexible) to 5 (most flexible).

Modern nibs as point of reference:
1 - Gillot 404
2 - Nikko G, Tachikawa G
3 - Hunt 56, Hiro 41
4 - Brause 66E
5 - Leonard Principal, Hunt 101

New nibs are coated with a special coating or shellac to protect it from rusting during transit. That special coat or shellac prevents the ink from fully adhering to the surface of the nib. There are several ways of removing it to fully prepare your nib for writing. Here are some of the ways to remove it:

1. Using any ammonia-based solvent or window/glass cleaner like windex, wipe the area that will come in contact with the ink which is the underside of the nib.
2. Pass the underside of the nib quickly (3 seconds) over a flame.
3. Using toothpaste on a Q-tip, rub off the coating or shellac on the underside of the nib then wipe off with tissue to clean.
4. The most practical and readily available way -- saliva. Spit on a tissue and use it to wipe the underside of the nib. Our saliva can break down the coating and at the same time coats the nib with protein that makes the ink more adherent to it.


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