Esterbrook J Double Jewel – Restored – NPI Gregg 1555 Nib

31 05 2013

This page was brought to you in part by the never-drying liquid blood of leprechauns

This page was brought to you in part by the never-drying liquid blood of leprechauns

My first Esterbrook was an impulse purchase, a beat-up and well-loved blue number whose nib had, over time, been worn to its owner’s perfection. When I wrote with it, and the angle was right, it would be smooth as butter—but I wasn’t its original owner, and at times my writing would fall off that sweet spot. I needed to get an Esterbrook all my own, with a refubished body and a brand new nib.

Strap on your two-toned rental shoes, boys and girls

Strap on your two-toned rental shoes, boys and girls

I’m generally not a fan of pen bodies that put me in mind of bowling balls—and this pen is no exception. I have no doubt that this is the sort of design that tickles some people pink, but it’s making me feel toothpastey-green (that’s the scientific opposite color of pink, yeah?). It’s not my style. Nothing so bad that I wouldn’t use it; I’m just never going to take this pen with me and consider it a fashion accessory.

Does anybody name their pens? I'm thinking this one looks like an Ethel.

Does anybody name their pens? I’m thinking this one looks like an Ethel.

The pen I bought came nicely repaired, and with the allegedly easily broken plastic jewel on top replaced with a black metal button, the coating of which will rust off if left soaking in water. Oops.

Pretty sure I have no existing pictures of the nib pre-grind

Pretty sure I have no existing pictures of the nib pre-grind. It’s as though it were meant to be like this all along

I was advised, possibly by wizards, probably more likely by the man who sold it to me—who, if my notes are to be believed, would possibly be one Frank Tedesco— to get a 1555 Gregg nib, and recommended to draw figure 8s on a pane of glass. I didn’t have any spare glass available to draw on that wouldn’t get me in trouble, so I put off the task of personalizing the nib, which was a shame because it was a little scratchy and unsatisfying out of the box. Then one day, feeling inspired with a touch of insomnia, I decided to pull out my little Richard Binder nib smoothing kit to see what I could do.

Decidedly more stabbity than before

Decidedly more stabbity than before

Turns out what I could do was accidentally remove the very tip of the nib, you know, all that tipping material. And it turns out I could still salvage the nib from this disaster. I carefully consulted my Pilot italic nib, and after several tries I’ve ended up with a nice, velvety, fine sort of almost italic nib, perfectly suited to my angle of writing. The ink flow is just right, and the overall experience is one of writing to be savored. I can write fast if needed, but this pen is not intended to be a note-jotter; it shines best at a smooth, contemplative pace.

Everything will be ok. Do not panic. Please remain seated.

Everything will be ok. Do not panic. Please remain seated.

In the end, I’m glad for the mistake, because the pen writes better for me now than it did before, but I’m still a long way off from being paid money and entrusted with other people’s nibs. One day!

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2 responses

31 05 2013
heatherwilliamson

You are so hilarious! I love reading your blog posts. besires being informative about all-things-pen and ink, I feel better after reading them. Kudos and keep up the good writing!

1 06 2013
kp

Glad it all worked out in the end! My esterbrooks are among my favorite pens! Also, I find that Esterbrook nibs write much more smoothly with more lubricated inks. I have used Diamine Eclipse, Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri Same, and Aurora Black in mine with nice results in terms of performance and dry-time.

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