Ink Drop Soup: The Terror & Triumph of the Bent Nib

28 10 2014

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know how it happened. Wednesday, my Pilot Vanishing Point M nib was completely normal. Friday, I clicked the plunger and the nib came out looking like this:

You will notice this more closely resembles some sort of exotic bird than it does a proper Vanishing Point nib

You will notice this more closely resembles some sort of exotic bird than it does a proper Vanishing Point nib

Nightmare. Disaster. Catastrophe. How is this reality? I text my pen store—pen emergency, what do I do? We arrange for a replacement. With a fix lined up, there’s really no reason not to try to right this wrong. The worst that happens is everything stays exactly the same: I have one useless nib, and a new one on the way.

WARNING—I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING. I DO NOT RECOMMEND ATTEMPTING THE RECKLESS THINGS I AM COMPELLED TO ATTEMPT. IF YOU DISREGARD THIS WARNING AND RUIN YOUR PEN IT IS YOUR OWN FAULT. NOT MINE.

Like a genie slipper. Like a sled runner. Like a very small, pointy ski.

Like a genie slipper. Like a sled runner. Like a very small, pointy ski.

To start with, I emailed the head of my local pen club—I recalled seeing a toolbox full of pen repair oddments with him at meetings and I was pretty confident that he did repairs of some kind, and would not dissuade me from my mission. I presented my case, and asked for advice. Piece of cake, he says. Get the nib off the feed and bend it back in place using fingers, a desktop, etc.

I may have improvised some additional implements

I may have improvised some additional implements

I used my fingers, the desktop, metal parts of the Vanishing Point body, and finally, surfaces of my keychain knife to bend the nib back into shape. But did it work? I had to know, but I was at work, without spare ink, without a syringe. I was able to steal a few drops of blue ink from the Caran d’Ache I had with me, and used another empty Pilot twist converter to collect enough water to add to the ink so I’d have enough liquid to write with. It worked. Smooth as ever before, no hesitations and no qualifications.

Cue celestial choir, song bursting forth in joyful noise, with trumpets.

Cue celestial choir, song bursting forth in joyful noise, with trumpets.

Did I use the most appropriate tools? Probably not. Should I be trusted with other people’s pens? Definitely not. But did I fix this pen? Heck. yes.

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5 responses

28 10 2014
Ashley Shell

wow. I would have freaked out! Those pens are not cheap and I LOVE my Vanishing point that I have. Great job! Hopefully I never have to encounter this problem :(

28 10 2014
Colin Robinson

It reminded me of an Ant Eater after it’s accident and you returned it back to normal with I assume little or no training. I applaud and salute your efforts…well done you ! :-)

4 11 2014
carolynec

When I saw the picture I assumed you were reviewing (#201) an interesting new type of nib. Any idea how it got bent like that? Heat? Rift in space-time? Elves?

14 11 2014
penemuel

…how on earth??

21 07 2016
Pilot

That happened to me, too! In my case, I think the hatch at the end must have been obstructed by some lint, and didn’t open completely: as a result, the tip of the nib struck the inside of the pen and the force of pushing the button caused it to bend.

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