Are you ready for a Nibmeister?

I have done a post like this before and I think this is a topic valuable enough to repeat, especially for pen enthusiasts who are new to the fountain pen sector. The first fountain pen I ever bought was a disaster nib, I could not understand why anyone would want to write with a dull nail that smeared ink and was attached to the end of a major brand name pen that I paid a lot of money for, at least at the time I thought it was a lot of money for a pen. I should have done more research and not shelved it away in shame. I just needed to be introduced to a nibmeister.

A nibmeister is an affectionate term given to some talented individuals in our community that don magnifying optics on their head and work magic with our fountain pen nibs behind a small grinding wheel. Watching them work makes me nervous but I so enjoy the output. There are a variety of pen problems they can help you identify and fix if you tell them what you’re experiencing. Common issues include baby’s bottom, slow starts, skips, scratchy, too wet, too dry, and even repairs from drop damage or other accidents. Most of these nib magicians can also change the shape of the nib into one of the many variations of specialty nibs that make writing more fun and infuse more character in your writing style. Stub, Italic, Architects, these are commonly referred to as grinds as usually they entail grinding away some of the metals from the existing nib.

Granted not all pens need nib work or the services of a nibmeister but unfortunately some fountain pen brands are known for inconsistent nib quality out of the box. It can be a difficult balance for the pen maker. The time and labor required to tune every nib that leaves a manufacturer’s shop floor would raise the cost of the pen to all of us. NOT tuning the nib results in sometimes delivering a less than optimal writing experience that could sour the reputation for a brand in the eyes of the unlucky recipient. Some pen enthusiasts are confident enough to do some nib tuning on their own, I commend them. For others a nibmeister is a great option if you’re really in love with a pen for all the other reasons but it just doesn’t write well.

Mark Bacas is one such talented nibmeister that our community is fortunate to have. I have sent Mark many of my pens that possessed some bad writing characteristics and all of them have come back the first time as almost a completely new pen.

Mark was kind enough to share his story with me and I’m excited to team up with him for a cool giveaway so read on!

Mark has been interested in pens for most of his life and he admits he may be guilty of absconding some fountains pens that his dad brought home when Mark was a young boy. It took a visit to The Great Southeastern Show, that later became The Atlanta Pen Show, where Mark’s eyes were opened up to the world of fountain pens. Mark’s collection grew and like many of us he began having nibs refined and custom ground. A process that fascinated him. An active member of the Southeastern Pen Club Mark and Mike Masuyama became friends and Mike suggested he give the whole nib work thing a try. Mark gives credit and praise to Mike and Jim Rouse, of Franklin-Christoph as his mentors and accomplished nibmeisters that have help many pen enthusiasts over the years.

Around the 2015 Atlanta Pen Show Mark began acquiring tools and building his knowledge to really make a go at nib work. He’s getting busier and busier with work as more people find his talent valuable. A unique bonus that Mark offers with every pen he works on is a
video of him writing with the customer’s pen to give them a sense of how it performs after the nib work. His prices are reasonable and his turnaround time back to me has been less than 3 weeks.

Here’s Mark at the Atlanta pen show working his inky fingers off.

Mark Bacas Hard At Work

Here is his tool of the trade that requires a really steady hand.

Marks Magic Wand

NOW THE GIVEAWAY

Mark has been very gracious to team up with me and offer a free nib tune or grind to one lucky readers. Just leave a comment here with what pen you would like to have tuned and why.

At 8:00 pm est on Tuesday June 27th, 2017 I will use Random.org to draw a winner. The winner will have 5 days to contact Mark and myself to start the process and shipping their pen off to Mark. The only cost for the winner is shipping the pen to Mark. Mark and I will cover the nib work and the return shipping.

Even if you’re not the lucky winner I still encourage you to go to Mark’s website, review his services and have him do some work for you. I’m confident you’ll be delighted.

Thanks Mark for everything you do for our community, for me personally you have truly made my writing and my collection more enjoyable.

Good luck to all and I look forward to reading your plans!

Remember: Write something nice……

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50 thoughts on “Are you ready for a Nibmeister?

  1. I love Pilot Vanishing Point pens, and have a few, so I know them to be smooth and cooperative. I have one stub nib, however, that just isn’t towing that line. It usually railroads when I start writing and on downstrokes. It’s fussy and not as smooth as the rest, and I’d LOVE to get it tuned up! Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. Thanks for yet another interesting article, Bob! Also thanks for the generous giveaway! I would like to try my luck with entering the giveaway. The pen would be a Platinum Century 3776 Nice Pur. I am one of the confident guys that tried his own hands at it. The nib was a B – too broad for me. So I ground it down and it turned out a really alright M to F architect. Anyway, I would like to have an EF, but don’t dare to go all the way there myself. So I’d really be happy for Mark to do that. Thanks for the chance to both of you!
    Kind regards,
    Michael

  3. I have a Conklin Mark Twain Crescent filler with a medium nib that I wish was a bit smoother and a bit wetter.
    Thanks so much for the give-away. Good luck to all.

  4. I love Mark’s work. I can’t believe he’s so relatively new to this, as he’s done superb nibwork on quite a few pens for me and I’ve always been delighted with the results. I currently have a Nakaya B that I need changed into something that fits my style better — probably a very fine cursive italic. I trust him with any pen.

  5. .My Aurora Anniversary 88 pen with a flex nib.

    I know this pen could be truly great with three tweaks!

    1. Make it a little finer when not flexed. I know it’s not a sharpened point dip nib but a fine line rather than a medium would look great.

    2. Make it less “grabby” on the paper. I like a little feedback but if this nib could glide more. Well .. that would rock.

    3. Tweak the feed so it can keep up better when I start to flex a bit

  6. I have a Diplomat Excellence A that is just unpleasant to write with. I have two other pens of the same model which write like dream, but this one… I suspect some baby’s bottom, and it writes a bit to dry for me in general. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  7. I met Mark at this year’s Atlanta Pen Show. He tuned a Hero 200A and a TWSBI ECO for me. He does good work and his rates are very attractive. For this giveaway, I would probably buy a pen with a broad nib and ask him to grind it into a left-foot oblique.

  8. I have a Pelikan m800 with a broad nib that has hard starts and a babys’ bottom problem. It is a brown tortoiseshell that is beautiful and feels great in my hand. I would love to have mark tune it. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I would love Mark to take a crack at my Kaweco Cognac Sport with a and turn it into an architect. Thanks for the opportunity!

  10. Awesome article and generous giveaway. I would love to get my Pelikan ground to an architect nib. It writes fairly broad for a medium to me. Not sure I can trust myself to grind it down but would love for it to stay in my EDC. Best of luck to everyone.

  11. Thanks for the great giveaway opportunity! I have a Pelikan M205 that I think is a great pen and flows really well, but with a Western F nib, it’s just a little too wide for my Japanese F nib preference. So, I would like to have it ground finer (either equivalent to Japanese F or finer).

  12. I have a Fisher of Pens Apollo (beautiful Citrine) with a medium nib that could stand to be made more interesting…a stub or architect grind. Such a nice pen deserves a standout nib! Thanks for the chance to win!

  13. I have a Montblanc Kafka
    That is Deeply rouge and shapely
    But it’s nib is dull and lifeless
    And would benefit so greatly
    From a Bacas touch and feel and look
    I’d love to write perhaps a book
    Or several if the nib was right
    I thankyou for the chance
    Goodnight.

  14. Wow, I have a Pilot Custom Heritage 912 that has some writing issues. I’m not sure what it is but it’s a little frustrating! So it would awesome if this pen could be tuned! Thanks for this chance!!!

  15. I have a medium Vanishing Point that would benefit from a visit to a nibmeister. It’s a medium now, but a cursive italic would be nice. Thanks for the opportunity!

  16. I’ve been lucky so far with my nibs working out. However I have a Noodler’s Ahab that started out just fine, but in the process of cleaning it I accidentally dropped it (probably shouldn’t have done it after a couple glasses of wine!) and the tip of the nib got a little bent. It works sort of okay now, but needs help.

  17. I have a Conklin Duragraph with a Fine nib – a gift from my brother. I would love to have it ground to a cursive italic.
    Thank you for the chance to participate in this generous giveaway!

  18. I have a Parker Duofold Centenniel Fine nib that needs to be tuned. Only one of my fountain pens that hums when I write with it. Just needs some TLC.

  19. Maybe for one of my Goulet nibs on a Jinhao x450 it would be fun to get something interesting like an architect grind.

  20. I have a pilot vanishing point with a broad nib that writes wet and reasonably well 80% of the time but every now and then it will skip and have hard starts. So a bit of work on that nib and maybe even an architect grind would be awesome. Thanks for this great giveaway opportunity 🙂

  21. I have a Kaweco AL Sport that I love from every perspective but it doesn’t write well. Lot’s of hard starts and some skipping. Regardless, I carry this pen every single day, I just wish it wrote better!

  22. Oooh, tough question. I have TWSBI 1.1 stub that is just too big for the everyday workhorse I want it to be. I’d love to have it ground down to a medium or fine stub- still want line variation, just a finer line for every day use.

  23. I have a pilot vanishing point that I bought second hand with a medium nib. The pen writes really well except that I have to use sub par paper at work so the ink feathers and bleeds through. I think getting the nib ground down so an ultra Ef will really help with the feathering and bleeding.

  24. I have a Monteverde Intima that is gorgeous. I love the green but I haven’t used it since the first time I took it out of the box. I really don’t care what’s done to it, as long as it’s smooth. It’s currently the scratchiest thing imaginable and I hate it.

  25. I love this profile! I’ve been thinking about sending Mark quite a few pens and I’ve heard great things about his work. I think I’d send my lamy 2k first. The nib has always been a little off and it lets out a very inconsistent flow. I’d love to get it in good working order. Thanks for the chance!

  26. I have heard so many terrific reviews of Mark’s work; it would be great to have him work on a nib for me.
    I would love to have work done on my Vanishing Point broad nib. With most inks it is a hard starter and often difficult to get ink flow. Occasionally an ink will flow well. I suspect babies bottom, but I really don’t know. I would like to have the nib made into a stub.

  27. How cool!

    I’ve been craving an architect nib. I’d have the work done to a custom-made wooden-barrel pen (from a kit) that a friend made for me years ago, but that I rarely use because the nib is a M that is a little too wide and firm for my taste.

    Thank you for the opportunity.

  28. My Waterman Serenite that my husband bought me when I finished my phd. It’s so dry that I’ve never used it but such a beautiful pen and such a shame not to be used!

  29. My Lamy 2000. I got mine at a great price but could only get an M nib. I’d love to have it ground to an F. Great post and thanks for the contest!

  30. I have a lovely citrine Duofold with a boring, slightly over wet medium nib. I’m sure with a well-ground cursive italic it would write as good as it looks…

  31. Thank you, Bob, for sharing this heartwarming story of someone who shares his love for fountain pens by using his skills to help others, and thanks to you and Mark for your generous offer.

    My Montblanc 146 with Broad nib would benefit from Mark’s expertise as the feed doesn’t keep up after a couple of pages, and at times after sitting overnight.

  32. Hi there! Mark is the first and only nibmeister I have worked with…he rocks! I have a platinum 3776 kawaguchi in a broad nib that I would love to be made into a stub or smooth cursive italic.

  33. I bought a Platinum 3776 in Chartres Blue with the specific purpose of trying out a custom grind, and I’d love to turn it into an architect nib. The pen is gorgeous; I just haven’t had the chance to research how to get the work I want done. Thank you for the incredibly timely post!

  34. Love everything about my Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black except the inconsistent Medium nib. I’m realizing now that it’s a nib that really wants to be (or maybe I just want it to be) an italic.

  35. I have a Visconti Van Gogh that sometimes refuses to Gogh. I have tried to remedy this myself to some moderate success, but now I would like it have some line variation as well. Thanks.

  36. I have a pelikan cafe creme whose nib is surprisingly stingy for a peilkan, and a vintage pelikan whose EF could use some comfort. When pelikan nibs aren’t wonderful flowing wet nibs, I get confused.

  37. I have a Pilot Decimo with an 18k M that is too wide for me. A cursive.italic F would be a great option. Thanks for the generous giveaway opportunity!

  38. I’ve always wanted to try an architect nib, especially since I’m an engineer who deals with ye old blueprints. I have a Pilot Prera that I’ve never been happy with in terms of the nib that I think would be great for it.

  39. Thanks to both of you for the giveaway. I would get my TWSBI Micarta ground. The pen is a truly unique item that I love the look and feel of, but the bland nib has a bit of scratch to it that I would love to have tuned and italicized to put some fun into the nib and get some use out of this awesome pen.

  40. Thank you for this generous giveaway.

    I had a Lamy 2000 ground by Mark and could not be happier, he does fantastic work.

    If I won, I would love to send my Pilot Custom Heritage 92 SM off to Mark for another CSI

  41. I met Mark recently and he is grinding a nib for me. He is not the first nibmeister I’ve used but he will be the one I use from now on. Mark is kind, gracious, friendly, patient and as an added bonus, he is brilliant with the magic he performs on nibs. Having tried multiple pens he has worked on, the most difficult thing is picking the one you like the most!

  42. Amazing to come across this post just days after contacting Mark about a possible grind for my Pelikan Burnt Orange. As hard as I’ve tried, I just haven’t found a Pelikan EF nib that’s quite as fine as I’d like. Thought this could be the perfect chance to try my first custom grind, Mark’s highly regarded CSI. Many thanks for the unique and generous giveaway.

  43. I have a Pilot CH 92 with a music nib that needs more line variation–it’s more like a plain triple broad. Not a bad thing, but not really what I want out of it, either.

  44. Hello Bob, thanks for the informative spotlight on Mark Bacas! Was not planning to enter, I’m fairly new to the pen scene. Unfortunately, my current passion, a gently used Namiki Falcon with a Mottishaw cursive italic modification, decided today to take a nosedive nib down into the sink during bath time. I fear it needs a little TLC…and as it was just absolutely perfect pre-accident, I dread closer examination!
    Good luck to all —

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