Saturday, May 27, 2017

Vanished Point

I recently picked up a Pilot Capless Decimo - the Japanese-market version of the Vanishing Point Decimo. I'd heard that Japanese nib sized were smaller than Western nibs, so I picked up a medium assuming it would be about a fine. Unfortunately what I found was that the nib put down a much thicker line than I had been expecting. Plus it was insanely wet; I was getting a LOT of feathering, and I used up the ink cartridge in a single week of mild note-taking - in contrast, the Parker Vector fine nib I had been using previously has lasted over a month so far on the original cartridge, and it's still going.

Part of the problem might have been my fault; I'm unused to soft nibs (despite this being the steel nibbed version it's still quite soft) and I think I damaged the nib a little when I was first trying it out. Nothing that couldn't be repaired by someone who knew what they were doing, but, well...

... well that's what the Internet is for, right? Basically, I decided to try to "improve" the nib myself. Yes, I would probably screw it up, but I figured if I didn't like the pen as it was then what did I have to loose? It would be a learning experience, right?

First I tried to force the tines closer together to reduce the ink flow; I ended up crossing them over then aligning them as best I could. Then I sanded down the sides with 1500 grit sandpaper, then the top, then I tried to knock off the corners and round the edges before smoothing everything with the micromesh.

I actually had to sand then smooth several times. After all that the nib now runs much finer and much dryer (perhaps a little too dry), so technically I achieved my goals. However it is also VERY scratchy now, especially on the upstroke; a far cry from the original silky-smooth performance. Despite the scratchiness, I actually like it more now than before. Perhaps that's just because I'm more attached to it now after having worked on it myself? Hard to say, but the finer, dryer line is much more practical for the pen's intended use, so there is that. Perhaps I'll try to smooth it out a bit more another time, but I'll do a little writing with it first to see how it does in real life.

Ultimately if I can't get it to a use-able state I might spring for a new one; I'm hoping to avoid having to do that, but I do like the pen enough that I would consider it if necessary.