Changing Screw in Nib Units

(This page revised October 15, 2015)

While this is a wonderful feature on several models of pens such as (but not exclusive to) Gate City, Bexley, and Pelikan, it is not without hazards. Being able to change a nib unit from an extra fine point accountant nib to a 0.8mm cursive italic will make your fountain pen very versatile. However, some of the problems that you can encounter can cause irreparable damage. It is very easy to misalign or bend the nib or even break the feed, so please proceed with caution and only attempt once you are fully familiar with the procedure. 

Your first step it to prepare your pen. It is easiest to do this with an empty pen but not impossible with a full one. If you have a cartridge or a cartridge converter in your pen, you will need to remove it first. If it is a piston filler, then you will just need to insure the nib is pointed up if it is full of ink. The nib units screw in clockwise and screw out counter clockwise.


To remove the nib unit from your pen, hold the pen in your “weaker” hand. (If you are right handed, this is your left hand.) Place the ball of your “stronger” hand’s thumb on the top surface of the nib and wrap that hand’s index finger around underneath the feed to cradle it in the joint closest to the fingertip. If you are up too high on the nib, you stand a bigger chance of damaging the nib. The closer to the section you can get, the better. (Cradling the nib unit in this way provides better support for some nibs’ fragile feed fins than holding it with your thumb on the feed and your finger on the nib.) Squeeze firmly, applying pressure to hold the nib and feed together, and then “unscrew” the pen, not the nib, with your other hand until the nib assembly comes loose. If it seems really stuck, stop!  Soak the nib end of the pen in cool water or Indy's Ideal Pen Flush for a few minutes, and try again. Once the nib assembly is loose, unscrew the pen the rest of the way.

To install a nib into the pen, reverse the above procedure. Screw the pen onto the nib until it stops, and then “tweak” it just a little further so that it turns against resistance. The ideal installation has the nib firmly finger tight, neither loose enough to work its way free nor forced until the pen “cries out in pain.”

You can even change nibs while your pen is filled — but when you do this with a self-filling pen, you should be careful to hold the pen with its nib end upward, not downward as shown in the illustrations on this page. If you forget to do this, you might find yourself wearing a penful of ink. (With a cartridge/converter pen, of course, you remove the cartridge or converter first, so there’s no risk of ink spillage so long as you remember to hold the cartridge or converter so that its open end does not point downward.)

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