How To Sharpen Your Broad-Edge Calligraphy Nib

Does your metal broad-edge pen nib give your calligraphy hairline strokes? Or does it have a burr that hangs up on the paper? Don’t throw it away. Sharpen it.

Nibs aren’t sharp like knives. But sharper nibs give narrower strokes.

You want a slope or bevel on your nib edge to reduce the amount of metal that touches the paper. But if it’s too narrow it dulls easily or burrs.

To sharpen my nibs I use the flat side of a hard small white Arkansas stone. I also don’t use it with oil.
You want to create a bevel that is about 45° for larger nibs, less for the smaller nibs we use in the SCA. The smaller angle for narrow nibs is to retain the edge’s strength. Strength is more important than extreme thinness.

I’ve also done this to my cartridge pen nibs. Even my Rotring. Works wonders for me.

In my opinion, this video “Calligraphy – sharpening nibs”  by Patricia Lovett, published on YouTube Aug 19, 2013, is the best current video showing nib sharpening. This will help your calligraphy; it did mine.

Tip: If you’re having trouble getting your nib to start writing, give the nib’s back a few strokes to restore its lost crisp edge.

It’s easy. You’ll be able to make hairline strokes that are cat’s-whisker-thin.

Categories: Calligraphy

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