This tutorial will explain how to fabricate calligraphy pen nibs from brass stock and simple tools. Total material cost for one nib is less than $1. The most expensive part are probably the tools needed, but who doesn't love tools?
- Flat Brass stock 1/2" to 1" wide x 0.025" and 0.0125" thick
- Brass stock can be found at most hobby supply stores for low cost. It can also be ordered online for significantly more money.
- Round Brass Tubing 1/4" diameter, wall thickness 0.014"
- Anything thicker will have trouble fitting in most calligraphy pen nib holders. Any thinner will probably be too weak.
- Sandpaper 600, 350, 150 grit
- Solder 50/50 tin/lead
- Flux for soldering
- Jeweler Saw blades 4-O and 4 gauge
- Jeweler's Saw
- Bench vise w/ rubber pads
- Keyhole files (optional, but helpful)
- Soldering Iron (50-75w)
- Third-hand Tool
Step 1: Measure and Cut Stock
The nib being made in this tutorial is a dual-line nib, used for drawing parallel lines. This is obviously a more complex nib because of the extra cuts and its functionality is limited in use. Obviously, you do not need to make the extra cut-out and could very well use it as a whole nib.
The stock used for this nib was piece of flat brass stock 1" x 1/2" x 0.025" and 1" x 1/2" x 0.0125". The thicker piece forms the base of the nib and the thinner acts as the reservoir which holds the ink on the nib through surface tension.
Measure and cut the pieces together so that they are the same size. When clamping the stock in the vise keep the working piece outside of the jaws and support it while sawing with your fingers. This will help prevent bending the pieces of brass while sawing. Use the jeweler's saw with a 4 gauge blade to make the cut.
After cutting the pieces off of the base stock it is a good idea to sand off any rough edges. Use each of the three grades of sandpaper to do this. Then measure and mark the small lines at top every 1/16" at a length of 1/8" each. These fine cuts will allow the ink to flow to the tip of the nib when writing. The deeper channel for the is marked at 1/4".