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(This page revised August 8, 2017)

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In addition to short articles about what’s new for sale, where the next pen show is, and other items of interes, each issue of Nib Noise contains Broad Strokes, which is usually a new article that Richard has added to the Reference Pages section.

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Nib Noise * Volume 16 Number 5 * August 2017

Welcome to Nib Noise. We hope you'll enjoy reading this month's issue.

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS NEWSLETTER! For comments or questions, send
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of this email. Instead, visit the Free Email Newsletter page on our

*** The Washington DC Fountain Pen SuperShow ***

The biggest show of the year is not too far off, and it's at a new
location this year. The show's new home is the Marriott Fairview Place
in Church Falls, Virginia.

With the pre-show crankin' up on Thursday, August 3, and running through
Friday, the Big Show will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday,
August 5 and 6. If you want to attend on Friday (or think you might want
to attend on more than one day), you must buy a weekend pass, which
admits you to all of the pre-show events, including the Friday wine and
beer party. It also gains you early admission on the public days. You
can purchase a weekend pass at the show's registration desk.

This show is so-o-o big, and so-o-o good, that you may face a legitimate
worry about having a panic attack when you walk in. On the other hand,
because the show really is that big and that good, you should seriously
consider buying that weekend pass I just mentioned.

If you plan to come and haven't ever been to a show before, you might
want to read my article on Your First Pen Show:

Also, please read our "Table Talk" FAQ to learn how we operate at shows:

For more information about the show and the Marriott Fairview Place
hotel, please visit the show's Web site:

Once you get there, you'll definitely want to visit the world's biggest
and best ink testing table! In the past, this great feature has been
open 24 hours a day while the show is on, and I see no reason to expect
that this arrangement will change. Please note: the ink bottles on the
table become acquainted with pens that may or may not be practitioners
of good hygiene. Among other concerns, this can cross-contaminate the
inks. I recommend that you not dip your good pens into the tester
bottles. There will be dip pens provided, and you can also bring along a
couple of dip-less desk pens (Morriset, Esterbrook, Sengbusch, et al.),
or even a handful of cotton swabs.

Barbara and I will be there for the whole show, from the Overture on
Thursday afternoon to the final curtain on Sunday. As always, I'll be
regrinding and tweaking nibs while their owners wait. Bring a pen, and
share some of the sparkling repartee at our table while I jazz up your
writing experience.

We can accept your MasterCard, VISA, American Express, or Discover card
-- but many of the vintage dealers are hobbyists who can handle only
cash, so be sure to note the location of the ATM in the hotel lobby. But
bear in mind the advice I've laid out in my article on Your First Pen
Show (linked above).

We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. We hope to
see you there. Make your hotel reservations sooner rather than later!

*** Getting to the SuperShow ***

The Marriott Fairview Park is just off the Beltway (I-495 for those of
you who don't adopt the local patois). From the Beltway, take exit
50A-50B for U.S. 50 East toward Arlington. Follow the signs for Fairview
Park South, and merge onto Fairview Park Drive. The hotel will be on
your left about 1/5 mile (0.32 km) after you merge onto Fairview Park

For tripping around the Washington area, the Metro's Dunn Loring station
is about 3 miles away. The hotel runs a complimentary shuttle service
to and from the station.

*** Nib Workshop at the DC Show ***

Ably assisted by my protégés Linda Kennedy and Brian Gray, I will be
giving my hands-on nib smoothing seminar at the DC show. It happens
Sunday morning, beginning promptly at 8:30.  All 16 paid slots for
hands-on participation have been filled, but you will be welcome to
audit the workshop without registering. I'll have extra copies of the
handout, I'll accept questions from those auditing. If you decide after
the workshop that you'd like to try working with your own pens,
Indy-Pen-Dance will have all of the workshop materials for sale at their

*** Missing Your "Pen Show Tray" Fix? ***

If you are bemoaning the disappearance of my monthly "Pen Show Tray and
haven't yet latched onto the NEW monthly tray from Indy-Pen-Dance, you
can do so very easily. Just point your browser at this page:

*** The Commonwealth Pen Show Is Coming Next Month ***

After the DC SuperShow is over, it's still showtime, at least for us
here in New England. The Fourth Annual Commonwealth Pen Show will come
early this year, on Sunday, September 10. It's a one-day show, but it's
a good one! There are some new vendors this year, and the room was so
crowded last year that the show will be in a bigger space this year.

For information about the show and the hotel, please visit the show's
Web site:

Barbara and I will be there all day, of course, and we hope to see you

*** Broad Strokes ***

Last month I announced that this month's article would be about how to
resac twist fillers. As you will see, I've changed my plans. The twist-
filler resacking article will appear in the September Nib Noise.

From the very beginning of modern writing instrument manufacture until
the early years of the twentieth century, almost all fountain pens were
eyedropper fillers, even though today’s most popular filling system had
been staring inventors in the face for nearly 2,000 years. That would be
the piston filler.

This article was written in two parts for PEN WORLD Magazine. With the
permission of my editor, I'm publishing it on my website simultaneously
with the second part's appearance in the magazine.


*** Don't Forget Barbara's Attic ***

Although the June 2017 "Pen Show Tray" was our last monthly tray, we
will continue to offer assorted miscellany in Barbara's Attic, including
new trays of restorable pens and the nibs in the RichardsPens Nib Shop.
The price blowout on our nibs continues; join in the fun and you can
save hundreds of dollars.

Someone out there missed an incredible bargain on the Sawbuck Special
that was running for the past two months. A $1600 solid sterling silver
Onoto pen has gone begging. It might show up somewhere else, though, so
do keep your eyes peeled.

*** The Pen Doctor ***

The Pen Doctor is a regular visitor to the Nashua Pen Spa, and every so
often he puts a few prescriptions up in our site's reference section.
Each month, I'll be reprinting one of his prescriptions here.


Q: I have picked up two boxes of dip pen nibs. One is from C. Howard
Hunt Pen Co. in Camden, NJ. The other box is Bank of England No. 104
Ball Pointed Nickel Aluminum nibs. I cannot get nibs from either box to
hold any ink. I dip the nib. Brush off extra ink and the first touch to
the paper the ink make a blob, then perhaps writes about three letters
and then it's done. Is there a trick I do not know to using a dip nib?

A: Steel dip nibs are almost always shipped with a very light coating of
oil to keep them from rusting. Ink will roll off them like water off a
duck's back. Most users of steel dips are in the habit of sucking on
each new nib for a while before using it; if this doesn't pass your
reasonableness test, try shaking the nibs gently in a sealed jar
containing one tablespoon of clear household ammonia mixed with 2∕3 cup
of water. Another thing to check, if no amount of cleaning will make
your nib hold ink, is the ink you're using. Dip nibs do not work at all
well with fountain pen ink. If they'll hold it at all, they won't hold
enough to be useful. Try switching to a calligraphy ink made for use
with dip nibs. (But don't put that stuff in your fountain pens!)

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