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Removing and Installing Screw-Interchangeable Nibs

(This page published February 13, 2024)

Unscrewing a nib, step 1The ability to change nibs in your pen by simply screwing out one nib unit assembly and screwing another in is a great feature. But if you’re not careful, the nib can shift on the feed. This misaligns the tines, and the nib will suddenly be scratchy or exhibit poor flow control, or both.

This feature is often thought of as unique to Pelikan, but Pelikan isn’t the only pen brand with interchangeable nibs. The instructions here also apply to many other brands and models. But note that most pens other than Pelikan’s Souverän and Tradition series use a cartridge/converter filling system. You should remove the cartridge or converter from one of these pens before removing the nib unit.

Unscrewing a nib, step 1To 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. (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, grasp the pen and the nib, separately, as described above. 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 an eyedropper- or self-filling pen, 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, just remove the cartridge or converter first so tthat here’s no risk of ink spillage. Hold the cartridge or converter so that its open end does not point downward!

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