Copper dip pens

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Neat. I could probably do that with brass as that is readily available through modelling supply lines or the hardware shop. Also the brass is a lot harder to bend which is why it is used for pinning models. I may have to try this.


Is it necessary to bond the nib to the tube? If you need to change the nib do you then have to make a new one or would you need to force the old one off? Would it be easy to pop it off?

Just curious.


Ya might be able to keep it in place with a couple of set screws if you used lock-tite/super-glue to lock them in, but copper is so soft I doubt that would work.
Cram a small wooden-dowel in the bottom with the appropriate amount of material carved out of one side to accept the nib? (might be able to use a screw in the end of the dowel to tighten things up).

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Depends on the glue. Superglue would probably work well but it is brittle and can break easy enough if hit right but it holds quite well in most cases and if too well a soak in acetone will ruin the bond and turn it into a goo.
If you us an epoxy say like J-B Weld you may as well call it a disposable pen.

You don’t strictly need to be able to separate the nib and handle of a dip pen anyway.

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Brainstorming… if you filled the bottom of the pen with epoxy putty instead of gluing the nib in, lightly coated the back of the nib with vaseline, and then forced it into the putty before it hardened, that might work. You’d get a very tight fit around the nib but still should be able to slide it in and out.

I did some messing around with sculpture in small copper tubing long ago. It’s easy to bend with pliers or other hand tools, and you can get some nice surface effects by filing marks in it with a needle file (or leaving the plier jaw marks on it), polishing the smooth parts, and then letting it patina. When in doubt, make snakes.


With just the right size of tubing, it should be easy to heat the end of the tube and let it shrink around the nib. Heat again to remove. The discoloration could be polished out or treated as a feature.


I think what Martin is doing would work with Sugru or poly clay instead (admittedly Sugru would give a less harsh-to-write-with sensation). Although I do like the epoxy idea (or resin) to give the [name your solidifying poison] and nib a reason not to sink into the copper tube.

Need, no but it’s certainly nice to be able to. Particularly if you’re like me and have trouble deciding the nib is clean.

I’m definitely about that. The discoloration of fired copper is very pretty. Plus the copper’s going to get discolored from use anyway. May as well do it on purpose and start with something you like before moving on to the whims of chance and skin oil.


So, like run-of-the-mill hot glue from a hot glue gun then?

It should be pretty easy to reheat and then pop the nib out if it needs replacing. All of these other proposed solutions sound pretty good too.

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For a solid; but easily reversible, joint you could go with one of the low-temperature metal alloys(commonly used when bending thin walled metal tubes). If you want to keep the BOM low and aren’t afraid of a few ‘toxins’, Wood’s metal is a classic and not entirely composed of lead and cadmium. Field’s metal is pricey; because of all the indium; but not as hard on the ol’ central nervous system.

Either way, the melting point is well above room temperature or other conditions likely to be encountered when writing; but lower than boiling water, so the nib will stay nice and solid during use; but be removable with little more than a tea kettle and(in the case of Wood’s metal) some slight attention to safe handling.


“Standard nibs” good luck with that. I need 3 different nib older to use all the nib I like.
Plus if you glue the nib on the pen… that’s kind of dumb. Nibs are not suppose to last long.

My personal favourite :
Simple, elegant, and can old 2 kind of nibs.

Can’t resist the urge to show my stuff :smiley:

  1. Tachikawa T25 : a Japanese holder, can hold regular and small tubular nibs. I use a small piece of paper to have a better grip between the nib and the holder.
  2. Conté 1775 : French pen holder, for non-tubular nibs of all sizes, the lever hold them really well.
  3. Baignol & Farjon : my grand father pen holder… don’t try to found one.
  4. 1770 Bic : for the “atome” tubular nibs, an all time favourite of French cartoonist ! Too small for my hand.

Or you can go with a torch and use common 60-40 (63-37) tin-lead solder.

I am not 100% sure how well would the Wood’s metal adhere on the pen. Worth trying, though. And can always be pretinned with the tin-lead, which then should work.

Beware with a torch around the Wood’s alloy, as cadmium likes to volatilize. But I wouldn’t be all that worried about small amounts if you don’t overheat the melt.

Most likely. Lick the tube with a torch and the nib will drop like a dress after a prom.

That could work nicely.

What about wax coating, then tracing the design with a pin, then etching it in ferric chloride, or electrolytically?

Epoxy can be unmounted by careful heating with a torch. It will soften then. Works well (using a hot air gun from an old hairdryer) on disassembling old ferrite transformers to salvage the cores and bobbins to make new transformers.

Use a piece of a solid brass or steel rod, machined to leave space for the pen. Solder into the tube, drill a hole and cut a thread.
May not even need to be soldered, the set screw for the pen will hold it in place.

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