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How do you clean a calligraphy nib?

by Judith Joosten 28 Jan 2017

Yay, you bought some materials to experiment with. Have you bought new nibs, but are you having problems with your ink flow? That may be true, but you still have to prepare your nibs for use. The nibs do not work optimally as soon as they arrive from the manufacturer. Due to the production process, a layer of oil remains on the nibs. You must remove this before you can get started. If you don't do this, you will continue to suffer from loose ink for a while. This can cause frustration, especially if you're just starting out with calligraphy. There are several ways to clean your nibs. The first of these is: cleaning with toothpaste. Yes really!

Brush your calligraphy nibs with toothpaste
I think this way is the most used. You simply brush the nib with a soft toothbrush and some toothpaste. It doesn't matter which one you use for this. Although this beautiful tube from Marvis is a nice accessory for your work table :). Then rinse the nib with water and dry it.

Heat the nib briefly
The second way is to warm your nib. You now first put your nib in the nib holder. Then you literally pass the nib through a flame for a second. It is important that you do not keep it in the fire for too long because you will destroy the nib. Then rinse the nib and dry it well.

Stick the nib in a potato
Does the fire feel uncomfortable? I'm always afraid that I'll break the nibs... Then the last way is to prick the nib in a potato. I think it's a bit of a waste of a potato, but maybe you have an old potato lying around? After this, of course, rinse the nibs again and dry them thoroughly.

You can test whether the nib is clean by dipping it in the ink. If the ink coats the nib evenly, you can continue, otherwise repeat the process. Do not touch the nib with your fingers after cleaning, as this will make them greasy again.

Do you know a nice way to clean nibs? Let me know!


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