I mentioned in my 2018 DC Pen Show post that I purchased a green nib from Hinze Pen Company to match my Green Ivies pen from 18111. At the time, I thought I was purchasing an anodized nib. Turns out, it’s lacquered steel, which explains my experience. At the show, I was warned by a few people that colored nibs tend to experience flaking. Sadly, that warning held true for my nib.
I waited a while to write this update, because I was hoping that I could give you a positive result. At first it seemed as though the flaking was minor, and, if it had stayed like that, I could have lived with it.
With the first and second cleaning (both within the first month), a bit of green flaked off either side of the nib slit on the outer edge of the tines. It was noticeable, but it wasn’t really obvious, so I hoped that that would be the end of the flaking, and I’d have a good nib.
However, with the most recent cleaning, I decided to change the color in my pen. I found, as I cleaned it, that the ink was being particularly stubborn. After 10+ minutes of flushing water through it, I decided to pop it in my ultrasonic cleaner.
SIDE NOTE: You’re probably shaking your head. Yeah, I know, I shouldn’t have put it in the ultrasonic cleaner. But…I thought it was anodized, and an anodized nib likely wouldn’t have had a problem with a half “round” in the ultrasonic cleaner.
It occurred to me at the time that I may be making a mistake, but I needed to clean the nib thoroughly, and I didn’t want to spend forever to do so.
Sure enough, the ultrasonic cleaner was a MASSIVE mistake. Here’s the nib after about 45 seconds in the cleaner. As you can see, there’s no going back, the green is toast.
So…my thoughts on colored nibs. Seeing as so many people warned me about them, I’m going to wager that this type of problem is common. I really wish that the nib had come with a disclaimer of things to avoid, or ways to care for it that would keep the color from flaking off.
That said, if you’re VERY careful with the nib, you can probably get a lot of use out of it before the color flaking becomes obvious. Also, if you can find an anodized steel nib, you’re likely to get much more use out of the nib before you have color flaking issues (if you have any).
If, however, like me, you have a certain expectation of performance for your nibs, a colored nib probably isn’t for you, especially one that’s lacquered rather than anodized.