Coffee Cup Nib Smoothing

Have a cheap, scratchy pen? Try coffee cup nib smoothing. Give your fountain pen nib a tune up with this simple hack in less than 5 minutes.

The unglazed ring on the bottom of coffee cups has long been used to sharpen knives so why can’t you smooth a nib? Well, with a light back and forth over your cup, you can!

The unglazed ring acts as a sort of sandpaper (it’s made of the same material as a ceramic sharpening stone – ceramic) that will wear down the iridium tip in whatever shape you decide to apply pressure. It can wear down burrs and sharper parts of your nib that may be catching the paper as you write.

DISCLAIMER: Don’t try this on your expensive pens, it WILL void your warranty and you CAN do damage if you’re heavy-handed; save your expensive pens for trips to nibmeisters, professionals that repair pens for a living.

Coffee Cup Nib Smoothing & Tune-Up

Treat the bottom of your coffee cup like sandpaper and imagine that as you smooth the nib on your cheap pen. If you’re not willing to pay to send it back to the manufacturer because it was a budget pen, but it’s scratchy, then why not try this? It’s fun!

Here are the simple instructions:

1. Write with your fountain pen to find the “hitch” or catch where it’s scratchy. Generally, on most pens, you feel it most on the upstroke, but you can feel it anywhere the nib was not smoothed in the manufacturing process.

2. Flip your coffee cup over to expose the unglazed ring on the bottom, leave your pen inked for the added lubrication.

3. GENTLY roll the pen back and forth over the unglazed edge, turning the nib slightly around in circles and moving it constantly, making the same stroke you felt the “catch or hitch” in and also rolling it in circles. Imagine you’re sanding it back into a ball-shape as you roll. You don’t want to be too heavy-handed here!

4. Repeat all steps two to three times until your nib is smooth.

DONE! How about that? You just hacked your way to a smooth nib on a pen you were going to throw away anyway! Way to save the planet and feel like a boss!