Nibmeister vs Nibsheister


The term nibmeister has been around for years as an honorific bestowed on a few skilled people who can improve and even reform a nib. Nibsheister was new to me when I discovered it in a post by “picautomaton” at Fountain Pen Network. It’s clever and good for a chuckle. Whether earned by poor workmanship or unsatisfactory customer support, someone who earns the latter dishonor will find the going rough in the pen community.

Pilot Custom 742 Falcon Nib

Pilot Custom 742 Falcon Nib

Modifying a nib is fairly common amongst fountain pen users but finding the right person for the job can take a bit of effort. Recommendations from friends can be reassuring but FPN can substitute for friends especially if you inquire backchannel. Pen people do love to talk so getting opinions should prove easy.

Once you do find a promising candidate, ask if he or she warrants their work. No nib guarantee? Meh. Years ago I tested a modified steel nib that had been sold to a newbie by a reputable nibmeister. The nib was bloody awful but it was sold without a guarantee or return option because it wasn’t gold. The unfortunate buyer got stuck with a stinky nib. No willingness to make things right? Then no sale.

As an inkophile one point annoys me more than others. A few repair people are biased against some brands of ink. If the nibmeister insists the use of those inks will void the warranty, he can buy an island and become a dictator. I’ll spend my money with someone else.

Here is a parting shot and it is critical. Are you willing to re-home that pen if the modification isn’t to your liking? If the pen is precious as is, leave it as is.

Vintage Eversharp Nib

Vintage Eversharp Nib



  1. […] Denim, Eclipse, Macassar, Meadow, and Wild Strawberry Moleskine rolls out new models and colors Nibmeister vs Nibsheister Pocket Blonde: Platinum Riviere Fountain […]


  2. The same thing happened to me a few years ago. I’d also add that the YMMV caveat: Just because a vendor garners effusive praise, don’t abandon caution and heed Inkophile’s excellent advice about really pondering the return options.


  3. It’s awfully sad when this happens, but it does happen (likely a lot more than folks realize, too). Granted, what’s perfect for me might be awful for you, so there’s definitely some subjectivity to it all, but at the end of the day, if the “expert” won’t stand behind their work, find someone who will. Great grinders are out there – sometimes you just have to look for them a little.


    • Ryan, you’ve seen a lot more nibs than I have and it is indeed sad when a nib gets a bad modification. I am always amazed when people send a lovely if not expensive pen to be reground. Maybe that means I’m not a gambler but I just couldn’t do it. Even so, I have more often heard about successes than failures. So finding the right person for one’s taste in nibs is ideal.


  4. I had an unfortunate experience buying a TWSBI 580 from Pemberton Brown. I’d read glowing reviews of his work on the web, but for me his fine “Butterline stub with added flex” was utterly unusable. It was one of the scratchiest nibs I’d ever set to paper. I sent the pen/nib back to him for smoothing and it came back as bad as before. He did refund my money, but the experience was a complete waste of my time. I wonder who his clientele is and why they rate him highly. Perhaps they’ve never written with a good nib? What’s the deal with Pemberton Brown?


    • What a disappointment. My only experience with his nibs are two stub regrinds he did for someone else that I found to be quite sharp. Some people like nibs that way and it can produce very nice shading. I prefer smooth nibs that glide better. In my experience, it can take some trial and error to find just the right nibmeister. If you can get to a pen show someday, do try lots of regrinds to see who best matches your ideal of the perfect nib.

      Best success in your quest!


      • Thanks. Crisp italics I can deal with. I have several that, properly aligned to the page, are smooth as can be, but whatever Mr. Brown is doing is a horse of a completely different color. Every nibmeister has their adherents, but anything called a “stub” should be as smooth as the “butter” in Pemberton’s description. Mine was terribly scratchy and after return, apparently the best he could muster placing him squarely in the “nibsheister” category in my book. To each his own, eh? : )


        • So true. 🙂


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