Ask The Desk: Removing Oil (AKA Annealing) Dip Nibs

ask the desk

Several people have asked about the dip nib annealing process that I’ve mentioned, particularly in regards to the now sold out Hunt Mapping Pens.

I found this great video on YouTube (thank you for not making me have to make one, ElisaAnne!) on the process.

If you are fire-averse, there are other techniques you can try including potatoes, toothpaste, or in a pinch, spit.

If you’ve had success removing oil from dip nibs, please leave a comment below. And a quick reminder, this is for dip nibs only and not to be tried with fountain pen nibs!


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5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Heating too much (color change in the metal) can be dangerous to the nib and can screw up the temper resulting in flex and alignment issues. Toothpaste and new, stiff toothbrush have worked the best for me. Crest complete works great if you take some time with it.

  2. Writing to second the toothpaste. Typically for anywhere between 2-3 minutes at a time. I’ve found even a single flame can significantly warp thinner, more detailed nibs, wrecking their fine tips permanently.

  3. An alcohol bath is one of the best (and safest for the metal) ways to remove oil. A quick soak and a wipe, and repeat one or two times works great. “Annealing” is NOT removing oil, it is a process for changing the metal’s properties. So, by introducing heat you are changing the nib properties. I’d say unless the manufacturer says “heat to remove oil” I’d be cautious with this process.

  4. I’ve used acetone from the hardware store (nail polish remover has bitrex in it and leaves a weird scent behind) and cotton balls. A couple times of this and it is good to go.

  5. Toothpaste is really good, I’ve used it for all sorts of cleaning as well as nibs. I have used heat in the past, just passing the nib through the flame, not keeping it in to heat it.

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