I Modded My 849s!

While in the throes of COVID, I did not have a lot of energy to write, swatch inks or even sit up straight. In the few moments of energy and coherent thought, I decided to mess around with swapping nibs.

I have loved using my Caran d’Ache 849 fountain pens but ever since the very first nib housing broke and I had to replace it, I have had issues with the actual nibs. I have two Cd’A 849s: one hot pink and one fluorescent green (my signature colors!) and have had them tuned repeatedly because the nibs were not performing properly. I was getting hard starts and weird nib scratchiness. I didn’t know what was up.

So, this weekend, after cleaning and trying to use these pens again with a great deal of frustration, I decided to see if any of the random nibs I had laying around might fit into the feed housing. At this point, I wasn’t going to make my situation any worse since the pens weren’t writing with any consistency.

I started rooting around in my junk pen drawer looking for a small, No. 5-ish sized nib. Despite the odd shape of the Cd’A nibs, they have a standard arc at the end that fits into the feed and housing so it was worth a shot. I had several Chinese pens I purchased years ago in an effort to see what they were like. And while the nibs were smooth and wrote well, the cheap plastic barrels were not particularly interesting to me so the pens never got much use except when I needed to do comparisons. Well, it turned out that the Chinese No. 5 nibs fit perfectly. I had two Dlike nibs in slightly different nib sizes that I slotted into the Cd’A housing and VOILA! no more hard starts or weird scratching, angle issues.

I think the biggest advantage that the Dlike nibs have over the Cd’A is the breather hole. I could be wrong. the Cd’A nibs might just be garbage or I may have exceeded 100K miles on both of them (I got these back in 2017). But because these two pens are my absolute everyday go-to pens for work, I didn’t want to give them up just because the nibs weren’t working for me. These pens have features that make them my prized office pens: snap caps and room for TWO standard international cartridges. They are also eye searingly bright so I know where they are at any given moment.

Ignore where I wrote “PENBBS” in the written example above. It was all a fever dream and the nibs are both Dlike!

Do you have any pens that you love but don’t love the nibs? Have you tried swapping out the nib, getting it tuned or buying a new nib? Tell me your nib stories in the comments!

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Perhaps I will start to experiment more with nib swapping on less delicate and expensive pens. Hope you are recovering well!

  2. Hey Ana, I’m glad to see this post. I also had problems with the nib on the one and only 849 that I have. I just gave up and put it aside. I’m going to try your solution and see if I learn to love the 849.

    I always look forward to seeing your posts, especially the weekly Link Love.

    Thanks for your hard work for the pen/stationery community.


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