In an effort to learn how nib grinding can successfully transform an undesirable nib size into the nib point of one's dreams, I decided to pursue an economical project to gain some experiencing with reshaping nib points. I wasn't about to use pens from my beloved collection, because even my cheaper fountain pens already write well, and I am not ready to risk grinding a nib into oblivion.
So, I knew Pilot Varsity pens come in a standard medium, allowing me plenty of grinding enjoyment to rework the nib into a fine, extra fine, maybe even a fine Italic. I went to Amazon and was able to find a box of one dozen Varsity pens for $23.83 (U.S.). Yes, this is still nearly 24 bucks, but it is about as cheap as it gets for a dozen, and I get all of the ink inside the pens. As a side note, the Pilot black ink in these pens is very well behaved and nice and dark. It is a great general black ink.
I didn't have any empty ink bottles, so I went to Goulet Pens and ordered an empty Noodler's Ink bottle for $1.00 in the clearance section. He goes through a ton of ink with Ink Drop and the sales of samples, so if you need extra bottles, you can get them there (no affiliation, yadda yadda).
What you wind up with is a pile of eyedropper barrels, caps, and medium point nibs/sections. Because the ink inside the pens was black, it took a good deal of rinsing in cold water to get all of the ink out. I then let this mess dry on a few sheets of paper towel overnight. The nibs are somewhat difficult to pull out, so I used a clean washcloth (one that you don't care about ruining) to firmly grab the nib and section, and then I gently pulled these out. They are in there firmly, for obvious reasons, but you just need to pull and twist at the same time. Be careful, they are filled with ink, so do this outside or over a utility sink. Once you've removed a few, it will get easier to use the proper strength/motion to take out the rest.
For the actual grinding, I have a few different grinding sticks (glorified emery boards/nail files). The larger ones are 200 grit and 400 grit, which my girlfriend acquired from a beauty supply store, and the smaller one (bottom) is a Micro-Mesh Buff Stick from Richard's Pens. The Buff Stick has a 2400 grit portion, a 4000 grit portion, and a the grey side (shown above) is 12,000 grit. Between these sticks, I should pretty much have my bases covered. Another important thing to consider is that the nibs are steel, so it takes a good deal of grinding to bring these down, especially if you want a XXF (extra extra fine).
I may even end up using a rotary tool on these, but I don't want to cut the pens in half, so I will be starting with the sticks and stepping it up to a rotary tool if I need to.
So, there you have it. Gathering the materials required three separate orders from online retails and one purchase from a physical store, but this should be a
incredibly time-consuming fun and rewarding project. I will keep everyone posted on the results once I finally start getting some of these to write fine and buttery smooth simultaneously. If you have any questions, let me know.