in an earlier post, i discussed different nibs and the different uses they have for calligraphy - from beginner nibs to my favorite (the brause ef66). but there is another requirement to nibs - and that is how you prep them before actually dipping them into ink.
why prep a nib, you ask? when the nibs are crafted, they still have the manufacturers oils on them, and most often than not, this oil is water-repellent, and meant to protect the nib afterwards. if you have ever gotten a new nib (and was super excited to use it!) then was completely disappointed because it refused to hold the ink you were dipping it in - well, this is due to these oils that need to be removed. trust me, i thought i was a complete calligraphy failure until i learned that nibs needed to be prepped before use!
there are many discussions between calligraphers on their preferred method to prep a nib. some methods are:
+ windexing the nibs
+ sticking the nib in your mouth and using your saliva to counteract the oils (or taking your saliva from your mouth and rubbing it on the nib)
+ sticking the pointy end of the nibs into a potato
+ taking a toothbrush and brushing either acetone (like nail polish remover) or dish soap or toothpaste on the nib
now...all these methods have been tried and true for many a calligrapher - and please feel free to use any or all of them. but the quickest, less messy (and let's face it - less gross! saliva on a nib, in my mouth - ick) method that i use is:
+ a lighter!
take your nib, stick it in the holder (but not all the way) - fire up a lighter and run the nib through the flame. do not torch the nib to death, but run it through for a few seconds to burn off all those oils.
voilà!! your nib is now ready to use!! this method takes seconds, and less work - so you can get to the fun part of calligraphy: