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Laurie
June 15th, 2015, 05:45 PM
Not sure if this is the right place to post but it seems to fit better here. I have recently renewed my interest in fountain pens and my last venture was to experience flex pens. On advice from forum members that it would be better to buy some flex dip nibs and feel the experience. They wisely advised that it was much cheaper than buying a pen with a flex nib ( may only be softy or springy and not really flex).

So I took that advice and am waiting on an ebay purchase of about 10 various nibs and pen holders. Some of the nibs are fine pointed flex nibs and others are italics. I have been doing a bit of research to determine appropriate nib holders, inks etc. Interestingly I discovered the oblique holder and more interestingly there is a very interesting youtube article on how to make your own: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNuvi-fdutE. You may notice at the end of this video he does not show how to fit these oblique holders onto the pen itself. I sent Christopher an email and he was very responsive and advised me of how to do it. Originally his method was flawed in that ink and water when washing got into the end of the pen holder causing swelling and ruining the wooden pen holder. He now attaches it differently using flue and brass pins and creating a water proof barrier.

The making of the oblique holders appears fairly straight forward and does not require the purchase of many tools such as the bailing pliers. However making the actual wooden pen holder is more challenging for me. Without a lathe and lathing skills I imagine it would be hard. I couldnt find anywhere to buy blanks and maybe there is an easier solutions (e.g. buying dowel and whittling and sandpapering) Any ideas on this area would be appreciated.

In my research I found another interesting site: http://www.paperinkarts.com/calligraphy-pens-oblique-pen-holders.html. You will see that the holder and oblique attachment is very well thought out and made and has even been slightly offset to give the correct nib angle (there is some talk about the things they considered in designing this holder). I live in Australia and the cost of having this pen holder and having it shipped is about $38 AUD which I think is reasonable. By the time you buy the tools, brass etc it would be little if any savings. The only advantage would be that you could have most of the commonly used nibs set up in the oblique holder and have individual wooden holders for each nib so it would be just a matter of switching over. The alternative doesnt seem that bad and you just insert the nib into the single purchased pen holder via the screw section.

I am opening up a whole new world in my pen experiences and now that has led me into the world of caligraphy. It seems that these flexy and italic dip nibs would be wasted on my ordinary scribbly handwriting and so I have decided to undertake some self education in various handwriting styles. This is where I would appreciate a little advice. My first thoughts was to learn copperplate writing and then some italic writing followed perhaps by some old english or gothic styles. Does anyone have any wise input into this as I have found my research very confusing. Are there other styles that I should consider. I would prefer a cursive type of writing and not a print style.

I have ordered an old Copperplate tuition book (Gordon Turner "The Technique of Coppperplate Caligraphy") and having joined a Caligraphy forum where I may be able to get some free online lessons.

I would appreciate any suggestions and comments on the matters raised in this post as i am very overwhelmed and unsure where I am going at this point of time.

Empty_of_Clouds
June 15th, 2015, 06:32 PM
Hi Laurie,

I am a relative newcomer to dip pens too. I was also tempted by some of the fantastic custom oblique holders that are out there. In the end I bought a very cheap E+M straight holder ($4) and a Speedball oblique ($5). Neither of these were very nice to use. So, after talking to a few more people I jumped in and bought a couple of custom straight holders from Steve Engen of dippen.net. and they are wonderful. They cost less than $20 apiece. I liked them so much that I have recently purchased two more. Mr Engen normally will not ship internationally (he is in the US) but if you ask very nicely he can be very accomodating. Also, his website often shows recently sold holders, so if you want to make an enquiry please ask him what he has that is not yet on the website! I am, as you can tell, a very happy customer.

Then, because everyone tells me I should have an oblique holder, and because everyone - including custom makers like Chris Yoke - recommends it, I recently purchased an Hourglass adjustable oblique from PaperInkArts. Just waiting for it to arrive.

Further to this I would recommend getting a selection of different nibs. PaperInkArts is a good place to by such a selection as you can make a mixed order with a couple of anything you fancy. Good prices too. You also need to think about ink. When I started I tried using fountain pen ink with mixed results, so I ended up ordering the Higgins Eternal and Walnut Inks from PaperInkArts and they make a really big difference. The Walnut Ink (sold as dessicated crystals) is particularly nicely behaved and makes a nice change from black. Again, recently (with my Hourglass purchase) I ordered some Sumi ink as well, just for a little variety. Lastly, the paper you use makes a difference, just like it does with fountain pens as I am sure you know.

It all sounds a bit much but in reality you can set yourself up with all the tools you need for under $100, and they should last a goodly while!


As for calligraphic or other writing styles, my advice, as one beginner to another, is to get the tools and spend some time just playing around with them. There is an undeserved mystique about dip pens. They are really not that hard to use - though hard to use well, like any other skill. I use an Esterbrook #442 Jackson stub in a lot of my correspondence and I treat it much like a fountain pen. It gives me a nice level of crispness to my writing without being unduly scratchy. With the pointed nibs though life can get interesting. Took me few goes to figure angles and pressures and so on, but if I can do it I am certain everybody else can too.


I have yet to start learning any style in a formal manner. I don't know if there is a heirarchy of styles. Personally I would say to choose one that appeals and learn that. If you don't get on with it, choose another.

Above everything else it should be fun! Enjoy :)

Lady Onogaro
June 15th, 2015, 06:32 PM
Laurie,

You should be able to order an inexpensive nib holder from any craft store. You might take a look at the JetPens link I sent you which gives you examples of nib holders which one could purchase from most art craft stores. You don't have to start with an oblique holder. As a beginner you may not even want to.

Laurie
June 15th, 2015, 07:21 PM
thanks for your interest. Among my ebay purchase of nibs I actually purchased an Ackerman push pen. I am not sure about how it works but it was recommended and I believe you can fit dip nibs to both ends and instead of having to dive into the ink well you can pump ink into the nib. They retail for around $80USD and I ended getting it on the ebay auction for about $29 AUD. They ebay seller is an Aussie and is into caligraphy and he was most helpful. He had made a primitive pen holder out of bamboo which he just pushed some ferrules into the hollow end and dressed it up a bit. I would like to experience the oblique holder as it seems to apply the nib tynes on the paper more evenly. Like Cryptos I think I will order the one from Paper Ink Arts as it appears to be based on a very old design by an American penman (I just cant recall his name of hand Buckingham or some named starting with B I think) They improved the design following consultations with some well respected caligrapher. I just read a review where the Winsor Newton Caligraphy ink (non waterproof) is recommended. Also the Higgins Eternal was also recommended.

Apart from the experience of writing with these instruments my mind goes back to my early school years with the nib dip pens and the ink pot on the top right hand corner of the desk. I recall even learning a bit of Old English Script so some of it might come back again. I certainly wont be using my new purchases as a javelin like I did when I was at school.

Blackhorse
June 15th, 2015, 09:16 PM
I'm new into dip pens as well. I started with a good glass pen for ink testing and then started looking at Manga tutorials online and paid attention to the nibs they were using. I have a pretty fair collection thus far and have shaped my choices by reading all the reviews I can. Very interesting.

My two latest discoverys are linked below:

http://www.johnnealbooks.com/prod_detail_list/s?keyword=N120

http://www.johnnealbooks.com/prod_detail_list/s?keyword=N82

One thing I always try to do is buy 5-6 nibs of every style I choose. Backup being good. That, and they're not exPENsive.

I'll tag this thread so I can keep up.

Laurie
June 15th, 2015, 11:30 PM
I'm new into dip pens as well. I started with a good glass pen for ink testing and then started looking at Manga tutorials online and paid attention to the nibs they were using. I have a pretty fair collection thus far and have shaped my choices by reading all the reviews I can. Very interesting.

My two latest discoverys are linked below:

http://www.johnnealbooks.com/prod_detail_list/s?keyword=N120

http://www.johnnealbooks.com/prod_detail_list/s?keyword=N82

One thing I always try to do is buy 5-6 nibs of every style I choose. Backup being good. That, and they're not exPENsive.

I'll tag this thread so I can keep up.

Yes I have seen that site. Unfortunately in Australia the shipping makes these buys uneconomical. Also I cant find any places in Australia that sell these nibs but there is a very good Ebay dealer who has regular sales of common and vintage nibs. I probably pay a bit more for the nibs as it is an auction but save on freight.

I have been examining some very useful sites involving dip nibs and found the following to be extremely good. there is an annual subscription but you can access some of the guides for free. Some really interesting information about oblique nib holders etc. Here is the link: http://www.iampeth.com/

I think I have made my decision about which script to try and learn. I have gone for Copperplate and there is also a modern copperplate that is a bit more ornate. I will also try and master a cursive italic style of writing as I really enjoy using Italic nibs.

Empty_of_Clouds
June 17th, 2015, 01:37 AM
Hey Laurie, I just received my Hourglass adjustable oblique holder from PaperInkArts and it is simply brilliant! It's about the same size as the Speedball holder but much, much nicer to handle. Definitely recommend it. I also got a bottle of Moon Palace Sumi ink and that is quite an interesting thing to use.

Laurie
June 17th, 2015, 03:50 AM
Hi Cryptos
I am glad you posted that. I was wondering how good they were. I found an article on my googling about how they produced this oblique flange after modifying the original design by that guy Buckingham or something like that. But I cant find it now. It virtually said that they inserted the flange into the holder at a bit of an angle which meant the nib was at a far less angle to the paper than the holder was held. The nib appears to be at about 30 degrees to the paper and apparently it was a good angle for the tines to write and eliminated alot of the scratchiness. The article talked about collaborating with some caligraphy expert in the manufacture. I think it was PaperInkArts but cant find it now. Anyway I think I will also get the same and also on my present research the Sumi ink gets good reviews for people learning to work with these dip nibs. I thought I would buy the straight black Sumi Ink. I was down at a local pen shop today and they had a UK brand of caligraphy ink. It is just M Caligraphy ink by the Caligraphy Co. UK. Not sure how it will work but it is all experience and trial and error in the long run. I also see a lady on the Flourish forums recommends a Walnut powder and I will probably give that a go as well.

Glad to have a Kiwi nearby experiencing the same thing. Keep in touch. Hope you forgive us for the underarm bowl by Trevor Chapple. I must admit that I can see why the Kiwis got upset. I couldnt believe Greg told him to do that. Anyway history is history.

Empty_of_Clouds
June 17th, 2015, 04:40 AM
Laurie, I'm not a Kiwi, I'm English (cue even more cricket jokes!). The Moon Palace Sumi is just a simple black ink. It had been recommended by a long time calligrapher on FPN, so I thought what the hell. Anyway, although I have posted this image elsewhere on the site I thought I would put it here for you also. Top pen is a Steve Engen design (cost US$17.50, postage was about US$12, but I got two holders at that time) fitted with a Zebra G nib, the bottom one is the Hourglass adjustable fitted with a Gillott 303.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5534/18886911015_75160299ba_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/uLYmCP)Dippers (https://flic.kr/p/uLYmCP)

Laurie
June 17th, 2015, 05:14 AM
Hi Cryptos,
Sorry for calling you a Kiwi. I just noticed where you live. Fully understand that you consider yourself to be English. Love the look of the holders. Can you confirm that you can adjust the oblique vertically to get the tines on the paper better. I recall that the oblique will fit a variety of nib types with a bit of adjustment with a pair of needle nose pliers.
BTW Up the blues. A lot of the forum wouldnt understand what we are talking about.

Empty_of_Clouds
June 17th, 2015, 05:36 AM
Well, I'm not really a soccer fan... and I don't consider myself English, I actually am English born and bred! :) <mock outrage>

Anyway, I am not sure what you mean by adjusting the flange vertically. The flange is set to present the tines to the paper at a specific angle. The adjustment, as I understand it (and I am only a beginner after all), is in being able to fit different sized nibs. To do that one loosens the retaining screw. The flange is brass and quite soft so I suppose you could tweak the angle of attack. Not sure I would want to go there until I understood what I was doing first. Nib to paper angle is definitely lower than on the Speedball holder.

Blackhorse
June 17th, 2015, 07:22 AM
L - Yes, well...if you really wanted them...I ordered 3 of the N120 and 5 of the N82...I'd have no problem sending you one of the 120's and a couple of the 82's. Wouldn't cost me much to pop 'em into a small padded envelope and stick 'em in the mail. Most of the time when these nibs are like $0.60 apiece I get a half dozen and I can easily spare one of each...maybe some other items as well. I know I've got extras of Manga G nibs, which are a well regarded flexible drawing nib. So if you like, PM me your address and I can look around for the right packing stuff. - BH

Laurie
June 17th, 2015, 03:22 PM
Thanks for the kind offer BH. I have PM'd you

Laurie
June 17th, 2015, 03:29 PM
Hi Cryptos
Can you tell me where you bought these two holders or give the link. I was just looking at PaperinkArts and there holders appear to be much dearer.
BTW My reference to the Blues was not about soccer but Rugby League. Last night was the second state of origin game which is an annual big event between Queensland and NSW.

Empty_of_Clouds
June 17th, 2015, 04:18 PM
Heh, I don't know anything about Rugby League I'm afraid, and little to no idea about State of Origin either.

Okay, the Hourglass holder is more expensive. It's US$42 on PaperInkArts HERE (http://http://www.paperinkarts.com/hourgl.html). However, read the reviews, it does come with unstinting praise and recommendation by some big swingers in the calligraphy game, including Chris Yoke. So I think it's worth the few dollars extra over the Century holder and Zanerian holder. And of course it is adjustable for a wide range of nibs, which cannot be said of other holders. As the shipping from the US impacts on those of us over this way I would suggest making a bigger order if you are using PaperInkArts. Add a selection of nibs and maybe something like the Higgins Eternal.


The Steven Engen holders are HERE (http://dippens.net/2.html) He doesn't always get the pictures up quickly, and the turn around is quite brisk so it is worth sending an email and asking what he has in his workshop. I actually have 4 of these holders, two at home and two inbound. I think they are terrific value.

By the by, if you want I could send you a couple of ink samples of Walnut Ink and the Moon Palace Sumi ink. Just PM me your address if you're interested. Note: the Walnut Ink was made from crystals. I think I've got the dilution at a standard but some people prefer to thin the ink with a bit of distilled water. Personal preferences and all that.

Laurie
June 17th, 2015, 07:06 PM
Hi Cryptos, Thanks I will PM you and take up your offer about the inks samples. I see in your earlier post about the Steven Engen holder and will check it out. BTW are you a member of the Flourish forum?. If so did you have any trouble posting on the forums? They ask you to enter the letters etc in the box and then answer two questions. I have tried various combinations of the answers but never can get it right and it keeps rejecting the answers and the reproduction of the letters in the box. I have sent them an email for help but I thought it might be quicker through you. If you havent joined it might be a good idea as they have free lessons on various writing types and a lot of info generally.

Empty_of_Clouds
June 17th, 2015, 07:25 PM
Had never heard of the Flourish Forum. Going to have a look right now. Thanks for the heads-up!

Laurie
June 19th, 2015, 05:54 AM
Hi Cryptos
The following link I thought was very very informative. Enjoy

http://www.patricialovett.com/calligraphy-clips/

Laurie
June 20th, 2015, 06:35 PM
19693

Hi Cryptos and anyone interested
See this link: http://www.patricialovett.com/calligraphy-clips/

As I said I intend to try and learn Copperplate and cursive Italic. I am waiting on some books but cant wait so I decided to practice making the form of the Italic letters. I dont have any dip nib or holders yet so I am using my Lamy with a 1.5 italic fitted. Seems to work OK but the dip italic nibs will be better.

Here is a sample of my practice so far. I havent inserted the correct heights for ascenders and descenders nor have I set out the lines using the nib width as I will wait till I get my nibs. I am just practising the form of the letters. I love the look of Italic and I think it can lead to many other varations. The most important thing I learnt was that the nib has to be angled at 45 degrees. Also the exercises are in groups of letters so that e.g. the i's, l's and t's are all practised in a group.

Also I view an interesting youtube video by Christopher Yoke about making your own oblique flange. Seems fairly straight forward. Just a few tools required and most people would have them (maybe except the bailing pliers) but other than that you just need a bit of brass shim and some rounded pencil nose pliers and a straight edged metal shear.
It seems this way you could set up a number of pen holders with the common nibs you use, saving have to change and readjust the flange all the time.

Special K
June 22nd, 2015, 11:41 PM
Hey Laurie, do you already have DR. Joe Vitolos book from the App Store?

Empty_of_Clouds
June 23rd, 2015, 12:19 AM
As I said I intend to try and learn Copperplate and cursive Italic. I am waiting on some books but cant wait so I decided to practice making the form of the Italic letters. I dont have any dip nib or holders yet so I am using my Lamy with a 1.5 italic fitted. Seems to work OK but the dip italic nibs will be better.

The square dip nibs may be better than the Lamy nib, but that doesn't necessarily hold for all fountain pen nibs. Recently I acquired a set of six Osmiroid 65 nibs ranging from fine to 2.3mm. All are italic, and all are really crisp. The thing is, the Osmiroid 65 nibs fit straight into an Esterbrook body, and that's what I am doing! Osmiroid nibs are still quite cheap (mine cost $20 for the set).

Anyway, I have yet to try any dip nib italics, nearest being my Jackson Stubs (Esterbrook #442), but I hear that a good way to go is the Mitchell Roundhand Square nibs (funny name I know) that can also be found on PaperInkArts and other places.

Great link by the way. I am on Flourish now but I haven't had much time to explore yet.

Laurie
June 23rd, 2015, 12:55 AM
Hey Laurie, do you already have DR. Joe Vitolos book from the App Store?

No I didnt realise it was there I will have a look. Thanks for the hint. I did read something of his when I googled. I check to see if it is the same

Special K
June 23rd, 2015, 01:05 AM
[QUOTE=Special K;135159]Hey Laurie, do you already have DR. Joe Vitolos book from the App Store?

No I didnt realise it was there I will have a look. Thanks for the hint. I did read something of his when I googled. I check to see if it is the same[/QUOTEhttp://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/15/06/22/102bf97d32ac52fef10f00460b3820fb.jpgthis book is awesome. It has so many videos in it. You will really enjoy this

Empty_of_Clouds
June 23rd, 2015, 03:24 PM
I noticed on the linked videos that the demonstrator doesn't give many directions for drawing guide lines. For italic writing she states that the X height should be 5 nib widths, but doesn't say anything about ascenders and descenders - which I believe should be 3 nib widths (happy to be corrected though).