Dip Pen: Making Nib Holders – Part 3 (Straight & Oblique Nib Holder)
Previous post in this series : Dip Pen: Making Nib Holders – Part 2 (Materials)
Straight or Oblique! I believe, anyone reading this post, surely does not need any explaining about the calligraphy nib holder vocabulary. But still, for a person on a quest to make a dip holder, let me just re-iterate. The basic difference between Straight or Oblique Nib holders, apart from the need for a body, is the is that former one needs a Ferrule (aka : Calligraphy Nib Inserts) and the later one needs a Flange. If you are making a holder, you will have a make an equivalent of a ferrule or flange OR You could even buy them ready, if you are living in those parts of world when just about everything is available online.
Straight Nib Holder : The straight pen holder is the simpler of the two forms. It just needs a holder which will take an available calligraphy nib at one end. If it was a quick, make-do straight dip pen holder , you seek , then surely there are tons of item around the house that could easily be worked into a ( viz: old tooth brush, chopsticks , corn cob skewers, PVC tubes etc.) a straight nib holder.
In the beginning, before giving it all the possible thought, I was intimidated to begin making my own staring holder. I brooded , I would need to buy some wood and then find a professional lathe machinist to turn into a curvy holder. I almost gave up, when I managed to procure some sample pieces of a few varieties of wood, from a local saw mill. Part of problem solved, but the problem of getting it turned slender proved to be impossible locally. I went to lengths of making my own little lathe which dint help much. “Where there is a will, there is way” , I started shaping the holders with hand held tools, files, sand paper and then there was no looking back. It takes almost a day to sculpt a single piece. They are not perfect but I can proudly say that my holders are hand made sculptures.
I still haven’t found the ready made ferrules that the straight nib holders could do with. Instead, I have just made some bamboo pegs/plugs that secure the nibs, if need be. Works!
“Necessity is the Mother of Inventions”. The lack of ferrules also prompted me to try out a sleeve/collar kind of arrangement , where the collar would provide sufficient grip for the nib to hold in its place. This works beautifully too. The accidental benefit that was achieved by this method is that, the use of copper collar makes the holder heavier at the writing end, as preferred by many. I like it!
Oblique Nib Holders : While charging ahead with the challenge of making the body for the nib holders, The simultaneous task was to find the material to make the flange for the oblique holder. I did find a few online, but they were imports that needed paying an arm and leg. I managed to salvage some piece of tin form a lamp shade but it would break on bending a few times , not good enough to work it into a flange. I did order online, but they turned out be too flimsy to use. I decided to give PVC a try and it worked. My very first version of the Oblique Nib holder has a flange made from old piece of PCV tubing.
After asking around , finally I did manage to get hold of some decent gauge brass sheet, good enough to turn into flanges for oblique nib holder. Here , I must mention the youtube video that I referred to understand the structure of the flange. Its a must see video for those on a similar pursuit, Yoke Pen Co. – Making an Oblique Flange . According to this video though, one would need a 0.010 sheet of alloy C260 Brass . Don’t know if the sheet I have , is of same spec, but it is similar for sure. My Vernier caliper says the sheet is 0.15mm thick and it is flexible enough to ply it into a flange. I’m happy for know. Oh yeah! silly requirements still left, I still haven’t found some tiny machine bolts to try and make Bullock Flanges (a version of the oblique holder flange, that can more generic, and can hold even a crow quill nib, re. the fist picture in this post). This task is still pending , as I write.
The oblique nib holders, comes on various flavors as well. The variations are far to many, as calligraphers form past and present have been trying to carve the perfect holder. Some examples are The Skeels Oblique Holder, The Gmeiner Contoured Penholder, The Spencerians etc, the most common one being the Spencerian .
My last post in this series , is going to about , my ergonomic holder, ink reservoir and the coconut frond holder 🙂
Useful links :
- Yoke Pen Co. – Making an Oblique Flange (YT video)
- Artisan-Made Calligraphy Pen Holders (Blog)
- Guide to Nibs and Nib Holders (Blog)
- Use and grip demonstrated for Classic Ergo Pen Holders (YT video)
- Troubleshooting a Calligraphy Dip Pen (Blog)
- Making a Bullock Flange (YT video)
- Oblique pen holder in 5 min & 3 folds
- Adjusting Your Premium Oblique Penholder Dr. Joseph Vitolo (Blog)