Dip Pen: Making Nib Holders – Part 4 (Ergonomic Holder, Folded Nib, Ink Reservoir)

Previous post in this series : Dip Pen: Making Nib Holders – Part 3 (Straight & Oblique Nib Holder)

Surely, for those living in US and around Europe, the range and options online are plenty. Other than the regular straight and oblique holders, there are odd shaped ergonomic nib holders , folded pens, reed/bamboo pens, quill pens ruling pens/writers, steel brushes , felt brushes  and many many more. Since this series of posts started as a quest to make something locally/at home, I looked into the ergonomic options of straight and oblique nib holders, bamboo/reed pens and the folded nib options. Sorry! I currently discounted the quill pens, which are easily made at home, but  we will dependent on a very scarcely available commodity like good quills,  porcupine needles etc

Ergonomic Nib Holders :
I always wondered, If a customized grip on the holder, would improve calligraphy? Well! The answer is difficult… I would put it this way… Since the Ergonomic holder helps hold the  holder in a tradition writing stance, it surely  reduces fatigue, but improvement is writing, I have doubts 🙂 … If you already know to write well, then surely an ergonomic holder supplements your hand, better than a regular holder. Since these kind holders are odd shaped, they take a bigger piece of material. Since most of the holders I made are from antique ( nearly 60 year old) pieces of wood, I dint have a bigger piece of true wood to try making an Ergonomic holder … Here one again, Necessity become inventions mom and I tried creating a holder with coconut frond, as these were available in plenty…   The advantage with this fibrous wood is that it is easy to work with, especially considering the weird shape the Ergonomic holder takes.  Having  said that , It is much difficult to get a polished result. Overall it works well!
ergonomic_oblique_nib_holder _02

Bamboo/Reed Pens :
I must say, I m lucky enough to reside at a place where bamboo  is no very abundant but locally-n-easily available , especially the offshoots, that are good for making  a bamboo pen can be got free.  Also making a bamboo reed pen is probably the most easy in its kind.  The main advantage in the task of the making a reed/bamboo pen is that the tools required are minimal, or rather, you just need a good straight edged knife . Simply put , a reed pen must be literally child’s play to make. As i said in my  first post, I wont explain the process of making a reed/bamboo pen, as there are more than plenty “HOW TO DO IT”  blogs and videos on these topics.

bamboo_reed_calligraphy pen_with ink_reservoir_01

I would just like to add a note on partially correcting the ink holding capacity of a simple reed/bamboo nib. You could make a simple ink reservoir for your bamboo reed pen as below.

Also, bamboo can be used as a material to make a regular nib holder. Especially  the beautiful Buddha Belly vareity of bamboo. These holders are especially good for those, who like a very light weighted holder. I also create a version of bamboo holder weighed with a copper collar. I like these very much personally ] See the earlier post  Dip Pen: Making Nib Holders – Part 3 (Straight & Oblique Nib Holder) ]

Buddha Belly Bamboo dip pen holders

Buddha Belly Bamboo dip pen holders

Ink Reservoirs For Dip Pens:
 A, ink reservoir  could be an important addition to your straight pen holder to improve the ink  holding capacity of your dip pen, but finding one to buy online , could be nearly impossible, and shipping it  any third world country will burn a hole bigger than this tiny  but useful addition. Making one for your nib is surely pretty easy , assuming you have already procured your brass sheet to make the Oblique pen holder flange. The image below, is explanatory enough to guide you in creating your own  simple ink reservoir.

Making of a dip pen ink reservoir

Making of a dip pen ink reservoir

Folded Nib Calligraphy Pen:
I wondered why the folded nibs are talked about much, when it is a must have in the calligraphers arsenal of tools. There are several answers to this. From a simple economics point of view its just the a supply and demand situation. Surely , there are a very few calligraphers looking at using one. Well! from a FREAKONOMOICS angle :  The home version of a folded pen is an easy to make option, but people don’t have the time and importantly the patience to sit to create one. They already don’t have enough time to do any calligraphy, with their busy family and work schedules, let alone the tedious task of  converting a coke/pepsi can into a useful folded pen nib.  Since there is existing demand,  straight and oblique nibs are still produced commercially and hence affordably priced but a good brass folded nib is best hand made, hence scarce and rarely found or even talked about.
Folded_nib_calligraphy pen_01

Guess , I babbled too much about economics here, but it was necessary, to understand that a good folded nib is made to look like a lessor child, as  making a good one is hardly commercially viable. I understood this through experience on my quest to make one. I did make simple folded soda can folded pen, but yeah it wont be good enough to command any prime estate on your calligraphy permanently. Thus, I went about trying to create a brass folded nib with some decent holder. The task of cutting , folding , shaping and polishing a .5mm brass sheet, is surely not a task for the torpid kind . Ask those who have tried it already. It took me a decent three plus hours to make a folded brass nib. The task that takes most of the time is endless cycle of shaping, polishing and trying the accuracy of the ink flow.


Links to useful recourses : –

I have put together a few useful links to blogs, videos and online shops , that might help anyone on a similar quest :

A few of the Dip Pen Holder makers who have inspired me into this domain :-


I have discounted too many technical details of the creation process just to keep the post short. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to drop me a line , or message me on FB (https://www.facebook.com/kundernikhil)

#calligraphersindia #calligraphynibholders #obliquenibholder #dippenholder #foldedpens #bambooreedpens

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