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-pen-holder-nib-ferrules

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.
straight_dip_pen_holders_01

Rose wood dip pen holders

Rose wood dip pen holders

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!

straight dip pen holders with copper collar for easy removal of nib

straight dip pen holders with copper collar for easy removal of nib

 

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.
PVC_Flange_dip_pen_holders_01

 

My first attempt at oblique holder , using some tin kind of material

My first attempt at oblique holder , using some tin kind of material

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 :

 

 

 

 


Dip Pen: Making Nib Holders – Part 1

Making Dip pen holders! Even before I start to pen down some experience , Let me say by saying , “Making a Dip Pen Holder is not at all difficult as it seems. Yes! It does need interest, patience  and the diligence to gather the materials required!”. Also in this series of post, I  do not intend to discuss the process of making these pens in detail as there are tons of YT videos and blogs that already do that. My intention here merely is to inspire any calligraphers ( or even non calligraphers) out there to try their hands into this calligraphy art vertical, making a calligrapher nib holder.

I have come a long way from those days, particularly since past few months, since when I began a quest to make pen holders for myself. I’m still very far from the highly finished products turned on lathe machines by professional Dip Pen Holder makers, but I believe I have a reached a minor milestone in my quest , far enough to share my experience and be of little inspiration to those on the similar path.

I have always been charmed with Dip Pen Holders and the sheer variety of these, one can buy online ranging from just plain plastic/pvc ones to extra-ordinary, exotic hand made wood, glass, acrylic options. I have bought some cheap dip pen holders for a few years now, but I can remember buying by first decent Creatacolor wooden dip pen holder around five years back . Believe it or not , I still haven’t used it, thinking I must save it for occasional writing only, as I dint want to spoil it; just so stupid of me, but it has been an inspiration to create my own dip pen holders. Below are the few holders that I have managed to DIY  , In the past few months ( the amateur mobile pictures, does least justice to the work, but will give the readers a fair idea of the effort) . Story of making these holders will follow in later posts …

Straight and Oblique Dip Pen Holders made out of some very old Burma Teak

Straight and Oblique Dip Pen Holders made out of some very old Burma Teak

 

Straight and Oblique Dip Pen Holders made out of local teak wood

Straight and Oblique Dip Pen Holders made out of local teak wood

Dip pens made from machine turned wood

Dip pens made from machine turned wood

Straight Nib Holders with a copper sleeve : for easy removal of nib and make the writing end a bit heavier

Straight Nib Holders with a copper sleeve : for easy removal of nib and make the writing end a bit heavier

Oblique Dip Pen Holders made from home made air dry clay ... Lighter and slightly flexible

Oblique Dip Pen Holders made from home made air dry clay … Lighter and slightly flexible

 

In the next part , will  discuss about the  various materials that could be used to make custom nib holders.

#calligraphersindia #calligraphynibholders #obliquenibholder #dippenholder

 


 
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