it can be spread onto the paper in a thin¬
Mix the ink in a small bowl until it has
the right consistency and flows off the
brush easily. Cover the bowl when it is
not in use to keep it clean.
Pens and Nibs
If you want strokes of equal thickness,
choose a pen with a round-ended nib
like the one shown in Figure 68. Hold
the pen at a 45-degree angle while mak¬
ing straight and round strokes, and keep
the entire flat part of the nib on the
paper. For letters with variable strokes
use an oval or flat-edged nib (Figure 78).
Some strokes require changing angles or
even twists of the pen. If the width of the
stroke exceeds Va inch (3 to 4 millimeters),
choose a broad flat-edged nib or a bam¬
Nibs cut from quills and reeds make
much more pleasing writing instruments
than those made from steel, and the
letters they produce seem warmer and
sturdier. Another advantage is that they
can be made at home in any desired width
and with a variety of angles. The proce¬
dure is simple: take a thin reed or bam¬
boo stick about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20
centimeters) long, and cut a profile
following the illustration in Figure 72.
A scalpel with one sharpened edge is the
best tool for cutting. If the reed has one
flat side, use that for the writing edge of
the nib. To give the nib an even width,
the other side has to be shaped too.
Scrape out the soft inside and determine
the width of the nib with a cut on each
side, as shown in Figure 73. In the mid¬
dle of the nib make a cut about 1 inch (2
centimeters) long. Very wide nibs might
require two or more such cuts.
To ensure that the cut will not split
further during use, drill a small hole at
the end of it with a bit or a hot needle.
Ç© ГФ №
71 Pressure distribution in writing with a
Finally, place the pen on a plate glass
surface and cut the writing edge once
more with a knife. A slanted cut removes
the front end of the slit (see Figure 74).
The slant of the writing edge can be
matched to the specific requirements of
any writing style. Right angles as well as
right or left slants are possible.
Quill pens can be prepared in a simi¬
lar way. Take a sturdy turkey feather and
remove the fine hairs on the shaft. Start
the slit with a razor blade and force it
open to a length of Vi inch (1 to 1.5 cen¬
timeters) with the aid of a brush handle.
Should the slit retain a slight gap, bend
the two halves of the tip slightly down¬
ward. The tips have to be even, and the
edge should be slanted like that of a reed
An ink reservoir does just what its
name suggests. In reed pens use a 2-inch
(5-centimeter) long strip of pliable tin,
cut to the width of the nib, and insert it
into the pen until the edge of the metal
strip is about Ѵ\ь inch (2 to 3 milli¬
meters) behind the writing edge (Figure
76). In steel nibs the distance can be
even smaller, but in no case should the
strip interfere with the writing process.
Some steel nibs have ink reservoirs
attached on top. They should rest lightly
on the nib to facilitate a steady flow of
ink. Fill them only halfway and make
some trial strokes to use up any excess
ink before you use the pen in your work.
Pointed nibs should only be used for
scripts such as English roundhand or for
Clean your nibs periodically during
long work sessions, because the writing
liquid evaporates slowly and leaves a
residue that can clog the tip.