J and T's Art & Calligraphy eShop for Zest-it, Dip pen nibs, transparent and permanent inks, pelikan drawing ink and drawing accessories.
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Cold Wax range now available
A great new range of Cold Wax Products
Now available

Starter Sets now available
Caligpraphy, Starter Sets and all Dip Pen nibs
Now only available at our sister site DipPenNibs.co.uk

Fountain Pen CLeaner now available
Fountain Pen Cleaner
Now available

Roling Ruler reduced
12" Roling Ruler
Now reduced in Price
Last one remaining!

See Zest-it Brush Cleaner in action
with our a new video.

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You may wonder why I am writing about something ‘as simple’ as fitting a dip pen nib to a holder, well for anyone new to using dip pens, this the first step in using a dip pen successfully. As with all things, it can turn out successful or otherwise, if you have your pen working happily then the ‘chances are’ you will be happy working with it. So.. a dip pen nib has a tip and at its opposite end is the shank, the shank is straight and has a tubular or curved profile - the shank is used to attach the nib to the holder.

Dip pen nibs with a tubular shank were a ‘follow-on’ from nibs being attached to a feather; they were used mainly in map making before use by the general public and are referred to as ‘mapping’ pen nibs. They were also named after the equivalent feather version, as in a ‘crow quill’, for easy reference to their size and type before being given ‘just a number’.

Mapping Nibs 2788Mapping Nibs 2788Nibs with a tubular shank need a special pen holder with a protruding rod.

To fit the nib to the holder, gently push the tubular shank onto the rod. Make sure the tubular shank is pushed fully onto the rod otherwise the nib will ‘wobble’ when pressure is applied to the nib. If the nib shank is difficult to push onto the rod, dip the rod into talcum powder or similar, this will act as a lubricant and make fitting the nib much easier.

Once you have the nib and holder ‘married’ together it’s best to leave them that way. Removing the nib from the rod end can cause the tines of the nib to twist or go out of shape.

Jospeh Gillott NibsJoseph Gillott Drawing Pen HolderFor nibs with a straight shank, hold the nib securely as near to the shank end as possible.

Joseph Gillott Drawing Pen Holder with fitted nibLine the shank up with the opening and with controlled firm movement; push the nib shank into its intended opening. Try not to hold the tines of the nib as they can be twisted out of shape as you push the nib into the opening. Once again when you have ‘married’ the nib and holder together leave them that way.

Multi-purpose Dip Pen Nib Holders Holders are not expensive and come in a variety of colours, choose colour families to identify the various nibs. For example, use light wood colour for pointed nibs, mahogany for italic and say dark coloured wood for round hand nibs, what every takes your fancy. This makes selecting the nibs type much easier and you don’t have to inspect each nib every time.
We have some great value sets of different coloured holders available for just this purpose.

Pen WipeA word of caution! The needle pointed nibs are just that - a needle point. When fitting one to a holder it is easy to slip and end up stabbing yourself in the finger or other part of the hand. If you have not experienced this then well done, if you have, then you will know how painful it is and it’s not something to be repeated!

Years ago most Scribes would have a ‘pen wipe’ close to hand. A ‘pen wipe’ is a small piece of Chamois leather, dampened and used for, would you believe, wiping pen nibs! But it was also a handy bit of kit for fitting new nibs; you could hold the nib without it slipping in your fingers, therefore helping to protect the fingers from the sharp point.

Jacqui © 2007

 Drawing and writing nibs     Holders      Pen Wipes    Nib and Holder Sets    Ink Selection

Copyright Jacqui Blackman 2007    Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


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How to use Zest-it? - Watch our video
How to fit a reservoir to a dip pen nib
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Make your own Damar Varnish
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Ink and it's use
How to use Pounce Pouches
How to fit Dip Pen Nibs to holders
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