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Messages - Daniel McGill

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Tools & Supplies / Modifying nibs…
« on: February 10, 2022, 12:36:07 PM »
Esteemed community,

I have a question to put before you. Have any of you modified your nibs?

An example I can give is sharpening the tip for a thinner hairline. I personally do this for my hunt 101’s as they have a blunter tip than other nibs. I have also sharpened (very delicately) a few LPEF’s.

Do you also do this? Has the thought ever come to you?

For the best hairlines with copperplate, Engrosser’s script, or Roundhand, mixing dry gum Arabic into your ink is the way to go.  That will thicken your ink something wonderful. The late Bill Lilly (master penman, and last Zanerian graduate) thickened his ink to where it was the consistency of thick of honey.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Help w hairlines
« on: June 27, 2021, 02:23:02 PM »

I'm headed to the house now to get out all my stuff again.

How about the nib sharpening/narrowing idea?

For sharpening a nib like the LPEF, I would highly suggest you use micro-mesh pads and extremely light movements. Do NOT use lower than the 6000 grit. It will take an extreme amount of trial and error but, with it, you can craft the nib to give finer hairlines than out of the factory (though that is not hard given their QC is bad), and it will give you the opportunity to find that sweet spot. Make sure that you keep the shaving (as that is what you are essentially doing) isolated to the portion in front of the sword hole.

Tools & Supplies / Re: My Favorite Nibs for Pointed Pen
« on: April 19, 2021, 12:48:58 PM »
I never thought of not choosing a favorite.  ;D  I will say though, I rediscovered my vintage Esterbrook 357’s. Dreamy! I do like the thins of the current Leonardt Principal EF but it is rather inconsistent in quality. God Bless Brian Walker (Rest in Peace) for his efforts on our behalf.

I still do all my practice with a Zebra G - very consistent and I like the thicks and thins. It produces a smooth line and rarely snags.
I do hope one of these days one of the go-getters develop a nib that is of the quality of ‘back in the day.’

That would be the dream. I have thought about it many times but the expense of it just doesn’t justify it, not with the way that we all think of it. In order to make a nib of the same quality as the golden age or “principality” age, the nib would need to sold for at least £4 per nib. It would be too far out of anyone’s price range for a disposable item that lasts for hours.

Find a Pen Pal / Re: Pen pal??
« on: April 03, 2021, 05:29:01 AM »
Hi @Daniel McGill,

I'll exchange letters with you! Private message me your address and I will send you mine.


Thank you, I live in the United Kingdom. If it is still feasible for letter exchanges, please do not hesitate to contact

Running hand is a script form completely opposite to Round hand scripts. Running hand is a subtype of handwriting but the pen is not lifted from the page until the sentence is completed. Roundhand is a deliberate style where, in order to be true, the pen MUST be lifted after each stroke or letter to continue with consistency. It is not possible to combine the two without sacrifices to both forms.

After deliberate practice, your next port of call is Applied practice.

What I mean by this is the practice of writing as other have mentioned. Senior Master Penman Bill Lily said that if you write enough, your writing becomes your practice. You most likely didn’t embark of the wonder of Engrosser’s script (copperplate is reserved EXCLUSIVELY for engraving on copper sheets) just to write letters out one after the other.

Erica is completely write is saying that it is best to write a card or a short text. Names are also a great way to practice as they are personal and keep you focused on making the best effort that you can. Try book titles too, or create a certificate for yourself on completing the basics with the best hand that you can.

You will be amazed what you learn when you apply the basics to a project. Just remember, everything has a place and distance between places.

Roundhand is catalyst of American penmanship whereas Copperplate is simply a script that is sent to be engraved on a copper sheet. It is slightly different in structure and composition than that of Roundhand in that the spaces of the majuscules are wider (the D, E, G for example).

It also enables a penman to maintain their most comfortable grip and alter the flange to accommodate their position so they do not compromise comfort and posture, which is inevitable and quite uncontrollable with a straight holder. The oblique holder allows for maintained comfort throughout.

Oh how I wish that there was a nib made today that rivalled it. Imagine the popularity. Maybe that should be a point of interest for William-mitchell (I do not trust the Manuscript Pen Co after the LPEF fiasco).

It worked as it should. I just ordered 10 from Paper & Ink Arts. They should be here in about a week. If you want to wait, I will try to remember to report back once I get them!  :-*

Please do  :)

It would be a dream to find out that the LPEF has returned to how it once was, before the Manuscript Pen Company decided to make it "beginner-friendly"

Tools & Supplies / Re: My Favorite Nibs for Pointed Pen
« on: April 02, 2021, 04:55:06 PM »
Personally...I don't have a favourite nib.  I have had the pleasure of using some vintage nibs and they were fantastic and so effortless in their function.  Modern nibs are, in my opinion, horribly made and are deserving of it.  Do not mistake me, however, there are some great nibs out there but none that are wonderful enough to be called a favourite.  I used to have a favourite, that was the Golden Era leonardt Principal EF (those that remember will know what I am meaning) but that is sadly no longer with us.  I have settled on the Hunt 101 (and even then I have to constantly tweak every single nib to either realign or sharpen the nib) and Gillott's 303 but there are still too many issues and disparages between each nib at any given purchase to call them anything other than decent.  I don't think that there will be a nib to call a favourite until either a new company comes along that makes quality nibs, or the current companies manage to fix their problems and give us all more consistent, quality nibs with more accurate designs.

For those that don't want to read the whole thing: I have settled (begrudgingly) on the Hunt 101 and Gillott's 303 nibs but there isn't a nib out there right now that I would hoard for years.

Tools & Supplies / JW Ergonomic pen holder
« on: March 22, 2021, 02:45:43 AM »
Esteemed members,

I am posting with a question to you all.

Have any of you used or are using the Ergonomic pen holders, discovered and created by Master Penman Jake Weidmann?  The price is extreme for a holder but I always find myself looking at them as one does for a jacket or car they see in a store.

What has your experience been?

Yes, it has! It's interesting to revisit this. The Hiro 41s had issues with coating for quite some time. And then the others did (it seemed). But I recently used a few Leonardt Principal EFs I had ordered in the past couple months and they were great!

Thank you for coming back to us. It what way we’re they great? Were they more flexible? Finer in the tip? I just want to know these things before I purchase them again for the first time in years.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Oblique Holder for Business Writing
« on: March 15, 2021, 02:54:59 PM »
The Palmer method for business writing lends to a straight holder, the same way the traditional method for Spencerian does. The question really isn’t about the holder that you use but rather about the pen – the nib if you want to be as specific as possible – that you use.

For business writing, as the name implies, a stiffer, stronger nib is needed.  One that will keep a uniform line throughout and without any of the unnecessary flexibility that would cause shades which have no place in traditional business writing.  The Leonardt 111EF nib is fantastic for a uniform line and it has a smooth motion to it when used correctly. It doesn’t have much flex to the tines but that is really what you want.

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