Author Topic: Desk covering  (Read 1335 times)

Offline Michael M

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Desk covering
« on: November 23, 2016, 02:17:33 PM »
Recently I learned of a trick to help my writing. Tilt the desktop till it's comfortable to write on. So I built one, and it did help! BUT....
now the paper wants to slide off onto my lap. I don't want to tape it because I sometimes turn the paper to make a line,
(more often than I probably should be doing). The question is: Is there a mat or some surface to put on the desktop so the
paper won't slide off so easily?

Thanks
Michael

Offline Starlee

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Re: Desk covering
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2016, 04:14:29 PM »
Hmmm....I wonder if felt or cork board would work? They're both soft surfaces that should provide resistance will still providing good cushion...as long as the fibres in the felt and holes in the cork aren't an issue...sounds like the start of a mini-experiment to me :)
Star

Offline AndyT

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Re: Desk covering
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2016, 04:56:40 PM »
Hello Michael.  I'd be interested to know which style you're working on at the moment (you have mentioned Eleanor Winters before, so that presumably means copperplate?), but in the meantime here are a couple of thoughts.

A while ago I got a chance to mix with a few Spencerian writers - some "improvers", a few rather high fliers and one Master Penman - and was a bit taken aback to find that they all arrived with boards, whereas I turned up with a pen and a bottle of ink.  Weirdly, they all had the same set up.  The board is good quality Scandinavian plywood, either " or ⅝", about 18" front to back and, say 30" wide", with a narrow lath around " - " thick fixed to the underside at the back.  Sitting on a level table that gives an angle of 1-2, very roughly, not that it much matters - the point being that it's not a lot, but it does make a difference.  What I know now is that, quite apart from anything else, that little tilt gives your elbow more room to move, and can compensate surprisingly well if the desk height is not optimal.  This is quite unlike the pronounced tilt preferred by broad pen users (45 - 60), which has more to do with controlling ink flow and avoiding back ache: the latter applies to pointed pen, alas, but the former does not.  Incidentally, that 30" width is handy because it spans an armchair ...  ;)

So much for the tilt; what of the covering?  Again, all the same: twenty sheets of blotting paper.  Now, where you get unfolded blotting paper that size is still a mystery to me, but a good few sheets of newsprint topped off with cartridge paper does the same job.  The top surface will ideally be sufficiently rough to prevent the paper from slipping unbidden, but smooth enough for you to be able to slide it easily when you want to (this is important).  Somewhere exactly between hot and cold press watercolour paper, in fact!  Anyway, that works well, but you might also consider a piece of thick felt, which is particularly good for developing a light touch.  The idea is that if the surface feels soft enough that you fear you might spear it with a sharp nib, you'll go easy on the pressure.  I recommend that: it's effective.

Offline Lynda

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Re: Desk covering
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2016, 05:04:59 PM »
I've never tried this, but Fun Foam comes to mind.  It comes in sheets.  If you Google it it will come up.  They sell it at craft stores for kid's crafts.  It would give you the cushion surface and it may not slide as much as felt.  It's a kind of plastic I guess, don't really know what it's made of.

Offline Michael M

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Re: Desk covering
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2016, 06:31:21 PM »
Ah yes Andy, you hit the nail on the head! That is almost exactly the board I made. I have it tilted (its adjustable) at about 15 degrees right now, but only
because I cannot raise my chair to the proper height. I alleviated that today by ordering a new office chair. I have plenty of felt, so I will try that first. I am
heavy handed, so there will be many holes in the paper! Lynda, I think I know what fun foam is, I use some for tying fishing flies, that could be an answer also.
Experimenting is half the fun!!
Right after supper I am going to try the felt (since I have some).

Thanks for the thoughts! I will report back my findings.
Michael   ;D

Offline Michael M

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Re: Desk covering
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2016, 08:52:50 PM »
OK, felt is on. (duct tape is such a wonderful thing). I tried it out and I was impressed. The paper never moved, nor even the guide sheet.
My lettering has never been better! You are right in forcing my hand to be a little more gentle to the paper! The letters are starting to
flow now. The shades are more even and it even felt better! (no pun intended...) I still am going to try the foam when I get a piece.
As for what I am attempting, Andy, it's Copperplate.  I use a Hunt 101 nib in oblique holder, and HP premium laserjet 32lb. paper. I tried
a 20lb paper, but it was too scary.
This works, but like different papers, you have to try them to see the best one.  So, I'm still open to suggestions!
Thanks again!
Michael

Offline AndyT

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Re: Desk covering
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 06:09:14 AM »
That sounds promising, Michael - pleased to hear it.

We use a different terminology for paper weight in Europe, but the most favoured types tend to be in the 80-100 gsm range, so that's a fair bit heavier.  Weight isn't as important as surface finish, however.  Ideally you want something which is internally sized and heavily callendered so that it's smooth without being glossy and resists ink penetration.  Rhodia and Clairefontaine Triomphe are both very reliable and now easily available in the US ... not cheap though.  I suppose hot press watercolour paper is the ultimate, but that's ruinously expensive and way too heavy for anything other than presentation purposes.  It would probably be worth your while to get a pad of Rhodia though, since it's a known quantity and therefore a useful benchmark.

I keep meaning to have another go with the Hunt 101, which I never got on with.  Apparently it has changed for the better ... and I'd like to think that maybe my technique has too!

Offline Michael M

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Re: Desk covering
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2016, 08:55:42 AM »
Andy,
I agree on the Rhodia and Clairefontaine Triomphe papers of which I have both. Being on a fixed income, I can't buy a lot of them though. So, I've found the
HP paper to be the best for practice. It's closest to the Rhodia I think. After a couple of practice sheets, I can then break out the good sheet and attempt to ruin it also!   ;D

Thanks again
Michael