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Topics - Alphabetguy

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Show & Tell / My recent straight holder
« on: January 31, 2015, 12:16:39 AM »
I have been lettering with a variety of different shaped pen holders during the past year. A few weeks ago I came upon something that works really nice for my particular hand grip. For whatever reason changing the nib position to a slight angle solved a lot of issues I was dealing with for control and manipulation of the pen.


Show & Tell / A Wafer light box slantboard
« on: January 08, 2015, 03:41:07 AM »
For quite some time I have been in need of a lettering surface with adjustable light for use with grid lines or preliminary underlays. My solution was to build a slant board with Wafer light box set into the drawing surface. It took a couple months to figure out the design and construction technique which involved routing templates.

Nothing fancy with the wood  or finish. Just some spare baltic birch plywood, a piece of laminate and miix of screws, hinges, bolts and a couple coats of shellac.  Folds up with the base as a handle and very easy to transport to a CCC weekend lettering workshop.


Show & Tell / Reference for making an oblique flange
« on: November 11, 2014, 04:15:14 AM »
I am posting this thread as a reference for those interested in making Zanerian style flanges for their oblique pen. It's not a difficult task with a few tools such as clamps, drill bits, metal shears, a couple homemade wooden forms and a spare nib.  The 2 wooden forms are simple to make and very useful to bend a thin piece of brass into a flange. One wooden form is a small piece of hardwood with 2 slots cut slightly larger in size than the 1/4" and 7/32" drill bits in this photo. The other wooden form is the yellow piece of wood with the thin slot in the center.

The first step is to cut a strip of thin brass. This can be any width you desire in a 3-3.5" in length.

Next step, fold the brass strip in half.

Clamp the bent strip of brass over the larger slot opening on the wooden form.

Place the top end of a .25" drill bit over the brass and push down on the brass to create the first bent of the flange.

The flange starts taking shape after pressing into the wooden form.

My apology for this blurry photo.  Your nib of choice will be placed into the brass strip.

The brass strip and nib are positioned over the smaller slot of the wooden form. A clamp holds the brass in place while a 7/32" brill bit is placed on top.

A small piece of wood is placed on top.

A hand clamp is used to press the brass strip into the slot. The purpose is to bend the brass directly into the nib.

When the clamp and drill bit are removed  the strip of brass will  look like this piece in the photo.

The brass strip and nib are placed in the thin slot of the yellow wooden form. This wooden device  allows the brass shape to be fine tuned, adjusted and straightened.

A clamp is used to secure the bottom portion of the flange while fine tuning the nib alignment.

The brass strip with nib is placed on a piece of  letter size paper with a couple of drawn parallel lines. The parallel lines are reference to the to drilled opening in to the center of the pen body. A metal ruler is placed on to  of the brass strip. An X-acto blade lightly marks the angle for the next step in this process.

The brass strip with nib is placed into the yellow wooden form and tilted to line up with the X-acto blade mark on the brass. The mark on the brass should be positioned 1/8" above the top of the wooden form. Moving the mark above the wooden form ensures the nib will not be too far away from the pen body when the flange is installed.

With clamp pressure applied to the yellow form the excess brass is bent  at an angle and trimmed with shears to provide a small bend at the bottom edge of the flange. This bend in the edge allows the flange to fit snug into the center hole of the pen body. A wooden or brass pin is installed into the center hole of the pen body to provide  a secure fit with no movement of the flange while lettering, installing or removing nibs.

Tools & Supplies / Recent series of pen holders
« on: October 20, 2014, 03:31:25 PM »
Lately I have been spending my available free time milling pen holders. I have made many different shapes, lengths and diameter of holders. I have made obliques although I enjoy lettering more often with a straight holder. Each has a different feel when lettering and its very enjoyable to write with a variety of pens. I have just recently used dyes and transparent acrylics and have a ways to go in the learning process.

This is my latest series.


Brush Calligraphy / Flat Brush Practice
« on: July 07, 2014, 01:12:04 AM »
I recently started lettering with a small #6 size flat brush. Basically a cheap brush with stiff acrylic bristles. The closest I could find to letter as if I am using a nib. The brush handle is very small diameter so I milled a larger diameter holder to allow my fingers to grip and rotate the barrel. This was my first attempt at lettering live with a brush. The caps were lettered with a Speedball C4 as a contrast element.


General How To's & Projects / Input for Making A Oblique Flange
« on: June 24, 2014, 12:42:08 PM »
I am posting this thread as I am hoping for input from anyone with knowledge of making flanges for oblique holders. I am curious about tools required for the process or input of how the pen body is accurately cut for the flange slot.

At present I am thinking a handmade jig is required to bend brass into the shape of a flange. Wondering if there is a better method to cut a thin slot for the brass flange than using a band saw. Perhaps a Dremel jig or thin kerf Japanese handsaw.

I know this is not a woodworking forum but any help or advice with oblique pens and flanges will be greatly appreciated. I have searched on Fountain Pen Network but can not find specifics. Perhaps someone with knowledge of this subject can point me in the right directions for answers.


Show & Tell / I am now a dip pen junkie.
« on: June 12, 2014, 12:05:28 AM »
In all the years I have been lettering I have never had any luck with dip pens. Early this year I began attending Reggie Ezzell's year long workshop 26 Seeds to learn how to use a dip pen.

About a month ago I broke a fragile pen holder in half while replacing a nib. The short holder changed my finger placement which led to an improved pen stroke on the paper surface. As a result I started milling different pen holders to find a comfortable shape for my hand grip while providing a degree of control with the nib.

This pen milling episode is bringing me closer to a goal of combing both traditional and digital lettering techniques  into compositions. I have now become a dip pen junkie. I cannot make it through a day without my fix of dipping a nib into gauche and lettering on a slant board. What a wonderful life experience and quite different from years of lettering with a Wacom and Illustrator.


Digital Design / Sketching to vector
« on: April 07, 2014, 12:13:20 PM »

There is more to vector lettering than moving points and bezier handles. My recent project will show some of the steps involved.

1) The client sketch. Her  request was to improve the design.
2) My first preliminary sketch of drawing lines slowly with a micron pen and stippling in the thicks and thins. After client review I was asked to place more emphasis on the "&".
3) To explore alternate design options a series of quick pencils and pointed marker were developed.
4) 8 of the pointed marker sketches sent for client review. She selected a version for final with the request of a lowercase j instead of a cap J.
5) The vector lettering process starts with a number of single vector line paths. The paths are offset to setup the thins of the letters. Points are deleted, added, moved and adjusted to create the thicks.
6) A lot of the adjustments are made in preview mode by reading overall contrast. Spacing, weight and contrast are adjusted on the fly. The imported template image is only used as a starting point.

Even thought this is digital it remains to be a slow lettering process. No different than lettering with a micron pen, white out and 00 sable brush. Everything takes time no matter the tools used.


Digital Design / Minimal Vector Point Placement
« on: March 10, 2014, 04:54:57 PM »
I'm posting the images to show the limited amount of points required for smooth curves in lettering created with Illustrator and Photoshop.

The bottom image is a combination of vector paths drawn in Illustrator and copied to Photoshop. In PS the paths were positioned over a scanned image of the original fountain pen lettering for use as a selection mask. The techniques in PS was no different than applying masking fluid in traditional methods. Pixels were erased with the paint brush in PS similar to using white out or scraping off pigment with razor blade on Arches paper.


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