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Topics - YokePenCo

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Tools & Supplies / Advice & Ideas Requested
« on: March 08, 2016, 08:50:12 AM »
Hi All, coming to you for suggestions. Before I begin, PLEASE do not contact me regarding directly about wanting to purchase anything. This is NOT why I am asking. I want ideas to help me...

Ok, basically I have a HUGE stash of vintage nibs, more than I will ever use in my lifetime. I want to get some of these into the hands of people that will use them and faced with the dilemma of today's ridiculous vintage nib market prices. The nibs I am referring to are those such as Zanerian Fine Writers, Gillott Principalities, 604EF's, Vintage 303's and 404's, 601EF's, Musselman Perfections, know..the dream nibs...

Here is my issue, I do have money invested in them, quite a bit due to massive quantity, but never have I paid the plain rip off prices of $20 - $40 per nib. So I have the following issues and the only options I can come up with...

1. Sell at a decent price, then many people might buy just for the purpose of resale to make a fortune
2. Charge the ridiculous prices so people can't inflate the prices at resale
3. Make a small little package of just a couple of each nib and allow only one purchase per person
4. Sell in bulk only to people that I know for a fact will not resell and will make the best use of them. This would be a couple of people I know personally.
5. Keep them all for my children and hope their penmanship ability far surpasses mine, lol

Based upon these initial thoughts, I'm just stuck as to what to do. I don't want to feed the wolves and allow people to buy to resell on eBay for $30 + per nib. I want many people to have the chance to own and actually use them, but this may not be realistic. I completely understand I have no control of what people do with something once they buy it, but I just don't want to add to the pricing problem by providing a supply. I wish my supply was unlimited so I could just flood the market with them and force the prices down, but even as large of a supply that I have, it's still very limited.

My last concern is by selling them I'm also feeding the "vintage nibs are the best" thought. The reality is that modern nibs like the Leonardt Principal EF does anything these vintage nibs can do for most people. The truth is, that to use a nib like the Gillott Principality No. 1 and get it full potential, 99% of the penmanship world doesn't have the skill (including myself and why I don't use them) to use them effectively. The ability to gets it's full potential requires that basically when writing upstrokes only the ink touches the paper, which is beyond most people's penmanship skills. But this itself is a topic for another day.

Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Any comments, messages or emails with anything like "Sell them to me!" will be ignored. I'm trying to solve the larger problem and come up with an overall solution. Thanks in advance!

Tools & Supplies / Antique Japan Ink
« on: November 13, 2015, 05:39:05 PM »
I just released the first batch of my Small Batch Historic Ink Series and have about 15 bottles left. I have about 75 antique recipes and will be doing other recipes in the future with all of them being 100 + year old. My plan is to make a different antique recipe every 3 months or so. It's something I always wanted to do but couldn't justify the cost of materials for the recipes for just myself.

The first batch is an antique recipe for Japan Ink. This is not a sumi, but an iron gall recipe. In an old magazine I read someone suggesting it for reproduction work as it goes on very black. You can see reviews and samples of writing at the below link.

Unfortunately the international shipping isn't as cheap as I would like, but it is the best I could do at $18.00. Some countries will be a couple dollars cheaper and I always refund the difference on the ink if it is less expensive.

Tools & Supplies / Professional Nib Flange Adjusting Pliers
« on: July 16, 2015, 03:23:21 PM »
I've finished and received my new line of flange adjusting pliers for oblique pen flanges. You can get all the details and see them on my website at

I also made an instructional YouTube Video on using them below, hope they help, I'm very happy with the results!

Tools & Supplies / Visual Oblique Reference Image
« on: May 26, 2015, 12:15:02 AM »
I've been meaning to do this for some time now. A visual comparison of all major brand Oblique Pen Holders, made to compliment my Oblique Holder Reference Chart below. Hopefully will help those interested in getting started with the oblique. Feel free to share.

Imperial Chart

Metric Chart

High Res Version of Below Image

Tools & Supplies / Vintage Supplies TRUE Value
« on: March 24, 2015, 11:25:24 AM »
I have noticed, especially over the past year prices SOARING for vintage supplies. I am specifically referring to nibs and pen holders (the areas I know) and wanted to share a few thoughts. These are my OPINIONS and of course opinions will vary

No nib in the world is worth over $5, PERIOD in my opinion. Vintage nibs were made in such a way that every single nib was touched by a human, they were precision ground and each one scrutinized. This is why they are wonderful to use, and why they are so desirable. We have to remember this is a disposable product with a VERY limited life.

I am going to use the Gillott 604EF as an example, because it is my nib of preference and because I have purchased so many of them. About a year ago, there was a website that these nibs for sale, they had quite a few. The price was $3.50 per nib, which I consider a very fair price for this vintage nib. When I decided this was the nib I prefer, I bought them all, I think it was about 100 or so. This was the only source of these nibs to my knowledge. Within weeks the price on these nibs went up almost 1000%, yes that is one thousand percent. Someone listed them on eBay at $30 each and now there has been a couple people doing the same thing thing. First off, that is INSANE, that price is driven by greed, plain and simple. It keeps these nibs out of the hands of those who use them most. I can almost guarantee that they only sell one at a time, and only to people who want a chance to use the nib, just once.

We read that "So-and-So" Master penman from the 1900's preferred a specific nib and think that nib will help us be able to obtain the quality of writing they achieved. While the nib may make the hairlines a tiny bit finer than what a modern nib does or flex a tiny bit more, the writing they achieved was NOT due to a nib. It was due to PRACTICE and more PRACTICE. If someone like Madarasz were alive today, I can guarantee they could achieve the same results with a high quality modern nib, or even a nice vintage nib.

Pen Holders

Recently an 8" Magnusson Pen Holder sold on eBay for $2500, yes you read that correctly Two-Thousand-Five Hundred Dollars! First off let me say there is no functional or historical value of a Magnusson that makes it remotely worth $2500. Someone at some point put some crazy value on a Magnusson, creating a false belief that it is the holy grail of pen holders. The fact is, I own several and in comparison with the other vintage holders in my collection they are of much lower quality than others. Magnusson, while historically cool due to the popularity during the golden age of penmanship, were not well thought out as far as construction. The Zanerian Fine Art Oblique Holder, a very similar pen to a Magnusson, is constructed 100x better and sell at around $100-$150 when they do come up.

First off, there is no magic in a pen holder. Its a matter of simple grade-school geometry and provided the pens geometry is correct and the pen is constructed well so that it will stay together and comfortable to use a $15.00 pen works just as well as a $2500.00 pen. There is no difference in the functional use!!! Many of you know I make many pen holders, and 98% of what I do is PURELY cosmetic. My $35.00 "Naked Pen Holders" perform EXACTLY the same as my $300.00 Kelchner Replica with Ivory. The difference is purely the time to assemble the pen and the cost of the materials themselves.

At no point ever think you NEED a vintage nib or pen holder. You can achieve wonderful results with a $15.00 pen holder and a nice modern nib. If you are lucky enough to find a vintage pen holder or nibs at a FAIR price, then by all means treat yourself if you are able.

If we as a community stopped paying these highly over inflated prices, even to sample one vintage nib, the sellers would have no choice but to lower the price or just sit on their inventory.

Tools & Supplies / Selecting Your First Oblique Pen Holder
« on: February 13, 2015, 11:28:54 AM »
I have created a way of helping those that are new to the oblique pen holder and since the majority of the world is unable to hold an oblique pen holder in their hands before buying it. I created a chart of the dimensions, specs, special features and where to buy all of the modern mass produced oblique pen holders. It is available on my website at the below link which is my Links page from my website.

The chart is called "Oblique Comparison Chart" and I created a version for both Imperial and Metric measurements. Enjoy!

I also have a few videos on adjusting nib flanges, making a nib flange, etc. Also there are several free guide sheets I have made which you can download.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ― Pablo Picasso

There was recently a thread in which a member was questioned on their intentions. This has been stuck in my head for a couple days now, so I thought I would share my experience with coming into penmanship and how it has changed me. My reason and hope for posting this is to maybe clear some normal world misconceptions of people to those new to the world of calligraphy.  This will probably be a long drawn out story so bear with me.  :)

Some Background on Me - I am 41 years old and from Indianapolis, IN. I am not the "norm" when it comes to thoughts, beliefs and the way the majority of the world works. I have worked all my life, I started at 8 by working in my grandfathers auto repair shop and worked every single school break, after school and vacation until I was 20. After that I went on to a couple different careers. I experienced the crazy busy workaholic life of traveling the country in a corporate world of a National Director position. I then opened my own music store and was open for several years until finding out my wife was pregnant with my now almost 5 year old son. When we found out we were having a kid we both decided it would be best for one of us to stay home with him and raise him instead of chucking him off to a babysitter for the majority of his waking hours. Because she had insurance and benefits it made more sense for me to close the store and stay home with the kids. A HUGE lifestyle change but in the end, so worth it. Income change was dramatic as well as the fact I had always worked liked 15 hours or more per day and then just starting to stay home was dramatic for me.

Pre-Calligraphy Perspective - I was raised primarily by my grandparents, as my mother always was working and father wasn't around. My grandparents "old school" beliefs were instilled in me and I credit them for who I am today. One of the largest shocks in going from their beliefs where the world operates on a handshake, everyone works hard for what they do, people are to be trusted and no one is out to do harm, was a rude awakening when I hit the real world. A large majority of the people in the modern world think they are "owed something" in my opinion. They think they need to make a huge salary, own the best home and car, and be successful with little or no work. They look for ways to sue anyone they can to accumulate more money they don't deserve. They expect everyone else to raise their children (schools, babysitters, TV, Computer, etc) and take no responsibility for them self or the problems the children develop, blaming it on anyone but them self and then suing whoever they can to "financially compensate" them for the heartache and distress. This is in fact how a large portion of the world is and what it has become. I had given up on people in general and most of my time was spent with family and a very few, select personal friends. A common thing I said was "I seriously hate 99.9% of people in the world" and chose to live my life and ignore the rest of the world except my very small group of intimate friends and family. I always lived in a small home most around 750 sq f, when the average home size where I live is 2500+ square feet. I've never had a new car and paid cash for everything in life. As my grandfather told me "If you have to finance anything other than a home in life, you're living too high on the hog"

Post Calligraphy Perspective - In the summer of 2012 I agreed to purchase our family ancestral home, land has been in my family since the 1830's and has always remained in the direct family, from my mother. It was getting to be too much work to take care of the home and grounds for her and she wanted to move to Daytona Beach. One of the tasks in her moving was to go through the family archive room or as we called it "The Little Room". This is a 8x12 room with 11ft ceilings full of well organized boxes of the family history and artifacts. In one of these boxes I discovered a bounty of Penmanship materials, examples and supplies from my Great Great Grandfather. I had NOO idea he was a penman, taught penmanship or anything related to it. After looking at the amazing penmanship from him and his colleagues I decided I wanted to learn to write like that!!! I sought out a local teacher and signed up for the first class in October of 2012 and have been hooked and absorbed since.

One of the things I did not expect to find in pursuing Penmanship, was a group of people who were genuine, courteous, and had many of my similar values and beliefs I was raised with. I was in do something for someone you don't know and they take a huge chunk of their time to create a beautiful thank you!!! What the hell?!?!, people like this really still exist?!?!?!In a world where most people move at such a pace that taking a couple seconds to text you a message like "thnks 4 the hlp!" is considered the norm...(My help wasn't even worth a second to put the letter A in the word thanks?) The calligraphy world is full of people who value the time & effort people put into something as simple as handwriting and all the time not expecting anything in return. This is how it is for 99.9% of the community. There is always a bad apple in every crowd, but very few in this community. In my limited time in this world I have interacted with hundreds of calligraphers due to my making pens, from beginners which haven't ever even held a dip pen to Professional Calligraphers who address envelopes in the White House. One constant is they are all genuine and caring people and not the "norm" you find in the everyday world. Out of the hundreds of interactions I have had I can only recall two occurrences of individuals being devious, deceptive or the general type of "a&%-hole" you find in the modern world.

I still think a majority of the world are greedy, no-good, so and so's but the calligraphy world is not part of that group. I love my simpler life, where things move slower (you get more done in life by slowing down by making less mistakes!!), we make our own bread, we grow our own food, we sold the dishwasher and wash dishes by hand, we do work on our home ourselves, etc. I can't go out and buy the newest a coolest most expensive electronic toy at the drop of a hat like we used to when I owned my own business, but I wouldn't change a thing for anything in the world. Time and loved ones is all we have in this world and wasting it on material things is the biggest waste. I haven't always thought this but our choice to "downsize" our life was the best decision we could have ever made.

I am sure as those who are new or who may doubt the sincerity of others in this community will learn in time, but I encourage you to open your mind and heart to allowing the generous people of this community in, you will be surprised in what you find just as I have learned over the past couple years.

Sorry to go on and on but I wanted to share my opinions and thoughts to those which may doubt sincerity in this community. (Jumping off my soapbox) (I do tend to do that alot around here, lol)

Show & Tell / The Work of Our Fearless Leader
« on: May 17, 2014, 06:46:09 AM »
Received a wonderful thank you in the mail today and while I was at the scanner, I thought I would scan it to share with everyone.

Thank You Erica!!!

Kind Critique / Less is More?
« on: April 18, 2014, 12:05:20 AM »
I realized I have never posted anything I have done, so took a quick shot of a nameplate I did for a friend earlier tonight. I have a bad habit of going overboard and just keep going and going when doing something.

Too much here?

By the Way.... you don't have to be kind to critique me, be honest, I prefer brutally honest :)

Tools & Supplies / New Opaque White Ink
« on: April 15, 2014, 12:41:00 PM »
McCaffery's just started making a bright white opaque ink!!

Below is a link to get some. Paper and Ink Arts also has it but not on the website yet from my understanding.

In a short conversation with Debi Zeinert, she described that it can be used directly from the bottle without having to dilute with water. She said her preference is to leave the cap off for a bit and it will evaporate and become very opaque. She has sworn off Bleed Proof White now as a result and said she has been through 5 bottles already.

Can't wait to get mine and give it a shot!

Tools & Supplies / Shaken or Stirred?
« on: April 11, 2014, 08:39:50 AM »
Thought of this from another post. I was curious what everyone else does in regards to their inks in shaking or stirring. So I'll start with my go to inks and what I do...

*Metallics - Shake
*Sumi - Use as it is
*Blotts - Use as is
*McCaffery's Black's & Blues - I turn upside down, very slowly, once before opening
*McCaffery's Colors (Ivory, Reds, Browns) - Shake
*Walnut Ink - Use as is
*Dr. Martins Bleed Proof White - Stir slowly
*Pelikan 4001 - Stir

Tools & Supplies / Adjusting the Brass Flange of an Oblique Holder
« on: April 09, 2014, 08:36:14 AM »
After many questions on the subject, I just made a video tutorial of how to adjust the brass flange of an Oblique Nib Holder to fit a nib. Hope it helps!

Tools & Supplies / Yoke Pen Co. Nib & Pen Wipes
« on: April 04, 2014, 12:20:44 AM »
I wanted to let everyone know that I just finished working with a company to develop the first (to my knowledge) disposable wipe exclusively made for nibs.  I created it due to always having problems with lint and fuzzies on my nibs when using a paper towel. They are made by a company which makes clean room wipes for the computer and hospital industries.

They are 100% lint free and each one lasts me about a month with daily practice for about two hours. Although each one is more expensive than other disposable towels, you use less and save money in the long run. Plus you are producing less waste!

I have a small sample supply now and offering them as singles for $1.50 for you to try with Free US Shipping and $1.15 for International Shipping, limit one per person, until my main supply comes in. Once the main supply is in the cost will go down dramatically per wipe, as about half of the above cost is my shipping cost.

All the details about the wipes are at the below link.

Yoke Pen Co Nib & Pen Wipes

Spencerian Script / P.R. Spencer Sr. Documents
« on: April 04, 2014, 12:00:08 AM »
I know some of you have seen the small images of this via my IG or Facebook, but I thought I'd share here in high resolution.

I recently was able to obtain an original specimen of writing from P.R. Spencer Senior, the man who created Spencerian. If you would like to view it, it is located at the link below in high resolution.

Also included was a second envelope..

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