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Messages - RobertFontaine

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Spencerian Script / Spencerian on a pen tablet?
« on: August 28, 2019, 03:43:44 PM »
(bit of a crosspost but the digital forum is a desert)

I have a new pen tablet and I have the urge to practice my penmanship.
Trying to use this thing is like peeing with someone else's ... you get the idea.

Is there a favourite drawing software for calligraphy/penmanship.   
I'm looking to practice traditional penmanship with a tablet kind of thing.


Digital Design / Windows software for Calligraphy?
« on: August 28, 2019, 03:38:32 PM »

I got myself a huion pen tablet and now I want to practice my penmanship.  Primarily spencerian.  I would like to get legible.
If I want to practice penmanship what software will best suit my needs.   So far the closest I have found to a good tool is Inkscape although pressure sensitivity is a bit rubbish ( i probably haven't set it up properly ).   I would like to be able to practice my strokes on the tablet.   So far my initial efforts having been stunningly bad.   It's like trying to write while holding a crayon in your teeth.


Everyday Handwriting | Penmanship / Re: Write Cursive With Schin
« on: March 12, 2017, 10:11:55 PM »
The flourished majiscules are vey nice.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Calligraphy using a standing desk?
« on: March 04, 2017, 10:33:40 PM »
I've seen many a standing drafting table.   I've been having a bit of a think about getting a motorised standing table for my office.
It is extremely appealing in a lot of ways.   The only thing I don't like much is the price of good furniture but I am overdue to furnish my dungeon properly.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Favorite Practice Paper
« on: March 04, 2017, 10:26:38 PM »

I have just started with 3 notebooks worth of Seyes ruled Claire Fontaine.   Definitely a good decision.

My improvement had stalled a bit.   The paper I was using was feathering a bit and it was hard to judge the quality of my thin lines.  I am also starting to see some significant improvements in letter shape, spacing and consistency again.   It's going to be a while still before my shading improves.  I tend to be too heavy and shift my weight too fast but I am seeing daily improvement again.   The better quality paper and seyes ruling are helping to give me a better sense of what I am trying to achieve.

Tools & Supplies / Bailey's Irish Cream
« on: February 26, 2017, 08:16:43 PM »
Irish coffee.  Caffeine to increase concentration and alcohol to steady the hands.   I suspect this is a potentially bad habit but it is a pleasant way to practice on Sunday evening.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Traditional Iron Gall in Canada?
« on: February 25, 2017, 09:22:09 PM »
Thank you I have sent you a PM.

Tools & Supplies / Traditional Iron Gall in Canada?
« on: February 25, 2017, 03:26:49 PM »
Shipping is generally the biggest part of my purchase so being able to buy in country is nice.
Do any of the usual suspects in Canuskistan carry a basic iron gall ink for me to play with?

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Re: Dip nibs for novice
« on: February 12, 2017, 05:46:32 PM »
The hate to love it Gillott 303 seems to be teaching the most about the pointed pen.   It forces a light touch and a better understanding of the nib.   The G-Nibs are definitely usable but feel like writing with a ballpoint comparatively.

Open Flourish | General Discussion / Warming Up...
« on: February 12, 2017, 04:04:56 AM »
How long does it generally take you to warm up?

Each time I practice I find that my hand generally starts pretty shaky then after a while I get some control of the minuscule shapes and can start adding shading and majuscules.   I then tend to write words and phrases as my spacing and angles even out and after a while things star to actually look reasonable but then I'm pooped.  This usually takes about 60-90 minutes.

Is this a pretty normal progression?    I'm kind of hoping there will be a time when I don't have to burn all my energy just practising but I'm not there yet.

Tools & Supplies / Light Box or Ruled Paper?
« on: February 09, 2017, 09:26:22 PM »
I'm overdue to start practicing with proper ruled lines to tidy up my script.   It's probably nice not to have to use an eraser for finished products (but I have no finished products ).   Tempted to pick up


Edit - affiliate link (click on image to see on Amazon at lesser price):

Tools & Supplies / Re: Nib Tuning and quality control
« on: February 06, 2017, 04:40:03 PM »
To date my 303's "wear out"  by bending,  twisting,  dropping or otherwise mangling the shape in some way.   Trying to get that straightened to be a good writing instrument seem unlikely.  When new cleaning them up by minor debugging,  polishing the edges or a mild twist is about the most I'm likely to achieve with a 303.  I haven't tried anything silly like trying to make a gnib pointier but I suppose you could.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Nib Tuning and quality control
« on: February 05, 2017, 07:31:52 PM »
The level of hand finishing required/described in the original process is a problem for sustaining profitability.   I can't imagine that the volume sold could be very high either so it's kind of tough.   On one hand, you have a product that has a volume of sales that can only support a small cottage industry.  On the other hand, to take advantage of modern manufacturing techniques you need a high volume for you product runs.       Some research into DIY laser cutters might result in an affordable manufacturing method.  Tooling for laser cutters is low cost once you have the tool.  Cuts would be burr free and precise.

Still, it would have to be a labor of love.   There is no way that you could sell a million pieces per year.  Likely not 100k pieces per year.  10k pieces even seem high.   How it would pay for the labour and overhead is beyond me.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Nib Tuning and quality control
« on: February 05, 2017, 01:31:40 AM »

The Japanese feather disposable straight razor blades, as well as most of the modern razor blades, are laser cut.   This allows for a surreal level of precision with modern steels but you may have noticed that these products are also very expensive.   I suspect that the tooling required would be a very large outlay for a product with very little volume.

On the other end, world class razors can be made by a smith in a workshop with a good understanding of the steel.     The original 303's were made with a tool stamp so it seems likely that the question is of the quality and temper of the tool and the quality and temper of the nib.    If there was a great batch followed by a bad batch one of the two seems likely if it is a matter of edge quality of the nib.

I wonder a bit whether tumbling them in a very fine sand in one of the vibrators used for shell casings might not also resolve some of the issues.   Finding a media soft enough to polish without being so aggressive as to ruin the point would be trial and error but could probably be done in mass rather than hand working nibs post production.

I have to dig out some of my own polishing media this week to see what is easiest at home.    Given the complex curves, and the thin steel I think that the 3m chromium oxide paper from lee valley, powder or stick is likely a pretty decent polish.   Flat stones are only good for tip shaping.   Diamond grit even at 30k is so much more aggressive I suspect on this still that it will chip out the nibs.   I have a 50X scope somewhere in my pile that I will have to dig out as well.     If someone here has a USB microscope and decent light it would be nice to get some high-resolution pictures to see what the real starting point is.  My 5X monocle isn't good enough to really see what is going on and I'm just guessing by touch.

Tools & Supplies / Re: Nib Tuning and quality control
« on: February 04, 2017, 02:15:18 AM »
Thanks, for those of you having used the Gillott 303's for a while I would appreciate some context.   Is this simply an issue with most recent production run or a general issue with them?    I don't have an issue buying 20 or 30 at a time and getting 10 good nibs a month.   They are cheap.   That said it's a bit of a gamble hoping that I'm going to get enough good nibs for the month ordering 5 or so at a time.   I have a nice little barbers razor stone that I can tidy up the nib with when the nib has ragged edges but it is going to take some more practice to find a thin tip that is still smooth.  It's easy to get a smooth nib if you grind down the nib tip but you lose the nice thin line.   Similarly it's also easy to get a very sharp point but keeping it from having burs and a giving it a round edge rather than a knife edge tricky.

I am going to try have some 3M chromium oxide paper that is around 30,000 grit that I can use to polish the nib edges that I'm going to try.  I will also break  one of my japanese wet stones out of storage as a finer grind than the barber hone.   

It seems like these are made out of a fairly soft steel (as opposed to a hard modern stainless) Hard to tell yet.   It might be nice to know.  The  modern stones of equal grit tend to be more aggressive and work better with modern hard steels.   The softer steels from the 1800's like the japanese wet stones and chromium oxide a lot more than the nortons and the shapton 20/30k stones.   

I will probably sacrifice a few nibs to see if I can come up with consistent way of making these more pleasant.

Are these nibs laser cut or stamped?   If stamped maybe they are trying to get too many nibs out of a stamp or the stamp got overheated lost it's temper and wore out before expected life.   I have no idea if stamps like these can be resharpened/retempered if overheated etc.   I suspect that quite a bit could be done depending on whether they are actually making money on these nibs.    It's hard to imagine that there is any real profit in the nib business.

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