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General Categories => Tools & Supplies => Topic started by: albscribe on August 22, 2016, 06:56:10 PM

Title: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: albscribe on August 22, 2016, 06:56:10 PM
I've been doing some research on what oblique and straight penholders to buy and have come accross The Curious Artisan. I like their Bolo range very much but was taken aback by the price. I am new to calligraphy so not quite sure what prices I should expect to pay. Before buying one of these penholders (or not) I wanted to check if anyone had any experience with them they might be able to share?
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: AndyT on August 22, 2016, 07:48:42 PM
Hmm.  Well, without passing comment on the company you mention, perhaps it would be an idea to take a step back and consider what you get when you buy an oblique pen holder.  It's a stick with a piece of brass attached.  Anything in addition to that is unnecessary for the purposes of writing.  Now, a perfectly serviceable wooden holder can be had for $15 from Paper and Ink Arts (http://www.paperinkarts.com/pointobl.html) which would get you up and running.  If you really want to spend ten times as much on your first holder, by all means do so, but you don't have to.

Regarding "ergonomic" holders: they're popular at the moment.  However, what's ergonomic for one person may very well be anything but for another.  Buying one sight unseen therefore is something of a shot in the dark.  Furthermore, if you have any intention of trying your hand at Ornamental Penmanship, just forget about them: they are designed to prevent the holder from moving in your hand, but it's essential to be able to apply a twist for Ornamental shades.  Far better in my opinion to stick with an ordinary shape and learn with that.

Coming back to prices, I have pens by two of the best known American makers, and neither cost anywhere near as much as the one you mention: it's the sort of money I'd associate with a fully custom service, exotic materials and immaculate workmanship from a big name.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: prasad on August 23, 2016, 05:38:46 AM
HI,
The comments I make are from my beginners perspective.  I started with Copperplate and now for the last 4 to 5 weeks have been trying a little Spencerian.

I totally mirror Andy's comments about an oblique.  Plus he is a guru in Spencerian stuff and Walnut crystals, so heed the advice :)

I live in India, so in addition to the basic cost of any holder I have to add at least a $20-$40 mark up for shipping.  So I decided to make my own holders. 

consider what you get when you buy an oblique pen holder.  It's a stick with a piece of brass attached.  Anything in addition to that is unnecessary for the purposes of writing.  Now, a perfectly serviceable wooden holder can be had for $15 from Paper and Ink Arts (http://www.paperinkarts.com/pointobl.html) which would get you up and running.

My first holders were exactly this.  They worked just perfectly.  I carved myself a few ergo holders too.  I had given a friend one of my ergo holders and having different shaped hands, it was not so comfortable for her to use it. 

And like Andy said, for Ornamental script, it is better, in the beginning at least, to use a standard design holder.  Once you are comfortable with a script and have the good arm movement mastered you could go in for a custom designed holder. 

You can take a look at my Instagram feed (there isn't much on it, so won't take you too long :)  ) and see the holders I have made and use.  I find the standard design more comfortable to use, than my Ergo types.

Hope this helps
-Prasad
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: TeganL on August 23, 2016, 06:36:06 AM
@albscribe like you, I'm pretty new to calligraphy. I started out a few months ago with a straight holder that I found at my local art store. I just received my first oblique holder in the mail this week after ordering from the UK, and on the first use I am so amazingly glad I got an oblique holder! I got one very much the same as the one AndyT linked above.

As a beginner, there are so many other things that we could spend our money on to enrich the learning experience. So, for what it is worth, I suggest sticking with the cheaper options in terms of buying holders.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: JanisTX on August 23, 2016, 07:04:09 AM
@albscribe - I have a lot of oblique holders.  My children have purchased some beautiful Christopher Yoke oblique holders for me as gifts & they are wonderful.  Whenever I want to "show off", I use those holders.  However, on a day-to-day basis, I love my good old Speedball oblique, or these obliques from John Neal:  http://www.johnnealbooks.com/fullsize/2960/s  They are very user-friendly & don't break the bank.  I've heard people say that they can't get the Speedball to work with their particular nib of choice, but I've never had a problem with any nib that I have wanted to use.  Beautiful nib holders don't improve the quality of your writing &, for the most part, are simply a luxury item.  They're great to have if you have the extra money, but they certainly are not necessary!

Happy lettering!

Janis
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: AndyT on August 23, 2016, 09:11:29 AM
@albscribe  Just a quick follow up, now that I realise you're in the UK.

Just recently @Karen Gray tipped me off that Scribblers (http://www.scribblers.co.uk/acatalog/Oblique-Pen-Holders.html) have added some affordable wooden holders to their range.  In view of the current exchange rates it seems like a good time to stick to British suppliers if possible, so it's well worth a look.  I'd also echo what Janis says about the Speedball (first item on that page), which is a lot better than it's often made out to be, so long as you're happy to stick to fairly small nibs.

If you really want an ergonomic type, you could drop @melanie jane (another Briton) a line.  It's been a while since she visited here I think, but from the pictures I've seen she does a good job.  Her holders are pricey, but once you've factored in postage, customs, hassle and what have you it's a competitive option.  Here's her Etsy store (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/EnglishPenCrafts) - in my experience she's friendly and approachable.

Finally, making your own is perfectly feasible, as Prasad says.  It's perfectly possible with no more than a penknife, some sandpaper, Araldite and a razor saw (available at model shops for about a fiver).  The only real fly in the ointment is that for some bizarre reason brass sheet of the most convenient thickness (0.2mm) is very difficult to obtain here.  You can get by with 0.4mm, but it's not ideal ... on the other hand it's easily available in handy " strips from model shops again.  I got some 0.2mm from a stockist in Finland with no bother at all, and a remarkably speedy delivery time.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: AnasaziWrites on August 23, 2016, 10:01:03 AM
I am new to calligraphy so not quite sure what prices I should expect to pay.

Just starting out? Buy a standard shaped (not ergonomic) pen of modest price (say $50 or less) from John Neal or any of the pen makers to see if that particular shape is comfortable and you reach the point that you believe you will continue with calligraphy. It's convenient to have more than one holder--you don't have to change a different nib out of the same pen repeatedly, but certainly one pen is all you need to write. An adjustable flange is nice, to accommodate a wider variety of nibs, but again, if you're just starting out, a standard flange is fine.

Like Janis, I have a wide variety of obliques, some vintage, some basic standard, and some made by well known pen makers. I write equally well (or poorly) with all of them. Most were purchased as works of art, which they are, and I get great enjoyment out of using them. Don't be taken aback at a price of $150 or $250, if it pleases you to use it and admire it for its own sake. Years of experience and skill are behind the best crafted pens. If you would like to see some beautiful pens, take a look at Chris Yoke's site:
http://www.yokepencompany.com/ (http://www.yokepencompany.com/).
He makes not only spectacular custom pens, but has as well a standard, basic pen; and as he himself says, a prettier pen won't make you write better.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 23, 2016, 10:21:18 AM
Andy - thanks very much for the mention!  It is true that I don't visit the forum as much as I used to....I seem to have a lot less spare time since I started making penholders!!   ;)

With regard to the holders, ergonomic holders tend to be more expensive, due to the fact that they have to be hand made.  I do use some power tools to help me out, but the bottom line is that the majority of the shaping, sanding and varnishing is done by hand (the amboyna burl penholder on my site at the moment took a whole day just to varnish...well actually, it's CA glue, and about 40-50 coats of it, sanded and buffed between coats).  I used to also make the more traditionally shaped lathe turned pens, and they were much faster to make! 

Obviously the problem with an ergonomic is that, if you can't try it out before you buy, you're never really sure whether it will suit you until you've bought one.  I tend to find that, once people have bought one, they'll come back for more; getting people to buy the first one is the most difficult part! 

If anyone is interested in a cheaper ergo penholder, I can do a basic wood one, with a wax oil finish for between 40 and 50 (either pine (40) or walnut (50)) plus postage .  They'll still have the same standard of workmanship, but using a cheaper and softer wood and a faster finish allows me to keep the prices lower.  If anyone is interested, or would like more information on any of my penholders, they can contact me on here or via my Etsy shop.  Actually, I may see about making some to go on my site once I've finished my current orders  ;)

Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: schin on August 23, 2016, 02:05:36 PM
I have quite a few penholders and use the cheaper and plainer ones as workhorses. These tend to be lighter in hand and not as distracting. Fancy holders can have different materials and become heavy in hand and may discourage fluid movement for beginners who are not used to it.
I certainly love and also collect fancy holders, in fact Curious Artisan's pens has been in my wishlist for quite a while. Beautiful pens are lovely to own and use to impress at events. But attached is a pic of Madarasz's own pen... a stained old thing, nothing more than a piece of wood, string and flange.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: AnasaziWrites on August 23, 2016, 04:26:40 PM
... a stained old thing, nothing more . . .
That's what my wife says of some of my old t-shirts, which are nearly as old as that pen.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: albscribe on August 23, 2016, 05:24:52 PM
Thank you very much everyone for the superb advice offered here. I'm very grateful. Initially I wasn't sure how much price was linked to quality and how much to looks/materials of the pen. By the sounds of it there is a correlation although not at the percentages I initially thought. I am glad to hear that even cheaper pen holders are worthy of buying.

AndyT thank you very much for taking the time to post the thorough advice. I might start by buying one of the cheaper wooden pens that Scribblers are offering. Just to start with :)

Melanie, your pens are absolutely stunning. I shall definitely purchase one (or more). The tulipwood and burrwood especially are sublime. It so happens that one of my other love affairs is working with wood and in my research I have seen some truly beautiful woods which when turned produce some stunning patterns. Have you thought about expanding the choice of woods you offer(snakewood, olive burr and cocobolo come to mind)?
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 23, 2016, 06:55:14 PM
@albscribe Thanks very much for the compliment on the penholders!  Yes, I do plan to offer more woods in time, but at the moment everyone seems to want the acrylic ones, so I have lots of orders for those.  I love working with wood though, seeing the grain and colours come to life as it's varnished and polished up makes all the hard work worthwhile. 

But I must agree with all of the other advice you've been given here - you don't have to spend a fortune to get a decent holder.  A basic ergonomic holder is always going to cost more than a basic turned holder, due to the fact that it has to be hand made, rather than turned out in vast quantities in China (or wherever), but other than that, as I explained in my post, most of the 'extra' cost of my pens are due to the material and the finish, neither of which will improve your calligraphy.   ;)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: silvereye on August 27, 2016, 09:56:57 PM
Just curious so who here has purchased a penholder from the curious artisan and how do you find it?
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: mintedpurl on August 28, 2016, 06:19:02 AM
I own a Curious Artisan pen holder. It's not my daily driver by any means (I use the hourglass oblique or the carrot oblique from PIA) but it looks really nice in pictures. I own one of the the gold leaf versions. I really only got it because I completed my first caligraphy gig and wanted to reward myself with a pretty holder....I couldn't resist the gold leaf. A Yoke pen is next on my list.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: dancingfish on August 28, 2016, 05:16:26 PM
I have a carrot gold leaf and resin holder from Curious Artisan, and I love it.  I do have other holders (including several Yokes and Unique Obliques), which I also like quite a lot, but I've been using this one tons lately.  I'm very happy with it.  One caution is that the resin holders tend to be a bit fragile, and I had it arrive broken.  But Lenny was great about sending out a replacement immediately.  I would be very careful not to drop it, but I would imagine this goes for other maker's resin holders too.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: Karen Gray on August 29, 2016, 05:00:16 AM
As @AndyT says, I use the ornate oblique holder from Scribblers. I love it. It was absolutely what I needed. I would prefer a slightly wider grip mind you but I like the length and other than it being a little on the thin side (no thinner than a uni ball pen) it's perfect - AND cheap.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 29, 2016, 06:16:17 AM
I have a carrot gold leaf and resin holder from Curious Artisan, and I love it.  I do have other holders (including several Yokes and Unique Obliques), which I also like quite a lot, but I've been using this one tons lately.  I'm very happy with it.  One caution is that the resin holders tend to be a bit fragile, and I had it arrive broken.  But Lenny was great about sending out a replacement immediately.  I would be very careful not to drop it, but I would imagine this goes for other maker's resin holders too.

I hope you don't mind, but as a penmaker who uses a lot of resin, I'd like to defend my products (and those of other penmakers) and say that, no, this doesn't necessarily go for other maker's resin holders. 

I'll explain  ;)

....there are basically 3 different types of resin which penmakers use. 

Firstly, there is acrylic resin, which is what the vast majority of commercially available pen blanks are made from.  This is very strong - I've had mine thrown against a wall (with force) and then onto a concrete floor (not on purpose - I polish my pens on buffing mops on a lathe, and occasionally it whips them out of my hands) with no ill effects whatsoever. 

Secondly, there is polyurethane resin.  This is what many people who cast their own pen blanks use (you'll sometimes see it referred to as 'alumilite'- which is a US brand of polyurethane).  It's a little bit more flexible than the acrylic, but still just as strong (it too has withstood the throwing against the wall and floor test).  It's an expensive product, but just about the best there is if you want to be able to cast your own blanks.

Thirdly, there is polyester resin.  This is also used by people who cast their own pen blanks.  It is widely available and cheap (about a quarter of the price of polyurethane resin).  It is very brittle and fragile, and would be very likely to break if dropped.  I made a couple of trial pens out of it, but wasn't satisfied with the strength, so it's never had the lathe 'test'.  I haven't sold the pens I made from it, as I don't think that they are of good enough quality.

As far as I know, and have seen, most of the penmakers out there are using either acrylic or polyurethane resin for their pens, and so are producing pens which are strong and durable.  The fact that your pen broke, and that on the Curious Artisan website it does warn against dropping the pens as they are fragile, leads me to believe that they are made from polyester resin, rather than polyurethane resin. 

Sorry for the slightly technical post, but I just wanted to point out that not all resins are the same, and that most resin penholders will withstand years of use, and occasional abuse, with no ill effects.

If anyone is ever unsure of what a penholder is made from, don't feel shy about asking the penmaker - most will be happy to explain the benefits of the products they use - believe me, I could talk for hours on the differences between different types of resin....but I'll spare you all any more  ::)  ;D
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: silvereye on August 29, 2016, 07:50:57 AM
I wonder if resin is very different from acrylic because Brians pens look fairly sturdy?
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 29, 2016, 08:12:55 AM
I wonder if resin is very different from acrylic because Brians pens look fairly sturdy?

Well, I don't know the actual science, but from my understanding acrylic is just another type of resin; they are not two different things. 

As I said above, there are 3 different types of resin used by penmakers - acrylic, polyurethane and polyester.

Brian, myself, and several other penmakers use acrylic resin for some of our pens.  They're generally produced by plastics companies and bought as 'pen blanks', so you'll often see the same design/colour used by several different penmakers.  As far as I know, no one is using acrylic resin to produce pen blanks from home.

I, as well as several other penmakers, also use polyurethane resin, which feels slightly different to acrylic resin, in that it is slightly flexible.  It is still very strong, and the benefit of polyurethane is that it can be used by the 'hobbyist' to produce unique pen blanks - although it is expensive and a little more difficult to use than polyester resin.  Some penmakers will therefore cast their own, others will buy them in from individual makers.

Polyester resin is another resin which can be made by the hobbyist, and again there are makers who sell pen blanks they have made with polyester resin.  Polyester resin is cheap and easy to use, but also produces very brittle, weak, blanks.  Generally these are intended to be used by penmakers who are producing things like fountain pens, where there is an internal metal structure which gives the pen strength.  The problem with using them for dip pen holders is that there is no such internal structure, so the acrylic is much more likely to shatter or break if the pen is dropped.

In a nutshell -
Acrylic resin = good
Polyurethane resin = good
Polyester resin = not so good

I told you I could talk for hours on the subject  ;)

Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: Inked botanicals on August 29, 2016, 09:19:58 AM
Well, I find it so interesting so you can write as long as you want @melanie jane !!

By the way, I have one of Melanie's holders, a blue wooden one, and I love it. It is thinner than usual and I find it so pleasant to write with. About its quality, it is good enough to pass my own life test: I tend to have quite a lot of accidents when writing, so all my holders have dropped several times, been adjusted a lot, even they have been bathing on ink spills a few times. Not all holders can follow that way of life! But Mel's holder is good and clean as new! I use it a lot, you can see it often on my Instagram photos!
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 29, 2016, 09:43:46 AM
@Inked botanicals Thanks Alba!  I'm glad it's still serving you well  :)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: dancingfish on August 29, 2016, 07:03:10 PM
I have a carrot gold leaf and resin holder from Curious Artisan, and I love it.
...
 One caution is that the resin holders tend to be a bit fragile, and I had it arrive broken.  But Lenny was great about sending out a replacement immediately.  I would be very careful not to drop it, but I would imagine this goes for other maker's resin holders too.

I hope you don't mind, but as a penmaker who uses a lot of resin, I'd like to defend my products (and those of other penmakers) and say that, no, this doesn't necessarily go for other maker's resin holders. 
...
If anyone is ever unsure of what a penholder is made from, don't feel shy about asking the penmaker - most will be happy to explain the benefits of the products they use - believe me, I could talk for hours on the differences between different types of resin....but I'll spare you all any more  ::)  ;D

I don't mind at all Melanie; thank you for the education!  I really appreciate learning more about the materials, and their pros and cons, because it helps me as a buyer.  I do love my gold leaf holder, as it's beautiful, but I think I'll avoid polyester resin holders in the future, and it's good to know that the other resins are more durable.   :)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 29, 2016, 08:03:13 PM
@dancingfish that's great.  I'm glad that you're still happy with your penholder, as I don't want you to think that you bought the wrong thing - if you love it, it's the never the wrong thing! 

However, I also agree with you that it's great for buyers to have a few facts to help them make a decision.  And in defence of penmakers, I'd say that I doubt that any of us went into this with any great knowledge of materials - I knew absolutely nothing.  It's definitely been a steep learning curve for me, which has involved a lot of trial and error (not to mention expense!). :o
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: silvereye on August 30, 2016, 03:13:08 AM
Is it right that polyester resin is called for in order to make transparent resin designs? Just wondering.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: AndyT on August 30, 2016, 05:56:52 AM
Is it right that polyester resin is called for in order to make transparent resin designs? Just wondering.

No.  Acrylic is used for some lenses, and as it happens I have a block of purple and white rippled acrylic to hand which is, ahem, clearly transparent.  ;)

Not sure I've ever seen polyester sold as pen blanks which wasn't opaque, come to think of it.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 30, 2016, 06:44:03 AM
All 3 come as clear and transparent.  Certainly many of the manufactured acrylic pen blanks available have some clear in them.  Polyester and polyurethane resin for hobbyist casting also comes in clear - but the clear polyurethane is very expensive, which is one of the reasons many people use polyester - it's several times cheaper.  But Andy is right, for some reason commercially available polyester blanks are usually opaque   ::)

@AndyT  Are you going to make a pen out of your purple and white rippled acrylic?
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: AndyT on August 30, 2016, 08:58:12 AM
I don't know what I'm going to do with it, Melanie, like a lot of the odd bits and pieces of materials which accumulate over the years.  It makes a pretty good paperweight for now.  I did buy it for razor scales in the first place, but it was an inconvenient length.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: darrin1200 on August 30, 2016, 09:13:43 AM
There are pros and cons for working with either resin. Both are 2-part resins. I have never actually used Polyester Resin (PR), but I did a lot of research on both,  before choosing Alumilite.

While PR is brittle, it requires no special equipment to work with.  You simply mix the two parts, then pour into the mold (carefully to avoid bubbles). It is then left out to harden. The amount of hardener added is critical "to the drop" because it can strongly affect the cure time and its brittleness. This is a very popular resin when casting items in it such as stamps or feathers wrapped around tube. It does harden clear. There are a couple of different brands, and I have heard that some are more brittle than others. Silmar 41 seems to be the preffered choice.

Allumilite is my prefered choice, for its machinability as well as its durability. I like the allumilite for its translucense. I also mix pieces of wooden burl in my blanks. However, it does require special equipment. The alumilite hardens very fast, it is almost impossible to pour it without little air bubbles. If left out, the allumilite would harden before the bubbles could float to the surface. To countetact this, the full mold is placed immediately into a special chamber, and presurized to 60psi. This pressure compresses the air bubbles until they are so small they essentially disappear. This is not your pressure cooking pot from the kitchen, these pots are designed for high pressure. I saw a picture once of a  pressure cooker someone tried to use. Luckily they knew it was risky and stood far away when they pressurized it. It looked like a bomb went off inside it.

Each resin has its own pros and cons. I think the PR has worked well in casting pen blanks, because generally penmakers use a brass tube to reinforce there pen. This essentially helps to support the material used, wether it is resin or wood.

I haven't used my alumilite for a calligraphy holder yet, but it is high on my ToDo list for September.

Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 30, 2016, 09:41:12 AM
Darrin, yes my experiences are similar - I only wish that I could get Alumilite in large quantities over here in the UK (I can get Alumilite White, but not Clear).  Instead I've had to go through the lengthy and expensive process of trying out various clear polyurethane resins, to find one which suits my purposes.  Fortunately, I think I've found one with a long open time, so I can use a vacuum chamber, rather than a pressure pot, to remove the bubbles.  (I have the equipment for both, but am happier using the vacuum, for the reasons you stated).
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: ash0kgiri on August 30, 2016, 12:04:35 PM
A month back I got my first and only oblique holder from PIA. Im loving it as compared to the straight holder. But few concerns I have still not managed to solve. My nib catches on the upstroke and its very irritating. I'm not able to figure out the source. If its a nib (I use Gillotte 303) or paper (Blit 100gms) or my oblique holder. Since I had to order these from US I had to keep it under budget so I had no option but to go for the cheapest one. And until I use another one I would be able to compare the two. :(

-Ashok
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: Bianca M on August 31, 2016, 01:00:13 AM
@ash0kgiri if your nib and paper work with your other holder, then perhaps it is an adjustment issue?  Is the way you're holding the pen holder causing your nib to twist to the left or right at all, so that the tines do not lie flat with each other?  This may cause occasional snagging.  You can get a $1.79 plastic holder that will work just fine if it's held correctly, so don't be concerned about the expense of your holder affecting performance.  It really just sounds like you're perhaps still getting used to the oblique nature of the holder.  Have hope! :)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: silvereye on August 31, 2016, 01:31:43 AM
or maybe try one of the g nibs? 
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: ash0kgiri on August 31, 2016, 02:01:01 AM
Hi @Bianca M,
I actually have the plastic holder. Day before I was trying new nibs and found out few of them working quite well on upstroke. Wondering whys that. But you are right may be it's the way I'm holding my oblique. Will observe and change my hold accordingly.

Thanks for your time Bianca. Really appreciate.
- Ashok
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: ash0kgiri on August 31, 2016, 02:01:53 AM
or maybe try one of the g nibs?

The G nibs are good, but too stiff for my liking.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: darrin1200 on August 31, 2016, 10:00:12 AM
Darrin, yes my experiences are similar - I only wish that I could get Alumilite in large quantities over here in the UK (I can get Alumilite White, but not Clear).  Instead I've had to go through the lengthy and expensive process of trying out various clear polyurethane resins, to find one which suits my purposes.  Fortunately, I think I've found one with a long open time, so I can use a vacuum chamber, rather than a pressure pot, to remove the bubbles.  (I have the equipment for both, but am happier using the vacuum, for the reasons you stated).

Hey Melanie

I took a quick look through the Alumilite website. I found these two places that carry "Amazing Clear Cast". While this is not the resin that was designed for turners, perhaps they can get it in for you.
The place I found here, in Ontario Canada, didn't carry the exact resin I wanted, but they brought it in on there next order with no special extra charge. "Alumilite Clear Slow " is what you would want.

I don't know how close they are to you.

http://www.metalclay.co.uk/alumilite-amazing-clear-cast-resin-7-5-litres/ (http://www.metalclay.co.uk/alumilite-amazing-clear-cast-resin-7-5-litres/)
http://www.craftobsessions.co.uk/ice-resin-1oz-syringe-pack (http://www.craftobsessions.co.uk/ice-resin-1oz-syringe-pack)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on August 31, 2016, 12:58:44 PM
@darrin1200 Thanks very much!  I'll get in touch with them and see what they say  :)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: darrin1200 on August 31, 2016, 02:29:32 PM
Your very welcome.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: silvereye on September 03, 2016, 03:20:44 AM
I actually think from their IG that they are coming out with a new model of oblique.  Maybe made out of horns??
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: ash0kgiri on September 04, 2016, 10:39:42 AM
@ash0kgiri if your nib and paper work with your other holder, then perhaps it is an adjustment issue?  Is the way you're holding the pen holder causing your nib to twist to the left or right at all, so that the tines do not lie flat with each other?

Hi Bianca,
You were right. It was an adjustment issue.And i was holding the pen too upright causing the nib to twist. Still not got a hook but working towards it. Thanks anyways. :D

- Ashok
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: claire lander on September 08, 2016, 03:50:49 AM
Hi

I am also in the UK, when I started in April (I am learning copperplate) I used a plastic holder costing a couple of pounds. It was ok. I am learning with Gaynor Goffe, who recommends a Brause EF 66 nib (it is tiny). I bought a few months ago a Roger Mayeda oblique mahogany holder from Penman direct. It is elegant, but is very simple, not one of these gorgeous fancy ones that I do eye up from time to time :-). It was 45 - It was a birthday present to myself, I wondered if it could really make that much difference. My god! It is a revelation! Maybe because my nib is so small, but I now realise that it is now held at totally the right angle, unlike previously, the chap knows what he is doing!! I chose for my flange to be fitted for an EF66, there are a couple of other options. Totally worth it... I believe he makes fancy holders that sell out in minutes on his Etsy store (he's in America I think). Recommended!

Best wishes

Claire
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: FirebirdArts on March 24, 2017, 11:34:23 PM
@melanie jane can I ask your take on something called clear water resin...There's an artist in the UK who works with it and when I asked what kind of resin that was the answer I got...I'm not sure what it means online I found it meant polyester resin but it didn't say Clea water resin...So I'm lost...
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on March 26, 2017, 07:09:12 AM
@FirebirdArts Certainly! 

To be honest, water clear resin can apply to any of 3 resins - polyester, polyurethane or epoxy - it's really a property of the resin, rather than a type of resin.

The fact that you specifically asked, and they gave you that answer suggest to me that it may well be polyester resin - it's by far the cheapest resin (8/l vs 45/l) and far inferior to the other two in terms of strength, so they may not have wanted to admit that that's what they were using.  Or they may simply not have understood what you were asking.  The only way you'll know if by going back to the maker and asking specifically whether it's polyester, polyurethane or epoxy.

Of course, depending on what the item is, it may, or may not, make a huge difference as to what resin they are using - is it something that is fragile, or will be handled, possibly dropped, or is it something that's fairly solid and just going to sit of a shelf?

Hope that helps, feel free to come back to me if you need any further info.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: darrin1200 on March 26, 2017, 08:26:13 AM
It could be Alumilite Water Clear, which is a polyurethane. I have used it, and it's machineability is good and It has a bit of a soft feel to it. I know a number of penmakers that swear by it.  Because it is soft, there is a lot of flex to when it is thin.

This is a holder I made using Water Clear.

(https://img0.etsystatic.com/152/2/9947945/il_570xN.1083017622_qnqp.jpg)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on March 26, 2017, 02:40:26 PM
Unfortunately, we have very limited access to Alumilite in the UK, so if it is a UK maker, I'd be very surprised if it was Alumilite - the only Alumilite you can get in quantity over here is the Amazing Clear Cast, which is an epoxy.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: FirebirdArts on March 27, 2017, 02:26:15 AM
It's Tom's studio, I found him on instagram...and that's all he said when I asked for clarification "Is it a polyester, acrylic, or polyurethane resin?"...He never replied again.  So maybe it might be polyester resin...*sigh* they were soo pretty too... :'(
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: darrin1200 on March 27, 2017, 08:09:39 AM
@FirebirdArts  You sound disappointed that it might be polyester resin. Is there something about polyester resin that you are not fond of? As a maker, I am always interested to know artist's likes and dislikes when it comes to materials.

I have never worked with it before, from what I have been told, is its only draw back is that it is more brittle and and harder to machine. From a makers perspective, it's  advantage is that it does not require high pressure to mix.



Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on March 27, 2017, 08:38:07 AM
Well, as a fellow penmaker, I'll give you my opinion. 

Whilst polyester is indeed easy and cheap to make, I personally wouldn't use if for my pens.  I would never feel comfortable sending a pen out, knowing that if it happened to be dropped on a hard floor it could shatter, or if was accidentally bent a little too much it could snap.  I know that any pen could break accidentally, but the more I can minimise the risk, the better.  My customers are valuable to me, and I wouldn't want to ruin my relationship with them over trying to cut corners (or costs) through using an inferior resin. 

Custom penholders aren't cheap, and the least we can do, as penmakers, is invest in the proper equipment to make pens which are worth the price tag. 
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on March 27, 2017, 08:55:41 AM
@FirebirdArts I should also say, I'd be surprised if Tom's Studio was using polyester.  His holders are lovely and look well made. Give him a little more time to reply.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: FirebirdArts on March 27, 2017, 09:04:30 AM
@darrin1200 : My thing is, I want something that's going to stand up to my lifestyle.  Learning that polyester resin is more fragile and knowing how things get thrown at me, I like to anticipate my needs by buying things that are going to stand up to what gets thrown at me.  Now I'm not saying I want an indestructible pen, but rather I'd like to know that per se it falls off my desk onto tile (due to one earthquake or another) I'd like to find out it's still useable, not completely shattered.  That said I've seen some really nice pieces of resin and now I know why they break.

@melanie jane : I am totally happy to pay your prices (when I can afford them) because of not only the work you put into it but how much consideration you put into your products.  Also I haven't written him off yet...but it has been a few days...and if they're not they're really pretty, I'd definitely consider getting at least one...:)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: darrin1200 on March 27, 2017, 09:32:08 AM
@melanie jane I couldn't agree more with you. I have turned a few PR (polyester resin) blanks, and found them to be very chippy while turning. I have not made anything thin with it, so no experience with its flexibility. It's good to hear your experiences.
Up until no,  I have only used the "Water Clear", which does have quite a bit of give. I have a batch of Alumilite's newer "Clear Slow" which is supposed to have a longer open time, is harder and polishes better. However, life just keeps getting in the way every time I plan to give it a try. Hopefully I will soon, and I will let you know.

@FirebirdArts I checked out Tom's page. Those are some beauriful holders with the copper swarf in resin. I have a box of alluminum swarf thats been waiting about two months for me to try out this technique. I think its time to jump off the procrastination train and get to it. Thanks for this threa,  to give me that extra push.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: FirebirdArts on March 27, 2017, 09:49:52 AM
@darrin1200 : I honestly loved the copper in the resin...it was absolutely gorgeous...that's why I'd be disappointed if it was a polyester resin...because I want it...hahahaha!!  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on March 27, 2017, 10:15:37 AM
@darrin1200 I've spoken to trade suppliers of resins, and they've all recommended polyurethane resin as being far superior to polyester, which has also been my experience.  I've also been through LOTS of polyurethane resins, trying to find the best one for my needs.  Of course polyurethane isn't 100% break proof, but I'm confident that it's the best product available for our needs.  There is also, no doubt, the case to be made that not all polyester pens are going to shatter as soon as you look at them - I'm sure that many will provide years of trouble free service.

Maybe I will do a break test comparison on instagram one day.
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: FirebirdArts on April 01, 2017, 12:50:49 PM
@melanie jane : That would be something to see...I'd like that...some home tests to see how the different resins stand up to different things...of course in the shape of the pen...;)
Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: darrin1200 on May 03, 2017, 08:46:50 AM
Darrin, yes my experiences are similar - I only wish that I could get Alumilite in large quantities over here in the UK (I can get Alumilite White, but not Clear).  Instead I've had to go through the lengthy and expensive process of trying out various clear polyurethane resins, to find one which suits my purposes.  Fortunately, I think I've found one with a long open time, so I can use a vacuum chamber, rather than a pressure pot, to remove the bubbles.  (I have the equipment for both, but am happier using the vacuum, for the reasons you stated).

Hi @melanie jane. I know you have a hard time finding Alumilite in the UK.  I just came across this link in another forum, in case you hadn't seen them.
http://www.metalclay.co.uk/alumilite-clear-resin-940ml-32-fl-oz/ (http://www.metalclay.co.uk/alumilite-clear-resin-940ml-32-fl-oz/)

Title: Re: The Curious Artisan - Oblique holders worth the price?
Post by: melanie jane on May 03, 2017, 08:57:33 AM
@darrin1200 Hi Darrin, thanks very much, yes I am in contact with them...I was hoping that they'd order in larger quantities but they just got those little bottles which work out expensive.  Luckily, I've found an alternative resin which I'm happy with at the moment.  But thanks again :-)