Instructables

Create A Custom Medieval-/Fantasy-Style Calligraphy Quill

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If you're like me, you have several pen/styli and a toolbox full of various nibs that allows you to experiment and get creative with your calligraphy. Lately, I've needed something slightly different than what my nibs could provide, and in a similar tradition to the great scribes who illuminated the great medieval manuscripts, I created a hardwood quill with wonderful writing characteristics that gives me just what I'm looking for.

This instructable is short-and-sweet, and will walk you through creating your own hardwood quill out of items you may already have laying about your house. This quill provides an excellent tactile feel, controlled ink flow, and is orders of magnitudes sturdier and more durable than traditional medieval quills made from goose feathers. If this sort of thing interests you, then join me and turn the page!
 
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials

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As mentioned, this instructable is very straightforward and easy to complete. If you go with a straight hardwood-type quill, you could be finished in five minutes. Using the bamboo rod as a stylus with the hardwood portion as an affixed nib only adds maybe five more minutes to the total process.

To get things rolling, rummage through your utensils drawers and gather up any chopsticks you might have. They'll need to be wooden (the composite or plastic kind won't do) and ideally should be made of a hardwood. If you don't have any of these lying about, you can pick them up all over the place for maybe no more than $5 or less. Make sure you get good hardwood chopsticks. It's needed to keep the crisp edge on the quill and doesn't soak up and hold as much ink in the wood itself.

If you're going for the bamboo stylus, I picked up a bag of bamboo sticks/rods from Home Depot for a few bucks. They're used to stake plants and small trees in a garden, so I'd guess any place that sells that sort of thing might have this. I went with bamboo for a couple of reasons:
  • it's light and easy on the hands
  • it has an ideal circumference for a comfortable grasp when doing detailed script work
  • it's already hollow
Ok, once you have your things in order, proceed to the next step.