Instructables

Step by Step on how to use a dip pen.

Dip pens are great. They offer an unmatched writing control and just add overall coolness to what you write. However, using a dip pen requires a little more preparation and time. This guide will walk you through all the steps of using a dip pen.
 
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Step 3: Dip the pen, hence the name.

Now you will dip the pen in the ink so you can write. Make sure you do not dip the wood of you pin in the ink, just the nib. You don't wan't to get your fingers covered in ink! After this, you are ready to write!
Phil B1 year ago
I regularly use a fountain pen and have always liked those. I have tried steel nibs like the one you show, but have always found them very scratchy. Do they become smoother in time? Also, do you need to siphon ink off of the nib so too much does not find its way to the paper in one spot? Thank you. I am curious about your experience.
Weldeon (author)  Phil B1 year ago
I do agree about scratchiness, I sometimes even tear the paper doing calligraphy! Some nibs seem to be more scratchy than others. I have not used these nibs enough to really say if they become smoother, but I think some of it may be just a factor of being adjusted to using those kinds of nibs. Then again, the set I purchased was quite a cheap one, I have no doubt that is also a factor. As for ink, I have found this also varies by nib. The nib I showed using in the instructable does a fine job of keeping ink on the nib, and not blobbing, however I have others that very easily just drop dots of ink all on my paper before I even attempt to write, and others that are much too sensitive to pressure and will split far too much when putting the nib on the paper, depositing the ink. That, I believe, is up to your being adjusted to the nibs you are using, and what you are trying to do with the ink(lines, shading, fine lines, etc). With most nibs however, just dipping like regular, and not trying to spoon up ink with the nib will yield fine results. Thanks for the questions! If I missed anything let me know!
Phil B Weldeon1 year ago
Thank you for your detailed response. I remember reading that the old steel dipping nibs had a wonderful feature. They were springy enough to respond to very minute differences in pressure against the paper. That meant that the writing from these nibs had a beautiful character with lines that alternated in their width. Most fountain pens do not bend and flex like the steel dipping nibs.

By the way, Shelby Foote wrote a trilogy on the Civil War. He did all of his writing with a dipping pen because the slower speed required by frequently inking the pen gave him time to think more carefully about his writing.
pfred2 Phil B1 year ago
Some authors still use manual typewriters for a similar reason as Shelby Foote did. One of my favorite authors has been quoted as saying, writing is supposed to be hard...

As far as steel nibs scratching goes the type of paper can have an effect on that. Also, some paper can build up in a tip giving you sort of a felt tip effect, which if controlled can be kind of nice. The really scratchy steel pens are called quills. Of course Google is being amazingly obtuse searching for one. I have two in my desk drawer but I'm looking for a link on the net.

This page appears to have some pretty lethal pens:

http://www.pendemonium.com/pens_dippen.htm

Wholly smokes $25 ?!? I think the Hunt crow quills are what I'm thinking of. Those things are needle sharp and could be used as paper cutters. I guess I'm glad I built up my collection when I did. Apparently I have a small fortune in vintage ink pens now?

Anyhow some illuminated manuscripts were made on a material called vellum which I believe originally was animal hide. I'm sure writing on it is of a different quality than fiber papers. Today there is a modern replacement called paper vellum that might yield a unique writing experience. I had some fake parchment paper I got years ago that I used to do pen work on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vellum