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The Tripod (or Triangular) Pen Hold


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48 replies to this topic

#1 kenfraser

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 22:21

This post is an attempt to demonstate the classic 'tripod' pen hold. If you can imagine trying to describe a spiral staircase to a blind man, you'll see the difficulty of trying to put it into words. I took the easy way out and here are three photos showing different views of the hand grip.

This grip is generally considered best for avoiding hand strain and cramp as it allows for great flexiblity and freedom of movement.

I left school with a most peculiar hand pen hold and deliberately changed to the 'classic' one which I found in a book.
It took a remarkably short time to adopt the hold, and I've used it ever since.

caliken

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#2 HDoug

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 23:53

Wonderful tripod photo of a "schoolbook" tripod pen hold. Thanks for posting.

And this is the sort of pen hold that the Lamy Safari/AL-Star triangular section accommodates, no?

Doug

#3 Ghost Plane

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 23:55

Drop the pen into the webbing between thumb and forefinger, then grip the pen above the threads on the section, and you'll have an idea how I hold a pen for maximum mileage all day, everyday. :thumbup:

#4 kenfraser

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:29

Wonderful tripod photo of a "schoolbook" tripod pen hold. Thanks for posting.

And this is the sort of pen hold that the Lamy Safari/AL-Star triangular section accommodates, no?

Doug

Exactly. The Safari/All Star has been designed with this specific 'calssic' hand hold in mind. With this hand hold, writing is very comfortable and the nib edge is set to produce a 45 degree line.

If someone is prepared to adopt the 'classic' pen-hold, these pens are a delight to use. As you know, this pen-hold isn't new - I first changed to it, around 55 years ago! It was probably first advocated by Arrighi!

caliken

Edited by caliken, 01 August 2010 - 11:30.


#5 WendyNC

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 13:07

This is basically the way I hold a pen and it really is good for all day, every day. The only place it doesn't work for me is with the VP--darned clip is in the way.

I just took a closer look at what I do and see that the pen is rotated slightly toward me (right handed) but it's still very close. I may continue to tweak.

Edited by WendyNC, 01 August 2010 - 13:12.

I came here for the pictures and stayed for the conversation.

#6 gaevin

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 12:17

Hi Caliken, what parts of your hand are touching the paper?

In different sources, the last two fingers and the knuckle rest on the paper, leaving a space between the pinky and the knuckle not touching the paper. Can you please elaborate on this aspect.

Also, another question regarding the tripod grip. I find that I'm applying too much pressure when I am holding the pen, although the pressure between the pen and the paper is good (very minimal). Whenever I try to release the pressure between the pen and my hand, my handwriting starts to deteriorate because I shake a little bit. It feels that using minimal pressure holding the pen and minimal pressure pressing the tip of the pen onto the paper is extremely hard to master! Any tips and tricks, or must I be patient since mastering this takes time and practice?

Thanks!

#7 rollerboy

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 14:02

... the nib edge is set to produce a 45 degree line.


Since we're revisiting this thread, could Caliken or someone else please explain "the nib edge is set to produce a 45 degree line". What does that mean? Is that referring to the left and right tines resting on the paper like this:

<br />  R<br />L<br />


instead of like this:
<br />L R<br />


I've certainly noticed I tend to do the first, but I've always wondered if I should be striving for the second (and I'm talking about regular, non-oblique cut nibs).

Edited by rollerboy, 04 September 2010 - 14:05.


#8 kenfraser

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 14:35

I've always found this very difficult to put into words and I am pleased to be able to congratulate you on your excellent depiction!
Your first example is exactly what I was trying to convey.


Thank you! :thumbup:

Edited by caliken, 04 September 2010 - 14:36.


#9 Achim

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 13:25

Is that referring to the left and right tines resting on the paper like this:


R
L


Yes, it is. Don't try to coerce the nib into a horizontal position related to the paper. That would hurt your wrist joint sooner or later. The pen grip that feels most natural and that doesn't need any effort is usually the right one (with the exception of some calligraphic scripts that need manipulation of the nib in this regard).

Edited by Achim, 05 September 2010 - 13:29.


#10 kenfraser

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 20:57

Hi Caliken, what parts of your hand are touching the paper?

In different sources, the last two fingers and the knuckle rest on the paper, leaving a space between the pinky and the knuckle not touching the paper. Can you please elaborate on this aspect.

Also, another question regarding the tripod grip. I find that I'm applying too much pressure when I am holding the pen, although the pressure between the pen and the paper is good (very minimal). Whenever I try to release the pressure between the pen and my hand, my handwriting starts to deteriorate because I shake a little bit. It feels that using minimal pressure holding the pen and minimal pressure pressing the tip of the pen onto the paper is extremely hard to master! Any tips and tricks, or must I be patient since mastering this takes time and practice?

Thanks!

I see that my pictures may be misleading as I was concentrating on the tripod hold with my hand stationary. In actual writing, my first three fingers are free of the paper in the tripod hold and the other two fingers are brushing the surface of the paper as a guide in parallel motion to the tripod.

I find that the pen held in this tripod grip and with the pen resting on the large knuckle, very easy to control with just the lightest touch letting the nib do the work.
This is the huge advantage over a ball point pen as it requires no effort.

caliken

#11 gaevin

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 17:06

Hi Caliken, what parts of your hand are touching the paper?

In different sources, the last two fingers and the knuckle rest on the paper, leaving a space between the pinky and the knuckle not touching the paper. Can you please elaborate on this aspect.

Also, another question regarding the tripod grip. I find that I'm applying too much pressure when I am holding the pen, although the pressure between the pen and the paper is good (very minimal). Whenever I try to release the pressure between the pen and my hand, my handwriting starts to deteriorate because I shake a little bit. It feels that using minimal pressure holding the pen and minimal pressure pressing the tip of the pen onto the paper is extremely hard to master! Any tips and tricks, or must I be patient since mastering this takes time and practice?

Thanks!

I see that my pictures may be misleading as I was concentrating on the tripod hold with my hand stationary. In actual writing, my first three fingers are free of the paper in the tripod hold and the other two fingers are brushing the surface of the paper as a guide in parallel motion to the tripod.

I find that the pen held in this tripod grip and with the pen resting on the large knuckle, very easy to control with just the lightest touch letting the nib do the work.
This is the huge advantage over a ball point pen as it requires no effort.

caliken


Thanks for the reply. It was very helpful!

#12 dnb

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 17:56

Interesting I should see this post coming up today. Just yesterday, I was looking at the way I hold the pen and how it facilitates my writing. I do use that grip. It's actually the classic way to grip chopsticks, although there are 2 implements there.
I understand from reading, that it is the arm that should actually do the moving, and, if not, writing is cramped and uneven. While my arm moves a bit, for me, it is more the push of the middle finger and the pull of the index that makes it go. My writing is not cramped at all and appears flowingly.
Is that push and pull thing the way most people do it?

Edited by dnb, 06 September 2010 - 17:57.

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#13 Firochromis

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 08:01

This is a very interesting topic for me. Firstly I must say that tripod pen hold is my natural pen holding way (with a slight difference). But I have never intended or studied to hold like that. It's all natural. In fact I've just learned the name of my penholding. Anyway, for some time I've been training to improve my penmanship and for this chose The Palmer Method for reference. In that book, correct pen holding is shown like the one on the below picture (this picture is not from the book, I searched and matched the figure on my mind. There may be slight differences):

Posted Image

So, I have been forcing myself to hold the pen "Palmerian" but now I see that many people also forcing themselves to hold the pen tripodian. So, is this a conflict for me or what? :)

BTW,

Is that referring to the left and right tines resting on the paper like this:


R
L


Yes, it is. Don't try to coerce the nib into a horizontal position related to the paper. That would hurt your wrist joint sooner or later. The pen grip that feels most natural and that doesn't need any effort is usually the right one (with the exception of some calligraphic scripts that need manipulation of the nib in this regard).


I'm holding the pen horizantal comfortably, this is another conflict for me. :blink:
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#14 pe2dave

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 17:42

I see that my pictures may be misleading as I was concentrating on the tripod hold with my hand stationary. In actual writing, my first three fingers are free of the paper in the tripod hold and the other two fingers are brushing the surface of the paper as a guide in parallel motion to the tripod.

I find that the pen held in this tripod grip and with the pen resting on the large knuckle, very easy to control with just the lightest touch letting the nib do the work.
This is the huge advantage over a ball point pen as it requires no effort.

caliken


First 3 fingers? Index, longest and thumb?
My grip is similar, and it annoys me that any grease on my second(longest) finger which touches
the paper in my case, 'squeaks' when writing?
I'll try and keep my ring and pinky 'tracing' the path, see if that helps.

Thanks Caliken.
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#15 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 22:57

This is basically the way I hold a pen and it really is good for all day, every day. The only place it doesn't work for me is with the VP--darned clip is in the way.

I just took a closer look at what I do and see that the pen is rotated slightly toward me (right handed) but it's still very close. I may continue to tweak.


I've got my VP out today, and this is my default hold, so reading this makes me stop and attend to how I'm writing.
{pauses. considers.}
Well, it's pretty much as Caliken shows us in the initial post, perhaps slightly rotated, so that the index finger rests in the "waist" of the clip but the thumb is well clear of it. Taking up my "51" from its desk mount, I see that I do grab it with the index finger more atop, exactly as shown above, but the modification is trifling. Perhaps it's a size-of-hand thing, though, that allows me this freedom.

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#16 bigstick

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 23:35

Caliken is showing the hold taught to me in grade school in the early sixties, and which I stubbornly continue to use, avoiding all others.....vade retro, satanus!
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#17 WendyNC

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 00:18

This is basically the way I hold a pen and it really is good for all day, every day. The only place it doesn't work for me is with the VP--darned clip is in the way.

I just took a closer look at what I do and see that the pen is rotated slightly toward me (right handed) but it's still very close. I may continue to tweak.


I've got my VP out today, and this is my default hold, so reading this makes me stop and attend to how I'm writing.
{pauses. considers.}
Well, it's pretty much as Caliken shows us in the initial post, perhaps slightly rotated, so that the index finger rests in the "waist" of the clip but the thumb is well clear of it. Taking up my "51" from its desk mount, I see that I do grab it with the index finger more atop, exactly as shown above, but the modification is trifling. Perhaps it's a size-of-hand thing, though, that allows me this freedom.


I'm trying it but not quite getting it. Any chance you'd be able to post a photo showing your VP hold? Thanks!
I came here for the pictures and stayed for the conversation.

#18 pe2dave

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:14

http://www.paperpena...andwriting.html

Very much as Caliken says. The real one is putting in the practice?
The first stroke of an X, where you can't see the end stroke, because
it's under your fingers? Getting that regular (angle and end point)
is .. hard!

"The more I practice, the luckier I get" ? Handwriting as well as gold!

Dave
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#19 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 13:01

This is basically the way I hold a pen and it really is good for all day, every day. The only place it doesn't work for me is with the VP--darned clip is in the way.

I just took a closer look at what I do and see that the pen is rotated slightly toward me (right handed) but it's still very close. I may continue to tweak.


I've got my VP out today, and this is my default hold, so reading this makes me stop and attend to how I'm writing.
{pauses. considers.}
Well, it's pretty much as Caliken shows us in the initial post, perhaps slightly rotated, so that the index finger rests in the "waist" of the clip but the thumb is well clear of it. Taking up my "51" from its desk mount, I see that I do grab it with the index finger more atop, exactly as shown above, but the modification is trifling. Perhaps it's a size-of-hand thing, though, that allows me this freedom.


I'm trying it but not quite getting it. Any chance you'd be able to post a photo showing your VP hold? Thanks!


With some delay, here you are, side-by-side with my "normal" grip on a 51-- as you can see, it's just a matter of a little rotation:
Posted Image

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#20 pe2dave

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 13:57

With some delay, here you are, side-by-side with my "normal" grip on a 51-- as you can see, it's just a matter of a little rotation:


I can follow the logic... and I do get results? I can't 'twist' it as far towards
the knuckle as you have it in the photo? Makes the nib too 'steep', but moving
it in that direction I really do find a help. Thanks

Dave
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