Jump to content







Photo

Death Grip Elimination...


  • Please log in to reply
53 replies to this topic

#1 archiphile

archiphile

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Location:Boston,MA
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 04:49

So boys and girls, I have a rather painful problem. I have a death grip on my pens. Does not matter what type or brand. I will say that due to some extenuating circumstances if I ease off my hand starts to shake. I would appreciate some advice. feel free to ask any questions I have not covered, I will respond with my best answer. Thank in advance to your assitance.


Best,

Archiphile

#2 andybiotic

andybiotic

    Check out my 14K flexible...

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,258 posts
  • Location:Auckland, New Zealand
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 05:53

Learn the tripod hold and practice practice practice. Changing a habit is hard but is absolutely doable. What I would do is get a nice expensive pen, and since you wouldn't want to damage it, you will automatically ease off on it, both in holding and in pressing on the pen. Also, get a very wet pen (heavy ink flow) so you have to write fast and light, gliding over the paper to minimise ink dump, this is a bit hard to do with a death grip as you won't be as agile.
Posted Image

#3 USMCMom

USMCMom

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,440 posts
  • Location:West Tennessee
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 05:55

Archiphile, if you've not been writing, let's say for several hours and you pick up a pen, does your hand shake or does this happen mostly after you've been writing? If this happens mostly after you've been writing, does this happen with a pencil or a rollerball?
Posted Image

#4 DanF

DanF

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,894 posts
  • Location:Spokane, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 07:25

I guess it would depend on the cause and nature of the shake. For me, with no shake, I have gotten better through sheer conscious effort, paying close attention for periods of time to what my hand is doing, relaxing as soon as I notice the tension is building. You might just try practicing holding the pen in the tripod grip, with the section resting on the top of the middle finger, the back of the pen resting on the web between first finger and thumb, the first finger on the section at about 2:00, and the thumb about 11:00, resting on the barrel of the pen behind the section.

Let the whole hand relax, and see if you have trouble with the shaking. Then note how you would move the various parts of your hand to make the pen move in the desired direction. Spend some time getting a sense that it's possible to hold the pen in a relaxed fashion, then bring it to the paper, and start writing whatever comes to your head, or copy something. Keep it simple, and just note each time you start to tighten up, then relax the hand and begin again. A nice fat pen makes it easier for me to keep the hand loose. Make sure all three fingers don't come together at the section, and keep the pen cradled on the webbing, and you should get the hang of it before too long. Remember that you have been using the death grip for a long time, and it will take some time to break the habit and pick up the new one, so have patience.

Dan
"Life is like an analogy" -Anon-

Posted Image

#5 Nonsensical

Nonsensical

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,198 posts
  • Location:Melbourne
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:11

If you can write with a Safari...you don't have a death grip. Perhaps try getting something that will help force you to use a proper grip?

#6 Bo Bo Olson

Bo Bo Olson

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,029 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted 26 July 2011 - 08:15

I do not like the 'classic' tripod grip.
The reason I don't like that is it promoted a thumbnail 'crab pinch' and pressure.

I like either of two versions I call the forefinger up.
That takes two minutes to learn.
I was able to switch back and forth real easy. With in a week I found I was using a forefinger up method of grasping my pen 90% of the time with no thought.
Now the only pen I grasp other wise is my triangle gripped P-75.


It takes two-four minutes to practice. With one sheet of paper, where you let your writing flow very large on the first 1/3 of the page, some what large in the second third, and smaller in the last third.
If you have super tiny writing, you have to turn the page over and continue.

If you write super tiny...micro-management it may take longer.
IMO any one can learn to write larger...if they wish...some are super stubborn too.
Writing larger (On Demand) allows one to play with nibs and inks. There are free templates that allow you to scale the lines you print on your paper to wide, medium and small and even tiny.
I'd write a bit larger for a few extra pages to let your writing settle in. You can go back to super tiny micro-management writing if you wish....but that is sort of against the flow.


Second, go to advanced search and type in including quotes; "Death Grip" in this section....writing instruments.

First:
Take your pen, place the section 1/4-1/3 of an inch lower than the nail junction of your middle forefinger joint. A tad down from the dent or callus you have.

Place your forefinger on top of the section, between 12:00-13:00.

If you are not posting.....place the pad of your thumb parallel to the pen barrel so there is a gap between your forefinger and pad of your thumb. If you are placing your forefinger at 12:00 the gap will be smaller than if you place your forefinger at 13:00.

The end of your thumbnail will be under the last 1/3d of the forefinger first joint pad.

The barrel of the fountain pen will be behind the big knuckle of your forefinger about 45 degrees.
............

If you post, the end of your thumbnail will be at the crease of your first joint of your forefinger...with a gap between forefinger and thumb pad.
Depending on how heavy the pen is, it will be a tad lower than the 45 degrees of a non posted pen. It will be at 40 degrees or the start of the web of your thumb.
Should the pen be heavy it will rest in the pocket of the web of your thumb, which would be about 35 degrees.

Do not force a pen to be somewhere, let it rest somewhere in the web of your thumb as the weight of the pen dictates.
Different pens will rest in different parts of the web of your thumb.

You are not fighting your pen.


You Do No Grip the pen, you Grasp it, like you were holding a baby featherless bird.
That is all the pressure you need to write with.
You are not plowing the south forty with out a mule like with a Ball Point Pen.
The fountain pen skates on a small puddle of ink.

Read my signature.

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Odd, how many who should know better, compares Japanese F (which equals EF), with Western F, with out a second thought, but do not compare Japanese B with Western B.

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#7 ehemem

ehemem

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 923 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:14

Why does your hand shake? Muscle fatigue? Your grip on the pen? Or do you have a death grip because your hand shakes? How much pressure do you write with?

How do you hold your pen? Any writing instrument. The tripod grip is the standard because it is the most efficient and relaxed. Resting the barrel of the pen on the webbing between the thumb and forefinger is not standard, although a lot of people will tell you it is because that is how they do it. I hold my pen more vertically so that the barrel is either just on or just forward of the knuckle. There are a bunch of threads in other fora on the tripod grip and some references/links/pics to/of artwork showing people writing with quills and pens. I wish I was more competent at computer stuff, but I am not, so I cannot search and hyperlink to the relevant posts. Look in THE WRITE STUFF and PENMANSHIP fora.

I had a calligraphy teacher who used to sneak up from behind his students at random and quickly attempt to snatch the pen out of their hands. If he couldn't snatch it easily, a lecture on grip ensued. He had a trick he taught us to loosen up our holds: with pen still in hand, roll the hand over until the heel of your hand is flat on the table and press down on the heel of the hand for a few seconds until you feel your thumb and forefinger relax, then rotate you hand back to writing position without tightening up.

Well, looks like you will get a variety of responses and advice. See what works for you.

#8 Bo Bo Olson

Bo Bo Olson

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,029 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted 26 July 2011 - 09:45

Calligraphy should be before the first knuckle but not writing....though today's modern pens have that stiffer blobbier nib because folks hold their pens before the first knuckle; like a ball point.
Calligraphy is a drawn letter, with a nib held at 45 degrees on the paper to get the full character.

Vintage nibs were ground different than todays, as far as I've read they were ground for folks that held their pens further back than today's ball point users.
In that I hold my pens behind the first knuckle and was so taught back in the day of the silver dime.....I just wish the teacher had taught forefinger up instead of trying to teach tripod.
Tripod is adequate....only IMO.
It promotes using pressure.
Forefinger up promotes grasping lightly.

Today's nibs are ground in an attempt of one size fits all; hold the pen where you want....and I am very lucky I don't own many Modern pens....

The good thing about many modern nibs is there is enough material there that you nib meister has enough to work with.

You can not IMO use a semi-flex or maxi-semi-flex/'flexi' or easy full flex nib with the pen held before the first knuckle.
Great for calligraphy and good enough for modern 'stiff-regular' flex nibs then.
AH HA....that could explain why many people don't like 'flexi' nibs...

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Odd, how many who should know better, compares Japanese F (which equals EF), with Western F, with out a second thought, but do not compare Japanese B with Western B.

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#9 Sidestreaker

Sidestreaker

    Vintage

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 490 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:32

Painting helps me relax my grip. The use of a brush will help to train the hand using the right pressure for the right desired effect.

Another trick is the use of a basic pencil. It's what I learned in drafting school. You rotate a sharpened pencil with the guide of a ruler or freehand to draw consistent lines while making sure that the pencil lead erodes consistently on all angles. the more consistent the lines drawn, the better control you have, and soon, it becomes sub-conscious.
My link

Life is like Chinatown signage, its cluttering, confusing but everything that you need is there, just have to look harder....

Posted Image

#10 Ghost Plane

Ghost Plane

    Indescribable

  • FPN Moderators

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,433 posts
  • Location:Florida
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 12:13

It might also be a function of the size of writing implements you are using.

My father taught me by snatching pens from my hand as well :rolleyes: But too narrow of a pen results in too tight of a grip. You may find a larger, fatter pen helps your hand relax.

Try sketching your letters as well, rather than using your fingers to write. With a sheet of paper, make large, slanting 0 shapes using your entire hand, not just the fingers.

The pen should be draped loosely across the webbing between thumb and forefinger and allowed to find its natural nib down position. Then gently close your fingers around it without gripping. That is all the pressure you need for a good fountain pen. Too narrow or dry of a nib defeats this loose "grip" and makes you apply pressure.

#11 Sailor Kenshin

Sailor Kenshin

    Heart of sword

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,296 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 13:23



First:
Take your pen, place the section 1/4-1/3 of an inch lower than the nail junction of your middle forefinger joint. A tad down from the dent or callus you have.

Place your forefinger on top of the section, between 12:00-13:00.

If you are not posting.....place the pad of your thumb parallel to the pen barrel so there is a gap between your forefinger and pad of your thumb. If you are placing your forefinger at 12:00 the gap will be smaller than if you place your forefinger at 13:00.

The end of your thumbnail will be under the last 1/3d of the forefinger first joint pad.

The barrel of the fountain pen will be behind the big knuckle of your forefinger about 45 degrees.
............

If you post, the end of your thumbnail will be at the crease of your first joint of your forefinger...with a gap between forefinger and thumb pad.
Depending on how heavy the pen is, it will be a tad lower than the 45 degrees of a non posted pen. It will be at 40 degrees or the start of the web of your thumb.
Should the pen be heavy it will rest in the pocket of the web of your thumb, which would be about 35 degrees.

Do not force a pen to be somewhere, let it rest somewhere in the web of your thumb as the weight of the pen dictates.
Different pens will rest in different parts of the web of your thumb.

You are not fighting your pen.



Read my signature.


Pictures. Need pictures.

#12 Mickey

Mickey

    Contemporary Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,914 posts
  • Location:CA
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 14:17

Probably the easiest way to lose the Death Grip doesn't involve writing at all, but simply holding the pen in a relaxed manner while not writing. Grip the pen lightly while reading or watching television, let the rest of your arm relax. When holding the pen lightly becomes second nature, when you stop noticing you're holding it, only then start trying to use it. Start by drawing simple figures, lines, circles, and spirals, starting large and gradually decreasing their size until they approach the scale of writing. When you can draw these figures easily, then try writing.

Remember you are trying to decouple a bad habit from a necessary skill. It may take time. Hint: pay attention to how you start moving the pen. If your grip pressure increases as soon as you begin moving the pen (or before!), stop immediately. Begin again (and again...) until you can start moving the pen without immediately (or preemptively) tightening up. (This will probably seem odd, but watching your hand while you try may help a lot.)

I recommend a tripod grip. how arched your index finger is in this grip relates to hand size and confirmation and to pen barrel diameter and length. Don't slavishly try to make your hand look exactly like some picture you've seen. How rotated your wrist and hand are when your grip the pen will also change the appearance of your grip.

Remember, when you change your grip, you may also change the orientation of your writing line, so be prepared to change your paper position. In fact, you may discover that simply changing the rotation of the page on the desk may help you reduce your grip pressure.

The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#13 WendyNC

WendyNC

    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,957 posts
  • Location:Mebane, North Carolina, USA

Posted 26 July 2011 - 14:36

My hand-shakiness is intermittent and I've still not figured out entirely how to deal with the wobbly days. The best I've found so far involves using heavy pens with wide sections/bodies and the old Palmer "arm writing" method. The other thing that seems to help is wider and wetter nibs. These encourage me to write larger, which I find more easily done when doing arm writing.

If you come up with a solution, I'd love to read about it. My godson has what the neurologists have called simply "hereditary tremors" and, so far, he doesn't have a solution, although I haven't had a chance to try him with fountain pens (and I won't now since he moved to Tennessee yesterday for grad school). The best we've found for him are Sensa pens with the squishy, rubberized grip.
I came here for the pictures and stayed for the conversation.

#14 archiphile

archiphile

    Near Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPip
  • 36 posts
  • Location:Boston,MA
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 16:27

@Dan; The nature of the shake is a medical issue and cannot be helped. I do agree that in many instances this alone works well. I also think that employing this w/ other methods works well.

@Sidestreaker; While rolling the pen/pencil works well for me while drafting a line. I find that when it comes to then lettering phase of the drawing, I have the same problem.

@Bo Bo Olsen; Thank you for the very helpful and insightful explanation.


So I will tell all of you this what my riding instructor has said to me and others in the past. Thumbs up, relax your elbows (usually just shortened to ELBOWS1). Head up and eyes forward.

You might not think that any of this applies to anything but riding horses. I have found that many of the things said in a lesson go for many things in general. Thank you all for your comments.

#15 nxn96

nxn96

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,115 posts
  • Location:Near Chicago, Illinois
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 16:50

Here's what's worked for me:

Essentially, you create a "cradle" whereby the upper part of the pen "rests" in your hand in the curve between your thumb and index finger. Your thumb and middle finger provide just the slightest tension against the barrel at roughly the 2-o'clock and 10-o'clock position, with the index finger just above the middle finger but provides no tension against the pen. The number four finger and the pinky "round out" the cradle. The #4 touches the base of the pen (at the 6-o'clock position), but never provides tension; the pen simply rests on it. As for the pinky, it's job is to sit there and stay out of the way.

Unless you're writing with a chisel, a writing instrument (and I use the same basic "hold" for pencils and bp's) doesn't need much leverage to work; it only needs enough to keep the pen from slipping out of your hand. Any more than that probably means you're putting too much pressure on the pen. Focus on the softest grip possible to keep the pen from slipping out of your hand, and how the pen best fits your hand such that you need the least amount of pressure to keep it there.

Hope this helps

#16 KrazyIvan

KrazyIvan

    Fountain Pen Sith Lord

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,198 posts
  • Location:Texas, USA
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 17:07

I trained myself with a Lamy Safari. First, it forces you into the tripod hold, which I did not do before. After that it was conciously telling myself to stop gripping as hard. It took several months before I finally broke the trend. Now it is second nature to grip the pen in a relaxed manner and to hold it in a tripod grip. I don't need the Safari to force me into the tripod grip. I don't remember exactly how long it took but I am guessing about 4-6 months. I started in January (a New Year's resolution) and have been happily writing since.

#17 Mickey

Mickey

    Contemporary Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,914 posts
  • Location:CA
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 17:17

@Dan; The nature of the shake is a medical issue and cannot be helped. I do agree that in many instances this alone works well. I also think that employing this w/ other methods works well.


If writing with more physical effort or activity helps damp the tremors, there may be a solution in (I believe) some of the Spencerian instruction manuals. One manual directs that the pad of muscle just forward of the elbow rest on the desk. In effect, the muscle pad becomes a heavily damped 2D bearing, with the upper arm and shoulder providing the bulk of the energy for writing and the smaller muscles of the hand and forearm providing the fine control. This is a blended solution, closer to what is meant by "arm writing" than some explanations I've read. Another manual give similar advice, except it recommends wearing a lined jacket (with a short sleeved shirt) effecting a sleeve bearing of sorts. I suspect, in your situation, the first suggestion is more likely to help.

The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press; but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity. (4 Bl. Com. 151, 152.) Blackstone's Commentaries


#18 Alieanor

Alieanor

    Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 118 posts
  • Location:I'd rather be elsewhere
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 17:37

It might also be a function of the size of writing implements you are using.

My father taught me by snatching pens from my hand as well :rolleyes: But too narrow of a pen results in too tight of a grip. You may find a larger, fatter pen helps your hand relax.

Try sketching your letters as well, rather than using your fingers to write. With a sheet of paper, make large, slanting 0 shapes using your entire hand, not just the fingers.

The pen should be draped loosely across the webbing between thumb and forefinger and allowed to find its natural nib down position. Then gently close your fingers around it without gripping. That is all the pressure you need for a good fountain pen. Too narrow or dry of a nib defeats this loose "grip" and makes you apply pressure.



+1. Once I discovered heavier pens with fatter sections, I found my need for a death grip went away. Now I'm able to use my lighter pens with the grip I developed using bigger pens.

Experimentation is a good thing here. You may want to play around with several of the methods listed here to see what makes the most difference for you. I can't write at all using the tripod grip, but I was able to adapt my regular grip to exigences of FP writing.

Good luck!

#19 DanF

DanF

    Antique

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,894 posts
  • Location:Spokane, WA
  • Flag:

Posted 26 July 2011 - 22:28

Here is a photo of the grip I was trying to describe. I don't know if this is actually the tripod grip or not, but it is a very relaxed grip, I think that one may have the thumb on the section too, and is a minor deviation of this one. Either one leaves the hand in a very natural, restful state. Don't know how your tremor will figure into the equation, but there has already been much advice for you to experiment with. Hope some of it proves helpful. Good luck.

DSC_0320_2.jpg

Dan
"Life is like an analogy" -Anon-

Posted Image

#20 Bo Bo Olson

Bo Bo Olson

    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 14,029 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted 26 July 2011 - 22:50

I'll have to take some pictures....not tonight it's late.

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I try not use the term Easy Full Flex, but fail...sigh.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Odd, how many who should know better, compares Japanese F (which equals EF), with Western F, with out a second thought, but do not compare Japanese B with Western B.

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.





[Sponsored Content]