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Tips For Getting Rid Of Crab Thumb?


New_Falcon
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Hello All,

 

I've been making slow progress with my writing but noticed that I've developed a bad habit with my pen grip.

 

I seem to have developed a 'crab' thumb grib. I start off with a nice grib, but by the end of the line my thumb is bent to 90degrees at the first joint and I'm pushing the pen towards the index and middle finger.

 

Are there any tips, exercises, practices I could do to help with this?

 

I'd much rather fix this now, than get my handwriting to a good point and then try and fix my grip.

 

Thanks.

WTT: My Lamy 2000 Fine nib for your Lamy 2000 Broad nib.

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It seems that as you work to perfect your handwriting, you start out well but become increasingly tense as you near the end of a line. Stop mid line and readjust your hold, and then continue writing. You can also reach out to your side and give your hand a shake to loosen up. This little video might help tooÚ

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One less-popular remedy is to amputate the first joint of the thumb. There are others.

Which pen are you using ? Unconsciously, you could be compensating for a slipping grip.

 

Relax. Write slowly. Savor the joy.

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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Nanny.. Yes it seems that early on in the line the grip is relaxed and then my thumb starts gripping more as I come to the end of the line. Maybe I need to focus on moving the arm more as you say.

 

Sasha Royale.. I'm using a Namiki Falcon and Lamy 2000, they both have sections that are around 3/8"

 

I'm also a left handed underwriter too. The page is also angled nearly 90 degrees to my body, so it maybe that I'm getting cramped for room as I get to the end of the line, which would be the closest point to me.

WTT: My Lamy 2000 Fine nib for your Lamy 2000 Broad nib.

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My older brother is a lefthander. His writing tends to deteriorate toward the end of a line. He solved the problem by repositioning the hand and the paper from time to time. As a righthander, I write away from my body, and have the entire world to use. He was "crowding" , in anticipation of running into his own body. In his case, a gift of the "fat" TWSBI Diamond 540 helped his grip, as well.

 

The LAMY Safari has the three-sided section, intended to force the correct writing grip . . . . . .

(sorry) for a righthanded user. Is there a section oriented for lefthanded users ? I don't know. ABS is extremely durable, but it does FEEL cheap.

 

Sorry that I am not so decerning as to recommend. However, I like the way my matte-finish LAMY 2000 feels. Perhaps, others to come can offer pens with a "nice feel".

 

I wonder if anyone can turn a rosewood barrel for a Parker 51. I am a recreational handgunner, and my rosewood grip panels "warm" diliciously to my hand.

 

For other responders, where are you located ?

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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I've watched the video and there are some points that I can definitely use.

 

Sasha Royale, I'm looking into seeing if a pen with a thicker section will help, but I'd rather not have a TWSBI and all the other pens seem very large and unpocketable. BTW I'm based in the USA.

WTT: My Lamy 2000 Fine nib for your Lamy 2000 Broad nib.

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It seems that as you work to perfect your handwriting, you start out well but become increasingly tense as you near the end of a line. Stop mid line and readjust your hold, and then continue writing. You can also reach out to your side and give your hand a shake to loosen up. This little video might help tooÚ

 

 

That was pretty cool stuff, Nan. I watched it 3 times!

Maker of Custom Oblique Pen Holders

 

Visit me at http://uniqueobliques.etsy.com

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Do you move the paper as you progress towards the end of the line? If you move it every few words, or perhaps at 1/3 and 2/3 of the line, you be able to keep your hand more or less at the same position.

 

If you don't move the paper, reaching the end of a line might a bit of a stretch, especially if you also keep to wrist planted (firmly) on the paper / desk.

 

Lifting my wrist off the desk ever so slightly and moving the paper as I go along works well for me.

journaling / tinkering with pens / sailing / photography / software development

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Nanny: interesting video! I really like the tip about hold a ball of yarn in your hand while writing!

journaling / tinkering with pens / sailing / photography / software development

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Just a thought, you might try the Pelikano Jr. for a left handed person. It has a thicker section and has indentions to give the correct grip. I have been using one for right handers in an attempt to loosen my grip a bit while I'm improving overall consistency in my style. I'm not a lefty so I'm not sure if this will help you, but since it's a school pen, it seems possible.

Katie

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Nanny: interesting video! I really like the tip about hold a ball of yarn in your hand while writing!

It's an old tip and a good one, BUT, I don't like her hand position. Having gotten the last two fingers in the correct position, she rotates her hand so far clockwise as to plant the side of the palm on the page. This has (at least) two negative consequences. First, it nearly guarantees the transfer of skin oil on to the paper. (Even a cover sheet may not help as much as it might.) Second, although there are few frames of her actual writing, the reliance on wrist flexure (0:48-55) to move the pen point looks to me like a recipe for RSI and cramping. It's clear she is leaning on the heel of her hand, since she has to stop and reposition her hand every few characters, rather than allowing the hand to slide smoothly parallel to the writing line with no need to lift and pause. While pausing to lift and reposition (the PAPER) is perfectly acceptable, even desirable for (some) formal writing, there is no excuse for being forced lift every few characters because the palm is anchored to the desk.

 

To my mind, the proper wrist rotation is somewhere between 45 degrees to the writing surface (look at Ken Fraser's hand position) and parallel to the writing surface, the position espoused by many 19th and early 20th century writing masters. (A coin could balance on the back of the hand.) The pen shaft should point directly over or just outside the right shoulder and be roughly co-planar with the forearm. This allows for a smooth, nearly instinctive transition between finger, hand, wrist, and arm movements.

Edited by Mickey

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

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I tried a quick experiment, I moved the paper slightly more to the left of my body and about half way through the line I moved the paper, resulting in no crab thumb.

 

I also tried not writing, but keeping a pen grip and then moving along the line, using my old normal position of writing. What I found is as my elbow is planted on the desk and to maintain writing on the line and to counter act the natural arc as I go along the line, I have to use the crab thumb as I get past halfway on the line.

 

Pretending to write but moving my whole arm, so the position under the pen is maintained seems to solve the problem.

 

So it seems that there are two ways forward,

 

1, Half way through the line reposition the paper

2, Move whole arm to maintain the same position of the arm, hand and pen.

 

Any thoughts on which is better to do.

 

Being left handed is a mess.

Edited by New_Falcon

WTT: My Lamy 2000 Fine nib for your Lamy 2000 Broad nib.

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I tried a quick experiment, I moved the paper slightly more to the left of my body and about half way through the line I moved the paper, resulting in no crab thumb.

 

I also tried not writing, but keeping a pen grip and then moving along the line, using my old normal position of writing. What I found is as my elbow is planted on the desk and to maintain writing on the line and to counter act the natural arc as I go along the line, I have to use the crab thumb as I get past halfway on the line.

 

Pretending to write but moving my whole arm, so the position under the pen is maintained seems to solve the problem.

 

So it seems that there are two ways forward,

 

1, Half way through the line reposition the paper

2, Move whole arm to maintain the same position of the arm, hand and pen.

 

Any thoughts on which is better to do.

 

Being left handed is a mess.

I think you've properly diagnosed your problem and proposed a sensible cure. If you want to take up Spencerian or Copperplate, you'll need to develop the habit of moving the paper every few characters, but for most other purposes, allowing the elbow and shoulder to move freely and maintain the hand's relationship to the writing line should be enough. Undoubtedly, you've figured out the most important rule: Don't lean on your writing hand.

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

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