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Why Would I Want An Oblique Nib Instead Of A Stub?


eloquentogre
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Let's go back to the theory of penmanship, as espoused by the Craft movement of early 20th century England. My favorite two penmen of that time are Graily Hewitt and Edward Johnston. Both talk about straight vs slanted writing, both talk about formal vs daily hands. They point out the advantages of oblique nibs and of straight nibs.

 

The two books that most typify their writings are Graily Hewitt's Lettering and Edward Johnston's Writing and Illuminating and Lettering. WIL is available on-line, not sure about Lettering. Well worth a read, for an understanding of the how and why of writing.

 

Enjoy,

 

Thank you Randal for the book titles. I'll have a look.

A collector of inks, currently doing my own ink challenge.

 

IG: mcvanwijk1

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I don't agree that oblique nibs were developed as, and are some how intended as a solution to, a rotation issue. While the "optimal" nib position (rotation/angle etc) is one thing, certainly modern ball tipped nibs and even non tipped nibs, to a certain degree, have the ability to write with the nib rotated with out ill effect. Some pens, the Parker 75 for instance, even allows for a specific rotation to be dialed in. Non-standard tipped nibs (ie. shaped or non-rounded) nibs, I believe, developed as calligraphy tools that allowed for non-flex line variation, and the obliques (left- and right-footed) evolved to offer even more options for line variations. I can see how, perhaps, the oblique tips may be seen as have been developed as as adaptaion for left handers, particularly with regard to the left-foot oblique, but I just don't see it as the driving force behind its development/evolution.

"What? What's that? WHAT?!!! SPEAK UP, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!" - Ludwig van Beethoven.

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In effect an oblique nib is a nib shaped between a "normal" italic/stub nib and an Arabic italic nib, and therefore provides, when held at the same angle in reference to the paper, a wider stroke in a direction different to the two extremes, making for writing looking different. In order for the nib to make contact with the paper properly, it will have to be rotated a little around its vertical (long) axis. Creating an angle relative to the front of the nib, is much easier, and requires much less tipping, than doing it in the same way as, e.g., and Arabic type nib, but conceptually it could be done in a similar way, although it would be more difficult to get a good ink flow.

 

That is the principle of an oblique.

 

It happens that for some writers, who write at an angle, or who skew their pens when writing, an oblique nib fits perfectly well for their way of writing, and as indicated, this is often the case with left-handed writers although there are plenty right-handed writers who also hold their pens slightly tilted. With left-handers this is really because of the fact that in the western world we write (and read) from left to right, and that requires pushing a pen for left-handers, which is quite hard to do, and makes the nib easily hook into the paper, while it is really a dragging motion of the pen for right-handers. Rotating the pen essentially makes writing for a left-hander more of a dragging operation, but in that case, because the pen is held away from the writing direction, rather than straight, requires an oblique cut for optimal paper contact. This is also why many lefties turn the paper they write on rather than have it straight like most right-handers.

 

A smallish K- or ball nib is round enough to allow for different tilts, so those do generally not pose problems. The same is true for very large nib types - those generally only require the removal of a small piece of tipping to make then extremely usable fro anybody, like the Pelikan OBB. However, I wouldn't really consider the latter an italic oblique; it has less line variation than a rounded italic, or even most standard BBs or 3Bs, basically because in the case of the Pelikan it is a very big round ball of tipping mostly, while most big type nibs have oblong shaped tipping, as in wider than high.

 

Warm regards, Wim

the Mad Dutchman
laugh a little, love a little, live a lot; laugh a lot, love a lot, live forever

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I have owned a couple of totally useless nail* obliques. Even trans-mailed a totally useless Pelikan 200 true regular flex Oblique. Now that was a disappointment.

 

I :drool: :puddle: , semi-flex and maxi-semi-flex Vintage 50's-65* obliques in they are matched with flat stubbish or stub German nibs of the day. I was inordinately lucky, over a couple-three years I lucked into both the @15 and 30 degree grinds in OBB, OB, OM and OF. They are a mix of semi&maxi. I have some 15-16 total.

 

**As mentioned one of those totally useless nail obliques, was a '50's Lamy nail. So it must have some flex to it, semi or maxi.

 

If you naturally cant you nib perhaps due to left eye dominance or are one of the left handers whose script art can use the slanted nib.....then a modern would be for you. For right handers who naturally cant, go German Vintage, do not waste money on modern. I had my Lamy Persona nail OB, made into a CI and get line variation.

You will get much more line variation out of a CI than a modern nail/regular flex oblique

 

In there are left handers that can not use semi-flex or maxi-semi-flex, the Vintage would not be for you. If you can use a nib with some flex, there are left foot grinds mostly for right handers, and there are right foot grinds that are supposed to help left handers.

 

That right foot grind may help some left handers in modern nails...you'd have to check. In of course I'm right handed.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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Good topic. I have several left foot ( I am right handed) oblique nibs both modern and vintage. The vintage ones I have are easier for me to use and offer more line variation...that said I do very much like modern obliques. For stock modern obliques I think Aurora makes my favorites as they a quite sharp.

 

Recently I bought a new Montblanc and I went through all of the pens in their tester set (EF-OBB) and I asked which one suits me and the saleswomen said "all of them seem to work". I ended up going for an oblique as these offered the most line variation...it wasn't a lot but it was noticeably more than the stubish B and BB nibs.

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See my post on theory of penmanship.

 

What post?

 

I am left handed, sometimes over writing, sometimes under writing. I have left and right obliques, because I was curious about them. I found that turning the pen so the nib was on its sweet spot took a lot of effort, even after using these things for years. Further, going from an ordinary nib to an oblique required a mental reset to get into the rotating of the oblique again. Writing with the oblique not rotated usually resulted in poor to no ink flow. Some, like a Pellikan M1000 O3B nib have so much tipping that it is almost impossible to be unable to write with it. I would say that was the best of the oblique lot. The rest have been interesting but annoying test ventures. I don't think these things are a panacea for left handers. Right foot oblique: I had to keep trying to rotate it to make it write. Better just a fine of extra fine ordinary nib. Less ink on the paper, dries faster, less ink on my left hand.

Oblique the oblique. Right oblique, HARCH!

.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

 

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For stock modern obliques I think Aurora makes my favorites as they a quite sharp. .

Thank you for this recommendation. I'll keep an eye out for one.

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.... another use for obliques i see is allowing left hand writers to do italic and similar broad edge writing without hand contortions and/or putting the paper at a weird angle on the table.

Interesting. I'm left handed and have no trouble with italic or stub nibs and one of my daily writers has an italic nib. I don't have to contort my hand, but my paper is turned at a "weird" (not to me, only to others) angle no matter which nib or writing instrument I use. The angle of the paper gives left handers like me, room to write. I notice it's a part of how LH children are taught to write these days.

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As mentioned, I see no reason to buy a modern Oblique, unless you naturally cant your nib or it fits your left handed script art.

 

To have a Vintage stubby semi-flex or maxi-semi-flex Oblique (German 1950-65)work with out thinking about it much.

Post the cap so the clip is in line half way between the slit and the right edge if the nib has a grind of @ 15 degrees.

 

If you are one of the lucky ones with a @ 30 degree grind, place the cap so the clip is pointed right at the right edge of the nib.

 

In both cases afterwards, place the pen to the paper normally, clip with pen in the middle of your grip, and write normally. The nib will be canted.

 

Do not try to 'make' the nib do something....it is doing it already.

Don't try to make extra fancy by twisting the hand, arm or hanging on the chandeliers. Semi&maxi-semi-flex will give you the natural flare and line variation of a German Oblique of that era with out any extra work....just write.

 

This sort of post was often normal here.

Until Richard came up with a reason why some were not having as much success with the only good obliques, those of semi or maxi-semi-flex.

Some folks can't write at 45 degrees of paper angle, they need a 90 or 180 degree paper hold.

suddenly the I can't get my Vintage obliques to work...stopped.

 

The clip trick was mine....in spite of never having a problem. I didn't know the paper angle had caused some to have a problem, in I had had none.

 

I do suggest a Vintage OB, in it allows more slop....and Vintage OB or B is like a modern Fat M, so not overly fat, like a modern B. It is a good writing nib, not just a signature nib.

An OM or an OF requires preciser placement or that clip trick.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

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