Jump to content
Classifieds is broken, please do not submit any new ads ×

Got Arthritis Or Hand Pain - What Do You Want In A Pen?



Recommended Posts

There are quite a few threads on FPN about recommendations for fountain pens for those with arthritis and similar conditions. They have been very useful, but what I'd like to do with this thread is something different. I want to ask members of FPN with hand pain - if we were designing a pen from scratch to deal with the issue, where could we start?

 

It's personal. After a year of increasing pain and a crisis that left me pretty much paralysed, I've got a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and I've started treatment. It will be a long hard road.

 

I was about to start making pens in my workshop when I ended up in hospital: had the lathe up and running, all the blanks ready.... So now, I will probably do some thinking about making pens that actually address the ergonomic requirements as well as just looking good.

 

FWIW my current thoughts: reasonably fat and flared section, relatively light weight, and possibly a Waverly nib to allow a more relaxed writing position with the fatter shape.

Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 41
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • amk

    8

  • sidthecat

    5

  • virgilio

    5

  • Bo Bo Olson

    2

First of all - I'm sorry to hear of your diagnosis and I wish you all the best with your treatments. Off topic I find compression gloves and hand warmers to be helpful when I'm having a flare (often painkillers just aren't enough).

 

I have found over the years that my preference varies depending on which joints are affected at that particular time. However (and this is personal and may/will not resonate with others) fat sections are nice but can be 'too fat' (personally I avoid anything less than 12mm at the thinnest point - with a couple of exceptions) - the shape is more important to me, either a tube section that allows for freedom of finger position or a scallop section are my personal preferences. Sections that taper to the nib are not usually helpful. Long sections are the best as (again) they allow freedom.

 

One thing I found after many years of trying lots of pens was that length is also important (and can compensate for girth). Short pens restrict finger placement (for me) and I now post shorter pens (even though I never used to) and get cross with pens which post but the cap isn't secure and wobbles under the pressure of my hand against it.Thus I also like a longer pen.

 

For reference my 'perfect' pen doesn't exist as it changes depending on pain/stiffness etc. but one of the best pens I have for the 'bad days' is the modern version of the Conway Stewart 37 (a limited edition from Andy's pens). It's very light (12g uncapped and empty - it's an eyedropper), it's about 140mm long (uncapped not posted) has a scalloped section that is 10mm at the narrowest and is 20 mm long. The body is 12mm wide and just a tube shape. Alternatively I have found the Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age to be reasonably 'hand friendly' so far.

 

fpn_1473069744__andyspens3.jpg

 

 

 

Having said all that I do have pens that break these 'rules' but they compensate by being great pens when my hands are not hurting.

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch" Orson Welles

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've come down with the Trigger Finger, and I'm looking forward to an indeterminate number of shots to my thumb. A friend of mine had to have surgery for the same condition.

What a treat!

But I make my living with a stylus, so I can't simply stop drawing cute little princesses, so I will be investigating those soft plastic lumps that the arthritic use to wrap around their pencils. I wonder how that stuff works with hard rubber.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know that you can make a generic pen that will suit many users. Everyone's hands will need a different solution.

 

You might want to look at a few attempts at solutions that are already out there, like --

  • The Japanese Jumbo pens, very thick (about 1 inch), designed for elderly users in Japan after WWII
  • The Rotring Skynn pens, with a thick, soft spongy section
  • I find that a dip pen, with a thicker 'ergonomic' section, quite convenient. The dip pen needs almost no pressure, the pen is very light, and the thicker end is more comfortable.

I also have one dip pen where I have put three thick 'fins' of epoxy putty to make my fingers sit in the right place.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif




“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.


And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


Granny Aching

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would look for a heavier pen, and/or a larger pen so that you don't have to really grip the pen, or curl your fingers to grip a small pen. I'm sure that many threads you've read suggest that. But it can be taken a step farther.

 

I have had customers with similar conditions come to my table at a show to have a pen adjusted for them. One in particular had nerve damage so literally could not grip the pen or press at all. I was able to adjust the nib so that all that they had to do was cradle the pen in their hand and guide the pen across the page. Any competent nib mechanic should be able to do this for you.

spacer.png
Visit Main Street Pens
A full service pen shop providing professional, thoughtful vintage pen repair...

Please use email, not a PM for repair and pen purchase inquiries.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had CTS and currently have arthritis in my forearm, I can still write but not for hours as I did whilst young.

 

I havent used a pen such as this but it may not be too difficult to offer up a section with a small nib and small cartridge.

Edited by Kenlowe
Link to post
Share on other sites

Though I'm young (just shy of 24), I have severe hand pain in winter from permanent damage after two days in the snow with wet gloves on a couple years back. I've found my ideal pen as the temperature drops in my Noodler's Neponset. Lightweight with a large section so I don't have to grip it very much at all. It keeps the burning feeling in my fingers at a minimum.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've come down with the Trigger Finger, and I'm looking forward to an indeterminate number of shots to my thumb. A friend of mine had to have surgery for the same condition.

What a treat!

But I make my living with a stylus, so I can't simply stop drawing cute little princesses, so I will be investigating those soft plastic lumps that the arthritic use to wrap around their pencils. I wonder how that stuff works with hard rubber.

I had "trigger thumb" on my right hand five years ago. I went to the hand doctor afraid of shots. He took one look and said "I can fit you into surgery tomorrow. It will take fifteen minutes." Honestly it wasn't that bad at all. I couldn't use my hand to write for the rest of the summer (I seem to remember about three weeks)but for everything else it was okay. And it went completely back to normal afterwards. Definitely worth the bother.

 

I also have the beginnings of arthritis in my thumbs. I like long, light, wide barreled, pens with flared sections. The Nakaya Naka Ai and Franklin Christoph 66 are perfect. I also find the Montblanc 146 very good.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about your condition. Sure wish you all the best in treatment and recovery hopefully. As for the pen I suppose its fairly simple. Take a look at the traditional way we hold a pen. We place pressure on the wrist and the lower forearm which then extend to elbow and if severe enough , all the way to the shoulder. The way to made a pen that would fit the need is to made a pen that do not require us to switch from the hands' relaxed position so that the minimal amount of effort ( and muscle power ) being required. That clearly mean a pen that would have a certain girth , it would also require a long section so the pen can be lay down on the rest position of the hand yet still have the nib touching the paper. The pen would have to be hold at a shallow angle to the paper so that mean there must be some form of tapering from the section to the nib ( so you do not actually smear ink onto the paper by touching the feed onto it )

 

The other way is to use offset nib and barrel , like oblique dip pen holder . Except instead of having the offset on the inside of the hand parallel to the paper, put it on the outside or on top of the hand cradle ( angled away from the paper ) so the nib is resting at a more usual angle when the barrel can still be had at a shallow angle ( the hands relaxed, and rested position )

Edited by Mech-for-i
Link to post
Share on other sites

I might suggest a slip cap if you ate making thr pens. I like the lack of threads and it allows me to change grips as needed. A large girth pen that is middle weight works best for me when my hands are acting up. A long grip section that is a little convave is a favorite.

If you want less blah, blah, blah and more pictures, follow me on Instagram!

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

A long grip section that is a little convave is a favorite.

 

Though I wouldn't describe them as long, the solid color Sheaffer Balance II sections fit the description. The concave profile is indeed comfortable to hold.

spacer.png
Visit Main Street Pens
A full service pen shop providing professional, thoughtful vintage pen repair...

Please use email, not a PM for repair and pen purchase inquiries.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Though I wouldn't describe them as long, the solid color Sheaffer Balance II sections fit the description. The concave profile is indeed comfortable to hold.

 

 

That is a pen that has been on my wishlist for many years! They just don't turn up over here.

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch" Orson Welles

Link to post
Share on other sites
sidthecat...may be right witht he 'trigger' finger, and the cocked Kung Fu thumb.

I don't have any problems but think the 'forefinger up' method is the least stressful.

I've covered this many times, so if you look in search under my name you will find it.

 

What I had was 'nerve' damage/ dent; from ball points at the fingernail junction of my middle finger first joint. I moved the pen 1/3 of an inch down the edge of the middle finger joint.That cured it.

 

The 'flat' thumb held laid as a dam with absolutely no pressure at 09:00 on the barrel with a gap between the lightly placed rather flat forefinger at 12:30....

 

Holding in the classic tripod 10-2-6 pinch, is nothing but pressure. I find a posted light and nimble Standard or Medium-long light pen best.....Large pens tend to be a tad short...and they are clunky and ill balanced un posted or posted.

There are thicker girthed standard or medium long pens to be had. A MB 234 1/2, in standard, in medium-long an Osmia 76 or a Pelikan 600 are thicker with out being fat. In you won't be pressing to use semi-flex then the 600 would be best in it's got a butter smooth semi-nail nib.

 

Sheaffer's PFM is a large but fat pen. I don't know how nimble it is but if it rests in the pit of the thumb that takes care of some of the weight.

 

Let the pen rest where it wants too, don't force it to be at 45 degrees after the big index knuckle. If it wants to rest at 40 degrees at the start of the web of the thumb let it.....if it's a heavy pen and it wants to rest in the pit of the web of the thumb; let it.

To make a pen rest at any angle means you are using force and that means pressure. Let it rest were it's weight and length wants.

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.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

What hurts ? What is your budget range ?

A medium nib, with good ink flow, will always be an easy writer.

A heavy pen will "self-settle" into the hand, under its own weight, so the writer does not have to hold the pen as securely.

A large diameter pen fills the hand, when closing the hand is uncomfortable.

In cases of severe affliction, a porous tip might be better utility than a normal nib.

If there are "spasms" or "tremors", a large, steel nib is more durable. (My friend Carmine, experiences hand shaking, when she grips firmly. The large diameter of a Sheaffer No Nonsense helps her situation.)

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

We saw the doctor today: Dr. Raymond B. Raven III: I'd expect a guy with such a Gothy name to wear a cape and appear in a swirl of fog.

But no such luck: he was a bustling young man in green scrubs. He did, however, think that a cortisone shot should cure my clicking thumb.

The procedure was less fun than you might expect, and the digit is still rather tingly and numb, but it should improve by tomorrow. I'd cross my fingers if I could.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Raymond B Raven" made me chuckle!

 

There have been some really fantastic ideas on this thread. I think one of the things that has most struck me is the mention of dip pens - which usually have a fatter section, and then thinner upper body, quite the reverse of the way most FPs are designed. That's something that I will definitely think about once I get started on some drawings and designing.

 

And yes, getting nibs to work under low pressure is another thing I'm going to have to master so thanks for that reminder, Ron. (That may be one reason my modern Pelikans are getting a lot of use at the moment; they are really wet easy writers, though not very fat. Nibs that need pressure will have to be either tinkered with or retired.)

Too many pens, too little time!

http://fountainpenlove.blogspot.fr/

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got some sort of inflammatory joint pain that comes and goes fairly quickly. My grandmother has the same thing, but I'm not hopeful about getting a diagnosis given that they still don't know what's the deal with her pain even though she's had it for 70 years. Stupid amounts of fish oil help, so that I don't give myself an ulcer with Aleve.

 

Anyway, the most important thing for me is the weight of the pen. Typically, I do best if they're close to 15 grams, although a wider pen can be a bit heavier. Another big factor is the shape of the section. I'm not terribly sensitive to the width of the pen, although slim pens can cause me grief, but I need a long section (or no step between the section and the barrel), to let me position my fingers oddly, and it needs to not be prone to dumping my fingers onto the nib.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now







×
×
  • Create New...