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Any Tips For Maximizing Dip Pen Useage?



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I just realized, sitting in a bag from a museum gift shop, I had a dip pen all this time I didn't realize I had. So I thought I would try to use it as a tester for inks. I'd been using the dip pen from an Esterbrook desk set, which takes regular Esterbrook nibs with feeds on them. I wanted to try something without the feed since it is always a chore to completely empty it to try a different ink (always concerned about potentially contaminating another ink). Since this has no feed, I thought it would be easier.

 

Only thing is, the pen gets maybe one sentence before I have to dip again. Is this normal? Is there a way to increase the amount of ink (fountain pen ink) I can use with each dip, or would it be better if I go back to a dip pen with a feed on it?

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It is normal for a dip pen to write only a short amount. That is what the feed in the Esterbrook nib assembly does, provide a storage for a lot more ink, so you can write more, before you have to dip.

 

After you start writing for a while, the dipping just becomes part of the process of using a dip pen, and to me is not a bother.

It is all part of the experience of using a dip pen.

 

As for testing ink, you need to be aware of the different amount of ink that a dip pen nib puts down vs. your fountain pens.

It may or may not be comparable.

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ISW_Kaputnik

There are special dip nibs with reservoirs that hold more ink, and last longer. Here is one that I don't use very often, but the last time that I did, I believe that I was able to get a whole journal page with one dip, although there was the risk that a sudden jerk of my hand could send drops of ink flying over the page.

 

I don't know if such nibs are recommended by people who use dip pens all the time, and the place where I think I bought this one doesn't seem to have them any more. But you may find it interesting to know that they exist. Besides the coiled spring reservoir, I think I've seen another type that is like an extra piece sitting on top of the nib to catch an extra drop of ink.

 

Personally, I use a couple of Esterbrook Dip-Less pens like the ones you mention very frequently, but don't find regular dip pens that practical for what I want to do.

post-79989-0-66685100-1499991541_thumb.jpg

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That's an interesting looking dip pen. Kind of looks like a makeshift feed added. Interesting idea. Someone was pretty enterprising with that.

 

Thanks. Not sure I want to continue using it as a tester. I'll give it a little longer and see if I get used to it.

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I have hundreds of antique dip pen nibs. Many styles and they hold different amounts of ink. So in using any one of them the results can vary depending on the paper being used. Paper that feathers will pull the ink faster and it depends on how pressure is applied to the nib when writing.

Edited by Studio97
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The wetness of the ink also plays a major part. Wet inks like Diamine, Blackstone or Private Reserve will only give you a few words.

Drier inks like Pelikan 4001, Sheaffer Skrip, or the various Iron Gall inks will work better.

 

Also you need to build up a patina on the nib to allow the ink to wet it better. You can use dilute (1%) egg white, spit, or let an ink like Kung Te-Cheng dry out on the nib, then rinse it off.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif




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From the very beginning of steel pens people have been trying ways to make them hold more ink. There have been lots and lots of variations on some kind of reservoir held underneath the pen that holds more ink. Most work to some degree, but unless adequately aligned can either dump ink or hold it. Most people just got used to the dipping and didn't think too much about it.

 

Fun fact, many of the early steel pens with reservoirs are often called "fountain pens" because they deliver ink like a fountain.

 

And as others have mentioned, there are a number of variables: ink, paper, tip on the pen (needle, flexible, stub), and if the nib is properly prepped or not. New steel pens, whether vintage or modern, need to be prepped before use to remove the protective coating. This allows for the nib to hold more ink and allow it to flow more smoothly. If you find the ink just dumps off the nib, or sticks there and won't flow, you may need to clean the nib. Alcohol and wiping works, toothpaste and toothbrush is recommended by the dentist/master penman Dr. Vitolo, or, if you like to live on the edge, there's the more risky but very easy and quick flame method.

 

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And as others have mentioned, there are a number of variables: ink, paper, tip on the pen (needle, flexible, stub), and if the nib is properly prepped or not. New steel pens, whether vintage or modern, need to be prepped before use to remove the protective coating. This allows for the nib to hold more ink and allow it to flow more smoothly. If you find the ink just dumps off the nib, or sticks there and won't flow, you may need to clean the nib. Alcohol and wiping works, toothpaste and toothbrush is recommended by the dentist/master penman Dr. Vitolo, or, if you like to live on the edge, there's the more risky but very easy and quick flame method.

 

OK. That I have not tried. I can scrub the nib with a bit of toothpaste and see what that does. I am definitely not brave enough to try the flame :) Thank you for the suggestion.

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And here's another variety of reservoir, with both upper and lower components:

fpn_1500121784__img_3187.jpg

 

fpn_1500121800__img_3188.jpg

 

fpn_1500121814__img_3189.jpg

 

I can write almost a whole A4-page with one of these filled.

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There are special dip nibs with reservoirs that hold more ink, and last longer. Here is one that I don't use very often, but the last time that I did, I believe that I was able to get a whole journal page with one dip, although there was the risk that a sudden jerk of my hand could send drops of ink flying over the page.

 

I don't know if such nibs are recommended by people who use dip pens all the time, and the place where I think I bought this one doesn't seem to have them any more. But you may find it interesting to know that they exist. Besides the coiled spring reservoir, I think I've seen another type that is like an extra piece sitting on top of the nib to catch an extra drop of ink.

 

Personally, I use a couple of Esterbrook Dip-Less pens like the ones you mention very frequently, but don't find regular dip pens that practical for what I want to do.

 

Resource for coil spring reservoir nibs:

 

http://www.paperinkarts.com/inkcag---nik.html#undefined1

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I have a couple of old dip pens with gold nibs, and I've been getting good results with Platinum's new Classic iron-gall inks. They have a more viscous quality than the dye-based inks and I like the colors.

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