Sunday, 16 November 2014

Scribblers Haul + bonus Ebay find!

It's finally time for a calligraphy update!

This is my first haul from Scribblers UK and it definitely won't be my last. Shipping costs were so affordable and, well, who can resist cheap shipping? Definitely not me. I was mainly shopping for nibs, but got other things as well. It was becoming increasingly important for me to have an oblique penholder, and I was lucky enough to come across Scribblers.

Without further ado, here's my haul and review! (I check back to these lists sometimes when nib-shopping just to keep a record of what I have and what I prefer, so that I don't end up with a dozen nibs I hate and bemoan my fate. Hey, that rhymes!)

Brause Rose Nib - £1.50

I went to Overjoyed at Bugis a few weeks back to stock up on Rhodia paper and they were out of Rose nibs, sooooo I bought one on Scribblers. From what I read on forums, many people love Rose nibs for its fine hairline-producing tip yet amazing capacity to flex and produce large swells. It's a very distinctive shape with a rose design (etched? embossed? carved?) on the body of the nib, and it's the most expensive nib I purchased.

I tried it out yesterday when I got it with no prep whatsoever. It was night, I hadn't warmed up at all, but the flex is great and the ink flow is smooth. The only complaint I have is that I couldn't form more than 3/4 of a letter without running out of ink.

Gillott 303 Nib - £0.61

The 303 is apparently the Holy Grail of nibs for many copperplate calligraphers, of which I am trying to become. It's mentioned many times in the IAMPETH website resources and I thought I'd try one out. After using it, I can see why. It produces the very distinctive angular line desired in the ascenders of copperplate letters with little effort required and that alone is one of the greatest advantages of the 303 for me. Besides that, it also picks up quite a bit of ink without blotching. Score!

Brause 361 Steno Nib - £0.90

Also known as the 'Blue Pumpkin', a very endearing nickname for the 361 because it's a noticeable blue colour and its wide-set shoulders,  It's described as similar to the Hiro 40 (I also got a Hiro 40, more on that later!) which I really liked but accidentally ruined the tines of, so I got this as well. It has a pretty terrible ink capacity and produces HUGE swells, which you would have probably guessed.

A lot of people have complained about the Pumpkin's weird inability to hold much ink, chalking it up to the unique shape of the nib that makes it kind of unable to hold much. Still a pleasure to write with, though! It also takes a lot of control to not flex too much, otherwise a blob of ink will appear unto your copperplate work and you will feel an irresistible urge to throw it across the room. Remember, dip deep and often! Heh heh. PUN INTENDED

Leonardt Crown Nib - £0.67

The Crown has been described as a 'fine' nib... Non-calligraphers would find this description slightly vague and condescending, but here, 'fine' actually refers to how tiny the tip is. Well, again I kind of ruined my other Leonardt Crown, so I had to get a new one. My old crown is NOT fine at all. The tines spread apart and the lines became kind of gigantic.

The distinctive crown shape on the neck of the nib gives this bronze beauty its nickname, as you would have noticed. It's swanky, sure, but makes it pretty hard to clean, especially after using Encre de Chine and even with a toothbrush... Which should tell you how I ruined my first Crown nib. That aside, it IS good for copperplate and spencerian, with a pretty decent ink capacity. One of my first favourite nibs. Until I ruined mine. Okay, I'm going to stop talking about it now.

Leonardt Shorthand Nib DP40 - £0.64

The original Hiro 40! What a beauty. It's also a distinct blue colour, and you'll realize that the... additional slits at the shoulders... I don't know what they're called. Are really, really large-cut. This is the only visible distinction from the Brause Steno (above) that I can see, and it works pretty much the same way, with the same disadvantages, as the Steno is modelled after the Hiro 40.


Here's a nib sample from all 5 nibs.

Some other random stuff!

Pipette Dropper - £0.46

I got one. Yes, one. For loading reservoirs. I normally use dark-coloured to black inks, anyway.

Buddy Cups (pack of a dozen) - £4.16

So this is... AHHH is that the Mona Lisa looking at me from the packet? Hahahah. Yes, I'm tired of leaving my ink bottles open as I write, and with the new holders I purchased, I'm not a fan of dipping my holders into the bottle itself because I realized that's how I end up with inky, stained hands. Gross. So, ink cups! They're airtight as well, a lovely bonus. The depth was perfect for dipping all the nibs I tried, given the cup is filled almost to the brim. Yay for no dry inks and ink mixing!

Oblique Holder - £1.87

Yes, I now own 2 oblique holders! The only gripe I have about this holder is that it has very fixed fit, you can't adjust the flange or anything, so my vintage nibs did not fit at all. :( I read on a forum that someone declared their writing style completely changed after getting an oblique holder, and I have to say that I agree. It's so much easier to get your angle right for copperplate AND the right tine doesn't catch on the paper at all anymore, meaning no 'raggedy' right edges of my script, and lot less ink blots where the pulp of the paper builds up in the tines of my nibs... YES. I can't wax lyrical about oblique holders enough!

Shipping - £4.00
YES. I bought so much crap and the shipping was 4 pounds = just over SGD8. OH MY GOD I am so happy with their low international shipping rate! Goulet Pens' shipping is much more expensive, especially after adding paper to your cart, but I may end up ordering from them eventually because Scribblers doesn't stock Noodlers Ink.

(Most object images taken from Scribblers.)

A bonus addition to my haul: Vintage Esterbrook #357s (a pack of five) found on eBay!

Esterbrook #357 - USD14.90 + USD3.50 Shipping

This nib is my personal favourite - it's more flexible than a teenage cheerleader's limber limbs and its tip produces finer lines than any nib I've used before. The only catch is that the vintage nib can't fit into my oblique pen holder. It's enough to make a grown calligrapher cry.

Here's the #357 in action! (Yes, I gif-ed my own writing, get over it.)

5LqwGg on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

And that's all for this episode of nib-hunting. See you next time!

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