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Posts Tagged ‘Lamy’

Posted by Dirck on 21 September, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,997 words typed

Not a terrible week, I guess, and more than I thought I’d manage– a couple of segments attacked this week were very like pulling teeth.  I’m also not going to manage to present a new work at the other outlet this week, as I have the last couple, because this week The Regular Job entered one of its infrequent “this is as much fun and effort as juggling flaming bears” phases.  I know I’m disappointing some people, and I’m also disappointing me.  The reproachful looks over the bathroom sink are going to be very hard to take.

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Salve Atque Vale

Posted by Dirck on 15 September, 2017

Uh-oh.  Like the school film presentations this Friday feature of mine was inspired by, I’m veering perilously into undisguised educational material.  Well, too bad.  Today was the last day of the Cassini space probe, and as one who grew up watching things like the latter Apollo missions (which, damn it, were real) and Skylab I take a small interest in the probing of space.  Apart from the science expansions it offered, which I admit to comprehending imperfectly, the whole enterprise produced some really cool pictures.  Thus, we have a retrospective of a fallen robot’s valiant efforts.

Also, I rather like the fellow’s voice.

Today’s pen: Lamy Safari
Today’s ink: Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun

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Posted by Dirck on 7 September, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 1,926 words typed

Yes, it should be more. A long weekend and a trip to the eye doctor conspire against me.

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Posted by Dirck on 31 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,812 words typed

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Looking at Things Sideways

Posted by Dirck on 18 August, 2017

To mark the completion of the novel’s* first draft, how about an entry in the old style?  I started the week with a film, so I’ll end it with a ramble.

Last week, I was able to hang a new page up on the site, giving a very brief profile of the Jinhao X750; you may click on it, but the gist is, “It is a fountain pen of modern manufacture and low cost, which is slightly heavy.”  The reason I had this item in my hands is that a client who had sent some other pens to be looked at admitted a curiosity regarding the architect grind; this pen whose loss would not be a great cost to the world could travel with the others if I thought I could make the alteration.  Since I have also been nurturing a small curiosity regarding this grind, I agreed.

“What is this architect grind, then?”

Ah, right.  It is, in essence, an italic grind rotated ninety degrees.  Here’s an artist’s(?) conception of an italic point:

The image had other things in mind than the illustration of the style of point, of course.

An architect grind, then, has the slit running parallel to the tipping’s contact area rather than perpendicular, so the wide strokes are lateral and the narrow ones vertical– the opposite effect of an italic.  “Architect” gets its name from a preference of Frank Lloyd Wright, or so legend has it for this sort of variation.  This possible-legend also allows one to nicely avoid the earlier names for the shape, because some people object to “Hebrew nib,” others to “Arabic nib,” and still others to “Semetic nib.”  Humans can be a mysterious and complex bundle of prejudices and antipathies, eh?

This drawing I did for an entirely different reason shows the difference between a regular (top) tipping and an architect modification.  That different reason was “someone has done something to the point of this Lamy Studio which is why you’re having trouble with it.”

In any event, I have been contemplating the theory of this grind for some time, but never committed to it.  Because it requires a large vertical component, any point that’s going to be amended needs a pretty big dollop of tipping if there’s to be appreciable line variation, and I haven’t had a pen with the requisite blob that I was willing to commit to the transformation.  Yes, I’ve got a couple of Jinhaos of my own, but the curiosity to perform the operation was not quite strong enough to give me a shove.  When someone else offers a pen to me, though… well, that changes things.†  And what of the result?

Success, although it’s not one I’m tempted to follow up any time soon.  Among the theoretical ponderings which were borne out by this experience was a likely down-side; what I might call “scratchiness” although it’s really more of an enhanced harmonic feedback.  You see, with an italic pen moving on a wide downstroke, the sharp sides of the slit follow the movement of the pen.  On the narrow side-stroke, the presentation of the slit to paper is like a round-pointed pen’s– just a miniscule gap in the otherwise smooth face of the tipping.  This is enough to cause a lot of discomfort to the writer if the tines come out of alignment, which a lot of pen makers try to avoid through their flirting with the baby bottom problem.

The rotation of the slit relative to the long axis of the tipping turns the preceding on its head.  On the down-stoke, you still find the sharp edges of the tipping following the movement of the pen, and that’s as smooth as a knife being drawn across leather, but then on the cross-stroke, the length of the slit in contact with the surface of the paper just about the same as the width of the mark being made.  That’s a lot of chances for the relatively sharp edge of the slit to catch on irregularities of the paper.  It’s not flat-out scratching, but you are very aware of the pen passing over the paper.

I honestly don’t see a way around it, either, without losing the line variation.  In the example above, the downstroke is about 0.3mm wide, and the cross-stroke about 0.8mm.  The latter is limited by how much tipping there is to start with, while the former is a function of how close to a couple of tiny little razors I dare to make the tipping.  It was a little thinner during an intermediary step of the grinding, but it also would hardly move side to side.  There’s a similar math which goes on in the choice between italic and stub, adjusting the roundness of the contact surface for more writing comfort at the expense of some of the distinction between vertical and horizontal… but without the extra variable of the contact surface having a trench in it.

I can understand why some of the people who offer this grind state a preference for uncommonly chubby starting nibs– with a 3B you might get a broad enough cross-stroke that a 0.5mm vertical would be thin enough, and that might be round enough to see the slit over the ripples and proud fibres.  Starting with a Jinhao’s not-very-big medium point is not ideal.

The other issue with this grind, as far as I’m concerned, is that it makes a serious demand of consistency of the writer.  With most points, even italics, one has a range of pitch angles to touch the paper with…

The original caption of this image admits that it is a result of… well, basically obsessive thinking about a topic.

…while an architect grind, if you wobble around in your pitch, you lift the most of the tipping off the page and lose the variation.  Unlike an italic, you’d still get a mark, but it would be very thin because only one corner of the flat edge will be touching the paper.  This isn’t a huge problem, as most of us are pretty consistent in this aspect of writing, but if you’re pursuing an architect grind, you should know that it takes on extra importance.  You should also make sure whoever is amending your nib is aware of your preference– if you like to hold the pen well at the back and hit the paper at 30º but the grinder assumes everyone is comfortable at 60º, there’s apt to be unhappiness, hard words, and the expense of a new point for the pen.

Unless it’s a Jinhao.  Those things are cheap.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Valiant TD
Today’s ink: Jentle blue-black

*A little something to add to the Freudian slip file; the initial typing of “novel’s” saw my fingers emit “marvel’s.”  I am not consciously aware of believing the novel to be any more than reasonably good… at least at this stage of its existence, but we have some evidence that I may be inwardly bloated with pride.

†An aside– because this was something I had never attempted, the amendment was done without charge; the pen was not dear, and we both knew that destruction was possible, so the most this would cost was the replacement of a pen you can have for $4.23 on one side and a quantity of wasted minutes on the other.  Success saw me convert theory into skill, which is payment enough, while the pen-owner had a desire satisfied (and, in an email since, sufficiently so to express contentment).  Consideration, in the legal sense, flows without any cash involved.

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Parallel Evolution

Posted by Dirck on 1 December, 2016

If nature can throw things like the flying squirrel, the sugar glider, and Draco volans in our faces, then it seems like we have to give the benefit of the doubt to two pen designers who come up with… remarkably… similar solutions to the same problem.

I have been wrestling lately with a Sheaffer Imperial I which needs new rubbery portions.  Since the pen in question was sent to me mostly dismantled, I thought I’d take the opportunity to do an exploded view of the model, as I’ve done for others.  When I slid the feed out of the shell, I said to myself, “That looks familiar….”  In fact, the feed, and the way in which the point clings to it, are so like the same components of a Lamy 2000 that one might almost think they came from the same factory.  Here, have a look:

lamyimperial

Isn’t that interesting?  Now, before we start pointing fingers and shouting “J’Accuse!” at anyone, remember how this entry started.  What we have here is two companies facing a similar engineering challenge– how to get a small point to stay put in a semi-hooded section in which a traditional friction-fit arrangement of point and feed wasn’t possible?  That both companies came up with a very similar response to the question looks a little funny, but consider how the increasing consideration of fuel economy through aerodynamics made so many cars of the 1990s and even the 2000s look like a well-used bar of soap.  There might have been peeking at the work of the other.  But it wasn’t necessarily so.

Oh, and before the Sheaffer partisans decide that it must be that Lamy was lifting ideas from the darling of Fort Madison, because after all, the Lamy 2000 appeared a full five years after the Imperial I, a word of caution.  I can say with certainty that the insides of the 2000 are not much different from those of the Lamy 99

The 99's point-tabs look even more like those in the Imperial, don't they?

The 99’s point-tabs look even more like those in the Imperial, don’t they?

…and the 99 was a budget version of the Lamy 27, and that pen was out in the world at least five years ahead of the Imperial.  As were the ads bragging about its “Tintomatic” feed system.  Just sayin’.

And on that note, here’s the week’s progress report:

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  •  25 manuscript pages.

 

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Posted by Dirck on 6 October, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 3 October
  • 4 October
  • 5 October
  • 6 October
  • First draft of “Tale of the One-Handed Engineer.”
  • A quick vacation in Migrainia
  • First draft completed
  • Second draft of “Engineer”.
  • Six pages.
  • All I could take
  • Four pages.
  • 748 words.
  • 45 min.
  • Seeming eternities
  • 40 min.
  • 50 min.

* Not that they saw much use.

** Last Sunday, on a whim, I swapped the F point the pen came with for a 1.1mm italic that I keep around specifically to feed whimsy.  The fact that this pen suddenly has line variation has been startling me all day.

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Childhood’s Bend

Posted by Dirck on 30 September, 2016

I’ve had a couple of unusually stinging rejections this week, and was beginning a mental retreat into the safety of childhood when I realized that, as far as mental geography goes, childhood is the most shifting ground possible.  Observe, if you will:

By comparison, a Martian invasion seems sane and welcome.

Today’s pen: Lamy Studio
Today’s ink: Lamy Black

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Posted by Dirck on 22 September, 2016

Day What How Much Duration Pen Ink
  • 19 September
  • 20 September
  • 21 September
  • 22 September
  • Second draft of “Rearranging the Deck Chairs”.
  • More second drafting.
  • Oh, it’s fighting hard today.
  • Second draft complete (despite the anti-histamines).
  • 729  words typed.
  • 631 words.
  • 403 words (plus ½ pint of sweat).
  • A total of 3,849 words.
  • 50 min.
  • 45 min.
  • 55 min.
  • 60 min.

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Guess What’s For Lunch?

Posted by Dirck on 16 September, 2016

Here’s a fun little film which should get you smiling.

My response to this film might be coloured by the fact that I’m a fan of Tom Noonan; have been since 1986 (and I’ll let you churn the internet to figure out why, if you’re interested).  And because I’m also a fan of writers being recognized for what they do, I will provide a link to the original story.

Today’s non-meat pen: Lamy Studio
Today’s ink (contents unknown): Lamy Black

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