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Posts Tagged ‘Sheaffer Valiant’

Posted by Dirck on 14 September, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 3900 words typed (and I do feel good about that, yes)
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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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Posted by Dirck on 24 August, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 2,620 words typed (and remembering Monday was idle)

An interesting discovery attends this first week of the new draft.  Received wisdom has it that a page of double-spaced text is roughly 250 words, yes?  Well, the spreadsheet that I’m keeping track of my progress on, which is how I get those spiffy gauges, has a cell which takes the current word count and divides by 250… which does not agree at all with the page count in the word processor.  It turns out that in the accepted Shunn format, well-loved by almost everywhere one submits work to, the words-per-page turns out to be more in the line of 300.

Interesting, but utterly unimportant.  We are concerned with the word count, after all, and not the amount of paper involved.  But interesting all the same.  Received wisdom not quite in accord with facts?  When does that ever happen?

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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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Posted by Dirck on 6 April, 2017

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

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Posted by Dirck on 30 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • 20 manuscript pages†

†I think I actually brushed up against writer’s block this week!  I found the strands of the novel had gotten out of their bundle and would not be gathered for almost half of Monday’s session.  I’m sure there are some writers in the world that would like to skin me very slowly for having dealt with the problem after only about twenty unproductive minutes, but I am pleased that I found a cure (this time, at least) in thinking very carefully about the sequence of events in the as-yet-unwritten chapters.

Also– this happened this week:

I am pretty pleased about that, especially given that I took almost a month off it to work on something else.  I can now pretend that I’m on the downhill part of the expedition, rather than the bit where a sensible climber is breaking out the oxygen cylinders.

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Idle Hands and all that

Posted by Dirck on 29 March, 2017

I thought I’d share a little craft project I did the other day– I made a blotter.

Someone at Regular Job has a stamp with outdated information on it, and wondered if there was any protocol for disposal.  “Nope!” said I, having zero notion if there were or not.  “Leave it with me, I’ve got a use for it.”  I rooted around my desk for some promotional coasters which I have absolutely no idea why Regular Job ordered (we’re nothing to do with beverages at any level), and with a little bit of amendment of both…

Step one

Step B

Test drive

…and I’ve got a nice little blotter which I will almost never use.  Here it is with the rest of my archaic desk accessories of the moment:

Not shown: the stapler that little bronze Buddha keeps reminding me not to throw at people

The other thing I’ve been filling small moments of my workdays with, segments between actual duties too short for a nap, is writing up some notes regarding my thoughts on some pen manufacturers.  As I mention on the page in question, these are even more subjective appreciations than the profiles on my site (yes, that is actually possible).  I probably won’t get beyond a half-dozen or so entries; if I don’t have strong feelings, it’s hardly worth the effort of typing.  As with everything else here, it’s only interesting for a very specific value of the word “interesting”, but chances are if you’re reading this at all, you accept that value.

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

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Generational Divide

Posted by Dirck on 24 March, 2017

A pair of films today, and once again I’m looking toward Japan for my film content.  Both of these tell the same story, but were made about sixty years apart.  The new one is more accessible to we who speak no Japanese, but I’m putting the old one in the place of prominence not only because it came first; it’s more technically interesting (compare to similarly-aged stuff from the US), it’s not (redundantly) dubbed, and it’s less (obviously)  skewed to a young audience.

Apart from the radically different standards of care (one gets a much stronger sense of “product” off the newer production), I find my self pondering why the switch from tengu to oni as the agents of the supernatural.  Is it that Japanese kids of the 1980s wouldn’t recognize the former, or that it was thought the latter would be more likely to mess up a guy’s face simply because he isn’t a particularly good dancer?

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

 

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Posted by Dirck on 16 March, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Written
  • First draft surges onward: 29 manuscript pages!

†Why yes, I do have two pens with the same ink on the go, which is outside my usual practice.  I put the TM in battery last week for an evening’s writing workshop, and I’ve decided to write it empty rather than flush it.  This also puts more Sheaffers into rotation at once than is usual, but as I’ve no one in a position to chastise me effectively for policy breaches who isn’t me, I don’t think I’ll get in much trouble out of it.

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