What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements

Posts Tagged ‘Sheaffer’

The Only Good Thing About Autumn

Posted by Dirck on 20 October, 2017

The days grow short and cold, the nights grow long and colder.  The trees disrobe and the birds flee.  The promise of the great destroying season is in the air.  Heating bills wax fat and ridiculous.  Autumn is, in the vestments of gold and scarlet it creeps in on, the herald of an profoundly uncomfortable portion of the year, and I cannot welcome it.

Except for one saving grace.  For all that is wrong with it, autumn carries in its gaunt belly the darkly radiant egg of Hallowe’en.

Just imagine what I’ll be like next week.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Targa
Today’s ink: Pelikan Violet

Advertisements

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 12 October, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 793 words typed

That’s a pretty weak showing for the week. Let me explain, and perhaps even justify.  Monday was Thanksgiving up here in the Great White North, and that meant I was paddling about the house doing important house stuff prior to heading to my in-laws’ place for the traditional attempt to eat enough to last out the whole winter.  And that meant no writing.

But wait!  There’s more!  Today, indeed even as this entry is being posted by cool and unsympathetic electronic hands, I am off to see my doctor.  You may remember that in December and then again in April I mentioned having wrenched the crap out of my knee.  Up until the last week of September, I would have told you that I was pretty much recovered from this.  Mid-way through that week, for absolutely no reason I could notice, the knee was all inflamed and painful again; no new acrobatics, no attempted heroics, not even inclement weather.  That became the point at which I allowed common sense to overcome self-destructive idiotic laziness; I made an appointment to have it looked at.

Given the intermittent use of Canada’s handling of health-care in the debate over how things might be re-arranged in the US, I’m going to talk about this astonishing delay for a moment. I will admit that the distance between making the appointment and its arrival is somewhat inconvenient, although the leg is back to being merely somewhat sore.  However, I don’t want anyone to point at this and shout, “There!  See the horrible toll TEH SOCIALIZISMS takes on those poor benighted fools in Canada!” Here’s my take on this delay–

First of all, my doctor is quite good, popular and getting to be of an age where he wants to work less than five days a week; this makes for a full calendar.  Given that the most recent injury was five months ago, I can hardly call this an emergency, and even if I did call it an emergency, it’s not an Emergency Room emergency.  I could have, if moved by relentless agony, have sat for a couple of hours in any one of a number of open clinics around the city, and have my problem seen to by a competent if unfamiliar doctor (and thus left the emergency room less burdened by dummies like me and able to concentrate on people in authentic serious emergency trouble).  The delay is the price I pay for insisting on seeing the doctor I have chosen… which we can do here in Canada, honest.

Importantly, whether I wait several hours in an ER (because triage would put me waaaaay down the list of people needing attention), a couple of hours at a clinic, or a couple of weeks while the line of many satisfied patients my doctor enjoys cycles through to me, I am not paying for it.  Yes, I am paying for it through taxes, and that’s fine with me, because I’d be paying taxes anyway, and at about the same rate if I lived in neighbouring North Dakota, the same way I’m paying for police and fire departments and all that other stuff that people forget about when they complain about taxes.  However, my experience today will include no billing– I enter, I am probed, I get medical advice on my physical state, I leave and that’s that.  If I am sent for x-rays, same deal, but with extra radiation.  If the doctor tells me to come back in a month to see how I’m getting on, then it’s the same deal again.  If I have to start a long series of treatments because he notices I have a powerful and long-simmering case of The Spon Plague, then it’s still the same deal.  Watch as carefully as you like, as no time will my wallet leave my pocket.

I think that’s a pretty good deal, and certainly worth the .  I don’t know why people in the US resist it so fiercely (other than that they’ve been convinced by the people who make money off their system that it’s the only way to roll).

Posted in General Blather, Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Happy Birthday, Dear Spheroid

Posted by Dirck on 6 October, 2017

I’m a couple of days late on this, I know, but this week marks the sixtieth anniversary of the proof that “What goes up must come down” has a caveat which reads “…unless you can throw really, really hard.”

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Targa
Today’s ink: Pelikan Violet

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 28 September, 2017

This Week’s Pens Inks How Much Novel Progress
  • 3,408 words typed

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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)

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Posted by Dirck on 31 August, 2017

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

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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?

Posted in Progress Report | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in General Blather | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »