The Calligraphy Pen And The Wire Twist


Traditional calligraphy nibs can be great fun but they only hold a few drops of ink. Nature of the beast since there is no sac or converter. On the plus side the holder can accommodate any nib and the variety of nib styles is absolutely huge. Sound intriguing?

Proof that there can be good info on Twitter, Leigh and Gentian put up links to their versions of ink reservoirs. This simple wire twist solves the capacity problem and allows the nib to enjoy a proper ink flow. You can see from their examples proof that this is a terrific way to make a calligraphy nib into a fabulous art tool.

Of course, you would have to be as talented as they are to achieve such results but I’ll bet more than a few of you are up to the task. Even if you aren’t, doodling with a calligraphy pen can be an enjoyable way to play with all those inks you’ve been hording. Well, you are an inkophile aren’t you?

Brause Advanced Calligraphy Set

Brause Advanced Calligraphy Set at Writer's Bloc



  1. I write a lot with a pointed dip pen without a reservoir and don’t find the capacity or ink flow to be a problem. You do have to prepare a new point by removing the oil or varnish–I give it a few seconds in the flame of a match–or the flow will be disastrous from the very start. And pointed pen styles like Spencerian do require a healthy amount of study and practice before they even begin to look acceptable. Nothing you can buy or make can change that.

    I also find pausing every line or so to dip the pen a pleasant ritual, and it’s one that’s been a part of writing for centuries.


  2. I’m trying to get back into writing with a plain nib pen but don’t know what would be the best nib for me. I bought a couple today but they are far too fine for my style of handwriting. Any suggestions?


    • While I use calligraphy nibs to test ink, my experience with them is very limited. My favorite is a medium round nib that was fine-tuned before it came to me. My other favorite is a Brause italic with a reservoir that came in the Brause collection in the image. Both work well for my large, round style of writing. It took a lot of trial and error to find just two that suit me well. Does that help?


  3. Jo: For pointed pens, I’d suggest trying a Hunt 22B or 56. You might also try a Hunt 512, which one calligrapher friend of mine who does a kind of free-style cursive swears by. None of these is a super-sharp point.

    When buying pointed pens, push them down on your fingernail just enough to separate the tines; make sure the slit is centered and the tines are the same shape and size. Quality control isn’t what it was a hundred years ago!

    On the off chance that you find some, the Spencerian 46 “velvet point” is what I use on rough paper or when I need a thick line for reproduction. Extremely smooth writing, though they haven’t been made for decades.


  4. Thaks Joe. I’ll give them a try.
    Jo. . .


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