Oblique pencil, anyone?

Practicing with an oblique pointed pen isn’t always convenient. You need ample desk space for all the gear, and decent (read: pricey) paper to handle ink. Luckily, esteemed penman Dr. Joe M. Vitolo posted a helpful hack not too long ago, and I decided to give this a shot. My first experiment was eagerly expropriated by @leighpod and not long after, @dandon375 asked for the recipe. Well, here it is.

 

Ingredients:

 

 
1 oblique holder with a Bullock flange. (Vitolo recommends the Paper & Ink Arts Hourglass Adjustable Oblique. The Paper & Ink Arts straight staff Adjustable Oblique worked for me too.)

 

1 compass with a detachable pencil component. (This one takes 2mm leads.)

 

Masking tape

 

Screwdriver to match the size of the screw on the Bullock flange

 

Process:

  
Detach the pencil component from the compass. Check the fit of the component’s shank vs. the flange’s crow quill slot.

  
If the fit is loose, build up the shank using masking tape.

  
Remove the screw from the Bullock flange, and gently pry open the bottom of the flange. 

  
Brass doesn’t like to be worked too hard so lift just enough to allow the pencil shank to slide into the crow quill slot.

  
Reinstall the flange screw and tighten until snug.

  
Adjust the length of the graphite as needed. Ideally, it should mimic a properly set nib, so the tip of the lead should line up with the middle of the penstaff.

 

Once the holder is set up, I suggest dedicating it to the pencil. Regularly swapping between the pencil and nibs may cause the flange to eventually fail. The PI&A holders aren’t terribly expensive so if you want consistency, you can get two identical holders – one to take nibs and another to wear the pencil attachment.

 

Again, this idea isn’t mine. It came from the kind Dr. Vitolo. If you benefit from this hack, do the right thing and drop him a thank you email. 😃

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