Regulating ink flow on broadnib pen

Flickerdart's picture

Got myself a set of Speedball pens to practice calligraphy, to get a better idea of the anatomy of letters. The round nib is largely agreeable, the pointed nib gets spent too quickly and the broad nib spills ink everywhere. The instruction says I can adjust the brass bit to fix that, but there does not seem to be any way to move it. What am I doing wrong?

hrant's picture

Asking on Typophile?


Flickerdart's picture

I've tried googling but nothing helpful appeared. Thought it was worth a shot.

On the plus side, I've gotten the C-4 to work and the C-2 to sort of work, just the C-0 is being moody.

BrettR's picture

Duck tape is always the answer.

Joshua Langman's picture

Are they dip pens or cartridge pens?

Flickerdart's picture

Dip pens. Figured it would be cheaper to resupply, plus they didn't have any broad nib fountain pens (do those even exist?).

John Hudson's picture

Calligraphers tend not to use fountain pens: they load the nib directly with a brush. I suspect any fountain pen is likely to have too fast an ink flow for sharp work.

bojev's picture

Push the brass forward - even though it does not move it changes the tension. Go here to get some great lettering aid charts from Speedball:

Justin_Ch's picture

plus they didn't have any broad nib fountain pens (do those even exist?).

Pilot Parallel Pens

bojev's picture

I have had students use both dip and Sanford broad nip flow pens for practice - look here:

Nick Shinn's picture

I generally use a Rotring art pen, which is cartridge fed, for display work. But I haven't done any in a while.

I also use Sheaffer fountain pens for writing in a calligraphic manner.

I always write properly (following joining rules, aiming for grace, swashing it up, laying out a document, even a shopping list), even when using a fine-tipped rollerball pen—because I enjoy it!

oldnick's picture

It's been forever since I've used a Speedball pen, but I seem to recall that using the dropper in the ink bottle to fill the nib reservoir was preferred to dipping the point directly into the ink...

JamesM's picture

The New York Times recently had an article on the declining use of cursive writing. Many young people apparently never use cursive and even have difficulty reading it. A school principal was quoted as saying "we’re preparing our kids for the 21st century...Is cursive really a 21st-century skill?” Maybe she's right, but still it's a depressing trend.

Nick Shinn's picture

Is cursive really a 21st-century skill?

If you are going to do any pen writing at all, rather than keyboarding, cursive is a useful skill—it's much faster than "printing" letters.

jasonc's picture

You don't note what ink you use? That can make a big difference.

BrettR's picture

Is cursive really a 21st-century skill?

It also decreases common spelling mistakes because you see the whole word with more fluidity then when printing.

bojev's picture

Speedball says to use Speedball ink, but Higgins or Winsor Newton is good also. Heating the pen point slightly with a match and dipping into the ink removes manufacturing oils and provides for better ink flow.

Stephen Rapp's picture

As Bob just stated the new nib needs to have oil removed. You can also clean these with something like windex. Higgins Eternal is considered a good quality ink to start with. Load the nib with an old brush rather than dipping so you start out clean at the tip.

A better forum for this is:

If you want o try a pain free fountain pen the Parallel Pen is a no fuss solution. I'd recommend the 3.6 mm.

If you can find a local class thats will save lots of time over trying to figure it all out on your own.

Here is a beginning video:
And some advanced:

Good luck.

cdiedwardo's picture

The speedball reservoir needs to be altered. The old stock ones are a bit domed, the new ones are very flat against the nib which is annoying. If you take a tweezer and bend the reservoir so it curls up convexly so that the tip is still touching the nib but the center is away from it by a little bit you'll have an easy time with that nib. I start beginners with Brause or Tape nibs since they are good out off the shelf without fussing. You do have to remove the machine oil they are coated with to keep them from rusting or the ink will fall out too fast. Also, write on a sloped table or ink will flow too quickly. If you must write on a flat table remove the reservoir completely and carefully with a needlenose pliers and add some black gouache to your ink to thicken it up so if flows more slowly. Good luck.

youngsun's picture

Pilot has a nice line of cartridge broad-nib pens is different sizes,

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