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Lefthander's Day with Rotring ArtPenHappy Lefthander's Day!! Both Dan & I and are avid fountain pen (and pencil) users, modern & vintage, and both of us are left-handed.

My Dad was left-handed as well. The reason I write with the care and legibility that I do is because of what he went through as a boy in school, as a left-hander in the 30's & 40's. Hand tied behind his back, forced to write with his right hand "properly, like the rest of the students". Except, it wasn't legible.

So the story I was told as a child was that he struck a deal with his school master. If he could write as well as, or even better than, his classmates, would the one-room school master allow him to use his dominant hand? Turns out, my Dad's writing, up until he passed away, was far more legible than my right handed Mom's writing is to this day. That school master allowed it, and my Dad made sure my printing and writing was legible early on. 😉

I traveled in Europe my junior year of college. You'd think that in the mid-eighties being a lefty wouldn't stick out as much as it did for my Dad through school. I was at a museum, one of many in Germany that I sought out, to see the exceptional things in person that I had studied only in books previously.

There was an elderly docent on duty near a sign in book for one small museum. I signed it and she asked me sharply in a German dialect effectively "where were raised?". I replied that I was from the United States, studying abroad for college. "Oh, well, that explains why you were permitted to learn to write improperly, with the wrong hand". She said she pitied me for not being properly taught.

As far as writing goes, lefties face some of the same issues right-handers do; finding great paper or notebooks; finding a pen size that suits us well; good nib tuning. But we have the lefty challenges of smearing and smudging leading us to search out faster drying inks with a bit more frequency, or pencils that don't smudge as much.

Vintage pens can be a bit of a challenge since a vast majority of them were probably in use by a right-handed writer. That means the nibs will wear in a specific way that might make it difficult for a lefty to just pick up and use without some tuning care.

This is partly why I'm enjoying learning the skills needed to tune nibs in addition to restoring pens overall to get them back into service. I have a couple of beautiful vintage pens that will likely find their way to the sale page with the caveat that they aren't suitable for overhand lefties.

There are some tools that benefit either handedness - like artist's bridges to rest the  working hand above the work, rather than on the paper. Then there are the tools designed for handedness. My Mom bought me left-handed scissors early on. I lost the first pair. 😛

She bought me a second pair, and I just never made much use of them because they were so inferior to her really good scissors and the shears she used for fabric. To this day, I use right-handed scissors almost exclusively.

I posted my first ever Instagram video of my overhand, left-handed push writing today. I wanted to share a visual of that writing style. I see so many amazing video clips of right-handers, and even left-handers who have mastered the underhand style, doing some of the insanely beautiful lettering that I hope to get better at over time.

Ovbiously I need to work on improving the videography part, so I can concentrate on the lettering I'm capable of in that style. Just another challenge for this lefty to master.



Platinum 3776 Century Bourgogne with UEF nib.
Platinum 3776 Century Bourgogne with UEF nib.

eBay can be a great resource—if you know what you are looking for. The latest modern pen I acquired there was a Platinum ultra-extra-fine 3776 Century Bourgogne with a 14k nib. I managed to get it for an extremely reasonable price, given it was shipping from Japan. It cost less than those available on Amazon, as well as at other online sellers, for the gold nib version I was after.

Since Dan and I have begun restoring pens as well, buying auction lots on eBay has yielded some wins and some losses. Overall I have been fairly lucky in the quality of pens I've managed to snag. There have been nice vintage ones available in the last few months, good prices and good quality. Most of them will be quick to restore, others not as quick or necessarily easy (or in some cases not even worth attempting, though the rest of the lot was worth getting despite the dud or two included). ...continue reading "The Hit-and-Miss of buying on eBay"

Black chased hard rubber (BCHR) pens and a red Parker
Black chased hard rubber (BCHR) pens and a red Parker

I was already working on a draft for this topic when Dan texted me the link for a post on the Pen Economics blog asking "Why Aren't Vintage Pens More Popular?".It begs a follow-up question — popular with whom? I'd say there are definitely some vintage pens that are a little too popular.

There are people who are willing to pay some rather astronomical sums for a vintage flex (usually a lovely specimen of black chased hard rubber — BCHR — or marbled ebonite). There may be others out there like me, a sub-set of the pen community, who are fine with the attention being lavished on modern pens so we can continue to enjoy finding the reasonably priced daily writers, or even a coveted flexible nib, many of them older than we are.
...continue reading "Vintage doesn’t have to mean pricey & finicky"

I'm working on a post about the hit-and-miss nature of purchasing from eBay and what should arrive today but one of my eBay gambles.

We heard the mail truck stop at the house and I knew Dan was expecting something from CW Pencils, but it turned out to be a package that needed a signature, which he signed for. My vintage Sailor 21 arrived ("were you expecting something with Japanese writing on it?"). 😉  I wasn't expecting this to arrive until next week!

Sailor 21 Black Fountain Pen with Gold
Sailor 21 Fountain Pen

I had been watching a few with EF nibs, and dropped many from my buy list as the bids went higher. I really didn't think I would win this one because I kept my max rather low compared to those I'd seen sell previously.

I failed to do due diligence in researching the pen after I won it. I don't have any ink cartridges that fit the pen. What a tragedy!

I've located the type cartridges to use with it, but that means waiting for them to arrive. Sadly, though the Pilot Mixables are the correct diameter, they are too long. I'm going to have to dip the nib to try it out.

After listening to Brad on the Pen Addict Podcast, among others, describe the differences in nib sizes, I decided that if I could locate something like this little Sailor within my budget I'd love to try one. Another passion of mine is miniatures — the 1/12th scale ones for dollhouses — and I wanted to see just how fine it could write.


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