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quills
08-20-2008, 11:04 AM
As promised...
This is how I cure Quills, simple though needs some common sense
as you are dealing with sand at high temperatures, and cold water.
It is not the only way but the way that works for me.

My starting point was some years ago from information given in
"The Calligraphers Handbook" by Heather Child
A standard Calligraphy book full of invaluable factual information.

Many Feathers are unsuitable try to get Swan,Turkey, some Duck,
Pheasant which often can be used uncured, as large as possible.
Experiment, try out what you can get.

The quills will need stripping of all barbs
Clean out the inside membrames.. I use a small home made hooked
steel rod.

Cut off the end of the quill to open up the barrel
A Quill Knife is useful but any sharp knife can be used.
The shape of a Quill Knife has not changed for over a thousand years.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-Knife.jpg

Soak the cut quills in water for 24 hours upright in a jar.

The set up.
Old Frying pan, Camping Stove, Sand,
The sand is Silver Sand any fine sand is suitable.
A high Temperature thermometer is almost essential though if
you are willing to accept a few failures you can manage without
I would imagine a Cooking thermometer is fine.
The one I use one small and general purpose.
A spoon to spoon sand into the quill.



http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-quill-1.jpg



I take the sand up to between 290 - 300 degrees farenheight.
I deal with one quill at a time.
Take the quill out of the water, shake out the water, quickly spoon sand into
into the barrel and push into the sand.
The time is very much trial and error, at the 290 degrees 30 seconds to One minute
is an approx guide,
Personally prefer the lower temperatures as it gives me more control.

Leave 20 seconds to One minute this is very much trial and error
At higher temps a few seconds is all that is needed.

When OK scrape off the membrame on the outside of the quill
with the back of your knife. I then hold the cut end and roll
the whole barrel around in the sand to remove any mites.



http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-quill-2.jpg




Examples of how the quill barrels will look.
Should have become translucent and lose the milky look,

Here some bubbling can be seen, often inevitable as the sand will not be evenly hot.
But all are useable.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-ex-2.JPG

Example of 18/19th centuary commercialy cured and cut quills.
Made to fit a pocket pen.
Produced in their millions but very few have survived.
The sand is still present in the barrels of interest is the long cut that was used.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-ManQ.jpg

A pocket Quill Pen

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-ex-qp.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-ex-qp3.jpg


In use held pointing towards the body this way the point moves freely without digging in
the surface.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-demoqp.jpg


And finally the writing slope I use. It is at a very steep angle to contol the Ink flow easily.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Aug-2008/69681-slope.jpg



Please excuse spelling and grammer :)

Trust this explanation of my methods will be of some small help and interest.

enjoy
Quills

Hiraeth
08-20-2008, 12:25 PM
Trust this explanation of my methods will be of some small help and interest.

Quills

Well, now, THAT may be the understatement of the year!

That was very helpful! I learned that I've been doing something wrong all these years! I 've never soaked my quills before tempering. Not sure how I missed that step!

And, am I right in understanding that, when writing with the quill, you keep the cut edge on top, so to speak? If so, I have been lettering with a quill wrong for years, too!

Do you ever place springs in the shaft to hold more ink? I think you prefer pheasant feathers, right? What do you think of turkey feathers (which I have used)

How hard would it be to find a quill knife in this day and age? I use an exacto knife but have wondered if a less flexible knife would be preferable.

The piece that is on your drawing board is beautiful, by the way!

quills
08-20-2008, 02:55 PM
Quick answer Kim
Cut edge on top cut sloped edge nearest the paper,
I do use springs but only on small delicate quills.
I like Turkey feathers easy to get in large sizes.
exacto is fine use the round blade and rock it to cut Quills as you know are very hard
and rocking stops the knife slipping.
The round blade is also ideal for erasing a letter or word.



Will take some pics for you Kim easier to answer that way.

quills
08-21-2008, 05:24 AM
A small Quill use these a lot for ink drawing far more interesting line than a mechanical pen.
I fit an outer spring as the small size needs a more controlled flow of ink.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2008/69681-ResUse.jpg


On the other hand a wide cut quill needs all the Ink it can get this is the one used for
the Letter of the Week ornate B thick and thin lines all made with this quill.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2008/69681-broad.jpg

Springs the black ones are commercial for pointed metal pens.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2008/69681-springs.jpg

My writing corner, My cleaning is not up to Kim's standard :wave: I dunk the pens into a plastic cup of water.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2008/69681-corner.jpg

Enjoy lettering can be boring at first but well worth persevering, brings great benefits.

Now I really have do some painting today...

Hiraeth
08-21-2008, 06:47 AM
OH! I LOVE seeing your studio! That's something I mentioned a while back--how I'd love to see others' work space. I'll take some pictures of my own, but they won't look quite right; I've got both my husband's mother and my mother coming to stay for the weekend (our grandson is getting baptized this weekend!) so my studio is cleaned up and all evidences of work is put away. Maybe I SHOULD take pictures right now--it won't look like that once I get back to work! ;)

That is awesome! I love my own little space and it works very well for me, but your space is, well, inspiring! All those quills! They must all be cut to varying widths; are they just like old friends? And all those little bottles of ink! When I was a little girl, I had a fascination with tiny little bottles. (still do to some degree) I would have been in heaven so see all yours!

I am curious about the little white and blue 'thingy' with three 'horns' near the quills. It seems to have a prominent spot. What is it?

A small Quill use these a lot for ink drawing far more interesting line than a mechanical pen.
I fit an outer spring as the small size needs a more controlled flow of ink.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2008/69681-ResUse.jpg


On the other hand a wide cut quill needs all the Ink it can get this is the one used for
the Letter of the Week ornate B thick and thin lines all made with this quill.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2008/69681-broad.jpg

Springs the black ones are commercial for pointed metal pens.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2008/69681-springs.jpg

My writing corner, My cleaning is not up to Kim's standard :wave: I dunk the pens into a plastic cup of water.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Aug-2008/69681-corner.jpg

Enjoy lettering can be boring at first but well worth persevering, brings great benefits.

Now I really have do some painting today...

TessDB
08-21-2008, 07:39 AM
Excellent information, here! Wowsers...

Thank you so so *so* much for posting this!

Rosemary

quills
08-21-2008, 09:58 AM
Kim: I am curious about the little white and blue 'thingy' with three 'horns' near the quills. It seems to have a prominent spot. What is it?
A Chinese Brush Rest follows me about as a pen and brush temp parking :)

Would be interesting to see folks workspaces you really need so little for Lettering.

marie_d
08-21-2008, 03:38 PM
Thank you for taking the time to post the info and photos of your quills and studio,very interesting. I like the little pocket quill pen, never seen one before. I always thought you had to cut a split in the tip of the quill for the ink flow, but you dont seem to do it.
My work space is the dining room table :D A few bottles of ink, calligraphy pads and papers, gilding stuff, nibs, pens, everything gets stuffed into plastic boxes and shoved away in the cupboard, very boring, no where near as interesting as your studio :thumbsup:

quills
08-22-2008, 11:01 AM
Your right Marie always cut a split... the commercial ones came unfinished pointed, the idea being you could do the final cuts yourself. ie a pointed pen, or a flat pen.

Autumnwillow
08-24-2008, 12:23 AM
Fascinating... thank you so much for taking the time to show this...

Michele