Architect Grind

Last September I was able to try my friend JP’s pen with an Architect nib grind, something I asked him to look into making a few years ago. It was love at first write, when I tried out his TWSBI Vac with the architect nib. I remembered that I do have one pen with a broad nib, my Sailor Progear Mini Morita, so I sent it to him for a regrind. I got it back yesterday and I really love how it turned out.

If you’re wondering what an architect nib grind looks like compared to a stub or a cursive italic nib, here’s a comparison. That’s a left oblique cursive italic, since I like to hold the pen at an angle when using wide nibs.

Architect nibs are ideal for people who like to write with block letters, like I do. It produces different line variations when upright and slanted. It’s basically the opposite of a cursive italic nib, producing wide horizontal strokes and thin vertical strokes. Here’s are a few close ups of the writing sample of an architect nib.

The line variation is more pronounced when you write with upright characters. When slanted, it’s almost like you’re writing with a boxy nib.

By comparison, here’s a close up of a 1.1mm stub (Bexley Corona with a Goulet #6 stub). The line variation is virtually the opposite of an architect grind (narrow horizontal lines, wide vertical lines), though I hold my pen at an angle so it appears a bit slanted. The resulting edges are more rounded than the architect nib’s crisp edges.

Here’s a close up of the left oblique cursive italic nib (Cross Century II, medium, reground by JP). It’s a crisp cursive italic but customized for a right-handed writer who wants to use it at a tilted angle. Here’s a blog entry I wrote about my first left oblique cursive italic nib.

Here’s a photo of the nib’s profile. The architect nib is also called Hebrew and Arabic nib because the line variations produced is suitable for their characters. It’s actually also quite suitable for Baybayin. If you want your pen reground to an architect nib, it’s best to provide JP with a broad nib. Anything smaller wouldn’t show off the line variation as well as a broad nib would. This one’s a Japanese broad (so, more like a medium, really).

Overall, I love it because it gives my block letters a different look and feel from stubs and CIs. It has a very unique character to it, and it suits my handwriting very well. If you’re not fond of block letters and you like to write in script, you might find this kind of grind hard to use, though I would still recommend that you try it. I’m glad JP did such a good job on my pen. I’ll probably buy a TWSBI and get that reground to another architect nib. 🙂

If you’re in the Philippines and you’d like to have your fountain pen nibs reground or repaired, you may visit JP’s Facebook page at JP’s Pen Spa and Nibworks.

Blankets

Blankets
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Author:
Published: July 1, 2003
A coming of age autobiographical graphic novel written and illustrated by Craig Thompson. It's about his childhood memories and traumas, the Evangelical church that shaped much of his childhood and influenced his young adulthood, and his first love.

As far as I can tell, this is the first graphic novel that I ever read, and only because a friend recommended it. There's much about this story that I found I could relate to. The character describes his childhood traumas in such subtle but graphic details, without a lot of words but in a very impactful way nevertheless.

He writes about his relationship with his younger brother, which is equal parts loving and competitive.

He writes about his disillusion with organized religion, particularly his family's religion. As somebody who grew up in Sunday School, I can truly understand what he is trying to describe. Even if you didn't grow up in Sunday School, I suppose you can still understand his message. How his concept of God was rooted more in fear than in love. How church took up a whole lot of family time. How Christians are sometimes out of touch and out of reach, unable to truly connect with people who need them. How church can sometimes be filled with overused platitudes but, again, being unable to truly connect with people who are in pain.

For the writer, this resulted to a break with his relationship with his church, not necessarily with God. As he goes through young adulthood, he had a hard time reconciling his very natural, normal feelings with his Christian faith. My issues with organized religion was not resolved the same way his was, but I can definitely see where he is coming from.

A bulk of the story is also about his first love. It's cute, sweet, heart wrenching, tummy twisting all at the same time. Even the family issues of the girl he likes are described in such beautiful details, albeit without so many words. Going through all the stages of this first love brings back memories.

The illustrations were fascinating. Each page is a work of art that I really enjoyed looking at. It lent the story more emotions, like the writer is showing in both words and drawings the nuances of each moment. I think I enjoyed most the pages that had no words. The author had a way of using "silent" pages to let you breathe and feel for a moment before you move on. It's quite beautiful.

Overall, it's a beautiful book. I appreciated both the story and the artistic effort that went into each page.

Tactile Turn Gist

I bought this pen at Everything Calligraphy’s Writ3C event last month. I’ve been curious about this pen for a while now, especially since it looks so minimalist and it has that industrial look that I like. There’s also a whole range of materials to mix and match. I got the one with the bronze finial and section. I really wanted the damascus finial and section but it was out of stock at the time.

The pen came in a very simple cardboard box with nothing much inside except the pen and the protective foam around it. The packaging is very sparse, I appreciate that it’s no-frills and uses very little packing materials. There’s not even any literature aside from the label on the lid of the  box.

The first thing you’ll notice on the pen is the texture of the material. If it feels familiar somehow, it’s because the body is polycarbonate markrolon. The material feels really sturdy. Here’s a close up of the barrel:

It has a continuous groove around it which gives it that tactile feel. At first it felt like the cap was difficult to twist out of the section, but after two or three times of capping and uncapping it, it stopped feeling so grippy and began to have just the right amount of tightness to make it feel snug. Here is a closeup photo of the bronze section. The grooves are just deep enough to give the section a uniform texture with the body. It’s not uncomfortable to hold at all. It actually helps make the pen a lot easier to grip while writing.

The nib is a medium steel Bock nib. I kinda wish it’s at least gold-plated to match the color of the section, but it’s alright. The performance of the nib is actually pretty awesome.

It writes consistently wet, and the nib is sufficiently smooth with just a hint of feedback. I think it’s my second favorite steel nib (next to Faber Castell nibs). So far I’ve inked the pen with 4 different kinds of inks from different brands and the pen wrote well with all of them.

Here’s a video of the writing sample.

The pen uses a standard international converter and it takes about 8 turns to remove the barrel from the section (about 3 turns to uncap). I like that the pen is light but the bronze section makes it heavy near the nib. So you feel some weight while writing without making the pen top heavy. It’s comfortable to use for long writing sessions, it didn’t tire out my hand at all.

The only issue I encountered with it was that the clip wiggled a teeny-tiny bit. It was just the slightest wiggle but it drove me nuts. I admit I didn’t inspect the item too well before I bought it, I just glanced at it briefly and didn’t even take it out of the box. I have no doubt Everything Calligraphy would have replaced it but it’s the last stock they had of that specific pen and I didn’t want to have to ship it back to them and wait for a new pen to be shipped to me. So I disassembled the pen’s cap and tightened the clip. It was a pretty simple fix and took less than 5 minutes to finish.

Overall, I think this is a great option if you want a simple, no-frills pen that is scratch-resistant and can take a beating. It writes really well too, I’m pretty happy with it.

Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
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Author:
Genre:
Publisher:
Published: September 4, 2018
A father writes about his son's addiction.

This is such a heart wrenching book to read. From start to end, even in those pages about the very bad moments when it seems all the love should be drained out and emptied because of the hurt and frustration, David's love for his son shines through on the pages. You read a lot about addiction but people forget that the families of addicts and alcoholics go through a lot too, and I appreciate being able to read such a well-written account of what their family went through together.

The tone of the whole book sounds like a parent thinking aloud. Memories go back and forth. You get the sense that the writer is showing his favorite memories of his son, not the big moments but the small moments that show who he was and is. He also falls into cycles of putting his guilt into words and then rationalizing his actions. I can only imagine the debilitating guilt that parents of addicts feel, and how it's hard to recognize where their shortcomings as parents end and their children's personal choice begins.

The author includes a lot of useful information in understanding the insidious nature of addiction in between recollections of Nic's childhood and his cycles of recovery and relapse.

Overall, there are a few things in the  book that I don't particularly like (such as the excessive rationalization of his parenting) but if I take the book as a whole, I really like  it. It reads like a gift because I can understand how difficult it must have been to write and to share with the world. I think it's beautifully written.

I read Nic Sheff's book Tweak after I finished reading this one, where he writes about his addiction, relapses and recoveries from his point of view. I'll write a separate review for that soon.