Brause “Blue Pumpkin” Nib

Hello one and all.

I wanted to share with you some of my experiences with a newly discovered (to me) dip nib by Brause, called the No. 361 nib. It goes by various names, the “Steno” nib, or the “Blue Pumpkin”.

Brause Calligraphy Set

Brause Calligraphy Set

Let me just say that the 361 is an amazing nib! It’s super flexy and needle-point fine. So you can achieve some really stark line variation with this thing.

And generally dip nibs of this kind are dirt cheap. I’d be amazed if they were selling anywhere for even as much as $5. Usually they are anywhere from $1 to $2.50 individually. My entire set was in the neighborhood of $30 and it included 6 nibs, a pen holder and a bottle of ink.

I got mine from European Paper. It’s a very nice site. Customer service is very helpful. I like the clean and efficient layout of their site.

The set consists of 3 italic nibs of various sizes, and 3 fine nibs with varying degrees of flex in them.

Along with the calligraphy set, I ordered an A4 size spiral bound clairefontaine notebook which has french ruling on it. French ruling is ideal for controlling your writing and keeping your letters uniformly sized.

Blue Pumpkin Nib

Blue Pumpkin Nib

Blue Pumpkin Nib

Blue Pumpkin Nib

My issue with the 361, initially, was that with the amount of flexing I wanted to do with this nib, the small amount of ink I got on the nib by dipping it, ran out far too quickly and I was lucky to have even completed a word on a single dip.

I badly needed some form of a reservoir mechanism on this nib to make it worthwhile, otherwise I would have quickly lost interest.

Luckily I devised a way to put a reservoir on the nib, and I didn’t even have to look very far.

There is a reservoir that comes attached to the Italic nibs (Brause calls them “Bandzug” nibs).

Bandzug Italic nib

Bandzug Italic nib

Bandzug Italic nib

Bandzug Italic nib

The reservoir on the Bandzug nib can be easily removed by sliding it off of the nib.

Bandzug Italic nib

Bandzug Italic nib

Once removed, the reservoir can then be attached to the 361.

No 361

No 361

No 361 with Reservoir

No 361 with Reservoir

No. 361 with Reservoir

No. 361 with Reservoir

After attaching this reservoir to the nib, I have increased the ink capacity on the nib by a miraculous ten-fold, it seems.

This was the first bit of writing that I did with it, and I was pretty amazed with what the nib could do for me.

The last two lines on the page here were written with a Waterman 52 fitted with a flex nib, just for comparison.

Writing Sample

Writing Sample

I started writing the names of my co-workers for them and they just  stared in complete and utter amazement.

Here’s how much I could write with it on a single dip.

Gas Mileage on a single dip

Gas Mileage on a single dip

Here’s the original writing sample again.

Original Writing Sample

Original Writing Sample

The very first word on here “Brause” was written without a reservoir, and I had to do multiple dips to complete only that one word. Then I dipped again, and managed to write an entire line but without flexing at all.

And then came the reservoir and it changed everything.

 Well I hope you enjoyed this bit of commentary about a dip nib. In most people’s view a dip nib will be a very antiquated concept. But I am discovering new heights of my ability to render beautiful copperplate lettering with this thing. And if it works for me that’s good enough.
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12 thoughts on “Brause “Blue Pumpkin” Nib

  1. Beautiful handwriting! The only Brause nib I have is a the rose nib (which I bought because, well, the rose on the nib was pretty), which I use to dip-test inks. No reservoir either, which means I have to dip and dip again…but maybe I’ll get one in the future, since flex-writing is awesome. =D

    • Thanks 🙂
      I have to try the rose nib. It looks like it’s very similar to the Blue Pumpkin.

      I wonder if the same reservoir as the one I took from the brandzug nib will work with the rose nib. It has the same “ears” like the Blue Pumpkin and the ears allowed me to attach the clasp of the reservoir under the ears, if you pardon the analogy.

      There are several more Brause nibs on the horizon for me. I’m intrigued by the nibs that have a circular footprint called the Brause Ornament nibs. They don’t have any line variation, just a circular start and end of the line which could help me get the classic “comic sans serif” font going.

      But thanks for visiting and commenting.

  2. Amazing hack! Thank you so much for posting this! My sister got this for me from Paris and I was almost heart broken when I found that the ink would just slide down when the nib splayed beyond a point. But now I can simply clear the ink from the underside and and it gives me crisp lines and lasts really really long.

    Note: the reservoir doesn’t fit the 361 snugly, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Even a very loose reservoir works perfectly.

    • Thanks very much for reading my blog and thanks for commenting.

      I am, by nature, a tinkerer and I’m always trying to fit a round peg in a square hole to see if it fits. That’s what led me to discovering this reservoir that would alleviate my ink issues.

      I’ve talked to various folks about dip nibs and each has their own trick to making the ink adhere to the nib, some expose it to a flame to burn off the oils and residues from the factory, others put saliva on the nib (I kid you not), but I was leery about all of those ideas.

      There are folks out there who used an improvised aluminum foil and mould it around the nib as a make-shift reservoir. I tried that and failed miserably. And don’t even ask me about the mess I made on the paper while trying to do that.

      I haven’t taken out this nib and written with it in a while, maybe I should play with it again.

      Good point on the non-snug-fitting reservoir, I was also a bit concerned about it hanging from the tip loosely. But honestly, it’s almost better that the reservoir is loose fitting, because it will stay in contact with the tines when they flex back and forth, whereas a sung fitting reservoir might not.

      Thanks again for commenting, and I would love to see your work with this nib after you’ve added the reservoir. Shoot me a link to share some of the photos of your work if you want.

  3. Pingback: Everything old is new again : Getting excited about Dipping Nibs | Citizen Sketcher

  4. Hi, can you explain what you mean by “reservoir nibs”?

    There are certain nibs that already come with reservoirs attached, mostly they are italic nibs.

    But the flexible nibs generally don’t come with a reservoir.

    There are 3 nibs with reservoir (italic nibs) and three without a reservoir in the brause set that is pictured in this blog post. The link for this particular item at European Paper is the following:

    http://www.europeanpaper.com/product/featured-products/brause-calligraphy-gift-set-pbr195/?oid=1374

    If you’re in search for something entirely different, then please provide more details about what you’re looking for.

    It wouldn’t hurt to post on FPN (http://www.fountainpennetwork.com) and you might get some great suggestions there.

    Thanks.

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