Pen holders can go a long way towards helping a calligraphy student getting the most out of their hours of practice in both terms of comfort and for the versatility of the nibs that they hold. Since there are so many options in this category, it can be confusing for beginner students to select the best fit for them and their required tools. In this post, we are going to take a closer look at oblique pen holders and explore the differences between them.
In general, whether you are talking about a straight holder or an oblique holder, comfort is going to be a paramount consideration. Some folks won’t like to use a plastic holder, as it can become slick after long use. While others, simply might not like how a wooden holder feels in their hand. Obviously, this is a personal preference and most calligraphers will switch back and forth between plastic and wooden without a problem.
There are also plastic holders which feature a comfort grip material, which helps make writing easier and less tiring on the hands. One fantastic example of this is the H95 Speedball Deluxe Oblique Pen Holder. The Speedball Deluxe is a good bet for its comfort grip and its versatility. Below is a chart which shows the nibs that fit into this holder:
What Nibs Fit?
As you can see above, having the right pen holder can be used with a wide variety of nibs. In general, oblique holders will feature a brass flange (on wooden holders) and a plastic non-adjustable flange on the plastic holders. The brass flange can fit a wide variety of calligraphy nibs, as it either adjusted using a screw or it can be manipulated with pliers to get the best fit. Some plastic holders do not offer this same versatility yet can still be very useful. For example, the H23 Hunt Plastic Oblique Holder, fits well with many Gillott and Hunt nibs: see chart here. This allows the H23 to still be a wonderful and very inexpensive choice for many calligraphers.
Not all plastic holders feature a fully plastic flange. The aforementioned, H95, and many others also have the same type of brass flange and can be used with a whole lot of nibs.
The Bottom Line?
Finding the right oblique holder for your purposes is a mixture of considering your comfort and what type of nibs you will be wanting to work with. A wooden holder can feel sturdier and more natural, while many plastic holders can deliver in terms of cost savings. There are of course exceptions (H95) and plenty of people can work just fine with either type. However, it is a good idea to see which one suits you best and move forward from there.