What’s A Scratch Knife Nib?

If you’ve been around kids recently or were ever one yourself I know you’re familiar with scratch knife nibs. For kids they’re just called scratch art nibs because even small knives are considered dangerous. Scratch nibs are commonly used to scrape through one surface revealing a lower contrasting color layer. But did you know they weren’t intended to be a kid’s toy? The original intent for scratch nibs was to remove ink from animal skin supports. They looked like small bladed knives with paring-knife handles. Later, dip pen nib manufacturers made them to fit their common pen holders.  Today scratch knife nibs are a curious commodity made for scratch board artists. But they are my go-to ink eraser. Scratch nibs easily scrape ink off the surface of pergamenata and vellum with little damage to its surface. You can even use them on paper if your ink purchases on its surface and isn’t absorbed. Its fine sharp blade gently scrapes ink mistakes away sometimes leaving the paper surface usable. Ampersand and Speedball make professional scratch art nibs that fit common type B dip pen holders. Royal and Lang make a less expensive nickel engraving foil set too. I prefer scratch nibs to a sharp knife or an x-acto for their smaller sharp blade. The teeny blades easily scrape away ink blobs within letters “a” “s” and others. They are inexpensive, and can be sharpened by a whetstone. The nibs come in […]

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The Useful Paint Niche

Recently at our scribal meeting, I was asked about how I use my gouache palette. Do I put out new paints for each painting session? Do I reconstitute the dried paint in its well? What do I do if the paint breaks into small bits? All great questions.  This is what I do. You may find other scribes work differently. […]

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Size Matters: Giraude Benet’s Laurel Scroll

Project Title: Giraude Benet’s Laurel Scroll Project Date: December 9, 2017 Text by: Malachi von Uri Inspiration for Text: Translation by: Calligrapher: Jehanne Bening Illuminator: Jehanne Bening Measurements: 16 x 20 inches  Support: Pergamenata heavyweight natural  Notable Techniques: Gilding and interlinear lining. Script: Early/Proto- Gothic Pens: Mitchell 1 mm dip nib and Hunt 512 pointed dip nib Inks: Zig Cartoonist Sumi […]

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Secrets To Reducing Scribal Pain

If you’ve read about me you know I am a retired dental hygienist. Although I’m not a physical therapist or yoga instructor, as a hygienist for 35 years I learned a thing or two about hand and body pain reduction. Some tricks I learned apply directly to scribal practice. As a scribe concerned about pain control, my two main considerations are […]

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