M.B. Calligraphy is closed until further notice. Please see the Michigan Association of Calligraphers website for Calligraphers for Hire. Thank you!


Today I’m getting back to basics and starting from the very beginning. I’ll get a video filmed soon, but for now here’s a quick post on how to put together your nib and oblique pen holder. This is probably the number one mistake we tackle right away in my classes, so I thought I’d share here! As always, feel free to comment with any questions! I’m happy to help!

First, you need to know the parts of the pen holder and nib. Below you will find a picture of a basic oblique pen holder with the flange labeled. The flange is what will hold your nib.

Oblique Pen Holder - parts

Next, here are the parts of the nib. I’m show you a Nikko G, but the terms are the same for other nibs as well. The point of the nib is created by two tines that spread apart when you press them against the paper. The tines should be cut evenly. The other important piece of the nib is the vent hole. The vent hole is where you fill your ink to when dipping it.

Parts of a Calligraphy Nib

To put the two together you slide the nib into the flange with the vent hole pointing up towards the ceiling. Make sure your flange is to the left of the rest of the pen holder if it is laying flat on a table. Push it in until the point of your tines is about at the center line of the pen holder if it extended longer (as seen by the dashed line).

How to Assemble.jpg

You do not want your nib to be rotated to the right or the left or you will not be able to write properly. You always want your tines to press equally onto the paper so that you are not wearing on one side or the other.

Zoomed In Assembled.jpg

UPDATED WITH VIDEO! Here it is if this is more your speed:

Was this tutorial helpful? Please let me know if you have any questions or if there are any tutorials you would love to see in video or on the blog with pictures!


Meg Bosse