Cork-Tipped Calligraphy Pens and Universal Nib Holders

May 22

Whether you are an experienced calligrapher, or are trying to master the art of the flourishing word, you’ve likely noticed the wide variety of calligraphy supplies on the market. From oblique calligraphy pens, to straight calligraphy pens, to dip pens, plus the wide variety of nibs, notebooks, and inks available on the market, mean limitless possibilities. As you experiment with products and tools, calligraphy styles and inks, you may also want to experiment with using a cork-tipped calligraphy pen. Learn the benefits of this alternative tool and how it can extend the length of your calligraphy sessions.



Cork tipped calligraphy pens are typically found in the straight pen styling. At the end of the pen shaft, at the end where the nib is inserted, the shaft is wrapped in an ergonomic, cushioning layer of cork. The cork is meant to serve as a comfortable, forgiving grip for your fingers, that alleviates the pressure on your fingers and joints, making it comfortable to work on your creative calligraphy projects for long stretches of time without too much discomfort or cramping.

Easy Nib Insertion

Cork tipped calligraphy pens that come with a universal nib holder also allow for easy nib insertion, and the flexibility to use nearly any nib with the pen, which means you can easily swap out stiff nibs for more flexible varieties, or broad nibs for extra fine ones as you work on your creative piece. The nib holder is typically made of metal or plastic and includes grooves that accommodate the base of the nib.

Quality and Reliability

While cork-tipped calligraphy pen holders are generally slightly more expensive than some of their plastic counterparts, just like with most art supplies and tools, higher quality products allow for longer-lasting durability, and better creative output, making them worthwhile investments.

How to Insert a Nib into a Universal Holder

If you have not yet worked with a universal nib holder, know that securing the nib is easier than you may fear. Follow the steps below to insert your favorite nib without damaging the prongs, the pen holder, or pinching your fingers.

1. Start by studying the inside of the universal holder. You should see four metal curves inside the opening to the shaft. The nib should be inserted between the body of the straight calligraphy pen and the four metal curves—not in the middle.

2.Gently, but with firm pressure and without forcing, straining, or bending your nib, insert the nib between the body of the calligraphy pen and the metal. You should feel the nib slide into place until it can go no further. Do not continue pushing beyond the nib’s natural stopping point, as you may risk a jam that will make it difficult to remove the nib when you’re done with your session.

3. When properly secured, the nib will not wiggle or feel loose or as though it is slipping in or out of the holder.

4. Make sure the nib is secure before you test it against paper, as you don’t want to risk snapping or bending a nib that is not fully secure.

5. Next, dip the nib about a quarter of an inch into your favorite Herbin ink, and work away with your favorite Rhodia notebook.

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