At 07:22 PM 10/17/00 -0400, YHL wrote:
>On Tue, 17 Oct 2000, Terrence Donnelly wrote:
>> My wife used to be a calligrapher.  Her books said to use a goose
>> quill (bigger than a pigeon feather).  You scrape the feathers off the
>> end (or off the whole thing), and cut the tip at an angle.  Then you
>> make a small slit in the tip.  You have to use liquid ink.  You can
>> either let the ink pull up into the shaft of the quill, or, if you
>> are very industrious, you make a tiny metal leaf spring and slide it
>> up into the shaft of the quill to make an ink reservoir.
><despair>  This is going to have to wait until I can find a cooperative
>goose, then.

You can actually buy goose quills from art or calligraphy catalogs.

>I figured out the liquid ink part the hard way.  Dumb
>question: what's a leaf spring?

Hard to describe.  Basically, a small strip of springy metal (small
enough to fit inside the shaft of the quill), bent into a shallow
S-curve, so that it fits snugly.  The bottom end of the S-curve is
positioned so it presses against the slit you made in the quill.  The
little space between the shaft wall and the metal strip becomes the ink
reservoir.  If your quill is narrow enough, the ink may stay up in the
shaft by itself and you wouldn't need the spring.

>> IIRC, cuneiform was written with a two-ended stylus.  One end had a
>> wedge shape, and the other was round.  The small circles were just
>> stamped in the clay with the round end.  I don't know how you'd make a
>> _big_ circle that way, but you could make little half-circles by pressing
>> the round end at an angle.
>Er...make a stylus with a Big Circle at the other end instead of a little
>circle?  What were styli made of?

Wood, I think. Probably twigs; I don't think large pieces of wood were
easy to come by.

-- Terry