Ways & How

How to Make a Quill Pen

How to Make a Quill Pen

Ever since ancient times, quill pens have been used to write what is now important historical documents. The quill pen is a pen made of a stiff feather of a bird, usually from the tail or wings. Nowadays, quill pens are items of novelty, especially with the advent of ball point pens and other writing instruments. Although you can buy quill pens, you can also make your own with the right materials at home. If you want to know how to make a quill pen, follow the steps below:

  1. Get supplies:

    Feather, one foot long and ¼ inch thick







  2. Prepare the feather first through the process of tempering. Tempering gives your quill a longer usage life, making it tougher and more resilient. To temper the quill, fill a can with sand and heat it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.

    Make sure that the can is safe to be put in the oven. After heating, push the shaft of the feather into it, as far as it will go, and leave it there until the sand gets cold. You will notice that the shaft becomes harder, more opaque, and more brittle.

  3. Strip some of the feathers to make some space for the writer’s hand. Simply use the edge of your knife and scrape the bits of plume away at the lowest barbs until the shaft becomes smooth. Start with the root of the feather and go all the way to the tip. Another way is to use scissors instead of a knife, but this time start at the tip and work your way toward the nib or roots of the feather.

  4. Figure out the orientation of the pen by holding the feather as you would a pen. Follow the curve so that it points downward instead of upward. However, some people like their quill pens to point upward, so the orientation is entirely up to you.

  5. Hold the pen away from you and then cut the feather at 45 degrees. Afterwards, make a cut opposite of the first one at about 5 degrees, so as to make two horns. You can angle the cut more, if necessary.

  6. Bend the two horns together so that there is a central slit at the horns. You will also hear a cracking sound once you bend the horns.

  7. Shave the horns into a curved shape to avoid splattering ink when writing. If the nib is too flat, it will easily dull. On the other hand, if the nib is too narrow, it will spill ink everywhere and easily wear out while writing. You can shape the nib by widening the base, and then narrowing the tip with scissors. Afterwards, slowly carve with a knife to make the curved shape that is ideal for quill pens.

Now that you know how to make a quill pen, you can test it out by dipping it into ink and writing on paper. If you don’t like the color of the quill pen, you can dye the feather by mixing hair dye in a plastic tub and then dipping the end of the feather into the dye repeatedly. Gently rinse off afterwards. You can also re-sharpen the nib of your quill pen after several uses, just like you would a pencil.


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