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  1. scribbler

    (That’s good advice on adjusting the tension of the second-hole blade to point the exposed lead without breaking it.) Now here’s a neat trick. Avoid step two, don’t point the lead! Instead, using an emery board or fine rasp, carefully file the exposed length of graphite into a long rectangular flat and square off the point. The beauty of this tip is in the calligraphic effect it gives one’s writing, much like the alternating thin and thick strokes one achieves with the stubs, obliques, and flexinibs of fountain pens. True, the original Palomino Blackwing’s lead is so soft you’ll be touching up the tip quite often, but it is also so dark and creamy smooth you won’t mind. I was absolutely shocked how much this little adjustment transformed my very ordinary block printing and cursive into something attractive if not quite beautiful.

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