How to Make a Porcupine Quill Pen


Quill pens are one of the most ancient forms of writing. The naturally hollow design of quills allows ink to be wicked up into the body of the pen, and a carefully crafted tip applies the ink evenly. Crafting a quill pen from a feather or porcupine quill requires patience and skill, while learning to write with the pen is an art form in its own right.

Things You'll Need

  • Tin can
  • Sand
  • Porcupine quill
  • Hobby knife
  • Fill a can with sand and place it in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees F. Allow the sand to heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Remove the can from the oven and place the end of the quill into the sand. Leave the quill in the sand until it has completely cooled. This will strengthen the quill and make it sturdier for writing.

  • Take the quill from the sand and use a sharp knife to make an angled cut to open the tip of the pen. The cut should be less than 45 degrees, sloping away from you as you cut toward the tip.

  • Turn the quill so that the opening made by the cut is facing up and the tip is pointing away from you. Insert a knife point into the hollow quill so that the blade is perpendicular to the longest part of the tip. Pull the knife up and toward you to make a slit in the quill.

  • Cut a shallow scoop from the side of the quill opposite the slit. Cut off the corners of quill on either side of the slit to shape the pen's nib, or point. Scrape the inside of the nib to flatten it.

  • Cut an angle on the outside of the nib to make a sharp point. Dip the pen in ink to write with it.

Tips & Warnings

  • As the nib wears down, you can continue using the quill pen by cutting off the old tip and shaping a new one.
  • Be careful when working with hot sand to avoid burns.
  • The knife required to make the fine and accurate cups needs to be very sharp, so go slowly and carefully to avoid injury.


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