Tim Girdler Pens | Ministering Through The Perfect Pen
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Tim Girdler Pens
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Tim GirdlerI grew up in the Washington DC area, inside the DC “Beltway,” and I have always been a pen-nut. Before I was allowed to use a pen, I used to root through my dad’s pencils to see what new mechanical pencil I could “borrow” to take to school the next day.

My earliest pen memories are of the “gimmick” pens. Even in elementary school, I obsessed about getting the pens with the digital clock and the erasable-ink. My earliest fountain pen was a Parker Vector, I think in camouflage, that I used for a long while in middle school. I always liked the feel and the nostalgia of the fountain pen, but my affection for them waxed and waned throughout the years, though I was a great admirer of a present my dad received from my mom—a Montblanc 146.

I have always had horrible handwriting. Seriously, my teachers used to make jokes about it—it’s really bad. While I was in Seminary, I encountered a professor who had a similar problem and he told the class he had fixed it by using fountain pens. I was instantly re-interested. His hobby was fountain pens and he sold me my first Esterbrook. I was off and running.

At that time, I didn’t really know enough about fountain pens to make good and informed decisions about them. I bought several less-than-stellar pens that were skippy, scratchy, and stubborn. I thought all fountain pens were that way, and it was something that I was not willing to put up with. So, sadly, my pen use and collecting took a detour to rollerball-land.

Then it happened…while trying to read my own handwriting in our church’s prayer journal, I realized that my handwriting was so incredibly bad that not even I could read it. Something had to be done! Still not knowing any better, I bought several low-quality pens and set out to make my handwriting legible. The legibility improved, but the pens were the same-old skippy, scratchy, and stubbornly unreliable pens. Then, some good people on The Fountain Pen Network were discussing the TWSBI pen. I bought one and it was smooth and wonderfully reliable. In my ignorance, I thought it was the piston filler that made it reliable. So, I set out to get a “big boy” pen and decided on the Bexley Corona—a piston filler.

Having a properly-tuned pen was like a whole new world of writing! Then, in addition to modern pens, I became interested in vintage pens–Parker “51″s and Parker Vacumatics, mostly. Now, I'm into Sheaffer Snorkels and Touchdowns, too. Since I didn’t want to deal with junk pens that didn’t work or write well, I sought out expert advice and training from the “rock stars” of the pen world. I learned from some of the best in the business and now I use that training to tune nibs, restore pens, straighten nibs, and grind nibs for my own clients. Now, we’ve branched out into selling new pens—tuning every nib on every pen, of course, before it’s shipped to its new home.

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