Thinking About Pen Accessories: The Indispensable Loupe

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Be it ever so humble, a loupe is among my most used pen accessories. I use it to examine the condition of pens and nibs I’m thinking of buying, but mostly I use it when I adjust nibs I already own. I am a pen tinkerer, so I use it a lot.

Mine is a 10x loupe made by Eschenbach with an LED light. It’s just great. The optics are excellent, the 10x magnification level is perfect for examining nibs and the integrated light means I can use it in any lighting and get a great view of the nib.

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This loupe is about six inches long, which is small enough to bring to pen shows. The handle makes it easy to hold. It comes with a vinyl cover to protect the lens when not in use. I know it’s sturdy: it has passed the “dropped by Laura” real-life test more than once.

I can’t think of a single thing that isn’t excellent about this loupe. But it was pricey, at a little over $100. You could economize by looking for a less expensive one, though check the quality and the magnification. Unfortunately, the lighted magnifiers that you see everywhere for reading provide only 2x or 3x magnification, which I don’t think is enough for nib work.

But there are a lot of unlighted loupes, and even some magnifying glasses, with 10x magnification.  So if you don’t need the illumination, you also could save money on a loupe purchase by foregoing the light.

One thought on “Thinking About Pen Accessories: The Indispensable Loupe

  1. I have a no-name folding loupe with light I got for 15 (~$17) I got from a local office and art supply chain. It’s supposed to be x15, but I don’t think stronger is always better because it’s pretty hard to hit the range where there’s no distortion. Still, it’s probably plenty for non-tinkerers!

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