A major issue I have been having is broken ink sticks. Since the humidity in the U.S. is lower than the humidity in Taiwan, the ink sticks that I bring from Taiwan have a tendency to break apart. It’s really hard to use ink sticks when they are in pieces. Sometimes I am able to put together the smaller pieces to form a larger piece, but it can be an inky mess.
I found three ink stick holders at John Neal Bookseller. The ink stick comes in one size and is described as being able to handle larger ink sticks. The Bamboo ink stick comes in two sizes: small and large.
I ended up getting all three ink stick holders. I could not tell which one would fit my broken ink stick, since it has raised edges. I also figured any of the holders would come in handy in the future since I do have different size ink sticks.
The basic construction is the same: two pieces of wood or bamboo, and something to attach the two pieces to hold the ink stick. The wood version uses a screw and wing nut. The bamboo versions have a round piece of bamboo that can be shifted down the center cutout.
The only holder that can hold my current ink stick is the wooden one. This ink stick is pretty thick, and has an extra raised edges around the front and the back. The ink holder holds the ink stick pretty well. Both are the same width. The ink stick holder also opens enough to clasp around the raised edge.
The ink stick holder definitely helps with gripping a small piece of ink stick. Even though the holder extends the ink stick, I still prefer to hold the holder closer to the ink stick. It seems more stable that way. These ink stick holders are a great addition to my calligraphy toolbox, since now I can keep using my ink sticks even if they are in pieces.