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Pharmacist's Urkundentinte Iron Gall


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#1 DanielCoffey

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 15:42

INK : URKUNDENTINTE IRON GALL

PAPER : RHODIA #16 A5 white lined + OTHER SAMPLES

PEN : Onoto Magna 261 Medium nib tweaked for wet flow by John Sorowka (Oxonian).

Scanner : IT8-calibrated Epson V600 flatbed
Colour Space : Adobe RGB
Matte : 50% grey and 100% white
Post-process : Unsharp Mask

===

This is a review of the late-september 2011 batch of Iron Gall Urkindentinte produced by Pharmacist and shipped in 100ml plastic bottles. I have used one converter's worth from my Onoto Magna 261 which has a medium 18k nib tuned to be very wet. In combination with this ink which has a very high flow rate I observed deep, luscious lines when the colour developed.

Pharmacist has added some blue dye to the ink and indeed when it is just out of the pen it appears as a low saturation light to mid blue but within seconds the first grey shift appears and the blue quickly disappears under the developing blackness. As you write, the colour change chases you across the page. On A5 paper it is barely a line behind you at normal writing speed. In these days of fully dye-based inks it is quite an intriguing phenomenon. The colour is largely settled after an hour but a little more darkening is observed overnight. All the following scans are a day old.

The faint odour of phenol preservative is obvious for the first few seconds of writing but quickly fades.

I would rate the ink's flow as high to very high and when combined with a wet nib this will give poor results with show and bleed through and feathering on low quality papers. You do get a strong dark colour however. In a dryer-running nib I am certain the wild flow of this ink will be tamed enough to give excellent results on Copier and marginal papers. On paper specifically designed for fountain pens you can use this ink in the proverbial "hosepipe" with confidence.

Lubrication is medium and I did observe more feedback from the nib on slick papers such as Clairefontaine Triomphe.

Drying time is fairly fast. Even with the fast flow the ink was fully dry on slick papers in around 10-15 seconds - easily matching what I see with dye-based inks.

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On papers specifically designed for fountain pens, the ink performs admirably!

Clairefontaine Triomphe 90gsm

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Rhodia #16 A5 white lined 80gsm

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G Lalo Vergé de France - Ivory Laid

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"C" by Clairefontaine 90gsm

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NOTE : On less friendly papers, the combination of wet ink and wet nib overcame the ability of the paper to handle the ink load put down. The following scans are of this extreme situation on copier and no-name paper. They should not be considered indicative of the performance in a nib with more balanced flow.

Xerox Premier 90gsm

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Collins no-name spiral-bound cheap A5 pad

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And the reverse of same...

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#2 Gobblecup

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 16:17

This is awesome! It looks like DIamine Prussian Blue, but an iron gall (Bonus of course!) and a bit darker. Thanks for this thorough review! :thumbup:
Gobblecup ~


#3 DanielCoffey

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 16:19

It is quite a lot darker than the Prussian Blue to be honest - more of a grey/black with a hint of blue. In a drier pen you will see more of the grey.

#4 Ondina

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 16:23

Thank you for the detailed review. Any other ferrogallic ink I've used works well even in the worst paper, but if the paper is really low quality, the amount of deposited if ink can bleed through. It's a nice color, and it does not turn black. Intriguing.

#5 fiberdrunk

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 17:16

Beautiful! I love the shading! Thanks for the great review!
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

#6 Uncle Red

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 17:41

Thanks for the review, I have most of a bottle of Diamine right now so I'll try some of this later.

#7 pharmacist

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 18:22

Hi Daniel,

thanks for the review. I suggest you to wait for one week and make a scan again and then you can certainly see the ink turns into a shaded black. The longer you wait, the darker the writing will become. The full colour can only be judged after a week of oxidation/riping. It looks very blue to me and I think oxidation of the ink is still not complete.

#8 DanielCoffey

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 20:06

I can easily redo the scans - I have the originals here. I'll make a note and just update them.

#9 KarloT

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 21:46

That looks like a winner. Permanent and shades to boot, though I suppose much of that shading will disappear after a week. Nonetheless, it's really cool to see IG inks change color from the time the lines are laid to the moment the oxidation starts.

#10 chris.hale

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 13:08

Nice review!

I have a bottle of this too and it's very good ink. I'm using it at the moment in my TWSBI 540 (M) and have had no problems with feathering, I do not know however how wet TWSBIs are regarded as being. The ink does darken a lot over time, I have a sheet of paper I wrote on last week and the ink's become a mildly-shaded black.

At the moment I'm considering buying a second bottle, 100ml will probably last me ages, but I worry that Pharmacist may stop making it!

<edit> Mine is from the previous pre-phenol batch.

Edited by chris.hale, 07 October 2011 - 13:10.


#11 nmxcop

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 15:59

I too have a "pre-phenol" batch of pharmacist's urkundentinte ink and find that it goes to black or near black over time, usually faster than a week or so though. Generally, a few hours does the trick though that does depend upon the paper. For some reason, on bagasse type paper it takes a long time and never does reach the intensity of darkness of most other papers. I find pharmacist's ink to be very slightly more prone to feathering than other i-g inks such as Diamine's and ESS's Registrar's Inks but still way less than most conventional inks. I really enjoy watching the rapid color change of pharmacist's i-g ink and it's great water resistance. I think he has done a great job with this ink and it is one of my favorites to use since receiving it. Highly recommended!

nmxcop

#12 Jared

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 16:53

I find pharmacist's ink to be very slightly more prone to feathering than other i-g inks such as Diamine's and ESS's Registrar's Inks


nmxcop,

It sounds like you have quite a bit of experience with (or a collection of) iron gall inks. Do you have a favorite? Have you noticed a negative reaction with any particular IG inks and steel nibbed pens (or non-gold parts)?

Thanks,
Jared

#13 DanielCoffey

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 17:27

Jared - if you read Pharmacist's comments on the first pages of this thread you will see he has had no issues with long-term use of iron gall in a variety of pens. In fact I believe the pH of Iron Gall is actually comparable to some commercial dye-based inks out there and the only minor issues are related to flow and potential clogging which can be remedied by a good rubber-bulb wash.

#14 nmxcop

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 17:59

Well, I guess you could say I am an aficionado of iron-gall inks. I love the historical connection, the color change, the water resistance, the shading and the low feathering on lousy paper. I have pharmacist's urkundentinte obviously, along with Diamine and ESS Registrar's Inks. I have Lamy Blue-Black, Pelikan BB, Montblanc Midnight Blue, and Rohrer and Klingner Salix and Scabiosa. I also have three vintage permanent blue-blacks (Skrip, Quink and Waterman's) that, based on their behavior, I think have some i-g in them. I have been using i-g inks for about 7 years now, mostly Diamine and Lamy with no problems or damage to a wide variety of pens. Pharmacist's and ESS I have only used within the last month or so but really like them also. I am pretty good about my pen hygiene with these inks. I usually flush and soak every two to three fills or at the first sign of reduced ink flow, though that has actually been pretty rare. With all the recommendations about avoiding the i-g inks that seem to float around and the many dangers hyped about these inks I also picked up an ultrasonic cleaner thinking I would need to use it frequently. I never have had to use it on nibs that have had i-g ink in them. My experience says the dangers are, indeed, over-hyped and if I were restricted to only one ink it would be one of the three 'hardcore' i-g inks, i.e. Diamine, ESS or pharmacist's. Based on my experience and tests these three have the highest concentration of i-g components. The Pelikan BB, R&K Salix and Scabiosa and the Montblanc Midnight Blue have just a 'touch' of i-g. Lamy BB is, more or less, in between. Having said all that, I would not want to let an i-g ink dry out in a pen as I think that could cause some reasonably serious problems. I don't intend on finding out.

nmxcop

#15 chris.hale

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 00:17

I read in another thread about IG inks that they're only harmful to normal steel, and that modern nibs are stainless so they're OK. I intend to follow the advice about regular flushing though.

#16 nmxcop

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 03:08

Yes, I should have been clearer in my previous post. Many of the pens (all modern) I have used i-g in have steel nibs and I have had no problems with them showing any signs of corrosion at all, some after years of i-g use.

nmxcop

#17 raging.dragon

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 04:16

I'm not certain this is correct, but I've heard that it was sulphuric acid added to some historic iron gall inks that caused corrosion problems; whereas, modern IG inks use hydrochloric acid and that it is less corrosive. I noticed that the recipe Pharmacist published used hydrochloric acid, and I've seen other IG recipes which don't include any acid.

#18 pharmacist

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 09:27

The corriosion of historic iron gall inks is based on both the acidity and the suboptimal ratio between the tannic/gallic acid and the ferrous ions. If there is too much iron in the ink, the free metal ion will cause a cascade of chemical reactions which destroys the paper fibers.

Now both hydrochloric and sulphuric acid are almost equally potent, but sulphuric acid concentrates when the ink evaporates. Hydrochloric acid is a dissolved gas (hydrogene chloride) and will evaporate when the ink dries.

#19 DanielCoffey

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 15:23

UPDATED SCANS : 09 OCTOBER 2011

I have redone the scans and changed the Image processing from White Balance to Neutral. These scans are of the ink being five days old.

Edited by DanielCoffey, 09 October 2011 - 15:51.


#20 RGH

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 22:38

The corriosion of historic iron gall inks is based on both the acidity and the suboptimal ratio between the tannic/gallic acid and the ferrous ions. If there is too much iron in the ink, the free metal ion will cause a cascade of chemical reactions which destroys the paper fibers.

Now both hydrochloric and sulphuric acid are almost equally potent, but sulphuric acid concentrates when the ink evaporates. Hydrochloric acid is a dissolved gas (hydrogene chloride) and will evaporate when the ink dries.


I have now made some ink more or less using your recipe. Since I could not buy Gallic acid I had to make my own by chemical hydrolysis of Tannic acid - in the end very easy. No I did not boil in HCl, and I precipitated out the fairly insoluble Gallic acid to purify it.

I occurred to me that a solution of Ferrous Sulphate in Hydrochloric acid will be an equilibrium between Ferrous Chloride (and possibly Ferrous Gallate etc - unless that acts as a ligand rather than an ion) and Sulphuric acid.


Interestingly when I added Strontium Carbonate (readily available if you are a potter as well), there is an obvious reaction with acid to release carbon dioxide, and a large amount of white precipitate which I can only imagine is Strontium Sulphate (Strontium chloride is relatively soluble). A similar reaction with HCl alone also produces no precipitate. So H+ exists in the same space as SO42- and Cl-. I am therefore unconvinced that there will be no "sulphuric acid" remaining behind after the ink has dried, especially since I believe the dark black pigment is Iron Gallo/tannate, which would imply free sulphate ions associating with free H+.

I am also wondering whether ink made with Ferrous Chloride WOULD on the other hand do exactly what you say - or whether my ink with the Sulphate ions removed with Strontium carbonate is less acidic post drying.

Unfortunately I doubt either of us will be around long enough to tell.

RGH






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