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Noodlers Heart Of Darkness Vs. Black


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#1 Fabienne

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 22:43

This is the biggest deal in my list of things to do. I had the means, motive and opportunity and I took them. The vehicle was the trusty Speedball 1.5mm dip pen. I could not rest until I determined the true answer to the question: which of Noodler's ink was the blackest--Heart of Darkness (HOD) or Noodler's Black? The answer was a subtle thing, one which might not be evident from all angles to all peoples. However, for my money and only by the merest of black cat whisker tips I have to declare that NOODLERS BLACK IS THE BLACKEST INK OF THE TWO! I was not prepared for that outcome, I thought for sure it would be HOD but no, Black is the blackest black. Now I know.

Look at the rectangle after "This is the Heart of Darkness", the one which is filled in with black vertical strokes. The strokes on the right hand side are Black, and the ones on the left are HOD. I think you can see the difference. The scan is real real good, my friends. That is the verdict.
Posted Image


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#2 The Good Captain

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 23:37

Do you ever get that feeling of deja-vu? Something in the black of my mind tells me I've seen something like this before. We don't have Groundhogs here in the UK - they were all poisoned by being forced to drink black ink.

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#3 myyrkezaan

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 01:18

Do you ever get that feeling of deja-vu? Something in the black of my mind tells me I've seen something like this before. We don't have Groundhogs here in the UK - they were all poisoned by being forced to drink black ink.


"Something in the black of your mind", was that intentional or a slip?

#4 effrafax

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 03:20

Deja-vu? Maybe, except this one contradicts the dozens of other comparisons done . . .
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#5 i.like.whiskey

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 06:44

I agree that I've seen comparisons of these two before, and that each time the HOD has been declared blackest.
But I also agree that in THIS comparison, regular Black beats HOD.
Interesting.
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#6 The Good Captain

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 08:39


Do you ever get that feeling of deja-vu? Something in the black of my mind tells me I've seen something like this before. We don't have Groundhogs here in the UK - they were all poisoned by being forced to drink black ink.


"Something in the black of your mind", was that intentional or a slip?

Intentional, I'm afraid.

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#7 Brian C

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:23

Try X-Feather, it puts both to shame.

#8 Fabienne

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 13:02

OK, I will do that as I do have a sample of X-Feather!

This was done on 20 lb. computer paper which is very common. This isn't a Rhodia/Clairfontaine/Crane sort of comparison. Both were done with inkpens and both puddled a bit at first in the dip pen.

The difference between the two is minuscule and YMMV. But this is what happened to me when I ran the experiment. But I will try X-Feather and I do have a sample of Aurora Black as well, might as well throw that one in, too.

Edited by Fabienne, 18 February 2012 - 13:07.


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#9 effrafax

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 02:34

This got me curious, so I tried hunting out the test I did before, but it must be buried in a pile of papers somewhere. So, I grabbed the pens loaded with each of the blacks I currently own, and did a quick test on 100% cotton paper. This was the result:

Posted Image

I thought about that after, and a true test should really keep the conditions the same, so I re-ran it with the broadest dip-pen nib that I have, an 8mm monster. Initially, I used the same paper, but it's quite textured, so I ran it again on 100gsm copy paper, which is very smooth.

This is what came out:
Posted Image

I ensured that the nib was well wetted with ink, and tried to keep the pressure light and even. To the naked eye, there really isn't much to choose between them, with HoD and BBM maybe a smidge darker, but it really is only a smidge. In the scan, to me, BPB looks a smidge darker. Kiwaguro looks a bit patchy, and this is because it has a slight sheen when dry, which is emphasised by the scanner. I may just leave the sample to dry thoroughly for a day, and see if there's any difference then.

Note that for the above, I adjusted the gamma, brightness and contrast to eliminate the colouration of the paper i.e. make it look white. The scanner on its default settings makes it look a little grey. Just to show the vagaries of scanners, monitors and human eyes, this is the unadjusted scan, with gamma = 1 (neutral) and contrast and brightness at zero:

Posted Image

Now try telling them apart!

I leave it to judge for yourselves, with the proviso that people's perceptions are different, and they may come to different conclusions based on the same evidence. That's being human for you . . .

No doubt the search for the blackest black will continue to generate threads on this forum, as it has in the past.


Edit: fix punctuation.

Edited by effrafax, 19 February 2012 - 02:42.

Cheers,
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#10 Fabienne

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 14:05

I find it's great fun to speculate, and it matters so much what pen and paper you use, the way you present the scan matters too. Also, whether you are writing with it in a pen or spreading it around with a brush. Since 99.99999% of the time I am going to use it as ink in a pen, I test it out that way. Sometimes I have thought that some colors were fairly wimpy and light if I only saw a swab, then they turn out to be a good deal beefier and more intense in a finer line because the ink was concentrated into a thin line.

In the scans above sometimes Bad Black Moccasin looks blacker in writing, other times it's HOD.

It's obvious...more testing is necessary before conclusions are drawn (or stickfigures).


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#11 Fabienne

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:39

Well, I ended up with a very curious result. I think that the dip pen was causing some of the final outcome. I will scan it but the Aurora Black just gushed out of the nib and feathered like mad on the paper. Of course it looks blacker than the others but that is because there is far more of it than the others, so it isn't on the same level.

Here is the kicker: X-Feather feathered! The paper might have been slightly damp, I don't think so because I wasn't spraying water around but I was fiddling with the dip pen and who knows.

I really think that the dip pen isn't right for this job and to do a proper job I should use the same pen, one I normally write with, along with swabs and such for a true contest here to my lights. I think it's a much better assessment if you use the pen and paper that you normally would use in the course of your writing, after all I am not going to be writing with a Q-Tip, or sending a letter to someone which I have written with a dip pen, and probably not an italic nib either. But I do think that a swab test is valid to see what the ink is like in masstone and how it smears across the page.

At the moment, I am thinking that Heart of Darkness was the lightest of the 4 I tested, and I was not expecting that. It has the same feel in terms of how thick it is as Noodler's Black but yet it is just ever so slightly lighter. Aurora was a surprise but I want to see in in its natural state (as a line of controlled black ink coming out of a regular fountain pen). X-Feather looks just as black as Noodlers Black, I can't see a difference.

So, I will have to do my own experiment in more controlled circumstances and let you know what I find out using my pens and papers. More science!


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#12 PMG92

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 13:30

Nice review. Anybody know where I can order Heart of darkness in the UK or somewhere else in Europe?