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Does adding water make ink dry faster?

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#1 lysyi1976



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Posted 22 December 2008 - 21:29

Hi all,

I've heard in several places that adding a bit of water to your ink of choice will make it dry faster. If so, can anyone suggest how much water should be added? The ink I have in mind is Noodlers Blue-Black. Although I like the ink's color, it literally takes minutes for the ink to dry.

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 22:49

As strange as it sounds, I hear this works. I hope others will weigh in on how much!

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#3 jbb


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Posted 22 December 2008 - 22:56

It seems to work for me. It's hard to say how much water to add. You want to add a little bit at a time until the ink dries more quickly but doesn't become a dilute looking color. Some colors are so dense that I've added back approximately a 1/4 of their volume in water and didn't even notice a difference in color only drying time. It also improves shading to add water.

Edited by jbb, 22 December 2008 - 22:59.

#4 tknechtel


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Posted 22 December 2008 - 23:00

Improving the shading by adding water definitely sounds interesting!

#5 WillSW


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Posted 22 December 2008 - 23:09

Adding water makes ink dry faster, improves shading, and reduces lubrication. I've watered down some inks, but by the time they had an acceptable drying time they were unpleasant to write with.

#6 nkk



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Posted 23 December 2008 - 04:25

It also increases feathering, at least with Noodler's Black. I do not know if that is a random case, or a more universal consequence, but Noodler's BB is similar enough that you could experience it, too.


#7 lysyi1976



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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:16

Thank you all guys for sharing your experience. I had a sampler of Noodlers BB and now, hearing that the trick indeed works, I'll get a bottle of it.

#8 jmw19


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Posted 23 December 2008 - 16:18

I diluted my Noodler's Blue-Black 50:50, and got some nice shading and faster drying. The ink might be a little lighter, but it certainly doesn't look washed out or watery.

You might want to start small, maybe making a 1part water:4 parts ink dilution, and continue on until you find a good combination of drying time, shading, and feathering or scratchy writing (diluting inks also dilutes the additives and surfactants, so they can feel different at the nib). I'd say 10 or 15 drops of fluid total is plenty to dip a few pens and make a swab swatch.

Once you find your preferred dilution, I'd make a small batch (an ounce or less) and watch it for any changes. Sometime the biocide becomes less effective when diluted, so your risk of SITB goes up a little. It's just something to watch for, not a certainty, and if you're using the ink often, probably less of a worry. You can also buy additives to restore the biocide; Tryphon's Inksafe and Sterilink are the two I know. Also, if your preferred mix feels scratchy, a tiny amount of detergent should help. Tiny as in dipping the tip of a toothpick in detergent, then dipping the toothpick in your ink.

Feel free to experiment; the dilution trick works with a lot of saturated inks. One of my favorite browns of the moment is P.R. Chocolat in a 50:50 dilution; it dries quickly and doesn't smear, but still looks like milk chocolate on the page.

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