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Non Trouble-Free Experiences With Noodler's Black

noodlers black (bulletproof) ink review index of ink reviews black noodlers

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10 replies to this topic

#1 Fuellerfuehrerschein

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 10:15

Two months ago I received my first bottle of Noodler’s Black “bulletproof” ink. The no nonsense bottle was filled to the brim, but from there my experiences with this ink were not trouble-free.

 

I used the ink in two different pens I both deep cleaned before filling them up with Noodler’s Black:

A traditional Indian jumbo sized ebonite eye dropper pen fitted with an Ambitious 40 mm long № 12 nib.

A pen fitted with a German JoWo EF #6 nib unit and a Schmidt K5 converter.

 

Gama_Supreme_%26_ASA_Maya_1.jpg

 

I found my bottle of Noodler’s Black to contain a black writing fluid that has a surface tension that causes it to stubbornly adhere or "stick" against the inside of the Schmidt K5 reservoir.

 

ASA_Maya_1.jpg

 

For my contemporary German technology pen I used a common solution for this problem by adding a 2.5 mm diameter 316 stainless steel bearing ball, to mechanically promote free movement of the contained ink and ink/air exchange during writing.

 

Schmidt_K5_fountain_pen_converter_%2B_2.

 

The solution for making the Indian eyedropper write without introducing the rattling sound of an ink agitator was not easy nor elegant. After the initial lines, just after priming the feed, the pen simply refused to write further. That unpleasantly surprised me, as paired with other “dry” inks this eyedropper always provided a generous ink flow. The pen has a traditional feed made of ebonite (hard rubber). Ebonite has good hydrophilic properties. This makes ink (and other watery substances) travel well through the ink channel in a fountain pen feed. The traditional 6.35 mm (¼ in) diameter feed is about 51 mm (2 in) long and features an ink channel that dwarfs the channels used in modern plastic feeds. These oversized ink channels are a remnant from a time when “dry” iron gall ink and ink thirsty flex nibs were in widespread use.

 

Indian_ebonite_fountain_pen_feed.jpg

 

I had to add 0.5 ml of a homemade dish washing soap solution (1 soap drop diluted in 100 ml of water) into the 4 ml ink reservoir to make the eyedropper write as it should. Adding such a surfactant solution will chemically promote free movement of the contained ink and ink/air exchange during writing.

 

Noodler%27s_Black_fountain_pen_ink_writi

 

The ink is a saturated black and permanent. I was not able to remove it from paper, but after using it for two months on a daily basis I cannot regard my bottle of Noodler’s Black as an easy to use ink. As it comes from a small manufacturer maybe I received a bottle from a fluke batch.


Edited by Fuellerfuehrerschein, 06 July 2017 - 07:25.


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#2 clazbill

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 18:54

Noodlers Black was in my first order of bottled inks.  That was a while back - now at 30+ bottles of ink - and I don't put it to use very much anymore.  I found the Heart of Darkness to behave a bit better strait out of the bottle.  I've heard of people diluting the regular Noodler's Black without any noticeable difference in color or permanence.  That would surely make it last longer and might make it behave better too.



#3 Honeybadgers

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:48

Nathan deliberately over saturates most all of his inks. The touch of soap and water in an eyedropper is perfectly common in certain pens. No ink is perfect in all pens. Good luck with private reserve Tanzanite in a wet flex, broad, or double broad, it comes out like a fire hose.

Edited by Honeybadgers, 07 July 2017 - 11:49.

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#4 radellaf

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:39

OP: lovely photos!

 

I use it in 80% solution (20% water) and it looks the same.  Gives me some leeway for the inevitable evaporation if the pen rests for a month or two.

The ink is made to not feather as well as being permanent so if you want more flow you'll have to modify it or pick one of the other blacks.  Borealis isn't permanent, but it's my favorite.

 

I only had real _trouble_ with a 2005 or 2006 bottle of the black, maybe one of the first few batches.  It got like a very low viscosity gel and left a residue on the inside of a Vac700 that took vodka and a q-tip to remove.  The replacement bottle I got a number of years ago (2012?) behaves properly.  No gel, no sediment, no residue; and, for the pens I've tried, no flow problems.   Tried TWSBI and Pilot F nibs, I think.


Edited by radellaf, 17 July 2017 - 05:40.

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#5 fjoly79ink

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 18:26

Sounds like other people had bad experiences with Noodler's inks, not to name the infamous Blue State Ink and other Noodler's inks.  For reference, from the following website    http://richardspens....f/care/inks.htm

 

There is a large number of manufacturers who offer really great inks out there, so why risk ruining your pen and take a chance with a riskier type of ink (like some Noodler's, probably not all of them though) when there is such a large variety out there to pick from?

B) 

 

See quote: below from RichardsPens.com (first time I look into this website) "CAUTION For many years, I’ve tried not to say anything negative about particular inks, but I am now convinced that there are several problems that can be traced to the use of Private Reserve or Noodler’s inks. Among these problems are flow issues and clogging, mold, staining, and actual destruction of pens.

Along with certain other “boutique” inks, these two brands are more prone to clog than more conventional inks because of the heavy dye load they use to produce their deeply saturated colors. Also, some Private Reserve inks behave just like phthalocyanine- and quinacridone-based watercolor paints, which use pigments for their color and are more likely to produce clogs than saturated dye-based inks.

Noodler’s “bulletproof” inks contain a component that causes the dye in the ink to bond chemically with the paper. Unfortunately, this bonding agent is particulate, not in solution. It settles, and you have to shake the bottle to disperse it when filling a pen. It also settles in the pen, and it can cause clogs. To combat (but not cure) this tendency, Noodler’s adds extra surfactant (wetting agent), which can cause bleeding and feathering.

Some other Noodler’s inks, whose identities I have not yet pinned down, will reduce latex sacs to goo. This destruction occurs without the presence of metal; it is not the “gummy sac” problem that is caused by improperly formulated latex."



#6 wallylynn

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 21:31

The high surface tension of Bulletproof Black is very deliberate so that it can be used on newsprint.

#7 Mew

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 21:49

With so many things to keep in mind before using them in pens (rubber sacs reduced to goo etc.) and plenty of other problems, I have almost completely abandoned noodlers as a brand in my ink collection. At one time I had about 16 colours, now I have only one - Baystate Blue. I think I'll give that away.

There are so many problems with Noodlers, and I don't want to deal with them when better quality inks which offer a consistent performance are readily available. Diamine is a much better brand with some variability, but not as much as Noodlers.

#8 Honeybadgers

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 07:32

As with any non-OEM ink, you need to know what you can and can't ink. I don't ink my valuable vintage stuff with bulletproof inks. I don't put baystate blue in any pen with a non-CC mechanism.

 

I have run Polar blue (one of the most additive-heavy inks nathan makes) in a scheaffer craftsman F lever filler for about six months straight, cleaning every other month, and have yet to have a problem. My vacumatic semiflex and minuskin spencerian eversharp only get OEM flavors of ink.

 

The non-bulletproof inks are generally trouble free in almost every pen, but the bulletproof inks can simply not like the feed or converter design of a certain pen, though it's really rare.

 

I generally reach for waterman, sailor or pilot inks when I first ink a pen, since they're less deeply saturated and predictable in any pen

 

That said, all bulletproof inks apart from the baystates are purely ph neutral. the deeply saturated dyes will not clog a feed unless it's badly maintained and never washed, any flow issues are from the ink's specific surface tension not playing nice with the feed.

 

regular black will feather less than HoD. I still prefer dark matter since it's crazy wet flowing, almost like PR tanzanite, and I only ever use black in XXF nibs.


Edited by Honeybadgers, 18 July 2017 - 07:39.

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#9 radellaf

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 04:32

I wouldn't say I've had a more of a problem with Noodler's.  Herbin has been a source of more of my SITB than any other brand so far (they replaced all my problem bottles, happy to say).  Sailor ink, supposedly about the best, corroded (or was present when corrosion happened) a Pelikan nib collar.  I forget which purple ink from a major mfg stained a blue M200 demo as bad as any BSB instance I've seen.  No ink brand has been completely problem free for me, especially if not-compatible-with-every-pen for flow is considered an ink problem.  I've even had "gummy sac" in a Pilot CON-20 from R&K Salix that stayed in the pen long enough to get pretty concentrated.

 

Noodler's regular dye colors are some of the best writing, non-SITB-getting inks I have.  I think with a little (1:4, 1:3) dilution they're as low maintenance as OEMs.  I have more than half the colors, more than any brand in my collection apart from, perhaps, Diamine.   Diamine certainly has been known for some clogs and stains like with, I think, Imperial Purple.

 

The only ink I wouldn't recommend for everyone are the opaque Noodler's colors, which is probably all the ones with "properties".   Black, really, is fine, but only the knowledgeable and adventurous should get into things like 54th Mass and General of the Armies that split into two layers when the bottle sits long enough.  The Black is the #1 most popular ink at Goulet, so that's a lot of happy, inexperienced, FP users for an ink Richard doesn't recommend.  Then again, he's mostly a vintage guy, so maybe that's a factor.

 

But, hey, these days there are several brands with tons of colors available just about anywhere.  Diamine and Robert Oster should satisfy anyone's need for a wide color palette.  Noodler's was the only game in town for interesting and bright colors in the USA maybe 10 years ago.  Herbin was kinda washed out, Diamine hadn't made it over here unless you looked for it, and Australian ink of any sort was way over the horizon.

 

Given that I keep ink in pens for months or years, the two things I really look for in a pen are low evaporation and easy nib/feed disassembly.  I love my Sheaffer Touchdown with Pelikan blue, but I really wish I could pull the feed to clean it every few years the way I can with my Pilot 78G and 823.  Then there's my Waterman Edson... love using that thing but, geez, flushing it...


Edited by radellaf, 19 July 2017 - 04:42.

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#10 Fuellerfuehrerschein

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 17:45

I concluded that Noodler’s Black with some soapy water added writes in my vintage technology all ebonite Indian Gama Supreme eyedropper. Even after tweaking it, Noodler’s Black is the first ink where this eyedropper needs a few minutes nib down time before it will start and write normally after being stored overnight nib up. The ink mixture obviously does not flow easily through the by modern standards extremely large ink channel of the ebonite feed. Relatively ‘dry’ iron gall ink always started and wrote remarkably wet and without any problem in this pen.

 

JoWo_ink_feed_%26_housing.jpg

 

In a non-vintage technology JoWo EF nib unit made of Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) thermoplastic polymer with a much smaller dimensioned ink channel or 'fissure' Noodler’s Black performs normally regardless how I stored the pen overnight.


Edited by Fuellerfuehrerschein, 20 July 2017 - 17:50.


#11 Margana

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Posted 20 July 2017 - 18:10

For years I inked a '51' aero with Noodler's Black and never had a problem with it. The pen got flushed between fills until there was only a very pale color coming from the nib. Since then NB has gone into a wide variety of modern pens without issue. Actually, I've had more pens damaged or perform poorly with Diamine than Noodler's. I like and use both brands extensively so that isn't a slight to either. It's just that some pens and inks make very happy couples while others do not. 


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