Robert Oster Signature - Plumb Nut
Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. On his website he describes our shared love quite eloquently: "Robert Oster Signature originates from one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia, an idyllic setting with great influence on the senses. There is my inspiration. It's a joy to share it with you." Well, we are certainly fortunate to have inspiring ink makers like Robert Oster to satiate our thirst for glorious inks.
This review focuses on Plumb Nut. A big thank you to Catherine from Sakura for providing me with a sample of this ink to play around with - much appreciated ! Plumb Nut is of the pink variety - an ink that is outside my usual comfort zone. This is not an eye-searing pink however, it leans more to the salmon pink variety with some red-brown undertones. As such it's a more muted wall-flowery type of colour that doesn't try to dominate the stage.
Plumb Nut works well in all nib sizes. The ink is easy on the eye, with a good contrast on all paper types, even when using fine nibs. The ink shows some nice shading in broad nibs that really enhances the character of your writing. Such shading is mostly absent with finer nibs though, resulting in a flat and - in my opinion - uninteresting look. This ink is definitely at its best with wet and/or broad nibs.
Unfortunately, Plumb Nut really hates water. You typically don't buy Robert Oster inks for their water resistance, but this one is rather extreme. The ink has absolutely zero water resistance. Short exposures to water completely obliterate your writing. This is evident from the chromatography - the ink detaches easily from the paper, as can be seen in the bottom part of the chroma. Surprisingly, the ink performed really well on the smudge test, where I rub a line of ink with a moist Q-tip cotton swab. Here, there was only some mild smudging of the line, leaving the text mostly undisturbed.
I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:
- An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
- 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
- An ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain pen
- The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib
- A small text sample, written with an M-nib
- Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)
Plumb Nut behaved perfectly on all paper types, without any feathering. The ink's chemistry clashes with Moleskine paper with a sickly colour as a result. Really strange - and I previously observed a similar effect with Robert's Purple Rock. There must be some chemical component he uses that just doesn't work with Moleskine paper. This is a relatively fast drying ink on most papers, with drying times in the 10 second range. In my opinion, Plumb Nut looks best on white paper, and is less good-looking on more yellow paper.
I also show the back-side of the different paper types at the end of the review. No troubles there, except with the Moleskine paper, which shows significant bleed-through. Since only masochistic fountain-pen lovers adore Moleskine paper, this is not much of a problem ;-)
Robert Oster Plumb Nut is a classy salmon-pink ink with a vintage vibe. The ink looks its best in wet/broad nibs on white and creamy paper. It's not so good-looking in fine nibs and on more yellow paper. Unfortunately, the ink has zero water resistance - the briefest touch of water completely obliterates your writing. I did like the way Plumb Nut looks in drawings, but as a writing ink it is not a good match for me : it's not really my type of colour, and I typically use F/M nibs, which are too fine to bring out this ink's character. But I'm sure there are others out there that this ink will speak to.
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types