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New Cross Blue-Black Bottled Ink


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#1 rh968

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 17:28

There is no full review of the new Cross Blue-Black bottled ink, which is made in China. There is a mini-review by somebody who has tried it once, and in the posts that follow the article some folk suggest that the ink has iron gall in it. I have just filled my Cross Peerless with it and it writes very well with this ink - the flow is excellent, but I have never wanted to use an iron gall based ink as I understand that it can be very bad for pens, and I don't want to take any risks. I would like my Peerless to last for as long as I remain on earth, which hopefully will be for a good few years more. Does anybody else have experience of this ink, or the new Cross blue ink? Do you think it may have i.g. in it? Advice most welcome! Do the Chinese regularly use i.g. or is it a Western thing?



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#2 dhanks

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 18:12

The BOTTLE is made in China.  I do not think the ink is made there.  And I also do not think the ink is iron gall.  You can test it by doing a writing sample, letting it dry, and then running it under water from a faucet.  If it is iron gall, it will show very good water resistance and you will be able to read the writing with ease.  If not iron gall, it will run heavily and be difficult to read.

 

Rumpole



#3 inkstainedruth

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 18:34

I don't know the answers to your questions about the Cross inks (although I would presume that they would be fine to use n a Cross pen).  [Rumpole is not strictly correct about IG inks, BTW -- there are plenty of *non* iron gall inks that have excellent water resistance -- and Noodler's Kung Te Cheng is pretty much EVERYTHING proof (IG inks tend to not have a lot of UV resistance).]  The REAL way you can tell if it's an IG ink is whether it oxidizes to a different color on the page (and that will be fast enough that it's *VERY* noticeable: I tried to take before and after photos of some IG ink made a few years ago by FPN member Pharmacist and I couldn't get the camera up to my face fast enough!

But I do know that you should NOT be afraid of using iron gall inks.  Modern IG inks are perfectly safe for fountain pens and are not as harsh as old recipes -- I use IG inks all the time (even in pens with stainless steel nibs).  They just take a little extra maintenance.  You should flush your pen more often than you normally would.  And you should NOT use dilute ammonia solution because IG inks are acidic (i.e., have a low pH) -- or, at least not to begin with.  This is my method:

1. Flush the pen with distilled water (I have very hard water where I live and I do NOT want the mineral buildup clogging my pens' feeds!)  By flushing, I mean fill the pen and expel the liquid a few times, as if you're filling the pen or converter normally, only with water instead of ink.

2. Flush the pen (and maybe soak the nib and feed, nib down) in a dilute vinegar solution: one part plain white household vinegar  to nine parts distilled water, which maybe a drop of dish detergent -- I use Dawn, but I don't know if that's available in the UK.  (You only need a tiny bit!)

3. Flush the pen with distilled water well to get the vinegar solution out.

4. Flush the pen with diluted ammonia solution (same ratio as the vinegar solution, but substituting clear ammonia -- not the sudsy stuff -- for the vinegar).

5. Flush really well with distilled water and let drain.  I drain into papertoweling stuffed into a cheap votive candle holder (I use another one for flushing, because I think it's a little more stable than a shot glass, which a lot of people say they use).  Some people just hold the pen and flick it, and some people have made cheapie centrifuges out of salad spinners.

The only real reasons for the extra maintenance, IMO, are the pH issues (i.e., with using vinegar solution instead of ammonia solution) and that if you swap out inks fairly often you don't want to have bad interactions between acidic inks and neutral pH or alkaline ones. 

Hope this helps.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#4 rh968

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 18:43

The ink was waterproof when exposed to water, but it has not dramatically changed colour after writing with it, so it may not be an IG ink after all. Many thanks, Ruth, for all your advice - I will try and remember to follow it when exposed to a possible IG ink.



#5 dhanks

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 01:19

I don't know the answers to your questions about the Cross inks (although I would presume that they would be fine to use n a Cross pen).  [Rumpole is not strictly correct about IG inks, BTW -- there are plenty of *non* iron gall inks that have excellent water resistance -- and Noodler's Kung Te Cheng is pretty much EVERYTHING proof (IG inks tend to not have a lot of UV resistance).]  The REAL way you can tell if it's an IG ink is whether it oxidizes to a different color on the page (and that will be fast enough that it's *VERY* noticeable: I tried to take before and after photos of some IG ink made a few years ago by FPN member Pharmacist and I couldn't get the camera up to my face fast enough!

But I do know that you should NOT be afraid of using iron gall inks.  Modern IG inks are perfectly safe for fountain pens and are not as harsh as old recipes -- I use IG inks all the time (even in pens with stainless steel nibs).  They just take a little extra maintenance.  You should flush your pen more often than you normally would.  And you should NOT use dilute ammonia solution because IG inks are acidic (i.e., have a low pH) -- or, at least not to begin with.  This is my method:

1. Flush the pen with distilled water (I have very hard water where I live and I do NOT want the mineral buildup clogging my pens' feeds!)  By flushing, I mean fill the pen and expel the liquid a few times, as if you're filling the pen or converter normally, only with water instead of ink.

2. Flush the pen (and maybe soak the nib and feed, nib down) in a dilute vinegar solution: one part plain white household vinegar  to nine parts distilled water, which maybe a drop of dish detergent -- I use Dawn, but I don't know if that's available in the UK.  (You only need a tiny bit!)

3. Flush the pen with distilled water well to get the vinegar solution out.

4. Flush the pen with diluted ammonia solution (same ratio as the vinegar solution, but substituting clear ammonia -- not the sudsy stuff -- for the vinegar).

5. Flush really well with distilled water and let drain.  I drain into papertoweling stuffed into a cheap votive candle holder (I use another one for flushing, because I think it's a little more stable than a shot glass, which a lot of people say they use).  Some people just hold the pen and flick it, and some people have made cheapie centrifuges out of salad spinners.

The only real reasons for the extra maintenance, IMO, are the pH issues (i.e., with using vinegar solution instead of ammonia solution) and that if you swap out inks fairly often you don't want to have bad interactions between acidic inks and neutral pH or alkaline ones. 

Hope this helps.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Well, R & K Salix and Scabiosa are iron gall inks.  Do they change colors significantly once dry?

Rumpole



#6 inkstainedruth

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:28

 

Well, R & K Salix and Scabiosa are iron gall inks.  Do they change colors significantly once dry?

Rumpole

 

They do change some, but the iron gall content in them is supposedly lower than for other IG inks.  It also depends somewhat on the paper (but I don't remember if it's the amount of bleaching agents used on the paper or what).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#7 dhanks

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 02:35

 

They do change some, but the iron gall content in them is supposedly lower than for other IG inks.  It also depends somewhat on the paper (but I don't remember if it's the amount of bleaching agents used on the paper or what).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Okay, thanks for the information.

Rumpole



#8 inkstainedruth

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 20:13

The lower IG content is why Salix stays bluer than other IG blue-blacks.  Akkerman Ijzer-Galnoten goes nearly black, and KWZI IG Blue-Black almost as dark, IIRC.

And there are non-IG inks that are waterproof/water resistant: the pigmented inks (like Sailor Kiwa-guro), the cellulose-bonding inks that Noodler's makes (the ones listed as being "bulletproof", the "document" inks that are made by companies like De Atramentis and Rohrer and Klingner).  

And then there's Noodler's Kung Te Cheng, which is just... different.  And, as far as I've been able to determine, pretty much *everything* proof (okay, I haven't actually *tried* burning a piece of paper to see If the writing hangs in mid-air before crumbling into dust...  :rolleyes:).  But I'm convinced that after the Apocalypse, when there is nothing left on earth but cockroaches, there will still be paper, somewhere, that was written with KTC that will also have survived.... 

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#9 banjomike

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 23:53

I've just about used up the first bottle of Cross blue/black I bought, and a new bottle arrived today.

I tried the ink out only because the color interested me; I've never been a fan of blue/black, but this ink has a faint purple cast in the color that appealed to me. 

 

I really like everything this ink has. It's water-resistant; when soaked, some of the blue will wash off, but the writing is still very legible and permanent on the paper. It doesn't bleed through cheap paper, dries fairly quickly, but still stays wet in an uncapped pen for quite a long time, and it flows very freely in even problem nibs that tend to choke out in heavy use. The color is quite dark, but distinctively warm, not a cold blue/black, more blue than black.

 

I was actually surprised at how much I liked it. About the only thing I didn't like about the ink was the square bottle cap eventually didn't align as precisely to the side of the square bottle over time, and looks odd when it's misaligned. The bottle itself is a lot more expensive looking than the price, and is as heavy and elegant as inks that cost over twice as much. 

 

I don't use many different inks, and the few other than my traditional favorites- Aurora black, Parker Quink black, and Waterman Serenity blue- go mostly unused, but over the past year, the Cross blue/black is the ink I've used most often in the pens I like the best. It's a very good ink that is priced very modestly for its quality.



#10 inkstainedruth

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Posted 01 May 2018 - 03:59

Thanks for posting about your experiences with the ink.  Your description of the "faint purple cast" sounds intriguing.  I'd love to see pix when you have enough posts under your belt (I forget what the minimum number of non-Chatter forum posts are for stuff like that).

And that goes for anyone else who's tried the ink -- because I keep looking for a better behaved ink that gets me the color of Noodler's Kung Te Cheng (which is purple with dark indigo blue undertones), and something of its permanence.  And I keep failing....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#11 banjomike

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 05:34

Thanks for posting about your experiences with the ink.  Your description of the "faint purple cast" sounds intriguing.  I'd love to see pix when you have enough posts under your belt (I forget what the minimum number of non-Chatter forum posts are for stuff like that).

And that goes for anyone else who's tried the ink -- because I keep looking for a better behaved ink that gets me the color of Noodler's Kung Te Cheng (which is purple with dark indigo blue undertones), and something of its permanence.  And I keep failing....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

 

Indigo with an undertone of purple is a pretty close description to the Cross color. It's definitely blue/black, but the blue is an indigo, not a prussian blue, if you can understand that. To my eye, most blue/blacks have prussian blue, or something close to it as the blue in the mix.



#12 davidtaylorjr

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 03:19

There is no full review of the new Cross Blue-Black bottled ink, which is made in China. There is a mini-review by somebody who has tried it once, and in the posts that follow the article some folk suggest that the ink has iron gall in it. I have just filled my Cross Peerless with it and it writes very well with this ink - the flow is excellent, but I have never wanted to use an iron gall based ink as I understand that it can be very bad for pens, and I don't want to take any risks. I would like my Peerless to last for as long as I remain on earth, which hopefully will be for a good few years more. Does anybody else have experience of this ink, or the new Cross blue ink? Do you think it may have i.g. in it? Advice most welcome! Do the Chinese regularly use i.g. or is it a Western thing?

Is this the same blue/black that comes in the Cross cartridges?



#13 carlos.q

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 12:12

I must be going blind. I don't see any pictures in this thread... ;)

Edited by carlos.q, 14 May 2018 - 12:12.







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