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How Important Is Durability Of Ink?


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#1 BentNibs

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 16:36

Hello, i have been using Noodlers heart of darkness not only because of its great color (or lack there of) but because i know it will last forever in my leuchtturm notebook. I recently got an ink from papier plume called calle real and i love the rich color but i worry about using other inks because i do not know how durable they really are. 

 

Noodlers has a handy chart so you can easily see its durability but other companies do not. What is the worse case scenario? How do you know how long an ink will last before it completely fades away? Are we talking 10 years? 20 years? 

I guess im just looking for reassurance that even if an ink doesn't have all the bulletproof traits that it will last a good many years.


Edited by BentNibs, 06 December 2017 - 17:16.


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#2 Jerome Tarshis

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 18:21

The ink manufacturer doesn't necessarily know. Fading depends on many variables, of which one of the most obvious is paper. And the manufacturer doesn't know what kind of paper you'll use.

 

On really ferocious paper you might see serious fading in less than a year. There is a lot of awful paper around these days.



#3 LizEF

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 18:25

There are various "fade test" threads on the boards - you might find the ink you like listed on one.



#4 inkstainedruth

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 18:39

It depends on your needs.  I have inks with zero water resistance, but I love the color.  And I have a *backup* bottle of Noodler's Kung Te Cheng (not that I'm anywhere near finishing the current bottle) -- because that ink is pretty much everything proof (and I love the color, although not the behavior).

Definitely a case of YMMV.  I use more water resistant inks when addressing envelopes or signing checks.  In my journal, or for writing "to do" lists?  Permanence is less of an issue (although I was really underwhelmed with how fast modern Parker Washable Blue fades...).  

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#5 Torrilin

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 21:48

Archival is useful. But maybe not on your coat sleeve. Just to name a recent incident where my beloved Platinum Carbon Black got into things it ought not.

So there’s definitely situations where you might want a washable ink.

But for writing that goes in a journal or notebook, it will tend to hold up fairly well if the paper is decent and it’s stored decently. Unfortunately you can’t predict easily in advance the stuff where you genuinely don’t care. It’s a safe bet that you’ll want your sketchbook to hold up, or your novel. But your class notes? I never looked at them after I wrote them. But lots of people who weren’t me have cherished some of my sets of notes. And it’s not like I used good paper OR good ink.

Don’t stress out about it. Use ink you like. If it matters in 100 years, a museum will be paying people good money to care for your stuff.

#6 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 23:48

I don't worry to much generally. I have two Noodler's bulletproof inks - Black and 54th Massachusetts and others- Pelikan 4001 Blue Black (which is purported to be iron gall) and KWZI Iron Gall Turquoise. I have a set of books that belonged to my grandpa that date to 1922 or 1923. He signed his name and dated it. It is as legible today as I am sure it was the day he wrote it over 94 years ago. Now he may have used an iron gall ink, but so what? As to other non bulletproof/iron gall inks? As long as whatever you write is kept reasonably UV light free you should be ok for many years.

Edited by Runnin_Ute, 06 December 2017 - 23:50.

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#7 Arkanabar

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 00:16

See for yourself.  Cut a writing sample out of one of your notebooks and hang it in the window for a few months. 

 

A lot of my inks surprised me when I did this.



#8 lectraplayer

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 02:11

The importance of the ink's durability is as varied as the ink itself, although in most cases, outside of legal documents which must last forever, most of us to my knowledge needs more than a couple months of longevity, although your ink may have to do "tricks" such as resist water or oil until what is written can be recorded another way.  Even still, anything that must last for years can be scanned anyway. This is commonly my goal with most inks.

 

That said, testing the durabilty of inks is a major hobby here, so you're bound to find a library full of threads where people have tortured and evaluated pretty much any ink out there. Contributing to the knowledge base is also a fun experiment you're free to undertake. Just don't forget to share. :D


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#9 BentNibs

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 13:15

See for yourself.  Cut a writing sample out of one of your notebooks and hang it in the window for a few months. 

 

A lot of my inks surprised me when I did this.

Wow. Thank you so much for that link/test. I only really write in my journal. And i write 2-3k words a day. For me the most important factor is how long the ink will last. Although i am a nobody and im sure no one will want to read what i have written I want to be able to read what i wrote 30-50 years from now. I think i am going to just sell off all the new inks i have purchased and stick with the noodlers. After reading everything i have on these forums i think that would be the best bet. I would hate to put in the time writing to have it disappear. Maybe i am over thinking it but i rather be safe than sorry.



#10 JakobS

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 15:33

Paper, wetness of pen/ink, humidity, temperature, UV exposure, ozone level, and high levels of air pollution are all factors that can cause fading of ink, and in many ways increase the challenge of making an ink fade test that is relevant to different parts of the world. I think one of the issues with the many UV tests that are done on this forum is the lack of understanding of what the resulting fading means for writing that is not being exposed to such intense light, such as something that is in a closed journal on a shelf or drawer. Does that fading represent 10, 20, 50, 100, or a 1000 years of light, ozone, and temperature exposure to something that gets less than a percent of these same variables. If you think about it in lumens, the light hitting a window is 10's to 100's of thousands of lumens, the light hitting a paper on a desk is single digit to double digit lumens, and barely any in a dark desk drawer. Fading by ozone is dependent on your location, major cities through air and chemical pollution often have higher levels than rural non-industrial communities.  Awhile ago, I looked at UV exposure, and found that a document being exposed to 50 lumens of light a few hours a day would take a thousand years at least to experience the same effect of UV that a document attached to a window for something like 5-6 months is exposed to. My overall concern with these tests, is that we don't really have a great idea of what they mean, because we cannot relate the result back to a period of time it would take in normal use to have this fading occur. Some inks are well known to fade within a few months, but many conventional inks do not fade within many decades. Knowing, and controlling the variables I have mentioned will allow us to better understand the longevity of conventional inks in everyday use, but until then, I find it problematic to take a great significance from these tests for everyday use. 


Edited by JakobS, 07 December 2017 - 17:54.

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#11 BentNibs

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 17:43

Paper, wetness of pen/ink, humidity, temperature, UV exposure, ozone level, and high levels of air pollution are all factors that can cause fading of ink, and in many ways increase the challenge of making an ink fade test that is relevant to different parts of the world. I think one of the issues with the many UV tests that are done on this forum is the lack of understanding of what the resulting fading means for writing that is not being exposed to such intense light, such as something that is in a closed journal on a shelf or drawer. Does that fading represent 10, 20, 50, 100, or a 1000 years of light, ozone, and temperature exposure to something that gets less than a percent of these same variables. If you think about it in lumens, the light hitting a window is 100's of thousands of lumens, the light hitting a paper on a desk is single digit to double digit lumens, and barely any in a dark desk drawer. Fading by ozone is dependent on your location, major cities through air and chemical pollution often have higher levels than rural non-industrial communities.  Awhile ago, I looked at UV exposure, and found that a document being exposed to 5 lumens of light a few hours a day would take a thousand years at least to experience the same effect of UV that a document attached to a window for something like 5-6 months is exposed to. My overall concern with these tests, is that we don't really have a great idea of what they mean, because we cannot relate the result back to a period of time it would take in normal use to have this fading occur. Some inks are well known to fade within a few months, but many conventional inks do not fade within many decades. Knowing, and controlling the variables I have mentioned will allow us to better understand the longevity of conventional inks in everyday use, but until then, I find it problematic to take a great significance from these tests for everyday use. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain. I didn't even think of all those variables. I store my journals in a ziploc with moisture absorbers. So now im wondering if its even worth worrying about what ink i use. I just fell in love with the color so i bought it but afterwards got scared to use it for fear my work would disappear =(



#12 Brandywine

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 20:53

I recently came across some of my school papers that have been lying on a shelf fo over 30 years.

They were still readable with almost no fading at all.

The ink was the inevitable Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue, in my time the typical standard ink for school.

 

The funny thing about it is this:

In any fading test this usually is the first ink to vanish when exposed to direct sunlight,

it is designed to be erasable and washable (generations of mothers are glad about that). :D

This ink is by no means document proof,

but if you keep it away from direct sunlight and water it will last for decades.

 

Whereas the oldfashioned document proof iron gall ink will eat away the paper it is written on.

When stored in a humid environment, this will happen after just 200 years   ;)

 

So it all depends on the circumstances.



#13 welch

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 00:02

Hello, i have been using Noodlers heart of darkness not only because of its great color (or lack there of) but because i know it will last forever in my leuchtturm notebook. I recently got an ink from papier plume called calle real and i love the rich color but i worry about using other inks because i do not know how durable they really are. 

 

Noodlers has a handy chart so you can easily see its durability but other companies do not. What is the worse case scenario? How do you know how long an ink will last before it completely fades away? Are we talking 10 years? 20 years? 

I guess im just looking for reassurance that even if an ink doesn't have all the bulletproof traits that it will last a good many years.

 

I have compositions I wrote in 1962 using Sheaffer Washable Black. Worst case for your writing? It will outlast the paper. Noodler's "durability" claim is advertising.


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#14 RockingLR

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 01:13

For me the biggest factor I need/want is waterproofness. Do I hope it's written on the page 50 years from now when i want to look back on what I've written? sure. but I'm more clumsy and tend to spill water, coffee and who knows what else around the stuff I'm writing. I want to be able to read it should i spill something on it once it's written. Do fade resistance and such seem a boon...sure...but considering most the inks I buy are under the $20 mark....and if they don't meh....oh well. 



#15 FLZapped

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 01:38

For me the biggest factor I need/want is waterproofness. Do I hope it's written on the page 50 years from now when i want to look back on what I've written? sure. but I'm more clumsy and tend to spill water, coffee and who knows what else around the stuff I'm writing. I want to be able to read it should i spill something on it once it's written. Do fade resistance and such seem a boon...sure...but considering most the inks I buy are under the $20 mark....and if they don't meh....oh well. 

I am the same way. We sponsor a child through Compassion International and I want what I've written to last as long as possible against as many environmental factors as possible.

One of my favorite inks is Legal Lapis and I once sprayed my notebook page with a potent cleaner to demonstrate it's permanence.



#16 max dog

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 07:59

I dont know. The thought of my notes and journal entries fading away in a few years or getting wiped out by one coffee spill doesnt sit well with me. I look for water resistance at least. What I write is impoertant to me.

#17 Ink Stained Wretch

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 11:51

I have compositions I wrote in 1962 using Sheaffer Washable Black. Worst case for your writing? It will outlast the paper. Noodler's "durability" claim is advertising.

 

No, the bulletproof Noodler's inks are quite durable, no quotation marks needed. Maybe you don't care if whatever documents you write or sign with a fountain pen resist the vicissitudes of time, deliberate effacement and/or accident, but some of us do.


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#18 Inkling13

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 14:20

I've done tests myself under the unnaturally high UV light from a metal halide bulb (900W), and have found most inks will fade to almost nothing. I don't have samples anymore or evidence, but from what I recall, Noodler's was resistant but not immune. Heart of Darkness I remember was untouchable without a bit of fade. Pilot blue-black had faded some, but still clearly there, and Sailor kiwa-guro hadn't aged either. My occupation requires me to write with ink that is tamper-proof, so I tend to stick to either one of these three. I've not been able to bleach them out, or wash them out with solvents of any kind, or fade them in the sun to any degree that it'd be illegible or modifiable. Depending on your use, your demands may be less. Ex: writing in an acid-free notebook with archival grade paper, would last much longer than say a paper taped up against a south facing window for a shop display. 



#19 white_lotus

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 14:57

While we don't know the specific dyes used in making FP ink, I doubt lightfastness is one of their qualities. FP inks are meant for writing in books, journals, etc. where exposure to light is minimized. Unless you are using inks for art to be put in a frame and hung on a wall I don't think lightfastness is a major consideration except perhaps in situations like legal documents.

 

Others have noted the many other factors involved in the permanence of writing on paper. One not noted as yet is the acidic or basic nature of the ink itself which could impact the durability of the paper.

 

Many museums use the standard No 2 graphite pencil when permanence is needed. Combined with a paper meeting standards for durability and permanence means the writing will be there for a long time.



#20 Ink Stained Wretch

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 15:18

Many museums use the standard No 2 graphite pencil when permanence is needed. Combined with a paper meeting standards for durability and permanence means the writing will be there for a long time.

 

Toward the end of the last century there were people who were suddenly obsessed with making "time capsules" of a personal nature. In an article I was reading about it, one of the things that was said was that a lot of the "archival" stuff that was being offered for sale to those potential customers was hogwash. In the article it was pointed out that something written with a regular #2 pencil on ordinary 20 pound bond paper would probably outlast all or almost all of the fancy things that were being marketed, and would cost a great deal less.

 

I found this interesting and asked someone who was in the business of preserving archived stuff about this claim, and he confirmed that this would be the case, especially given the nearly inert nature of graphite.

 

The down sides of pencil on paper, however, are that 1) motion can smear the graphite around, 2) pencil can be erased and 3) many inks can produce a lot more contrast for older eyes and so make reading what's been written easier to read.


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