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Out-Of-Character Results From Kwz Ink?

iron gall brown

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_jonathan7007_*

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Posted 29 January 2018 - 22:17

FPN Community,


I need your experience and suggestions.


Background: I posted a question elsewhere on FPN about my difficulty finding paper onto which I could print high-res photos AND then handwrite messages with fountain pens. Everything feathers so much you can't really tell what nib formed the letters. Some letterforms are obliterated on the Strathmore I'd like to use for its careful marriage of envelope and card stock.


It was suggested that iron gall inks would behave better on papers necessary to the color reproduction.I had no experience with iron gall inks; after reading/viewing reviews here and elsewhere I bought a bottle of KWZ Mandarin from Vanness. I observed in review after review Mandarin's change from a bright orange to a shaded brown with a *hint* of orange or red. This was the result I wanted. There are 170 mentions of Mandarin KWZ in this one forum alone. Google Image has lots more.  Yes, I saw some samples that moved way further toward a toned-down brown. I also saw that there was a range to the formulations that came out of Poland. "The batches are hand-made," one person wrote somewhere on the Internet. I am posting an image of what my batch looks like. The patch on the bottle label is perfect!


I am surprised at how little color I see. It's grey, not brown. At the moment it comes through the nib it's this same grey-brown. There is no color shift! It also feathers on a slightly coated 100lb cover stock I get from a local printer to allow me to take quick notes. I picked this stock for the ability to hold ink from a nib and not feather. I wrote a comparison sentence on the card. I hope the image will post in this query successfully... that worked.


On my monitor there's more color in the Mandarin in this attached image file than I experience in the actual sample. (I'm a commercial photographer... used to looking at how colors are changed by digital work flows.) I am not expecting the Mandarin to look like the Ancient Copper.


What do you folks think? In range? Too grey?

Do iron gall inks feather more - or less - or "it depends"?

Attached Images

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Edited by jonathan7007, 30 January 2018 - 04:27.

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#2 Uncial


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Posted 29 January 2018 - 23:30

That would tend to be my experience with KWZ iron gal. They go down quite an interesting colour but fade to a rather unpleasant rust brown.

#3 JakobS


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Posted 30 January 2018 - 03:10

I have found that KWZ IG inks have a higher tendency to feather than other traditional IG inks such as Diamine Registrars across various types of paper. Many of their golden brown IG inks will oxidize to a similar brown, though Aztec Gold may keep the yellow a bit more than the others. It also sounds like the ink has oxidized in the bottle, the golden brown IG inks in this line are the most sensitive to oxidation compared to the darker IG inks.

IG Mandarin for me generally works well on papers that work well with conventional ink ( Diamine, J. Herbin etc. ) which for me are a Miquelrius notebook, HP Laserjet 32lb paper, Roaring Springs Eco Notes loose leaf (old version) to name a few paper types. It works better than conventional inks on 50 % recycled copy paper with a bit of spread, and bleed through, but no feathering. I wouldnt expect it to feather on paper where conventional inks dont, but dont use cover stock paper, so am not as familiar with how it is sized, or coated compared to more general papers.

Edited by JakobS, 30 January 2018 - 13:07.

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#4 ENewton



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Posted 30 January 2018 - 04:14

I've been using a different KWZI iron gall ink (violet #3).  Its color changes quickly and dramatically from a brilliant fuchsia to a very dark purple, making for quite the party trick at my office lately!


As for behavior, the ink is much wetter than a traditional iron gall and, possibly for that reason, tends to feather and bleed on some papers on which other iron galls (e.g., Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa) would perform flawlessly.


My guess is that what KWZI is trying to achieve is to produce iron galls inks that are more colorful and not as dry as traditional iron galls, and that what is being traded off is performance on non-premium papers.  


It does seem anomalous that the ink from your bottle goes down grayish-brown.  It wouldn't hurt to contact Vanness.

#5 Guest_jonathan7007_*

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 04:38

I plan to ask Vanness if others have noted a similar behavior. Tomorrow they open for the week.


Others on this forum have had

1. much brighter results in the first few seconds/minutes, and

2. way brighter final results.


My new ink comes off the tipping metal the same color it dies. It is a brand-new bottle I just opened minutes before making the sample I posted.


The color on the label is MUCH brighter then the final. There are samples of dried Mandarin as bright as the swatch on the bottle label so the label is not out-of-bounds optimistic.


Now I'm off to find one an FPN poster's Mandarin examples.


The feathering, though, shows me this ink - even if brighter - would NOT help me write readable notes on the soft card stock I have used for good photo reproduction.

#6 Guest_jonathan7007_*

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 05:03

A quick trip around the Ink Continent here on the Fountain Pen Network planet:

Like mine:

... but a mistaken sample! http://www.fountainp...in/?hl=mandarin



Look at post #9: http://www.fountainp...in/?hl=mandarin


Scroll a few inches: http://www.fountainp...in/?hl=mandarin


And a Google Image search for KWZ Mandarin has many other images mostly brighter.



Vanness's KWZ product page: (with sample ink swatch) https://vanness1938....n-gall-mandarin


My original need (no feathering) cannot be met... I just wish I had a good lively brown. Shading. I'd have found an appropriate paper for other correspondence. At least I got to try an iron gall formulation.

Edited by jonathan7007, 30 January 2018 - 06:12.

#7 migo984


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Posted 30 January 2018 - 07:10

Here is a recent post I made using IG Mandarin. Mine has always dried a brown-gold, with a touch of green. Not as dark as yours though. It is a very wet ink & does feather, and seems to vary significantly in colour from bottle-to-bottle.


Verba volant, scripta manent

#8 Guest_jonathan7007_*

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Posted 30 January 2018 - 15:03

migo984, that's a wonderful sketch for wintertime (I'm in the northern hemisphere) As a photographer, I love hints of color among the broad palette of brown cover that marks our yearly time of rest, waiting for Spring. You made great use of Mandarin's shading. It's a fun [forum]thread, too. I'll explore more of that exchange today.


I think something's off with the bottle I got. Too new for such oxidation, but we'll see what Vanness suggests later today. An experiment, and useful data.

#9 sansenri


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Posted 30 January 2018 - 20:37

feathering: it depends.

Your best bet would be to try a traditional IG, or before choosing you KWZ IG speak with Konrad, to choose the best IG for your scope.

Konrad is a young chemist, he has experimented with IG inks and created a line of such inks which are lovely.

Not all KWZ IG inks are alike however.

I have corresponded with Konrad when he first started off, and what I have understood is that his approach was to modernize the concept of IG inks, and being a chemist he has the capabilities.

In his mind IG inks can be more interesting and colourful than standard IG ink, because he has set up special formulations where not all the ink is IG. So put simply, and he will forgive me if I am inaccurate, partly in many of his IG there is also a dye.

What that means is that the ink may retain some of the characteristics of a dye ink, for example colour when dry, but also feathering...

#10 Guest_jonathan7007_*

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 02:09

The ink that seems least likely to feather in these papers is, so far, my Bay State Blue from Noodler's. Because I like the brown and brown-orange inks for correspondence I made arrangements with Vanness to buy a bottle of deAtramentis Document Ink Brown. My hope is that it mimics the characteristics of Bay State blue that help me. We'll see when it gets here.


Bay State Blue will even allow me to write a note on the back of a Canon photo paper 4x6 and send that color print as a postcard. The stamp sticks to the material and that ink dries quickly enough not to need a hair dryer. In fact after a few moments it can be handled. Noodler's other "bulletproof inks" are not good colors for me.

#11 Noihvo



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Posted 01 February 2018 - 20:15




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#12 martinbir



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Posted 03 February 2018 - 10:27

You may be approaching this from the wrong angle. Ink jet photo paper has a coating which is not suitable for other types of ink.. With experimentation you should be able to find hard surfaced, uncoated paper which will give decent photo results and be FP friendly. The pictures will look flat compared with those on coated papers and you will have to use different printer settings, but they can be sharp with good colour depth.

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