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Ink For Everyday Writing

ink ampad cheap paper no feather no smear

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42 replies to this topic

#1 Paganini

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 19:33

TL;DR version: Looking for ink to put in my Pilot Metropolitan - F. Two priorities: won't feather on cheap paper (e.g., AMPAD yellow legal pads, standard filing cards and envelopes from STAPLES), won't smear like crazy when handled once dry (i.e., not Noodler's black). Does such an ink exist? 

 

 

 

Greetings Pen People,

 

I come seeking the wisdom of your collective experience. I'm looking for the best black ink!

 

I know right? Isn't everyone. There are so many threads about this that, reading over the weekend, my head started to spin. JetPens has over 70 individual black inks for sale, and only 12 of them are Noodler's! ;)

 

OK, the truth is, it doesn't even have to be black. Blue would be fine, or any relatively serious color that works for everyday writing. What I'm really looking for is an ink that doesn't feather on cheap paper, but that also holds up well to being handled. Let me explain.

 

I use my pens for normal daily writing tasks, such as:

 

* Addressing envelopes

* Recording filing cards

* Making grocery lists

* Writing in planners / journals

* Taking lesson notes for my students (I'm a music teacher)

* Filling out tax / employment forms

 

That means I'm often looking at paper like STAPLES index cards and envelopes, yellow AMPAD legal pads, and whatever comes out of the contractor's printer / copy machine. 

 

My first bottle of "real" ink was Noodler's black (the plain jane one with a fish on it). I got it to go with my first "real" fountain pen, which was a LAMY AlStar F nib. (Purchased, incidentally, after extensive Google research in these very forums. Thanks guys! It was real upgrade from the AS SEEN ON TV REAL IRIDIUM NIB pen I found at Walgreens for $12.) Those two - AlStar and Noodler's black - got along relatively well, but you can't stop after just one pen, right? So here are my main pens:

 

LAMY Safari EF

Platinum Plaisir 03

Pilot Metropolitan F

 

That's a pretty standard set of not-too-expensive pens, I believe. I have a few other odds and ends (a Preppy 05 that I mostly use for testing paper - it writes like a fricking Sharpie, a LAMY Joy 1.1 that I sometimes dabble in italic with, an ink-starved Parker Urban, etc.) but my favorite is the Pilot MR. It's the one I'm most likely to be addressing an envelope with, and, therefore, the one I'd like to match my daily ink to. 

 

So what's wrong with Noodler's black? It looks great, right? I like its really dark unshaded blackness; it doesn't feather (much) on a yellow AMPAD. The problem is that no matter how long it dries it smears when you touch it. I'm not doing art writing (at least, not most of the time). The writing I do gets handled.

 

Right now I'm using Platinum Carbon black. It's great! Once it locks in it's going nowhere nohow. Unfortunately, it feathers badly on everyday paper. Other inks I've tested are Noodlers Heart of Darkness (yikes! even worse!), Platinum (non-carbon) black, and Pilot black.

 

I was thinking about going back to basics and trying some bog standard inks like LAMY or Waterman. Long ago I had some LAMY black, and some Parker Quink. I gave them away because I didn't care for their washed-out look, and now I don't remember how they behaved on cheap paper. I'd be willing to put up with a less-black black (or a shaded blue I guess) if it meant no feathering and no smearing. Does that seem like a good idea?

 

Ideally, and for maximum style points, if this non-feathering non-smearing ink came in a dark teal-ish green, that would be awesome.

 

Thanks for reading!

- N



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#2 Herrjaeger

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 20:02

For everyday writing in the past 18 months, I’ve been very happy with Noodler’s Blue-Black. I use it in a Lamy Safari with Fine, 1.1 Stub, and occasionally Medium nibs with no problems seen on inexpensive hospital and clinic chart paper, envelopes, legal pads, note pads, and index cards for everyday writing and addressing. It’s inexpensive, bulletproof (excellent for envelopes and the occasional check), and looks almost black (I recently completed a US Passport application with it and received my new passport, despite being warned after completion that only black ink would be acceptable,so it passed muster as a black ink). I’ve not had any smearing problems with it like you describe with NB, and have had no problems with nib creep, skipping, drying out, clogging, or hard starts in this pen. I’ve tried switching to more interesting inks for everyday, but always come back to refill with NBB because it’s so practically useful.
Recently I’ve also started using Pilot Blue-Black after having read many posts by a number of experienced members here about using it for everyday. I have it in a second Safari with the same nib rotation, as it is more interesting as a much more blue appearing ink, with some water resistance for everyday writing. I like them both, but suspect I’ll always have NBB in that other Safari, ready to go.

#3 aurore

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 20:33

In general for such use I would suggest buying a 350ml bottle of Pilot Black or Blue-Black from Japan.



#4 Paganini

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 20:35

Thanks, Herrjaeger! I'm ginning up an order of ink samples from Goulet, I'll add both those to the list. Are these blue-blacks traditional iron gall type blue blacks with the concomitant increase in cleaning and maintenance, or are they just named after those old-tyme inks?

 

- N



#5 crahptacular

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 21:18

I'd recommend trying the Sailor Nano pigmented inks (Kiwa-Guro for black, Sei-Boku for blue-black). In my experience, both of them perform very well on awful papers. Of the inks you've mentioned, I've also used Noodler's Black and Platinum Carbon Black, and Kiwa-Guro is more feather-resistant than either of them while still having good water resistance as a pigment ink (though not quite as good as Carbon Black).  They are my go-to "utility" inks for less-than-ideal writing conditions.

 

Apart from those, the already-mentioned Pilot BB is very serviceable as well, with the extra bonus of being extremely affordable.



#6 kronion

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 21:25

Lamy or Pelikan 4001 Black, whatever is easier for you to buy. Plain and simple, inexpensive.

If you want something more special: R&K Salix (don't be scared of iron gall)

And my favorite, which many find a bit dull: Sheaffer Skrip Blue-Black

#7 sciumbasci

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 22:06

When normal inks don't cut it, ESSRI does the job

#8 sansenri

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 22:26

yes, basic inks can be slightly dull, but they usually are the most fuss free.

 

The reason is because they are old time formulations which contain mostly ink colour and water and very few additives.

 

The additives (surfactants, etc) are needed in more modern inks to make more concentrated formulations remain sufficiently fluid, so they are often present in the more saturated inks, which look good on paper, however these inks are those which often smear when dry (because they hold a lot of pigment).

The more watery inks are often more dull because in general they are more diluted, but when dry will not smear.

This is general theory with differences ink to ink and some possible fortunate exceptions.

 

So LAMY,  Waterman, Parker Quink, Pelikan 4001, Aurora, J.Herbin, and few other early ink brands are the inks to try for non-smear.

These will not save you from feathering though, more diluted ink tends to feather more! (again with differences ink to ink and some possible exceptions)

for best feathering proof you should try iron gall, iron gall is absorbed deeper into the paper (which is why it is more waterproof) but this is also the reason why it feathers less.

 

Some modern types of Iron gall have more friendly formulations (they do not contain a lot of acid as in the early day IG formulations) and can be nice to try.

I am very happy with KWZ IG inks (made in Poland by a young and bright chemist).

My KWZ IG #5 on very cheap paper, on which pelikan royal blue feathers badly, behaves almost normally.

 

Just don't use them in very precious pens or demonstrators, they can slightly stain ink windows if left in the pen for long.

(your safari or metropolitan will be fine however)



#9 sansenri

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 22:39

PS here is the sample I made some time ago

 

KWZ IG blue #5 is the darker blue, vs the lighter more purplish royal blue

 

fpn_1516308247__p1140573-3.jpg

 



#10 Kelly G

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 00:07

My everyday black ink is Noodler's Dark Matter.  I like it because it has the characteristics of vintage ink, such as Sheaffer, Waterman, or Parker.  It doesn't feather, bleed through or show through on most paper, plus it dries quickly and doesn't smear after drying. The back story on the ink is that it was formulated to mimic a dried sample sent to Nathan.  From the style of bottle and the label markings, Nathan concluded the sample may have been a proprietary ink used for the Manhattan Project during WWII.  Whether that is true or not is an open question, but the ink behaves like good vintage ink.


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#11 Herrjaeger

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 00:20

Thanks, Herrjaeger! I'm ginning up an order of ink samples from Goulet, I'll add both those to the list. Are these blue-blacks traditional iron gall type blue blacks with the concomitant increase in cleaning and maintenance, or are they just named after those old-tyme inks?
 
- N

Neither is iron gall ink. The Noodlers BB is a Black-Blue, while the Pilot is a Blue-Black (goes down very blue, then darkens and loses some intensity as it dries). I just checked drying/ smear on a 3x5 card, and both were dry with no smearing at 5 seconds. Neither has been hard to clean from the Safaris, and as Aurore and Crahptacular(as well as many others on FPN) mention, if you enjoy your sample of Pilot Blue-Black, buy the 350 ml bottle from Amazon ($21.84 delivered on Prime-youll need an empty bottle to decant smaller volumes of ink into to fill your pens/converters/cartridges ). The Noodlers is very affordable as well, but nothing beats the price of the Pilot.

Edited by Herrjaeger, 03 July 2018 - 00:24.


#12 inkstainedruth

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 03:20

I'm not a big fan of Noodler's Black, because of the smudging (the problem with the "bulletproof" -- i.e., cellulose-reactive -- inks, is that only the part directly in contact with the page will "bond").  I think that Noodler's Heart of Darkness is a little better behaved -- and it dries faster.

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#13 dcwaites

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 04:57

I'm not a big fan of Noodler's Black, because of the smudging (the problem with the "bulletproof" -- i.e., cellulose-reactive -- inks, is that only the part directly in contact with the page will "bond").  I think that Noodler's Heart of Darkness is a little better behaved -- and it dries faster.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

It depends on the paper. On poorer (more absorbent) paper, NB is the better ink, as it sinks in, but doesn't spread or bleed.

On better (less absorbent) paper, HOD is the better ink, as it penetrates the paper without going through, the way it does on the poorer paper.

 

Either - have one of each, and choose according to your paper

or

buy Sailor Kiwaguro.

 

However, I would back Pilot Blue, Black or Blue-Black as a well-behaved, permanent, every day ink.


fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif

 

 

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#14 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 05:54

I admire many inks and wouldn't want to limit myself to just one or two, but if I had to... with everyday writing in mind... well... for me, Waterman Mysterious Blue comes out on top, except for pens that are either very wet or very dry. For very wet pens, you can't go wrong with Pelikan 4001. For very dry pens, basic Sailor Jentle Blue is a great choice in my opinion. Blackstone Sydney Harbour Blue is a much more saturated, wet ink that's still quite affordable (at least in Europe).

#15 RoyalBlueNotebooks

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 06:32

I suggest Pelikan 4001 blue-black and Rohrer & Klingner Salix.

fpn_1502425191__letter-mini.png


#16 ENewton

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 13:22

I don't write in blue or black, but I have a Prera F, which has the same nib as a Metropolitan, and I find I can use even very saturated inks on cheap paper without smearing.

 

A beautiful dark green is Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris.

 

I wouldn't use an R & K iron gall ink in a Pilot fine point, because the line could be quite dim.  It wouldn't feather or smear, though.

 

The one KWZI iron gall ink I have tried (Violet #3) was not suitable for use on bad paper.  The post above reminds me to look at reviews of more individual KWZI iron gall inks to discover whether there is some KWZI iron gall purple more suitable for use on the cheap notebooks at my office. 



#17 CraigR

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 14:01

My preferences for every day, all-purpose inks are either Watermans's Blue/Black or Pelikan 4001 Blue or Black. The nib and paper play important roles in how the ink behaves, but I have found these inks to be dependable most of the time.


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#18 Paganini

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 16:22

This is great!

 

Strangely, Goulet doesn't have a sample of Pilot blue-black, but it seems so widely held in high regard that I can't go wrong just buying a bottle, so I ordered one from Amazon. (70ml though, I'll hold off on that 350ml one until I try it. Wowzers.)

From Goulet I ordered samples of Noodler's blue-black, Noodler's Dark Matter, and R&K Salix. Just for kicks I also threw in Noodler's Air Corps (because I like the color, and it seems like it might be a similar substance to Dark Matter). I also put in samples of LAMY black, J. Herbin Perle Noire, and Aurora black. They will probably feather, but the Herbin and Aurora are classic well-thought-of inks that I haven't tried. I can always put them in my italic pen and save them for the good paper. :)
 

Other inks not on Goulet as samples are Pelikan 4001 (sad, because so many people seem to love it I wanted to try it!) and the Sailor Nano inks. Kiwa Gura sounds like a great ink, but it's a tad pricy for a bottle on Jet Pens, so I will hold off on trying it until after I use up the first batch of samples. 

 

Meanwhile I have thrown out all my old Noodler's inks. Yesterday I noticed they all had a strong ammonia smell, and further research indicates that this probably signifies that there are aliens gestating in their murky depths. Oh well; I've had them for over 10 years, so I guess that's a pretty good "use-by" period. 

 
Thanks everybody; this is very helpful! I'll post the results of the testing in a few days. 
 
 
- N


#19 letterByOwl

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 21:18

J Herbin Eclat de Saphir

#20 Mech-for-i

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 02:04

For daily writing on not so fountain pen friendly paper and needing to handle abuse of all sort. I have always rely on good old iron gall ink

Yeah I know people tend to see IG ink as somewhat a monster but we are not talking about real old days formula here ...

My goto ink for years had been Hero 232 but any modern IG ink will do.





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