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Iron Gall Ink For Calligraphy: Advice Needed


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7 replies to this topic

#1 stenolearner

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 00:23

I've started learning business and ornamental penmanship, and bought an oblique holder with a selection of dip nibs. I also bought some iron-gall ink to use with it, because that's what the old writing masters used.

 

Are there any tips on preventing dip nib corrosion from iron gall and lengthening the lifespan of each dip nib? After use I rinse the nib in water and dry it off with a towel. 

 

Are there any nibs that are more corrosion resistant? (I hear that Zebra G and Nikko G may be because they are chrome plated)

 

What do you do if your ink develops sediment or a "skin" on the top?



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#2 smk

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Posted 12 December 2018 - 08:31

Iron Gall ink is indeed the best to get the fine hairlines that seem hard to get with other inks. The plated G nibs from Nikko, Tachikawa and Zebra are indeed more corrosion resistant than the plain steel ones but they are not the best for producing the thinnest hairlines. So while they will resist corrosion a bit better, they won't give you the finest possible line that one wants from an Iron Gall ink in the first place. The modern Gillott 303 can produce very fine hairlines but is sketchy on quality and doesn't last that long.

 

Luckily, there are good alternatives to Iron Gall ink for practice if nib life is an issue. I use a 60/40 mixture of good old Noodler's Black & Water for pointed pen with very good results. Pelikan black works well too - no need to add water to that. There are many other fountain pen inks that work well for pointed pen work.

 

The skin on your ink can be stirred away. That is made up of the oxidized Iron particles in the ink. Very few of them will mix back in the ink, most will settle at the bottom of the bottle. For this reason, it is a good idea to take some of the ink out in a dinky dip or other small airtight container for use and open the bottle only for filling.

 

- Salman



#3 stenolearner

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 17:54

Thanks. Since I'm still a beginner trying to get the letter forms both relatively fast (for business penmanship), and accurate (for ornamental), I think that a blunt nib is less of a problem. I've been using the ink for over a week, and do notice that my Hunt 101 shows discoloration, but seems to not have suffered in terms of fineness of hairlines. Another attraction to using Iron-Gall is that it is waterproof, and thus I can use it to write envelopes.



#4 Ryan5

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 15:33

I suggest using walnut ink for practice, and iron gull for projects. I am not sure if you need extra fine hair lines for practice.

#5 galem

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 20:33

I love iron gall ink, but just a word of warning. My cat spilled a large area of it on my kitchen table and I did not see it until the next morning. It took every bit of finish off of the wood! Now I cover the table with heavy vinyl just in case 😼

#6 sidthecat

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 02:59

You can always use a thinned solution of gouache paint, which has almost no sizing so can flow nicely and clean up easily. If you go to a pen show (or perhaps a book show) you may see a calligrapher or two using it.

#7 Uncial

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 22:41

Moon Palace Simi ink is quite good. I've been using Walkers iron gal and it is seriously corrosive even if I'm fussy about cleaning and drying the nib.

#8 Mech-for-i

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 09:47

There is basically 2 type of ink used as far as old ( as in historical ) master goes, either Carbon ink or Iron Gall ink, if you are concerned with the IG ink corroding your nib, then might be you should try the Carbon ink which usually had no reaction to the nib and inherently thicker and less likely to feather due to its composition and just as waterproof when dried , but of course it only come in BLACK and black always  ~  That stated I've never really had any trouble using IG ink in a dip pen setup, just routine and meticulous cleaning after each use would ensure you had a long working life out of the nib, and modern IG ink are really not tat corrosive either   








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