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In Praise Of Boring Inks.


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124 replies to this topic

#21 bayindirh

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 20:02

 

 

~ bayindirh:

 

This thread has interested me as it discusses something which I'd never considered.

 

That there were inks which might be considered boring is new to me.

 

Reading the comments by others has been helpful.

 

*****************************************

 

May I please take the liberty of expressing my admiration for your writing style?

 

The gracious tone of your comments enhances the discussion.

 

I'd gladly read any comment you posted in any thread, even were the topic of limited interest, because of my respect for your warmth and courtesy.

 

Thank you for setting a high standard in your posts. It's an inspiration for me.

 

With Appreciation,

 

Tom K.

Dear Tom,

 

I'm happy that I've touched to a subject which piqued your interest. Many fountain pen users (incl. me) label the inks in some ways. I think, this labeling creates a healthy discussion about how we see this hobby. I'm also happy that the discussion surrounding the matter was beneficial for you. This was my utmost intention.

 

Many thanks for your kind words about my writing style. I feel humbled and my face possibly has a reddish hue as far as I can tell from the heat I'm feeling :). I'm just trying to be a kind human being all around, and I need to note that English is not my native language, so I'm sorry for the things I fail to convey correctly or clearly.

 

I thank you too for being a mirror and let me see myself from another person's eyes. I'm just trying to do my best.

 

With appreciation and respect,

 

Hakan



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#22 bayindirh

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 20:45

 

Here you've hit on a subject of particular interest to me.  I would like to carry a fountain pen on my person, and I do sometimes have to fill out a form that was printed on cheap copy paper.  Sometimes I have to write on both sides, even.  I've been actively researching inks that could perform well in such situations.

 

This was also one of my intentions after starting to use fountain pens. The paper I was targeting was not copy paper per se. Instead I was looking for inks which were writing on notebooks like Moleskine and note blocks like Mead Cambridge series.

 

I've started my search with Lamy Blue and found that it behaved reasonably well but, using an ink which can easily erased and forged was a big red flag for me. Lamy's black was also very well behaving and was pH neutral (it's almost like water in that regard). On the positive side, it's relatively water resistant. Then I had to pause my research because Moleskine started to use much thinner and cheaper paper. On top of it, the new note block I bought for the office didn't like the ink that I'm using (it was actually repelling it).

 

For a long time Noodler's Black was my standby for this, and I really don't consider it a dangerous ink at all.  There's some question about Noodler's in general possibly being hard on rubber sacs, but I don't need to carry a pen with a rubber sac.  Noodler's Black is not pigment-based.  It is highly saturated, but really…

 

Noodler's black is considered as a soft and safe ink in that regard. It's marketed as pH neutral so, it should not melt pens like first batches of Baystate Blue. On the other hand, I've no rubber sac pens and, I cannot comment on that front. I've recently purchased and started to use it. It's a well behaving ink with very controlled flow on my Lamy Al-Star. It started grey-ish but, its saturation is increasing as the feed saturates. It's a cellulose reactive formula, so it should wash out of everything except cellulose with relative ease.

 

I've found out that Kaweco's Brown has this strange property. While it's not waterproof by any means, it doesn't stain anything except paper. Also it's a well behaving ink. It doesn't attack the paper, but calmly dries on top of it.

 

 

Despite my defense of Noodler's, I have moved away from that brand lately.  The last few bottles that I opened have become more and more inconsistent, so I began looking for alternatives.

 

Actually, I have a soft spot for Noodler's for their colors, advanced chemistry and its strange sincerity. What kind of inconsistency has surfaced in your inks? Maybe this should be communicated back to Nathan or Noodler's directly?

 

BTW, If I remember correctly, Noodler's "forgery resistant" inks has batch to batch variations intentionally. Is this property applicable to your bottles?

 

 

I also began testing various inks for performance on cheap, absorbent paper.  This led to a few surprises.

 

Many of the old standby inks that you've mentioned turned out to be "not bad" in this respect.  Pilot Blue and Aurora Blue and Waterman Mysterious Blue worked a bit better than your average ink.  Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black was pretty good.  Iron Gall based inks, like Salix and Montblanc Midnight Blue, were even better, but those IG-based permanent inks are also higher-maintenance.

 

I'm glad that these inks performed really well. Maybe you should give Lamy Black a try? As far as I understood you prefer black inks as daily drivers. I'm a blue & blue/black person so, I cannot comment on many black inks. Sorry about that.

 

 

Then I discovered Diamine Eclipse, an almost-black ink that is non-permanent but outperformed even iron gall inks at not soaking through the page.  I've also been pointed toward Diamine in general by at least one pen repairman as a "safe" ink brand that should be compatible with latex rubber.  Well, Diamine have been in business for 150 years.  They should know a few things.

 

Diamine also has a nice spectrum of colors and, as you've said, they're one of the oldest players in the ink arena. I have a couple of bottles (Oxblood, Denim blue), but didn't try them yet. I also didn't read anything bad about their inks but, I just don't have the experience to back these claims.



#23 bayindirh

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 20:55

 

So I really don't understand other people's concern in this regard. The supposed risk of using pigment and shimmer inks seems awfully exaggerated to me.

 

 Maybe you're right, maybe my fears are unfounded. Regardless, thanks for sharing your experience. I'll remember and take courage from them if I ever decide to try pigment/shimmering inks.

 

I'll post my experience if I ever use these kinds of inks (I'm not sure that I can consume all of my ink collection, though). :)



#24 Eclipse157

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 21:01

Most of my "writing life" with fountain pens I've used:

 

- Pelikan 4001 royal blue

- Aurora Black

- Aurora Blue

 

They did their job just fine. The first time I bought Aurora Black I remember I was wowed by the deep rich blackness of it, the buttery smooth feeling in the nib, and I was slightly disappointed at the more pronounced feathering/bleeding compared to the pelikan blue. The desire to find a black ink as pleasant to see and to use as Aurora Black, but better behaved, is what pushed me over the edge into this beautiful and most certainly colorful black hole of ink addiction. I now have 22 inks that I consider to be more or less black, considerably less money, less storage space in my desk and immediate vicinities, a lot of stuff to talk about with similar minded people thousands of miles away and a slight sense of shame when I say I have so many different colors of ink and I get "those looks" from people (geographically) close to me who don't share the enthusiasm. 10/10 would fall into the black hole again. Thanks Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue, thanks Aurora Black for being awesome and not perfect.

 

P.S. for now the "best black award" goes to... Noodler's Heart of Darkness and Noodler's X-Feather on par.



#25 bayindirh

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 21:07

 

I would say that most of my writing outside of my notebook is done on cheap copy paper and cheap notebooks - and the lined yellow tablets.   There's almost NOTHING that can write well on a yellow tablet anymore.   (The original ones were made when fountain pens were still around.  Now they're basically yellow toilet paper)

 

I don't prefer copy paper to take notes anymore. The paper is specially formulated for laser and inkjet printers and, they're extremely absorbent. Especially inkjet optimized ones so, nothing writes well on them.

 

I like Mead's Cambridge series wire bound pads. The paper doesn't feel premium, but it works well with most of the inks. I have a relatively wet writing Parker Vector filled with Quink blue black and it cannot bleed through to be honest. :) Noodler's black and Kaweco's blue also writes very well on that pad. I can also recommend Morning Glory's yellow pad. Its paper is extremely thin but, it works well most inks again. It cannot tolerate the Quink much, but other inks behaves very well.

 

Funnily enough, we have a locally produced white pad. Its paper feels like toilet paper to hand, but it works much better with fountain pens than any paper I've ever used. It's almost feather-proof as Rhodia and dries almost instantly with no bleed. It's black magic.

 

 

I usually write with green, purple, black, and blue.  That's it.   I use boring colours from boring brands

 

There are no boring colors, I don't agree with you on this regard. :) We only have favorite colors and that's ok. I'm a blue, blue/black and green lover. I also have a soft spot for browns and dark reds. :D 

 

Also I find old, conservative brands attractive. They have a no-nonsense attitude. We need everyone from every perspective otherwise, the ink and fountain pen scene cannot advance at this rapid pace.



#26 aurore

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 21:26

Well, I would distinguish "boring" and "dull". For instance Sailor Jentle Blue-Black is boring. Sorry, it really is. But is a great ink and is not dull. On the other hand Pelikan Royal Blue is boring and dull to me. Excellent ink for many reasons, but it is dull. 
Therefore I love many boring inks, but not really dull inks.


Edited by aurore, 17 January 2020 - 21:27.


#27 txomsy

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 09:52

Ah! The wonders of subjective terminology! :D



#28 aurore

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 10:12

Ah! The wonders of subjective terminology! :D

 

Even the colour perception and terminology is subjective :)



#29 Noihvo

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 19:17

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#30 Arkanabar

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 23:46

Lord knows that there are any number of inks I'd prefer to avoid; I like what Amber calls "fuss-free" inks.  I'm willing to dilute inks to get that sort of behavior.

Right now my "safe" ink is MB Mystery Black.  If I find myself concerned that a pen might not deal well with some of my inks (over half of which are Noodler's), that's what it'll start with.  If I manage to use it all up, I'll replace it with Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black.

If I think a pen needs thorough cleaning or destaining, I have two bottles of classic black with phenol -- one of Quink Permanent Black with Solv-X, and one of Montblanc-Simplo Black with SuperCleaner SC21.  If I manage to use those up (unlikely), I'll probably replace them with Pilot Blue-Black, which would also be an absolutely safe ink.



#31 Manalto

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 02:43

Workhorse inks.

James


#32 Tom Kellie

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 03:45

Workhorse inks.

 

 

~ Manalto:

 

Yes.

 

Workhorse inks are especially cherished.

 

Likewise workhorse fountain pens.

 

Tom K.



#33 Tom Kellie

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 04:13

I have a relatively wet writing Parker Vector filled with Quink blue black and it cannot bleed through to be honest.

Funnily enough, we have a locally produced white pad. Its paper feels like toilet paper to hand, but it works much better with fountain pens than any paper I've ever used. It's almost feather-proof as Rhodia and dries almost instantly with no bleed. It's black magic.

I'm a blue, blue/black and green lover. I also have a soft spot for browns and dark reds. :D

Also I find old, conservative brands attractive. They have a no-nonsense attitude. We need everyone from every perspective otherwise, the ink and fountain pen scene cannot advance at this rapid pace.

 

~ bayindirh:

 

I've been seeking Quink blue-black in the area where I work, but have thus far not found it.

 

Your using it in a Parker Vector is a possible inspiration for me. My Vector is currently inked with a medium violet ink. Maybe Quink blue-black will be next.

 

The local white pad paper sounds great. I've seen a similar product here. It looked dodgy, yet worked well with most nibs and inks.

 

The Montblanc Hadrian Antico Rosso ink I've been using is an especially pleasing dark red. A second bottle may be ordered as it's been a practical ink for work purposes.

 

The non-nonsense, conservative brands are favorites of mine. As I'm somewhat reticent, even stodgy, at times, their approach appeals to me.

 

Thank you so much for your very kind comments in an earlier post.

 

Tom K.



#34 Intensity

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 04:53

Boring seems like a highly subjective qualifier. Safety of an ink and need for frequent maintenance is also not necessarily tied to its color. I personally dont find blue-black inks boring: its a wide range of hues, finishes, behaviors. Some are boring to me, some have a lot of beauty and subtle mystery. I also wouldnt pause putting something like KWZ Brown Pink (far from boring, but dark and legible) into any of my pens and worry about any negative consequences. Not letting an ink dry out in a pen and just using that pen regularly is one of the top beneficial maintenance priorities Ive heard about from multiple pen repair techs.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 


#35 Oldane

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 14:48

There's a lot of good things to be said of boring inks. We, as pen nerds, may think favorably about exciting inks and flashy colors, but for most uses the ink should have a subordinate role to the text that is written with it. Apart from that I have always preffered some degree of permanency and good behavior on todays not very ink friendly paper. Easy pen maintainence is also a plus.

 

Thus I have for many years preferred classic blue-black inks with some iron gall content (but not as much as say Registrars Ink). For many years Montblanc Blueblack was my workhorse ink, but it got discontinued. Then it was R&K Salix, though I found it a bit pale. A couple of years ago I bought five bottles of Hero 232 and since I am now retired from my main job, it may well last for the rest of my life. It was dirt cheap and actually behaves very well. I have also have a bottle of KWZ-IG Blue#3 and it also works fine for me.

 

I have fluoroscent yellow in a broadtipped pen for underlining text which I use ever so often. I have red ink in the drawer but haven't used it for years.



#36 Bibliophage

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 18:39

If I think a pen needs thorough cleaning or destaining, I have two bottles of classic black with phenol -- one of Quink Permanent Black with Solv-X, and one of Montblanc-Simplo Black with SuperCleaner SC21.  If I manage to use those up (unlikely), I'll probably replace them with Pilot Blue-Black, which would also be an absolutely safe ink.

Order a few bottles of Camlin Royal Blue, or Black.   I'm pretty sure they're 'Solv-x' (phenol) inks.   Also very inexpensive, and they tend to be the first ones I use in my pens.



#37 jmccarty3

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 01:46

I love the "yellow toilet paper" descriptor for legal pads. It's a crying shame these are no longer made to be suitable for fountain pens.


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#38 A Smug Dill

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 02:33

I love the "yellow toilet paper" descriptor for legal pads. It's a crying shame these are no longer made to be suitable for fountain pens.

 

 

One day governments may even revoke the "legal" status of (the use of) fountain pen inks.  :P


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#39 txomsy

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:09

After some thinking I find myself agreeing with the original tag. Boring inks.

 

Ponder what is it that you consider boring and why. Usually it is what you perceive every day, so often that you end up practically not noticing it, and when you do, it does not bring any sense of novelty, excitement,...

 

Which is what a "workhorse" ink will end as anyway. Anything we use so often must a ) become dull or boring in the end and b ) be so because it has enough advantages to guarantee its every-day, common use.

 

I know for many of us it seems it is not so. But believe me, it took me some getting used to, but it is.

 

As an anecdote, long, long ago, I went to work on an international computing research facility, with people from all over the World. I had been told that good UI design would aim for colours and designs that would feel comfortable, unexciting for most people, so they could concentrate their attention in the task at hand, not the looks. You know, dull, subdued, pastel, uniform colors... Then, one day I "felt" something odd, entered the office of and Asian colleague and was met by a shiny, brighty, colorful, "most distracting" screen. Well, obviously, that was for me, not for him. Most UI design had been carried out in the "Western World", hence the advice I had got. From his cultural point of view, that was what he was used to in everyday life, art, TV, and therefore, unobtrusive, relaxing, comfortable. He just couldn't understand how we could work on our screens.

 

Anything "workhorse" will end up being "boring" and unexciting. It's novelty that we find exciting. That's just how our brain works.



#40 corniche

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 06:33

Greetings all,

Call it a workhorse; call it boring; call it whatever you like within that assumed millaeu; it's hard to top Quink Permanent Blue, (or it's sibling: Waterman Serenity Blue), as the quintessential, "boring," (for lack of a better term), ultra-reliable, daily use, go to ink.

FWIW, I'd give the nod to Pilot Blue-black as the runner-up.


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