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Inks For Esterbrook Dip Nibs?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 NumberSix

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 03:52

Inspired by quarantine boredom and this forum, I now have some vintage nib holders and some Estie nibs on the way (and looking at some more Estie nibs for variety).

So next question: What ink do I want to use for writing? I saw one guy on YouTube demonstrate using Quink Black. So can I use my various inks like Quink or 4001? Or should I be looking for India ink?

What say you, Estie fanatics?

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#2 corgicoupe

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 19:17

I have used Pelikan 4001 successfully.


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#3 NumberSix

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Posted 25 May 2020 - 19:48

I have used Pelikan 4001 successfully.

 

Excellent, since I have Black, Blue, and Green bottles already. :)



#4 pajaro

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 04:51

I have used Pelikan 4001' Sheaffer Skrip, Montblanc and Noodlers inks with good results.

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#5 Estycollector

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 09:46

Just use what you have. I only use Waterman and find it works just fine with those old Esterbrooks nibs. Paper type for me makes more of a difference in how much I enjoy a dip pen. 20# copy paper is nice. There is some that like the 32# copy paper, but I have so much of the 20# that I am reluctant to get the heavier stock. There is some bleed through, but I only write letters on one side. 

 

For me a light touch works best. Enjoy yourself. 

https://theesterbroo....com/INDEX.html


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#6 AAAndrew

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 14:43

Estycollector is on the money with ensuring you have the right paper. Dip pens lay down an incredibly wet line, much wetter than just about any fountain pen, so you need a paper that can handle that much ink. And you need an ink that isn't too "wet".

 

The 4001 inks work fine, with the right paper. I like to use Walnut ink for practicing because it's incredibly cheap (a bag of walnut ink crystals will last you a very long time and cost less than one bottle of ink) and quite well behaved. You can get it at many online calligraphy suppliers, like John Neal Booksellers online, or Paper and Ink Arts. They also sell it premixed with water, but I find the crystals just fine for my purposes, plus you can then mix it to your desired darkness. (from dark brown to "antique" brown)  

 

Rhodia paper works great for practice, as do the Black n Red notebooks. I also make my own stationery by printing a design on ~25% cotton laser paper. (Southworth is a good brand and readily available, but others work too) It holds up to most inks pretty well. I wouldn't suggest 100% cotton paper unless you're using a stub dip pen, as the tiny fibers tend to catch the very pointy pens. But walnut ink, and a smooth stub dip pen on cream 100% cotton is a joy together. That's often my preferred letter-writing combo.

 

So, what nibs are you getting? What kind of writing do you do? I might have a suggestion or two.  :D

 

Also, don't forget to prep your nibs before writing. I've got a few suggestions on my site under the "Using Steel Pens" header. 

https://thesteelpen.com/



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#7 NumberSix

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 15:23

So, what nibs are you getting? What kind of writing do you do? I might have a suggestion or two.  :D

 

Also, don't forget to prep your nibs before writing. I've got a few suggestions on my site under the "Using Steel Pens" header. 

https://thesteelpen.com/

 

That site is great, thanks! Well done. I look forward to reading every entry. :)

 

I bought a variety lot, 50 nibs in all. From the picture, I can see 048 Falcon and 014 Bank, for sure. Maybe some 556 School, as well as a bunch I can't see the numbers on. The other lot, which I bought mainly for the three pen holders, includes 2x 442 and 4x 520. So, a nice variety to start out. I am hoping there are some stubs in the big lot, too, as I don't have any experience with them and want to practice. 

 

I originally decided to get some dip pens because my stepmom has some oldish boxes of Windsor & Newton inks (20 years?) she said I could have, though most are dried out (according to her). But then when I was looking at glass pens, I decided I would rather go vintage.

 

I do most of my writing as journaling (or scribbling on Rhodia). It sounds like my selection of regular FP inks and my usual paper should be okay for starters. 



#8 Estycollector

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 17:25

Estycollector is on the money with ensuring you have the right paper. Dip pens lay down an incredibly wet line, much wetter than just about any fountain pen, so you need a paper that can handle that much ink. And you need an ink that isn't too "wet".
 
The 4001 inks work fine, with the right paper. I like to use Walnut ink for practicing because it's incredibly cheap (a bag of walnut ink crystals will last you a very long time and cost less than one bottle of ink) and quite well behaved. You can get it at many online calligraphy suppliers, like John Neal Booksellers online, or Paper and Ink Arts. They also sell it premixed with water, but I find the crystals just fine for my purposes, plus you can then mix it to your desired darkness. (from dark brown to "antique" brown)  
 
Rhodia paper works great for practice, as do the Black n Red notebooks. I also make my own stationery by printing a design on ~25% cotton laser paper. (Southworth is a good brand and readily available, but others work too) It holds up to most inks pretty well. I wouldn't suggest 100% cotton paper unless you're using a stub dip pen, as the tiny fibers tend to catch the very pointy pens. But walnut ink, and a smooth stub dip pen on cream 100% cotton is a joy together. That's often my preferred letter-writing combo.
 
So, what nibs are you getting? What kind of writing do you do? I might have a suggestion or two.  :D
 
Also, don't forget to prep your nibs before writing. I've got a few suggestions on my site under the "Using Steel Pens" header. 
https://thesteelpen.com/


Thanks for the link to your site, Andrew. Im happy to know toothpaste is a good nib prep.

"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"


#9 Grayspoole

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 18:22

If you want to explore copperplate or Spencerian, or just want a traditional look, you might consider trying an iron gall ink or a walnut ink with your dip pen. I find these inks make a considerable difference over fountain pen inks in the quality of my lines. I am enjoying Old World Iron Gall and Tom Norton’s Walnut ink. I always wipe off my nib after I write, so I am seeing no damage.

#10 NumberSix

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 19:46

If you want to explore copperplate or Spencerian, or just want a traditional look, you might consider trying an iron gall ink or a walnut ink with your dip pen. I find these inks make a considerable difference over fountain pen inks in the quality of my lines. I am enjoying Old World Iron Gall and Tom Norton’s Walnut ink. I always wipe off my nib after I write, so I am seeing no damage.

 

I had already ordered a bottle of ESSRI for regular use, which should arrive in the next week or two. Sounds like a solid option. I like the name "Old World Iron Gall", though. 



#11 NumberSix

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 19:49

This description for McCaffrey's at https://www.paperink...com/mcaink.html:

 

"McCaffery's inks are highly acidic and can eat away at nibs. When using this ink, clean your nib thoroughly and often to avoid corrosion. You may also find mold on the surface of the ink, or a dried skin. These developments are natural and do not mean your ink has gone bad. Simply remove the mold or skin, throw it away, and stir the ink well. You are now ready to keep writing!"

 

:yikes:



#12 AAAndrew

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 02:50

ESSRI will work well. I have used Diamine Registrar for dip pens for years with good results. 

 

No matter the ink, always wipe your nib dry as soon as you stop writing. Never let the ink dry on the nib. That's how nibs rust. I just tissue, or those little, square, coffee-shop napkins also seem to work well. It has to be absorbent but also flexible enough to dry off the concave part of the nib. Stiff paper napkins are sometimes too stiff. 

 

Sounds like you have a good selection. The 442's are stub falcons, so those are stubs. The Falcons and Bank and 556 will give you a nice mini-look into the variety of writing experiences you can have with dip pens. 

 

Have fun!



“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928



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#13 Estycollector

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 09:53

I enjoy using the #556. The 2556 and 3556 nobs for their FP's can be a very nice nib for most daily applications. I have a flat feed 2556 on a Transitional that I am loading with Serenity Blue today. 

 

Not to take anything away from any other brand, but Esterbrook knew what they were doing and their filling mechanism is easy enough to restore. Even after experiencing the much celebrated Parker 51, there is in my mind no better writing tool than the 1930's-mid '50's Esterbrooks. I have no experience with what came later. 


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#14 NumberSix

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 19:58

Update:  My variety pack of vintage nibs arrived, along with one holder. I popped a nib into the holder - I think it was a 556, but it's so small to read. Did a little testing with a bottle of Quink Black, and it wrote just fine (if a little scratchy, but I chalk that up to technique - and also forgot to prep the nib first). Even got a bit of flex when I went there, though it's not my primary reason for trying these pens. 

 

I learned an important quick lesson, though. Even with a nearly full and wide-mouthed bottle like Quink, I still had trouble gauging the depth when dipping. So I went on JohnNeal and placed an order for a dippy cup and a bottle of McCaffery's Penman's Black ink. I wanted Old World Iron Gall because I like the name, but it was out of stock. And at twice the price, it can wait until I have given this new hobby aspect a proper go. I could have gotten a bottle of Higgins Black for about the same price, and they mention it's a good one for dip beginners. 

 

But I might as well dive right into the iron gall side of things.  B)

 

So I packed everything back up until my new ink arrives in a week or so. 



#15 NumberSix

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 20:01

Even after experiencing the much celebrated Parker 51, there is in my mind no better writing tool than the 1930's-mid '50's Esterbrooks. I have no experience with what came later. 

 

I love the classic Esty pens I have used, even with what I now know to be the cheaper questionable nibs. Gorgeous colors. But I don't care for lever-fillers, and the pens were so small.

 

A P51 feels substantial in the hand while not being "big". It reminds me of Three Amigos: I want to write with a man's pen. Not a little. . . ;)



#16 Estycollector

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 21:19



 

I love the classic Esty pens I have used, even with what I now know to be the cheaper questionable nibs. Gorgeous colors. But I don't care for lever-fillers, and the pens were so small.

 

A P51 feels substantial in the hand while not being "big". It reminds me of Three Amigos: I want to write with a man's pen. Not a little. . . ;)

 

Not all Esterbrooks were small. 

fpn_1590787092__size.jpg


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#17 NumberSix

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 21:27

 

Not all Esterbrooks were small. 

 

You're cheating by posting a 51 Demi or else a Parker 21, aren't you?  :P

 

Seriously, though, the three Esties I have used were all tiny ones.  :D



#18 AAAndrew

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 22:17

I am a huge user of the Dinky Dips at John Neal Books. I use the ones with the wooden base. The Jumbo Dinky Dips are the perfect size, and the wooden holder makes sure I've never yet tipped a pot of ink. 

 

The "scratchiness" is going to be there in comparison of a tipped fountain pen nib. But as soon as you learn to control your pressure (extremely light pressure, and keep it even along both tines, as much as possible) it will be both a better form of scratchiness, as well as something pleasurable. 

 

But then there are the stubs, where you don't really need to worry about that. 

 

fpn_1590790561__writing_a_note.jpg

 

Have fun! Let us know how the experience goes. 



“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928



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#19 NumberSix

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Posted 29 May 2020 - 23:55

I am a huge user of the Dinky Dips at John Neal Books. I use the ones with the wooden base. The Jumbo Dinky Dips are the perfect size, and the wooden holder makes sure I've never yet tipped a pot of ink. 

 

The "scratchiness" is going to be there in comparison of a tipped fountain pen nib. But as soon as you learn to control your pressure (extremely light pressure, and keep it even along both tines, as much as possible) it will be both a better form of scratchiness, as well as something pleasurable. 

 

But then there are the stubs, where you don't really need to worry about that. 

Beautiful writing! 

 

I just went back to my A4 Rhodia pad, and the 7 lines I wrote are very fine. But they have a little unintended variation in places, and there's some flex where I did it on purpose. Speaking of scratchy - there's also now a little texture on the page where I was no doubt too rough, unlike the text I wrote elsewhere on the page with other pens. All and all, I am pleased with my first experiment. 

 

Back OT:  I ordered one these little cups with the suction base, with my ink. It was only $2, and I figured it was a good start since I am going to begin with the one IG ink. I like the wood-base sets of 4, though, especially with glass bottles. But one step at a time. 

 

150132814_dinky.jpg



#20 Estycollector

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Posted 30 May 2020 - 09:41

I'd like to try an oblique pen holder. I am assuming the Esterbrook nibs will work, Andrew??


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