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Normal Sediment In Fountain Pen Ink - Photos



SamCapote

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As a parallel to the project I am doing on SITB contamination of inks, and finding a workable biocide, I was recently contacted by J. Herbin's Exaclair. In the process of inspecting Herbin and many other brands of my own inks, I have noticed a number of them have some sediment visible if left undisturbed for a long time. There have been some comments made in other threads asserting that there should NEVER be any sediment seen in any quality ink, and if found, they should be avoided and/or discarded. Their theory which has a rational basis is that if an ink ever were to deposit a similar sediment inside of your fountain pen feed/nib, it could cause problems. Some feel that any sediment formation must put the ink into the dreaded "SITB" (Stuff/Slime/S**t in the Bottle) category.

 

I have had numerous discussions with various knowledgeable resources, resellers, researchers, and manufacturers. I have read many resources/opinions on the subject, and did my own examinations of inks that I own. It is my opinion that there is a difference between "innocent" sediment, and "serious" SITB that represents bacterial/fungal contamination, or a chemical breakdown of the ink. I will present thumbnail photos below of some of my own inks that demonstrate various degrees of sediment. I have examined pipetted samples of all of these sediments under the microscope, and verified that there is no evidence of worrisome contamination. Furthermore, when each of these bottles are shaken, the sediment disappears easily, and if they are left sitting for 5-7 days, it does not reappear. I could wait and observe for longer periods to see when some of them may develop the sediment again, but if you are not picking up your pens to at least look at them once a week, you should really not be using fountain pens.

 

As you will notice, there are some very well respected, and quality brands of inks displayed. My purpose in showing these photos is to demonstrate that should you see a similar sediment, there is no reason to assume it means trouble or a harmful contamination. Just agitate the bottle until it goes away, and wait for the air bubbles to clear before filling your pen. I see this in ink brands I did not include in these photos, such as Mont Blanc, Levenger, Private Reserve, and others--but I already have too many photos. By virtue of the large number of quality brands that can have this sedimentation develop, you would have to put all of these brands in the same "bad ink" category, which is just preposterous. I do not think that most fountain pen users have seen an actual "serious" contamination to know what harmful SITB looks like, and it can have a wide variation in presentations. In the future, I will show some photos of "serious" contaminations grossly, and microscopically.

 

None of the photos below should be seen as representing a "serious" category that requires any significant concern.

 

Even if you used one of the many high quality brands of inks that can show a sediment if left sitting in your pen for a long time (which is not proper fountain pen hygiene), these are very very small & fine size (verified microscopically) that disappear with simple rocking, or in some cases, light shaking. The likelihood that any of these would cause harm or damage your pen is extremely remote--especially with regular use, and simple water flushing. Obviously if any ink is left to dry inside of your pen, there can be difficulties cleaning it, and perhaps more so with ones like I show below.

 

It is my opinion that a sediment developing over a long time does not imply that a (particulate) pigment is being used (such as with many calligraphy dip pen, or Sailor/Platinum nano-pigment advertised brand of inks). Inks that use high dye concentrations, and with certain chemical formulations can produce this effect. The most important question in evaluating the safety of such an ink is how rapidly does sedimentation develop. Most of the inks shown below have sat undisturbed for 6-9 months.

 

None of the photos below should be seen as representing a "serious" category that requires any significant concern.

 

See posts 20, 30 and 31.

Edited by KCat
Edited on request by Sam

With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

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Thank you for inverstigating this issue Sam..

I have Luxury Blue.. have observed non-growth sediment ink other inks too, and have never feared swirling the ink, allowing the remix to settle within its formulation, then use.. It's been my own observation, that when one chooses to use an intensely saturated formula, that includes the responsibilty to care for the writing instrument accordingly..

 

Imediately thought of the excellent reviews (current) on Carters ink, by Toaster Pastry.. in which some inks are reconsitituted, though he does note caution with his instruments.. Also, Sean C., with his dry ink formulations.

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As usual, your post is insightful. IMO, it is a must read for those here that condemn safe but saturated modern inks.

 

Call it schadenfreude but I've delighted in seeing J.Herbin succumb to both SITB and now be "guilty of" sedimenting. It's not that I dislike Herbin inks (in fact, I think Exaclair is a great company) but I was tired of those that proclaimed Herbin's wateriness as a sign of its safety versus the evil saturated inks.

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

Oscar Wilde

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Hi,

 

Many thanks! Informative as ever, and thought-provoking.

 

The first time I encountered sedimentation was in a bottle of i-g ink. I just drew-off the liquids, leaving the sediment behind, then carried on. No problem at all. I left the sediment in the bottle for some time, and nothing came of it: no emergent life forms. I didn't notice any change in the ink's behaviour or other properties. Perhaps I was not looking closely enough - just naked eye.

 

Bye,

S1

 

Stray Thread: Discussion of sedimentation, and the bulletproof & colour properties of Noodler's Legal Lapis, in this thread: http://www.fountainp...ue/page__st__15

Edited by Sandy1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

 

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Thanks, interesting to see this. I wonder if the sediment goes back into solution or just into suspension when the ink is shaken.

 

I had a bottle of Noodler's Hunter Green that threw quite a bit of dark blue sediment, to the point where the ink color changed from its normal dark green to a lighter yellow green. The ink was back to normal after a bit of vigorous shaking and I used it with no problems.

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Yes, SamCapote (why do I keep wanting to call you Geoffrey?!); thank you for your huge contribution to the Inkvestigation. (Sorry. Couldn't stop myself.)

_________________

etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

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thank you for your huge contribution to the Inkvestigation. (Sorry. Couldn't stop myself.)

 

An inkspectre calls... :rolleyes:

Edited by brunico
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Thanks, interesting to see this. I wonder if the sediment goes back into solution or just into suspension when the ink is shaken.

 

I had a bottle of Noodler's Hunter Green that threw quite a bit of dark blue sediment, to the point where the ink color changed from its normal dark green to a lighter yellow green. The ink was back to normal after a bit of vigorous shaking and I used it with no problems.

 

My guess is that it just goes back into suspension; if there's a sediment, it's probably precipitating out if it were in solution, and the only real way to return it to solution (somebody remind me if I'm wrong, my last chemistry was three years ago) is to heat the whole mess of it, making the solution super-saturated. In any event, if Sam is saying there isn't a problem, we can all just go on with our inking and writing. (This is making me want to buy a bottle of Éclat de Saphir, though!)

Never become complacent.

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Thanks, interesting to see this. I wonder if the sediment goes back into solution or just into suspension when the ink is shaken.

 

I had a bottle of Noodler's Hunter Green that threw quite a bit of dark blue sediment, to the point where the ink color changed from its normal dark green to a lighter yellow green. The ink was back to normal after a bit of vigorous shaking and I used it with no problems.

 

My guess is that it just goes back into suspension; if there's a sediment, it's probably precipitating out if it were in solution, and the only real way to return it to solution (somebody remind me if I'm wrong, my last chemistry was three years ago) is to heat the whole mess of it, making the solution super-saturated. In any event, if Sam is saying there isn't a problem, we can all just go on with our inking and writing. (This is making me want to buy a bottle of Éclat de Saphir, though!)

 

To be accurate, I honestly do not know if the various inks showing sediment once agitated to remove it are actually dissolving the sediment 100% back into solution, (which is the ideal), or being re-suspended. I do not know for certain that only dye is being used in all of these samples, or that some may contain some amount of pigment. I do not know if there may be chemical interactions leading to dyes previously 100% dissolved being precipitated into sediment over time. Then there are other aspects of inks such as their pH, preservatives, surfactants, and other chemicals in various concentrations that individually, or collectively may play even more important roles in how an ink behaves and treats your pen--especially vintage pens.

 

I'm only presenting all these brands with sediment to show how many quality names are included, and to differentiate between inks that take long times for this to happen after shaking (which I believe is reassuring), and "serious" SITB that represents worrisome infection/contamination/breakdown. There are some colors within each of the brands I presented that did not have any sediment, and some other brands (such as Watermans) where none of the bottles I own had any. Does that make Waterman "better" or "safer" than J. Herbin? I don't believe one can say that on a sedimentation basis alone. I also recognize that Noodler's BayState Blue is not in the same category of "worry free" ink as say....Noodler's Eel Turquoise.

With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

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Has the pH (or other quantifiable characteristics) been altered by sedimenting?

"Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination."

Oscar Wilde

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Thanks very much for this; I love Herbin inks and now know what to expect of them after long storage. (I saw a blog entry on sediments in Biffybeans' blog, with pictures similar to this, but she was unsure about what exactly happened to the inks.)

"Luxe, calme et volupte"

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Thank you so much for this Sam!

 

I always thought that this was an obvious and logical conclusion that one could reach without the microscopes, etc. Nevertheless, so many continued to persist with the "anything other than ink in the bottle is SITB/never shake a bottle of ink" poppycock. :rolleyes:

 

I've got something on this in my blog some place. If you don't mind, I'm going to link this thread to it.

 

Thanks again! Hopefully those overly concerned about sediment will have a look at this thread and come to realize that their pens are not going to jump off a cliff and fall nib first to their death if they shake their ink. :glare:

 

ETA: Then again, I have experience real SITB a la slime, goop, silky threads, and white fuzzy mold. Maybe, as you suggest, that has some bearing on being able to tell the difference between the two.

 

I've only ever had one ink precipitate out while in the pen and it was an iron gall ink. It happened just the other day as a matter of fact. What's more, I simple agitated my pen and it went back into solution. I had no clogs, and wrote the pen dry with no problems at all.

Edited by dizzypen

Equal Opportunity Ink and Fountain Pen User.

 

My blog: The Dizzy Pen

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Thanks, so inks need a monthly shake too. OK.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

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I know there has been some speculation that this sediment will later come out of suspension and clog your feed. But I've never seen it and my personal experiences says it's not a problem.

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Thank you for inverstigating this issue Sam..I have Luxury Blue.. have observed non-growth sediment ink other inks too, and have never feared swirling the ink, allowing the remix to settle within its formulation, then use.. It's been my own observation, that when one chooses to use an intensely saturated formula, that includes the responsibilty to care for the writing instrument accordingly..

 

Well said, that (wo)man!

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Thank you for inverstigating this issue Sam..I have Luxury Blue.. have observed non-growth sediment ink other inks too, and have never feared swirling the ink, allowing the remix to settle within its formulation, then use.. It's been my own observation, that when one chooses to use an intensely saturated formula, that includes the responsibilty to care for the writing instrument accordingly..

 

Well said, that (wo)man!

snorty laughter..

"inverstigating" :roflmho:

maybe make that inkverstigating?

edited to add.. just cleaned, (hours), and re-inked all of my pens..

buttercup in the yellow lamy :thumbup:

Noodlers violet, red fox, lamy blue, etc etc..

my hands look post surgery sans gloves :ninja:

all of my pens delivering mud color.. my those feeds hold Tons of ink!

Edited by pen2paper
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First of all, thank you and very crass! You sure know how to make a good photo or twelve.

Question: is the shot on the second line down, farthest to the right perhaps a 1670? To me that looks like a real red with a dash of yellow/gold -- much appraised by some of us here -- but an optic which I myself have yet to view.

 

Hugh

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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I have a few of those!

 

- Pumpkin's a big one on that, I had a fill with it well shaken and there was the well documented buildup on my nib and feed. Next fill I'm going to try it without shaking to see if it improves.

- My Violette Pensée doesn't have any sedimentation, which I'm not sure if you're illustrating with your picture or not. It was left undisturbed for about a month or more.

- Hunter Green. great shade, but that sedimentation is insane. Really does change the final colour if its shaken or not, pre fill. Seems to not have an issue once in the pen though? The fluorescent component I could do without. I use it as a lab notebook colour, but I have to switch out of it whenever I'm doing a UV/Vis lab just to make sure there's no contamination with my samples.

- PR Sepia has sedimentation, even more to the point of it being exceptionally unique sedimentation. VERY dense, and comes out rather easily. Its left a strange layer on my sampler vial whenevr i shake it, but its easily washed out.

http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc122/CxTPB/InkDropLogoFPN2.jpg Member since Sept 7, 2010

TWSBI Diamond 530 - Private Reserve Avocado

Black Kaweco Sport M Nib - Diamine Oxblood

Wing Sung #233 - Noodler's Lexington Gray

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Has the pH (or other quantifiable characteristics) been altered by sedimenting?

 

I wasn't that ambitious. I know the color changes without mixing. I doubt it would affect the pH. I think features such as smooth flow/skipping, nib creep, etc. would be more related to chemicals in the liquid portion.

 

 

First of all, thank you and very crass! You sure know how to make a good photo or twelve.

Question: is the shot on the second line down, farthest to the right perhaps a 1670? To me that looks like a real red with a dash of yellow/gold -- much appraised by some of us here -- but an optic which I myself have yet to view.

 

Hugh

 

No, that was Rose Tendresse. However, now that you mention 1670...

 

http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h75/pike444/Inks/Herbin/1670s.jpg

Edited by SamCapote

With the new FPN rules, now I REALLY don't know what to put in my signature.

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