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Diluting Noodler's Bulletproof Black Into Gray


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Hi all, I've recently been thinking about purchasing a bottle of Noodler's Lexington Gray but I already have Bulletproof Black. I'm wondering whether it would be possible to dilute my black to create a similar-looking gray.


Does anyone have any dilution recipes they'd like to share? Will the resulting dilution still be bulletproof?

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First of all I'd do the chromatography. I wouldn't be surprised if you ended up having a greenish or brownish ink. When you dilute an ink the "hidden" colours are seen, so I'd make sure that this black is a "real black" (i.e., made from black dyes) instead of a mix.

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I don't use Black FP ink, so I can't provide a direct answer your question, however . . .


I've found that most inks can be diluted to 40%, (2 parts ink + 3 parts water), before practical performance issues start to creep in:

  • The major concern has to do with the changes in viscosity and surface tension, and the ability of the nib+feed to handle a fluid with those characteristics. It should be possible to modify the nib+feed of a pen, such as a Noodler's Ahab, to accommodate ink diluted to less than 40%.
  • The minor concern is the behaviour of the dyes in such a modified medium.

Also, be aware that most Black inks are not made from a single Black dye, rather contain a blend of dyes of different colours, which may behave differently and/or reveal a pale colour when diluted.

(Perhaps only the nano particle carbon inks from Sailor or Platinum would give a true neutral Grey when diluted.)


I believe the ink should retain its 'bulletproof' qualities when diluted.


R&K Verdigris is the darkest ink for which I've posted dilution samples, so may be of some help.



You may also find this 'rough guide to dilution' to be worth a shufti: @ Post № 23



Please let us know how it goes.




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


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The short answer to this is 'yes, sort of'.


The longer answer is that I just had an ink accident with a Pilot M90 in a pair of shorts, which ended up with little ink left in the pen, and two impossible-to-remove stains at the bottom of the pocket. Being on holiday as I am, I just topped off the pen with water. The result can be seen below. Note the shading with the BP Black, which I've never had with Lexington Grey.




The downside to this is that the ink is no longer nice and smooth to write with, but has a dry feel to it. No great surprises there.


Not sure exactly what the dilution ratio would be, but I'd expect it to be around 10:1, water to ink. You may want to experiment, starting with 50:50 and adding more water until you get what you're looking for.




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  • 1 year later...

fjf also agrees a 10:1 ratio is appropriate.

Based on my dilution sampling and my sample of Lexington Gray I would agree that you can achieve the correct color. I cannot speak to whether the other properties (shading, etc) would be the same between the imitation and the actual. 10:1 is definitely too dilute. I would target closer to 10:2 (5:1). You may then need a little more more or a little less black than that. I do not have enough fidelity in my Lexington Gray exemplar to say (different nib used, short writing sample). You may find an ink diluted with water to that degree does not have adequate flow. That can be countered by adding a surfactant or using Noodler's Blue Ghost for the dilution.


If you really want match closely, I would recommend getting a sample of Lexington Gray to use as a target.

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