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Graf Von Faber-Castell Carbon Black Ink Review



Mafia Geek

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Mafia Geek

Here's some photos of my review of Graf von Faber-Castell Carbon Black. This is a REALLY good black ink, arguably the best black I've used to date. This will become by default, no nonsense, black ink. It's a little more pricey for a bottle than some inks, but the bottles are 75ml so larger than most ink bottles. I would HIGHLY recommend this ink to anyone looking for a good default black.




This is a writing sample in a TWSBI notebook, which has fairly good paper for bleedthrough/showthrough, but it does tend to spread a little more than Rhodia.



fpn_1399791924__graf_von_faber_castel_ca



Here's a writing sample in a Moleskine Cahier to show how it performs on lower quality paper:



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And the reverse:



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And finally the water resistance test on Rhodia pad. This was soaked in water for several seconds.



fpn_1399792160__graf_von_faber_castel_ca


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Good review and thanks for posting. Other than Herbin what blacks are you comparing this ink to ?

Money may not make you happy but I would rather cry in a Rolls-Royce

 

The true definition of madness - Doing the same thing everyday and expecting different results......

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Mafia Geek

Good review and thanks for posting. Other than Herbin what blacks are you comparing this ink to ?

 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

I've gone through quite the gambit of black inks. I've tried most Noodler's (black, x-feather, bad black, etc.), Pilot Black, Sailor Nano Black, Pelikan Fount India, Diamine Onyx, Lamy Black, Platinum Mix-Free, Iroshizuku, Rohrer & Klinger, and a few others.

 

This one won out over Perle Noir only because it does better on lower quality paper than Perle Noir. The one thing that Perle Noir has over this ink (and almost EVERY OTHER black ink) is that it doesn't smear with a highlighter.

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Nice review. Thank you! I like it too and use it a lot. Its properties are IMO very good and fit in with those of all of the other 5 new GcFC inks. Especially the bottles and boxes are truly great.

Getting back to the price... that isn't really all that expensive per ml. Looking at our prices here in Euros, including our 19% sales tax, it's like this...

 

 

-----------------------------------------------------

Ink List Price Bottle Price/ml

-----------------------------------------------------

New Caran d'Ache 29.50 50 ml 0.59

Iroshizuku 24.90 50 ml 0.50

Old Caran d'Ache 13.95 30 ml 0.47

Graf von F-Cl (new) 25.00 75 ml 0.33

Pelikan Edelstein 14.50 50 ml 0.29

Herbin 8.65 30 ml 0.29

Akkerman (60 ml) 15.00 60 ml 0.25

Montblanc (regulars) 13.00 60 ml 0.22

Waterman 7.50 50 ml 0.15

Pelikan 4001 4.15 30 ml 0.14

Parker Quink 6.00 57 ml 0.11

Akkerman (150 ml) 16.50 150 ml 0.11

-----------------------------------------------------

 

Mike

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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I was a little curious which blacks you're comparing to when you say 'best black', since something like Noodler's Black wouldn't have a problem with water at all, let alone a highlighter swipe. And 30 seconds seems to be a little long for drying for a typical notebook (I'd expect that more on vellum paper like rhodia), Pilot black for example seems to dry much faster than that, while having similar water resistance as shown by FC's black.

 

PS: What would a 5 minute soak look like? (I thought that was a 5 minute til I seen 'several seconds' which doesn't seem that great to me, but not completely 'washable')

Edited by KBeezie
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Mafia Geek

I was a little curious which blacks you're comparing to when you say 'best black', since something like Noodler's Black wouldn't have a problem with water at all, let alone a highlighter swipe. And 30 seconds seems to be a little long for drying for a typical notebook (I'd expect that more on vellum paper like rhodia), Pilot black for example seems to dry much faster than that, while having similar water resistance as shown by FC's black.

 

PS: What would a 5 minute soak look like? (I thought that was a 5 minute til I seen 'several seconds' which doesn't seem that great to me, but not completely 'washable')

I found that Noodlers black never quite dried for me (see my review posted on here). For the water resistance I left it in the water until no more ink lifted, it was close to a full minute fully immersed in water. Some ink does lift, but by no means is it much. I personally did not like, nor was I impressed with, the performance of Noodlers black, so I kept looking. Your millage may be different, as might your requirements/expectations, but this ink meets mine whereas Noodlers black didn't.

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I found that Noodlers black never quite dried for me (see my review posted on here). For the water resistance I left it in the water until no more ink lifted, it was close to a full minute fully immersed in water. Some ink does lift, but by no means is it much. I personally did not like, nor was I impressed with, the performance of Noodlers black, so I kept looking. Your millage may be different, as might your requirements/expectations, but this ink meets mine whereas Noodlers black didn't.

 

Ahh I see, when you said several seconds was not sure if you meant like 7-10 seconds, or close to 60 ( a minute as you just said ). And by no means trying to diss your preference was curious if for example you were comparing to say noodler's which you said you did. Which also means if you used black eel like I do, then you'd probably have an even more unsatisfactory result since the lubricated version would take longer to dry (but once dry, it's on there).

 

The other factor I noticed after the fact is that you are using a medium and 1.1 stub, I tend to use Western Fine or smaller.

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Thanks for the review, That fox is jumping since 2011 hahaha.

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Mafia Geek

Ahh I see, when you said several seconds was not sure if you meant like 7-10 seconds, or close to 60 ( a minute as you just said ). And by no means trying to diss your preference was curious if for example you were comparing to say noodler's which you said you did. Which also means if you used black eel like I do, then you'd probably have an even more unsatisfactory result since the lubricated version would take longer to dry (but once dry, it's on there).

 

The other factor I noticed after the fact is that you are using a medium and 1.1 stub, I tend to use Western Fine or smaller.

 

 

I found with the batches of Noodlers black's (any type) smeared quite a lot even with steel pilot fines. I did an experiment of diluting it to see if that was the problem, no luck, so I gave up on it and found Perle Noir.

 

Thanks for the review, That fox is jumping since 2011 hahaha.

Hehe, I think it started jumping well before 2011.

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  • 10 months later...

Maybe the water resistance depends on what paper you are testing on, because in terms of water resistance, the FC Carbon Black ranked dead last on my test of 15 black inks. Just the lightest touch with a brush with water on a sample that had been sitting for weeks immediately made a dark black and grey streak across my page of Stonehenge paper (100% Cotton), which was a huge unpleasant surprise to me as I was getting ready to buy a bottle. No other ink was anywhere near this bad, not even the ones that weren't in any way claiming to be water resistant. On good drawing paper this ink didn't resist one pass of a small damp brush.

 

This ink would be completely unsuitable for a watercolor wash, water based inks, or even a slight slosh of your water glass. The only thing good I can say about it is that it didn't have a problem with alcohol based inks (Copic/Prismacolor markers), unlike the Faber Castell PITT pens do. The PITT pens don't play well with Copic's, water/water based pens, or anything else as far as I can tell - I threw away nearly a complete set of both the Black and skin colored PITT pens except for the soft brush pen, which I like to doodle with on occasion. The PITT pen ink on this test failed both the waterproofness and copic tests this time too, which was no surprise.

 

I'm glad I only purchased a sample of this ink, since another good quality drawing paper I commonly use had the same results (but only tested with a couple of days of curing time, although I can't see that making any difference).

 

Just for the record, I don't have anything against Faber-Castell - the Polychromos colored pencils are my #1 choice for any colored pencil art. I own the complete set of 120 and I'm buying replacements all the time as I use them up. I'm not sure I understand the huge discrepancy in our different tests though, but I'll try it on more types of paper rather than what I normally use.

 

Other pigment based (pen) inks I tested didn't have any problems, to keep it on an apples to apples comparison, such as Sailor's Kiwa-Guro, Platinum Carbon, Sakura Pigma (disposable pens) and Pentel Pocket Brush Ink/Copic SP (cartridge only).

 

For other inks, Noodler's Black was excellent, but Noodler's Heart of Darkness had major issues - which was a bummer, since I had just bought it for line art.

 

Pentel pocket brush ink was excellent in terms of water resistance, as was the Platinum Carbon.

 

Higgins WP Drawing India Ink won hands down in both blackness and being absolutely waterproof, even after rubbing a finger across a line multiple times while it was wet, which all other inks failed to some degree. It isn't in the same category since it can't be used in pens (other than dip pens of course).

 

Maybe they changed the formulation since the initial review and now it is different, who knows. If f I was given a bottle of FC Carbon Black as a gift I'd smile, thank them, and then dump the ink and use the bottle as an inkwell... or something. Platinum Carbon Black has a glossy look I don't care for much, so I'll take Noodler's Black, the Pentel Pocket Brush, or Higgins WP India Ink any day of the week depending on how I'm going to be using it after seeing the incredibly bad water resistance of this ink.

 

 

post-121655-0-38970600-1428808323_thumb.jpg

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I quite agree with your review comments. This has become my favorite black for writing checks, addressing envelopes, and the like. It provides a soft and lush feel when writing, and the drying time for me has been surprisingly fast. It has replaced my Noodlers Bulletproof Black, which seemed to never dry and always smeared.

Edited by whichwatch
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  • 8 months later...

I bought a bottle of this ink, thinking that it was waterproof, or at least, water resistant. Unfortunately, it is barely water resistant, I have found. In every other way, it's an excellent ink, so I'll continue to use it, but I may just buy another bottle of Noodler's Black, which in most respects has been an excellent ink for me in the past.

 

I agree with Zhooom's comments about Platinum Black. It has an unsatisfactory shiny gray appearance under direct lighting. In every other respect, it's an excellent ink, but I won't use it again.

Edited by jonro
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