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Water Test Of My Most Permanent Inks


cjr
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This is another water resistance test. This time, I decided to select only inks that I knew were, or were claimed to be, water resistant. I wanted to find out what that really meant. In addition, I wanted to test for simple water resistance from accidental drops and from smearing by the hand. The test I did followed these steps:

  • Create the written samples using existing inked pens or my Rohrer & Klingner glass pen. Allow to dry for 12 hours.
  • Do a drop test on the grid pattern using an eye dropper and two drops of water. Let stand for 30 seconds, then blot off (not rub) with a tissue.
  • Scan.
  • Do the smear test on the last figure 8 patterns by moistening a finger with water, rubbing firmly for a few seconds, then blotting it dry with a tissue.
  • Scan.
  • Cut the paper down the middle and place the right half in a tray of tap water at room temperature for 1 hour. No rubbing or other manipulation.
  • Remove from tray and place on paper towel until dry.
  • Tape back together and scan.

Results are shown below.

Baseline scan with drop test:
post-109354-0-63703100-1416795508_thumb.jpg
post-109354-0-95087600-1416795505_thumb.jpg

Second scan after smear test:
post-109354-0-13548300-1416795507_thumb.jpg
post-109354-0-70256200-1416795504_thumb.jpg

Final scan after 1 hour soak test:
post-109354-0-20090700-1416795502_thumb.jpg
post-109354-0-49477900-1416795503_thumb.jpg

Analysis:

All the inks tested are more or less water resistant. Several were weakly resistant in that some of the color was washed off, but a permanent line remained behind guaranteeing you would not lose any words you had written. The most permanent inks barely budged when rubbed with a wet finger then soaked under water.

Best performers:

  • Noodler’s Kung Te Cheng Blue
  • Noodler’s Heart of Darkness
  • De Atramentis Document Blue
  • Pilot Blue
  • Noodler’s Upper Ganges Blue
  • Noodler’s Empire Red
  • Noodler’s Bad Green Gator
  • De Atramentis Document Green

Worst Performers:

  • Noodler’s Bad Belted Kingfisher
  • Pilot Black
  • Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium
  • Noodler’s Fox Red

The remaining inks either smeared or faded more than I would want from my permanent inks. Still, there is a good variety of colors available in water resistant inks.

Permanence does come with trade offs. The most permanent inks tend to be slow drying depending on the paper. Fast drying isn’t an indicator of permanence, but the faster an ink dries, the less it smudges, in general.

Some of the inks are permanent (bulletproof in Noodler’s terms), but that only means some component of the ink is permanent. For example, Noodler’s Fox Red is definitely permanent, but loses some of the red and turns more of an orange if soaked in water. Baystate Blue is permanent, but the color spreads and becomes even brighter blue when wet. Liberty’s Elysium loses its bright blue and leaves behind a faded blue line. Likewise for Bad Belted Kingfisher.

If I were looking for the most permanent ink, it would be Kung Te Cheng. However, it comes with warnings about frequent maintenance to prevent pens and feeds from clogging. It does perform well on cheap paper without as much bleed through, but it takes longer to dry.

Runners-up would be: Heart of Darkness, Bad Green Gator, and Empire Red. HOD and BGG both bleed profusely and Empire Red will tend to dry in the pen.

If permanence is not that important, then there are hundreds of beautiful shades of ink to choose from and this test is merely an academic exercise for the permanent ink purists.

Hope these scans help you in selecting your next ink.

Favorite pen/ink pairings: Edison Brockton w/EF 14K gold nib and Noodler's 54th Massachusetts; Visconti Pinanfarina w/EF chromium conical nib and Noodler's El Lawrence; Sheaffer Legacy w/18k extra fine inlaid nib and Noodler's Black; Sheaffer PFM III fine w/14k inlaid nib and Noodler's Black; Lamy 2000 EF with Noodler's 54th Massachusetts; Franklin Christoph 65 Stablis w/steel Masuyama fine cursive italic and DeAtramentis Document Blue; Pilot Decimo w/18k fine nib and Pilot Blue Black; Franklin Christoph 45 w/steel Masuyama fine cursive italic and Noodler's Zhivago; Edison Brockton EF and Noodler's El Lawrence; TWSBI ECO EF with Noodler's Bad Green Gator.

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  • 2 weeks later...

These tests take a lot of work to do and even if you don't get lots of feedback, these types of tests are referred to by others for years to come. Thank you for doing this work.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).



Want to get a special letter / gift from me, then create a Ghostly Avatar



Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016



Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many thanks from a fan of water resistant inks. I'm currently using Sailor Kiwa Guro black, and Platinums pigment inks in blue and brown, but your tests make me interested in De Atramentis Red. It seems red is a difficult color to make in a waterproof version...

 

Again, thanks for posting!

 

Doug

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As I pursue mainly permanent inks, I thank you for your work very much. Thanks for sharing!

 

In my personal experience KTC is the most permanent ink I've used, at least so far.

"Do you know the legend about cicadas? They say they are the souls of poets who cannot keep quiet because, when they were alive, they never wrote the poems they wanted to."

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