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Noodler's Ink - 54Th Massachusetts


AgentVenom
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* originally posted on my Instagram.

 

Ink Review: Noodler's Ink, 54th Massachusetts.

Grade: 62.50%.

Paper: Norcom Composition.

 

My mother, when she first got into fountain pens, bought 54th Mass. because she thought it was going to be her 'go to' work horse ink. I don't she she wrote with it for even a day before she decided she hated it. She was expecting a blue black ink, but instead got what I call a blue gray. I think that the deep blue gray color makes it unique, but I can understand her sentiment.

 

As I've used 54th Mass., I've both loved and hated this ink. I think the ink was aptly named; the color certainly brings to mind the uniforms the Union wore during the American Civil War. Not a pristine and clean museum piece, but rather a worn in and heavily used soldiers uniform. I can't help but think of the uniforms the Union army wore in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly when I see this ink in person.

 

54th Mass. is a Bulletproof/Eternal Noodler's ink. You may not be able to tell, but I decided to put this ink to the test. On the words WATER and HAND SANITIZER, I put drops of, you guessed it, water and hand sanitizer onto the ink. From what I can see, 54th Mass. didn't move an inch. However, I can also tell you that it will take some effort to clean this ink. I got some one hands last night and I'm still slightly gray almost 24 hours, and several hand washes, later.

 

54th makes up for its clean up issues in my mind by being a very fast drying and smooth writing ink. Just be aware that this also means that the pen will dry out quickly if you leave the cap off of your pen for too long.

 

54th Mass. may not be a very well rounded ink, but I think its Eternal properties, unique color, and resistance to bleeding through cheap paper make it a great office or EDC ink.

post-116959-0-37148100-1432341872_thumb.jpg

Freedom lies in being bold - Robert Frost

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Agent Venom...Nathan Tardiff comes up with some amazing inks, doesn't he? And when he says bulletproof/eternal he means it. Thanks for reviewing an ink that I've been wanting to try.

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Agent Venom...Nathan Tardiff comes up with some amazing inks, doesn't he? And when he says bulletproof/eternal he means it. Thanks for reviewing an ink that I've been wanting to try.

You're welcome. And thank you.

Freedom lies in being bold - Robert Frost

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Here are some close up pictures of the shading/smear, water, and hand sanitizer tests. I think you can see a sheen on the hand sanitizer test from where I let it evaporate.

post-116959-0-86624400-1432343288_thumb.jpg

post-116959-0-26446100-1432343401_thumb.jpg

post-116959-0-88942900-1432343416_thumb.jpg

Freedom lies in being bold - Robert Frost

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Food for thought: is it not a bit unfair to rank cleaning a 1/10 because it stained hands? It might stain my hands (as does the least water resistant ink out there) but 54th rinses easily from my pens.

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Food for thought: is it not a bit unfair to rank cleaning a 1/10 because it stained hands? It might stain my hands (as does the least water resistant ink out there) but 54th rinses easily from my pens.

I would agree with that supposition.

Freedom lies in being bold - Robert Frost

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54th MA is a weird ink. I avoided it at first because I wasn't sure I'd like the color (too many inks in the blue-black family lean teal for my taste). But eventually I tried a sample because I figured "What the heck? If I don't like it I'm only out a buck and a quarter...." And somehow the color just grew on me (metaphorically; but yes, on occasion also literally :rolleyes:).

So I bought a full bottle. And it was... different. Still has the teal component, but the bottled stuff was a lot lighter, and somewhat bluer, than the sample had been. I actually think I like it better -- but it sure was startling. And before you ask -- yes, it was the same pen (my ebonite Konrad).

And now I see the pix AgentVenom posted it's changed yet again -- darker and more of a grayish tone than *either* my sample or bottle. :gaah:

Sigh. Someone wanna take Mr. Tardif behind the woodshed and "learn" him some about quality control? Or at least the meaning of the word "consistency"? This makes me absolutely nuts sometimes....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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So I bought a full bottle. And it was... different. Still has the teal component, but the bottled stuff was a lot lighter, and somewhat bluer, than the sample had been. I actually think I like it better -- but it sure was startling. And before you ask -- yes, it was the same pen (my ebonite Konrad).

 

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

My experience was the exact opposite. The sample was very much on the blue side of dark blue almost running to teal. I like it and bought the full bottle and it was so dark so as to be almost black - which I didn't like. I diluted it to 80% and that brought back some of the blue. Nowhere near the sample, but it's grown on me this way.

 

I agree about the consistency though. I'm wondering what the next bottle will look like.

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hanged yet again -- darker and more of a grayish tone than *either* my sample or bottle. :gaah:

Sigh. Someone wanna take Mr. Tardif behind the woodshed and "learn" him some about quality control? Or at least the meaning of the word "consistency"? This makes me absolutely nuts sometimes....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

This is one thing that has kept me from exploring Noodler's inks.

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54th MA is a weird ink. I avoided it at first because I wasn't sure I'd like the color (too many inks in the blue-black family lean teal for my taste). But eventually I tried a sample because I figured "What the heck? If I don't like it I'm only out a buck and a quarter...." And somehow the color just grew on me (metaphorically; but yes, on occasion also literally :rolleyes:).

So I bought a full bottle. And it was... different. Still has the teal component, but the bottled stuff was a lot lighter, and somewhat bluer, than the sample had been. I actually think I like it better -- but it sure was startling. And before you ask -- yes, it was the same pen (my ebonite Konrad).

And now I see the pix AgentVenom posted it's changed yet again -- darker and more of a grayish tone than *either* my sample or bottle. :gaah:

Sigh. Someone wanna take Mr. Tardif behind the woodshed and "learn" him some about quality control? Or at least the meaning of the word "consistency"? This makes me absolutely nuts sometimes....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

My experience was the exact opposite. The sample was very much on the blue side of dark blue almost running to teal. I like it and bought the full bottle and it was so dark so as to be almost black - which I didn't like. I diluted it to 80% and that brought back some of the blue. Nowhere near the sample, but it's grown on me this way.

 

I agree about the consistency though. I'm wondering what the next bottle will look like.

This is one thing that has kept me from exploring Noodler's inks.

I've heard of samples being different than the bottles before, and not just from Noodler's, has anyone heard why there is a difference?

Freedom lies in being bold - Robert Frost

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Did you try shaking the bottle before filling? There was once I forgot to hake the bottle and I got more of a blue gray color than blue black. After I shake it before filling, I get more of blue black color.

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I've heard of samples being different than the bottles before, and not just from Noodler's, has anyone heard why there is a difference?

 

I did email with Goulets about this and we came to the conclusion that it was batch variation. I don't know what would cause this, but I have heard Noodler's has a higher incidence of batch variation than most other makers.

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Did you try shaking the bottle before filling? There was once I forgot to hake the bottle and I got more of a blue gray color than blue black. After I shake it before filling, I get more of blue black color.

Yes! When I first got my bottle I thought it was the wrong color entirely - sort of a medium value grayish blue. Total disappointment. After reading the forums a bit, I took someone's suggestion to shake it just before filling, and now it is the beautiful, dark, nearly black blue that I wanted.

Definitely make sure the cap's on tight first, though!

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Thanks for the review. I have a bottle of 54th, but don't use it too often (I prefer my green inks, and generally go ACBB when I need dark permanent ink).

 

While there are batch variations in Noodler's inks (and I'm sure many other brands that are all handmade), 54th is definitely one of those inks that needs a good shaking before filling. I can see a good bit of dye settled out on the bottom of my bottle, likely because the ink is so concentrated.

So many inks, so little time...

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Yes! When I first got my bottle I thought it was the wrong color entirely - sort of a medium value grayish blue. Total disappointment. After reading the forums a bit, I took someone's suggestion to shake it just before filling, and now it is the beautiful, dark, nearly black blue that I wanted.

Definitely make sure the cap's on tight first, though!

Thanks for the review. I have a bottle of 54th, but don't use it too often (I prefer my green inks, and generally go ACBB when I need dark permanent ink).

 

While there are batch variations in Noodler's inks (and I'm sure many other brands that are all handmade), 54th is definitely one of those inks that needs a good shaking before filling. I can see a good bit of dye settled out on the bottom of my bottle, likely because the ink is so concentrated.

I did email with Goulets about this and we came to the conclusion that it was batch variation. I don't know what would cause this, but I have heard Noodler's has a higher incidence of batch variation than most other makers.

I'll try to get my hands on the original bottle so I can shake the devil out of it and get another picture.

Freedom lies in being bold - Robert Frost

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was expecting a blue black ink, but in both a sample and a bottle I got for a specific ink mix recipe, the ink looks almost completely black. Maybe I need to test it in a drier pen to see some more color.

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54th Mass is my all-time favorite ink. It is in my daily carry Lamy 2000 EF. It's perfect for all types of paper, from smooth Rhodia to cheap composition notebooks. Permanent and relatively fast drying. Doesn't smear. I've left it in the L2K, capped, for a week, and it starts right up (probably says a lot about the L2K!) I'd call the color a deep, steel gray -- perfect for office use.

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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The bottle I got was also so dark it looked black. I diluted it 80:20 ink:water and that brought out some more of the blue. It's still quite dark with blue overtones, but next to a black ink it shows a nice difference.

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