dcwaites Posted January 1, 2016 Share Posted January 1, 2016 This is the third part of my Newbie's Guide to Inks. Part I can be found here and Part II is here.It is not yet complete. More to come.In the meantime, read on. UsageHaving described the types of inks available, some people also want some help with what sorts of inks to use in their pens. I have split the inks up into three groups – Level I, Level II and Level III. They roughly correspond to the Less-Saturated, Medium-Saturated and Highly-Saturated inks mentioned above. Note, the examples given below are not a complete list, they are simply a few representative brands. If you wish to use an ink that is not explicitly listed below, then look to see if it has been reviewed on the FPN and make your judgement from the comments. Level IThese inks are suitable for beginners to the FP world and are safe for more delicate pens. These inks have a relatively low concentration of dyes. As well, they have a good reputation for not staining and tend to clean up relatively easily. Example inks are Sheaffer Skrip, Waterman and GateCity Everflo, as well as the Parker Quink Washable inks. Level IIThese inks have a higher concentration of dyes than Level I inks and are suitable for more experienced users and all but the most delicate of pens. Some of the inks may stain plastics, particularly red inks, and may require extra effort to clean up after a spill. Level II includes most inks – Parker Quink Permanent (except for Black), Sailor Jentle, Pelikan (except for Fount India), Lamy, Mont Blanc, Diamine, Visconti, Pilot standard inks and many others. Level IIIThese are the inks that will require a relatively high level of maintenance for your pens. They are perfectly safe in most pens, so long as you use the pens regularly and flush well between each refill, even if you are refilling with the same ink. There are three types of Level III inks – Highly Saturated, Pigmented and Iron-Gall. Highly Saturated inks are standard, dye-based inks that simply have a relatively high concentration of dye in the ink. Consequently, these inks are more likely to dry out in your pen than other inks. Some highly saturated inks are also called ‘Bulletproof’. The chemistry in these inks do not pose any more problems with your pens than other highly saturated inks. Pretty well all inks made by Noodlers and Private Reserve are highly saturated, as are Parker Quink Permanent Black, Iroshizuku, and Wancher, amongst other inks. Pigmented inks get their colour from tiny coloured particles or pigments. The particles are so tiny that, under normal circumstances, they do not clog the nib and the tiny slits in the feed of a pen. It is essential that if you are going to use a pigmented ink in a fountain pen, you should only use inks that are made for fountain pens. The best known manufacturers of FP suitable pigmented inks are Sailor (Kiwaguro Black, Seiboku Blue-Black ), Pilot (Pigmented Black and Pigmented Blue) and Pelikan (Fount India). Iron-Gall inks work by oxidising dissolved Iron ions to Iron III (black) oxide. This happens as the oxygen in the air gets at the ink while it is drying. As a result, there are tiny particles of black iron oxide embedded in the fibres of the paper, giving black written lines. However, oxygen in the small amounts of air inside the pen can also cause precipitation of black iron oxide particles. These can clog the pen, nib and feed if not cleaned out regularly. FP friendly Iron-Gall inks are made by Diamine (Registrar’s Ink), Ecclesiastical Stationery Supplies (Registrar’s Ink) and Rohrer & Klingner (Salix and Scabiosa). A new player on the block is KWZI, who has created over 70 new inks, with about 20 of those being Iron-Gall. It is absolutely essential that you use a pen filled with any of these inks daily, and flush it out thoroughly between each fill. This is because Oxygen interacts with the IG component in the ink and precipitates out the iron particles. Old and Vintage InksSome inks last for several decades in sealed bottles without deteriorating. Others, like Mont Blanc Blue-Black, have an expiry date on the bottle for a reason. Treat any bottle of old or vintage ink with extreme caution. If you can, use it with a dip pen before putting it in a pen. If you don’t have a dip pen, then insert a clean matchstick or the like into the ink and pull it out. What you are looking for is slime attaching itself to the stick. Also look for a bad smell (remembering that some vintage inks have a ‘different’ smell from modern inks, but may still be good. If it is blue-black ink, it may be based on iron-gall chemistry. Look for sediment in the bottom, or a grey-black colour instead of dark blue drying to black (this last is a problem with old bottles of Mont Blanc Blue-Black). Once you are convinced that your ink is good, then use it with confidence, but treat it as a Level III ink, using regularly and flushing between fills. Pen MaintenanceNo matter what level ink you are using, your pen will need cleaning at some regular interval. This is done by emptying all the ink left in your pen (hopefully not very much). Then fill the pen with clean water and empty it out several times until the water comes out clear. This may take several (5 to 10) cycles. If it still doesn’t come out clear, you may need to just fill it and leave it to soak overnight. If that doesn’t work, then replace the water with a 10% solution of clear (not cloudy) household ammonia in water. Soak overnight again, and flush thoroughly. If you still can’t clean your pen out it may need professional attention. The ink needs to be cleaned out of your pen for four possible reasons – If you are using the same ink for each refill then you need to clean the pen out to stop the build up of old, congealed ink. How often depends on the type of ink, and is discussed below. Whenever you change inks you need to clean all the old ink out before putting the new ink into your pen. If you have let the ink dry out in a pen you will need to clean it thoroughly. It will take extra effort to remove the dried ink. That effort should remind you not to let it happen next time. . . When you decide to put a pen away for any length of time, you need to empty out the ink and flush it till the water comes out clear. Leave the pen with the nib touching some tissue for a day or so to let all the water in the pen evaporate out. Level I InksIf you have been using the same Level I ink constantly in your pen, then it should be cleaned thoroughly every 5 to 10 refills. I know that some people have said that they have used the same ink in their pen for years without cleaning. However, I wouldn’t. You run the risk of building up coagulated ink in the crevices inside your pen. Level II InksThese inks should be cleaned out of your pen more often. The higher concentration of richer dyes can clog your pen up more quickly. I would recommend flushing your pen every 2 to 5 refills if you are using the same ink. Level III InksLevel III inks should be flushed out of your pen with every refill, even if you are using the same ink. The high concentration of dyes, or the special ingredients, can certainly build up inside your pens if you are not careful. I have had to throw out an admittedly cheap pen, because I left a Level III ink in it for too long. The pen was so clogged up there was no way I could get any water in to begin flushing. All InksNo matter what ink you have been using you need to flush thoroughly if you are changing inks. In many cases you will get away with not flushing, but you might end up getting an unexpected precipitation inside your pen. Further Thoughts on Levels of InkAs I was reviewing this document I realised that there was a general trend with the way that ink of a particular level interacted with paper. Dye inks come in Level I, II and III. Level III inks tend to be the most beautiful, most highly regarded and include many of the more expensive inks. Of the dye-based inks, the Level I inks are usually the best behaved on cheaper paper (an exception here is the Everflo inks which are more like the next level of inks). Level II inks tend to feather and bleed more than Level I inks, but are acceptable on all but the worst papers. Level III inks split into two camps. The Highly Saturated inks usually feather and bleed on all but the best behaving papers. However the Pigmented and Iron Gall inks work well on even the cheapest and nastiest of papers. I keep a pen on my desk at work filled with an IG ink just to cope with the truly execrable paper supplied by my employer. “Them as can do has to do for them as can’t. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.” Granny Aching Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now