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Rohrer & Klingner- Scabiosa (Iron-Gall Ink)



chingdamosaic

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chingdamosaic

Rohrer & Klingner is an old German company, established in Leipzig in 1907, reputed to be one of the best ink manufacturers in the world(yet at the same time keeping a low profile....or at least seems so IMO).

Most of their inks are well-behaved, relatively cheap, and with steady quality.

Among their 18 regular colors, two are iron-gall inks, and Scabiosa is one of them.

 

The word "Scabiosa" refers to a genus in the honeysuckle family of flowering plants.

FIY, here are some beautiful Scabiosa flowers( picture credits: google search)

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_02_zpsvpuxdlmx.jpg

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_01_zpssjt0kwrh.jpg

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_03_zpspniucpuj.jpg

 

Botanically/Academically, "Scabiosa" in Chinese should be translated as 山蘿蔔, literally meaning "Mountain Radish."

However, because "Mountain Radish" sounds so NOT commercially appealing, when R&K's Taiwanese agent first introduced this ink, they renamed it 埃及玫瑰---"Egyptian Rose."

Many FP users(yes, including me) fell for this exotic name, and purchased a bottle before learning more about the ink itself.

Well, salute this ingenious marketing strategy! lol

 

 

Now back to the theme....

 

 

First, let's take a look at the bottle (Scabiosa on the right):

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_00_zpspgsmbuca.jpg

R&K's trademark is their uniform bottle design: dark brown glass bottle (in order to protect the ink from light exposure) and metal cap.

We often joke about it resembling cough syrup, or any other thing that you'd more likely find in a pharmacy instead of a FP shop.

 

 

Here are some writing samples:

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_04_zps8q1p4sdi.jpg

It's dark purple with tints of gray and blue.

 

 

Close-up 1 (sorry for fuzzy picture)

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_05_zps7rfwp8bn.jpg

The purple color is lighter and more visible in a finer nib (in this example: LAMY Safari EF).

You can see that even in a rather dry pen, on some random cheap paper, this ink still shows a rich shading.

 

 

Close-up 2

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_07_zpsh1gk062y.jpg

If you use a broader/wetter pen(in this example: Brause no.361 dip pen), it gets darker and can almost pass for black.

 

 

Close-up 3

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_06_zpsoxg21um6.jpg

If you apply water to the writing while the ink is still wet, the purple/pink dye would be washed away, leaving a light gray trace.

 

 

And since iron-gall inks feature being permanent/waterproof/light fast, here is a water-resistance test done after the ink is fully dry:

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_08_zpshqfgs90x.jpg

I dripped some water on the paper and left it for hours.

 

Outcome:

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_09_zpseaj0fub3.jpg

Pink dye dissolved after a few minutes, but the lines remain as clear and dark as before.

Thus, if you quickly dab away the water while it's still wet, there will hardly leave any trace(shown below ).

 

 

Here are some other writing sample I did with other pen/paper combination:

 

1. LAMY Safari EF on yellow ROSSI paper (English subtitle edited on Photoshop)

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_10_zpsesiucz0s.jpg

 

 

2. Dip pen on yellow ROSSI paper

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_11_zpsnqs3nvug.jpg

When I did the smearing(bottom right), the ink wasn't fully dry yet, and some black particle dissolved...

This doesn't happen all the time, though.

 

 

3. LAMY Safari EF on MUJI white grid paper

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_12_zpsauwa479x.jpg

 

 

Usually the color of iron-gall inks fades and becomes darker and darker over time, but sometimes there will be exceptions, due to the paper and humidity( I guess....)

 

 

This is a doodle I did with Scabiosa, dip pen, on some cheap scratch paper, in June 2013:

(wet)

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_13_zpscsimvun9.jpg

 

(dry)

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_14_zpsoe9yozdt.jpg

 

 

And then I re-discovered it lately when tidying up my room:

http://i651.photobucket.com/albums/uu239/chingdamosaic/Scabiosa_15_zpsvwfwc7up.jpg

It's not purple anymore! More like a lighter wine-color, or rusty red(because of the iron in it?).

.......I kind of like this surprise : )

 

 

 

Conclusion

Saturation: high, but low chroma( they don't contradict, right?)

Shading: rich

Sheen: not observed so far. It's a rather "matte" ink.

Flow: relatively dry, but still writes smoothly even in extra fine nib.

Feathering: none (performs nicely even on cheap paper)

Bleed-through: none (performs nicely even on cheap paper)

Show-through: very little (performs nicely even on cheap paper)

Cleaning: if you always clean the pen right after using, some soaking and flushing with water will easily do the job. None of my pens has been stained or damaged after two years of constant usage.

Waterproof: yes

Other features: light fast; pH neutral.

Other notes: the pink that shows after water application is lovely.

 

Overall, I not only like this ink/color, I feel like I can TRUST it like an old loyal friend.

This is my all-time favorite for secret diary, especially when I'm writing something really personal/emotional/confessional.

I am ambitious to try as many different inks as possible in my limited life, but R&K Scabiosa is, so far, the only one I would empty a whole bottle and get a second one.

Edited by chingdamosaic
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Very nice review of an often-discussed ink. I don't mind some purple in my enjoyment of blue inks, but this one is a bit much for me.'

 

To continue your search for good IG inks, also try the excellent ones from KWZ Inks!

 

Buzz

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chingdamosaic

Very nice review of an often-discussed ink. I don't mind some purple in my enjoyment of blue inks, but this one is a bit much for me.'

 

To continue your search for good IG inks, also try the excellent ones from KWZ Inks!

 

Buzz

 

Thank you for the reply and suggestion! :)

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This is a great review, and I am very interested as I got a bottle of Scabiosa last year and tried it out in one pen (forgot which one, but I think it was my TWSBI Mini with 1.5mm nib). In that pen it was so dry it was difficult to write. Never skipped, but showed a very light color. Now I will try it out in a much wetter pen or two. I love the darker tint you are getting with this ink. I also like its good behavior on cheap paper. Your review is the impetus I needed to evaluate it further!!

 

Thank you. By the way, the photos are great.

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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Beautiful review, I really enjoyed your various samples! I like Scabiosa, it's an interesting ink; I also did some sketching with it.

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chingdamosaic

This is a great review, and I am very interested as I got a bottle of Scabiosa last year and tried it out in one pen (forgot which one, but I think it was my TWSBI Mini with 1.5mm nib). In that pen it was so dry it was difficult to write. Never skipped, but showed a very light color. Now I will try it out in a much wetter pen or two. I love the darker tint you are getting with this ink. I also like its good behavior on cheap paper. Your review is the impetus I needed to evaluate it further!!

 

Thank you. By the way, the photos are great.

I also tried Scabiosa with a finer nib at first, and was a bit disappointed.

I'm glad I decided to give it a second chance! ^_^

 

 

 

Beautiful review, I really enjoyed your various samples! I like Scabiosa, it's an interesting ink; I also did some sketching with it.

Thanks!

The rich shading and good behavior indeed make this ink a good choice to sketch with:)

 

 

I adore your reviews . . .

Thanks...

*blush*

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I also love this ink. To those who have tried it and found it paler than they would wish, not only the wetness of the nib but also paper choice makes a difference.

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I just wish it would turn into black once dry.

 

Aren't there iron galls that actually turn black? I've seen a couple of blue-blacks IG inks reviewed here, most notably the ESSRI and the Diamine Registrar's, which both seem to be a forum's favourite, and both don't turn black.

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Great review. I've been enjoying this for a few months now. The grapey color has grown on me and it has helpled tame a wet writer.,

"What? What's that? WHAT?!!! SPEAK UP, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!" - Ludwig van Beethoven.

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Traditionally, in my understanding, the traditional iron gall inks turn brown. They may go on the paper blue or black but turn brown as the iron oxidizes further.

I've read that the blue-black inks do turn black, but I'm using Platinum Blue-Black and it never turns black like I understood it was would.

 

I put Scabiosa in my wettest pen combination: my Vac-700 with a Goulet 1.5 mm nib and it is just great. Great shading, nicely wet but not too wet (I have to allow for extra dry time on fountain pen friendly papers). Glad you posted your review, it got me using Scabiosa again.

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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amberleadavis

I love the review and explanation about the flower.

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



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The Good Captain

Great review of a great ink!

The Good Captain

"Meddler's 'Salamander' - almost as good as the real thing!"

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What a lovely review, many thanks. If I could only have one ink, Scabiosa would be a serious contender.

"I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original." - Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 - 1809
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bioluminescentsquid

I just chanced on this review, and I want to congratulate you on this excellent review. I've never actually used it, but Scabiosa seems like quite an impressive ink, color-wise.

This is rather off topic, but I just read your excellent blog and your post lamenting the tragic passing of your bottle of Platinum Blue-black.

I share your love for Platinum Blue-black, for many of the reasons you listed - versatility, shading, sheen, resistance to bleeding/feathering (Due to the pigment nature of IG), and the beauty of the color. However, (If you weren't aware of this), Platinum BB is a mild Iron Gall ink, and you do have to be careful with cross-contamination with IG inks, as a low pH is needed to keep the ferrous ions in solution, and other inks may disrupt the pH of the ink, causing the iron to come out of solution like what happened to your bottle. Same goes with Scabiosa, also an IG ink.

But worry not - just husband your bottle (or any future bottles of IG inks) carefully and prevent any mixing between it and other inks of unknown pH.

Edited by bioluminescentsquid
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I love the colour, but the flow was so dry and uneven that I gave up - I tried to use it for extended time periods in Lamy Al-star and Parsons Essential, both with medium nibs. It is better with gold nibs, but I don't like to us iron gall inks in expensive pens.

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chingdamosaic

What a surprise, I didn't know there is actually anyone reading my blog.... :wub:

And thanks for the info that Platinum Blue-Black is in fact an IG ink, too! In retrospect, this explains everything.....

I think I'll stay away from more IG inks though(or temporarily, at least), because I seem to be a careless and lazy user :P

I just chanced on this review, and I want to congratulate you on this excellent review. I've never actually used it, but Scabiosa seems like quite an impressive ink, color-wise.

This is rather off topic, but I just read your excellent blog and your post lamenting the tragic passing of your bottle of Platinum Blue-black.

I share your love for Platinum Blue-black, for many of the reasons you listed - versatility, shading, sheen, resistance to bleeding/feathering (Due to the pigment nature of IG), and the beauty of the color. However, (If you weren't aware of this), Platinum BB is a mild Iron Gall ink, and you do have to be careful with cross-contamination with IG inks, as a low pH is needed to keep the ferrous ions in solution, and other inks may disrupt the pH of the ink, causing the iron to come out of solution like what happened to your bottle. Same goes with Scabiosa, also an IG ink.

But worry not - just husband your bottle (or any future bottles of IG inks) carefully and prevent any mixing between it and other inks of unknown pH.

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