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I use my fountain pens at work daily. I've had too many encounters with spills and drips on my notes to make me wary of what ink I use. One event, in particular, stands out for me when I wrote something down on a piece of paper for someone to refer to. Later, I saw the note on his desk. He had dripped some water on it, and the ink had run all over the place, not even legible! Embarrassing. It's one thing to be retro and insist on using my fountain pens at the office, but it's another when it affects the quality of the work product. So, I've been on a quest to find inks I can use reliably for work and not worry about accidents happening to destroy the writing.

 

I have quite a lot of inks in my collection. with even more samples. I selected some inks that I've been using lately along with a couple I like, but have had bad experiences with their lack of water resistance. I use a lot of Black n' Red notebooks at the office, along with copy paper. I also wanted to compare performance with a premium paper, so I selected Rhodia.

 

The tests consisted of generating a baseline for the three papers and 18 inks. I scanned the images at 600 dpi into jpeg files. They were later down-converted to lower quality jpeg to come in under 1 MB file size. I cut each sheet into two pieces - a control and a test side. After each test, they were scanned with the control and the test side together to provide a good comparison. The first test consisted of pouring a stream of water over the paper for a few seconds and then allowing the paper to dry without touching it. This simulated a spill at work and represents my biggest concern. The second test was for permanence. It was an 8 hour soaking in a water bath with some agitation to slough off any loose ink to see what actually remained behind on the paper. I'm posting the two test results and not the original because each test has its own control side to compare with.

 

There are several ink brands that make water resistant inks. I've posted scans of some others previously (including Platinum). These are the inks I've been using lately as I've narrowed my preferences. One factor I've been looking for is quick drying inks so I can write and quickly turn a page without it transferring to the contacting sheet. A lot of permanent inks tend to dry slowing. The fastest drying permanent inks I've found are the DeAtramentis Document series of inks. The negative to these are that they soak in fast and feather a lot on cheaper paper. It's always a trade-off between dry time, permanence, saturation, and smearing. That's why I have so many inks. No one ink solves all problems.

 

If I had to pick one ink to use exclusively, it would be Noodler's 54th Massachusetts. It drys relatively quickly, doesn't smear after a few minutes drying, and is really permanent with no wash off in spills. It's also a nice blue-black color. A close runner-up is Pilot Black. Dries really fast, well-behaved in all pens, and after a light wash off, leaves behind a very permanent residue.

 

Papers tested: 24 lb Black n' Red, Rhodia 80 gsm dot pad, Xerox 24 lb copy

 

Inks tested:

DeAtramentis Document Black

Diamine Majestic Blue

Faber Castell Moss Green

Pilot Black

Pilot Blue Black

Noodler's General of the Armies

Noodler's Liberty's Elysium

Noodler's Nikita

Noodler's #41 Brown

Noodler's Walnut

Noodler's Zhivago

Noodler's 54th Massachusetts

Noodler's Bad Blue Heron

Noodler's Heart of Darkness

Noodler's Bad Belted Kingfisher

Noodler's Upper Ganges Blue

Noodler's King Te cheng

Visconti Turquoise

 

Black n Red after simulated spill: post-109354-0-92226800-1472406565_thumb.jpg

 

Rhodia 80 gsm after simulated spill: post-109354-0-39932700-1472406588_thumb.jpg

 

Xerox 24 lb copy after simulated spill: post-109354-0-37909600-1472406607_thumb.jpg

 

Black n Red 24 lb after 8 hour soak: post-109354-0-79399300-1472406501_thumb.jpg

 

Rhodia 80 gsm after 8 hour soak: post-109354-0-68561800-1472406521_thumb.jpg

 

Xerox 24 lb copy after 8 hour soak: post-109354-0-29244400-1472406545_thumb.jpg

 

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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Thank you for doing this comprehensive test.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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The Good Captain

A really useful and comprehensive series of tests. Thanks a lot.

The Good Captain

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

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Interesting & useful - many thanks.

John

 

Today is Yesterday's Tomorrow :-)

For All The Times That Might Have Been We Only Have The Now

www.africanconservation.org

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amberleadavis

Thank you for sharing!

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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MathurinKerbouchard

Thank you very much for sharing this. Those Noodler's are tough! Even the Pilot Black! I was hoping the Pilot Blue Black would be as water resistant as the black.

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Yes, the Pilot Black seems to be more resistant than their Blue-Black. Both have a lot of run-off when water is spilled on them, but then once that is washed off, there is a lot left behind that is permanent. If you want absolutely no wash off in a spill, go with a DeAtramentis Document ink or Noodler's Kung Te cheng. I like the Pilot inks because I can get them in 350ml bottles. The blue-black is a nice professional color and is rather wet. It never dries out on the nib and cleans easily from pens. The black is also just as well-behaved. Of course, my all-around favorite permanent ink is Noodler's 54th Massachusetts. Doesn't smear, wash off, or soak away. Except for a tendency for nib creep, it is a top performer.

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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Pilot Black is impressive. Does anyone know whether Sailor Jentle Black has similarly good water resistance? Also Pilot Blue vs Sailor Jentle Blue.

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