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Please Advise Me On Black Ink For Official Records; Must Not Feather


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I'm not a doctor, but on occasion in my work I write notes in old-fashioned paper medical charts. The hospital's only rule is "black only." Everyone, to my knowledge, uses ballpoint or the occasional rollerball. If I'm going to use FP ink, it will need to meet these standards: black, waterproof, photocopiable, permanent (these records are kept forever), and fast-drying enough not to smear if I have to pass the page to someone else as soon as I finish.


Now here's the angle that makes me think I may be looking for a unicorn: these pages are printed on horrible copier paper, the worst you can imagine, so what I use must be non-feathering, and non-penetrating both in terms of bleed-through or see-through (both sides of the paper are used).


If any of these standards are not met, I will have broken federal privacy laws and hospital record-writing rules, and lose my job. No joke.


Is there a doctor in the house? Or perhaps I should say is there someone else who is in this situation, because doctors probably have enough status at our place to write in crayon if they wish.


Yeah, I searched, and the variables here, in my opinion, introduce a valid new discussion.


Final comment: I'm willing to dedicate a pen to an IG ink if that's the answer.


Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Before you go buying a bottle, see if you can get a sample of the paper stock and then get some sample inks. test the ink with the paper being used. A lot of the dry time and feathering/bleed characteristics are paper dependent.


Moving on - my top choices would be Noodler's Black, Noodler's X-Feather as a starting point in a pen with a fine to extra fine nib.


Another thought - as much as I love to write with a fountain pen, it is not always the best tool for the job. It might be best to just get a quality ballpoint.

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I second the idea of a good ballpoint or roller ball. With a pen that uses a Parker cartridge, you can get the GEL cartridge in black and they write very well.

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Usually IG inks are blue/black, though some darken to an almost black (Diamine Registrar's).

I seldom use black ink, but if I do, it's always Sailor Kiwa-Guro in cartridges. It's a well behaved ink that does not feather or bleed on Rhodia, APICA or even Sustainable Earth sugar-cane bagasse.

I'd never use up a full bottle of Kiwa-Guro in a lifetime, so carts are convenient for occasional use.

*Sailor 1911S, Black/gold, 14k. 0.8 mm. stub(JM) *1911S blue "Colours", 14k. H-B "M" BLS (PB)

*2 Sailor 1911S Burgundy/gold: 14k. 0.6 mm. "round-nosed" CI (MM) & 14k. 1.1 mm. CI (JM)

*Sailor Pro-Gear Slim Spec. Ed. "Fire",14k. (factory) "H-B"

*Kaweco SPECIAL FP: 14k. "B",-0.6 mm BLS & 14k."M" 0.4 mm. BLS (PB)

*Kaweco Stainless Steel Lilliput, 14k. "M" -0.7 mm.BLS, (PB)




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I would think it's more of a pen issue with bleed through as apposed to an ink. I think the Noodlers Black would work fine, but a Needlepoint Nib from Franklin Christoph, or an Ultra Extra Fine Nib from Platinum would have a bigger effect on bleed through and feathering.


As mentioned earlier, get a few ink samples and try them out the paper you are using, see what works best in the pens you already have, if you don't have good results try a finer nib.


Also, the finer the line, generally the faster it will dry


I like the Montblanc Ultra Black quite a bit as well.

Edited by Slider20
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You need to recognize that a FP is just a writing tool. And it is up to you to use the appropriate tool for the job.

Don't risk your job over a desire to use a FP, it is not worth it.

I would use the pens out of the supply cabinet, so the hospital is on the hook for supplying the correct pen/ink that will meet regulations.


But here are some of my ideas:

- A DRY writing FINE nib. More ink on the paper = more chance for feathering and bleed though.

- IG or bullet proof or carbon ink.

- Test for yourself on their paper, then submit the test to your boss to make sure that it meets with their approval. The test should be real, and worst case. Like spilling water onto the paper a few seconds or a minute after writing, not let the ink work for a day before it is permanent.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California


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Noodler's Black. It's bulletproof (resistant to tampering), and I've used it on a wide variety of papers, from cheap to Tomoe River, without feathering. I also use mostly XF to F nibs, Japanese and not-Japanese sizes.


etherX in To Miasto

Fleekair <--French accent.

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I'd stay away from IG, as IG is known to eat through paper over time. Depending on how long those records have to stay, you might be able to use it, as the disintegration of the paper won't happen during our lifetime, but something you should consider.


Maybe a pigment ink like Sailor's KiwaGuro, or one of Noodler's would be a good idea. As suggested above, the x-feather might be an option, but I have never used Noodler's so can only go by what I've read.

There are also Montblanc and DeAtramentis inks to be considered.

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Another alternative: Blackstone Barrister Black in a fine or extra fine nib.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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All the suggestion so far have been good. But for my personal preference most of these ink leave a residue that sits on top of the paper and if exposed to liquid and humidity they tend to smear. For truly waterproof ink I always go to Platinum Carbon Black. Once this ink is dry on the paper the ink goes nowhere. No smear or smudge.


There are those who say it fades over time, but I think that time frame will be long, long after the need for looking at the patients records.

Fair winds and following seas.

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Get a Platinum Preppy 0.3 (fine) nib. Pop a Platinum Carbon Black cartridge in it, and you're in perfect shape. Feathers hardly at all and dries in two seconds or less. Get two while you're at it; they're dangerously inexpensive.

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Thanks for all the great answers. I may try some of them, or I may remain cautious and continue to use the hospital-issued ball points, yuk.

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I practiced in a hospital and outpatient setting for 10 years as an Occupational/Hand Therapist prior to my current profession and I wrote with a fountain pen during those years. I was never questioned for using a fountain pen. People (including physicians and the director of nursing) thought it was a neat thing and a topic of conversation. They don't have the knowledge that we do about ink properties, so they assumed it was just like a regular ballpoint or rollerball as ink goes. I never encountered the "ink police".


This was in an era where documentation was going to computer so there were fewer paper forms as time went on. However, there are a few things to be sure of with paper med records and some things that really don't matter. Here is what matters:


1) Black - all hospital documentation must be in black

2) Must be legible - so good handwriting and no feathering are important

3) Must be able to be copied (well, black ink copies just fine)

4) Must be permanent. You won't be writing prescriptions, but you still are creating a legal and medical document.


So this kicks out Iron Gall inks because they aren't black - and a blue black that turns dark black like Diamine Registrar's won't cut it in the short term. You will be questioned and accused of writing in blue. They won't care that it turns black over time. I don't think you need to worry about Iron Gall ink eating through the paper. The patient (and you) will be long dead before the ink would do that. Even so, today's formulations of IG most likely will not cause that damage.


I would also avoid inks that shade to avoid a questioning eye. You want a clear, crisp black line.


In my mind, you want one of these two:

1) Sailor Kiwa Guro - a carbon ink that absolutely will not feather or bleed through. It has a dark line and it is permanent. It will not smear when dried.

2) Platinum Carbon Black - similar thing as Kiwa Guro from what I hear.


Unfortunately, Montblanc Permanent Black smears even when dry on coated papers so it is out of the running. It also can bleed through. :crybaby:

Noodlers Black is out too, because it can bleed through on some papers.


If I was still in a medical profession, I would use Sailor Kiwa Guro with a Lamy 2000 fine nib. Why this particular pen? Because it doesn't look like a fountain pen to most eyes.


Even so, you will still want to carry a rollerball along for those times when you have to write on those carbon/pressure forms that occasionally pop up in a medical record. The Kiwa Guro will not show through anymore than a ballpoint or rollerball. To be honest, a rollerball can bleed through.


I think someone's statement above is good - take a writing sample to your boss in the pen of your choice with Kiwa Guro, written front and back. Get it approved and enjoy! :thumbup:

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First, use a fine pen that writes kind of dry. Platinum Plaisirs are a good bet IMO; when the nib is fine, the tipping is only 0.3mm, and if you need finer, you can swap in a 0.2mm nib/section from a Preppy.

Of the Noodler's blacks, I recommend Heart of Darkness. It dries more quickly than basic original Black, and stands up to every chemical assault ever applied to it. It doesn't feather appreciably on regular copy paper or off-brand self-stick notes.

You might do better to try one of the Japanese nano-carbon inks like Sailor Kiwa-Guro or Platinum Carbon Black.

And yes, I'd grab a blank form or two, write on it, and take it to HIM/Medical Records and see what they think.

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Again, thanks to everyone, but a special hat tip to BOG for that very informative post. I like the idea of using a Lamy 2K as sort of a stealth pen. Do we have confidence that it's OK to use a carbon ink in a piston filler? I don't know much about those inks except what I read on Platinum's website.

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Kiwa-guro is probably a good option.

Also De Atramentis Document Black could be worth considering, it dries very fast and is super permanent. However, fethering and bleed through have to be confirmed, it's been quite some time since I used it. I hardly ever use black in anymore.




BTW. Why is it mandatory to use be black ink? In Sweden I have seen both blue and green, apart from black, in the journals.

Edited by AndyYNWA



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Because Pensei is not in Sweden, perhaps?

That was not the question. I was asking why black ink is mandatory.


I just stated that in Sweden it doesn't seem to be mandatory, hence I wondered why it's mandatory in the US of A.



Instagram: inkyandy

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