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Robert Oster Signature - Bronze


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Robert Oster Signature - Bronze


Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. On his website, he describes our shared love quite eloquently: “Robert Oster Signature originates from one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia, an idyllic setting with great influence on the senses. There is my inspiration. It’s a joy to share it with you.” Well, we are certainly fortunate to have inspiring ink makers like Robert Oster to satiate our thirst for glorious inks.




In this review, the center stage is taken by Bronze, a fascinating olive-green ink with a noticeable old-rose undertone that is present just behind the surface, and that gives the ink a really nice vintage look. The name “bronze” is spot-on for this Robert Oster creation – the colour reminds me of these ancient bronze pots with lovely patina you can find at your local museum. This is an ink that really stands out from the crowd – in a good way. The ink contrasts nicely with the paper, but – unfortunately – looks a bit flat when writing with an EF-nib. Starting with F-nibs though, the ink opens up and shows its character, with strong shading in the broader nibs.




To show you the impact of saturation on the ink’s look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. On heavily saturated parts, Bronze shifts from olive-green towards more of a brown-green colour, with those tantalizing old-rose undertones just beneath the surface (the scan seems to lose these old-rose undertones somewhat, but trust me – they are there, and they are what makes this ink so special).






Like most Robert Oster inks, Bronze totally lacks any water resistance. Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text, leaving only some old-rose smudges. This is evident from the chromatography – the ink detaches easily from the paper, as can be seen in the bottom part of the chroma. The ink is reasonably smudge-resistant though… there are some greenish smudges when rubbing a line of text with a most Q-tip cotton swab, but the text itself remains perfectly readable.




I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:
  • An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)
Robert Oster Bronze behaved perfectly on all paper types, and even wrote surprisingly well on Moleskine paper (although with very noticeable show-through and bleed-through). The ink is equally at home on both white and more yellowish paper. While writing, the ink lays down a rather wet line, but still dries quickly within the 5 to 10 second range (with an M-nib). The initial wetness means that you have to look out for smudging while writing – as such it’s not an ideal ink for lefties.
Inkxperiment - bronze landscape
I’ve recently started to experiment with ink drawings, keeping things simple and more-or-less abstract due to my lack of drawing skills (which can use lots more practice). But I find it to be a fun extension of the hobby, and have found single-ink drawings a nice challenge. In this drawing I started with completely wet 300 gsm watercolour paper, and applied Bronze with a brush. For the sky I used lots of water while spreading the ink. The highlights in the sky were obtained by blending in some bleach (thank you Nick Stewart for pointing out the possibilities of using bleach on inks). With the background almost dry, I added in the trees, letting the ink spread a bit. When the paper was almost completely dry, I added the fence and some details to the trees. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece ;-) , but the drawing does show what can be obtained with Bronze in a more artistic setting.
Robert Oster Bronze is a great olive-green ink with a strong vintage vibe – mostly due to the old-rose component that shimmers beneath the surface. The ink looks good in all nib types, and can handle even low-quality paper fairly well. Unfortunately, the ink has zero water resistance – but I can live with that. Overall, I liked Bronze a lot – it certainly stands out from the crowd. Recommended!
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types


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I like how the pink undertone occasionally peeks out when washed, like in the "score" image. Very neat. I'll keep this one in mind for sampling.

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This is a beautiful review. Thank you for your hard work!


I have this as a sample but I haven’t tried it yet. I think this might become the cheap version on Sailor Jentle Rikyu-cha.

The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.

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Not a shade/color I would pick but I wanted to say thank you on the great review and I absolutely loved the little drawing/painting you did with the trees. Its far beyond my artist capability and you showcased the ink wonderfully!

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