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The ‘Right’ Way To Do Ink Reviews To Serve One's Curiosity And Interests?



A Smug Dill

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I enjoy reading ink reviews, and would like to see one of yours.

Use the Find function in your browser application to look for "in Ink Reviews" on the page of results from this search, then.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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~ A student here explained that they most appreciated reviews which anticipated likely questions in advance, answering them with clarity.



While they were referring to reviews of published works in field ecology, their preference makes sense.



Those ink reviews which include results and analysis which address likely concerns are especially appreciated.



That's one reason I haven't posted much in the way of ink reviews, as I'm uncertain what others might most find helpful.



Tom K.


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~ A student here explained that they most appreciated reviews which anticipated likely questions in advance, answering them with clarity.

While they were referring to reviews of published works in field ecology, their preference makes sense.

Those ink reviews which include results and analysis which address likely concerns are especially appreciated.

That's one reason I haven't posted much in the way of ink reviews, as I'm uncertain what others might most find helpful.

Tom K.

 

 

 

The desire to help others is such an appealing trait. I don't think you need to fret about anticipating all readers' questions. If you post a review and some reader has another question about the ink, that reader is free to post the question in your thread. Then, if you happen to know the answer, you can give it, or other readers can chime in, contributing to the conversation.

 

One of the pleasures of this community, for many of us, is sharing and comparing discoveries.

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~ Several fountain pen-loving friends in East Asia don't post in FPN due to language differences.



However, they regularly read in various FPN forums, including Ink Reviews.



After reading the many comments in this thread, two noted that they especially appreciate ink review which refer to flushing a given ink after use.



In other words, it's of value to them f a review comments on how relatively easy or difficult it is to clean a nib, particularly in outlier cases.



They enjoyed going through the points raised by those who've posted here.



Tom K.


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I love reading all the comments here, and have certainly considered them as I have put together my "Inklings".

 

Over the last week or so, I decided to purchase some additional ink bottles. My first stop, of course, is our own Ink Reviews. What I really appreciated was looking a the reviews of several people. None one review had all the information that I was seeking, but several of them did. I appreciated their use of multiple nib types and multiple papers, and always the comparison with other inks.

 

But even more importantly to me was their opinion overall of the ink. And after reading so many of the reviews, I have gotten a bit of a flavor of the reviewer as well - what colors they favor or don't favor - what formulations, etc. I also really appreciated not only the writing samples but also the sketches and doodles.

 

And, as Tom Kellie said above, I also appreciate knowing how easy/difficult it is to clean the ink. I have found many times that I really like a color, but trying to clean it out of a nib/feed and converter is a lot of work, and may not be worth it in the long run. I also appreciate knowing if the ink has a propensity to stain.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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I also appreciate knowing how easy/difficult it is to clean the ink. I have found many times that I really like a color, but trying to clean it out of a nib/feed and converter is a lot of work, and may not be worth it in the long run. I also appreciate knowing if the ink has a propensity to stain.

So how would you go about testing that, once you've acquired the ink, then capture and present those findings so that you as an ink reviewer can share the information with others, and let others prospectively benefit from it because you're personally interested about those aspects of an ink?

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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The important points to me in a review would be knowing if the person has been given the ink by the manufacturer or bought it themselves. If the ink has been supplied to them does the manufacturer approve the review prior to posting.

 

Also, and this has been touched on already, how easy is the ink to live with on a daily basis,

 

  • Can it be washed out of a pen
  • Does it stain cartridges or ink view windows
  • Does the ink seperate in the bottle

 

This in addition to the regular information of no feathering, no bleedthrough and accurate comments on drying time.

 

In a perfect world it would be ideal to eliminate the variables by having all reviewers use a fine nib and a standardised paper, not that this is a perfect world.

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In a perfect world it would be ideal to eliminate the variables by having all reviewers use a fine nib and a standardised paper, not that this is a perfect world.

 

~ Beechwood:

 

I'm inexperienced with the refinements of top-level ink reviews.

Your comments made excellent sense to me. Thank you for posting them.

However, I was unable to grsp why a Fine nib might be optimal for ink reviews.

For standardization...or for another reason?

Please pardon my question, as its based on ignorance on my part.

Tom K.

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~ Beechwood:

 

I'm inexperienced with the refinements of top-level ink reviews.

Your comments made excellent sense to me. Thank you for posting them.

However, I was unable to grsp why a Fine nib might be optimal for ink reviews.

For standardization...or for another reason?

Please pardon my question, as its based on ignorance on my part.

Tom K.

 

 

Hi Tom

 

The only reason that I chose to say Fine (as opposed to Medium or Broad) is that it would seem that it is more universal than a Broad nibbed pen - which might be better as it would get the most out of an inks shading abilities - for example. It would also be a better test of bleedthrough and feathering.

 

I wouldnt want to exclude a sector of pen users who might only have a Fine pen as their daily user.

 

Therefore a broad nib would be my first choice but to be inclusive I suggested a fine.

 

G.

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The important points to me in a review would be knowing if the person has been given the ink by the manufacturer or bought it themselves. If the ink has been supplied to them does the manufacturer approve the review prior to posting.

 

I personally think there's little point in second-guessing why a particular reviewer chooses to post particular information and/or express certain opinions in his/her ink reviews, especially if what is presented is falsifiable by individual readers (or viewers) at their own effort and expense. If some aspect isn't covered, does it really matter it's because someone other than the reviewer (e.g. whoever fielded the cost of acquiring or supplying the ink for the review) forbade or vetoed it, or because the reviewer simply didn't want to test it or talk about it?

 

Also, and this has been touched on already, how easy is the ink to live with on a daily basis,

 

 

  • Can it be washed out of a pen
  • Does it stain cartridges or ink view windows

There are certain things that I personally wouldn't go out of my way to test, and since I'll most likely never use a piston-filler for a tester pen in my "lab", I won't come across the information from first-hand experience.

 

 

In a perfect world it would be ideal to eliminate the variables by having all reviewers use a fine nib and a standardised paper, not that this is a perfect world.

 

In that case, there wouldn't be much of a need or reason for multiple reviews of an ink. But reviews aren't technical reports or manufacturer's product specifications that others can count on as authoritative, and reviewers aren't answerable to readers when they are voluntarily providing information. And, in that "perfect world", no user would dare to entertain the thought of using anything other than a Fine nib and a standardised paper (say, Maruman 70gsm white paper) for his/her applications, because then the information he/she gleaned from the ink review will not longer be reliable or relevant.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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The only reason that I chose to say Fine (as opposed to Medium or Broad) is that it would seem that it is more universal than a Broad nibbed pen - which might be better as it would get the most out of an inks shading abilities - for example. It would also be a better test of bleedthrough and feathering.

 

I wouldnt want to exclude a sector of pen users who might only have a Fine pen as their daily user.

 

Therefore a broad nib would be my first choice but to be inclusive I suggested a fine.

 

~ Beechwood:

 

Thank you for the explanation, which makes good sense to me.

Although there are half a dozen OF nibs on my writing desk, there is only one F nib.

Thanks to your kind explanation above, I'll consider using that nib to present newly acquired inks.

The sole F nib serving my writing needs is a 2001 Montblanc Patron of Art Marquise de Pompadour.

It's the weightiest fountain pen on my writing desk, due to the ceramic used.

I admire the lucid, friendly tone of your explanation.

Tom K.

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~ Beechwood:

 

Thank you for the explanation, which makes good sense to me.

Although there are half a dozen OF nibs on my writing desk, there is only one F nib.

Thanks to your kind explanation above, I'll consider using that nib to present newly acquired inks.

The sole F nib serving my writing needs is a 2001 Montblanc Patron of Art Marquise de Pompadour.

It's the weightiest fountain pen on my writing desk, due to the ceramic used.

I admire the lucid, friendly tone of your explanation.

Tom K.

 

 

Hi Tom

 

Oblique Fines are very special, must admit that I have only used one and that was in a 146 tester, I had the joy of using each of the 8 or 9 pens in the MB rack, the sales person then said would you like to see a very special pen, she went to the safe and came back with a LE Titanium, which was £8000, and almost 8000 pounds in weight!

 

I look forward to your reviews as I do your gentlemanly posts, thank you for your kind words, I really cannot do with people who prefer to argue with every blessed point, better to ignore and just get on and enjoy the forum.

 

All the best

 

G

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Excellent comments all, and most which make me consider what is important to me in an ink review.

 

Perhaps I will go a bit against the grain here, and I think I alluded to it earlier, but one of the things I really enjoy about numerous ink reviews is the different characteristics and environments that the ink is used it. I guess I am saying that I like multiple variables. And I appreciate the differing viewpoints. It adds depth and helps me decide if the ink is right for me.

 

As an example, I live in a fairly arid environment (generally between 15-25% humidity depending upon the time of year). So, if I am considering an ink, I might look at a review by a person who might live in a similar environment, then look at another who might live in a more humid environment. For most people, this is not at all an important variable, but it is to me. From my observations, fountain pens and inks and even paper behave differently in an arid environment. Yes, dry times will be shorter, but ink evaporates inside the pen much quicker, which may make the ink more saturated. In an arid environment, paper tends to be drier and sometimes more brittle. It soaks up ink faster than in a humid environment. That has an effect on the draw down of ink through the nib. But again, is this something that I want to everyone to have to consider? No, not at all.

 

But, when I consider doing an ink review, I have to keep that in mind because I am preparing the review for others who may live in a less arid environment. I try to be as general as possible. To try to keep things balanced, when I do a review, I don't let the ink sit in the pen for days before I do the review. I try to do it fairly soon after loading the pen. I also try to use fresh paper - just recently unwrapped. I also don't do chromatography because the paper dries too quickly to give accurate results.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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So how would you go about testing that, once you've acquired the ink, then capture and present those findings so that you as an ink reviewer can share the information with others, and let others prospectively benefit from it because you're personally interested about those aspects of an ink?

 

Excellent question! I am assuming (never a good idea) that you are referring to "how easy is the ink to clean from the pen". This would be difficult to characterize and standardize because everyone's "cleaning" habits are different. But I will consider how to prepare some kind of protocol for this - at least so I can standardize my routine for any review I might write.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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Oblique Fines are very special, must admit that I have only used one and that was in a 146 tester, I had the joy of using each of the 8 or 9 pens in the MB rack, the sales person then said would you like to see a very special pen, she went to the safe and came back with a LE Titanium, which was £8000, and almost 8000 pounds in weight!

 

I look forward to your reviews as I do your gentlemanly posts, thank you for your kind words, I really cannot do with people who prefer to argue with every blessed point, better to ignore and just get on and enjoy the forum.

 

~ Beechwood:

 

The highest impact fountain pen insight of the past year has been how outstanding Oblique Fine (OF) nibs are for sketching and writing.

The OF pens on my writing desk, including a 1965 Montblanc 149 OF, all perform at the highest levels of any fountain pens I've ever used.

More than one century ago OF nibs were favored by field naturalists due to their uncanny ability to rapidly sketch scenes or lifeforms when in gifted hands.

If another Montblanc Bespoke nib comes to my writing desk, it may likely be a contemporary OF.

Perhaps I ought to consider your advice on ink reviews, consistently using an OF nib with different inks.

Thank you for your very generous comments above.

Tom K.

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As an example, I live in a fairly arid environment (generally between 15-25% humidity depending upon the time of year). So, if I am considering an ink, I might look at a review by a person who might live in a similar environment, then look at another who might live in a more humid environment. For most people, this is not at all an important variable, but it is to me. From my observations, fountain pens and inks and even paper behave differently in an arid environment. Yes, dry times will be shorter, but ink evaporates inside the pen much quicker, which may make the ink more saturated. In an arid environment, paper tends to be drier and sometimes more brittle. It soaks up ink faster than in a humid environment. That has an effect on the draw down of ink through the nib.

 

~ 5Cavaliers:

 

You've discussed a topic which I'd had brought to my attention by respected FPN member and Montblanc collector Pravda.

He works in Dubai, on the Persian Gulf, where the local climate is typically arid with elevated temperatures.

He'll often notice that if he and I write with the same ink, his ink appears strikingly different.

He's helpfully explained to me that the effects of an arid climate have a measurable effect on drying times on paper, and in pens.

Your explanation above clarifies the impact of an arid local climate on fountain pen use.

Many decades ago, when I was in my earliest 20s, I lived in Scottsdale then Carefree, Arizona, in the southwestern United States.

Life there was wholly unlike my family's life in homes on the north shore of Kauai, and on the northwestern coast of the State of Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

A year-round arid environment is a salient factor concerning fountain pen use well worth discussing in an ink review if one has such experience.

Thank you so much for your insightful comments. Any ink reviews from your hand are well worth reading.

Tom K.

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Tom K. - Thank you for your kind comments.

 

I can not imagine how amazing it must have been to grow up on Kauai. I've only been there once, but I feel in love with it and have always wanted to go back.

 

I spent my first year of grad school at UW in Seattle, so I understand what you mean. I was privileged to spend some time hiking around the Olympic peninsula. Beautiful places.

 

Most of my adult life, I have lived in arid climates in the western US - intense sun, low humidity and "bug dust" as we call it here. Tuesday, I was "out in the field", in the middle of a long valley, with mountains on both sides, crystal clear deep blue sky, temperature in the 40's (F), and not another soul around - except for the wild horses, of course.

 

And yes, even there I use my fountain pens to take notes, GPS coordinates, etc.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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