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Best Black Ink For Flexible Pointed Pen Calligraphy

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I now have a few (modern) pointed nib, flexible (semi-flexible at least) pens.

The most recent are a promising Conklin Omniflex and the best Fountain Pen Revolution" can offer.

Im aware that, currently, nothing is as good as a dip-pen, antique, or "nib-meistered" option, but the former is unsuitable for my jacket pocket, and the latter are beyond back pocket capacity.


My dream is to develop a reasonable copperplate using something from my pocket.


So, I have the pens, but what ink might someone suggest. Pigment is clearly a poor choice due to clogging, and Im fairly clear the ink should be fairly "wet" in the sense of flowing well. Also, whilst there is a whole other hobby in collecting inks out there, I prefer to restrict myself to black: I write for my students and if I start being too adventurous I will end up receiving fluorescent homework!


So, in a nutshell, what do members think is the best black ink for fountain pen copperplate?


(Apologies if this is in the wrong section. Administrators should feel free to move it about as required.)

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I have had good results using Ecclesiastical Stationers Supply Registrar's Ink (ESSRI), both with a dip pen for Spencerian and Copperplate, and regular use in my fountain pens. It is nominally a blue-black ink, but my experience is that it turns entirely black after a while--depending on the paper, it takes from one second to two days, but it always ends up black. It's an iron gall ink, so don't let it dry up in your pen, and rinse between refills, but I have not had any problems with it.


I don't know that it is the "best", but it certainly works for me.


Hope this helps,



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Personally, I would never use an iron gall ink in a fountain pen as I found it can clog up very badly and needs constant cleaning. Of course, DB may dispute this as it seems he is happy with his experience. Possibly a pen with a very good wet flow could help a lot to keep the nib and feed clean for longer than I was prepared to endure.


If you look at the profile of amberleadavies on here, at the bottom of her profile is a link for black inks. Have a wonder through that and see if you can find some more help

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I have a bottle of Noodler's Old Manhattan Black that was a Fountain Pen Hospital exclusive that I love. They still have it listed on their website. I also like Montblanc Black.

A consumer and purveyor of words.


Co-editor and writer for Faith On Every Corner Magazine

Magazine - http://www.faithoneverycorner.com/magazine.html



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  • 1 month later...

Welcome to the wonderful world of pointed pen calligraphy. I think that with FPR's superflex nib (if that is what you have) or with a plain FPR or Noodler's flex nib (and a couple of bucks to do the ease-my-flex mod) you can do rather well. For the next step up, you could try modding a cheap Jinhao to use a Zebra-G nib and get even more flexibility. Then you could consider if it is worth moving to more expensive pens.


On the issue of ink... that's -from my point of view- a matter of taste. I normally favor permanent inks (I don't want to lose my notes) and haven't had any major issue with any of them yet, although I recognize that IG inks require more maintenance (a water wash between loads should do).


With Zebra-G nibs, you don't want to let the ink dry on the nib, so either you use the full load and clean the nib and pen afterwards, or you empty the pen and clean the pen and nib. And try to keep the nib dry when not in use. I've had rust issues with zebra nibs in pens that had been left inked for long. Oddly, some times a good wash was enough to recover them.


With stainless steel nibs you shouldn't have issues nor need to be so careful.


That said, I have used Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa (but they're not black), Koh-i-Noor dokument ink (both black and blue), several Noodler's permanent inks, etc.. without any problem (but I usually clean and dry the pens when I'm not going to use them in a long time). So, in principle -from my point of view- any ink you like.


In not so "principlish" principle, you should consider also the paper you are going to write on: if the paper sucks too much ink and is prone to bleeding and feathering, then you'll get disappointed by many good inks. I've found Noodler's X-feather to be a rather well behaved ink in this respect, and so I favour it for pointed pen calligraphy as I know that the hair lines won't unduly spread. But there are other nice and good inks around. YMMV.


Bottom line: writing with a flexible pointed nib is demanding since you want tiny hairlines and wet thick lines where you'll shed a lot of ink. You want to match pen, paper and ink.


So I'd advise, since you already know the pen, that you settle on a paper and then try various inks on it and find which one gives you best results.

Edited by txomsy
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I am not sure it is practical to learn a portable copperplate, I can't imagine anyone doing it anywhere but on a desk. I would also suggest learning it first with a dip pen.

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  • 3 months later...

My Namiki Falcon has a customized Spencerian nib which usually has Noodlers Heart of Darkness in it. Its my favorite black ink. Not much shading, but its bulletproof which is nice. Im not 100% happy with the flow, but the Namikis converter requires me to manually push thru every ink Ive tried when the feed runs dry. HOD works great in other pens, so its not the ink.


If you want to try a FP friendly pigmented ink, Ive had good luck with Platinums Pigmented Black. Sailor also makes an FP friendly pigmented line in multiple colors. I havent tried them, but Sailor makes great inks.


You might check out vintage pens as well. I love my Waterman 52. Its basic black so the price wasnt crazy. Its been pretty dependable. I also saw an interesting youtube video about fitting a Zebra-G nib on to a Noodlers pen that took a #6 nib size. (Similar to Txomsys recommendation.) Might be a good way to get full flex for cheap. Expect to replace the nib frequently as its neither stainless steel, nor tipped with anything to protect it from wearing down.

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