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Penbbs #286 幽山向晩 (Remote Mountain By Nightfall)


A Smug Dill
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Penbbs #286 幽山向晩 (Remote Mountain By Nightfall -- not an official translation) comes in a "60±5ml" bottle with a octagonal horizontal cross-section. It's damn difficult to come by a bottle. It's isn't so easy just to come by an image of a bottle of it!

 

s-l1600.jpg

Source: eBay

 

(I'm trying to rediscover my enthusiasm for reviewing inks by doing one, and move to an easier procedure by using just one or two pens instead of five or more. Alas, no joy, but what's done is done, so here it is.)

 

fpn_1575613857__penbbs_286_ink_-_review_

 

Drying time: Astoundingly fast. I don't think I've tested any other ink that almost completely dried on Rhodia Dotpad 80g/m² paper in five seconds.

 

Lubrication: I can't comment on that, since I don't have a large number of data points as to how much friction my tester frankenpen usually generates when writing on a Rhodia Dotpad.

 

Saturation: I haven't figured out how to test that. The ink does appear to have a moderate-to-heavy dye load.

 

Feathering: None observed when writing on the Rhodia Dotpad or in a Leuchtturm1917 hardcover A5 journal.

 

Ghosting: None observed from writing on 80g/m² paper of various types. Japanese paper of a lighter weight could be a different matter.

 

Bleed-through: None observed from writing on Rhodia 80g/m² paper. Even where I did four passes with a Pilot Parallel 6.0mm pen, as long as there was no pooling of ink, there was no bleed-through. No bleed-through in this Muji A5 Notebook SKU#4550182108910 either, even when I'd written with a dip pen that was so wet the letters haloed with sheen. I did see some tiny spots on the reverse of a page in a Leuchtturm1917 hardcover A5 journal, at some (but not all) intersections of pen strokes using a wetter pen.

 

fpn_1575613763__penbbs_286_ink_-_shading

 

Shading: There is shading when using either a broad enough or just moderately wet pen. Look at the mark left by one pass of the Pilot Parallel 6.0mm pen. Of course, it's up to your pen and your penmanship to distribute the ink unevenly to get visible shading.

 

Sheen: This ink sheens a dull purplish black, usually around the edges of wet pen strokes causing a 'halo' effect.

 

fpn_1575613704__penbbs_286_ink_-_water_r

 

Water resistance: Some. Leaving the ink to dry for 60 minutes instead of just 10 minutes before soaking did not appear to increase the ink marks' water resistance on Rhodia 80g/m² paper, but soaking the paper for 20 minutes instead of 10 minutes made a difference. Accidental spillage or random raindrops on writing will not eradicate it from the page, provided it is treated promptly. Otherwise, the colour that escapes from the page into the droplet could settle back onto the paper and obscure the writing.

Edited by A Smug Dill

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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Nice review. Not really my colour although the slight amount of grey does remediate its tealiness. As to saturation: you can always use (i.e. consider) other inks for comparison. E.g. Noodler's and PRs are almost always very saturated; Herbins (the standard line with 35 inks) and R&Ks are mostly much less saturated.

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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lapis, thanks for your suggestion. What I meant was I have no way of assessing the dye load in the ink as far as "saturation" goes. If there is a Noodler's or J.Herbin ink that is more or less the same colour, and I drop 0.1ml of each ink into a beaker holding 10ml of water, then comparing them side by side for colour intensity I could possibly say how saturated each ink is relative to each other, independently of how "wet" or "dry" the inks and/or tester pens are. However, I don't think comparing J.Herbin Vert Empire or Perle Noire, or Noodler's Polar Green or X-Feather, with PenBBS #286 in that manner is particularly meaningful.

 

Then, in my mind, if I did a single pass with a Pilot Parallel pen with two different inks of similar colour, I'd still question whether the darker mark of the two would indicate a higher level of "saturation" or dye load per millilitre, or just that the ink that made the darker mark is "wetter" and thus a higher volume of ink (and consequently more dye) was laid down on the page by the nib.

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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... and I drop 0.1ml of each ink into a beaker holding 10ml of water, then comparing them side by side for colour intensity I could possibly say how saturated each ink is relative to each other, independently of how "wet" or "dry" the inks and/or tester pens are....

 

Food for thought. I do that all the time (and see it anyhow when cleaning the pen) but what we see also depends on the solubility of the inks. And blue dyes and red dyes also usually have greatly different solubilities. Crud on the nib can also tell us something about the degree of saturation, and again, solubility. Maybe the very best way to scale saturation would be to weigh in a certain volume of ink, let it evaporate until dry (or use a desiccator), and then weigh out the solute(s)....

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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... Crud on the nib can also tell us something about the degree of saturation, and again, solubility. Maybe the very best way to scale saturation would be to weigh in a certain volume of ink, let it evaporate until dry (or use a desiccator), and then weigh out the solute(s)....

A different definition for saturation from what we usually use for ink is from chemistry: "the degree or extent to which something is dissolved or absorbed compared with the maximum possible, usually expressed as a percentage." An almost saturated solution would be prone to precipitate out if the solvent evaporates a little bit. Perhaps some inks have an ingredient that is close to a saturated solution, so that as water in the ink evaporates the crud precipitates onto the nib. A pen that seals very well ought to be more resistant to this crud.

The concept of saturated ink may relate more to our perception of color than to the chemistry definition. Lapis' definition probably works for a single dye, but may not work for comparing different dyes (some dyes are more intense than others). Still Lapis' definition tells us something that might be useful -- i.e., more mass of stuff may relate to how much pen cleaning is needed for that ink.

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The concept of saturated ink may relate more to our perception of color than to the chemistry definition. Lapis' definition probably works for a single dye, but may not work for comparing different dyes (some dyes are more intense than others)....

Completely true. The main problem here is that (as we all know), practically all inks consist of much more than just one solute (see any chromatography), so it's then also a question of the proportions of each. .

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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~ I like the image of the bottle.



It's evocative of remote locations I've visited in years past.



In late afternoon and early evening, trees do have such a shade of green.



Tom K.


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I am curious to know why you chose to test how the ink behaves with the same pen held at various angles.

 

I did that to emulate writing in that ink with a number of pens that have different (round-tipped) nib widths and different degrees of "wetness", at least with regard to outcomes on the page.

 

I discovered that this Jinhao X450 nib, which I essentially salvaged from scraps and then reground by myself artlessly, now works almost like a Sailor Zoom nib but at a smaller scale, and allows me to put down significantly different line widths by varying the angle., just like the nib on my Sailor kabazaiku pen does as well. I also figured long ago that there is no single level of "wetness" for even just one pen.

 

Doing it this way is more economical on time and consumption of ink, instead of going through my stash of desk pens originally bought for testing ink, because I'm not filling multiple mutually incompatible (Pilot, Sailor, Platinum) converters. Even if I were to limit myself to five different Pilot pens -- which was tempting, given that I have to (at least partially) fill a Pilot converter for the Parallel pen -- I'd still be "wasting" ink because some will get trapped in the feed of each pen, by the time I'm done with it.

 

I'd considered fitting different Pilot MR-style steel nibs into a single pen serially, while keeping the same ink reservoir (most likely a CON-B converter) connected to the same feed, but then it'd definitely get messy in terms of inky fingers. And then, I don't know that I would get the same fit between a particular nib and the feed every time, so a particular F nib on that feed and pen may be "wetter" or "drier" each time I install it to test an ink.

 

Between "wetness" and nib width grades (or line widths), as variables, how an ink would look at different degrees of "wetness" is more relevant to me as a user, since I almost always prefer to write in the Extra Fine to Fine range of nib widths (except when I using a Stub or Italic nib to put down section headings, or write place cards, etc.), but I can't control the variability in wetness of all my EF- or F-nibbed pens. Fitting EF, F, M and CM nibs onto a single Pilot pen, but sacrificing any point of reference for "wetness", would therefore be counter-productive to the purposes for which I'd be testing and reviewing an ink.

 

Crud on the nib can also tell us something about the degree of saturation, and again, solubility.

An almost saturated solution would be prone to precipitate out if the solvent evaporates a little bit. Perhaps some inks have an ingredient that is close to a saturated solution, so that as water in the ink evaporates the crud precipitates onto the nib. A pen that seals very well ought to be more resistant to this crud.

WalterC, I agree with you. When crud forms on a nib while the pen is capped and unused, that always tells me the cap is not sealing the nib and feed effectively. Some pens never do; others may fail because of user (i.e. my) error. I now know the caps on Nemosine Singularity pens don't seal well; I have a number of them, and I recently tested the issue by filling their caps with water and then leaving them to sit with the opening facing the ceiling; they all leaked behind the bend of the clip. Put Monteverde Fireopal, and I suspect Diamine Oxblood (but I never tried that combination), in a Nemosine Singularity and nib crud is guaranteed. On the other hand, even after a full converter of PenBBS #274 Obsidian (dark blue-black) ink had evaporated from a Nemosine Singularity while capped, there was not even the slightest hint of crud. I could try putting KWZ Ink Walk Over Vistula, which is known to be very saturated with dye, in one and let it dry from evaporation while capped over a number of weeks, and I suspect there would be no crud.

 

I thought my bottle of Diamine Oxblood would never produce crud, at least not in my Pilot Elite 95S which has been filled with the ink for the past twelve months or so. A few weeks ago, it did -- because I failed to cap it properly and the cap was ever-so-slightly loose. After a fresh fill and proper capping, it hasn't happened again even though I only use or check that pen sporadically.

 

Maybe the very best way to scale saturation would be to weigh in a certain volume of ink, let it evaporate until dry (or use a desiccator), and then weigh out the solute(s)....

The concept of saturated ink may relate more to our perception of color than to the chemistry definition. Lapis' definition probably works for a single dye, but may not work for comparing different dyes (some dyes are more intense than others). Still Lapis' definition tells us something that might be useful -- i.e., more mass of stuff may relate to how much pen cleaning is needed for that ink.

My understanding of saturation, when it comes to ink, comes from skim-reading patents held by the likes of HP for its inkjet inks, and the dye load idea corresponds well with lapis' suggestion of removing the solvent(s) from a known volume of ink and weighing what remains; but then, perhaps not all of that may be dye.

 

To be honest, I'm not even sure why a fountain pen user would want to be informed whether an ink is saturated. A view to use it diluted, perhaps? It's not something I'd personally do, though. Worried about staining and/or ease of cleaning? I think the proof is in the pudding for that one; if a component of the ink reacts with the material of the converter or eyedroppered pen barrel somehow and caused permanent discolouration, then it doesn't really matter how much of it is there in the ink; the clear or perfectly white plastic will never look the same again.

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 nice teal ... but given the difficulty you mention in finding it, I’ll pass on this one. Thank you for showing this one.

Personally, I love doing ink reviews. Like you, I try to do neutral & objective review material, but - in my opinion - an important part of ink reviews remains subjective. Among other things:

- whether you like the ink’s look and feel on paper (“de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum” as the Romans used to say ;-)

- we each have our own favourites as far as pens & paper are concerned. And some inks just work better with dry or wet pens, or with certain types of paper. E.g. for me F/M Pelikans are the preferred writing instrument, and Paperblanks journals are my paper of choice. So inks that work well with this combination are a good match for my personal writing ecosystem. Oh... and they should of course be muted and pastel-type to suit my taste ;-)

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A nice teal ... but given the difficulty you mention in finding it,

When I ordered my five bottles of PenBBS ink on eBay just under six months ago, I paid A$10.39+tax each (shipped) without any discounts. Now, the only seller on eBay (with only one bottle of the #286 ink left to sell) wants A$26.37+tax for a bottle.

 

I didn't mind paying the lower price for a bottle on a lark, in the spirit of experimentation, but if it's going to cost me A$29, I think I'll just buy new-to-me colours of Kobe INK Story or some such instead and pay the same or less.

 

I’ll pass on this one. Thank you for showing this one.

No problem!

 

Personally, I love doing ink reviews. Like you, I try to do neutral & objective review material, but - in my opinion - an important part of ink reviews remains subjective.

I agree. When it's my review, then I was the one "viewing" and making observations about the subject; implicitly that must be from my personal perspective and my chosen frame(s) of reference, and therefore subjective.

 

I strongly belief the value of providing "objective" information such as facts, measurements, statistics and photos is so that someone else with different frames of reference can do the analysis or work to bridge the gap of understanding of what something would mean to them. They don't have to understand or share my preferences, any more than I need to care about theirs, for them to gain value and insight from the information presented, provided they have done the work to know how to "translate" their requirements and preferences to common-ground vocabulary and metrics and vice versa, instead of expecting their fellow fountain pen enthusiasts — their equals and peers in the community — to be inherently like-minded and share the same practices.

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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I bought this ink several months ago-on Ebay-for about the same price. I was stunned to see it at that price and got a few others at the same time. All I knew about the ink was that I loved the color from the small color swatch included in the Ebay ad. It is a very saturated ink and I've only used it a fill or two. Never had a clue what the name was so I do appreciate that and the review is spot on with the bottle I have. I have not seen another bottle of it for sale anywhere.

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Excellent review! Thank you for taking the time to do it.

 

I generally like teals, but I am not enamored with this one.

"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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There really are two types of saturation, although they do interact. One is chemical, i.e. how close is the amount of dye to to the point where no more will dissolve (as sometimes happens with certain Noodlers inks that benefit from being shaken as the slightest chilling causes some of the dye to settle out). The other is visual: human perception of color can be described (ignoring lighting effects) by three parameters (several different definitions of the three are possible). Of the three, one is always related to how intense a given color is visually, e.g. the difference between bright yellow (more saturated) and mustard (less saturated). Different dyes not only have different degrees of solubility, but they also differ in visual saturation. That is to say, some dyes are inherently brighter and/or clearer that others. Some dyes really are brown or gray, by definition less visually saturated no matter how much of these dyes one can get to dissolve in ink. And dyes also can differ in color intensity, e.g. a pink dye compared to a magenta dye; typical pink color is less intense but can be the same hue as magenta.

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It's annoying that PenBBS can't "technically" export their inks out of China for god knows why reasons. we only get them as "grey market" exports by people smuggling them into hong kong and selling them from there.

 

I have yet to be disappointed by one. This looks very similar to pilot ku-jaku.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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we only get them as "grey market" exports by people smuggling them into hong kong and selling them from there.

The item location for the still-available bottle of PenBBS #286 ink on eBay is listed as Henan in China, not Hong Kong.

 

I see one seller on AliExpress selling PenBBS inks for US$18 a pop; the price is the same for the previous "seasons" of colours, which come in 60ml bottles, and the newest "seasons" which come in 38ml bottles. Where the seller is selling or shipping from is not specified, but I doubt it's Hong Kong. Anyway, that's too high an asking price for Chinese inks in my book, so I'll pass.

 

I have yet to be disappointed by one.

I like the colour of PenBBS #257 "Black Tea Latte", but the severe tendency for the ink to spread and feather makes it largely useless to me.

 

This looks very similar to pilot ku-jaku.

To my eyes, not really.

Edited by A Smug Dill

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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