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IG focused Lightfastness and UV Fade Tests



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I have become more and more interested in fade tests, but I have noticed that it is very hard to find controlled tests of various IG inks together against other inks of similar style in other formats. I don't have all of the inks that I would like for this test, but I wanted to start such a test with the following goals:

 

1. Test IG ink fade tests

2. Test against known controls for high levels of fading and low levels of fading.

3. Track the progress of the dye fading as well as the IG fading.

4. Provide a calibration against dye and pigmented based inks to compare the relative fade resistance of IG inks against typical dye and pigmented ink offerings

 

In other words, I don't want to just know whether IG inks fade, but how relatively lightfast they are compared to the "competition", and against like colors, preferably from similar manufacturers. 

 

So, here's the first scan, hot off the presses, on a single sheet of Rhodia ICE 80gsm paper, with the annotations written with a Blackwing 602 pencil (another intentional calibrating mark), for the following inks:

 

1. Shaeffer Skrip Black

2. Shaeffer Skrip Blue Black

3. Platinum Blue Black

4. Platinum Pigmented Blue

5. Diamine Registrar's Blue Black

6. R&K Salix

7. TWSBI Blue Black

8. Noodler's Baystate Blue

9. Diamine Blue Black

10. Platinum Carbon Black

11. Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki

12. Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo

 

I haven't seen this particular combination of ink colors together in the same test, so I'm going to be interested in seeing how they compare. For controls, I have included Baystate Blue, which is known to fade quickly (among the fastest faders) and Platinum Carbon Black, which is known to have little to no fading over time. 

 

As relative comparisons, I wanted to compare the IG inks (TWSBI, Platinum, R&K, Registrar's) against the Pigmented Blue offering that I have as well as against the deep blue and blue black options that I had from Diamine, Pilot, and Shaeffer. This provides at least 3 dye-based blue blacks for relative comparison and at least 1 nice blue offering that isn't known to be an exceptionally fast fader. I also included a typical black to help as a control against all the blue, so that we could see how fast the blues are fading relative to 2 different known blacks of different composition. 

 

One possible issue is with Diamine Registrar's. Given that it is coming from a small sample vial that has been used before, it is possible that the ink is not fresh enough, thus confounding the results. However, I did manage to get both the intentional light and dark areas of the ink, and for good measure I put down two lines of that ink. This is because the swab of ink was drier than many others. However, you'll notice that Salix and TWSBI both are also pretty dry. This jives and is consistent with my memory of these inks before, so I don't think this is a major issue, but it is worth mentioning. 

 

Since this scan is hot off the scanner right after inking, this represents a good representation of what you would see of the inks very shortly after having written with them and letting them just barely dry. You'll notice that the Platinum BB is significantly bluer than the other blue blacks, IG or not, but not quite as blue as the true blues in this test. The other IG inks are all darker (but drier) than Platinum, bringing their colors much more in line with the Tsuki-yo and the other 2 dye-based blue blacks, which all share a similar color tone, whereas the Platinum Blue Black shares a tone closer to the true blues. 

 

The first plan is to let these inks sit for a day or three to "cure" a bit in the open air and not in storage. This will give an idea of basic "immediate" fading in normal daylight conditions without exposing them to direct sunlight. After this they will be hung up for longer periods of sun exposure in a window to see how they fair over time. 

 

I am very curious to see whether all the IG inks behave and degrade in the same way, or whether there are differences among them. I am also interested in seeing whether they fade faster or slower than the dye-based inks. We already know that the Baystate ink is relatively waterproof, but fades quickly, and that the dye-based inks in this test are less water resistant than the IG inks are, but will they be more or less fade resistant? 

 

There is a good application of dark and lighter levels of each of the IG inks, so I think we'll be able to get a good sense of their behavior both in drier and in wetter pens. The Salix swab, in particular, is giving Salix the best possible chance to do well here, given the nice ink swab that I got off of that dip, as opposed to the more anemic Registrar's swab. There's still plenty of the Registrar's swab to get good data, though. 

 

Finally, Kon-peki is such a nice ink! 🙂 The Pilot Iroshizuku inks are clearly and distinctly bold compared to the other typical offerings. The Platinum colors, for instance, are clearly more subdued and reserved to the more outgoing Iroshizuku inks. Baystate Blue is like that one savant who just has to eek out that last little bit of that one thing that matters more to him than it does to anyone else. In this case, channeling blue. 

 

 

509711263_InitialScan-20210106_08031873.thumb.jpg.eb9df90477d6860601c3a877a5e9cd14.jpg

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I'm curious to see the result too. I wish you had some Essri and KWZ Blue Black too :)

But then again that should be enough :)

 

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A Smug Dill
3 hours ago, yazeh said:

I'm curious to see the result too. I wish you had some Essri and KWZ Blue Black too

 

If those are inks that you already have, nothing stops you from doing your own tests. Or you can offer to order bottles of those from a retailer and have them shipped directly to @arcfide; I'm confident he'd gladly test them too if you made those inks available to him, in the name of diligent fact-finding. ;)

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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3 hours ago, yazeh said:

I'm curious to see the result too. I wish you had some Essri and KWZ Blue Black too :)

But then again that should be enough :)

 

 

I agree that would have been ideal, but I didn't have any and didn't want to wait to get some before starting the test. 

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10 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

If those are inks that you already have, nothing stops you from doing your own tests. Or you can offer to order bottles of those from a retailer and have them shipped directly to @arcfide; I'm confident he'd gladly test them too if you made those inks available to him, in the name of diligent fact-finding. ;)

Haha, dill! If I'd had both I would've tested them and gladly send him a sample!

9 minutes ago, arcfide said:

 

I agree that would have been ideal, but I didn't have any and didn't want to wait to get some before starting the test. 

Glad you're doing it anyway :)

 I know that Scabiosa is obliterated by UV. I'm curious to know how Salix will fare :)

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32 minutes ago, yazeh said:

Haha, dill! If I'd had both I would've tested them and gladly send him a sample!

Glad you're doing it anyway :)

 I know that Scabiosa is obliterated by UV. I'm curious to know how Salix will fare :)

 

Well, technically all dye and IG inks are "obliterated" by UV, it's just a matter of time. ;)  

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3 hours ago, arcfide said:

 

Well, technically all dye and IG inks are "obliterated" by UV, it's just a matter of time. ;)  

So, it's a question of when rather than if :)

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Thanks for doing this,.....hmm you gave me some interesting ideas for sallix and IG blue-black comparison test, should add some normal inks too there.....great to know this.

 

Now sallix will surprise you in time I assure you (it certainly did me).

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1 hour ago, Dimy said:

Thanks for doing this,.....hmm you gave me some interesting ideas for sallix and IG blue-black comparison test, should add some normal inks too there.....great to know this.

 

Now sallix will surprise you in time I assure you (it certainly did me).

 

In what way were you surprised? 

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Just now, arcfide said:

 

In what way were you surprised? 

It faded quite badly over time..... actually I expected it to survive nicely from initial experience....boy I was wrong on that, at least for fine nibs..its dry ink so maybe medium should have been my choice here..

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Schaumburg_Swan

Hi,

 

interesting comparison.

If Diamine Registrar's looks that blueish and is lighter than Salix, wait some days or weeks.

If the ink is fresh, it should always get darker and less saturated than it...

 

Best

Jens

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2 hours ago, Dimy said:

It faded quite badly over time..... actually I expected it to survive nicely from initial experience....boy I was wrong on that, at least for fine nibs..its dry ink so maybe medium should have been my choice here..

 

Oh, I am not sure that I would be surprised by that at all. All IG inks fade, including the classic non-fountain pen friendly formulations, and especially in strong UV light (this has been known to archivists for a long time I think). 

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30 minutes ago, Schaumburg_Swan said:

If Diamine Registrar's looks that blueish and is lighter than Salix, wait some days or weeks.

If the ink is fresh, it should always get darker and less saturated than it...

 

 

I double-checked another older swab of Diamine Registrar's that I still have around, and while the dye component has faded and it is "darker" in shade, it is certainly not more saturated. There just isn't that much ink that gets laid down in the swab. This one might be slightly on the "less saturated" level of Registrar's range, but it's not so far out of the typical range that I think it's too worrisome for the test. The darker part of the Registrar swabs looks accurate to me for this stage. 

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Here's the same sheet after "curing" for a few days in a dry, bright but shaded office environment lighting. Things to notice: all the IG inks have ever so slightly darkened, but the Registrar's ink shows the highest degree of darkening, followed by, IMO, Platinum BB, and then Salix, with an almost tiny amount of color shift for TWSBI Blue Black. 

 

Otherwise, the inks are pretty much as expected. Now it is time to tape them up and let them stay there for a few days of winter (relatively shaded) exposure for a week or so.

 

2010516002_20210109_2108-OfficeExposure3days.thumb.jpg.2b5422650152f856fefaaa81d75f2164.jpg

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2 hours ago, Tasmith said:

Are you going to cut the paper in two from top to bottom and keep one half in a dark location for comparison later?

 

I had not intended to, but I might. I guess I don't find the dark location quite as interesting, but it's not too much trouble to do it, so I think I might. 

 

One of the problems with doing this is that the swabs are done so that there is a gradation of ink levels across the entire page, so cutting the page in half will only have the effect of getting me less information about the way the ink fads across different levels of ink saturation on the page. 

 

I'll have to think about whether this is a way to adjust for this.

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Here is my solution for the ink so far. I have added a set of control strips for the ink I still have, and ordered additional samples for the inks that I ran out of in order to add the "dark closet" component to this test. Here's where it stands right now: 

 

362710177_20210112_0341-Addedcontrolstrip.thumb.jpg.8766aa32822caf31e1640302ac9fd595.jpg

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