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Five Permanent Noodler's Inks - water test



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I like to use permanent inks when I write. I figure if I need to write it down, it should last for a while. Anyway, I have lots of different inks from many manufacturers that are permanent or water resistant. I compare them every now and then to see which are more permanent than the others. Since all inks have different characteristics besides their permanence, I try to keep track of those properties so that I use the best ink for the situation. Over the years I've slowly settled on a few I seem to keep coming back to every time I ink a pen. Here are five Noodler's permanent inks I tend to use a lot.

 

I like to test the ink against a basic water spill, i.e., accidentally tipped over a glass of water, but quickly wipe it up and dry the paper. Ink should survive that with minimal running or fading. Then I test it against prolonged exposure to water. Imagine your basement flooded and by the time you have retrieved you old journals from the wet box, it has been in the water for the better part of a day. It would be nice that the writing remained legible in such a case.

 

Here is the test scenario:

  1. The first photo is a 600dpi scan of the original writing on a Rhodia dot pad, 80 gsm. This serves as the baseline.
  2. The second photo is 600 dpi scan of the paper after pouring a glass of water over it and then blotting it dry with a paper towel. Ink was exposed to water for under a minute, and then air dried.
  3. The third photo is a 600 dpi scan of the paper after it has soaked in a water bath for 12 hours. Nothing else has been done to the paper.

 

Results: All five inks performed flawlessly. None showed any smearing, bleeding, or flowing from the spill test. After the 12 hour soak, I couldn't tell if any of them had been exposed to water. The discoloration you see on the page is a scanning artifact from the puckered paper as it dried. The inks all remained unmoved. It's difficult to tell if anything was done to them. I'm sure the paper would dissolve before the ink went away.

 

Summary of Ink Properties:

  • Noodler's Black - does best on poor paper. Of all the inks, it sits on top of the paper and does not absorb quickly, thus minimizing bleeding and feathering. However, it does take longer to dry. On Rhodia paper, it can still smear a day later if put down with a medium or broad nib.
  • Noodler's El Lawrence - Just as permanent as Black, but tends to soak into the paper quickly. It therefore dries more quickly and works well on smoother papers.
  • Nooder's 54th Massachusetts - My favorite. Just the right mix of dry time and non-feathering. Of the five inks, it has the most tendency to dry on the nib if not used for a couple days. However, I love the color and always have a pen inked with it.
  • Noodler's #41 Brown - Moderate dry time and minimal feathering. Works well on all paper. Dark enough to use as a daily writer.
  • Noodler's Bad Green Gator - Dries very fast because if runs like crazy! I use this only in an extra fine nib. If you need a permanent green, this is the one for you. I have a TWSBI ECO EF inked with this continuously for over five years, and it writes whenever I pick it up.

 

ORIGINAL

1108300220_PermanentNoodlerInks-original.thumb.jpeg.bf57d0a7a21ecdd143024838ab3cdcb3.jpeg

 

SPILL TEST

888329583_PermanentNoodlerInks-spilltest.thumb.jpeg.e79f04955c90779359a3c8730a5a83f5.jpeg

 

12 HOUR SOAK

1461532479_PermanentNoodlerInks-12hoursoak.thumb.jpeg.7c9981f12c3748bca56a0b1cb3b81a90.jpeg

Favorite pen/ink pairings: Edison Brockton w/EF 14K gold nib and Noodler's 54th Massachusetts; Visconti Pinanfarina w/EF chromium conical nib and Noodler's El Lawrence; Sheaffer Legacy w/18k extra fine inlaid nib and Noodler's Black; Sheaffer PFM III fine w/14k inlaid nib and Noodler's Black; Lamy 2000 EF with Noodler's 54th Massachusetts; Franklin Christoph 65 Stablis w/steel Masuyama fine cursive italic and DeAtramentis Document Blue; Pilot Decimo w/18k fine nib and Pilot Blue Black; Franklin Christoph 45 w/steel Masuyama fine cursive italic and Noodler's Zhivago; Edison Brockton EF and Noodler's El Lawrence; TWSBI ECO EF with Noodler's Bad Green Gator.

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Wow... Just as advertised! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but it's awesome to see just how resistant these inks are. Thanks for the testing, @cjr

 🐌 💌 📬 Snail mail enthusiast & ink swatching fiend. Trade inks with me here🎨🌈🖋️

round-letter-exc.pnground-ink-exc.png

 

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Great test.

Good idea to use 54th Massachusetts in Ef. It contains it :)

 

I saw a video of how they check iron gall ink deterioration. They put a piece of paper/parchment written with iron gall ink in a high humidity chamber, for 14 days. It was incredible how the ink deteriorated in those conditions. 

I wonder how would Noodler's or other waterproof inks would perform in those conditions. 

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16 hours ago, cjr said:

I like to use permanent inks when I write. I figure if I need to write it down, it should last for a while.

 

 

i absolutely agree.

if you are going to keep notes etc, they may as well last, wrt water- proofness and light fastness

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inkstainedruth

Have not tried #41 Brown (interesting to know that it's pretty permanent, thanks!) and didn't like the color of the freebie sample of Bad Green Gator I got somewhere along the line (probably one of the "check this box and get a random sample" in an order to Goulet Pens a few years back).  And I much prefer Heart of Darkness over Noodler's Black because it's less smudgy and dries faster. 

But El Lawrence and 54th Massachusetts?  Both are staple go-to inks for me :thumbup: -- I would not want to be without them.  And El Lawrence has the added bonus of being subversive -- I could write a check using it and my old bank (who insisted on "black" or "blue" ink only) never lifted an eyebrow over me using El Lawrence because it was dark enough to pass for black without actually BEING black.... B)

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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thanks for the link, very interesting to see.

i wonder if the nano pigment inks perform better with high humidity ?

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Short answer:

I don't know. 

Long answer:

Historic carbon inks could be erased off paper/parchment/papyrus. Lamp black from what I gather are  almost nano particles. 

They added gall nuts so that they bind to the paper, so that they can't be erased. 

It is interesting that even though Iron gall originated in the Middle East, as far as I know, presently they use carbon based inks (for calligraphy). Ironically, iron gall inks are more suited for the dry climate of the Middle East. 

Iron gall documents suffer from high humidity, handling, wacky ink formulas and bad paper (medieval documents fare much better than 19th century documents). 

So I don't know in long term how modern nano pigment inks will work, unless tests like the one above are done, with different papers, nib, ink combinations.....

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, yazeh said:

Lamp black from what I gather are nano particles. 

 

Are they? Nano particles, as in something akin:

79460284_ColorverseS332Selectronspecifications.jpg.ccff2847052efe258137c47e1d3dda32.jpg

Source: Colorverse 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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2 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

Are they? Nano particles, as in something akin:

79460284_ColorverseS332Selectronspecifications.jpg.ccff2847052efe258137c47e1d3dda32.jpg

Source: Colorverse Ink

I can't say. My claim is based on an article by Jan Gunneweg,  on the Qumran manuscript (Dead Sea scrolls). He mentions and I quote. Emphasis is by me.  

Nevertheless, Krusko in UC Davis had already mentioned in 1985 that the main constituent of the Qumran ink was lampblack. This ink, however, cannot be made by just grinding carbonised wood; one needs almost nano-particle-size soot to get a clean script."

 

and later: 

Lampblack is basically carbon. When you need carbon for making ink, you cannot just take a piece of carbonised wood or any other burnt organic material and grind it to a small-size powder. Most carbon obtained in this way would be too coarse to produce a neat script. Instead, you need micron- or almost nano-size particles, which cannot be obtained merely by grinding.

 

So, I stand corrected. Almost nano particles... :)

 

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I find the spill test more important than soak or running water tests. Not so much here, as generally.

Sometimes I see reviewers wash off ink from a page, declare they can see an outline of letters there and declare the ink has some water resistance. What you get in real life with a spill or a spot of water is a blurry mess. I NEVER heard of anyone who got patches of water on paper, so decided to "wash" the whole page. Running water tests have nothing to do with real life.

I'd call inks water resistant that just give a fuzzy discoloration to paper when a dab of water is applied. If the ink really does run like a chromotography sample to create a mess, that is not meaningful water resistance. Yet all the time I see bloggers claim a blurry mess is "medium water resistance".

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A Smug Dill
38 minutes ago, vtgt said:

What you get in real life with a spill or a spot of water is a blurry mess.

 

Sometimes, with some inks. How quickly you soak up the spill, and how you soak up the spill, matters.

 

39 minutes ago, vtgt said:

I NEVER heard of anyone who got patches of water on paper, so decided to "wash" the whole page. Running water tests have nothing to do with real life.

 

If the information content is important enough that someone is desperate to restore or recapture it after a spill or some such accident, then even if it takes destroying the substrate it's worth doing.

 

I've done experiments with some inks where, in fact, after a spilled drop makes a blurry mess obscuring the written text, soaking the whole page works to restore legibility so that the information content could be copied onto some other media (including, but not limited to, another piece of paper).

 

The question is not whether an ink would keep one's journals legible and pretty for everyone to read after a spill. If someone wants a journal to remain undamaged and presentable, then don't spill water or beverages on it, and don't leave it out exposed to the elements, etc. I'm personally more keen to know whether writing in a journal will survive being dropped into a pool, and whether the information contained therein can be retrieved — just once is enough — after a watery accident, even if the method of retrieving the content wrecks the artefact in the process.

 

48 minutes ago, vtgt said:

Yet all the time I see bloggers claim a blurry mess is "medium water resistance".

 

As it should be, if they're talking about the characteristic of an ink in an ink review, and not of information content retrieval. The application of the ink is not logically the ink itself, the subject of the product review; especially if the reviewer's use cases and requirements from such are different from the faceless readers'.

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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On 1/22/2021 at 8:51 AM, A Smug Dill said:

The question is not whether an ink would keep one's journals legible and pretty for everyone to read after a spill. If someone wants a journal to remain undamaged and presentable, then don't spill water or beverages on it

This encapsulates the supreme condescension of this whole post. Horrlible.

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I don't see any condescension.

 

But I would like to point out that not everything are journals. Most of my handwritten content are little black pocket notebooks. When I was at the University, I familiarized with Physicists and Engineers "handbooks", little books filled with formulas and constants, and started making my owns for my own consumption. Protocols, algorithms, formulas, constants, value ranges... with the idea I could bring them with me when I went around and have at hand all that information. Then, when out, I would take notes for later use, or summarize paper abstracts for late referral...

 

When you're out in the field, a spill, a drop of water, a rain, a pour, or a soak, are frequent accidents/incidents. It is senseless to re-copy an 80 sheet notebook packed with tiny written information just because one formula, one page or a few pages have become difficult to read and you do not want to risk further degradation. It's a lot easier and safer to simply use a permanent ink from the start.

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Same here... I had notes written which, were hand sweat smudged the whole text, or a shopping list, which starts bleeding with a few flurries.... I use almost exclusively waterproof inks....

 

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A Smug Dill
14 hours ago, txomsy said:

It's a lot easier and safer to simply use a permanent ink from the start.

 

Of course. I often carry handwritten shopping lists with me when I go running — since I pass two major supermarkets and any number of pharmacies and other stores along my usual route home — but paper kept in my running shorts or running belt tend to get soggy from sweat. That's the reason of my insistence on using waterproof ink for that use case.

 

However, when talking about water resistance of an ink, in the context of an ink review (or any other context than consulting for a ‘client’ with a focus on specific use cases), legibility of the written content is not the defining characteristic, even though I tend to cover or mention it briefly when I review inks. If the ink marks are not washed away by a spill, then I think it's more than fair to state that the ink has “medium” or better water resistance which, on its own, may not qualify the ink as suitable for use for a particular application or scenario.

 

On 1/22/2021 at 7:00 PM, vtgt said:

If the ink really does run like a chromotography sample to create a mess, that is not meaningful water resistance. Yet all the time I see bloggers claim a blurry mess is "medium water resistance".

16 hours ago, vtgt said:

This encapsulates the supreme condescension of this whole post. Horrlible.

 

It's not the reviewer's need or obligation to address the individual reader's concerns, or to use the individual reader's terminology, assessment frameworks, or ideas of what is “meaningful”. Faceless prospective readers of product reviews have no standing, and their problems and accidents are not the reviewer's or any fellow ink user's to resolve or prevent, irrespective off for what they use pens and inks — be it mindless doodling, or capturing critical information in the quest of a cure for cancer. That's not condescension, but simply basing my comments on exactly how I see the relationship dynamic between those parties.

 

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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While I certainly find merit in your considerations, we are here.

 

We are here to communicate.

 

And we do so in English.

 

When one publishes something, it is to communicate, and for that to be effective, both writer and reader need to agree on the meaning of words. That is why we use English here and not each one our own language.

 

So, I do find also some grounds on claiming that we need some common definitions to communicate effectively, even if these are difficult to agree upon,  or to initially explain, like what is flexibility in a nib, or what does mean water resistance in an ink.

 

On the other hand, we can always remit to Alice in Wonderland 😄

Quote

“When  I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The  question   is,”  said  Alice,  “whether  you can make  words  mean  so  many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master–––that’s all.”

 

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A Smug Dill
On 1/24/2021 at 9:29 PM, txomsy said:

When one publishes something, it is to communicate, and for that to be effective, both writer and reader need to agree on the meaning of words.

 

The basis of that ‘agreement’ is not up to the prospective reader of the text to prescribe, control or stipulate, except where the material to be written and/or published is work product commissioned by the particular prospective reader(s). To achieve a clear understanding, the producer of the material may include a Definitions or Glossary section to declare the intended meaning of specific and/or technical terms used in the text — including, and especially, in documents that captures and articulates formal agreement between parties — and the reader's role is simply to accept and/or adopt the author's use of terms when interpreting the written word.

 

On 1/22/2021 at 7:00 PM, vtgt said:

If the ink really does run like a chromotography sample to create a mess, that is not meaningful water resistance. Yet all the time I see bloggers claim a blurry mess is "medium water resistance".

 

If the producer of an ink review shows (or describes) “a blurry mess” from depositing water onto ink marks, and concludes that the ink has “medium water resistance”, then it's clear what is meant and communicated by the text. What is written in a blog or published review is not in itself a discussion between parties on equal footing including the reader; his personal context, in which he derives subjective meaning, has no standing.

 

Again, that's a matter of the relationship dynamic, not condescension. If you want “water resistance” to mean something else in text, then you write it yourself and assume the position of author or information producer; and let someone else decide if your framing is “meaningless” or irrelevant to them, and whether to discount what you stated. The more articles in which (different) authors use a term to convey a particular meaning in a public way, the more likely that meaning is going to shape the mainstream understanding of it, and possibly (and/or eventually) adopted into authoritative documents such as dictionaries or articulated technical standards/frameworks as the common meaning to be assumed by readers of someone else's writing.

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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