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Inks that won't stain urushi sections


Nurmister

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Hello everyone,

 

I've been back on FPN for one or two weeks now, and am really loving the knowledge that's still being shared here. I'm currently learning more about urushi pens, and surprisingly, there is one topic I haven't seen explicitly discussed on this forum (or elsewhere).

 

What inks are more "safe" for urushi on temporary contact?

 

I understand that leaving ink (or any liquid) on urushi for a prolonged period of time will likely damage it, regardless of its composition. However, I suspect there certainly are inks that will create staining and other issues more quickly than others. I'm therefore trying to find out which inks are the least dangerous for urushi.

 

My initial guesses on unsafe inks are pigment (as opposed to dye) based inks, Noodler's lubricated inks, and "permanent" inks of any kind.

My initial guesses for safe inks are the standard fare: Pilot/Namiki, Waterman's, Pelikan, etc. (However, I have heard iroshizuku can cause problems -- is this true?)

 

I'm looking forward to what people with experience in the matter have to say. Thanks in advance!

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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Where did you hear that urushi can be stained by ink? If this is not true we try to put an end to such stories...quickly.

 

I am not an expert on urushi but, having bought and sold over 1000 vintage Japanese pens with urushi clad barrels, caps, and sections, I have not had the privilege of seeing stained urushi. This is not to state it cannot happen but, if so, someone more knowledgeable should chime in and explain who a supposedly non-adsorptive material can stain.

stan

Formerly Ryojusen Pens
The oldest and largest buyer and seller of vintage Japanese pens in America.


Member: Pen Collectors of America & Fuente, THE Japanese Pen Collectors Club

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As stated above, cured urushi is unlikely to stain. Some of the newer urushi pens with white, off-white, yellow, etc. colors may (might, maybe, probably maybe not) stain with x,y,z aggressive bad boy ink but there are so many factors at play. Textured urushi? Fully cured urushi? Damaged urushi? Inexpertly applied urushi? Cured urushi is known for its resilience. UV light is its kryptonite not ink. 

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I've never stained an urushi pen. I honestly wouldn't worry about it. Lacquer isn't porous. I don't use permanent inks, Noodler's inks, nor pigmented inks with any of my fountain pens and I don't recommend them.

 

What are you considering "temporary contact"? If you dip a pen in an inkwell and then wipe it off, you shouldn't have any problems. If you leave the pen in a giant bottle of ink for a month I have no idea what will happen. 

 

 

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This thread went in an unexpected, but very welcome direction. I just bought my first urushi pen, the Namiki YR in black, and I asked the question because of two "cases" I've read while doing my research:

 

Case 1: YR section stained after weeks being left capped with ink in the section. + (Link to explanation.)

Case 2: Some users claiming iroshizuku over sections harmed it over time. + (Another instance of sweaty hands apparently being the culprit.)

 

In each case, "prolonged contact" is in the order of weeks, not days or hours. However,

 

Perhaps in case (1.), some more elbow grease is required to get the ink out.

Case (2.) may just be an anomaly, and may also be related to the way the urushi was applied on the particular  pens in question. Indeed some in the threads question whether the urushi was properly cured. Moreover, I'm also made to think about how bubbles form on Namiki Emperor feeds (urushi over acid-etched, uneven plastic)  but not on the sections (same urushi over smooth ebonite); urushi is not the problem, the application is.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I'm really happy urushi is less delicate than I thought.

 

Edit: and @Keyless Works I just realized you run Blake's broadcast, haha. I commented on your Custom 845 video. Nice channel!

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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I've had a Namiki Yukari Royale in red for a long time and I haven't had a problem. I regularly use Iroshizuku inks in my YR. Japanese inks generally are alkaline so with prolonged contact it could damage the lacquer. If the lacquer is damaged or broken it could seep into and/or react with the underlying material

 

Being that the Danitrio is an eyedropper and made of ebonite there is more of a chance for the ink to interact with the urushi in normal usage.

 

In the case of the YR stain, that is just negligence.

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1 hour ago, Keyless Works said:

I've had a Namiki Yukari Royale in red for a long time and I haven't had a problem. I regularly use Iroshizuku inks in my YR. Japanese inks generally are alkaline so with prolonged contact it could damage the lacquer. If the lacquer is damaged or broken it could seep into and/or react with the underlying material

 

Being that the Danitrio is an eyedropper and made of ebonite there is more of a chance for the ink to interact with the urushi in normal usage.

 

In the case of the YR stain, that is just negligence.

 

 

I never considered inks in terms of their pH, thanks. I suppose the Namiki blue bottle that comes with the YR should be fine:

 

Ink pH chart

 

It's interesting that alkalinity, rather than acidity, seems to be cause for more concern when it comes to latex sacs and celluloid as well. Wonder why.

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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2 hours ago, Nurmister said:

This thread went in an unexpected, but very welcome direction. I just bought my first urushi pen, the Namiki YR in black, and I asked the question because of two "cases" I've read while doing my research:

 

Case 1: YR section stained after weeks being left capped with ink in the section. + (Link to explanation.)

Case 2: Some users claiming iroshizuku over sections harmed it over time. + (Another instance of sweaty hands apparently being the culprit.)

 

In each case, "prolonged contact" is in the order of weeks, not days or hours. However,

 

Perhaps in case (1.), some more elbow grease is required to get the ink out.

Case (2.) may just be an anomaly, and may also be related to the way the urushi was applied on the particular  pens in question. Indeed some in the threads question whether the urushi was properly cured. Moreover, I'm also made to think about how bubbles form on Namiki Emperor feeds (urushi over acid-etched, uneven plastic)  but not on the sections (same urushi over smooth ebonite); urushi is not the problem, the application is.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I'm really happy urushi is less delicate than I thought.

 

Edit: and @Keyless Works I just realized you run Blake's broadcast, haha. I commented on your Custom 845 video. Nice channel!

I’m really pleased you asked the question and I too am delighted to read the replies, I took delivery of my first (long awaited) urushi pen only yesterday and can now proceed with confidence - thanks to those who provided the re-assurance - the urushi (in my case red) is mesmerisingly beautiful so it’s natural to be a little nervous! 

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37 minutes ago, Nurmister said:

 

 

I never considered inks in terms of their pH, thanks. I suppose the Namiki blue bottle that comes with the YR should be fine:

 

Ink pH chart

 

It's interesting that alkalinity, rather than acidity, seems to be cause for more concern when it comes to latex sacs and celluloid as well. Wonder why.

Namiki Blue has a relatively strong water resistance, especially for a blue ink. I don't find it easy to clean out of pens.

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57 minutes ago, Keyless Works said:

Namiki Blue has a relatively strong water resistance, especially for a blue ink. I don't find it easy to clean out of pens.

 

Oh I know, I was cleaning my pens of Namiki/Pilot black just last night. Haha. It's a useful property for me, and as long as that doesn't mean it'll stain urushi, I'm alright.

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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Good point -- I didn't consider the age of the urushi either, which may indeed explain "case 2" above. And thank you for the link, though I've seen that article before!  @MartinPauli runs manu propia, which has an excellent library of such information you may like. 

 

From the article:

 

"Freshly cured urushi is highly resistant to heat and moisture, but once it starts to deteriorate as a result of exposure to light and fluctuating RH, it loses its special qualities and weakens. e metal powders used in maki-e decoration are lost as the urushi holding it in place disintegrates."

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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thanks @Nurmister, have read through his site in the past but resist going back - too tempting to buy one of his custom pens

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On 4/27/2021 at 7:41 PM, Nurmister said:

 

 

I never considered inks in terms of their pH, thanks. I suppose the Namiki blue bottle that comes with the YR should be fine:

 

Ink pH chart

 

It's interesting that alkalinity, rather than acidity, seems to be cause for more concern when it comes to latex sacs and celluloid as well. Wonder why.

 

I could explain the chemistry behind it, but do you reeeeeeeally want to know?

 

Because it's catastrophically uninteresting.

 

FWIW, I have a pen that sank with the WWII japanese transport Akibasa-maru in 1944. My mom pulled it off the wreck in about 1974. The Urushi is still present and has definitely formed a patina, but is still in place after thirty years in saltwater. And it wasn't a high end urushi pen either, just the standard 1-2 coat lacquer that most prewar japanese pens got.

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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1 hour ago, Honeybadgers said:

The Urushi is still present and has definitely formed a patina

amazing, any photos honeybadgers?

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On 5/6/2021 at 7:41 AM, Honeybadgers said:

 

I could explain the chemistry behind it, but do you reeeeeeeally want to know?

 

Because it's catastrophically uninteresting.

 

FWIW, I have a pen that sank with the WWII japanese transport Akibasa-maru in 1944. My mom pulled it off the wreck in about 1974. The Urushi is still present and has definitely formed a patina, but is still in place after thirty years in saltwater. And it wasn't a high end urushi pen either, just the standard 1-2 coat lacquer that most prewar japanese pens got.

 

I would actually really love to know, if you'd like to write about it. I'm trying to do a deep dive into Urushi.

 

And I remember that story! I read it in the post you made:

 

 

This pen has amazing provenance.

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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I have seen ancient grave goods with urushi in museums.  The urushi often looks new while the unurushied section of the wood it is on has long since disintegrated.  Urushi is remarkably durable and is a “living” finish.  When scratched, the scratch can be, with time, hand rubbed away.   As I understand, not as sandpaper would but as a soft material is coaxed in to a depression to even out the surface.   

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Urushi is resistant to all known acids and alkalis, as well as water and temperatures up to 300 degrees celsius.

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Thank you all for your information -- this is great, since this information isn't readily available everywhere. I'll post my experiences with the pen when I finally receive it. It's currently on backorder, so will likely take a long time.

 

The topside of a nib is its face, the underside its soul (user readytotalk)

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I usually post in the Facebook group, but came across this discussion while looking for information on cleaning urushi coated pens. Currently, I have two, a Pilot Custom Urushi and a Platinum Izumo. I am waiting for a Nakaya Neo Standard, a Sailor KOP crimson red Urushi and a red Namiki Yukari Royale. Through various sites, I’ve read conflicting facts. Namely, water is poison to Urushi and some others where is says soaking Urushi parts in water overnight to clean is not a problem. I always soak my resin sections in water then in an ultrasonic cleaner to clean them when changing ink. Is that a no-no for Urushi pens?

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