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Noodler's ink - dangerous to pens?


patrik.nusszer

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2 hours ago, Al-Muizz 953 said:

thanks @Ron Zfor the link to the Binder article, it is helpful and has persuaded me to give up on Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts, much as I like the color and concept/history associated with the name

You're free to use whatever ink you want but it is unclear to me if this is a real concern for your use-case. Do you exclusively use vintage pens?  Or have you otherwise experienced a problem? Do you tend to clean your pens infrequently? These might be reasons to avoid that ink.

 

I've used 54th in numerous pens with no ill effects. I don't use it in my vintage pen which sees a very limited range of inks.. 

 

The only bulletproof ink I had an incident with was my fault when I left a pen unused for two years. 

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7 minutes ago, dragondazd said:

You're free to use whatever ink you want but it is unclear to me if this is a real concern for your use-case. Do you exclusively use vintage pens?  Or have you otherwise experienced a problem? Do you tend to clean your pens infrequently? These might be reasons to avoid that ink.

 

I've used 54th in numerous pens with no ill effects. I don't use it in my vintage pen which sees a very limited range of inks.. 

 

The only bulletproof ink I had an incident with was my fault when I left a pen unused for two years. 

The ink flow was uncontrollable on my Lamy AL-Star.  I flushed it out, cleaned the pen, and filled it with Diamine Blue-Black, and it works fine.  My concern is not so much the damage issue but that the ink flow was just uncontrollably wet.  It is clear the issue is the ink and not the pen — a different pen would still have this issue with 54th Massachusetts.

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On 3/17/2022 at 9:44 PM, gerigo said:

I feel Noodler's have been unfairly singled out primarily because Nathan is always interested to push the boundaries of what inks can do and how they perform. I will say that one of the reasons why I was pulled back into fountain pens were the amazing colors Nathan offered over 15 years ago. Of the many pens I have there have been only 2 pens specifically affected by the ink I used in a negative way.

 

One was an Edison pneumatic filler where the rubber diaphragm was destroyed by Iroshizuku Tsukushi. I used it continuously for a few months, put the pen away, and when I returned to it, the rubber was completely melted.

 

The other was a Visconti transparent demonstrator where the body was stained pink with Noodler's Rome Burning. I tried using all sorts of methods to clean it out to no avail. It had to take a trip back to Italy to get a new body. I attribute it to user error rather than a fault in the ink.

 

No other horror stories. I have a few Noodler's that have become favorites. Their version of Walnut, golden brown and black swan in English rose. I use these inks all the time, and they are quite inert.

 

OP: my personal experiences with eel and polar eel inks have been pretty lackluster, with feathering and bleed issues aplenty and no magical improvements in piston mechanism function over other quality inks, YMMV...

 

 

yes Nathan pushes the envelope, and yes, many Noodler's inks are comparatively well behaved, however *many more* Noodler's inks do have at least minor issues that can manifest differently in various pen designs:

 

first and of least concern in most cases, is that a majority of them are very colorant dense and can cause clogging in pens that don't either get used every day, or have average or worse cap seals. for the most part that issue can be remedied by diluting the ink by 20-40% with water and/or never letting the ink dry completely in a pen.

then there's the issue of staining; many of these same colors cause staining of plastics, *most* of it isn't permanent, but sometimes it is and if a pen isn't easily disassembled to allow cleaning of internal surfaces (Pelikan piston fillers for example) it might as well be permanent.

also, some colors *seem* to promote sac degradation (I have no rigorous testing to prove this, only long experience with pens that had sacs fail after prolonged Noodler's use, which had been fine with other more traditional formulas of ink).

Add to the above "quirks" that feathering, bleed and very wet flow are common traits for Noodler's inks and I think you can argue that as a brand they are NOT trouble-free and universally safe inks.

 

this in no way detracts from the excellent writing characteristics of many colors, the novel and sometimes amazing properties found in the line, or the vast array of gorgeous colors that are available from Nathan's Mad Ink Science Lab!

 

my advice to those who wish to venture forth into the world of Noodler's inks, is to tread cautiously until you know an ink's strengths and failings before you commit to using it regularly in your favorite pens and expect to use pen cleaner or dilute ammonia to get your pen clean after having had Noodler's ink in it for more than an hour or two.

 

please don't read this as a hate post against Noodler's (I've met Nathan and think both he and his inks are awesome), just a realistic assessment of what to expect from the brand.

also note that all of the same issues can be found in other makers' ink as well and many of those don't have the redeeming qualities of similarly affected Noodler's products.

 

 

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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Most of my inks are Noodler's Ink and I run them through my cheapest and most expensive pens all the time. None of my pens have a bladder, and that is really only relevant to Baystate inks. 

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On 6/20/2022 at 5:25 PM, awa54 said:

 

OP: my personal experiences with eel and polar eel inks have been pretty lackluster, with feathering and bleed issues aplenty and no magical improvements in piston mechanism function over other quality inks, YMMV...

 

 

yes Nathan pushes the envelope, and yes, many Noodler's inks are comparatively well behaved, however *many more* Noodler's inks do have at least minor issues that can manifest differently in various pen designs:

 

first and of least concern in most cases, is that a majority of them are very colorant dense and can cause clogging in pens that don't either get used every day, or have average or worse cap seals. for the most part that issue can be remedied by diluting the ink by 20-40% with water and/or never letting the ink dry completely in a pen.

then there's the issue of staining; many of these same colors cause staining of plastics, *most* of it isn't permanent, but sometimes it is and if a pen isn't easily disassembled to allow cleaning of internal surfaces (Pelikan piston fillers for example) it might as well be permanent.

also, some colors *seem* to promote sac degradation (I have no rigorous testing to prove this, only long experience with pens that had sacs fail after prolonged Noodler's use, which had been fine with other more traditional formulas of ink).

Add to the above "quirks" that feathering, bleed and very wet flow are common traits for Noodler's inks and I think you can argue that as a brand they are NOT trouble-free and universally safe inks.

 

this in no way detracts from the excellent writing characteristics of many colors, the novel and sometimes amazing properties found in the line, or the vast array of gorgeous colors that are available from Nathan's Mad Ink Science Lab!

 

my advice to those who wish to venture forth into the world of Noodler's inks, is to tread cautiously until you know an ink's strengths and failings before you commit to using it regularly in your favorite pens and expect to use pen cleaner or dilute ammonia to get your pen clean after having had Noodler's ink in it for more than an hour or two.

 

please don't read this as a hate post against Noodler's (I've met Nathan and think both he and his inks are awesome), just a realistic assessment of what to expect from the brand.

also note that all of the same issues can be found in other makers' ink as well and many of those don't have the redeeming qualities of similarly affected Noodler's products.

 

 

thanks @awa54this is helpful and sounds "fair and balanced" as the FOX News folks like to say

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``

On 6/20/2022 at 8:35 PM, CRASHtheGREY said:

Most of my inks are Noodler's Ink and I run them through my cheapest and most expensive pens all the time. None of my pens have a bladder, and that is really only relevant to Baystate inks. 

thanks @CRASHtheGREYthis too sounds reasonable -- i am only going to use 54th Mass which is a great color and I value the permanency of it so I am comfortable using it in one of my pens as a dedicated color

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4 hours ago, Al-Muizz 953 said:

``

thanks @CRASHtheGREYthis too sounds reasonable -- i am only going to use 54th Mass which is a great color and I value the permanency of it so I am comfortable using it in one of my pens as a dedicated color

Especially as a dedicated pen, hard to worry too much. 

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I tend to use Noodlers inks only in pens with converters that are easily replaced. I have two pens currently devoted to Bay State Blue. I also use Baystate Concord Grape, with the same caveat.

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I have been using mostly Noodler's inks, with relatively few problems (I may have killed a Konrad by leaving BSB in it for over a year, but that's on me).  One of the things that I have always liked about Mr. Tardif is his attention to the properties of specific inks (fast drying, not feathering, not freezing, etc.), and I definitely like the idea of his using a cellulose-reactive dye, rather than pigments, to achieve permanence.  

 

I recall that there are some stories of inconsistency between batches giving rise to problems with a particular ink sometimes but not others.  Am I mis-remembering there?

 

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No. I guess it depends on how one looks at it. Nathan's approach seems to be that differences between batches make text written more difficult to forge and easier to trace to different batches.

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19 hours ago, txomsy said:

No. I guess it depends on how one looks at it. Nathan's approach seems to be that differences between batches make text written more difficult to forge and easier to trace to different batches.

I suppose that could be a benefit, but if a different formulation results in stuff falling out of solution, I would say that the potential benefit isn't worth it.

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Only ever lost 2 pens due to ink -= or rather my negligence in ink. The latest was a TWSBI 580 Diamond in Rose Gold that I left filled with perfectly safe Visconti Blue ink for nearly a year. The piston would not move, the tool would not allow me to turn the back end despite great pressure. I tried soaking, sonic cleaning, even boiling water at the very last end, but it was hopeless. Lesson I learned was to monitor and maintain your pens. Clean them out if not in use. Oh, and I never use Iron Gall inks at all anymore after it (I guess I did it, same story) ruined a Pelikan 205. Otherwise, I use Doodlers in my favorite check signing pen, a Namiki Falcon that I would NEVER give up or put in danger (Heart of Darkness ink).

It is easier to stay out than get out. - Mark Twain

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People forget that Noodler's makes inks with different properties.  There is not one line of ink, but many.  Bay State Blue gets relegated to a cheap pen -- one for which I don't care if it stains (currently a Charlie eyedropper because the ink feathers like crazy and the clear barrel makes for an easy way to eyeball diluting the ink with water).  OTOH, I have used other Noodler's inks in a vintage Parker 51 with no trouble at all (and would be more likely to use at least SOME Noodler's inks than an iron gall ink in that pen) -- and I say that as someone who really likes IG inks, too.  

I've also read that super alkaline inks (like many Japanese ones) are ALSO not good for pens with sacs.  But you don't read a lot of complaints about those inks.  And leaving ANY ink in ANY pen for too long can cause problems.

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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On 6/24/2022 at 12:13 PM, wbpeoria said:

...I may have killed a Konrad by leaving BSB in it for over a year, but that's on me...

 

 

sad for the Konrad, but in the overall scheme of all things pen, that's not such a high price to pay for using an ink with qualities that are unavailable in other makers product lines.

 

I'm actually a bit surprised that anything short of solvents or shellac could permanently damage a Konrad... which makes me wonder what the Baystate inks would do to the sponge in a '60s Pilot feed 😱 

 

if I had a use for waterproof, lightfast, "bulletproof", GITD, neon highlighter, or invisible inks then I'd probably opt to dedicate a sub $50 pen to each Noodler's ink, but my writing needs are fairly simple and undemanding, plus I like vintage writing instruments more than modern on the whole, so classic dye based inks fill the bill perfectly.


 

 

 

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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2 hours ago, inkstainedruth said:

People forget that Noodler's makes inks with different properties.  There is not one line of ink, but many.  Bay State Blue gets relegated to a cheap pen -- one for which I don't care if it stains (currently a Charlie eyedropper because the ink feathers like crazy and the clear barrel makes for an easy way to eyeball diluting the ink with water).  OTOH, I have used other Noodler's inks in a vintage Parker 51 with no trouble at all (and would be more likely to use at least SOME Noodler's inks than an iron gall ink in that pen) -- and I say that as someone who really likes IG inks, too.  

I've also read that super alkaline inks (like many Japanese ones) are ALSO not good for pens with sacs.  But you don't read a lot of complaints about those inks.  And leaving ANY ink in ANY pen for too long can cause problems.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

I recently had to have a pen re-sacced.  I asked about inks and he did caution about Noodler's inks; the other inks I use most tend to me Iroshizuku and he said it was fine.  He was dismissive of concerns related to alkaline sacs. 

 

It's funny b/c I ordered two bottles of R&K to fill a cart for shipping and now I see a recent post of mold in their bottles...  so should I tell people not buy those inks?

I've also seen many people speak poorly of pigmented inks and iron gall inks, but I have also heard the Pelikan Blue Black has been in use for a long time before vintage pens became vintage.  

 

It does seem though to be a consensus that Bay state blue is a devil of an ink.  

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3 hours ago, dftr said:

 

I recently had to have a pen re-sacced.  I asked about inks and he did caution about Noodler's inks; the other inks I use most tend to me Iroshizuku and he said it was fine.  He was dismissive of concerns related to alkaline sacs. 

 

It's funny b/c I ordered two bottles of R&K to fill a cart for shipping and now I see a recent post of mold in their bottles...  so should I tell people not buy those inks?

I've also seen many people speak poorly of pigmented inks and iron gall inks, but I have also heard the Pelikan Blue Black has been in use for a long time before vintage pens became vintage.  

 

It does seem though to be a consensus that Bay state blue is a devil of an ink.  

 

I personally, am not "tell(ing) people not to buy those inks", just making certain that anyone not familiar with the "traits" that many Noodler's inks possess may be of benefit or of harm, depending on use case.

stating that they are "safe" without suggesting some caution in their use does new and potential users of the product line a disservice and may well contribute to negative brand awareness.

 

as with any manufacturer, ink makers will eventually have a "bad batch" (or in the case of SITB, it's often a hygiene issue on the bottling line), I'll choose not to replace my R&K ink that was affected for a while, in the hope that the issue will be sorted and any affected stock recalled from retailers. you can make that risk assessment based on your own parameters ...I personally don't love clogged feeds, mold inside my pens, or dumping $10 down the drain 😟

 

there's plenty of debate and misapprehension around IG inks: historical IG formulas were much harsher than most modern ones and could easily damage a modern reservoir pen, however the great majority of commercially available IG inks these days are not corrosive enough to cause immediate damage to fountain pens *if used correctly* which (much like Noodler's inks), involves not allowing ink to dry down in the pen and frequent/thorough flushes (at least compared to when using benign inks). Pelikan blue-black is a generally safe, if somewhat dry writing ink, that I've used with no ill effects in both modern and vintage pens for 40 years (it used to be available at stationers in the US until comparatively recently).

you also need to be mindful of sediment in IG inks, as that indicates that the active agent is degrading, as well as the sediment being a potential blockage hazard.

 

pigment inks (that don't contain a binder) are in a similar boat: with careful use that avoids dry down and thorough flushes eliminating most problems. staining is possible though, so again, caution and common sense are in order.

 

...so are these inks "dangerous"? I think in most cases they aren't ...until they are. which is why I would advise gaining experience with any of the above inks in inexpensive, easily replaced pens, before committing to use them in valuable, scarce or favorite pens ...and in some cases opting not to use them if they seem to be incompatible.

 

examples:

less corrosion resistant nib, or steel/brass/aluminum internal parts that come in contact with ink = no IG

pen with a poor cap seal (dries easily) = no pigment inks, IG inks or highly saturated inks

pens with hard to disassemble feed systems = no pigment or saturated ink, *unless* you will be certain to never allow the pen to dry out with ink inside

 

there are many other cases that may disqualify the use of a specific ink, but once you have broad experience with many different ink types, they'll become self evident!

 

have fun with ink

don't wreck your pens

don't confuse Wisdom with Hate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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On 6/23/2022 at 3:34 PM, Al-Muizz 953 said:

thanks @awa54this is helpful and sounds "fair and balanced" as the FOX News folks like to say

 

I'm not quite sure how to take that...

 

hopefully you mean that my opinions are *actually* fair and balanced 😄 

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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@awa54 I agree w/ your reply to my post in this thread.  Perhaps another consensus can be not to let your pens dry out?  

 

With that being said, I'm sure permanent/pigmented inks can shorten the lifespan of lever filled sacs even w/ regular use.

 

In the MB Calligraphy 149 thread, I was advised to use MB permanent blue.  This worked well for me and got better flow, but I note that one fellow there had issues w/ it staining the  ink window!  Something I haven't seen in my 149 or Pelikan pen or noted in the convertor.   At anyrate this a place for discussion and exchange of experience; it was good b/c someone in that thread advised him how to clear that ink window! 

 

So please do not take this as irritation at threads like these.  

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12 hours ago, awa54 said:

 

I'm not quite sure how to take that...

 

hopefully you mean that my opinions are *actually* fair and balanced 😄 

yes yes @awa54, apologies! -- that was what i meant, just in a lighthearted way -- thank you again

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thank you all for the helpful replies here -- i haven't been concerned about Noodler's 54th Mass damaging my pen, just that it seemed to have more than the usual amount of nib creep and was quite wet on the page, resulting in considerable feathering at least on some paper -- will try with a finer nib perhaps but in the end i still like the qualities and the color, it is in fact my only permanent ink at the moment and i think Noodler's deserves considerable credit for that

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