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Best Behaved Waterproof or Bulletproof Inks


GNL
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Hello Fellow FPNers,

 

I have been away from fountain pens for about 10 years after many years using them almost exclusively.  Now that I’m back in the fold, I’m wondering if there are any well behaved, beautiful waterproof inks out there I might not know about.  I remember that most of the waterproof or bulletproof inks I used (Noodler’s Luxury Blue comes to mind) tended toward nib creep and were very hard to wash out of pens.  I’ve recently received a sample of Noodle’rs Zhivago and have been very impressed by its good behavior, lack of nib creep and good flow.  But it basically looks black (barely a hint of green) and I’d prefer something in the blue-teal-green spectrum.  MUST be a well behaved ink.

 

Thanks for your insights!

 

GNL 

Current favorite pen: Montblanc 144 Meisterstuck purchased at Art Brown in 1984. After 38 years, every part has been replaced except the nib. Still a gorgeous writing instrument, rock-solid reliable, gives me hours of pleasure to use.

Current favorite ink: Colorverse Supernovs

Current favorite paper: Romeo notepads

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Well, depending on your opinion of pigmented inks and flushing them, you might have a look at Sailor Souboku (I like the color better than Seiboku).

If you don't mind a regular blue, Noodler's came out with a new one a couple of years ago called Baltimore Canyon.  It's more water resistant than the one they make for Goulet Pens (Liberty's Elysium) and is a brighter blue.  It was originally supposed to be released for the Baltimore-Washington Pen Show a couple of years ago (but then the pandemic happened).  Not sure if it was originally supposed to be an LE ink for the show or just a new release, but thinking the latter because I've seen several vendors carry it.  Got my first bottle the last time I was up in Boston, going to Bromfield's, and then found a second bottle last summer when I was in the DC area and drove up to Pen Boutique for the day.  And I noticed over the weekend at the Baltimore-Washington Pen Show that Federalist Pens seemed to have it (and I was REALLY tempted to buy a second backup bottle of it...).

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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I very highly recommend Noodler's Baltimore Canyon ink.  It is completely waterproof by my own tests and archival. I had a sample in a south facing window for two months without any noticeable fading, and this was in sunny San Diego. It is a very vibrant, well-behaved blue and has been my standard ink for more than a year.

Children think adults have all the freedom and adults think children have
all the freedom.
 

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Baltimore Canyon supplanted Liberty's Elysium as my favorite bright blue that doesn't lean teal or lavender.

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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Birmingham Pen Company is primarily an ink company in Pittsburgh, and has a highly water resistant line of inks called Everlasting Inks with 18 colors last I checked ( I’ve been using their dark teal  Black Ice ink as an EDC ink for over a year with no issues).  They are pigmented inks.  Many of Birmingham’s other inks have also tended to exhibit fair water resistance, although not advertised as such.  I haven’t had any problems with any of their inks over the years, and enjoy the wide variety of colors on offer.  It is a small company, so one needs to be patient with shipping times and low stock at times.  
https://www.birminghampens.com/collections/everlasting-ink

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So Ruth and OCArt, Does the Baltimore Canyon have a tendency to nib creep at all?

Current favorite pen: Montblanc 144 Meisterstuck purchased at Art Brown in 1984. After 38 years, every part has been replaced except the nib. Still a gorgeous writing instrument, rock-solid reliable, gives me hours of pleasure to use.

Current favorite ink: Colorverse Supernovs

Current favorite paper: Romeo notepads

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For waterproof inks that don’t nib-creep, I recommend iron-gall inks.

Some of them feel very ‘dry’ to write with, but if you have ‘wet’ pens they’re not a problem.

 

Most iron-gall inks on the market are blue-blacks, but Platinum makes a range of them in different colours in their ‘Classic’ range, and newer company KWZ also makes a range of iron-galls in various colours.

Foul in clear conditions, but handsome in the fog.

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My choices are Sailor Seiboku and Souboku - they've behaved best for me out of the various options I've tried, and the best looking to me.  IMO, you should try samples for yourself, if at all possible, as those options can behave quite differently, and the meaning of "well behaved" can vary by person.

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Other inks:

 

Montblanc Permanent black and blue

 

Koh-i-noor dokument line

 

KWZ inks

 

Diamine permanent/Registrars inks (like e.g. Ultra Violet)

 

ESSRI

 

Rohrer & Klingner dokumentus line (and, I think, the Sketch line as well)

 

De Atramentis document line (made with mixing in mind)

 

and many, many more...

 

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1 hour ago, GNL said:

So Ruth and OCArt, Does the Baltimore Canyon have a tendency to nib creep at all?

I've not had any problem with nib creep. Like all highly saturated inks it does take a few extra flushes to clean the pen but I've not noticed any staining.

Children think adults have all the freedom and adults think children have
all the freedom.
 

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Like OCArt, I haven't seen nib creep on Baltimore Canyon.  But then my level of nib creep is such that Noodler's KTC is one of my favorite inks -- in *spite* of its bad behavior (clogging and nib creep), because the good qualities (color, water resistance and UV resistance) tend to outweigh the bad ones.

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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IME, Noodler's bulletproof inks are among the best in terms of "uncompromising" permanence on the page for the range of colors offered, but this seems to almost universally come at the cost of poor or "special" behavior in every other way. Whether this includes long dry times, poor feathering and bleed-through, inconvenient cleaning requirements, high dye loads and other ingredients potentially causing issues with pen parts, and staining of plastic parts, &c, the result is usually what I would consider some of the least well-behaved inks around. 

 

On the other hand, Noodler's Black is one of the only really bulletproof, waterproof blacks that has very good performance on very poor paper without associated troubles (other Noodler's black colors can be more difficult to work with), at the cost of what I consider to be a truly execrable color (more dark muddy brown than what I think of a clean, crisp black) in any nib even remotely capable of spreading the ink around. 

 

That means that, in general, for the best behaved on the page, I've found dry IG inks to be the clear winners here, even though they are not as waterproof or archival as pigmented inks or Noodler's bulletproof inks. In a properly tuned pen, they just tend to work on pretty much any paper better than any other type of ink I've found. The cost is that they are super dry and many people will have pens that are not tuned for these inks, making the experience less than desirable for them. That can make IG inks poorly behaved "on the nib" as it were, during the writing experience. 

 

If, however, you can tolerate a little loss of performance on the truly poor paper, my experience with pigmented inks is that they tend to be much more waterproof than IG inks or Bulletproof inks in that they tend to retain their color entirely on the page, whereas both IG and bulletproof inks are apt to lose some color or suffer from a color change when dunked in water, though some are better than others. They also tend to be relatively well behaved on the whole, but they can still bleed and feather/spread more than IG inks will tend to. The pigmented inks, though, tend to feel much more lubricated on the nib than the IG inks I've tried. IMO, the pigmented inks from Sailor and Platinum seem to be among the best, and are particularly well-behaved, especially Sailor's line. The pigmented inks from the German companies, I've found to be less well-behaved on the whole, but also a little less subtle and "bolder" in their formulations. 

 

If you want superbly well-behaved, very dry, and muted blue-ish tints, then Platinum Blue Black, Pelikan 4001 Blue Black, and Lamy Benitoite are all water resistant IG inks that have a very nice color when you initially write with them, but not so much IG that they go straight black quickly thereafter (such as with Registrar's inks). Likewise, Sailor Seiboku is a terrific ink that I don't think has much of a competitor, IMO, in terms of color/permanence/behavior together. 

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I actually prefer Noodler's Heart of Darkness over Noodler's Black -- it has a shorter dry time, while still being fairly well behaved on bad paper.  Noodler's Old Manhattan (formerly exclusive to Art Brown's in NYC, and now I believe exclusive to Fountain Pen Hospital, also in NYC) is "blacker" than either, but part of that is because it spreads on the page.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

ETA: Part of the problem with Noodler's Black, IME, is that only the part of the ink actually *in contact* with the paper and its cellulose component is "bulletproof" -- so anything above that which is NOT directly in contact with the paper can be smudgy.

"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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5 hours ago, inkstainedruth said:

ETA: Part of the problem with Noodler's Black, IME, is that only the part of the ink actually *in contact* with the paper and its cellulose component is "bulletproof" -- so anything above that which is NOT directly in contact with the paper can be smudgy.

 

I've found the majority of Noodler's inks to be smudgy in any wet pen (which is most of what I try to have around me), which is less than ideal. On the other hand, in wet pens, I've also found pigmented inks to be highly smudgy as well. 

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I love Iroshizuku Fuyu Syogun (Old man winter).  I don't know about bulletproof but I've found it waterproof/resistant.    

Surprisingly it's also easy to clean out of a pen.

 

BTW, it's a great ink for mixing but I don't want to get in trouble for talking about that here..

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