Author Topic: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies  (Read 4118 times)

mamselle

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #60 on: February 21, 2022, 09:49:37 AM »
Interesting. I wonder if the Noodler's "54th Mass" was in reference to the first all-black regiment in the Civil War (featured in the "Glory" film):

   https://www.nps.gov/boaf/learn/historyculture/shaw.htm

Seems inconsistent with what some of the other names suggest, but not impossible, I suppose.

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ergative

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #61 on: February 21, 2022, 10:11:49 AM »
Yes, it is a reference to that. The color is supposed to reflect the color of their uniforms. Tardiff isn't a rah rah Confederacy lost cause type of guy; he's an ideological libertarian, so being anti-slavery is consistent with that philosophy.

paultuttle

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #62 on: March 09, 2022, 01:41:42 PM »
Yes, please proselytize.

Aha! An invitation. Ok, There are three categories of waterproof fountain pen inks that you can explore. The first is brand-specific; the other two are more an ink-making technique than a brand.

Noodlers
Noodlers is an American company run by one Nathan Tardiff, who makes his libertarian politics part of his brand. He names his ink colors things like Bernanke Blue and Bloody Brexit, and at one point in 2015ish he couldn't get glass bottles from his supplier at regular prices and released a youtube video explaining, at great length, what a travesty it would be for him to have to raise prices, and why, rather than succumb to this calamitous development, he had decided to temporarily switch to plastic bottles. Part of this philosophy also involves filling bottles all the way up to the very tippy tippy top, so that when you open them for the first time you're liable to spill them because they're so full.

Noodlers is wildly prolific in its varieties of inks. It is the maker of the infamous Baystate Blue, which eye-searingly vibrant, waterproof (on everything, including hands, clothes, pens, furniture, sink basins, and pen barrels), and had a bit of a bad moment back in 2013 or so when it caused the feeds of a batch of Lamy Safaris to melt. I believe that's been fixed now--Lamy changed their manufacturing of their feeds. However, it fades badly in light, and it tends to feather and bleed through paper, so I don't recommend it.

For waterproofness, you have a couple of options among the Noodler's brand. First is the series of Bulletproof inks, which are designed to chemically bond with the cellulose of paper, and so is perfectly waterproof. There's a bulletproof Black(which I don't love--a bit too greyish for my taste, although I know many other people swear by it), but the line comes in many other colors, including Brexit Royal Blue, 54th Mass, Britannia's Blue Waves, and No. 41 Brown (so named after Scott Brown was elected to Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts, ending the Democrats' supermajority by becoming the 41st GOP senator. As I said, Tardiff leans into his politics.) I've used 54th Mass and Zhivago from this line, and they've both behaved well for me.

For more permanence, you can go with the Warden series, which are designed to be tamper proof as well as bulletproof. They all have the word 'bad' in the name: Bad Belted Kingfisher, Bad Black Moccasin, Bad Green Gator, and Bad Blue Heron.

Outside of these series, his ink Kung Te Cheng is also famously immovable in water.

Noodler's has a bit of a mixed reputation among inkophiles. Leaving aside the politics, his focus on experimenting with different ink qualities (bulletproof, tamper-proof, freeze-proof, glow-in-the-dark, shading, anti-feathering, etc.) can lead to extremely inconsistent results. Many people love some of his inks, but consider other ones unusable, too prone to feathering or bleeding or too slow to dry (or never drying). Even within batches there is inconsistency, so you might get a sample and like it, but when you buy a bottle it is from a different batch, and looks or behaves differently.


Iron Gall inks
Traditional inks are made from iron gall, which oxidizes as it dries to a dark black color. In the past, there were a lot of fountain pen inks with a color called 'blue black', which were a combination of iron gall, which went down very pale but dried/oxidized to black, and blue dye, added to make the wet ink--otherwise too pale to see comfortably--more visible as you wrote. These old blue black iron gall inks were extremely corrosive, and tended to eat steel nibs (gold nibs, however, were resistant, hence the frequency of gold nibs or gold plated nibs in traditional fountain pen manufacturing). Modern iron gall inks are much less corrosive, possibly because of superior chemical manufacturing, but also possibly because the iron concentration is just lower. Also, they often contain added colors other than blue.

All iron gall inks are waterproof at a minimum in their iron gall component: The added dye might wash away in water, but the iron gall will leave behind legible letters. They're also quite fun to use, because the color changes dramatically from wet to dry, as the dye component is dominant when the ink goes down, but the iron gall darkens it as it oxidizes.

The Polish brand KWZ makes quite a lot of iron gall inks that are reputed to behave nicely. I've used Iron Gall Green #3 and it behaves nicely. I also have a bottle of Iron Gall Turquoise, but it had a tendency to clog my Pilot Metropolitan (F nib), and left behind a dark film on the nib that didn't come off in rinsing, and instead required me to physically take apart the nib and feed and rub with a toothpick, so I can't recommend wholeheartedly. However, the color is really beautiful.

Diamine has a traditional blue-black iron gall ink called Registrars, and Rohrer & Klingner make two iron gall inks: a blue-black (Scalix) and a dusky purple (Scabiosa). I have not tried them myself, because they have a reputation of being quite dry, but if you have a wet-writing pen they may well work out for you. Both Diamine and R&K are very well-established brands, and have good reputations for making consistent, well-behaved inks. Certainly I've liked every Diamine ink I've ever tried, although I've not tried their Registrar's ink myself.

Pigmented inks
Your third option for waterproofness is to go with pigmented inks. Usually fountain pen inks are dye-based, because pigments have a tendency to clog the feeds. However, in the past ten years or so pigmented inks have become more common. I don't know what's changed--pigment-grinding technology, or something. One pigment-based ink that a lot of people swear by is Platinum Carbon Black, which is absolutely immovable in water, although I think it has a tendency to feather/bleed. Other pigment-based waterproof inks can be found in Rohrer & Klingner's dokumentus line, which includes a variety of colors, including magenta, green, light blue, dark blue, brown, and black. I've tried the R&K magenta, and although it behaved very nicely and was definitely extremely waterproof, it left chunks of dried pigment on the feed of my nib, and I had to spend a fair amount of time with a toothpick and nib flush to get it all off.

Summary
Waterproof inks come with trade-offs. Noodlers is a whole thing, on its own, from politics to consistency. Iron gall inks--even modern ones--tend to write dry in the pen (except for KWZ, which I think uses lower iron gall content and so are less waterproof), can be corrosive to nibs, and leave behind a film of sediment. This isn't a problem if your pen comes apart easily, like a Pilot Metropolitan, or if you have a dedicated pen that you just keep filled with the same ink all the time, ideally with a gold nib, but it's a bit of kerfuffle if you like to change inks a lot, which I do. And pigmented inks, while absolutely positively immovable in water, need special cleaning and have cloggy tendency.

I'd probably recommend you get a bottle of Noodler's 54th Mass: That particular ink tends to be well-behaved, easy enough to clean, looks reasonably professional, and won't wash away if you drop your notebook in a stream. When I bought a fountain pen and bottle of ink as a thank-you gift for a research assistant, that's what I got her.

Additional resources
Fountain Pen Network, a forum for all fountain pen users. It is the embodiment of Rule 34 as applied to fountain pens: If you've thought of it, it's been discussed on FPN. I've linked to the 'inky thoughts' subforum, which on the first page as of this posting has a question from someone looking for a waterproof, easy-to-clean ink, but there's a huge amount of information there if you poke around.
Jet Pens comprehensive guide to Noodlers inks
Jet Pens evaluation of waterproofness of a variety of inks
Goulet Pens collection of water-resistant inks (include all the ones I've mentioned here, and multiple others besides)[/url]. Goulet Pens is quite good also for getting small samples of inks before you commit to a whole bottle.
Anderson Pens also sells sample vials, as do Shigure Inks but I've never bought from them myself. Really, any good pen store should sell samples of its inks. Don't go to Amazon for your ink. Buy it from a retailor that knows inks.
Mountain of Ink is a SUPERB blog that by now has reviewed thousands of inks, and carefully tags them by properties. I've linked to the page summarizing a variety of water resistant inks, although I think that page just provides a representative sample, rather than an exhaustive link of all inks reviewed with high water resistance. Whenever I'm considering buying a new ink, Mountain of Ink is one of the first places I go.


And, of course, I'm always happy to write more here if you have other questions about fountain pens. Or inks. Or paper. I have All The Thoughts.

Wow! Thank you very much. Very helpful.

I'll be sure to check out these options.

dr_evil

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #63 on: March 09, 2022, 02:03:05 PM »
Regarding the reaction of iron gall inks with the nibs, it might be because I think the iron gall inks contain acid. I have a recipe for making my own iron gall ink (science geek here) that uses vinegar (acetic acid) to dissolve iron to get it into solution. If they still use acid, that would be bad for the nibs or any metal parts, but wouldn't react with gold (most acids don't). I purchased a bamboo pen for my homemade iron gall ink.

Regarding Noodler's bulletproof inks, I tested one of them with other solvents, not just water, and they didn't wash off the paper. Nor did it wash off my wallet when the pen leaked. :(

Tee_Bee

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #64 on: May 07, 2022, 02:20:36 PM »
This ink discussion was so cool. This is timely because of my recent discoveries:

* TWSBI Eco fountain pens. No converter, no cartridges, just a pen barrel that is clear and that holds and shows the ink. For a $35 fountain pen these pens write beautifully to me--and to be clear, I write and take notes, and have poor handwriting, so my standards are poor. I bought one as a treat to myself but loved it so much I bought a second one with a medium nib. Love them. I might get some fun ink for them.

* I discovered the syringes with blunt needles at JetPens, used to fill ink converters (for my Lamy Safaris and an older Rotring) without dipping the pen in the inkwell, which I find to be really messy. Now that I make less of a mess with my ink, I am thinking of exploring different colors and inks.

ergative

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #65 on: May 07, 2022, 02:39:07 PM »
This ink discussion was so cool. This is timely because of my recent discoveries:

* TWSBI Eco fountain pens. No converter, no cartridges, just a pen barrel that is clear and that holds and shows the ink. For a $35 fountain pen these pens write beautifully to me--and to be clear, I write and take notes, and have poor handwriting, so my standards are poor. I bought one as a treat to myself but loved it so much I bought a second one with a medium nib. Love them. I might get some fun ink for them.

* I discovered the syringes with blunt needles at JetPens, used to fill ink converters (for my Lamy Safaris and an older Rotring) without dipping the pen in the inkwell, which I find to be really messy. Now that I make less of a mess with my ink, I am thinking of exploring different colors and inks.

Welcome to the club! The TWSBI Eco is very popular, yes. I haven't ever used it, but I have a Diamond 580, and I'm very fond of it. It's the pen I take with me when I travel, because it holds so much ink I don't need to worry about bringing refills, and it is always reliable and well behaved. Be aware, though, that TWSBIs have a tendency to crack or break after a little bit. If you get in touch with their customer service they'll send you a new part for the cost of shipping--I had to do that when my nib collar cracked a few months ago--and that's very nice, and all, but it would be nice if they didn't crack in the first place.

Ink syringes are wonderful! I have a couple of pens which just don't fit converters very well, so I have to reuse empty cartridges, and an ink syringe is invaluable for refilling those cartridges.

Regarding the reaction of iron gall inks with the nibs, it might be because I think the iron gall inks contain acid. I have a recipe for making my own iron gall ink (science geek here) that uses vinegar (acetic acid) to dissolve iron to get it into solution. If they still use acid, that would be bad for the nibs or any metal parts, but wouldn't react with gold (most acids don't). I purchased a bamboo pen for my homemade iron gall ink.

Regarding Noodler's bulletproof inks, I tested one of them with other solvents, not just water, and they didn't wash off the paper. Nor did it wash off my wallet when the pen leaked. :(

Yes, I think the corrosiveness of IG inks is the acid, although it sounds like you know a lot more about how they're made than I do!

I did a little digging on the Bulletproof vs. Warden inks. Apparently, so the story goes, Nathan Tardiff designed the bulletproof inks to be tamper-proof and immovable, and challenged his customers to prove him wrong. As you've discovered, they're resistant to lots of solvents besides water. But some science grad student or professor who worked with lasers managed to laser a bulletproof ink off a paper. So the Warden series is designed to be laser-proof, in recognition of this young inkophile science person's discovery.

Langue_doc

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2022, 12:56:34 PM »
I didn't realize that you could use syringes to fill converters or cartridges--thanks for the info.

Tee_Bee

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2022, 07:22:25 PM »
I didn't realize that you could use syringes to fill converters or cartridges--thanks for the info.

I only learned this in the last few months. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. Interestingly, the needles on the syringes are blunted to avoid any implication of misuse. I bought a set of them on Amazon in various sizes. Apparently the bigger ones are good for filling the ink tanks on the newer printers that use ink tanks instead of expensive cartridges.

ergative

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #68 on: September 26, 2022, 07:50:56 AM »
A year or two ago, it was announced that Tomoe River paper was being discontinued by the manufacturer, Tomoegawa. This news sent the fountain pen world into wild heights of tizzy, for Tomoe River paper is considered the best of the best among those who sling ink.

I felt rather smug, because around the same time, a new paper, Cosmo Air Light, was released by Yamamoto, and it had many of the same properties that made TRP so popular. To be sure, I definitely made sure to stock up on TRP notebooks before the paper was gone, but I also felt confident that Cosmo Air Light would see me through.

Now I've just learned that Cosmo Air Light is being discontinued by Yamamoto, in an email full of foreboding hints that other Japanese papers would perhaps follow. And, as those who know know, Japan is where the best paper is made.

But Tomoe River (the brand) has been bought by a new manufacturer, Sanzen, and so lives again. Of course, ink-slingers have lots to say about the difference between the old TRP and the new Sanzen (and yes, I've read the articles and watched all the youtube videos that are, literally, videos of watching ink dry), but it seems to be a reasonably close clone.

So: am I safe? Will Sanzen TRP see me through? Or is Sanzen going to go the way of OG Tomoe River and Cosmo Air Light? I don't know. I've just bought some more notebooks of each.

It's rather silly, really: I'm panic-buying these notebooks faster than I can use them up. But at least I'll be sure that my fountain pens will always have something to write on that will show off their sheen and shading as it deserves to be shown off.

paultuttle

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Re: Unnatural Love: Pens, Stationery, Office Supplies
« Reply #69 on: September 26, 2022, 07:54:40 AM »
A year or two ago, it was announced that Tomoe River paper was being discontinued by the manufacturer, Tomoegawa. This news sent the fountain pen world into wild heights of tizzy, for Tomoe River paper is considered the best of the best among those who sling ink.

I felt rather smug, because around the same time, a new paper, Cosmo Air Light, was released by Yamamoto, and it had many of the same properties that made TRP so popular. To be sure, I definitely made sure to stock up on TRP notebooks before the paper was gone, but I also felt confident that Cosmo Air Light would see me through.

Now I've just learned that Cosmo Air Light is being discontinued by Yamamoto, in an email full of foreboding hints that other Japanese papers would perhaps follow. And, as those who know know, Japan is where the best paper is made.

But Tomoe River (the brand) has been bought by a new manufacturer, Sanzen, and so lives again. Of course, ink-slingers have lots to say about the difference between the old TRP and the new Sanzen (and yes, I've read the articles and watched all the youtube videos that are, literally, videos of watching ink dry), but it seems to be a reasonably close clone.

So: am I safe? Will Sanzen TRP see me through? Or is Sanzen going to go the way of OG Tomoe River and Cosmo Air Light? I don't know. I've just bought some more notebooks of each.

It's rather silly, really: I'm panic-buying these notebooks faster than I can use them up. But at least I'll be sure that my fountain pens will always have something to write on that will show off their sheen and shading as it deserves to be shown off.

OK, that surprised a few guffaws out of me.