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Fountain pen users: what are your EDC inks?

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by A144, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. ThurstyUSMC

    ThurstyUSMC Loaded Pockets

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    I'm a big fan of Private Reserve ink. When I finish my sample of BSB I'm going back to Private Reserve Midnight Blue. I've found PR responds exceptionally well with cheap paper and that's typically what I encounter. I've also found Parker Quink to be more than adequate. I love most of Noodler's inks but they all seem to feather on less than top shelf paper.


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  2. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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    I have a friend who says Parker inks. But I need to ask him is this an older discontinued ink, or is he using a brand new ink from them. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Well I almost went blind last night, looking up the brands I mentioned, and checked out all their ink colors. Now I will see what people say to me about the brand. The Pilot cartridge of Blue Namiki works very well in this pen. It dries faster even than my gel pens for sure. I want bottled ink, for the color selection, and it saves me some money too. I don't know how this Namiki ink is considered. Is it middle of the road, or a wetter ink? I read from a review these pens like a wetter ink. So, I am going to read some about this today, before putting something in my cart.
     
    Last edited by kkay, Sep 21, 2015
  3. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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    Ha. I wrote this last night, still no thoughts. So I went ahead and took the plunge. I ordered from 3 different companies. I wanted one from another company, but I was about 3-4 dollars shy of having enough. I had to go for the free shipping ya know. Okay, here are my 3. J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche, Diamine Kelly Green, & Iroshizuku Rigor of Winter aka fuyu-syogun. So I have a light blue, green, and a gray. I wish I could have gotten the turquoise, but it was not meant to be.
     
  4. A144
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    A144 Loaded Pockets

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    Before I get into the inks, I'd like to talk about paper. Ink qualities vary across grades/finishes of paper. Moleskine paper isn't up to the quality of many "fountain pen" papers such as Rhodia and isn't nearly as FP friendly. I've heard Field Notes are kind of in the middle; not the best with FP, but acceptable for most. Feathering, dry times, shading, sheening, and even the color will vary between papers. For any inks I talk about my experienced with, keep in mind I use Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Apica, Midori, and Tomoe River papers. Also, keep in mind my experience with FPs is limited to about 2 years.

    Let's covers some brands before getting into specific ink recommendations... You've mentioned interest in:

    J. Herbin: I don't have much experience with JH inks, mostly because their inks tend to be too washed out for my personal taste. However, I wouldn't hesitate about using their ink in my pens. It's good quality stuff, proven over quite a long period of time. I have a 2 bottles and run a few samples through my pens with no issues. I've heard when they had a mold problem, they resolved it quite well, but customer service isn't high on my priority list for an ink company (if I have a problem, I will probably be getting it resolved through my retailer (so pick a good one!)). Their 1670 line is pretty interesting with the gold shimmer. You can read a lot (good and bad) about the original Rouge Hematite and its numerous formulations. I'm probably in the minority buy I don't like these inks; they remind me of writing with a glittery gel pen.

    Diamine: They fit a lot of my criteria for inks. Wide range of vibrant, saturated colors that perform well on many papers out of many pens. I have quite a few inks I'm very fond of from Diamine and wouldn't hesitant to use anything they put out that intrigues me. Some of their inks have been known to stain (some of the purples, Sargasso Sea, etc.), so just do a bit of research before buying.

    Waterman (and Parker, Lamy, Pelikan): I tend to lump these all together. Not many inks from any of these brands interest me much. They are basic, reliable inks in basic, reliable (read: bland) colors... Too boring for me, personally. Lots of people love them though. Some run wetter, some run dryer. If you're interested in one brand/color, some quick research will get you all that information.

    Faber-Castell: I have very limited experience with GvFC. I've used Moss Green. For what it's worth, it performed well and I really enjoyed the color...

    Pilot Iroshizuku: Once you get over how gorgeous the bottles look sitting on your desk, you can really appreciate the uniqueness of a lot of the Iro inks. More than most brands (or most that don't have 100+ colors), there are some very unique inks in the Iro line that many haven't been able to replicate. Most of them I've had experience with have performed very well across all paper (including cheapo copy paper). As a rule they tend to write wet. On good paper (Rhodia, Tomoe River), they have excellent shading and many have incredible sheen. I'm a huge fan of pretty much anything coming from Pilot, so while they are quite expensive (deals can be found though), I couldn't do without a few Iro inks in my collection.

    And a few you've left out, for whatever reason:

    Private Reserve: They have some good inks; I tend to be meh about a lot of them and really love the ones I like. Some have had extremely long dry times, and smear even days after writing (looking at you, Ebony Purple). The ones I tend to like perform quite well on a wide variety of paper and dry at acceptable rates, even on ink resistant paper like Rhodia/TR.

    Sailor: I said I have a think for Pilot inks, it might be Japanese inks in general. I really love Sailor inks. The colors are great, the performance is good (great, if you limit it to FP friendly paper), they write WET, dry well, and I enjoy the whole experience down to the distinctive phenol smell Sailor inks have. Many offer great shading and some really incredible sheen. And if you want to get deep into the rabbit hole, there's a whole world of exclusive, JDM inks blended by Sailor for small shops all over Japan. Hunting them down is as much fun as using them.

    Noodler's: If you've read anything FP related website, I'm sure you've read something about Noodler's. It's a brand that many love, and many love to hate. It may be the owner, Nathan Tardiff's political/economics views, or his shameless expression of them on ink labels that turn people off. Or maybe it's the fact that many, including some big, knowledgeable names in the FP industry have advocated not using them. Or maybe it's the (IMHO) grossly over-exaggerated claims of damaging pens, melting feeds, or just wreaking general havoc (which is all associated to one or two specific inks *cough, cough* Baystate Blue *cough*).

    Regardless, I love Noodler's inks. Some may have quirks that you need to be aware of, but I still love them. For the record, I've never had any ink destroy a pen, or melt a feed, or corrode a nib, or spontaneously combust, or try to eat my cat. So don't believe all the wild claims some lay on Noodler's inks (Baystate Blue).

    When it comes down to it, Noodler's inks are very high value (almost twice as much ink for half of the price of Iroshizuku). Properties vary immensely between inks, but are generally similar between ink series (i.e. the Warden Series, or the Eel Series, or the Baystate inks). Some behave flawlessly on any paper, some show just a teeny tiny hint of feathering (more like spreading) on even the best FP paper. Some are formulated to dry extremely quickly, some take a looooong time, even smearing a bit when dry. Some are waterproof, some are resistant to water and other solvents, and others not so much. You can pretty much find a Noodler's ink that meets your requirements for color and characteristics, if not both. So don't count them out.

    Well, as per usual, that was extremely long winded and probably boring to everyone but me :p So I think I'll let that sink in and save the specific ink recommendations for another time (probably tomorrow morning when I'm bored out of my mind in my drug literature class... :sleep:)
     
  5. A144
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

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    Oops... I started typing my reply earlier this even, then got distracted, ate dinner, watched a baseball game, then came back to it. By the time I finished typing, you had posted... I'm usually pretty quick about responding to FP questions in the couple threads here but have been preoccupied studying for a cardiology exam that was this afternoon.
     
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  6. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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    Thank you two for answering. A144, you have really given me a lot to think about. I will mull this over.

    Noodler's -I was all set on Lexington Gray & Ottoman Azure by Noodler's...until I read to stay away from that brand. That is why I worded my question, as I did.

    J. Herbin- I read that they had to redo their ink to make it safer according to EU standards. So that is what caused the problem, and they took care of the customers it effected. So to me, that is good news. They didn't have many ink choices. The blue one was the main one I was interested in.

    Waterman etc... after looking them over, I didn't even write one down as an ink to consider.

    Faber-Castell- I thought although they had a small selection, they had 2-3 colors to catch my eye.

    Iroshuzuku- they had several colors that interested me. They may cost more, but they have almost twice as much as in most other bottles I looked at. The price was a factor in me only selecting one ink from them, at this time.

    Private Reserve- the drying time is a big factor for me. I had to discount this brand.

    Sailor-now that you have said this, I am going to explore their ink colors. I have not heard anything about them really. So I will definitely be looking into this one.

    Sheaffer- they have one I wanted to buy...I have not explored what else they have to offer.

    Diamine-these really looked good to me. I had several of their colors written down, that I found very attractive. They have a huge selection, at a good price. If I like the green I bought, I will buy more from them for sure.


    Oh, I almost forgot the paper! Thanks for the thoughts on that. I plan to explore more on paper, as time allows. Remember I just started buying these more popular notebooks, so I am new at this. I like the cover of the Moleskine better than the Field Notes, because it seems to be up to more abuse. But it's paper quality is not that good. So I am not sure about that one. I like the Rhodia paper very much. But it does not have a 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 pad. I wish they would do that, in a dot grid pattern. I would be in heaven if they did. I love the dot grid, but it is a little weak for me to see in dim lighting. In brighter light, it is sweet!

    You did not bore me at all. I want an ink that will work good in just about any pen. I already feel quite sure I have another fountain pen purchase this year. I like an ink that goes on as wet as possible, without going crazy, and feathering, or have long dry times. The Pilot Namiki cartridge shocked me at it's drying time. I was pleased with the ink, it writes on everything smoothly. But they have very little selection of colors in this line with cartridges. I did not notice a smell of phenol. Did they used to put phenol in the old Bic pens in the late 60's to 70's? I remember a smell from that ink. I didn't find it unpleasant, but I didn't find it attractive either. I will have to look into phenol a little more. The Sailor ink though does sound very good. I am definitely looking at it asap. Thank you so much for your thoughts.
     
    Last edited by kkay, Sep 21, 2015
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  7. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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    Okay I have been trying to find a Sailor ink color chart. I was in shock at how many colors I hear they have. But I have yet to find a full chart anywhere. I see some colors, but I'm not seeing them all. Does someone have a link to this? You think they would make one in English, and have a website, if they wanted to sell more of their ink. Maybe it is there, and I missed it. Well I think I have found what few colors are offered here now. I have my eye on at least 4-5. :smile_coffee:
     
    Last edited by kkay, Sep 21, 2015
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  8. A144
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

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    First off, find a retailer that you feel confident dealing with, and preferably one that sells 2-3mL ink samples. Ink samples are a great way to try more ink, without committing to a whole bottle of something. I highly recommend the Goulet Pen Co. (as do many many other FP people). Most of my ink and FP stuff comes from them. It's a very personal company; with excellent customer service and lot of good informational resources (a great YouTube channel too). I've also had good experiences with Pen Chalet, Jetpens, and Anderson Pens.

    Sailor offers a limited line of inks in the US, and they change it occasionally. In the US, this is marketed as their Jentle ink line. It includes standard black and and blue, and the rest vary. Right now it's the "Four Seasons" line consisting of 8 inks; of which Yama-dori and Oku-Yama are my favorites. There are also two nano-pigmented inks (Sei-Boku and Kiwa-Guro). Unfortunately, Goulet does not carry Sailor ink, so I have to order it elsewhere.

    Sailor has blended hundreds (literally) of inks for various retailers in Japan. Most are shop exclusives and very few of these pen shops sell online; and many are discontinued and no longer available anywhere. They don't need a website, or to sell more ink; they already have trouble keeping up with all the ink mixing now. There's a thread somewhere on Fountain Pen Network trying to compile all the Sailor inks in one post. It's huge, and still not complete. I will warn you now, if you're going to get into importing exclusive sailor inks, it's going to get expensive. IYou can find of the more popular/available ones on ebay like the Kobe ink series. eBay user cool-japan is a reliable source of JDM Sailor inks. I only have one bottle of Japanese Sailor ink; a Pen & Message exclusive ink called Cigar (a dark murky green with amazing coppery-red sheen that is so heavy it almost makes the ink look brown).
     
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  9. A144
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

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    ... And the continuation of my last wall-o-text:

    Almost all Noodler's inks are good to go without any concerns. Don't hesitate to try either of these inks. Lexington Gray is nice, and waterproof if I'm not mistaken (not many waterproof gray inks out there). Ottoman Azure is also good, it just didn't do it for me color wise; I'm not a huge fan of blue inks to begin with.

    A lot of what you hear about Noodler's is centered around that one ink, that one destroys pens, melts feed, corrodes nibs, stains everything*, causes natural disasters and political conflicts around the world. That one ink that was made deep within Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom... Of course, I'm talking of Baystate Blue.

    All kidding aside, I feel much of the bad hype about Noodler's is highly over-exaggerated, especially Baystate Blue. I will tell you, I've been using it for almost 2 years without any issues. It does have it's quirks though. *It actually does stain every. Everything. Pens, carpet, walls, sinks, pets, etc. I have a pen (Pilot Metro) dedicated to BSB. It needs to be cleaned from pens a bit more frequently than other inks (be careful, it will stain your sink), and it cannot be mixed with any other inks. Due to its chemistry, even small amounts mixed with other inks can cause reactions and precipitation, another reason for a dedicated pen. However, I feel the advantages of BSB outweigh the negatives. It's bright, almost offensively so. It also waterproof (absurdly waterproof; soak a writing sample in water and the paper will dissolve before BSB gives way), and resistant to alcohol, acetone, and many other solvents. There is no other ink on the market that even comes close to replicating BSB.

    As for the rest of Noodler's line; as I said before, they vary. Do some research, especially on the specialized inks. Some will stain pens (North African Violet is known for this), but most are good to go. Some of my favorites are: Baystate Blue, Purple, Apache Sunset, Liberty's Elysium (Goulet exclusive and one of the few true blue inks I use), Black Swan in Australian Roses, Navy, Zhivago, Air Corps Blue-Black.

    If you want a turquoise, take a look at Navajo Turquoise. It behaves well on good paper, is a really nice color and has great shading.

    I don't know a whole lot about the mold incident they had a while back, but from my understanding JH doesn't use biocides. They had a mold problem, changed some things, and made it right with customers. JH has a reputation to uphold, and have done so. Mold can happen to any ink, from the manufacturer, or one it's in the customer's hands. Either way, I'd personally rather deal with a good retailer (like Goulet) and let them sort it out with their suppliers/manufacturers.

    Regardless, JH makes good inks that are considered "safe" (mostly by those who consider Noodler's and other newer brands "unsafe"). Like I said, most don't fit my preference for ink colors. I like Poussiere de Lune, Violet Pensee, and Lierre Sauvage. Eclat de Sapphire is pretty popular color, but again I'm not a big fan of blues.

    Iroshizuku are expensive (some may say overpriced) but are all good to go. I like some of the more unique ones like Ku-jaku, Syo-ro, Yama-budo, and Kon-peki. Pick the ones that you like and have confidence they will perform well. Fuyu-syogun is a nice, if a little light, gray. It runs on the cool side, but I prefer that in gray inks. Take a look at Take-sumi too. It's a "black" ink, but has a lot of variation in it and it more like a dark charcoal gray.

    Yep, that's my main issue with PR inks. My favorites are Tanzanite and Blue Suede. Both are excellent inks that work well on all kinds of paper, and I haven't had any drying issues with either.

    I really like Diamine inks. You mentioned Ancient Copper in a previous post; it's wonderful. Great color, performs well, dries pretty fast. Absolutely no waterproofness whatsoever. I pretty much like any red Diamine makes: Wild Strawberry, Poppy Red, Matador, Red Dragon, Oxblood. Diamine Grey and Graphite are both good gray inks. The former is a cooler gray, the latter is a warmer gray. I would say the whole Diamine line is good to go.

    A few random inks to match what you're looking for color wise.

    Rohrer & Klinger Alt-goldgrun. (for the record, all R&K inks are good to go as well). It's not really yellow, or really green... But it may fit in to your yellow-green category. It's a weird ink, but really unique and a cool color. It's a conversation starter for non-FP people because you don't see anything like it in a BP or rollerball gel pen.

    I'm not a huge fan of turquoise inks, I prefer my inks more on the teal side. The only one I have is Noodler's Navajo Turquoise. The following recommendations are coming from research, not my person experience: Visconti Turquoise, Lamy Turquoise, Diamine Havasu Turquoise are all popular ones.
     
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  10. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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    I was on the Fountain Pen Network, and have recently joined there. I was on that Sailor thread. I read about 10 pages, and then went to the end. I gave up. I spent too much time trying to figure out where a chart was. That thread had 67 pages or so on it. I do not want to import ink. I just wanted to find their color charts. I see they have probably 200 inks or so. (not sure, but it is a lot) We get a very limited color selection here. What a shame. I don't do Ebay anymore. I stopped that recently with their latest terms of service. (closed Bill Me Later because of TOS, then PayPal-same thing, now I am waiting on Ebay to close too) I don't want any phone calls, texts, or what have you for advertising, polls, or anything remotely like that. I want to buy stuff I want, and not be bothered at home. Home is my sanctuary. I don't want a 3rd party person calling me about ANYTHING. Okay rant off. Thanks for your experience here, it is much appreciated A144!
     
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  11. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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  12. Highbinder

    Highbinder Loaded Pockets

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    Great thread guys :) I can see how theres a big cross over between EDCforums and FPN.

    My primary ink is a slightly diluted Noodlers Zhivago (probably about 3:1 with water) which has almost finished. I LOVE this ink, I love how it appears black until you really examine it, or compare it to a true black.

    The only problem is I'm almost finished (!) and Noodlers no longer exports out of the US? So I need to find a viable EU/UK alternative. Compounded by the fact MB BRG is long gone, too :(

    I also have a couple of Iroshuzuku, just finishing a bottle of Fuyu-Syogun and earlier in the year finished a bottle of Tsuki-Yo. I freakin' love the bottles, probably more than the inks

    I quite like the J Herbin I've tried. I still have some Cacao de Bresil, and I enjoyed the Lie de The.

    And today I have just placed an order for a couple of new inks, Diamine Oxblood, and Cultpens (made by Diamine) Deep Dark Brown.
     
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  13. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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    Why does Noodler's not ship out of the US? I am confused about that. MB BRG? I am guessing it is Mont Blanc something or another.
     
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  14. brisboy

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    Mont Blanc British racing green, I believe.
    Sent by carrier pigeon.
     
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  15. QuodErat

    QuodErat EDC Junkie!!!

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    Can't recall whether or not I've posted my favorites, but here they are:

    • Diamine Blue-Black. Zero complaints; it's my most frequently used ink.
    • Sailor Jentle Yama-Dori: not as vibrant as, say, Iroshizuku-- but it's still a marvelous blue/teal with a rusty orange shading (given the right nib). I use it nearly as often as the Diamine.
    • Noodler's Navajo Turquoise: the lively & saturated hue is, for me, a mixed blessing. I'm a lefty, so the dry time results in some smearing. Even so, I keep at least one pen inked up--definitely a pleasure to look at.
    ;)
     
    Last edited by QuodErat, Sep 23, 2015
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  16. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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    Thank you to those who have given me their favorite inks! It is much appreciated!!
     
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  17. A144
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    kkay Noodler's is essentially a one man operation. Nathan Tardiff does it all: handmaking ink, developing new inks, bottling, QCing Noodler's pens, etc. I suspect it was getting to the point where it was tough to keep up with all the demand and something had to be cut out.

    brisboy Yep, MB British Racing Green. Sadly discontinued and nearly impossible to find before I got into FPs...
     
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  18. Highbinder

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    BRG is British Racing Green. A now long discontinued ink :( It was lovely. A diluted Zhivago is pretty close tho in my opinion.

    I read on FPN that Noodlers no longer ships outside of the US. I'm sure I can probably snag some via one of his distributers or through another member.

    My new inks arrived today. The oxblood has gone straight into my Safari (1.1 italic) and it's great! Lovely colour.
     
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  19. A144
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

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    Rocking some Diamine Sargasso Sea today in the TWSBI Eco 1.1mm stub.

    Sent from my HTC One M8 via Tapatalk
     
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  20. kkay

    kkay Uber Prepared

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    I just happened to look to see when my ink was coming in, a moment ago. One of the bottles may get here tomorrow. The other two said delivered today. I almost fainted. I did not see anything on the porch. It was put in my mailbox this morning! It is a wonder it wasn't stolen. I pulled the two bottles of ink out, and thankfully they are safe, and sound. When the blue cartridge runs out, I will flush it, and try one of these inks. I am so excited, I am not sure which one to try first. The gray one, and the blue one came in. The green one will be here hopefully tomorrow. I do not know who delivered it. I was hoping it would arrive, before my cartridge ran out!!
     
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