Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday Stinks #14

No, it's not Monday. I do know that. However, as I left them out in the Big Ink Up before, I thought I'd toss in a one-off:

Wednesday Quinks!

I can hear your little hearts going pitty-patter in sheer excitement. Try and contain yourselves.

I should add the Vector is of UK manufacture and for some reason it's giving me more trouble getting comfortable with its italic nib than any other calligraphy pen I've ever tried. I believe it may be traced to its slim and somewhat slippery metal section; my grip allows the pen to swivel and all is then destined for disaster. Very early days yet though, so with luck I'll overcome it. The Soyuz, meanwhile, tends to make me write such things as The Superior Red Bear Jumps Over The Lazy Capitalist Dogs. Even my mother, when she tried it, ended up writing Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as Russian snow, and everywhere that Mary went the KGB was sure to go. Not sure we'll ever overcome that. 

Oh, and the other colour is my Pelikan Turquiose/Blue-Black mix.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Crusty the Clown

So I knew all about Ancient Copper's reported occasional forays into crustiness, but my first experience of The Thing From Beyond The Inkwell is, in fact, Rohrer and Klingner's lovely golden Helianthus.

Eeek! It's Alive!

Well, no. Despite appearances I don't think it's actually eating the pen; it wipes off readily enough. But then this is the advantage of the Cheap Pen; it's not a disaster if it does get ate. Most likely this is actually as a result of one of the disadvantages of the Cheap Pen - many of them dry out frustratingly readily, and orange dyes in particular seem to like to grow crystals as a result. I was actually deliberately leaving them all unused for a few days to ascertain which were the worst culprits, and already had a strong suspicion that these Oliver Exam piston fillers were habitual offenders. It's a shame, because they're really not bad little pens, but along with the drying out is the hideous truth that they have the most pungent example of "pong-y pen syndrome" I've yet come across. Seriously; seventeen-babies-have-all-thrown-up-simultaneously-into-my-pen-cup whiff-o-rama. Not good.

Still, this is kinda fun in a strange, twisted, mild pen-suffering way. Sort of like growing your own cheesy Wotsits.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Bleached Whale

Fairly sure, as I splashed on the bleach, that this poor piece of paper (Clairefontaine 90gsm) was starting to wonder what it ever did to make me hate it so...

Waaaaay, too saturated. Seriously, I have no idea why it looks so dark once it's been uploaded; most aggravating. Anyway... Both Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black and Rohrer & Klingner Salix have kissed goodbye to what remained of their blueness, Diamine Sapphire Blue still defies all the odds by turning into yet another (slightly paler) shade of blue. I am never putting that stuff in a demonstrator ever. Amazingly Waterman Serenity Blue and J Herbin Violette Penseé still haven't been utterly obliterated either. Ignore the Deep Dark Brown; it's not nearly as legible as the scan suggests.

The clear winner, utterly unmoved, is Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa. Slightly surprising, but maybe because it always looks like it's already been washed out the difference is less noticeable?

But what of Noodler's Prime of the Commons? Still there, albeit not nearly as saturated as it was (or as the scan suggests). But for me it's a disappointing failure. Let us take at look at the claim for it:

"If bleach is added to the ink when dried, it will turn a bright blue colour to show that a forgery has been attempted."

Now, personally, I consider that's about as bright blue as the original colour is blue-black. Pish and tush; no fun at all.

Also pish and tush because I have no idea why I persistently miss out the "The" in its name. Somehow I got it into what passes for my brain that it didn't have one. Ah well. Do I care? No. If the ink lived up to its blurb, maybe. As it is I shall happily embrace the much more readily acquired European inks with easily-remembered names such as Fernambuk, Rouille d'Ancre, and... Hypnotic Turquoise. (Huh? "Watch the bottle of ink. Round and round it goes. Watch the ink. You are feeling sleepy...")

Can't think of any more ways to torture this paper now, so will retire it to keep as a salutary lesson on transient nature of most inks and to remind myself to take care about the ones that aren't going to readily go away. i.e. Do not write New Year's resolutions in Scabiosa...

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Washing Day

So I have a page with an example of all my inks on, right?

Does this, or does this not, appear to be an unrivalled opportunity to find out which ones are water resistant and which are not? I believe it does.

Behold! The Catastrophic Beverage Spillage Reenactment Experiment:

And in the Water? What Water? Category, the winner is...

Well, a totally unsurprising four-way split between:
Noodler's Prime of Commons. Well, duh - it's advertised as waterproof, and will also change colour if you try to tamper with it using bleach. (Oh, bleach test. Might have to try that too...) Mind you, it's also claimed as a blue-black, when it's clearly green-black, so take nothing on trust.
Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa. Both iron gall-based inks, like wot woz used in Days Of Yore, only less acidic these days. (i.e. We suffer less from the troublesome results of the ink surviving but eating the paper around it. And possibly the pen. Iron gall is why gold nibs were the desired thing; a bias that survives to this day, even though in actual writing terms the basic metal of the nib is irrelevant.)
Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black. The One That Might Be Iron Gall. If it looks like a pelican duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck... But Pelikan are not helpful; people ask them "Does it have iron gall in it?" and sometimes Pelikan say "Ja, it has a little" and sometimes Pelikan say "Nein, it does not". Possibly it depends on the day of the week or phase of the moon. Or whether you speak to Gerta or to Heinrich. I feel compelled to note that both Lamy and Montblanc have altered their blue-black inks so they no longer contain IG, and they're still, as far as I'm aware, available in the USA. Pelikan have not altered their recipe, and it's not available in the USA any more. You may, perhaps, draw conclusions from this; I really don't know.

In the You Can Read Me Easily, But I'm Feeling Off-Colour Category we find:

Diamine Sapphire Blue An intensely annoying ink, because it goes down as a gorgeous rich purply blue, and then dries to And then it gets wet and goes to... another blue. Which does explain why it's a bane to clean; it will not die. I love it not, however legible under water.
J Herbin Violette Penseé How an ink with such a pale presence and low saturation still survives so legibly, if more bluely, I do not know. Remarkable. I only have cartridges of this and didn't like it at first, but I'm warming to it. Maybe not enough for a bottle though.
Diamine Syrah Bath night brings out its purple side, it seems. Now it looks more like Violette Penseé looks pre-bath, which is oddly disturbing. A Liverpudlian Franco-phile?

The others are much of a squint-and-you-can-just-make-it-out muchness, although I'm surprised how much Waterman Serenity Blue still remains, but then we get to the real losers. The scan is generous, so you can at least make out a haze where Rohrer & Klingner Helianthus and Diamine Blaze Orange once were (Oh, they may be aqua-phobes, but such lovely colours). Diamine Denim is virtually a no-show and the idea of actually trying to read Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk, Diamine Bilberry or Waterman Absolute Brown (which is apparently only absolute if laid on with a trowel, it seems) is laughable, however the

Dr Richard Kimble Prize for Most Fugitive Ink goes to: Diamine Kelly Green

Unfortunately it couldn't be here to receive its award... Truly, a lovely spring-like green with super shading, but it comes as no surprise it vanishes at the sight of a rain cloud on the horizon because it's the easiest ink to clean out of a pen ever. People caution you against the staining properties of purples and greens in clear demonstrators and white pens. but I would but DKG in any of them without a moments qualm. Just don't commit your life's work to paper in Kelly Green if you like to write in a coffee shop. pub, tea room, during meal times, in the shower, anywhere outside the Atacama Desert, etc...

Conclusion? This is right up there in scientific analysis terms with, oh, a Fine Woodworking Tool Test. But I had fun. Now where's that bottle of bleach....

Monday, May 05, 2014

Monday Stinks #12b

It's Bank Holiday Monday and it's raining. Must the weather be so clichéd? Ah well, can't mow grass in the rain (Yay!), so instead I bring you a cautionary example of what happens when a) You have way too many different inks, and b) You have a crazy fondness for insanely cheap pens. Yes, you get an idea to put every ink into as many cheap, not-the-end-of-the-world-if-it-dies pens as you can. The end result is this:
If you're feeling competitive, you can play Guess The Most Expensive (in the pot) - careful though, remember I do love to hunt down a bargain and all that glitters is frequently tat... Three of the pens listed below aren't Pot of Inky Doom dwellers; the iron gall inks Salix and Scabiosa are pretty much permanent in their pens anyway, and Serenity Blue is generally inked up in something old (such as the Parker 45 currently), so no point in duplicating. Besides, the pot can only hold so many...

Oh, and I confess I have failed to have a Quink Blue cartridge on the go (Because, well, bleurgh) or the elderly pot of Quink Black (Because it's, well, also pretty bleurgh. It's only claim of distinction in the modern world is it being old enough to be avec Solv-X)

Colours are fairly accurate on my monitor in terms of how they relate to each other, but they're way too saturated. And is it actually possible to ever do Syrah justice in pixel form? Apparently not. Shame. Although on the flip side of the coin it's been very generous to Garnet.

Now excuse me while I go away and write "No more pens and positively no more ink" one thousand times in the hopes it might actually stick . And hey, it'll use up some ink...