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Drawings and a pen list and a calamity.

A while back on the FPN, there was a thread where people showed the drawings that the folks who send out Goulet's orders sometimes draw in invoices. I thought that would be neat, so I asked for a drawing on my last order. Drew totally drew me something.

Sweet, right?

I may have mentioned in the past that I need a list to keep track of the pens/inks that I'm currently using. My list was messy last time, so I wrote a new one today. Here it is, if you're curious as to what I'm using right now.

That green splotch at mid-right is the remnant of some ink that soaked through from a near-catastrophe. My red Ahab has been having problems with its plunger system. The threads that are supposed to secure the converter to the section just don't do the job. I don't know if they're cut too shallow, or what, but that converter just won't stay there. I actually switched the converter that was originally in there for the one that was on my black Ahab because it seemed to catch the threads better. Anyway, today I was writing out this list and the red pen was acting like it was running out of the awesome Hunter Green ink I keep in there. So, I unscrewed the body to check the ink level in the converter. 

Big mistake.

Apparently, the converter had come loose from the section while the pen was sitting in my pen case. This was unexpected. Ink kinda went all over my hands and it would have gone all over my butcher block desktop if I hadn't had that pad and some other things on the desk. Then I put the body of the pen down on that pad while I looked for somewhere to put the inky section and breather tube and what not. Of course, the converter of very bulletproof green ink was still in the dang body and it started to run all over that top page. Ugh. I'm glad I was able to contain the mess, but I lost some of that ink (not a lot though, I suppose) and my hands are bit green-streaked, and I can't trust that pen/converter at all. 

I guess I'll have to make that pen into an eye-dropper even though I didn't really want to. It's opaque, and I'll never know how much ink is in there. Well, live and learn. I don't think I'll be buying any more Noodler's pens for a long while after the issues I've had with them. 

Check out Lee Smallwood's blog.

Lee posted this review of an ink called "Honorable Blue" from Noodler's Ink over on his blog: The Inked Nib.

We met Lee at the Triangle Pen Show shortly after I found his blog. He does really nice reviews and such over there, and it's definitely worth perusing. His blog always tempts me to post videos, but I haven't done it yet. Maybe one day...


Noodler's Dark Matter

I have more blues to show, but I haven't taken pictures yet, so today you get a black.

Dark Matter is basically a black ink. It's not a total-black, though. I'm never sure exactly what separates this ink from a real black, but there is something. It might be that it shades very subtly. It might be that it has hints of grey in it. Perhaps it's really a serious black about which my wife and I hallucinate. I don't know. It just isn't only a black. You can see what I mean in the swab picture below.

I have used this in several of our fountain pens, from a very fine Hero to Ahabs, and it has always written very well. It is very smooth, though not the most lubricated ink that I've ever used. It also never feathers, in my experience. It's just a very good ink that behaves very well. The drawback, I suppose, is that it isn't really waterproof or bulletproof. It is water-resistant, though. In this picture, I rubbed a wet Q-tip over the grid until I felt that it was going to tear up the paper. (Rhodia is pretty tough, though, and I'm not sure it would have. The paper now feels rough, but not really damaged.)

It appears that I've captured a cat hair in this picture. Probably one of them tried to help me take the pictures. 

Posting from the road!

Aud and I are driving back home from Knoxville, and I thought us try out the Blogger app for the iPhone. It's a pretty slick app if you can't make it to a real keyboard.

Another app that I've just found out about is called Waze. If you do a lot of driving, then you should check it out. It's free and it crowd-sources gas prices, accidents, traffic jams, and speed traps. Pretty cool.

Noodler's Liberty's Elysium

This is the new blue that is exclusive to Goulet Pens. It generated a good deal of controversy in the FP community, but I'll get to that in a bit. I was psyched about this ink, and I bought a bottle as soon as it was released.

Liberty's Elysium is a fairly saturated true blue. It shades well even from a very fine point, and it doesn't seem to feather very much. You'll find a little feathering if you're writing with a very wet pen on cheaper paper. I currently have this in an Ahab (and a misbehaving one, at that) and it flows wetly, does not feather all that much, but it will bleed a bit (as I note in the written sample).

I've found that LE behaves very differently depending on the pen you put it in. I happened to have three empty pens when LE arrived, so I loaded it in all of them. The Ahab is a bit too wet, the Lamy was a little dry, and the Hero was just right. I'm not sure why the Lamy was so dry, but it was. It's the only ink that hasn't behaved well in that pen.

This ink wasn't exactly what I expected. I was hoping it would be a little more vibrant (saturated) and I was hoping that it would behave more like Hunter Green than it does. It's also not as lubricated as I like an ink to be. That said, none of these are really a big deal to me. It is a perfectly serviceable ink, and I like the ink even though it's not exactly what I was hoping for.

Now, the controversy. This ink, when it was released, was billed as "bulletproof." Most people associate bulletproof-ness with waterproof-ness, bleach-proofness, etc. It seems that most people expected this ink to be as rock-solid as Noodler's Black, and it just isn't. As Brian Goulet explained, this is just the nature of a blue ink. The blue dye that makes it look vibrant on the page is the first thing to wash off when it gets wet, and this will lead to some smearing. Some folks over at the Fountain Pen Network got worked up about the qualities of the ink, and started demanding that they change the designation from Bulletproof to semi-bulletproof. It got a little more heated than I think it should have, but eventually cooled down. I got curious, and I did some testing of my own. Here are the pictures from those tests.

Ink samples that have had plenty of time to dry into the paper.
The page after it is dried.
The page under water after a few hours.

I'm pretty satisfied with it's waterproofness, even though it didn't fare as well as Hunter Green and Zhivago. This test was pretty extreme. I mean, who soaks pages of writing for several hours? Here's a smear-test that I did on the Rhodia paper I wrote the review on. I just dropped some water on the page and wiped it off. I can still see the lines of the grid, and the smear didn't really obscure any of it. If this had been text, you would still be able to read it perfectly well. It is probably appropriate to call it semi-bulletproof, and that's what Goulet's has done on their site.

In other news, Brian Goulet and Nathan (the Noodler) are considering a reformulation of the ink so that it will more closely match people's expectations. It seems that even adding much more expensive ingredients does not make much of a change in the ink's properties. It adheres a little better, but it doesn't look as vibrant, and it isn't as well lubricated. This is a really good example of the sort of customer-service that makes so many of us Goulet customers, but I don't see any point in changing the ink.

Noodler's Ottoman Azure

Ottoman Azure is one of the blues from April's Ink Drop. It is a solid sapphire blue that shades well even from a very fine nib. I was originally disappointed in the ink because of it's poor performance in my Ahab. I liked the color so well, though, that I had to try it in another pen to see if it would perform better in some other pen. It totally did. Here's the difference between the two pens. It's pretty stark.

As you can see above, it's gone from a pretty uncontrollably-wet writer to a pretty super blue. The shading on this ink is remarkable even from my Wing Sung 101's fine point. 

(I used the Wing Sung because the 101 is probably my most reliable pen. I'll have to write it up one of these days but it's basically a '51 and I'm not sure where you would find one these days anyway. I found mine in a "lost and found" pen cup when I was an undergrad. It had been there for years and the whole cup was about to be tossed out. Awesome find.)

This color is a gem if you're looking for another blue. The caveat is that it just isn't water-resistant at all. Here, I just dropped some water on the page and wiped it off pretty quickly. The ink had plenty of time to settle in, but it just doesn't hold to the page. Not a huge deal for me, but don't get this one wet.

Noodler's Zhivago

There are two almost-blacks that I really like. I talked about Air Corps Blue-Black a while ago, and I've recently gotten a bottle of it at the Raleigh Pen Show. This ink might well be my next purchase.

Zhivago is a really dark ink that looks like a black, but it's really a super-dark green. Air Corps can look a bit green (depending on the paper and lighting), but this one is the sort of color that is usually black, but when you look closely it has a tinge of green. You can see the green pretty well in the closeup of the smear and in the comparison to Dark Matter, but it really comes out in the cross-hatched bit where I tried to smear it with water. It really didn't budge, bu a little of the green came off. I'm actually pretty surprised that it didn't smear more. This write-up was done on Rhodia, and their paper has a coating on it that keeps it from soaking up the ink. I'm not sure if it would even bleed off some green on a more absorbent paper.

Check it out. This is a classy and interesting ink that is serious enough to be used as a black ink on serious grown-up things, and it seems to be solidly waterproof.

Noodler's Dragon's Napalm

This ink might have the coolest name. Ever.

Dragon's Napalm is a color that is a hard to accurately describe. It's a bright orange, but it's also got a tinge of pink in there. It's a color that will certainly get your attention. It's really pleasant to look at, and it is a great secondary color. When I'm taking notes on something, I almost always do it in more than one color. The second (or third, or fourth) colors denote something different than the primary one does, and this is a really good ink for that secondary color.

Dragon's Napalm is really well-behaved on all of the papers that I tried it on. It never feathered or bled even when I used it on really cheap copy papers. It flows really well, and it starts every time. If there's a bad quality here, it's that DN is not water resistant at all.

I'm glad that I had a couple of other pens inked in the orange family. You can see in the written sample that it is closer to Fuyu-gaki's orange than it is to Habanero's orange-brown, but it's just not quite like an orange.

It's an ink that I really enjoy writing with, and I'll probably pick up a bottle eventually.

Black Swan in English Roses

This Noodler's ink is one of the Black Swan series. These inks are meant to shade well and to exhibit a halo effect when you use them with absorbent papers or flexible nibs. Whereas Australian Roses is a more purplish ink (not far from Elderberries), English Roses is a deep red with a tinge of maroon or brown. It dries about the same color as dried blood. As I say in the written sample, it is an ink with some gravitas. It isn't particularly water resistant, but there are still legible marks on the page.

It shades really well in my Rotring M nib, and it doesn't feather or bleed at all, even on cheap papers. It's also very well lubricated, and it feels very smooth on the page. It might be the smoothest ink I have. I'll probably be using this to grade with.

June's Ink Drop!

I sort of forgot that the ink drop was coming this last Monday. I'm usually checking the mailbox (compulsively) on the 3rd of the month, but this June 3rd I was distracted. My wife was finally home from Cambodia and we had just been to the Triangle Pen Show and I was trying to write some more philosophy for a web course that I've been working on this summer. Anywho, I'm glad that I had a couple of pens open to put some inks in at just the right time.

This month we got a "summer" collection including some interesting colors. It's also the first time that I've gotten a double of an ink that I already have. I now have two samples of PR Avocado, but I had never tried it so it is almost like getting a brand new color.

I know. I misspelled avocado in that picture. It's one of those words that I have to think about spelling because I say it as "avAcado." Oh well. Whatever. I put it in a pen last night, and it seems to be a pretty classy green. I've also inked up a pen in Wild Strawberry, and that is a red that can really get your attention. It really is a strawberry red. I was a little surprised how dark Apricot looks on the smear on that page. In the vial, it looks transparent. And Plum really does look that blue. It's not a trick of the camera. I suppose plums are a little blue, but I always think of them as purple 


 Purple is my least favorite color. I got my undergraduate degree at SMU, and our bitter rivals (tcu) use purple as their school color. As a loyal Mustang, I can't stand tcu, horned frogs, and the color purple. I only tested this ink at all because I'm planning to pass it off to my sister who is a Tri-sigma, and purple is their color. I was just gonna do a little scribbling with it for the blog since I got it in an ink drop shipment. This ink from Pilot's Iroshizuku line really surprised me.

Dang it if I don't like this ink.

Murasaki is very smooth-looking lavender that shades well even from the new fine nib on my Lamy Al-Star.

It's well-lubricated and it skates across the page even when I'm not on Rhodia paper. It is well-behaved and it doesn't feather, spread, or bleed except on the very worst paper that I have available. Cheap copy paper and filler papers give this unpronounceable ink no problem at all. As you can see in the picture, it isn't water resistant at all. I went ahead and compared it to DA's Elderberry even though they aren't close at all. It's the only other purple-ish ink that I had available. If you're looking for a smooth purple, and you don't mind paying the premium price that Iroshizuku demands, then this is a really good ink.

A couple of inky mistakes for Tuesday

Hi folks,
I have a bunch of inks to show you, but I discovered a couple of pens with mild issues yesterday, so I figured I'd start the week off with them.

First up, I had a Wing Sung 233 loaded with Diamine Meadow.

I used this pen for a bit, and then I put it away for a week or so. I opened it up yesterday, and this is what I found. This funk was probably caused by my not quite closing the cap. I don't remember it being open, but it must have been. This is the sort of thing that happens when a low-viscosity ink seeps into the feed and nib while evaporating. It looks kinda wild, but it cleaned up easily.  Here's a picture of the ink in action. It's the green ink in the middle of the page, and it's the only picture I have of this ink. Check out a full review of Diamine's Meadow here.

This next picture is of something far more annoying. 

This is apparently what happens when you let Diamine Washable Blue dry out in your Hero's ink sack. As you can see in the link, this ink is a really mild blue. I never did a writing sample with this ink, but it's a pretty blah sort of light-ish blue. I don't know why it turned purple, but it did. This stain appears to be permanent, so watch out, all you folks with clear demonstrators. This one isn't as washable as advertised.

Raleigh Pen Show and a Soak Test

Hi Folks,
My wife is home from Cambodia, and she brought back the camera, so I can get back to more regular posting about inks and such. I have a number of them read to go.

If you are on the FPN, then you've seen the controversy over the new Goulet's exclusive ink: Liberty's Elysium. It is (was?) billed as a bulletproof and water resistant ink, and some people are not satisfied with its performance. I was curious, so I put some various inks on paper and then soaked them for about 5 hours last night. Here are the images for you.
I let the writing dry while I was at the pen show, so several hours.
Here's the sheet after it has been underwater for  5 hours.

Here it is after drying out.
 As you can see, I wrote with LE in three different pens. The Ahab puts down a significant amount of ink, and that one fared the best of the three LE lines. The Lamy medium is a dryer writer, but even that is perfectly legible. The Hero is medium-wet, and that one looks just fine to me as well. Of course, LE didn't fare as well as the Hunter Green (bulletproof) and Zhivago (which hardly changed at all, to my surprise).

I think the controversy is overblown. Some of the ink is washed away, but it's certainly still legible.

I was at the Raleigh Pen show yesterday, and I met some interesting people, and I brought a couple of things home with me. I ended up getting a bottle of Noodler's Air Corps Blue Black and a TWSBI Vac 700 from Anderson Pens. It's a great pen, so far, and I've been meaning to pick up some of that ink for a while. The Andersons were very helpful, and friendly.