Do you have an ink dependence? I can help...

Image Slider

Noodler's El Lawrence

El Lawrence is the last of the dark colors for now. It's not quite a black, but it could be mistaken for one in the right light. It's actually a dark green/black that looks like motor oil. I'm pretty sure I heard that description from Brian Goulet, and it's spot-on. It's a really interesting ink, and it's one that is certainly worth having in one's collection.

It's well-behaved on all sorts of papers, and it does some shading on most of them. You can, of course, see the shades of green on Rhodia.

The one negative thing I'll say about El Lawrence is that it tends to dry really quickly on the nib. If you're leaving your pen uncapped for any length of time without using it you should expect a slightly difficult start. Once it gets going there's no problem, but that first line is liable to skipping. 

Is it water-proof, you ask? Well, see the video below. 

Private Reserve Invincible Black

Before my brief hiatus, I had started a run of black ink reviews, and Invincible Black is the next in that run.

The wife and I picked up a couple of little pots of this ink at the DC pen show. They were free, so I bet everyone got at least one. It's kind of an adorable little bottle full of some really dark black ink. I generally like PR inks. They're generally heavily saturated inks that have good lubrication. This one certainly has those qualities. It's the darkest black that I have, and it doesn't have any problem with lubrication. It does tend to be a little quick to dry on the nib, but it flows well after that. 

The problem that Invincible Black has is in behavior. This ink isn't very well-behaved, even on Rhodia. It spreads and bleeds on most papers, and it's the only ink that I have which has bled through Rhodia when I smeared it on the page. If you're going to use this ink, I'd suggest that you use it in something with a drier flow.

Of fish and houses.

Hi folks,
I didn't post in the last week, and that's mostly because things are busy at the end of an academic's semester. So, here's what I've been doing the last week:

1. Working on some university politics to improve faculty equality in the faculty senate. Hooray politics!

2. Getting pre-approved for a home loan so we can put in offers on houses. We have an offer in on a nice house, and now it's a matter of waiting. Hooray potential home-ownership!

3. Getting a pair of new betta fish. One of ours died, and we couldn't decide between a couple of replacement fish, so we now have two new fish and one new tank. Hooray fish! (Pictures of Barry and Larry at the end of the post.)

4. Playing the new Call of Duty game. It's pretty darn good.

So, I'll have new posts later this week. I've got lots of inks in the pipeline, and I just need to take a bunch of pictures sometime when it is daylight outside. I find that the most difficult part of blogging is the picture-taking and uploading. Time consuming work, that.


Aurora Black

What's this? Another black in on Inkdependence? I know. I don't usually use black inks. I've even called them boring. If you look back through the reviews, you'll see that there are several blue/blacks and very few blacks. Maybe only one or two up to this point, and one was the previous post about Diplomat's black. Whelp, I've got a few more in the pipe for this week.

Aurora's Black was another DC pen show pickup. When I had my Parker 51 tuned up, Ron Zorn suggested that I use Aurora in it, so I got a bottle without trying it out. It's a pretty solid black in. It's velvety and deep. Even the blade-smear is a deep black. It's kind of unrelenting. If you're looking for a real black, then this should probably be on your list.

The only real problem with it is that it runs a little too wet. It is really good in a pen that writes a bit dry, as they seem to balance each other out, but if your pen is kinda wet (as my P51 is) then you'll find that it spreads and bleeds a bit too much. It's a matter of finding the right match. I have it in I dry-writing Mont Blanc fake, and it performs really well.

Aurora Black is not waterproof. It'll stick around on the page pretty well, but it will smear.

Diplomat Black (Cartridge)

I don't use a lot of cartridges. Like many FP users, I've got a bias against them. I don't really know why, but I saw them as restrictive and kinda lame.

My wife picked up one of the Diplomat Traveler FPs at the DC show (at a really good price) and they threw in a converter and a box of cartridges for free. Those Diplomat reps are nice folk. Visit with them if you see them at a show. (I'm talking Audrey into writing a review of the pen for the site, since it's really her pen.)

This is a really good black ink. It's not waterproof, but it's got great characteristics. It flows smoothly, and rarely ghosts through cheap papers. It doesn't spread, and that's been a problem with some of the blacks that I've used. It's not the fanciest thing around, but it's darn good.

The cartridges are the standard short international carts, and the ink (I've just found out) is also available in bottles. Good news for those of us who still harbor an anti-cartridge sentiment.

Pre-water test.

Here's the water test video. It's not really waterproof, and that's kind of a downer for a black ink, I think, but  I still recommend it if you're not hung up on waterproofness.

November's Ink Drop

This month's ink drop is a good one. The theme was "Autumn Leaves," and they're focused on the sort of leaves that we have around these parts right now: reds, golds and browns.

I have the bottom two inks. I reviewed Tiananmen back in May during grading season, and I didn't love it. It was too dry for me, but my mother really liked the sample that I passed on to her. I don't know what pen she's using it in (perhaps she'll comment here and let us know), but I think it must have a wetter nib than the Al-star that I reviewed it in. It's a nice color if you have a pen that works well with it.

I know I have Cayenne as well, but I can't find a review of it. I guess I got it before I started blogging about ink. It's a good excuse to go back and give it a shot!

I've started using Gandhi and Morinda this week, and they're both really interesting inks. Gandhi looks like a gold when it's dried. Not a dark gold, but the bright gold of a polished watch or ring. It's a really interesting color. Morinda looks a little bit like writing in ketchup. I don't know why, exactly, but that's what it reminds me of so far.

I don't have Ochre in anything yet, but I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Noodler's Kiowa Pecan

This is a really great brown ink. I have always been attracted to brown inks. They can be formal, but not normal. This particular brown is right in the middle of the brown-spectrum. It's not too dark, and it's not too yellow. It's a shading brown, and it shades on everything. I've even seen it shade well on comp book paper. That stuff is cheap and thin, but it can't stop Kiowa Pecan from shading.

It also behaves itself. You'll see a little ghosting on cheaper papers, but it doesn't bleed, and it doesn't spread or feather. Excellent characteristics for a shading ink, since so many of them have a tendency to be super wet and bleed into whatever paper you use. Not this one. I can totally recommend this brown.

I wouldn't call this ink water resistant, exactly, but there is definitely a good bit left behind when it gets wet. Looking at the paper several days later, the lines are still legible on the page. 

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

Hi folks,
It's the first annual Fountain Pen Day, so it's the day to spread a little pen-related goodness to your friends, family and coworkers. If you're in the office today, hand your FP to a friend and say "Hey! Try this!"

I posted about this new "holiday" on Facebook, and I got some interest from friends who haven't tried fountain pens before, and wanted some suggestions for a good starter-pen. That got me thinking, and I wrote up a "short list" of good pens to get started with. These are the ones that came to mind, and I welcome your additions!

Looking for a good fountain pen for under/around $30? Here are a few suggestions:

The Sheaffer VFM is a solid entry level fp for about $15.

The Pilot Metropolitan is brand new, and priced at $15. I've got one on order now.

The Kaweco Sport is a great pen for $23.50. Fits easily in a pocket, and it comes in a variety of nib sizes.

You can't go wrong with a Lamy pen. The Safari and Vista are priced at $28, and they are an excellent workhorse pens. I like the extra weight of the Vista, but both are really good. 

At $25 we have the Lamy Nexx which is a newer Lamy model whose style folks either love or hate. It's got the same good nibs and such from the Safari and Vista, but it has an aluminium barrel instead of plastic.

If you want a classier version of the Safari, the Al-Star comes in at $36 with all aluminum construction.

I don't have any affiliation with any of these companies, but I've ordered from all of them and they're good folk. The pictures below are taken from the companys linked above, and aren't my own.

The Sheaffer VFM: 

The Pilot Metropolitan:

The Kaweco Sport: 

The Lamy Vista: 

The Lamy Nexx: 

The Lamy Al-Star: