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Noodler's 54th Massachusetts (Added Video)

Now this is an ink that I love. 54th Mass is a dark blue-black ink, and it's the best that I've found so far. I have seen it work perfectly well on even really cheap papers and it has been awesome in both of the pens that I've put it in.

You'll see in the written bit below that I have this ink in a Kaweco Sport with a Medium nib and a Sheaffer with some kind of medium nib. These pens are very different, but it strikes me that I really should have put it in something with a finer nib to see what it does there. Cest la vie. I don't have any of that sample left aside from what is in the pens. I'll get a bottle soon, and see how 54th Mass likes a fine nib. I did hear that it feels rough in a Lamy EF nib, but I haven't tried it myself. It might be true. It isn't the most lubricated ink out there.

If your pen is a wet one, then this ink is going to look much more like it does from my Sheaffer. It'll be nearly black. The other blue-black that I like is Air Corps, and it has a tendency to get a little caked up if the pen is really wet, and then it will smear even when it's dried. 54th Mass hasn't exhibited that sort of behavior. It will be darker, but it still behaves well.

If the pen is a little more dry, you'll see a more blue color like the one from my Kaweco. It's closer to blue than to black in that pen. Either one is good for me.

I also wrote a short note on the worst paper that I had around. It's one of those little pads of thin paper that you get at a conference or in a hotel room desk. It's not meant for fountain pens, but it will illustrate the way that the ink will act on the worst paper you can find.

This ink is also rumored to be extremely water-proof. I haven't had a chance to check that out. I'll make my normal vid and post it soon. Things have been a little backed-up recently since we've been trying to get this house closed. Things will get back back to normal once we've actually moved. I hope.

Is it waterproof? Yep. Really waterproof.

Conclusion: Check this ink out. It's pretty great.

De Atramentis Gandhi

I totally forgot that I had this review in the can. I was just sitting at my desk lamenting that it's been so dreary, which has kept me from taking new pictures and things. Then I realized I had this sunny set of pictures just sitting there waiting for me.

DA's Gandhi is a bright yellow-gold ink. It reminds me of sunshine, and that makes me happy. It looks great in the smear to the left, doesn't it? It's a nice orange-y yellow color that doesn't look like very many other colors. The closest is probably Sailor's Jentle Apricot, but the Sailor ink is darker and more orange.

Unfortunately, it is just too light for me to use. It doesn't show up well against white papers, and I that's all I use. I find it hard to imagine that it would look better on ivory or something else, but I haven't tried it.

Additionally, the ink seems to flow a bit dry for me. It makes my TWSBI 540 skip on the page, and it hasn't done that with other inks that I remember. Perhaps if you have a pen that puts down a lot of ink it would work out. Maybe a dip pen? If you've tried these things out, let me know how they worked for you in the comments.

I recommend that if you want an ink like this, you should check out Jentle Apricot. It's a much better ink in my opinion.

Here's the water test video. It goes about as well as I expected.

De Atramentis Steel Blue

Steel Blue is a fairly unique ink. It looks like some other inks, but none of them are really the same. It's a little like Waterman's Mysterious Blue, but it isn't nearly as green-tinged. It looks like it has some of the same "bluejeans" quality that Noodler's Upper Ganges Blue has, but it's much darker than that ink.

It shades a bit if you have a broader nib or a good paper, but you probably won't notice it much on regular papers.

It doesn't bleed very often. You might see a dot or two bleeding through on comp book paper, but that's about as low as paper quality gets. It does tend to feather just a little because it's just slightly wet-flowing. The feathering is very slight, though, and not enough to bother me.

I wrote the review with a fine nib, but I think this ink would perform really well in something with a slightly dry feed and a broader nib. I think it would work really well in a Pilot Metropolitan with a Plumix nib, for example. I'll be talking about that pen/nib combo in the near future. (I prefer to take my pictures with natural light, and it's been too overcast to take pics today.)

Here's the video where I do a water-test on the ink.

I really liked this ink. I have a predilection for blue inks, and this one is different enough to get my attention. I endorse it.

The January Ink Drop from the Goulet Pen Company

It's a really good ink drop this month. I'm always a little surprised when I don't have any of the inks in the Ink Drop. Well, this month I got a couple of inks that I'd been wanting to try out for a while.

The Visconti Sepia up there is an ink that I got on the same day as the Ink Drop, but it wasn't part of the Ink Drop. I just got it during a sale before Christmas. It's a pretty nice looking ink, but I've only just put it in a pen and I haven't had a chance to use it yet.

Moss Green is a fresh looking green, but it's not quite as bright as it looks in that picture. It reminds me of Diamine Meadow.

Eau de Nil is a blue that looks like it leans towards green. It's not quite a turquoise, but it's headed in that direction.

Majestic Purple looks like a nice purple, if you're into that sort of thing. It's got the Diamine Sheen where it pools on the left-hand side of the smear.

Borealis Black looks to be a pretty light-weight black, but I'll give it a try. I've been writing with some black inks lately, and this one will go on the list.

Rome Burning is an ink that I've been wanting to try out ever since it came out. It's gotten some pretty mixed reviews since then. Some have said that it bleeds and spreads and acts up on the page, but I'm hoping that it won't do that for me. I've just put it in a Lamy M nib to see what'll happen. I think if it's going to spread it'll do it in that nib more than it would in, say, an F nib. I'll try it out with both just to see. Lamy makes it so easy to swap nibs that it's to easy not to try it out.

Here are some more pictures for you.

I did these swatches on a new Rhodia pad that I picked up recently. I was looking at the dots on the page, and they're bigger and fuzzier than they are on my other Rhodia pad. The paper feels a little different, too. It seems to behave like Rhodia paper, but it feels a little softer and a little more flexible than the other paper. I'm not sure what they changed, exactly, but you can see the difference in the picture below. Anyone else had this experience?

Old paper on the bottom, new on the top. 

Ink in the mail!

So many inks in the mail today! With the threat of another semester's teaching looming over me and the trials of buying a house, I'd completely forgotten that it was Ink Drop time. This month's inks look like a really interesting set, and I'll have swatches of them up here on the site soon.

Additionally, I'd ordered a bottle of Visconti Sepia back around Christmas time and it's finally gotten here. I'd almost forgotten that I'd ordered it!  I'll have a swatch up soon. I just wish I had enough pens handy to use all of these inks right now.

Here's a picture of the Visconti ink with the title of this month's Ink Drop as a teaser. I'll post the picture swatches up in a day or two so that I don't spoil anyone's surprise.

New nibs for the TWSBI Mini and Vac 700.

TWSBI has been rolling out new nibs, lately. I think that all of us have been enjoying our new VAC 700 nibs, and their improved performance over the older Bock nibs. Well, there are a few more nibs available to us, now.

Even better, those nibs are stubs!

One of the most lamented things on the internet is how people are upset about not being able to find stub nibs for the TWSBI 540.  The 540 is on the way out (though there are still a few around at $40) and it is nearly impossible to find with the stub nibs. You can buy them separately through various websites, though. I haven't been able to try one of those stubs out, but I've not seen anything bad about them.

You can pick up new nibs for the 700 from TWSBI and from Goulet Pens for $23.99 (B,M,F,XF) or $25.99 (1.1 or 1.5). Nibs for the Mini are a couple of bucks cheaper. They come in the nice TWSBI vial that suspends your nib in the middle of the vial and keeps it safe. 

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the alternatives to the official TWSBI nibs. If you're not up to spending $25 plus shipping for a new nib, then you can pick up a Knox nib from xFountainpens for 1/3 the price of the official nibs. I haven't tried out the Knox stubs yet, but I've used the M, F, and XF nibs on my Ahabs and 700 and they're quite good. Their packaging isn't fancy. All of mine came in tiny plastic bags.

These won't work in your Mini, but they'll work in your 700. 

** I'm not affiliated with any of these merchants, but I've bought from all of them and they're all good businesses that I would recommend to my friends and family.