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Raleigh Pen Show, Day 1

Audrey and I were at the pen show for about 5 hours today, and a good time was had by all. We got to spend a fair amount of time talking to the notorious Pendleton Brown, Scott and Jim from Franklin-Christoph, the good folks of Van Horne Pens, and (of course) the Andersons.

We were so wrapped up talking to these folks that we completely forgot to break out the camera. I'll be going back to the show tomorrow, and I'll be taking pictures. I held off on getting much of anything for myself today, but Audrey came away with some treasures. She's not going back with me tomorrow, so it was her day to shop.

Audrey found a few pens that she really liked at the Anderson Pens table. She got a Monteverde Impressa and a Monteverde Jewelria Mini. She also couldn't leave without a Pilot Metro in White Tiger with a fine nib. I inked all of these up for her tonight, and all of them write very well. That Pilot is a very fine nib. 

We also got three of these excellent notebooks from Franklin-Christoph's table. They're factory seconds, but they're all in very good condition. They're a leather-ish vinyl with a nice bookmarking ribbon and 90gsm paper made from sugarcane. Niiiice.

The following are some pictures of the spoils.

Lisa Anderson also insisted that we take a couple of their Proper Pads with us, and I really liked the little graphic on this one.

And here's Audrey with her Mini Jewelria. It's a tiny little pen that'll fit nicely in her purse or pocket.

Noodler's Texas Black Bat

Okay, back to the Dromgoole's exclusive stuff. I'm happy to say that I really like this ink. In fact, I kinda stuck the Quink in before this one just so that it's obvious how good this black is. 

The swatch at the left, here, was done on Rhodia, and I really smeared it around. This ink does have a long dry time, but it's very black on most papers. I never saw any shading with this black. It was just black, and smooth, and beautiful. I'm not usually a huge black ink fan, but this one makes me happy. 

The draw-back to this ink is that it's really saturated. Maybe a little too thick, if anything. It doesn't flow well if you don't use your pen on a steady basis, so you'll get some hard starts. It's worth it, though. 

This ink doesn't spread, and it doesn't feather. It does have a little bit of bleed on filler papers, but it's fine on anything else.

Here's the water test and review video. Check it out. 

The bottle doesn't say anything about it being water-fast, but it certainly is. 

Parker Quink Black

Hi Folks. Today's ink isn't in the Noodler's Texas line (though I have more of those). I want to take a little break to show a pair of black inks. Parker's Quink is today's ink, and Noodler's Texas Black Bat is tomorrow's ink.

So, Quink is billed as the first fast-drying fountain pen ink. That's the "Q" in the name. I did notice that it dried quickly, and it's better behaved than other fast-dry inks that I could name.

I used this ink in a reliably medium-flow pen, and I'm just now thinking that I should have put it in my Parker 51, which has a much wetter flow. I don't think I have enough left to do that right now, though. Anyway, this ink was a little on the dry-side, and it came off as more of a dark grey than a black. As you can see in the smear above, it is black if you get enough of it on the page.

Here's the Quink compared to a few other blacks. It's a bit grey. That's really the only problem with this ink. It's not striking or exciting. I want a black ink to really pop on the page, and Quink doesn't do that. It is a perfectly competent ink, but it's not going to be the ink that blows your doors off.

Find it at Anderson Pens.

So, how does it do when it's exposed to water? I'm glad you asked! Scraggles the Dog also makes a brief appearance in the video

Water Test Video:

Noodler's Blue Steel

Here's another Dromgoole's exclusive ink from Noodler's. I'll be posting Black Bat in the next day or two, and Alamo's Sunset and Live Oak are forthcoming. 

The swatch above is still wet when I took the picture because I forgot to include a swatch on the original review. It's looking a bit more blue than it does in real life. It dries to a color that is just about the same as blued steel. It's sort of like a blue ink with a bit of green to it, and a bit of a sheen. 

This nib is a little bit dry, and it still shades beautifully.

This is (despite the shading) a pretty saturated ink, and it can be a little hard to get started. This nib is also a little bit dry, so it's not a good combination if you want your pen to start every time. Once it gets flowing, though, you're good to go.

Here's the video and water test:

The Triangle Pen Show is coming!

Well, the pen show has really crept up on me this year. It's less than a week away, and I haven't even really thought about what I should look for. I'm kinda looking for something from Pelikan or Sailor, but aside from that I'm going to wing it. You never know what you'll find at a show! I do need to get a couple of Sheaffer desk pens fixed up. They were my Grandma's, and I've heard that they're a pain to fix yourself, so I'll be looking for someone to do the work. I might have more luck in DC, though. Are any of you folks going? What're you looking for?

Noodler's Texas Blue Bonnet (Eternity)

Hello, there, folks. The last couple of inks I reviewed, I didn't like that much. This one is the exact opposite. It's pretty super.

This is one of the Dromgoole's exclusive inks, that you can only get from the store itself. They don't have much of a web-presence, but they do ship things if you call them up. I encourage you to do so.

This ink is labeled "Eternity," and that line of inks are supposed to last forever. They're not quite as forgery-proof as the bulletproof inks, but they're still pretty darn hard to get off of paper. They might fade, but they're not going away. Be careful what you write with one of these. It's sticking around.

No skipping in this title or swoosh. The Franklin-Christoph broad nib that I wrote this with is a bit wet, and this ink is on the wet side, so the ink comes out bold and the shading really shows.

You can see the difference between the nibs at different ends of the spectrum in the picture above. It's much darker from a broad nib, but the colors are still excellent, and they both shade on Rhodia.

Thoughts? This ink is great. It's going to live in my TWSBI 700 for a while. I don't get tired of the color, and the performance is pretty super. I think you should get a bottle. 

Yep. It shades.

Blue Bonnet is a light-to-medium blue, and it's going to have a place in my rotation for a long time. 

The water-test video:

I ditched iMovie on the iPad, and just did this one with the regular video app. It worked out just fine.

Scribal Work Shop Bunny Washable Damselfish Blue

I'll tell y'all at the top of the page: I'm just not a fan of this ink. That's way too long. There are just way too many words in there.

The Scribal Work Shop is a really interesting company. They appear to be focused on historical inks and scribe-ery. That's neat. I'm a fan of small ink-makers, and I want them to do well. I really wish I liked their inks.

Damselfish is a darkish blue ink with brighter-blue highlights. The swatch below is pretty great, and it shows all of the hues in this ink. If I could ever have gotten it to look like this from a pen, I would love it.

The problem, for me, with this ink is that it dries way too fast and tends to clog up the nib and give me hard starts. It skips and is generally unpleasant. I wanted to give it every chance to shine, so I put it through two of my reliable Kaweco nibs. The first squiggle below is a broad nib, and that broad is usually really wet. You can see, where it started, that there was a skip, and there was a bit of hesitation before it even skipped. It felt dry in the broad nib, and that's a first. The second squiggle is from a medium nib which has a really even and predictable flow. Damselfish was balky and felt rough even after I got it started on another bit of paper. You can see a few inconsistent bits and how it almost skipped on the last flourish. Once you get the ink flowing, it's fairly okay. Don't stop writing, though, or you'll get a hard start almost immediately.

My only idea for making this ink work well is to use it with a dip pen. I don't have any of those, but give it a try if you do. The smear looks great, and I have to think there's a way to use this ink.

If you wan to try this ink out, then go get some from AndersonPens. They have 1oz bottles and 3ml samples.

Here's the water test video. It came out a little weird. The iMovie version was sideways (and I don't know why) and when I corrected it in YouTube it made it all small. Weird. Even the video for this ink didn't work out for me. :-/

Here's the unsurprising result from a washable ink.

J. Herbin Perle Noire

This is another ink given to me, for review purposes, by the lovely folks at JetPens.

I haven't used all that many J. Herbin inks. I've only actually reviewed one on the blog so far, but I'm sure I have must have a couple more in the stack of reviews. I generally like their inks. The Cacao du Bresil is one of my favorite inks, and there are a couple of others that I'm really liking from this brand. 

Unfortunately, Perle Noire just isn't for me. The color is only okay. It's sort of a light black or a really dark gray. It's not bad, exactly, but I don't care for it. 

The behavior on paper is only okay. It bleeds just a little bit on office papers, but it seems to be okay otherwise.

The behavior in the pen, however, is atrocious. I really tried to like this ink. I've put it in different pens and different nibs and it always has the same problem: it won't freakin' start. It's just one of those inks that is a hard-starter regardless of what pen I put it in. If you stop writing with your pen, it's going to stutter before it starts flowing again. If you cap your pen and set it aside for a day, you're going to have major problems getting it started again. If you leave the ink in your pen and don't use it for a week? Forget about it. You're going to have to fiddle with the converter or put fresh ink in the pen or something. It's just not any good for me. 

I actually asked Reddit's fountain pen sub what they thought of it, and the response was really positive. I thought maybe I'd done something wrong and so I fiddled with my Lamy Nexx for a bit and put the ink in my Monteverde Artista, as well. Neither of these pens likes this ink. I love my Artista's medium nib, and the Lamy's fine nib is very reliable, but Perle Noire just doesn't want to play ball. 

In the interest of fairness, maybe you can dilute this ink. That's not something that I've ever tried. I want to review the ink as it is in the bottle, and not after I've had to tinker with it. Also, you might try this ink as a dip pen ink. That might work out okay. I don't know. I don't have any dip pens. 

I can only tell you that I couldn't make this one play nicely with my fountain pens. It's not dangerous, or anything, it's just finicky and frustrating. 

 The above and below were taken in different lighting. The top is in the shade of my porch and the bottom is in full sun.

This swatch above actually makes this ink look pretty nice, but it doesn't do this in a pen. See the picture below to compare this ink to a really dark back. The pic was taken in full sun, so it's a little bit washed out, but you can still tell Perle Noire from a true black like Black Bat. Also, check out the sheen on Sailor's ink there, and on Salix. Niiice.

So, finally, this ink isn't really for me. I can't recommend it to anyone for use in a fountain pen because it just wouldn't work. Maybe you have a really wet nib with a very secure cap that can keep this ink wet and flowing, but I don't think I do.

Find it at JetPens for $9 in a 30ml bottle.

Water test and video review:


It's not exactly water proof, but I've seen worse. 

**This ink was received as a media sample. The opinions expressed here are all my own. No money has changed hands, and no promises were made.**