PDA

View Full Version : Which inks produce the thinnest lines and why?



jbb
April 28th, 2013, 06:45 PM
Some inks seem to be capable of producing thinner lines than others. For dip pens the difference is most noticable when I use iron gall ink which can get a nice hairline. Is there some ingredient causing this? What about fountain pen inks? Which ones produce the thinnest line when you're using a flex pen and want to get the most line variation? Is gum Arabic a factor for the thinness of the line in dip pen ink?

GardenWeasel
May 1st, 2013, 09:00 AM
Good question (thinnest line), and it is a huge deciding factor when deciding what pen to use with what ink (usually at the beginning of each month with the Goulet ink samples). If an ink is previously reviewed by folks as being not well lubricated or not well flowing, I expect a thin line and use it in a nib with a wetter flow...et cetera. Unless I really need a thin line for margin notes - then into an EF nibbed pen it goes! :)

jbb
May 1st, 2013, 10:51 AM
Thanks GardenWeasel. Are there any brands of ink you favor for thinness?

GardenWeasel
May 1st, 2013, 10:59 AM
Isn't that like asking if one has a favorite child? (LOL!) At the moment I find that 5 O'Clock Shadow from Noodler's is exactly perfect in a Sailor EF nib. It allows the finest of lines for margin notes, and its working really well with the lesser quality paper I sometimes need to make notes on...not perfect! But very do-able (or is that doable?)

Marsilius
May 3rd, 2013, 01:30 PM
I am lousy on the chemistry, but I think Iron Gall does provide the thinnest line. That is why it is so hard to duplicate old manuscript writing with fountain pen ink. The minute the nib hits the page the ink immediately spreads out more than that razor thin line that is possible with IG.
I show this to my students when talking about old manuscripts, because the difference is so striking.
Best,
Mars

jbb
May 3rd, 2013, 03:11 PM
I am lousy on the chemistry, but I think Iron Gall does provide the thinnest line. That is why it is so hard to duplicate old manuscript writing with fountain pen ink. The minute the nib hits the page the ink immediately spreads out more than that razor thin line that is possible with IG.
I show this to my students when talking about old manuscripts, because the difference is so striking.
Best,
Mars
That's what seems to be true from observation. It was writing with iron gall ink recently that got me thinking about this topic. ( I just made my first batch of iron gall ink.)

What is the broader topic you are discussing with your students when this comes up?

Marsilius
May 3rd, 2013, 04:31 PM
Music History. A cool feature of music manuscripts from the 15th cent. are the little thin hands that point in a line from one system up to the next page. The thinnest little lines leading up to the hand was my first awareness of the difference between IG and my other inks. I bought some from a nice vendor on FPN but have forgotten who that was, alas!

Marsilius
May 10th, 2013, 09:57 PM
I thought I would try an experiment and compare my old bottle of Iron Gall Ink with Quink,both using a dip pen, and with Quink in my Waterman 12 PSF. The difference will not look so great between them, but you might mostly notice how thin the staff lines and the pointing hand are with Iron Gall, and its sheen. The IG also feels easier to write drier and with more control. (I am a lousy model for good writing, but maybe this will give some kind of comparison.)
The first comparison is on Strathmore cold press 140 lb watercolor paper).

The second is a quick comparison on a Rhodia No. 18 Uni Blank A4 Bloc Pad.

(and maybe I should have waited a while for the IG to darken. If it changes a lot, I might show that later.)

jbb
May 10th, 2013, 10:04 PM
I thought I would try an experiment and compare my old bottle of Iron Gall Ink with Quink,both using a dip pen, and with Quink in my Waterman 12 PSF. The difference will not look so great between them, but you might mostly notice how thin the staff lines and the pointing hand are with Iron Gall, and its sheen. The IG also feels easier to write drier and with more control. (I am a lousy model for good writing, but maybe this will give some kind of comparison.)
The first comparison is on Strathmore cold press 140 lb watercolor paper).

The second is a quick comparison on a Rhodia No. 18 Uni Blank A4 Bloc Pad.

(and maybe I should have waited a while for the IG to darken. If it changes a lot, I might show that later.)

OMG. I love how you draw! The more I'm using iron gall lately the more I like it. When we walk in the park now I'm on constant look out for more oak galls -- they're quite plentiful around here. I'm about to start another batch.