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Thread: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

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    Senior Member Sammyo's Avatar
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    Question ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    OK, cards on the table, I love the colour of MB Toffee Brown. I tried a sample (gifted by a friend) and knew I had to buy a bottle... which I did.

    After using it for a longer period of time I find that it cleans easily; has great flow and lovely subtle shading. However, I have found that it NEVER seems to dry! I can write some notes down (Rhodia Webbook), come back to it in a few weeks time to review the information and as I put my fingers on the page it still smears/smudges! Full disclosure, in Japan it is very humid and hot, so combined with "finger sweat" this is a bad combination.

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a brown with similar characteristics in the pen and shading wise; but with better behaviour and characteristics after being put down on paper?

    Thanks,

    SamO
    Sam O

    "A fountain pen with a bad nib is like a Ferrari with a flat tyre..." - Brian Gray, Edison pens

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    Senior Member KKay's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    I have not tried Toffee Brown. I purchased a sample that was supposed to be in stock, but it wasn't. So I said send me a sample of Faber Castell Hazelnut instead. I loved it. I also love Terra Firma by Franklin-Christoph. Another nice one to me was Waterman-Brown. It used to be called Havana Brown, now it is Absolute Brown. Terra Firma to me is a fairly dry ink. I live in a hot and humid environment here in Texas. But I try never to touch anything that has been written, during those days. Any non-permanent ink may smear, in high humidity. Sweaty fingers and humid air of course is moisture, which will smear. As much as I love Tomoe River paper, I've found it smears more often in humidity. (it is my favorite notebook paper) Some inks are worse than others. If it is especially humid I try not to leave the notebook open too long. Other times of the year it is fine. I also write on these notebooks strictly inside in humid weather.

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    I also like Waterman Absolute Brown. Other good browns that I use are Kaweco Brown, Monteverde Brown and Diamine Rustic Brown.

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    Senior Member migo984's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    Here are some suggestions for close alternatives. The Monteverde is very wet and I'd probably not use it in humid environments. As you're in Japan the logical choice would be Nagasawa Kobe #16 Nada Brown. It's a really lovely ink, marginally more gold than Toffee Brown, but any difference would only be noticeable when seen side-by-side. It shades well, cleans well and behaves well.

    (These examples are on Staples Laserjet 100gsm paper. Written with a very fine Visconti glass nib pen).
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Senior Member stub's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    I live right next door to you, across what y'all for some reason call the sea 'o japan (/wink) in the hottest most humid city on this here land and am a MB toffee brown addict. I have no issue with TB drying. It could be that your sample needs a shake or that some small amount of it has evaporated. Eye dropper in a little water and see if that gets you a better finish.

    I note that my TB gets a little green around the lip of the bottle and the a little green in pens that sit (I left a pen inked with it accidentally for a few months and the nib write green a while till it browned up some as smeared a lot).

    Shake it up add a splash of water.

    The problem of browns that don't dry is a common one I find. I have some J. Herbin Browns that don't dry well either. Must be a property of a commonly used brown dye. Ironically I use MBTB because it dies pretty good and has no nib creep or crud like lots of Diamine and Herbin reds and browns do.

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    Senior Member Lady Onogaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    One brown suggested to me by Larry Dromgoole was Private Reserve Chocolate, which I like, but I know some people have objections to Private Reserve inks.
    Lady Onogaro

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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    I echo Stub's comment. I haven't had problems with MB Toffee Brown smearing once dry. I have a pen currently inked with it and don't have any problems. I don't know enough about inks to explain why your sample may be different than a bottle but Stub offered what seem to be good suggestions.

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    Senior Member Sammyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    Ok, some clarification...

    As I said in the OP, I have purchased a bottle... from a VERY reputable brick and mortar store in Tokyo. It is brand new, fresh and unsullied. I decided to go back through my work notebook and find the earliest time i used it. The date was 23rd April 2016... and the ink smeared on the page. The next date was 7th June 2016... the ink smeared on the page. I will post pics, I have to be careful as it is a works notebook full of things I can't share, so they will be clipped images. I'm not saying you guys are lying, I'm saying that I used a full, fresh, original bottle and I have this constant issue with this ink
    20161007_122055.jpg20161007_122105.jpg
    Strangely I do not recall this issue with the sample I got! The only difference is that I got and used the sample in America, and I purchased and used the bottle in Japan.

    Thanks for all that posted suggestions, I agree with Stub that browns are normally "smudgy" or "dry" and hard to find an in between.

    KKay and Chrissy, I think I might have to get some Waterman Absolute Brown... I keep hearing good things

    Migo, I think I might prefer Nagasawa Kobe #16 Nada Brown!!!! Now to track it down and get a bottle
    Thanks for the swabs and comparissons, they really help

    Lady Onogaro, I have heard the rumours about Private Reserve inks, and I personally know someone that had a bottle go moldy (but that was a few years ago now)... but I heard that they have changed their formulas recently, maybe a year or two ago? I will go and see if I can get a sample to try

    I hope my further explanation helps to clear things up... I don't know why my bottle would be any different from other peoples
    Sam O

    "A fountain pen with a bad nib is like a Ferrari with a flat tyre..." - Brian Gray, Edison pens

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    Senior Member Runnin_Ute's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    One I have had good luck with is Diamine Saddle Brown. Behaves well, no nib crud or creep. I have it in a TWSBI 580 with stubbed B nib right now.

    Sent from my SGH-M919 using Tapatalk
    Brad "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling

    "None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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    FP Enthusiast Emeritus mhosea's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyo View Post
    Strangely I do not recall this issue with the sample I got! The only difference is that I got and used the sample in America, and I purchased and used the bottle in Japan.
    Might just be a batch issue, i.e. the one you got in Japan has a little too much of some ingredient or other that doesn't affect the color. When I was doing dry-out experiments with latex sac trimmings in Noodlers and other inks, I noticed that Noodler's inks tended to evaporate down to a point, and then something liquid was left that was quite persistent, whereas other inks would dry in the same amount of time to a powder. Glycerin came to mind, since folks sometimes add it to inks to improve the lubricity, but I don't have any way to tell what it actually was. Anyway, bottom line is that I wonder if too much of some ingredient like that might lead to the never-drying phenomenon, and if it only happens to this batch and that one, not all of them, then you have a fine way of generating conflicting experiences with the "same" inks.
    --
    Mike

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    Senior Member jacksterp's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    Waterman's Havana/Absolute

    Iro Yama-Guri

    Like 'em both.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    Toffee is one of my top choices in ink. I've noticed that both Toffee and Havana dry to a brownish-grey on some paper, for example: vintage postcards. If I blot with my rocker blotter, Toffee will remain brown (though not as dark). Is that weird, or what?

    Fred

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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    Sammyo, did I ever give you a sample vial of the F-C Brown 732? I know you played with it in a few of my pens before you moved, but I don't recall whether or not I gave you any to keep. I looked back over my own notes and going back to June 2015 it doesn't smudge when I run my finger over it. I can send you a sample vial to test if you'd like.

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  19. #14
    Senior Member Sammyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: ... MB Toffee Brown... need an alternative... please help...

    Quote Originally Posted by Scooby921 View Post
    Sammyo, did I ever give you a sample vial of the F-C Brown 732? I know you played with it in a few of my pens before you moved, but I don't recall whether or not I gave you any to keep. I looked back over my own notes and going back to June 2015 it doesn't smudge when I run my finger over it. I can send you a sample vial to test if you'd like.
    I never did take a sample! Thanks for the offer 😀😆
    I may have to ask about the Star Wars pen to it you are making a shipment... Still trying to decide 😉
    Sam O

    "A fountain pen with a bad nib is like a Ferrari with a flat tyre..." - Brian Gray, Edison pens

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