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Thread: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

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    Junior Member Dave's Avatar
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    Default Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Hello!

    Looking through the various forum topics, which took a fair time, there doesn't seem to be any list that shows what inks work best (or well) in certain pens. Not meaning every model of pen, but only the more commonly found and used pens. Perhaps the info is out there, only not collated into one list?

    So, for example, in my Lamy 2000 the ink currently is Herbin Perle Noir, which flows nicely. A boring colour, maybe, though a workmanlike one!

    What other inks would well complement this pen? And are there inks to be avoided?

    Apologies up front if this is a. a stupid question, and/or b. something that has been addressed elsewhere and what I have overlooked.

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Compatibility mostly comes down to not putting very wet inks in very wet pens or the opposite. It's not really that exciting or complicated a topic. Perle Noir is a great choice as a standard ink.

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Fountain pen users all have their own favourite pen and ink brands that they prefer to use, and they find compatible inks and pens according to what they own. There is no set "ink and pen compatibility list" for pens or inks or users.

    As an example, like you I have a Lamy 2000 and I always use Diamine Steel Blue in there because for me they are perfectly compatible. Everyone who has a Lamy 2000 pen will either have their own personal favourite that they prefer to use with it, or they won't have a favourite at all and just fill it with any ink that they fancy.

    Because a Lamy 2000 has an (albeit small) ink window, many users would not use a very staining ink in there that might permanently stain the window. Some won't worry about it because they always use a particular ink and don't care whether it stains or not.
    Last edited by Chrissy; February 3rd, 2019 at 02:31 AM.
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    Junior Member Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Quote Originally Posted by ilikenails View Post
    Compatibility mostly comes down to not putting very wet inks in very wet pens or the opposite. It's not really that exciting or complicated a topic. Perle Noir is a great choice as a standard ink.

    Is the Lamy 2000 a wet pen? Is Perle Noir a wet ink?



    Luckily I only have two pens, but with so many inks available it looks like a bit of a crapshoot with respect to compatibility.


    It may not be an "exciting or complicated" topic to others, but to a new pen user it is something of a minefield, and therefore (as it costs money to experiment) behoves careful consideration!

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    Junior Member Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Fountain pen users all have their own favourite pen and ink brands that they prefer to use, and they find compatible inks and pens according to what they own. There is no set "ink and pen compatibility list" for pens or inks or users.

    As an example, like you I have a Lamy 2000 and I always use Diamine Steel Blue in there because for me they are perfectly compatible. Everyone who has a Lamy 2000 pen will either have their own personal favourite that they prefer to use with it, or they won't have a favourite at all and just fill it with any ink that they fancy.

    Because a Lamy 2000 has an (albeit small) ink window, many users would not use a very staining ink in there that might permanently stain the window. Some won't worry about it because they always use a particular ink and don't care whether it stains or not.

    If I make the question broader would that help? Like, is there specific brands of ink that work well with the Lamy 2000? Or is there too much variability within a brand?

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Any ink brand will work well with most pens for someone. There is too much variability between what inks people have or prefer to use with their pens.

    Everyone who has a Lamy 2000 will have their own favourite ink for it. There is no tried and tested rule. It's just user preference.

    Some Lamy 2000 pens will be wetter than others even when they have the same nib width. Some will be wetter or drier because they have different nib widths.

    To cut down expenses on ink you could try samples instead of buying bottles.
    Last edited by Chrissy; February 3rd, 2019 at 03:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Dave, have you come across any inks that you find *don't* work well with your pen? The combinations that don't work are usually well in the minority, so most inks you buy will work perfectly well. Whether you think they work best with your pen depends on personal preference.

    I mean, I can give one example for the dry ink + dry pen: I have a Pilot Prera with CM (calligraphy/italic) nib. I put Rohrer & Klingner Helianthus in it, which is a dry yellow-orange ink, because I wanted a wider line in places. It wrote and was readable, but it wasn't entirely pleasant to write with. I like the look of helianthus best with a glass dip pen, so the wettest possible fountain pen would be the one for me to try it with.

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    Hello!

    Looking through the various forum topics, which took a fair time, there doesn't seem to be any list that shows what inks work best (or well) in certain pens. Not meaning every model of pen, but only the more commonly found and used pens. Perhaps the info is out there, only not collated into one list?

    So, for example, in my Lamy 2000 the ink currently is Herbin Perle Noir, which flows nicely. A boring colour, maybe, though a workmanlike one!

    What other inks would well complement this pen? And are there inks to be avoided?

    Apologies up front if this is a. a stupid question, and/or b. something that has been addressed elsewhere and what I have overlooked.
    Mine's loaded with Sailor Souten. I saw it in a video, it looked pretty, and I have no desire to ink it with anything else. (EF nib, no discernable sweet spot).

    There are some pens that only work well with one or two inks, and I'm glad I when I find the match, or I'd have sent them into the cornfield. Other pens are far less particular.

    Interesting topic!

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor Kenshin View Post
    There are some pens that only work well with one or two inks, and I'm glad I when I find the match
    I would not sign this, imho most pens work fine with most of the ink.
    It also depends on the preferences of the user (if they like it wetter or dryer), and this has most likely the biggest influence if somebody like a combination or not.

    Of course you can tune with dry or wet inks, but each pen is different not every pen of Model A is dry or a gusher, itˋs an individual decision.
    What can be right for a specific pen of Model A can be wrong for the next pen of Model A.....

    Imho most of the times when it can be finicky flex is involved.
    Either when these pens are real gushers (together with wet inks) or the surface tention/dryness,... is problematic and you get a lot of railroading (the answer to many of this problems is often a Iron gall ink )


    But I can´t think of any modern pen (I used) which would not write reasonable ok with any fountainpen ink.
    If course there are combinations which work better than others (as you said, and to find those combinations is nice).

    But if a (modern) pen does not write at all with certain inks (e.g. dry out, or drop blotches) imho something is wrong with the pen (nib or feed or wrong air (crack or untight)).

    So for me a “compatibility list” make no sense at all.
    Last edited by Pterodactylus; February 3rd, 2019 at 11:05 AM.

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    Junior Member Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    I am sorry I asked the question.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    I am sorry I asked the question.
    Ah, don't be! That's the only way to learn. It was an unusual question and I couldn't come up with a good way to answer. Keep feeling your way around and some of this will become a little less opaque. When you started to talk about listing compatibilities between pens and inks, I don't think you had really taken stock of how ridiculously large the combinations would be.

    What you *might* consider doing is asking for input as to what people's absolute go-to/safe/standard inks are. For instance, not only pen users but pen restoration people, as well as vintage pen people, tend to recommend Waterman inks highly because of their good performance and benign behavior. I would also spend a good amount of time browsing the ink reviews here and at other sites to get opinions on other lines. One of the issues is that for some brands, there are inks that are excellent as well as some that are problematic, but all people don't necessarily respond in the same way to these inks.

    Anyway, don't beat yourself up. It was mostly the unique nature of the question that made it difficult for people to respond, but that's not on you, that's just on all the variables in play.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    I am sorry I asked the question.
    Don't be! There are no bad questions. We're all learning here.
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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Dave, I see a research project in your future. Be sure to post your findings here.

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Dave, there is nothing to be sorry

    Your question was a good one, please do not hesitate to ask something, there is nothing like a stupid question.

    Iˋm looking foreword to see your participation in our community

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Dave, I see a research project in your future. Be sure to post your findings here.
    Agree. Don't be sorry. I think it is helpful to have a general idea of how wet or dry pens tend to be, and roughly how well a few common inks flow.

    To that end I have been working on classifying my inks in terms of flow as I try inks in various pens.

    As I get new pens it helps to have a black ink I can use to test and tune the pen.

    What I have so far:

    Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black is very dry writing and possibly not very lubricated. It behaves really well in really wet vintage pens like my Wahl Ringtop and Parker Lucky Curve. Feels dry in most other pens like my Pilot Stargazer.

    On the other end of the spectrum Iroshizuku Take-sumi is very wet and works in my Pilot Metropolitans, Esterbrooks with posting nibs. A bit too wet for fine and medium Estie nibs, way too wet for the Stargazer.

    Parker Quink Black is in the middle, and is ideal with a lot of vintage and modern pens and it has been easy enough to tune some pens to use it. I use it in fine/med Esties, Parker DuoFold, Parker 45, and others.

    MB Permanent Black seems to be between Quink and Pelikan. It flows ok in a few wet pens I have tried like MB221 and Stargazer.

    Diamine Twilight only works well in my very wet Lucky Curve. It feels extremely dry and unlubricated in everything else.

    Diamine Macassar seems to work in a wide variety of pens. Feels lubricated and smooth.

    These are the inks I have had longest and used most. FWIW

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Some good answers already, but I'll expound a little.

    Think of the nib as a valve of sorts. It regulates the flow of ink. The closer the tines are together, the "drier" the pen. The further apart, the "wetter" the pen.

    Most pen users don't know how to adjust the flow of a nib, and in a perfect world they would all be adjusted perfectly. Instead, they get pens that write "dry" or "wet", and compensate for that with particular ink properties. Fountain pens work on capillary action of the nib/feed, and surface tension of ink. Inks with high surface tension are "dry". Although they succumb to capillary action, they resist it more than "wet" inks with lower surface tension. Given the same flow at the nib, you can get varying degrees of "wetness" due only to the ink.

    Even if you do adjust your own nibs, it is still tedious. If I know I'm going to use a certain ink in a pen, I'll adjust the nib accordingly. I'm a chronic ink tester though, and just note which inks are more wet or dry in a certain pen and choose accordingly. I also keep an ink journal which notes flow, shading, dry time, etc... If I have a "wet" pen, I'll usually avoid inks (and brands) I know are "wet" / have a high flow / have low surface tension.

    So while it would be very difficult, if not impossible to develop a Pen/Ink compatibility list due to all the variables; developing a list of wet or dry inks that could be viewed along a continuum would prove very handy indeed.

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Dave,

    some of this is a good deal of self-experimentation with inks. My vintage Pelikan 400, for example, does not play nice with any ink that is well lubricated. Aurora (black, and blue-black) absolutely gushes from the nib. Even humble Waterman Serenity Blue will create puddles of ink. Pelikan inks seem to do well and, curiously, Robert Oster has done a fantastic job of taming the flow.

    This is just one example, of course, from one pen. My Pelikan 120 has no issues with any ink I've used in it thus far.

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    To add to the nib tuning topic, I have a few oddball pens, in terms of flow, where it seems like the the rest of the ink delivery mechanism is tuned for such high flow that it is hard to tune the nibs for modern medium flow inks. The most microscopic change in slit width has an enormous impact on flow compared to most of my other pens.

    The four 1920's pens I've worked with all are like this (two Parkers and two Wahls). I have too little data to support any kind of conclusion so I can only speculate.

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    Not a bad question at all, but very difficult to answer.

    Once I had a Lamy Safari with a 1.1 italic nib that refused to write with Waterman Habana Brown. That was a pain. Switched inks and it worked (I don't remember which ink though, this was 5+ years ago.)

    I've never heard anyone mention Iron Gall inks being particularly well-suited to flex pens before, this is something I'll be checking out very soon!

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    Default Re: Ink - Pen: compatibility list

    All of this leads one to reconsider just how much fun discovery is in this hobby. Unless you are completely jaded, learning new things about inks, pens and paper are facts that we apply constantly.Figuring out what ink works with what pen on which paper is almost as much fun as shopping for new ink and everyone knows how big a kick that is. So the question isn't silly, seems more like the start of an interesting journey.

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