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Thread: Black ink/pen assistance please!

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    Question Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Black ink/pen dilemma

    I'm seeking a silky-smooth writing experience; smoother and less scratchy/feathery than my Platinum Preppy 03 that has a mix of Levenger Raven Black and Montblanc Black.

    This pen will always be filled, ready to write, a dedicated black-ink pen. And since paper is a biiiig factor, my usual papers 📔 are Kokuyo Campus, Rhodia and MiquelRius, with the occasional foray into Cheap Lousy Paper.

    The inky candidates:

    Levenger Raven Black (pretty much ruled out for Bad Behavior)
    Quink Black
    Pelikan Black
    Waterman Black
    Montblanc Black (in the old shoe bottle)
    Chesterfield Obsidian
    Monteverde Black Ash

    Sailor Black carts
    Platinum Black carts, an endless supply
    Lamy Black (carts) and a Lamy Safari F (this was actually a pleasant combo, I may return to it).

    The 🖋 pen candidates:

    Nemosine Singularities, F and XF
    Platinum Plaisir F
    Sailor Sapporo MF
    Jinhao Shark (I like these cute little writers)
    Wing Sung 601A
    Hero 616


    Currently filled:

    A Pilot Petit with a mix of Levenger Raven and Quink Black. Complete disaster. Bleedyriffic.

    That Platinum Preppy with a mix of, yes, you guessed it, Levenger Raven and MB Black. Slightly less of a disaster.

    Any thoughts? Experiences with any of the above in combination? Recommendations?

    Oh...and I am NOT buying any more black ink, not even carts or samples. Thanks for reading this overlong, overfussy post!

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Edited to add more stuff...

    Smooth to me means like a wet Pelikan 600 or 800 in M. I think it could be hard to get all the way there with EF nib. But of course some are smoother than others and ink matters a lot.

    I bought a Singularity in EF recently and it has quite a bit of feedback for what you want. Also they will be sold out for good awfully soon, as I understand it.

    The Jinhao pens I have used that actually write properly tend towards smooth. I've used their #6, #5 and hooded nibs. The #6 and hooded nibs seemed to be some of the smoothest I've tried. I'm a fan of the 51A.

    The Hero 616 pen (F?) I tried was a too-wet writer, meaning that a dry ink like Lamy or Pelikan will work better and they will tend to feather less. But my pen was drippy. I binned it.

    The Hero 51 clone nib I put in a Parker 21 Super is fairly smooth.

    Wing Sung F/EF nibs I've used tend to have some pleasant feedback with inks I have tried. I have tried a few Pilot clone nibs and they seem to be smoother than the Metro / Kakuno F nibs. The 3008 Lamy style nib has more feedback.

    If you get a good Lamy Safari nib they can be quite smooth and pleasant with the right ink.

    Quink Black can, depending on the pen, smooth out the experience. It is more prone to feathering than Pelikan Black. But not as much as, say, Iroshizuku Take-sumi. And Pilot Black seems even more prone.

    I have Lamy Black in a 221 and it seems to behave well, too. Not bad on smoothness.

    Waterman Black is on the drier side, isn't a smooth as Serenity Blue, but is reasonably behaved. My 221 and Hemisphere like it and I haven't really tried it in anything else as I only have cartridges.

    I've only used Montblanc black in carts in the 221 and the pen liked it a lot. So it must be dry. I think it was pretty well behaved.

    It isn't on your list but so far one ink stands above the others in smoothness—J. H. Perle Noir. Every pen I have tried it in writes smoother with it than the previous black ink. It tends to behave fairly well.

    I am still trying to figure out the underlying rules for the pen, ink, paper game. It seems like the wetter the pen flows the smoother it feels with a given ink, but dry time increases and more ink flow can push some inks to feathering more.

    I find that most of the wetter flowing black inks (Pilot Black, Take-sumi, and Quink from most to least) work a lot better in dry writers and feather more. Drier inks (Perle Noir, Waterman, Lamy, Montblanc, and Pelikan from least to most dry) work in wet writing pens and tend to feather less.

    I'm unfamiliar with several of those pens and inks.

    For the ones I do know about, I would probably go with a Safari and Lamy black. Or maybe Pelikan.

    ... Or one of the other smoother nibs if it can be tuned for one of the drier inks.
    Last edited by azkid; October 2nd, 2019 at 11:51 AM.

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    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Oh hey, I just responded to you over at fpn.

    I'll spare ya the copy-and-paste.

    Summary: Your search might expand to finding better cheap paper or Noodler's Black. (I offered to send you a sample of it.)

    *Smiley*
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Great info, and thanks to the both of you.

    Azkid, that's exactly the kind of detailed information I need. I did pick up a few more Nemos on closeout. Their nibs vary a bit even with the same designation of F or M or whatever.

    Ethernautrix, I wouldn’t ask you to send a sample all the way from Poland! But it's kind of you to offer, and I may test-drive a Noodler’s Black vial if I make another pen, paper or ink purchase.

    Since I have carts, I'm testing the Lamy Black and Sailor Black now. Interesting differences! The Sailor writes lighter and more gray than Lamy or the mixes.

    Maybe the next test will be MV Ash in a JinShark. 🦈

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    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Lucky day! I'm in California for at least another four weeks. You'd be giving me a destination for a bike ride (post office). Win, win!




    Addendum: But no pressure. If you'd feel more comfortable saying no, I'll accept it. But if you want to say yes, it's no trouble.
    Last edited by ethernautrix; October 2nd, 2019 at 12:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    I don't have experience with all the inks you mentioned, but if I try a new brand of paper and it feathers and/or bleeds with black
    Quink, Into the paper shredder it goes; I mulch my garlic patch with it. Life is too short for ballpoints and bad paper.

    I have no experience with any of the pens you mentioned. It has been my experience, however, that if a pen is not a smooth writer one can make it so. About 98% of the pens I have (including new, modern Pelikans, Parkers, and Sheaffers) had tine alignment problems. The rest became smooth writers after just a couple of swipes on some Mylar grit paper.
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Quote Originally Posted by ethernautrix View Post
    Lucky day! I'm in California for at least another four weeks. You'd be giving me a destination for a bike ride (post office). Win, win!




    Addendum: But no pressure. If you'd feel more comfortable saying no, I'll accept it. But if you want to say yes, it's no trouble.
    Thanks. I'd be happy to accept a sample if you're in the US for a while. PM incoming!

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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    I forgot to mention Perle Noire comes in 10ml sample bottles from JH.


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    VertOlive (October 15th, 2019)

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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    If you want silky smooth, then the broader the nib the better.

    A sailor Sapporo or Platinum Century #3776 with a broad nib will give you a smooth writing experience.

    The Japanese F will be smoother than your current 0.3mm preppy, but the broad will give you a much smoother experience.

    The Hero will be scratchier than your 0.3mmm preppy.

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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Seconding the Perle Noire endorsement.

    I’ve had good luck with xf nibs on a Lamy 2000 and a Sailor 21k pen. I have a very light hand, so i don’t notice the feedback people talk about unless i am doing something wrong. Now, my favorite xf nibs are vintage, from the usual suspects, but for an everyday pen, i would go with something currently made.

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    Senior Member calamus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    I know it's not on your list, but I've become passionately enamoured of De Atramentis Document Black. Not only does it behave beautifully and lay down as inky black a black line as anyone could desire, but it doesn't run or even feather when you soak anything written in it in water, and it won't fade even after prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. I always worry about spills on anything written in fountain pen ink -- but not when I use De Atramentis document ink!
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    I don't have experience with all the inks you mentioned, but if I try a new brand of paper and it feathers and/or bleeds with black
    Quink, Into the paper shredder it goes; I mulch my garlic patch with it.
    Do the gophers get sick if they eat any?
    Quid rides? Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur. — Horace
    (What are you laughing at? Just change the name and the joke’s on you.)

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor Kenshin View Post
    ...a mix of Levenger Raven Black and Montblanc Black...

    Oh...and I am NOT buying any more black ink, not even carts or samples....
    Nonetheless, see: https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread...ade-in-Germany

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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    A normal person would just pick up any old pen and ink and go at it. Noooo. Not me.

    I am also reminded that I have a sample of PN. It's going to either be that or MV Ash in my next OCD pen🖌 test of the Jinhao Shark.

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    azkid (October 3rd, 2019)

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor Kenshin View Post
    A normal person would just pick up any old pen and ink and go at it. Noooo. Not me.
    Certainly not me, either. Nor the majority of us here, I suspect.

    If it makes you feel better, it is kind of a pain for me sometimes, too—in my case, finding ink for picky pens is my curse.

    For example, that blasted M205 is now hard starting... with Pelikan Black!... What the holy hell?!

    I finally found another black ink that the 221 likes as much as Mystery Black (which is as unpermanent as you can get). But that means buying another black ink.

    Admittedly, I bring this on myself for wanting to try different pens.

    Fortunately, I do have some great combos worked out. I prefer "slick, gliding feedback" or "slick, ringing Tibetan bowl feedback" versus "so smooth I can't tell if the nib is actually touching the paper".

    So for me, Quink Black is wonderful in my 51s, 21s, and 45s—each excellent writers. The ink behaves well, is sufficiently water resistant, and is low cost.

    Speaking of samples, I have been slowly exploring black ink samples. Aurora Black is next. Platinum Carbon Black was wet and I liked it ok.

    I will keep your quest for a silky smooth combo in mind as I continue to explore.

    If you get frustrated and want to spend a lot, get a Pilot Falcon. I have tested quite a few pens at the Posse and that one stuck in my head as the smoothest F nib I have ever used.
    Last edited by azkid; October 3rd, 2019 at 09:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Wow, you're living in a whole different universe than I am.

    I specialize and collect black inks. Except for the Platinum, I'd never use any of the inks you cite. And except for the Preppy and a Plaisir, I wouldn't use any of those pens either. My Plaisir (m) is quite happy with a cartridge of Platinum Carbon Black ink.

    My overall smoothest and most functional combination is a gorgeous Diplomat Magnum SoftTouch Pearl White with a broad nib and a converter full of Platinum Carbon Black. The only situation where this is even marginally difficult is with Tomoe River paper where it has a longer dry time.

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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    For smooth in a black, Sailor Kiwa Guro is silky and doesn’t feather, Platinum Carbon is nearly so, and both seem smoother than their non-carbon brethren. But they aren’t on your list. From your list, I like Montevere the best. Black Ash, Brown Sugar and Monteverde Green all flow easily, but will feather on cheap paper in wetter nibs, even teeny ones.

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    Senior Member Sailor Kenshin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Black Ash now launched in the JinShark. Wow. For a really dry-writing pen and teeny nib, this combo sure puts out a thick black line.

    And I'm pretty sure I live in a different universe from just about anyone.
    Last edited by Sailor Kenshin; October 3rd, 2019 at 05:34 PM.

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    Senior Member ethernautrix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    I don't remember what I said at FPN, so I'll mention:

    Iroshizuku Take-sumi -- smoooooove.
    The pigment inks mentiond -- also smoooove, but pigments, so ya gotta decide is smooth is more important than higher maintenance.
    The J. Herbin Perle Noire, as I recall, lovely ink, also smooth.

    Noodler's Black, I gotta say, not smooooove, but not particularly NOT smooth. Maybe this is where the nib and paper come in.

    Now that the 2020 Hobonichi Techo is in my greedy paws, I'm sure I'll be using not-Noodler's Black SO much next year. Probably. Maybe. Oh defniitely I'll be using the Iro. Take-sumi. My circuits are overloading, cos the Pilot 823 (PO) is "married" to Noodler's Black. But... but, but but... if I'll be using the Hobonichi... with its Tomoe River paper (no feathering!), then, ah.... Cue steam and nuts and bolts blowing out the top of my head.
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    Default Re: Black ink/pen assistance please!

    Quote Originally Posted by calamus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Paddler View Post
    I don't have experience with all the inks you mentioned, but if I try a new brand of paper and it feathers and/or bleeds with black
    Quink, Into the paper shredder it goes; I mulch my garlic patch with it.
    Do the gophers get sick if they eat any?
    Sorry. I don't know from gophers. We have woodchucks here. They won't touch the mulch because it is made from indifferent quality paper and is sprinkled with out-takes from my journal writing. They can't abide all the sesquipedalian words. When Charles shows his little fuzzy haid above ground, I use a ball bat and a shovel and teach him how to grow beans.
    Written on a real computer and real keyboard with capital letters, punctuation, and everything.

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