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Thread: Iron Gall Inks

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    Default Iron Gall Inks

    I'm looking for iron gall inks in addition to my current ones.

    I have five of the KWZ brand, the R&K Salix and Scabiosa, and ESSRI. All have performed wonderfully, most have very nice shading and sheen on Tomoe paper, and I've experienced no problems in my pens, whether eyedropper, converter, or piston-fill.

    Other than the Diamine Registrar's Ink, are there other brands?

    These will not be used in vintage pens with sacs or older piston-fill pens that aren't easily cleaned.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    Cheers,
    Sg

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Platinum Classic inks

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black has IG. If you are really lucky you can still get a bottle of MB Blue-Black with IG.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    I like Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black in this category. Vintage sac and piston-filler pens are actually some of the best candidates because they were often made when pens were expected to work with fountain pen (not dip pen) inks having an iron call component (and old, flexible 14k nib is the classic companion to a traditional iron gall fountain pen ink).

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Itís your choice, but vintage pens with sacs are just fine with iron gall ink. It was the standard ink back in the day, and the simpler feeds donít have a lot of nooks and crannies for particles to gather. Kind of the same with pistons: those old Pelikans and MBs saw plenty of iron gall ink in their youth. Itís the modern pens with the metal sections and trim rings that you have to worry about.

    I would avoid using it in vintage pens with a lot of metal like Snorkels, or 51s with the metal breather tubes and the fine-finned collector.

    Pelikan blue black is good

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Thanks for the suggestions. Have I been misinformed about iron gall inks? It seems I've heard the horror stories about iron gall inks so are those just anecdotal or is their any basis in facts (other than not allowing ig inks to dry on feeds)?

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Quote Originally Posted by carlos.q View Post
    Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black has IG. If you are really lucky you can still get a bottle of MB Blue-Black with IG.
    Older Lamy blue-black too, I think?

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Just found this list:

    A COMPREHENSIVE AND CROWD-SOURCED
    LIST OF IRON-GALL-BASED FOUNTAIN PEN INKS
    COMPILED BY T. MEDEIROS
    V1.07. LAST UPDATED ON FEBRUARY 29th, 2020
    https://gdoc.pub/doc/1po8jfMHv-Uz_io...RSfmkkR4GaZ23g

    Interesting to see Hero 232 on there, in addition to the ones mentioned already.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Quote Originally Posted by sgphoto View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. Have I been misinformed about iron gall inks? It seems I've heard the horror stories about iron gall inks so are those just anecdotal or is their any basis in facts (other than not allowing ig inks to dry on feeds)?.
    It's FUD, in my opinion and experience. Mostly fuelled by Ken Crooker's (probably well meaning, but incredibly poorly conceived) blog post from years ago that is still referred to by alarmists like it is some sort of actual experiment....

    To be fair to Ken, he does make the same caveat. Sadly, most don't read that section it seems.

    There is an extensive list of IG inks maintained here: https://gdoc.pub/doc/e/2PACX-1vQohlC...S7kVTuH5M5BvPr
    Last edited by silverlifter; May 14th, 2020 at 12:57 PM.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Quote Originally Posted by catbert View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by carlos.q View Post
    Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black has IG. If you are really lucky you can still get a bottle of MB Blue-Black with IG.
    Older Lamy blue-black too, I think?
    I forgot about that one! I guess it should be as difficult to find as MB Blue-Black with IG....

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Iron gall inks can cause issues with certain steel nibs, particularly ones that are not very corrosion resistant alloys. Some years ago, the better pens had 14k nibs while cheaper pens had steel nibs with a thin wash of gold plating on them. These steel nibs would corrode, sometimes severely with iron gall inks. This was especially true if the pen sat for long periods. Plated metal trim parts can also corrode - brass darkens and develops a rough texture; steel rusts or pits.

    14k gold as a nib material is an excellent balance of pliability, durability, and corrosion resistance. I use Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black as a daily workhorse ink, along with Waterman Blue-Black (and Florida Blue in the summer; Waterman Green at Christmas). The 14k nibs, latex sacs, and vintage piston fillers work fine. A 14k nib is not so much about having the cachet of a "gold nib", it's about the fact that 14k is has excellent properties for making a pen nib.

    If in doubt, stick to "mainstream" inks made by large fountain pen companies. Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black is a good example, but there are others.

    I would actually be more concerned about modern, ultra-saturated inks that are also highly alkaline. I'd be concerned there with sac degradation and interaction with vintage celluloid. (EDIT - I just checked the link to Richard's webpage and it covers these concerns rather well.)
    Last edited by Ray-VIgo; May 14th, 2020 at 01:38 PM.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Those are interesting reads I'll spend more time going over. Thanks to all for your help.

    I will say that on 52 and 68 gsm Tomoe paper (much less so on Clairfontaine) the iron galls I used from KWZ - Blue Black, Blue #5, Turquoise, and Gold have very nice sheen, shading, and do not fully go dark/black. I have these inks, plus Salix, Scabiosa, and Essri in 8 different pens from Ahabs, Rangas, Yard-O-Led, Italix Churchman's Prescriptor, and Neponset and am very pleased. None are hard starters whether in fine to 1.5 stub nibs.

    Three pens (all Indian eyedroppers) contain Salix, Scabiosa, and ESSRI for over two months without any nib staining, though most are used at least every other day to write a few lines. These three have not been cleaned since using the IG inks, but have been refilled from time to time.

    From what I've read before today and then today with your suggestions, the majority of modern IG inks are safe. There seem to be a few outliers, but sticking with the major ink brands provides a great measure of pen safety.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    I have Akkerman #10 in my L2K, and left it unused for at least a month over our lockdown. Picked it up, uncapped it and it wrote beautifully from the moment the nib (MCI) touched the page.

    IG's are terrific inks. If they are well made, and almost all are, you can treat them like, well, a pen with ink in it. Not some sort of biohazard that requires ritual cleaning, votives to the gods and the ocassional first born
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    I have Akkerman #10 in my L2K, and left it unused for at least a month over our lockdown. Picked it up, uncapped it and it wrote beautifully from the moment the nib (MCI) touched the page.

    IG's are terrific inks. If they are well made, and almost all are, you can treat them like, well, a pen with ink in it. Not some sort of biohazard that requires ritual cleaning, votives to the gods and the ocassional first born
    Thanks for that. I won't be needing that human sacrifice tonight after all.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Though only anecdotal, my Jinhao 8802 survived a month with Registrar's Blue Black in it. I think modern IG inks probably use less of the stuff and maybe are formulated better than older inks. I still haven't bought any but have tried ones from R&K and Platinum too and each have been pretty nice to use.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    You can't beat 4001 B-B.
    The Good Captain
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    "Meddler's 'Salamander' - almost as good as the real thing!"

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    That's a fear I have too - and the reason I still didn't get any iron gall ink yet.

    Let's say my EDC pens are a Sheaffer Targa (pre-1980, 14K nib) and a modern Faber Castell Essentio (steel nib).

    Both pens have piston converter (not sac/squeeze, but modern piston converters)

    Could I safely use P 4001 B-B, R&K Scabiosa or one of the KWZ IG inks? I'm specially interested in the Scabiosa.

    Should I avoid IG for any of those pens? Or is it more recommendable, less troubles if used in one of them over the other?

    Any of them are pens in daily use, as in all and every day I write at least a couple of A5 with each pen - they don't just sit in the desktop for days.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    I'd happily use IG inks in both. Even the steel nib should be fine with the inks you mention.

    I've had KWZ IG Blue #5 in a Kaweco Sport with a steel nib sitting in my garage since the end of last year. Refilled it half a dozen times. No issues whatsoever.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    I'd happily use IG inks in both. Even the steel nib should be fine with the inks you mention.

    I've had KWZ IG Blue #5 in a Kaweco Sport with a steel nib sitting in my garage since the end of last year. Refilled it half a dozen times. No issues whatsoever.
    I'm inking an m1000 with IG Blue #5 this evening. It's a great ink. KWZ makes very good inks for a reasonable price.

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    Default Re: Iron Gall Inks

    Yep. I love KWZ's IG inks. I just wish he made one or two of them a little drier
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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