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Noodler’s Has The Blues – Inks That Is

12/09/2012

Noodler’s has the blues and that makes fountain pen users lucky, especially me since Dick Egolf of Luxury Brands sent four for my writing pleasure and review. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Two are new to the Noodler’s line, 54th Massachusetts, a bulletproof blue-black, and Q’E-ternity, a fast-drying Bernanke series Blue-Black. The other two have been around for years, Air-Corp Blue-Black and Turquoise. It will take weeks to truly explore them but a quick look will do for now.

Keep in mind that my scanner is old and challenged by so much color. None of the images were adjusted. Consider the colors relative rather than absolute but some remarks follow the images to help reveal the differences. Images tend to blow feathering and indistinct edges out of proportion, especially viewed at the scanned size that will appear when you click the image. So don’t expect to see much feathering in the real world unless you use a loupe, and if you do, we need to talk

Noodler's Blues - A Comparison

Noodler’s Blues – A Comparison

  • 54th Mass is less green than the other three and a very dark if fairly middle-of-the-road blue-black
  • Q’E-ternity is very dark and has more green than 54th Mass but not as much as Waterman Blue-Black
  • Air-Corp is very dark with some green to it. This one can almost pass for black from a pen with a heavy flow.
  • Turquoise leans toward the darker side of the turquoise range but can be diluted to a beautiful paler shade.

Ottoman Azure was already in my collection. It’s a pretty blue with a hint of green and has become a regular in my rotation. It works well from any sized nib so that makes it particularly well-suited to a fickle pen user like me.

Noodler's 54th Massachusetts Ink

Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts Ink

Noodler's Q'E-ternity Ink

Noodler’s Q’E-ternity Ink

Noodler's Air-Corp Blue-Black Ink

Noodler’s Air-Corp Blue-Black Ink

Noodler's Turquoise Ink

Noodler’s Turquoise Ink

Noodler's Ottoman Azure Ink

Noodler’s Ottoman Azure Ink

Notes on each ink:

  • 54th Mass – Bulletproof (waterproof), no feathering, good flow, no bleed-through on Rhodia, slow drying time on Rhodia but less so on cheaper paper. Color more pale on cheap paper with mildly indistinct outlines but little feathering.
  • Q’E-ternity – Water resistant, moderate to heavy bleed-through, feathering worse on Rhodia than on cheap paper, drying time very fast with a fine nib. Designed to prevent smearing so even lefties can write with a fountain pen.
  • Air-Corp Blue-Black – Water resistant, good flow, no bleed-through, minimal show-through, slow to dry, no feathering on Rhodia but does on cheap paper. Diluting produces very good shading. Dry-writing pens should bring out the green element.
  • Turquoise – Mildly water resistant, very good flow, feathering on cheap paper, minimal show-through, no bleed-through on Rhodia, slow drying time. Not terrific on cheap paper. Great for flex due to shading and flow.
  • Ottoman Azure – Water resistant, very good flow, good shading, minimal show-through, no bleed-through, good to fair drying time depending on paper. No feathering on Rhodia but some on cheap paper.
Noodler's 54th Massachusetts Ink on Ampad Gold Fibre

Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts Ink on Ampad Gold Fibre

Noodler's Q'E-ternity Ink on Ampad Gold Fibre

Noodler’s Q’E-ternity Ink on Ampad Gold Fibre

Noodler's Air-Corp Blue-Black Ink on Ampad Gold Fibre

Noodler’s Air-Corp Blue-Black Ink on Ampad Gold Fibre

Confused? This group of inks took some sorting to figure out how to use them. The short version:

  • 54th Mass – Bulletproof, non-green blue-black. Most versatile of the blue-blacks tested.
  • Q’E-ternity – Water resistant, fast drying, greenish blue-black that may work better on cheap paper than Rhodia.
  • Air-Corp Blue-Black – Water resistant, greenish black that can be diluted to produce shading.
  • Turquoise – Somewhat water resistant, dark turquoise that pairs best with good quality paper. Great for flex nibs. Shades well.
  • Ottoman Azure – Water resistant, well-rounded ink but can very mildly feather on cheap paper.

At $12.50 MSRP for 3 oz, Noodler’s is a good value for fountain pen ink. Most Noodler’s take well to dilution with distilled water which makes the value for money even greater. But do take care when opening the bottle. It’s generously filled to the brim and could splash that waterproof ink all over your tidy desk or clothes. Trust me on this one.

More reviews of these inks at Fountain Pen Network:

The grid paper is from a Rhodia Bloc No. 14 pad and the lined paper is from an Ampad Gold Fibre 5″x 8″ pad.

Update: 54th Massachusetts Ink Meets Its Mate and water tests on FPN.

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15 comments

  1. I love that Ottoman Azure… it’s very pretty and sharp!

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  2. Your Noodler’s Ottoman Azure sample page shows some REALLY nice handwriting!

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    • Thank you so much, Kate. I really appreciate it. :)

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  3. Many thanks for such an enjoyable read.

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  4. I may have to pick up some 54th.. If it ever gets to the UK. :(

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  5. I now have three Noodler’s inks, basic red, black and yellow. I find they take for-freakin’-ever to dry. I can smear them even a day later. But I love the colors and I enjoy supporting the company even if I cannot rationalize buying more of their interesting inks.

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    • David, have you tried diluting your ink with a little water? I understand Noodler’s tolerates that very well and it can reduce drying time. Try just a single fill to see how it works on your paper. I’ve read that dilution can be as high as 50% but I haven’t tried it yet. Doing so is on my list for 2013 but don’t wait for me. This is one of those situations where matching pen to ink to paper could make all the difference so your results could be quite different from mine.

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    • The only time I’ve had a Noodler’s ink smear after drying is with Air Corps BB in my Parker 51. It’s a really wet writer, and it lays down a ton of ink. Is the pen you’re using a really wet writer?

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      • Mike, the Lamy is not a particularly wet writer but it might be too much so for the paper. I tried it on Rhodia today with better success. Maybe it just likes cold, dry weather. :)

        M

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  6. [...] Noodler’s Has The Blues – Inks That Is [...]

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  7. [...] in a while the ink, pen, paper matching game produces an instant success. Such is the case with Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts ink, a Lamy Vista with a 1.1mm calligraphy nib, and an Apica A610 notebook, my daily journal. The [...]

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  8. I have Nooder’s Eel Turquoise which looks much different than your scanned examples of standard Turquoise – Eel is much more blue. Also, I have not experienced feathering on cheap paper with the Eel Turquoise – which is surprising for a lubricated ink.

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    • David, I haven’t seen Eel Turquoise so can’t comment on the difference in color except to say that I know it exists. Good to know that the eel version doesn’t feather easily. That’s a very big plus.

      M

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  9. That 54th Mass is a really good ink. It was an instant favorite of mine.

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    • Ottoman Azure… I think I just fell in love with this blue. What a lovely and vibrant blue! Thanks for sharing.

      Like



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