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Inks That Are Reliable Despite Summer Heat

06/02/2013

Now that it is June and summer has arrived, my rotation will get trimmed to a minimum. That means being selective. Pens are easy since my collection has only a few enticing wide nibs. Ink is a whole different matter with hundreds of bottles and samples from which to choose.

Ink Evaporation

In hot weather, ink evaporation dries pens out more quickly than I can write them empty. That’s a waste of ink and can make cleaning arduous. Sure, some pens dry out due to air circulating under the cap. But if inks perform differently in the same pen, the culprit is the ink.

If I had to select a brand that seems to remain fluid in a converter longer than others, Iroshizuku, Sailor, or Noodler’s would be the most likely contenders. This doesn’t mean all inks in each line will be slower to dry in a nib than other inks. It just means that the ones I’ve used in warmer months have performed better.

Tainted Ink

Another issue this time of year is tainted ink. Is there a brand of ink or specific ink that is less likely to mold than another?

In my experience, inks from Japan as well as those from Diamine, Rohrer & Klingner, and Noodler’s have been less susceptible to nasty invaders. Parker Quink and Penman inks have held up well. One out of my ten bottles of discontinued Montblanc inks has a vague hint of an off odor but I only discovered that yesterday. That bottle is within its expiration date and had never been opened, so I hope it turns out to be a non-issue. Tossing a bottle of Racing Green would be sad indeed.

While I have seen color degradation in a bottle of Noodler’s Army Green, it is the only color out of over thirty from that brand that has not held up. The bottle was at least eight years old with nary a speck of mold in it. Last year a bottle of Waterman Blue-Black changed color but did not grow mold. So in my experience, color degradation has not been accompanied by mold.

Not all inks contain strong smelling biocides like those from Sailor and some Noodler’s Inks, but those that do have remained mold free even when ten to fifteen years old. For my money, ink with fragrance added is not appealing and I own none. Such inks may perform better or worse than unscented inks but I have no basis for evaluation.

Summer Favorites

For several years Diamine Mediterranean Blue has been my constant summer favorite along with Iroshizuku ku-jaku, Diamine Violet, Diamine Sepia, and one of several Noodler’s brown inks especially Golden Brown and Kiowa Pecan. There are a few new samples on hand to test soon, but for now, I am happy with that lot.

So tell me what works for you. Which inks would you nominate in the categories of least likely to evaporate and least likely to mold?

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6 comments

  1. > “Tossing a bottle of Racing Green would be sad indeed”

    Oh no! :-O Don’t even say it!! That is too sad to even contemplate.

    I like iron gall inks for my non-vintage carry pen (Diamine or ESS Registrar ink). Since this one goes everywhere it needs to be waterproof (for writing in the coffee shop and similar uncontrolled environments) and I like the dryness of the ink for writing with warm hands or in the sun. And I have never even heard of these inks going mouldy, much less seen it

    I guess it never gets quite warm enough here in the UK to worry too much about evaporation – where in the world are you anyhow? But in travels to the Philippines and the Middle East I have found them to hold up well. I am more worried about fading (writing outdoors in the sun) and water resistance (primarily sweat but also the odd shower).

    I am going to try out Noodler’s Manjiro Nakahama in a rather wet pen this summer. Will let you know how it goes.

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    • That’s how I reacted when I opened the bottle of MBRG. :)

      My inks must put up with the heat of Southern California. 100°F, some times for days in a row, can make anyone grumpy including ink. But the little dears never get too cold so there is that plus to this climate.

      For the past week, Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa has been in a Namiki Falcon SB for the purposes of taming the flow. Good to know it has a reputation for resistance to mold. If the pen gets bored with Scabiosa, there is Salix or Diamine Registrar Ink here to alternate. My concern with iron gall ink during the warmest months is that it will dry out in the nib. It is easy to rinse clean compared to many inks but letting it too long might be another matter.

      My but you are the traveler! Do let me know how Noodler’s Manjiro Nakahama works out for you. :)

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  2. Does anyone keep their inks in the fridge? I’ve never heard of anyone doing that.

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    • No fridge for inks. They don’t like to be that cold. They don’t like to be too warm either. Makes them sound rather picky, doesn’t it?

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      • Thanks for the tip. I suppose an air conditioned room – not too cold, is best.

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        • That sounds just right to me. :)

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