Ink Review: KWZ Iron Gall Green #4

KWZ Iron Gall Green #4 writing samples

KWZ Iron Gall Green #4. This is a very easy-to-clean and very low-maintenance modern iron gall green, in an interesting shade of green, that is very well behaved on poor paper, and gives a different look in different pens. I think a wetter writer brings out its best qualities.

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4 thoughts on “Ink Review: KWZ Iron Gall Green #4

  1. Have you had any issues with cleaning out your Pelikan fountain pens with KWZ IG inks? I have a White Tortoise m400 and the KWZ IG Light Aztec Gold and wondering if it’s safe enough to load the ink in the pen?

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    1. That’s really complicated, and I’ve been working on a post about this, but I’ll try to answer generally. Sorry for the wall of text.

      First, there is only one KWZ iron gall ink that is archival, with higher amounts of iron gall components, and so more water-resistant, and also higher maintenance — that is KWZ Iron Gall Blue Black. I’m excluding that from what I’m saying below — archival iron gall inks are high maintenance, and I personally don’t use them.

      The other KWZ iron gall inks are what I call “modern” or “lighter” iron gall inks, and in my experience the ones from KWZ have generally been incredibly easy to clean (with a few being only average or moderate). These I adore and use all the time, and, yes, in my Pelikans. Even more risky, in my beloved Lamy Safaris. 🙂 KWZ Iron Gall Aztec Gold is a lower maintenance iron gall ink. I have IG Aztec Gold in a pen right now, but I’ve been so tied up I haven’t been able to review it, or even evaluate it properly.

      There are two main issues with iron gall fountain pen inks, generally. One is that they are acidic, which means that it’s actually safer to use them in pens with gold nibs, as long as there is no metal trim on the section. Gold will withstand the acid. Your M400 White Tortoise has a gold nib (good) but also gold-colored metal on the section. It would be safer if the gold band is 14k gold, not plated, and I don’t know that. However, I use KWZ light iron gall inks with my Pelikan M600s all the time, which also have a band, and haven’t had any ill effects. And I would use them in my M400 White Tortoise — in fact, I’m sure I have. Note that Pelikan itself makes an iron gall ink, which is Pelikan Blue Black.

      The other general issue with iron gall fountain inks is that they can be harder to clean out of a pen than some dye-based inks. But that is a gross generality, and not true of every iron gall ink, or every dye-based ink, for that matter. Pelikans with nib units that unscrew are actually good candidates for harder to clean inks, because you can unscrew the nib and thoroughly clean both nib unit and inside the pen barrel. And you can easily regrease the piston if needed.

      Most important: the key to safety is good pen hygiene. That goes for every single ink, iron gall or not. In my experience, there should be absolutely no difference between a KWZ light iron gall ink and any acidic dye-based ink, like Waterman, so long as you clean your pens thoroughly when changing inks, don’t let inks dry out in the pen, don’t let your pen sit unused for weeks at a time, don’t let ink get in the cap and stay there, and remember to empty and clean out the pen every few months. Again, this is true for every single ink.

      Please note that KWZ uses the term “light” to refer only to Iron Gall Mandarin and Iron Gall Aztec Gold, because those have the least amount of iron gall components. However, I’m using it to include every KWZ Iron Gall except Iron Gall Blue Black (the one archival or document iron gall ink KWZ makes).

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