Three Months and Counting: An Extended Test of Platinum Classic Line Iron Gall Inks with a Stainless Steel Nib Fountain Pen

Pilot Plumix

Holy hell: it’s been more than three months.

Back on June 9, I filled a clean, empty cartridge with an iron gall ink and fitted that into a clean Pilot Plumix fountain pen. The ink was Platinum Classic Cassis Black, one of Platinum’s new line of colorful iron gall inks for fountain pens. I put it nib upward in the pen cup at Fountain Pen Follies World Headquarters and Laboratory of Fancy Science. The experiment had begun.

I wanted to see how the iron gall ink would react over an extended period in contact with the Pilot’s stainless steel nib. Would the iron gall ink stain, corrode, gunk up or otherwise cause problems? Remember that we don’t worry about using iron gall fountain pen ink in pens with gold nibs, because gold does not react to the iron gall’s acidic element. But is there a problem with the more common, and cheaper, stainless steel nibs?

After a month, on July 11 or so, I thought it was time for an interim look at the Plumix. Click here for the full report, if you like, but the short answer was, all was well. The ink flowed, and the nib and pen were still perfect. I only used the pen once more, on July 22, briefly. Then I put the pen back in the pen cup and ignored it until earlier this week. Now it’s time for a three-month report.

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Update: Testing Platinum Classic Line Iron Gall Inks with a Stainless Steel Nib Fountain Pen

Pilot Plumix

Platinum’s 2017 release of six colorful iron gall inks, called the Classic Line, has made me very happy. I love iron gall inks for fountain pens, and appreciate the gentler ones, which I call “modern iron gall inks,” after KWZ Ink’s low-maintenance iron galls.

The new Platinum lineup seems very nice, and very low-maintenance. There’s an overview of all six here. I’ve used three of these on an extended basis, and reviewed those three here: Citrus, Sepia and Cassis. I got my samples from Dan Smith, the Nibsmith, who sells ink as well as pens, luckily for me.

I’ve recently been testing one of the Platinum Classic inks — Cassis Black — for an extended time in a Pilot Plumix fountain pen with a stainless steel nib. I wanted to really see just how safe these inks are with any pen. To see if the ink would react with the pen’s stainless steel nib, or clog or stain, and if so, how long would it take.

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A Second Look at KWZ Red #1

KWZ Red #1 writing sample

You know how we’re always focused on new, new, new? (Of course we are. That’s fun. And new!) One of the good things about pens and inks is that there is always something new to learn, or try, or want to buy. But then we sometimes realize that we’ve forgotten about all that stuff we already have.

And you know how it’s summer, and we don’t like to exert much more energy than that required to pop the top off a cold beverage?

And you know how we used to have brain cells, long ago, but now have misplaced them, or perhaps squandered them. Or maybe they just gave up on us and walked away, without even saying goodbye, because we could swear we walked into this room for some reason and yet ….

Okay, so all those things are why I’ve had KWZ Red #1 inked up for the last few weeks. The initial impulse was that it looked like a good ink to review. Until I wrote two words with it, and realized, um, I’ve used it before. In fact, I wrote a long review of KWZ Red #1 in March 2016, which you can read here if you like. Let’s all do that. Perhaps in the future I should reread all my old reviews before I open a bag of samples and think, “This one looks nice.”

That would be a nice thing to do. But then, you know, it’s also nice to be reminded that everything doesn’t have to be new. Also, sometimes we change our first impressions. Would KWZ Red #1 still be #1 for me?

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Papier Plume Red Beans and Rice: The Newest Ink in the New Orleans Collection

That’s the song “Red Beans” from the late, great Professor Longhair of New Orleans, which is what I used to think of when I thought of red beans and rice. (Also, yum.)

And now I also think of ink. The classic Creole dish red beans and rice is the inspiration for the newest ink from Papier Plume of New Orleans. It’s going to be part of Papier Plume’s New Orleans Collection of inks, which I briefly reviewed here. I haven’t been using much else since I got these inks, honestly.

Here is the baby of the family.

Papier Plume Red Beans and Rice

I’ve had a tester bottle of  Red Beans and Rice since early June, so I’ve been lucky enough to put the ink through its paces for nearly a month. Verdict: delicious! It’s a very attractive burgundy ink with an nearly irresistible name. It really does remind me of red beans and rice, too.

As a darker color, Red Beans and Rice makes a nice addition to the other five New Orleans collection inks, which are more summery. Red Beans and Rice is a good strong color, and warm. It has nice shading and the color is both legible and engaging. Best of all, it can give a different look in different pens.

Papier Plume Red Beans and Rice

I’ll put up a more detailed review before the Fourth. Papier Plume will be debuting the ink on July 14. The first batch will be available from Papier Plume online and at the Miami Pen Show both.

I would point out that it took a lot of willpower for me not to slip into this post the sentence “Red Beans and Rice is extra nice.” But if you’re a regular reader, you know that willpower is a great strength of mine. Nor did I call myself “a secret agent of ink.” Even though it’s (a) accurate and (b) should be said. After all, I did not spill the beans. But, no, I am too mature. A small sacrifice, for Red Beans and Rice.

Comparing Kaweco Paradise Blue and Robert Oster Tranquility

Kaweco Paradise Blue & Robert Oster Tranquility comparisons

The blue-green and green-blue ink space may be stuffed to bursting, but, like my waistline, it seems to keep expanding anyway. In some ways, that makes it an ink fan’s playground. But also Waterloo. In the sense of, prepare for defeat. But also, in the I “couldn’t escape if I wanted to” sense — the good, disco sense.

I got sucked into the latest round of blue-green comparisons by happenstance. I’ve been using a lot of blue-green and green-blue inks lately. It started with some Robert Oster inks, like Fire and Ice and Deep Sea, and others not on the blog — Robert Oster makes a slew. Then came Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer, another gorgeous green-blue. Followed by Robert Oster Tranquility, a blind buy at the Chicago Pen Show.

All during my dips into the blue-green pool, smarter-than-me readers (redundant, I know) kept bringing up other inks. So I’ve had this color on the brain.

Last night for some reason I decided to put Kaweco Paradise Blue in a Montblanc with broad nib. I already have it in a Lamy Al-Star with medium nib.

Kaweco Paradise Blue is an ink I really like. I’ve compared it to Caran d’Ache Caribbean Sea and Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer, as well as just enjoyed how nice it looks with Pelikan Turquoise (another underrated ink). Paradise Blue is a blue-green that melds very nicely with other inks in that color space, and that looks bluer or greener depending on the inks you use around it.

At the same time, I decided to give Robert Oster Tranquility another shot. I’d first put it in a Franklin-Christoph, which is an excellent pen, but a poor match for Tranquility (for me), because both pen and ink are wet. I decided to try Tranquility in one of my favorite pens, a Montblanc Virginia Woolf with fine nib.

I quickly wrote with both of my newly inked Montblancs in a notebook. I looked several times at the page, wondering, Did I ink up both pens with Tranquility? I couldn’t believe how similar these two inks now looked. It did appear that Kaweco Paradise Blue was slightly bluer, and Tranquility slightly greener. But still so similar.

But it was night, and electric light can be deceptive. I would wait till morning and write with them under natural light. I also filled an Al-Star with a medium nib with Tranquility, to compare it to Paradise Blue in the other Al-Star….

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Ink Snippet: J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis

J. Herbin Blue Myosotis

J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis. This ink. It’s strange. On most paper, its color seems to fade after a day or so. The final color ends up a pale periwinkle, after it fades from a darker, fresher blue. It’s a nice enough color, either way, but I can’t work out whether the fading is a bug or a feature. This ink confuses me.

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One Minute Ink Review: Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz

Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz

Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz. Pelikan’s 2017 Edelstein “Ink of the Year” is Smoky Quartz, an earthy brown that’s dark and legible. It strikes me as a darker version of J. Herbin Lie de Thé.

Like all Pelikan Edelstein inks I’ve used, Smoky Quartz has excellent lubrication and flow. I don’t get much shading, except on Tomoe River paper. The ink color looks different on different papers, which I usually like, but if you’ve ever changed a baby’s diapers, choose your paper wisely here.

Apparently the color was picked by internet voters to be the Ink of the Year. And apparently it’s popular.

Is this an everyday ink? If it’s your kind of color, then yes. Pelikan makes well-behaved and dependable inks, and Smoky Quartz is no exception.

Comparing Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue writing samples comparison

Here is a comparison of Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue, both in Lamy Al-Stars with medium nibs.

Lake Michigan Summer is greener, wetter and has more shading. Kaweco Paradise Blue is, as the name would imply, bluer. These lines were written with Lake Michigan Summer first, and Paradise Blue second.

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue writing samples comparison

On cream-colored Tomoe River paper.

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue writing samples comparison

On white Clairefontaine Triomphe paper.

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer and Kaweco Paradise Blue writing samples comparison

I love both inks, frankly, and the differences are enough to justify both for myself. (I consider my excessive interest in fountain pen inks to be a little silly, so it’s lovely to be able to use the word “justify” here. Any port in the storm.)

About Lake Michigan Summer, it was one of the two inks made for the recent Chicago Pen Show. But per Instagram, Papier Plume is making another batch of Lake Michigan Summer and Ivy 108, to be released on Thursday, June 15. I have more photos of, and information about, both inks in the posts at those links. For myself, I like them both so much I have kept refilling my own pens since April.

Thanks to blog reader Nicole for the question that prompted me to compare Lake Michigan Summer to Kaweco Paradise Blue. This was also just the excuse I needed to ink up my Pacific Blue Al-Star, Lamy’s 2017 annual Al-Star. The Pacific Blue, in my opinion, may be the absolute best Lamy pen color in recent years — and I mean across the entire Lamy fountain pen line. If you’re on the fence, buy one.