Ink Snippet: KWZ Grapefruit

KWZ Grapefruit swab with orange Lamy Safari

KWZ Grapefruit. Just a tiny Ink Snippet today, because I only started using KWZ Grapefruit two days ago. But it’s such a fun ink that I wanted to share a few photos. KWZ Grapefruit really pops.

KWZ Grapefruit writing sample

As you can see, Grapefruit is a dramatic, saturated orange red (or is that a red orange?). It’s a very wet ink, too, at least in this Safari. There isn’t much shading, and it’s a nice strong color.

KWZ Grapefruit writing sample

I love inks that straddle the red/orange border. I really look forward to using KWZ Grapefruit more, and reviewing it.

New Iron Gall Inks From Japan Are Coming Soon: Platinum Classic Inks

Platinum Classic Inks

My friend who’s just become a Platinum dealer texted me this photo last night. Yay. It looks like Platinum is going to be debuting a new line of inks, and although Platinum doesn’t use the words “iron gall,” these must be iron gall inks.

In the official announcement, Platinum says its upcoming Classic Line ink is produced using the traditional method. Also that the Classic Line is an extension of Platinum Blue Black. Platinum says Classic Line ink is bright when you start writing, but gradually darkens. “It is also highly water resistant and suitable for permanent preservation.” All of that, my friends, clearly adds up to “iron gall.”

Yay, again. KWZ inks have shown a wide audience how attractive, and easy to use, modern iron gall inks can be. The more of these in the marketplace, the merrier.

By the way, I am working on a post about how one can confidently use modern iron gall inks in fountain pens. Because in my experience, modern iron gall inks are excellent inks to use, and almost all are as gentle as the gentlest Pelikan or Waterman ink. (Some are higher maintenance or require more caution. But that is true with any brand of ink. Even Waterman has the harder-to-clean purple.)

The Platinum announcement actually says that Classic Inks turn black with time, and as a result the Classic Line puts the word “Black” in each ink’s name. But until I try them, I’m going to assume most of the inks will darken, but not necessarily all the way to what I’d call black. Because, in general, that’s been my experience with modern iron gall inks. Platinum does have ink swabs at that link above.

If the Classic Line inks are available by the first weekend in May, I’ve already twisted my friend’s arm so I’ll have samples for people to try at the ink testing station at the Chicago Pen Show. I’m really hoping I’ll get them sooner, however. Because these look awesome.

Pen of the Day: Edison Custom Herald with KWZ Hunter Green


Edison Custom Herald ebonite with KWZ Hunter Green ink

Edison Custom Herald with medium nib. Here’s an old favorite pen of mine, a custom Herald by Edison in a gorgeous green-brown ebonite, with silver-colored clip and nib.

This custom Herald has a medium 18k nib, set to Edison’s usual juicy flow, which really shows off any ink. Right now I’m using it with a new-to-me ink, KWZ Hunter Green.

Edison Custom Herald ebonite with KWZ Hunter Green ink

Hunter Green is khaki, but it’s fairly saturated, and with a wetter writer like this Edison, Hunter Green can look very dark indeed. Which I like. But the color is, of course, lighter in pens with less ink flow.

Shading is minimal. Here’s a writing sample of Hunter Green.

KWZ Hunter Green ink writing sample

One Minute Ink Review: KWZ Iron Gall Blue #4

KWZ Iron Gall Blue #4

KWZ Iron Gall Blue #4. Despite the name, this ink is gray. Not blue-gray, really just gray. It’s got KWZ’s usual nice shading, and usual easy clean-up. I like it best in a wetter writer, to darken the color.

An everyday ink? Well, in that category, I’ve already got Pilot-Iroshizuku Kiri-same. Also Montblanc’s no-longer-available Albert Einstein ink. And I really liked Kaweco’s new Smokey Grey, too, although that’s lighter in color.

Fountain Pen Favorites for November 2016

calendar image

November 2016 kicked off with the best World Series in 108 years, for a Cubs fan. And when it came to fountain pens and ink, the rest of the month was pretty darn good, too. Here are my fountain pen highlights.

1. Sheaffer Targa Green Moiré. The grand slam.

2. Some Great Inks. Montblanc Golden Yellow, a new KWZ, Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple, Bung Box Dandyism. Wow. And if the rain ever stops here, I’ll be able to take photos.

3. Columbus, Ohio. I had a great time at the Ohio Pen Show. I’ll list some favorite things. First, being able to consult Richard Binder, Ron Zorn and Dan Smith. Also, Tim Hofmann’s coffee. Hanging out with friends. The pho restaurant. Robert Mason Co. And above all, the nice people of Columbus and Ohio State. Thinking of you today, Columbus.


Photo by Dafne Cholet, Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

Thanksgiving Countdown

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person approaching either a vacation or a national holiday must be in want of extra work. Thus I am toiling away feverishly at boring work, even as I should be cooking for Thanksgiving and writing posts about pens.

But needs must, and like the Pilgrims surely would have, I will send out my thanks over the internet. Weirdly, I am going to be thankful for ink here. Because it’s a blog with a theme. Because I like ink. And because, okay, you guessed it: I got up late the day they were passing out Thanksgiving topics to bloggers, and I missed out on all the good ones. Oh, and I also have to bring two pies.

No, sincerely, I’m thankful for my three favorite ink companies. KWZ, my new favorite. Montblanc, which I can never resist. And J. Herbin, my old favorite. These inks are easy on my pens, and easy to clean out of my pens. The colors are beautiful, and the inks shade. That’s my entire wishlist.

I’m thankful for my most used ink: Pelikan Brilliant Black. The old reliable.

I’m thankful for all the inks that friends have sent me to try this year. Those made this year a lot more colorful, a lot nicer and a lot more fun.

And lastly, I’m thankful for the inks I tried this year that were hard for me to like initially. I didn’t always end up changing my first “yes or no” inclinations. But I always ended up changing my initial impressions. There were some “I don’t think so” inks that became “this is just fine in the right pen.” And there were also a few “I don’t think so” inks that became “I cannot write with this another day, not even another second.” (Most of those were in the babypoop brown category.)

Don’t let anyone kid you: ink is just colored water. Inks are not at all like people. Okay, except in this one little way: some you love immediately, some you take a bit longer to warm up to and some you may never warm up to, but you still benefit by giving them the benefit of the doubt, as much as you can.

I may not like babypoop brown, but gosh darn it, some people want three or four different babypoop brown inks. And I may feel an involuntary shiver run down my spine when someone says “I have a great avocado green ink here,” but the truth is, every other fountain pen user seems to love avocado green inks.

Ink is just colored water. But still I’m thankful for each time I encountered an ink that was more challenging, because it helped me remember, in the tiniest way, that we get back what we put into things.

So, ink fans, I say, today, two days before American Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful not just for the inks we love, but also for the  hard-to-love, the puzzling, the “what do people see in this anyway” inks. The “brown” inks that are black, if we’re telling the truth to power. The hard-to-read neon greens. Even the everyday blues.

Because, just maybe, these things are worth another look. A better look.

Let’s keep trying. And let’s be thankful for the opportunity to do so. Because just being able to devote a few minutes of the day to think about ink, instead of more pressing things, proves it. We are so lucky.

We should remember that every day.