Ink Review: Noodler’s Ink Red Black

Soon to be written about

Noodler’s Ink Red Black in Lamy Safari on Quattro artist pad

If you can’t read my writing:

This ink is such a chameleon. On first glance, it’s just brown. Then I start to notice its subtle shading. (It’s more apparent on less toothy paper.)  It’s less red and less black than I had hoped. I wanted a nice, dark red that shades into black. This reminds me more of sepia — good for those who like the old-timey color.  In some lights, it looks a little purple.

Flow is great in the Lamy Safari and drying time is a few seconds. <– I smeared it right after the words we(re) written.  Not bad.

I’m not buying a full bottle of this because I’m not that excited by brown.

I picked this ink as one of the sampler inks from Pear Tree Pens, which lets you choose 4 samples of inks from their huge inventory of inks to try out for about $4 + shipping. I wanted to look for a red ink that wasn’t so bright red that it looked like a corrections ink, so on paper, Noodler’s Ink Red Black sounded like a great idea.

The ink is definitely more brown than I expected in most lights, but under ideal lighting, it takes on a dark purple tint, kind of like the old Chinese purple clay teapots. Unfortunately, most of the time I’m writing, it’s not under perfect lighting, so it just looks brown with some excellent shading.

Soon to be written about

It’s a good thing I ordered a sample of this before buying the whole bottle or else I’d be stuck with a whole bottle of ink that I wouldn’t use. I wanted so much to like this ink since it behaved so well in my fountain pen and dried at a decent speed, but at least I can take comfort in the fact that there are still a dozen or so Noodler’s inks that I want to try out that might be a color that suits me better.

Review: Lamy Safari (Charcoal)

In an effort to keep my penmanship from deteriorating further, I purchased a fountain pen and have been using it for a little more than a week.  I went with a fairly decent starter pen, the Lamy Safari, with a F (fine) sized nib.  In the spirit of writing by hand, I even wrote down part of my review.

Lamy Reviews (coming soon)For those who can’t read my writing, it says:

This is my first fountain pen that I use on a regular basis. The F nib is more of a medium than fine. It came with Lamy blue ink that I did not care for, so I put some Noodler’s Ink Bulletproof Black into a converter and now it’s much better.

It writes wet & smooth on this paper and never skips.  There is some nib creep with this ink but no drips & no mess.  It starts immediately and doesn’t clog the nib. Drying time on paper is okay, but not super fast.

One reason I chose this pen was because unless you’re looking directly at it, it just looks like a normal pen.  It’s utilitarian. I don’t feel like I’m writing with a gigantic quill dipped in an ink pot when I’m holding this.

Another reason is the price. Sure, $25 is a lot to pay for a pen when you think about an every day, normal pen, but it’s much cheaper than a lot of other fountain pens out there. And based on the reviews, it writes almost just as well.

I like the fact that the pen’s section (where you normally would grip the pen) is indented to be ergonomic for my fingers. This works for me since I have a standard pen grip, but I imagine it would be uncomfortable for anyone who holds their pen differently.

I’ve read that some people feel the pen is too heavy while posted (with the cap on the back), but the balance feels just right in my hand. Maybe all the years of mouse maneuvering has strengthened my hand muscles, who knows.  I do think most of the weight of the cap comes from the metal clip on the pen. It’s substantial and solid feeling. I can rest easy knowing that whenever I clip this pen on something, like the pocket of my messenger bag, it stays clipped.

One other useful feature of the pen is the ink window on the body of the pen.  I’m not sure if it’s possible to see the ink level with the included cartridge installed, but with the converter, which is clear, it’s easy to see the ink swishing around there and I can tell when it’s time to refill it with more ink.

Lamy Reviews (coming soon)

A little nib creep with Noodler’s Ink, but good thing the nib is also black.

The Lamy Safari is such a pleasant pen to hold and write with that I’m sorry I didn’t look at it sooner.  Maybe my journal would have been filled with many more pages if I had gotten this sooner.

Another New Year Resolution: Write More

ink & pen

One of my resolutions for this year is to write more. Not just write more posts, but write by hand more.  Since I have a job where I type on the computer all day, my penmanship has been going downhill ever since college.  I recently bought a fountain pen to inspire me to write by hand more.

The fountain pen (a ubiquitous Lamy Safari) of course came with blue ink, which I dislike.  Luckily, I foresaw the scenario and ordered a bottle of Noodler’s Ink Bulletproof black ink.  It’s not their blackest ink, but black enough for everyday use without having to worry about it bleeding through pages.

One thing I like about Lamy, other than inexpensive but great fountain pens, is that their packaging is simple, functional, but fun.  The box (in the back) the pen came in had perfectly cut little windows showing the pen inside.