12 Reasons We Love to Write With Gray Fountain Pen Ink

Stormy Grey Fountain Pen Ink is the latest addition to J. Herbin’s 1670 Anniversary Ink collection. The deep coal gray (anthracite) color with flecks of gold was inspired by J. Herbin sailing the stormy seas, encountering dark and wild oceans. The fine golden flecks in the ink are meant to invoke both strikes of lightening across the water, and also its dark and mysterious depths.

Why would anyone want to write with grey ink when there’s plenty of blue and black ink to go around? We’d like to share 12 reasons why we love to write with grey fountain pen ink:

12 Reasons to Write With Gray Ink

  1. It’s office friendly.
  2. It’s more interesting then regular blue or black ink.
  3. It’s easy on the eyes.
  4. It looks fabulous in a journal with silver pages or embossing.
  5. Great for sketching!
  6. Has the look of a pencil.
  7. Unlike a graphite pencil, grey fountain pen inks can have beautiful shading.
  8. Grey is associated with intellect and wisdom.
  9. It can make you think of silver.
  10. It is the same color as some cool animals: grey wolf, grey whale, koalas and elephants.
  11. It’s a calming, neutral color.
  12. It is classic and sophisticated.

Do you use grey fountain pen ink? If so, which one is your favorite?

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4 Ways to Use Bottled Ink in a Kaweco Sport Pen

The Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen and Ink Roller are handy pocket-size pens that both use short standard universal fountain pen ink cartridges. The Kaweco Sport pen barrel is too short for a regular ink converter, so if you want to switch from ink cartridges to bottled ink how can this be done? We can think of 4 methods of doing this:

1) Refill your empty ink cartridges with a blunt-tip needle bottle. We’ve got some instructions on how to do this in a previous blog post: Refill Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges with a Blunt Tip Needle Bottle. The needle bottle method is the easiest in my opinion and is also my personal favorite.

Use a blunt tip needle bottle to refill an ink cartridge

Use a blunt tip needle bottle to refill an ink cartridge

2) Try a Monteverde Mini Standard Ink Converter. This method works pretty well for using bottled ink, but there are a couple of quirky things that should be mentioned. First of all, the Monteverde Mini Converter does not hold very much ink – in fact it holds less ink than a standard ink cartridge. Secondly, the bottom of the mini converter (near the end that attaches to the pen) may need to be wrapped once or twice with clear tape before you put it in your Kaweco so that it stays securely attached to the pen.

Monteverde Mini Converter & Kaweco Sport Ink Roller Pen

Monteverde Mini Converter & Kaweco Sport Ink Roller Pen

3) Use a Kaweco Squeeze Converter for Sport Series Fountain Pens. If you can get your hands on this Kaweco Squeeze Converter, you’ll find that it only works with newer versions of the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen. It is NOT compatible with the current version (as of 03-10-15) of the Kaweco Ink Roller or some older models of the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen. This converter works best when it is filled with a syringe or blunt-tip needle bottle.

Kaweco Squeeze Converter for Sport Series Fountain Pens

Kaweco Squeeze Converter for Sport Series Fountain Pens

4) Convert your Kaweco Sport into an eye-dropper fill pen. We’ve got instructions how to do this here: Pen Modification – Convert into Eyedropper Fill. Of any of the 4 methods of using bottled fountain pen ink that we discuss in this blog post, eye-dropper fill allows for the highest ink capacity. The eye-dropper fill method is only suitable for pens with plastic barrels, such as the Kaweco Sport Ice or Classic. (It is NOT suitable for pens with metal barrels such as the Kaweco AL Sport or pens with small holes anywhere in the barrel.) Before you try an eye-dropper conversion, we recommend reading Eyedropper Fountain Pen Pros and Cons.

Kaweco Sport Ink Roller converted to eyedropper fill

Kaweco Sport Ink Roller converted to eyedropper fill

What’s your favorite method of filling a Kaweco Sport Pen with bottled fountain pen ink?

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What should you do when you want to change the ink color in your fountain pen?

DIY Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution

DIY Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution

The ability to use a variety of brands of ink in a wide range of colors is one of the reasons writing with a fountain pen is appealing. What should you do when you want to change the ink color in your fountain pen? There is more than one answer to this question.

The safest thing to do when you want to change to a new ink color is to wash out the fountain pen and converter (if you’re using one), let the pen dry overnight, and then refill the pen with new ink. Usually room temperature water is all you need to wash a fountain pen, but if you’re having a hard time getting rid of dried up ink you can try a cleaning solution such as a DIY fountain pen cleaning solution.

Sometimes I like to watch one color of ink slowly transition to another color. This can be especially fun when you have an appealing color combination such as pink to orange, brown to amber, blue to green or black to blue. This is easily done with a cartridge filled pen – just pop off the empty cartridge and attach the new one. If you’re using a fountain pen with an ink converter this is also possible, however, we would recommend removing the converter from the pen and refilling it with a blunt tip needle bottle or syringe to prevent contaminating the ink in the bottle of the new color with the previous color of ink.

A note of caution: not all fountain pen inks are compatible when mixed together. Avoid mixing pigment based inks, blue-black inks, Noodler’s Baystate or Golden Pig inks. For more details read our previous blog post: Fountain Pen Ink Mixing – Combinations to Avoid.

What procedure do you like to follow when you change ink colors in your fountain pen?

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Pantone Color of the Year for 2015 – Marsala

Pantone Color of the Year for 2015 - Marsala

Pantone Color of the Year for 2015 – Marsala

Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2015 to be Marsala. Here’s what Pantone has to say about this year’s earthy wine colored choice:

Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.

If you’re in the mood to capture this color trend with your fountain pen and ink, here are our top choices:

LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen Purple

LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen Purple

LAMY Al-Star Fountain Pen in Purple

The light-weight aluminum Al-Star fountain pen comes in this fantastic purple color!

Pilot Metal Falcon Fountain Pen in Burgundy

Pilot Metal Falcon Fountain Pen in Burgundy

Pilot Metal Falcon Fountain Pen – Burgundy

Fancy up your handwriting by using this burgundy metal Falcon fountain pen with a semiflex nib. The Platinum 3776 Century Fountain Pen in Bourgogne and the Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen in Bordeaux also come in shades of Marsala.

Noodler's Ink - Burgundy

Noodler’s Ink – Burgundy

Noodler’s Ink in Burgundy

This classic burgundy color of ink would look great in any fountain pen! If you’re going to use it in your purple LAMY Al-Star, remember to get the LAMY Z24 Ink Converter so you can use bottled ink.

Noodler's Ink - Black Swan in English Roses

Noodler’s Ink – Black Swan in English Roses

Noodler’s Ink Black Swan in English Roses

Black Swan in English Roses is specifically made by Noodler’s Ink for flex nib fountain pens, so it would be a great choice for your Falcon semiflex nib fountain pen.

Monteverde Burgundy Ink Cartridges for LAMY Fountain Pens

Monteverde Burgundy Ink Cartridges for LAMY Fountain Pens

Monteverde Ink Cartridges for LAMY Fountain Pens – 5 Pack, Burgundy

If you’d rather use ink cartridges instead of bottled ink, Monteverde makes a burgundy ink cartridge for LAMY fountain pens including the Al-Star. We’ve discovered that these ink cartridges also fit pens that use standard international ink cartridges if you use the other end of the cartridge.

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax - Burgundy

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax – Burgundy

J. Herbin Supple Sealing Wax – Burgundy

Okay, so this isn’t a pen or ink, but won’t your letters look great when they are sealed with matching burgundy J. Herbin Sealing Wax?

J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink – Ambre de Birmanie

If you’d rather have an ink that contrasts nicely with a Marsala colored fountain pen, Pantone suggests an amber color such as J. Herbin’s Ambre de Birmanie ink.

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink - Vert Reseda

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink – Vert Reseda

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink – Vert Reseda

Also suggested by Pantone as colors to complement Marsala are “greens in both turquoise and teal, and blues in the more vibrant range.” We like the French green color of Vert Reseda.

What do you think of Marsala as the Pantone color of the year for 2015? Are there any pens and ink in shades of Marsala that you’d like to recommend?

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Don’t Let Your Fountain Pen Become a Freezing Fatality This Winter!

Snowy City

Do you live in a town with a cold climate? Have you ever left your fountain pen in a parked car or other frigid place and come back hours later to discover ink exploding out of your spare ink cartridges or a crack in the barrel of your fountain pen? These annoying mishaps are caused by the fountain pen ink expanding as it freezes. I grew up in a city with very cold winters and would give up entirely on using any sort of pen when I was outdoors on the coldest of days. Even ballpoint pens would freeze and refuse to write. My winter writing arsenal consisted of pencils only.

Noodler’s Ink has addressed these frozen ink issues by creating freeze-resistant Polar Inks. Noodler’s Polar Inks are not meant to carry you through a severe winter in Antarctica, but they will resist forming a solid mass of ice within a glass ink bottle during most cold weather conditions. If some icy slush forms in the bottle, the ink will still be fine when it warms to room temperature. Noodler’s assures us that these inks “are made to resist the damaging expansion that water based products can be subject to when exposed to freezing temperatures and harsh winter weather.” Your fountain pen will be much safer when exposed to the cold temperatures of winter when it is filled with Polar Ink.

Currently, Noodler’s Polar Fountain Pen Ink is available in these colors:

Are you prepared to winter? Why not prepare your fountain pen by filling it with Noodler’s Polar Ink.

Noodler's Ink - Polar Black

Noodler’s Ink – Polar Black

Noodler's Ink - Polar Blue

Noodler’s Ink – Polar Blue

Noodler's Ink - Polar Green

Noodler’s Ink – Polar Green

Noodler's Ink - Polar Brown

Noodler’s Ink – Polar Brown

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Which Gray Fountain Pen Ink Looks the Most Like a Pencil?

If you’d rather write with a fountain pen, but want your writing to look like it was done with a pencil, which gray fountain pen ink should you choose? Pencil lead varies in width and softness/hardness making your writing appear darker or lighter in color. Also the kind of paper you’re writing on and how hard you press down on the pencil can influence the appearance of the line that is produced. Fountain pen ink is similar – the results vary depending on the width of the fountain pen nib and the paper you are writing on.

Writing done with a variety of pencils

Writing done with a variety of pencils

The color of writing produced by pencil in our test turned out to be a warm shade of gray. Two fountain pen inks that are also warm shades of gray are Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Kiri-same Autumn Shower/Scotch Mist and Noodler’s Ink Lexington Gray. Lexington Gray is a dark shade of warm gray and Scotch Mist is a medium shade.

Pilot Iroshizuku Scotch Mist Ink

Pilot Iroshizuku Scotch Mist Ink

Noodler's Ink Lexington Gray

Noodler’s Ink Lexington Gray

Three other gray inks that are cool shades of gray are: J. Herbin Gris NuageOMAS Gray Fountain Pen Ink and Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun Old Man Winter/Rigor of Winter. When placed right next to writing done in pencil these inks have more of a “silvery” appearance (they are not actually metallic) because graphite pencil lead produces a warmer color of writing. On their own, away from any actual pencil, these inks still do have a pencil-y appearance.

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Fountain Pen Ink

Omas Grey Fountain Pen Ink

Omas Grey Fountain Pen Ink

Pilot Iroshizuku Rigor of Winter Ink

Pilot Iroshizuku Rigor of Winter Ink

We’ve scanned some samples of writing done on Clairefontaine French ruled paper in both pencil and ink for you to compare. What do you think? Are there any of your favorite inks you’d like to add to this list?

Pencil & Ink Writing Comparison

Pencil & Ink Writing Comparison

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A Dozen Inks to Match Your Neon Coral LAMY Safari Fountain Pen

LAMY Safari Neon Coral & Matching Fountain Pen Inks

LAMY Safari Neon Coral & Matching Fountain Pen Inks

The Neon Coral LAMY Safari Fountain Pen is the new collectable limited edition color for the year 2014. What a vivacious, lively color this is! If you’re the fun-loving type that likes to match your ink to your colorful fountain pens, what color of ink could you choose to match the Neon Coral Safari?

The obvious choice would be the special new LAMY T10 fountain pen ink cartridges with coral colored ink! If you would rather use bottled ink what choices do you have? We’ve come up with a dozen ideas in varying shades for you shown in the photo above (actual colors will vary from what will be displayed on your electronic device).

Left column, top to bottom:

Right column, top to bottom:

If you’re not a fan of matching your ink to the bright color of the Neon Coral Safari, we do have some suggestions for contrasting ink colors. We especially love navy blue or blue-black ink with this pen, but would also suggest black or grey ink. Even a dark brown ink such as J. Herbin’s Cacao du Bresil would be nice. What color of ink do you like to use with the Neon Coral Safari Fountain Pen?

 

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14 Inks To Match Your Blue-Green LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen

LAMY Al-Star Blue-Green & Matching Fountain Pen Inks

LAMY Al-Star Blue-Green & Matching Fountain Pen Inks

Looking for a blue-green shade of fountain pen ink to match your brand new Blue-Green LAMY AL-Star? We’ve got 14 suggestions for you! These colors range from bright to muted and from light to dark. Some shades of ink are more blue and other shades are more green. We chose a variety of inks to accommodate the variety of tastes fountain pen users might have. Of course, a photo on the internet isn’t going to give you an exact representation of the actual color. It’s helpful to look at the colors side by side to give you an idea of how they compare. Our list shown in the photo includes:

Left column, top to bottom:

Right column, top to bottom:

If you’re not the matchy-matchy type and want a contrasting color of ink that looks great with the Blue-Green LAMY AL-Star our first choice would be blue-black or navy blue, especially Noodler’s Air-Corp Blue-Black fountain pen ink. Black, gray and even dark brown inks are a good match too. What color of fountain pen ink do you like to use with your Blue-Green AL-Star?

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What Pen & Ink Should You Use For Signing Legal Documents?

A friend of mine recently got a new position at her company that involves signing multiple legal documents during each business day. She needs to use either blue or black ink and wondered what fountain pen and ink I would suggest. Being a fellow stationery addict, she wanted something much more interesting, and more fraud resistant, to use at the office than a ballpoint pen.

The first fountain pen inks that came to my mind were the Noodler’s Warden’s Series of inks that are among the most advanced fraud resisting inks in the world. The Warden’s ink fraud-proof qualities are special since most fountain pen inks on the market are not waterproof or fraud resistant. According to the Noodler’s website these inks resist “all the known tools of a forger, UV light, UV light wands, bleaches, alcohols, solvents, petrochemicals, oven cleaners, carpet cleaners, carpet stain lifters, and of course…they are also waterproof once permitted to dry upon cellulose paper.” In addition to these characteristics they even resist “potential tools of the forger that have not yet been observed in general use by law enforcement.” The Warden’s Inks come in 3 oz bottles (no cartridges) and are available in these blue and black colors:

The next thing I thought of was that I wouldn’t want to use my most expensive fountain pens at the office, unless I could somehow put a 24-hour guard on them and made sure they never left my possession. Even well-meaning coworkers have been known to borrow a nice pen and misplace it or forget to return it. Besides the thought of using a less expensive pen at work, if you are using your fountain pen frequently you want something that is durable. The Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen is a great choice. It currently sells for less than $15.00, has a metal cap and barrel that won’t crack and it comes with a converter so that you can use bottled ink. You can’t do much better than that! Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen color choices include:

My second choice for an office fountain pen would be a LAMY Safari with an ink converter and a medium nib. Usually signature lines on documents give you a fair amount of room to sign, so a medium nib should make your signature look great. It also prevents you from accidentally poking through the cheap paper you will probably be signing on. Speaking of cheap paper, you may experience some ink bleed-through and feathering when using a fountain pen on poor quality paper. Even though this might be the case, I still personally prefer to use a fountain pen. LAMY Safari standard colors include:

LAMY Vista Fountain Pen

LAMY Vista Fountain Pen

Another thing to think about – are the documents you are signing a single copy or do you need to press firmly to produce multiple copies? In my friend’s case, she is only signing single copies so a fountain pen is just fine. If you are pressing firmly to produce a duplicate copy (or copies) a fountain pen will not work. In this instance you’ll need to go with a roller ball pen or something similar. If you’d still like to use the Noodler’s Warden’s Ink, there are a few roller ball pens on the market that fill with fountain pen ink. You’ll need to make sure you have the proper ink converter if you need one. Some examples of roller ball pens that fill with fountain pen ink are:

Stipula Bon Voyage Speed Ball Pen - Sapphire

Stipula Bon Voyage Speed Ball Pen – Sapphire

Of course, the requirements for each work environment will vary, and this blog post is not meant to be legal advice. Do you need to sign legal documents at work? What kind of pen do you use? If you use a fountain pen in the office, what kind of fountain pen & ink do you choose?

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Off-Black is the New Black: Fountain Pen Ink for Your Office

Do you need a conservative color of fountain pen ink that is suitable for an office environment? Are you tired of plain old blue or black ink and want to write with a more interesting, yet subtle, color of ink? Off-black fountain pen ink may be just the ink you’re looking for!

Noodler's Ink Nightshade

Noodler’s Ink Nightshade

Noodler’s Ink Nightshade

Depending on what paper color you choose to write on, Noodler’s Nightshade ink can seem to take on different hues. I would call it a dark purple-brown-black and especially love to pair this ink with cream colored paper.

J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink Poussière de Lune

J. Herbin Poussière de Lune, or Moondust Purple, was created to mimic the color of the night sky when only the crescent moon is glowing in the dark. We could describe it much less poetically as a purple-black color.

J. Herbin Cacao du Bresil Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Cacao du Bresil Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink Cacao du Bresil

The brown-black color of Cacao du Bresil ink will make you think of a delicious piece of dark chocolate. Well, at least that’s what it makes me think of, but it doesn’t take much to make me think of chocolate.

Pilot Iroshizuku Wild Chestnut Fountain Pen Ink

Pilot Iroshizuku Wild Chestnut Fountain Pen Ink

Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Yama-guri – Wild Chestnut

Pilot Iroshizuku Wild Chestnut ink is another brown-black ink color, named after the natural beauty of the dark brown shades of the fruit of the wild chestnut tree.

Noodler's Ink Red-Black

Noodler’s Ink Red-Black

Noodler’s Ink Red-Black

Noodler’s Ink Red-Black ink is black with a punch of red added to it. Or is it red with the mystery of black added to it?

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink Gris Nuage

J. Herbin describes Gris Nuage ink (Cloud Gray) as “a light gray resembling a cloudy sky at sea slightly darkening before the storm. This color also represents the journeys taken at sea by J. Herbin when traveling to India.”

There are many types of gray ink to choose from, so go ahead and pick your favorite brand or shade:
Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Kiri-same – Autumn Shower/Scotch Mist
Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Fuyu-syogun – Old Man Winter/Rigor of Winter
OMAS Fountain Pen Ink Bottle – Gray
Noodler’s Ink – Lexington Gray

Noodler's Ink Sequoia

Noodler’s Ink Sequoia

Noodler’s Ink Sequoia

Noodler’s Ink in dark Sequoia green might bring to mind a vacation spent in a peaceful forest. I can already smell the pine needles… now get back to work!

Noodler's Ink Air-Corp Blue-Black

Noodler’s Ink Air-Corp Blue-Black

Noodler’s Ink Air-Corp Blue-Black

Noodler’s Ink Air-Corp Blue-Black is one of our favorite shades of blue-black with a hint of teal. We have found this to be a great multi-purpose ink that works well in all sorts of pens including roller balls that refill with fountain pen ink.

Other shades of blue-black fountain pen ink to try:
Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Shin-kai – Deep Sea
Noodler’s Ink Blue-Black
Noodler’s Ink 54th Massachusetts
LAMY Blue-Black Ink
Pelikan Edelstein Ink Tanzanite

Do you write with ink colors other than blue or black? What’s your favorite color of  fountain pen ink for the office?

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