12 Reasons We Love to Write With Gray Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink - Stormy Grey
J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink – Stormy Grey

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.

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink - Stormy Grey Swatch
J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink – Stormy Grey Swatch

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

Kaweco CLASSIC Sport Fountain Pen - Bordeaux, Medium Nib
Kaweco CLASSIC Sport Fountain Pen – Bordeaux, Medium Nib

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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