One of the most enjoyable things about using a fountain pen is being able to mix your own custom ink colors! If you are a new fountain pen user, or haven’t tried this for yourself yet, we would like to share some things we’ve learned about ink mixing.
One myth is that you must match the brand of fountain pen you are using to the brand of ink that you purchase. This may have been true with some vintage fountain pens and vintage inks, but with modern fountain pens feel free to experiment with any modern ink specially formulated for use in fountain pens. If you want to be cautious, you may try using your less expensive pens to begin your experiments. Although we haven’t had this problem, we have heard that intensely colored inks may stain a fountain pen.
Another myth about ink mixing is that you must only mix inks if they are the same brand. However, we have found that many different brands of ink will work just fine when mixed together. For example, many Noodler’s Inks, LAMY, Pelikan and J. Herbin Inks can be mixed together to create new colors without any problems. There are always exceptions though, so when trying a new ink combination we would recommend making a small amount first and waiting a little while to see if there are any reactions. Using an ink mixing kit is helpful since these are designed for making small test batches of ink and the clear vials help you to see if any globs or precipitate form after mixing inks together.
If a batch of ink gums up your fountain pen, or you want to start out fresh with your new ink color, you can wash the pen and the converter out thoroughly with room temperature water. Have fun experimenting to see what inks work best for you!
In a future post we will mention some ink combinations that you might want to avoid. In the meantime, we would love it if you would share your favorite fountain pen ink recipe with us!
The LAMY converter has been carefully designed to help it stay securely attached to your LAMY fountain pen. When used correctly, this can help prevent accidents from leaking ink.
LAMY converter – notice the 2 small plastic nubs in this picture – one pointing up and the other pointing down.
The converter can fit in the pen with the nubs facing this way, but this does not help to secure the converter.
The nubs are designed to fit into these slots on the main part of the pen. This helps to keep the converter securely in place.
LAMY pen with converter securely in place.
My continuing experimentation with fountain pens has recently included the Kaweco Sport Classic Fountain Pen with a medium nib and Noodler’s Ink, as well as the Pelikan Pelikano Left-Handed Fountain Pen with a medium nib and J. Herbin Ink. I found that both of these pens worked equally well for a Lefty and their qualities were very similar.
The first thing I wondered about was whether or not I would notice a difference using the specially designed nib on the left-handed Pelikano. This nib has a more rounded shape than a regular nib to accomodate the angle of left-handed writing. As an “overwriter” I, personally, only noticed a small difference in performance using this nib. It performed well, as did the Kaweco Sport, and both wrote in a medium line of similar width.
I appreciated the compact size of the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen. With its cap safely screwed on it is only 4″ long and is great for carrying in a purse or pocket. I wasn’t worried that the cap would come off and stain the leather on my Fossil bag with ink!
I did find that I preferred the grip of the Left-Handed Pelikano to the grip of the Kaweco. The grip on the Pelikano is rotated slightly for the left hand, and it worked well with my very strange pen grip. You Lefties out there know what I mean…. One strike against the Pelikano is that the first Pelikano Fountain Pen that I bought was defective and I had to exchange it. The second pen did work much better, and there were no problems with the Kaweco.
The Noodler’s Ink seemed to have a more generous flow than the J. Herbin Ink, but it could be because it was a custom ink mix that included Noodler’s Firefly. When added to other Noodler’s colors, this ink seems to produce a wetter flow. So if you tend to smear your ink while writing, perhaps it would be best to stay away from Noodler’s Firefly and use the J. Herbin instead.
I was satisfied with both the Kaweco Sport and the Left-Handed Pelikano, and felt that these were both practical and well functioning fountain pens for everyday use by a Lefty. However, I am in love with my LAMY Safari and it still tops of my list of favorite pens.
After my successful experiment with the Platinum Preppy, I was eagerly anticipating taking my new LAMY Safari Fountain Pen for a test drive and I wasn’t disappointed!
Armed with my LAMY Safari and Exacompta Club Leatherette Journal I travelled to a 3 day convention ready to take lots of notes. Many, many pages later there was not one ink smear and my hand felt less fatigued than it normally does thanks to the smooth action of the LAMY nib combined with the ultra-smooth Clairefontaine paper in my journal. This combination would be an asset to anyone who does a lot of writing!
For this experiment I used LAMY standard ink cartridges in turquoise. Since I tend to poke holes in paper when I use extra-fine nib pens, I choose the LAMY fine nib for my pen. The fine nib produced a consistent flow of ink in a medium to fine line. The benefit of the LAMY Safari’s ergonomic grip was lost on me because my left-handed grip is rather strange, but it was not a hindrance either. The Clairefontaine paper in the Exacompta Club Journal is 64 g, a lighter weight than the usual 90 g paper used in Clairefontaine notebooks. Even though there was a little bit of ink bleed-thru, I was still able to write on both sides of the page with a fountain pen.
This lime green LAMY Safari quickly became my favorite pen!
(Just a note: LAMY Studio, Safari, Vista, Joy and AL-Star Fountain Pens all use the same type of stainless steel nibs.)