Introduction to Mixing Fountain Pen Ink

Using an Ink Mixing Kit

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!

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Left-Handed Fountain Pen Use – Part 3

Left-Handed Pelikan Pelikano

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!

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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.

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Platinum Preppy Highlighter Pen

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I am so happy to finally find the Preppy Highlighter from Platinum Pens!

Liquid ink highlighters have always been my favorite, but I use them up quickly and was tossing multitudes of plastic pens into the trash. I could picture the creation of a small landfill with my name on it, mounded up with dried up highlighter pens… but not any more! Preppy highlighters are refillable with ink cartridges that come with fresh replacement nibs when mine starts to wear out. I can also use a converter to easily refill the pen with whatever ink I choose.

The cartridge that comes with the Preppy Highlighter lasted me about one month, or roughly 275 lines of highlighting text printed on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. I chose to refill my pen with Noodler’s Firefly Highlighting Ink. After using 3 cartridges full of ink, the tip of the pen had become softer than I prefer so it was time to replace it with a Platinum Preppy Highlighter Replacement Tip.

The ink I have my eye on next is Noodler’s Ink Year of the Golden Pig. This highlighting ink will not fade and comes with a free eyedropper fill Preppy Highlighter Pen to save money and help the environment.

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