Posts in Ink Test
Experiment 16: Upgrading Ink Tests With the Col-o-ring

I think one of my favorite parts of participating in the stationery community online is seeing and hearing some of the behind the scenes of how a new product comes to market or a new company is born. There's just something about hearing about an idea in its infancy stages and then seeing that same idea come to life that is really inspiring and interesting. I can't seem to get enough of thinking and learning about everything that goes into making an idea a reality, what separates a bad idea from a good idea, and what distinguishes a good idea from a great one.

I think there are many factors that go into making a good product. And there are TONS of good products out there. But there is something truly unique about a great product.  From my perspective, great products are typically the result of three intersecting aspects: the right team makes the right product at the right time. When those three things all come together in one idea or product- some really awesome things come about as a result. 

I can honestly say that the Col-o-ring is a simple and perfect proof of concept for these ideas. 

Right team- Can anyone really think of a better duo to create an ink testing book than a letterpress expert and an art-supply guru? If you need more evidence, just listen to Episode 250 of the Pen Addict where Ana details all that went into selecting the perfect paper for this project. 

Right product- This product kills it in just about every category. The branding is genius, the aesthetic is simple and clean, the packaging is stellar, and the quality is outstanding. This paper is by far my favorite type of paper I have ever tested inks on. It far outperforms even much more expensive watercolor paper- it effectively captures sheen, shading, and shimmer with barely any bleed through, feathering, or warping of the paper. It must be magic, and it's honestly hard to imagine a more ideal solution. 

Right time- One of the only similar solutions for ink swab books was discontinued, leaving many ink aficionados without a good way to test and catalogue their inks. I came into the hobby after that product had already been discontinued, so I can attest to the struggle finding a solution. I spent more than one afternoon wandering up and down the local art store aisle looking at different types of paper and paper formats. This product fit a very specific gap in the market, and was released at the perfect time to fill that gap.

Comparing ink behavior on the Col-o-ring to other types of papers:

Needless to say I was pretty excited about the release of this product. I knew I wanted to re-catalogue my entire ink collection utilizing the Col-o-ring, and after it arrived I sat down to re-think my process for swabbing ink. After watching Ana's Ink Testing Techniques video, I decided to stop using cotton swabs and instead utilize a paint brush. The paint brush was also a perfect way to make use of my custom Inkpothesis stamp, and give my ink swabs a unique feel. I haven't quite masted use of a dip nib, so I wanted to adapt that part of the process a little. I decided to try dipping my sailor zoom nib in the inks, which would hopefully allow me to showcase both a medium/broad line and more fine lines. 

Because the zoom nib, paint brush, and stamp needed cleaned and dried between each ink swab, it was more time consuming than my old method, but I am also really happy with the results. Once I moved the process to my kitchen counter next to a sink, I was able to whip through these in about 3-4 minutes per swab. 

My basic process was to paint the stamp with the ink, stamp onto a Col-o-ring sheet, and then use the paint brush to add additional ink to the stamped area. I then did a series of mini-swabs with the paint brush around the stamp- wiping the paint brush off a little in between ever two mini swabs. I was hoping this would showcase the full shading properties of the particular ink. Finally, I dipped the Zoom nib in the ink and added brand and color name- specifically trying to use both broad and fine lines.

Shimmer, Sheen, and Shading:

I have some plans about how I want to incorporate the Col-o-ring into future ink tests here on the blog, but in the meantime a Col-o-ring chalk full of ink swabs will be heading with me to the Chicago Pen Show this weekend! It will be great to have a portable catalogue of everything I have back home while I'm out and about testing out new pens and inks. Hope to see you there! 

Experiment 13 Update: Week 1
Week One Match-Ups

Week One Match-Ups

Week one of the #6penchallenge17 is in the books. How did it go? 

Results In Pictures


Results in Words

  • Favorite Match-up: Pelikan Italic Nib with Akkerman #28
  • Most Utilized Match-up: Sailor Pro Gear Realo with Sailor Mystery Blue
  • Least Utilized Match-up: Mont Blanc Flex with Sailor Kin-Mokusei
  • Biggest Surprise: Sailor Mystery Blue Ink
  • Pens I Missed the Most: Franklin Christoph Pocket 20 with Masuyama Needlepoint Nib

Overall, I really enjoyed having a more limited number of pen choices over the last week. I load them into the six slots in my Nock Brasstown, load the extra space with a few pencils and micro-gel pens- and I'm good to go for the day. No decisions needed. The mix of pens gave me just enough variety to accomplish any type of writing or doodling I needed or wanted to do for the week. And as for the first week of using the two new Sailor pens... couldn't be better. Not a single regret for including them both in the mix.

Finally, a preview for next week's ink picks...

Experiment 11: "Orange" Ink Tests Part III

Up to this point, these orange ink tests have largely focused on orange/ yellow tones. Today, we move towards the red end of the spectrum with not two, but three more "orange" inks. I knew that the Franklin Christoph Philly Ink was somewhere in the red/ orange range, so I thought it would be perfect to pair against two "fall-colored" inks from Diamine. 


 Experimental Test Subjects

Ink 1: Diamine Autumn Oak

Ink 2: Diamine Ancient Copper

Ink 3: Franklin-Christoph Philly Limited Edition '17

Experimental Variables

Pen 1: TWSBI Diamond 580 (1.1 Stub)

Pen 2: Ryan Krusac Legend (MCI)

Pen 3: Sailor Pro Gear (MF Nib)

Experimental Conditions

Paper 1: Tomoe River

Paper 2: Rhodia

Paper 3: Watercolor

Results in Pictures:

Another shot of Franklin Christoph Philly Ink in Action

Another shot of Franklin Christoph Philly Ink in Action

Results in Words:

Orange Vs. Red:  Of all the inks I have scanned in for review so far, these were by far the most difficult to capture in terms of accurate color representation. The autumn oak is slightly more red-toned than the scans show. And for the Franklin Christoph- the scans just don't do the ink justice. It is definitely a red-based orange, but the scans bring out the red more heavily than it actually appears on the paper. I added an extra photo of the ink in action that is more true to the actual hue.

Is it more red or more orange? I still can't decide! Either way, it's basically an autumn sunset on paper. Can't go wrong with that. 

Compare/ Contrast: First of all, all three of these inks are an excellent value when you compare the price and performance to other inks I have tested. Unless the ink is pooled heavily on the paper, there is not much sheen to be found, but all three inks have some pretty stellar other qualities in my opinion. The light-to-dark shading of Autumn Oak is particularly striking especially in broader nibs. The shading of the Ancient Copper is less dramatic, but I really enjoyed the rich dark wine color of the ink overall. After testing it for several days, I would absolutely consider loading it into my work pen as a variation on my typical blue-black. 

Winning Combination: The Philly Pen Show is still traveling in my Ryan Krusac Legend. It's not the typical standard orange I would use as a go-to, but there is a depth to the unique orange-to-red shading in this ink, especially in the cursive italic nib, that really draws me to it. 

On deck: It's time to sing the blues. 

A look back at the 7 orange shades featured in ink tests so far. 

A look back at the 7 orange shades featured in ink tests so far.