Ink Notes: Franklin-Christoph Black Magic

Franklin-Christoph Black Magic bottle and in pen

My recent infatuation with iron gall inks is taking a break but I kept looking for a waterproof, quick drying ink. Franklin-Christoph Black magic seemed like an ideal choice. I didn’t claim permanence but it did claim to be waterproof which was good enough for me. This was my first Franklin-Christoph bottled ink.
On the positive side this is the fastest drying ink I’ve ever used. And it is waterproof. The color is a deep black so if that’s what you’re looking for then it’s also a positive. I was overjoyed until I turned the page.
While I’m sure other inks can bleed-through as much, this ink exhibited the most bleed-through of any ink I’ve used. Even the ultra fine nib of my Micarta caused bleed-through on Rhodia paper. Yes it was minor but it only got worse from there, My Sailor fine, a Japanese fine, also caused minor bleed-through on Rhodia. My Retro 51 nib used for testing is a wet nib and bleed-through with that was bad as was ever other nib I used. The Doane Large Jotter only suffered from a couple dots of bleed-through with the wettest nibs. But show-through was bad enough to make it unusable for two-side writing. Your tastes may vary, but show-through with the ultra fine and fine nibs didn’t ruin writing on the other side since I just take notes for my own use.
With the ultra fine and fine nibs the ink tended to collect ink at the nib when I paused but kept the pen in a writing position. The ink never dripped but it caused a wetter than normal first stroke and heavier bleed-through and show-through. Feathering was also noticeable on these wetter strokes. By contrast if I laid the pen down uncapped the ink would evaporate off the nib quicker than most other inks. When capped there wasn’t any evaporation problem. I stored the pen for about 5 days and it wrote right away when I picked it up.
Feathering was also a bit of a problem. It was most apparent where the ink was wetter than normal. On the papers I typically use there wasn’t enough feathering to cause me to complain but your tolerance may be different. It’s like the ink is in a race to soak into as much paper as possible before that incredibly quick dry time kicks in. Which isn’t far from the truth. The fast drying is there because the ink soaks into the paper quickly, Despite the quick dry time this is a wet ink so there’s a lot of ink that needs to soak into the paper.
The drying time for the ink is truly instant. I couldn’t smudge even the 1.5 mm stub. It is very waterproof, not even a trace of dye in the water.
The ink was easy to flush from all my pens without any trace of staining after being in the pen about a week.
I like that Franklin-Christoph puts the ink properties on their website. Here’s a screenshot of their Black Magic properties.

screenshot of the Black Magic properties
From the Franklin-Christoph website

Bottom Line
I like the fast drying and the water proof property of the ink. But the bleed-through and show-through ruin it for me. I considered using it for just taking notes with a Doane Jotter with an ultra fine nib. I don’t like to dedicate a pen to a notebook, it’s just too limiting. There are other choices.
The ink does seem perfect for addressing envelopes and writing postcards so it will serve some purpose. Although I may need a blotter in the envelope to keep the ink from bleeding through the entire envelope.
Additional Reading
Reviewed at Gourmet Pens
Reviewed at Inkdependance

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