For some reason I had two bottles of Sheaffer Red ink. I’d like to think that meant I liked the ink enough to get a second bottle but the reality is I probably forgot I had the first bottle and decided to try the color a second time. Both were at the back of my ink drawer, full and long ignored. That changed recently when I decided to match the brand and the color with my newly acquired Sheaffer Crest in Nova Red. I liked the ink enough that one bottle was poured into the inkwell for the newly acquired Esterbrook Dip-less which now sits on my desk. This is the modern Sheaffer ink made in Slovenia.
Sheaffer is a straight-on, no apologies red ink. While fewer and fewer fire engines are red these days I’d call the color fire engine red. Even a thin red lines stands out on the page. It’s appropriate for grading papers or marking up documents.
The ink is mostly well behaved. The only blemish was with my very wet Retro 51 Lincoln medium nib which had heavy show-through and some minor bleed-through with the 20lb. Staples copy paper. My wider 1.1 mm nib with a more normal flow didn’t bleed-through but there was medium show-through on the Staples paper. There wasn’t any bleed or show-through with any pens on the other paper.
The ink isn’t waterproof. The ink spread a lot and left stains underneath the paper after about a 15 second soak and sponging the water off. It was actually legible for a short time but as the water dried the ink continued to spread and become unreadable.
There’s no shading or line variation, just a bold red line.
The ink has cleaned easily from my pens. It cleaned easily from the Crest after being in there for a couple of weeks between cleaning. While the vacuum converter could hide stains the visible areas were stain free and the ink cleaned easily from the pen and converter. The test pens were only inked for a day but the ink flushed out easily. The Waterman Red in the Edison Pearl took a little longer to get the last traces of ink out, although it didn’t need anything beyond water. Different pens, so not a perfect test, but the Sheaffer Red was slightly easier to clean.
I did include a comparison with Waterman Red and Pelikan Edelstein Ruby in the writing samples. It was so close to Waterman Red that I had to ink a pen up with it. The Pelikan Ruby was already inked so I did the comparison.
Except for a brief dalliance with Sheaffer Peacock Blue, Sheaffer Red has been the standard ink in my Nova Red Sheaffer Crest. They seem made for each other. The ink has never failed to start, even after being forced to stand nib up for five days. It has also been skip free.
I poured one bottle into an inkwell for my Esterbrook Dip-less pen. The ink performs well in this setup. While I typically only use it for short notes, I can get nearly a page of writing from on dip. Being red, it starts to stain the collar of the pen that seals the pen in the inkwell hole, but it has been easy to clean off so far.
It’s been a long time since I used a straight-up red. The slot used to be filled by Waterman Red. Sheaffer Red is a near perfect color match for Waterman Red and it’s over a buck cheaper for a 50 ml. bottle. Add to that the early indication that Sheaffer Red is easier to flush from a pen (not that Waterman is hard to flush) and Sheaffer Red is my new “go to” red.