Ink Notes: Bookbinders Ground Rattler

Bookbinders is another new (to me) ink brand and I picked Ground Rattler as my introduction to it. Bookbinders is a store brand from Australia and available in the U.S. from Anderson Pens and from Appelboom in the Netherlands. Bookbinders is an Australian based online shop that, as its name suggests, has it’s roots in bookbinding.

The ink is available in 30 ml. glass bottles that are relatively easy to fill a pen from. The bottle is in a brown hessian bag (that’s a burlap bag for those of us in the US and Canada). The ink is $12.50 a bottle which puts its per ml. cost below premium inks such as Pilot Iroshizuku, but well above Sheaffer, Waterman and other workhorse inks.

They brand their inks “Snake Inks” as a call-back to the snake-oil salesman of the past and use the tongue-in-cheek tagline “Cures Writers Block”. All the names are based on snakes.

Anderson Pens had the Bookbinders inks at the Washington DC Pen Show and after looking through the ink swabs I decided on Ground Rattler as by first ink for the brand, even though grey is not usually the best introduction to a brand. But I like grey inks and this one looked interesting.

I picked the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen for the inaugural use of this ink. I was concerned my typical extra fine nib wouldn’t do well with this fairly light grey ink. The Sailor KOP has a wider medium nib. The ink did well in this pen although it always felt a little dry. The dryness seemed to be more in my head than in the nib. There wasn’t any actual problem, and there was a little line variation as the ink pooled and dried. While the result was fine it just wasn’t a pleasant writing experience as my brain kept telling me to press harder to get more ink as the pen was about to go dry. Even though I use grey a lot this one seemed to be messing with my head. This is one of the lighter grey I’ve used and my favorite grey, Montblanc Permanent Grey is significantly darker than this ink . It couldn’t have been that bad though, I wrote the pen dry in a week. But I never got used to it.

The Lamy nibs I use for the writing samples tend to be on the dry side, especially the extra fine. The extra fine Lamy nib was much too light to be a daily writer, or even an occasional writer, but the other nibs (fine, medium, 1.9mm) performed well with the Ground Rattler.

Drying time is respectable and I didn’t have any accidental smudges. My writing was legible after the water test although I wouldn’t trust it with thinner nibs or longer soaks.

The ink flushed easily from all my pens with one caveat. There was some ink that just wouldn’t flush from the Sailor converter, leaving a ring where the piston ended and I had to use a q-tip to clean it. This isn’t so unusual but it surprised me since the ink isn’t close to waterproof. It wasn’t so much a stain as just clinging to the converter.

The Bookbinders Ground Rattler won’t challenge Montblanc Permanent Grey as my favorite grey ink. The light grey color ended up being more of a negative than I expected. Yet I’ll use it with other medium or wider nibs from time to time and I liked the properties enough to order a couple other colors of Bookbinders ink.

Sunday Notes and Links – September 11, 2016

At the end of this week’s Pen Addict podcast one of the AskTPA questions was about using a board or other had surface to write on in a chair. At the time I was sitting on the patio doing some writing on my Levenger Lap Desk. I think that’s what they called it. I checked Levenger’s website and it seems this specific design is no longer available. This one has a cushion attached to the bottom and rests on my lap while the current ones are bigger but must rest on the arms of the chair. It’s not the most stable writing surface so I wouldn’t use it for letters or anything that needed to look it’s best. I lost the elastic straps long ago, but otherwise it’s held up well over the years.

I mentioned it last week, but we’re two weeks (or less) away from two pen shows. The Commonwealth Pen Show (Boston) is on the 25th and the Dallas Pen Show is the 24th & 25th.

The Colorado Pen Showis also less than a month away, running from October 7th through 9th.

Joe Szanto posted a long recap of the 2016 San Francisco pen show: The 2016 San Francisco Pen Show: a personal perspective

I’ve added a pen show page to my resources (see 2017 shows already on the schedule), along with a page for pen clubs. These join pages for pen/nib workers long with a listing of other sites that I like to read.

What Others Are Using

Currently Inked #12 | 8 September 2016 – Pen Habit

1 Week, 1 Pen/Pencil Mini Series — The Finer Point

What Others Are Reviewing

Dip Pens were popular this week: Review: Kaweco Special Dip Pen – The Well-Appointed Desk and Pen Review: Kaweco Special Dip Pen — the desk of lori

Visconti Homo Sapiens London Fog: A Review — The Pen Addict // It’s becoming harder and harder to resist this pen.

How to ask the right questions — The Ink Smudge

Time management Monday: What to write in your planner? – Quo Vadis Blog

Field Notes DIY: Changing Staples and Innards — Three Staples

Vintage Pen News: eBay and the Great Disintermediation

Letter gets there by hand-drawn map – BBC News

Ink Notes: Montblanc Ultra Black

Montblanc Ultra Black

Montblanc is easily my favorite ink brand and I readily try buy any of their ink. Well, not so much the blue ones, but the others for sure. I find that the inks work well in my thin nibs, are well behaved and work on all types of paper. So I had high hopes when I picked up a bottle of Montblanc Ultra Black at the Washington DC Pen Show.

Unfortunately this ink was a disappointment.

The color is a nice dark black, although not the darkest. Aurora Black and Platinum Carbon Black are two that come to mind as darker inks. This wasn’t a negative for me since I never equated “Ultra” to “the darkest” and I was happy with the color. Unfortunately the ink doesn’t match any definition I could assign to “ultra”.

Maybe it was me, but I was always smudging this ink, even in an extra fine nib. Plus I kept having to wait before turning a page in my notebook. While the dry time with the extra fine Lamy nib used in the writing samples was a very reasonable 2 seconds, that was an anomaly. The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age was the fountain pen I used as a daily writer with this ink and the dry time was close to 10 seconds on Tomoe River paper and not much faster on Write Notepads paper.

The ink has very little water resistance although it was mostly legible after the drip test. The water soaked up a lot of dye and it was a grey mess that wanted to stain everything it touched. That’s why I was surprised that it was so difficult to flush from my pen. The Homo Sapien isn’t the quickest pen to clean but it took what seemed like forever to flush this ink from it. Eventually I just filled it with water and left it nib down in a tissue to wick the ink out. I ended up refilling the pen even though there were still traces of ink in the tissue.

Admittedly my problems with this ink a subjective based on what I expected and how was to use the ink. I don’t find the color of this ink to be anything special and there are plenty of other black inks out there. As this is a special edition ink it does have a premium price, about $19 for a 30ml bottle. But it’s the other ink properties that ruin it for me. It seems out of character for what I expect from a Montblanc ink. Montblanc Ultra Black isn’t “ultra” for me in any way.

Pen Shows and Pen Clubs Added to Resource Pages

Fine Steel Nib of the Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Cordial LE fountain pen
Nothing to do with this post. I just wanted to return to the first picture I published on this site.

A nice relaxing holiday weekend was a good time to put together some information I’ve been collecting. I’ve added two new pages to the resources section. They’re available from the Resources selection along the top menu. If the drop-down is too finicky for your mobile device then go to the main resource page and you find links there too. or just click the links further down in this post.

US Pen Show Schedule

I put together all the US pens hows that I know of and listed them here. The 2017 dates are already finalized for a few shows and are listed. The Long Island Pen Show has moved back a couple of weeks and is now in April. If the show has passed and there’s no “next” show scheduled then the show is listed without a date in the month when it typically occurs.

Pen Clubs

Also, I’ve been collecting pen club information and finally listed it. These are clubs which have in-person meetings on a regular basis (although “regular” is wide-open to interpretation.) These are ones I found online. I’m sure I’m missing many others, especially outside the US. If you know of any that I missed you can contact me using the form or email found here. I prefer that the club have their own online presence for contacts and meeting announcements, but if this isn’t possible we can probably work something out so that my info doesn’t become incorrect over time.

Sunday Notes and Links – September 04, 2016

It’s been nearly four months, but with the unofficial end of summer here in the States I decided to resume Sunday Notes and Links, although it will be less notes and more links. And it may not even be every Sunday. It’s been awhile so some of these links are old but well worth reading if you missed them.

The Commonwealth Pen Show (aka Boston Pen Show) is later this month, It’s a Sunday only show that’s runs from 9am to 5pm on September 25, 2016. It’s a small show but is to be growing. There’s 23 exhibiters listed for this year and all the available tables are sold out. I’m hoping the show grows big enough to justify two days since Saturdays generally works better for me. Still, I am hoping to make it there sometime Sunday.

The Dallas Pen Show is September 23–24.

You can find European Pen Shows here. There’s a couple coming up Sept. 24th and 25th.

Speaking of pen shows…

My 2016 D.C. Pen Show Haul — The Gentleman Stationer

SF Pen Show: Day 3 and Wrap-Up – The Well-Appointed Desk (Day2) and Day 1

Reflections of a Fountain Pen Initiate — Gorgeous.Ink

In addition to shows there are clubs…

Appleton Wisconsin (Sept 15th): Appleton Pen Club – Vintage – Anderson PensAnderson Pens

Fountain Pens Australia (Facebook Group & monthly meetings): One Year of Fountain Pens Australia! — Pen Economics

What Others Are Using

Currently Inked: September 2016 — Pendora’s Box

Video: Currently Inked #11 | 2 September 2016 – Pen Habit

Monthly Load Out: September 2016 – Gorgeous.Ink

I like reading reviews for pens that have (or haven’t) stood the test of time. This time around two people revisited the same fountain pen,

Revisited: Pilot Vanishing Point — Alt. Haven and Review Redux – Four Years with the Pilot Vanishing Point Fountain Pen – edjelley.com – Fountain Pen, Ink, and Stationery Reviews

Misc Links

Notebooks designed to get you organized — Original Content Books via The Cramped

A Hobby: Fountain Pens | The Maddog Rag

Montblanc’s Augmented Paper digitizes rich people’s handwriting – The Verge

What Not To Do | From the Pen Cup

The “Metal” Stamp You Probably Don’t Know About « The Pelikan’s Perch

Introducing journal guides! | Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb.

Profile of John Twiss | United Inkdom // There’s a related giveaway but you’ll have to browse the site for it. The giveaway ends Sept. 10th.

I missed the Pilot Pen Clinic, but… – On Fountain Pens

Lastly, thanks to automation, most of what I read gets pushed out to Fountain Pen Links as a link even if it’s not in this post, so if you want a firehose of links you’ll find it there.