I inked up my Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Bookbinders Red-Belly Black ink back on January 30th. I wrote it dry the evening of February 28th. Yes, I know it was in my March 1st currently inked post, but that’s what happens when I write posts on the weekend and schedule them for during the week. It was March 1st in some parts of the world.
Continuing my current practice, the Sailor KOP was my inaugural pen for this ink. The ink was a bit clingy as I filled the pen, forming a film on the nib and section that was harder than usual to wipe off. But once it was in the pen it behaved well. I expected a little nib creep or ink clinging to the converter, but neither happened. The ink was also easy to flush from the pen. The ink and pen were well behaved from fill to finish.
Bookbinders Red-Belly Black puts down a wet, thick, dark black line. Dry time was about normal and I didn’t have any accidental smudges while using the pen. Others have mentioned a red sheen in the ink, but I didn’t notice any during regular use of the pen. There was a little hint of red in places where the ink was heavier than normal, such as making two passes when writing, or with a swab.It will probably show more red color in a wetter or flex nib.
Bookbinders Red-Belly Black is a nice black ink that I wouldn’t hesitate to use again, but at the same time I’m not rushing to get it into another pen. As for the Sailor King of Pen, it continues to show why I like it so much. It’s already been filled with another new (to me) ink.
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.