I picked Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red as the first ink for my Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta with its medium nib. It took only two weeks for me to write the pen dry. This is quick for me so it’s a good indicator that I liked the pen & ink combo. It’s even better when I consider that there were a few days where I didn’t use any fountain pens.
I like the ink a lot with this nib. Garnet Red does better with a wet nib. While I wouldn’t call this nib a gusher, it’s not dry either. Being wider than my typical nib it highlights the Garnet Red nicely. This ink has had past problems clinging to converters, requiring occasional priming to keep the ink going. I didn’t have any of those problems here, ink flow was nice and consistent right until the last drop.
The ink & pen combined for a pleasant writing experience. I was tempted to immediately refill the pen with more Garnet Red but being a new pen I will change things up. The ink was easily flushed from the Model 20 and the converter.
I want to ink the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 up right away, even with its wide medium nib. But there was almost a week where I barely used any pens so I’ll be giving the other inked pens some attention before I re-ink the Model 20.
Graf von Faber-Castell Carbon Black is the sixth Graf von Faber-Castell (GvFC) ink I’ve looked at. It’s the last of their new line of inks for me to review. Carbon Black is one of the inks that Graf von Faber-Castell classifies as “Document Proof.” This means they are non-correctable and also non removable without leaving a trace. They’re also UV and water resistant. It’s also supposed to not be visible on the back of standard paper. I’ve never found that last item to be true with the other Document Proof colors and it wasn’t true with this one. I’m beginning to think they mean no bleed-through which would be true. I’ve liked all the new GvFC inks, some more than others. So what do I think of Carbon Black? Wow! It’s a really nice black ink. I did the swab before inking any pens and immediately thought of Aurora Black. You’ll find an Aurora Black swab for comparison in the gallery. I don’t use a black ink a lot, but GvFC immediately became my go to black. Well, that’s a bit of a spoiler for the rest of the review. The ink puts down a nice crisp line with no ink spreading or feathering. It’s a dark ink so there is show-through on thinner papers. I didn’t encounter any bleed-through. The ink has a wet, but not watery, flow. If there’s enough ink it looks wet and has a bit of a sheen. The sheen vanishes quickly as the ink dries. I used the Lamy 2000 with a fine nib as my daily writer. The fine nib doesn’t put down enough ink to give it a sheen so don’t expect it all the time. Sheen or no sheen, the ink always drives to a deep dark black true to the cobalt black name. There’s no shading or line variation at all, just deep black. Dry time is good on most paper although it’s considerably longer on Rhodia and other papers traditionally slow to absorb ink. It was quick enough on Doane Jotter paper so that I avoided accidental smudges. The Jotter is my typical note tacking pad. The ink flushed easily from my pens although it wasn’t in them for very long. I expect the Lamy 2000 to clean easily once it’s written dry.
My Lamy 2000 was my daily driver for testing this ink. The nib was tuned by Mike Masuyama so it it’s friendly to almost every ink. It was great with the GvFc Carbon Black. A consistently dark black line without any skipping. My Platinum 3776 Ribbed with an ultra extra fine nib was used for testing. The inked flowed easily through the very thin nib. The flow was able to keep up with some quick writing and was problem free. My Retro 51 Lincoln medium nib is the wettest nib of the bunch. Despite a wet flowing ink on a wet nib it was surprisingly well behaved, There wasn’t any feathering or bleed-through. My Franklin-Christoph Model 19 with 1.1 mm stub was the widest nib I used. Again, the line was consistent.
Graf von Faber-Castell Carbon Black is my new go to black fountain pen ink.
Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue is my fifth review of the new Graf von Faber-Castell (GvFC) ink line. Blue would be near the bottom of my list if I was to rank my color preferences. I decided to give it a chance anyway. I had the other five inks and I have a compulsion to complete sets, so I decided to give this one a try. Since I rarely use blue inks I don’t have much to compare with this ink. It’s color is what I consider a true blue. It is a dark blue ink, but I still consider it a vivid blue, not a blue-black. Based on the color on the box I expected some hints of violet, but there’s none that I can see. There’s a bit of sheen to the ink. When used in my wet Omas nib or in a broad nib there’s some shading. Drying times ranged from very good to very long. My extra fine nib dried fast enough to be smudge free on all the papers I used. The longest it took was four seconds on Rhodia paper. Other nibs took considerably longer on Rhodia paper (drying times are in the writing samples). On the other hand, all nibs, even the wide and wet ones, dried quickly on generic Staples copy paper. Although those quick dry times on the Staple paper came at the expense of bleed-through and feathering. This is a dark ink so some show through was expected, but it was a bit more than I expected, especially on the copy paper. There was heavy show-through and some minor bleed-through on the copy paper with the wetter nibs and the feathering was noticeable. The feathering wasn’t noticeable to me on the Doane or Rhodia paper unless I looked closely so I could call it light feathering. The Cobalt Blue definitely has more bleed-through and feathering than the other four GvFC inks I’ve used. I’d stop short of calling the ink waterproof, but it is very water-resistant. The ink color ran, but the writing was clearly visible after the water test. Graf von Faber-Castell does classify this ink as document proof and permanent. The ink cleaned easily from my pens, although it wasn’t in any of them for more than a week. It also cleaned easily from my hands after an unplanned inky fingers test. It washed off easily after being on my hand for about 30 minutes. Just soap, water, a washcloth and a small bit of scrubbing were all that was needed.
I used the ink in the Omas 360 Vintage LE which has a custom Mike Masuyama fine nib. It’s a very wet writing nib, certainly my wettest fine and among my wettest nibs of any grind. There weren’t any flow problems or skipping. This pen is finicky with some inks but the GvFC Cobalt Blue wrote great with the pen. I used it as my primary writer for a couple of problem free days. I also used the Vac 700 with an extra fine nib for a day. Again, no flow problems or skipping. I used the pen for note taking during a smug free day. The Retro 51 with a wet, medium nib and the TWSBI Vac 700 with the 1.1 mm nib were only used for the writing samples.
Graf von Faber-Castell Cobalt Blue is a nice blue ink. I don’t want a lot of blue inks and since the GvFC Cobalt Blue is a well-behaved ink and a pleasing blue it can fill the blue slot.
Graf von Faber-Castell (GvFC) Hazelnut Brown is priced and bottled as a luxury ink. It’s a nice heavy bottle and I love the look. Even though a bottle doesn’t do anything for the ink, fancy bottles are all the rage among luxury ink makers. The ink is definitely in the luxury price category, but it’s a 75 ml bottle which helps the price per milliliter a bit. According to Faber-Castell this ink is light fast, which means the color holds up with extended exposure to light, although this is something I haven’t tested. The ink flow is good, although it’s not a wet ink. I like dryish nibs and this ink suffers a bit for this. As an example, my Pelikan 620 Piazza Novone’s broad nib was ground to a stub by Mike Masuyama at the 2013 Washington DC pen show. I had him tune it to be on the dry side. The ink is good in this nib, with good shading. But it’s obvious that the ink would be better with more ink on the nib. Plus, the line tended to thin out if I write fast. GvFC Hazelnut brown has a nice, deep brown color that has a hint of red to it. Despite my comments above, the ink flows well in any pen that hasn’t been tuned to be on the dry side. The Piazza Novone was the only pen I used that had anything less than perfect performance. The ink can’t be called waterproof. There was some trace of what I wrote after the water test an extended soaking would wash it away. Dry time was pretty good, especially with extra fine nibs, But the drying time goes up considerably with wider and wetter nibs. While the colors aren’t close, Montblanc Toffee Brown is my current brown ink of choice and the GvFC Hazelnut Brown takes about twice as long to dry with everything except extra fine nibs. Feathering was non-existent on any of the papers I used. It’s a dark ink so there was some show through on thin papers but there wasn’t any bleed through. This is a nice brown ink that will get as much use as my current favorite brown – Montblanc Toffee Brown. I like the color and the shading. If I didn’t value dry time so much Graf von Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown could have topped Toffee Brown as my favorite brown. I like the ink and will be keeping the bottle.
A garnet is a “precious stone consisting of a deep red vitreous silicate material.” Another definition is simply a dark red color. So, while Graf von Faber-Cstell Garnet Red may have a redundant name, it does accurately reflect the ink’s color. I have a thing for Maroon and Burgundy inks so I’m predisposed to like GvFC Garnet Red. The ink falls into the category Graf von Faber-Castell calls “Light Fast” which means the color hold will be consistent long after exposure to light. This isn’t something I can really test in a short time, especially with the recent overcast and rainy days. So I’ll take Faber-Castell’s word for it. At $30 for a 75 ml bottle this puts the ink in the luxury category. Bit with a per ml price of 49 cents it’s less expensive than Pilot Iroshizuku inks. GvFC inks are now listed on Fahrney’s website in addition to Pen Boutique in the US. But both still sell the ink for full list price. Other than Cult Pens has the ink in the UK no other sources turn up in an internet search. The ink leaves the pen in a dark red color, true to its name, and dries with the same color. The exception was a wet Noodler’s nib on cheap copy paper where it went on the paper redder and dried to the darker color. The ink reminds me of Diamine Oxblood so I pulled out that ink for a comparison. It’s very similar as shown in the photo of the swabs. But there is significant variation in the color depending on how wet the nib is. The Diamine Oxblood keeps its color better with drier nibs so it would be a better choice for a consistently darker red across different nibs. The GvFC Garnet Red tends to be more of a Bordeaux with a drier nib. Since I tend to like drier nibs this means the ink is more of a bordeaux when I use it. The box and bottle design fit the luxury branding. While still just cardboard, the box colors give it a classy look as does it’s matte, non-shiny finish. The heavy glass bottle also telegraphs luxury. The wide opening makes it easy to insert the pen and the heavy weight makes it stable. But once the ink level gets low enough it becomes difficult to immerse the nib. There no indent or filling assist mechanism to keep the ink level high enough around the nib. The weight and shape of the bottle make it difficult to tilt when trying to fill a pen. As shown in the writing samples, the ink is not in the least bit water resistant and it doesn’t claim to be. Drying is fast so there’s little chance of accidental smudges. The ink flows well and I didn’t have and hard starts or skipping. The ink did cling to one convertor which reduced the flow to the nib and resulted in a lighter color.
I like the color, especially in a wet nib. The ink performs well and dries fast. But I’m not sure I like it better than Diamine Oxblood which is significantly less expensive.
I used the TWSBI Vac 700 with extra fine, fine, medium and broad nibs for the writing samples. The ink flushed easily from the nibs and the pen, My Sheaffer Balance Aspen was used as a daily writer for a couple of days. The pen’s nib and feed was adjusted by Mike Masuyama and all inks have consistently flowed well in it. The GvFC Garnet Red clung to the convertor which reduced the flow rather quickly (after about a page) so the ink was more of a bordeaux color. While I could force ink into the feed it would soon thin out so this would become tedious. The ink never went dry, it was just drier with this nib than any other ink I used in the pen. While the ink was only in the pen a couple of days it flushed out easily. The Monteverde Impressa also had the ink for a couple of days This pen is a wet fine nib, All inks cling to the convertor in this pen and the GvFC Garnet Red was no different. But unlike the Aspen the flow was good until the ink level became low at which point it needed help saturating the feed. Like the other pens, the ink flushed easily from this pen. Like every other ink it was necessary to take apart the convertor to remove all traces of the ink. I gave the ink a try in my Pelikan M101N “Lizard” SE. Flow was good, without the problems I had with a convertor since it’s a piston filler. Flow was good and the line was dark despite being an extra fine nib. The ink was easy to flush from the piston filler without needing to remove the nib,