Ink Notes: Graf von Faber-Castell Stone Grey

Graf von Faber-Castell ink bottle

Graf von Faber-Castell recently updated their line of inks with six new colors in gorgeous new bottles. I’ve only seen the inks available from two places – in the US from Pen Boutique and in the UK from Cult Pens. The ink is $30 per 75ml bottle at Pen Boutique which puts it firmly in the luxury category although it doesn’t seem as bad when priced per milliliter. At 40 cents per ml it’s well below the 64 cents per ml for Caran d’ Ache’s new inks and Pilot Iroshizuku’s 56 cents per ml. Both those inks are even more expensive when comparing their list prices.

The Graf von Faber-Castell Stone Grey ink is “Document Safe” according to Faber-Castell. This means it’s not visible on the back of standard paper, non-correctable, not removable without traces, UV resistant and resistant to water and solvents.

The ink leaves the pen on the black side of grey and lightens a bit as it dries. On white paper, such as the Rhodia Dotpad or my Black and Red Notebook, the ink stays on the black side of grey even after it lightens up. On slightly off-white paper, such as my Doane Paper Jotter, they ink is a more muted grey. It shades a bit and provides some nice variation.

The ink is a little on the dry side, but I like my inks this way so it’s not a problem. In my thin nibs it’s dries fairly fast, about 5 seconds. It can be smudged for 20 seconds or longer with broad nibs. I found it interesting that dry time was about the same on both Rhodia and Doane papers. The ink lives up to it’s waterproof claim and I didn’t detect any show-through on the papers as used.

The ink was easy to flush from my pens although it was only in there for a day so that’s really not a good test. It will be in my Pelikan for awhile (until it runs out) and I’ll update these notes if it’s anything but easy to flush.

I like this ink and it will compete with my Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun as a standard grey ink in my rotation.

Pens Used

It wrote well in my TWSBI Vac 700 with extra fine, fine, medium and broad nibs for the writing samples. It was also easy to clean from the nibs and pen.

I used my Pelikan 101N with this ink as my daily writer, mostly as a note taker. As expected, the flow was consistent and problem free. After sitting uncapped and unused for just over six minutes it did write immediately, but with a thin line at first. It wrote normally at the 5 minute mark.

Writing Samples

(Click the images to show full size.)

Ink Notes: Private Reserve Gray Flannel

Photo of PR Gray Flannel and TWSBI Vac 700

I bought this bottle of Private Reserve Gray Flannel back in May 2004. The ink seems to have aged well but take its age into account for this review.

Blues aren’t my favorite inks, but I tend to like grays and Gray Flannel is a blueish-gray. But there are reasons I used less than 1/3 bottle in 9 years. It’s a middle of the road ink, nothing really bad about it, nothing truly great. The color is darker than other grays and there’s some shading and line variation but I think it’s unexciting. I prefer thin nibs on the dry side and this isn’t a ink for them. It may have better shading with wider, wetter nibs.

Even though the ink dried in 5 or 6 seconds with an extra fine nib it’s a slow drier, taking considerably longer with wider nibs. While being used as a daily writer with my medium nib I had to be careful to avoid accidental smudges. The ink appears dry when it goes on the paper, but it’s not, and the line size is true to the nib.

The ink is well behaved, no noticeable feathering with my typical Rhodia and Doane papers. There was some minor feathering with the 1.1 mm stub on cheap copy paper. I didn’t have any flow problems, skipping or hard starts with the ink. I could leave the Faber-Castell medium nib uncapped and unused for about two minutes before having problems with it writing. While not waterproof, the ink has good water resistance, at least I can read what was written.

The ink was easy to clean. Once flush with the bulb syringe and all traces were removed. I also didn’t have any problems cleaning the Vac 700 where inks can sometimes find a crevice that takes some time to clean out.

Pens Used

I used my Faber-Castell E-motion with a medium nib as my primary writer for a couple of days. This is one of the smoother nibs I have. There weren’t any issues with the ink. The line seemed thinner than other, wetter inks, much closer to the size of the nib. It felt like a dry writer, but as I mentioned drying was longer than other inks. It never came close to skipping. The pen could stay uncapped and unused for about 2 minutes before the ink evaporated off the nib.

I tested with my range of TWSBI Vac 700 nibs – extra fine, fine, medium, broad and 1.1 mm stub. The writing samples are in the gallery. The wider nibs resulted in a darker line, closer to black, especially on the whiter Rhodia paper.