Ink Notes: Diamine Registrar's

Diamine Registrar's ink bottle and pen

Diamine Registrar’s turns my current iron gall ink obsession into a hat trick. According to the internet the ink’s name comes from it’s formula being mandated for use at Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the UK. I assume the permanence provided by the iron gall is the reason for the mandate.
Iron gall inks bond to the paper as they dry giving them an archival quality. At least until the iron gall eats away the paper in a few centuries. Like other modern iron gall inks I don’t consider these inks dangerous for my pens. My rule of thumb is that I keep the ink in the pen as long as it’s used regularly or to flush the pen after two weeks if it’s not used regularly.
The ink comes in two bottle sizes, a 30 ml bottle and a 100 ml bottle. The 30 ml bottle puts the ink at a rather expensive $0.52/ml. The 100 ml bottle is a more reasonable $0.30/ml but it’s still more expensive than the R & K iron gall inks which are $0.24/ml. The 100 ml bottle is plastic and intended as a refill. Filling directly from it would be a huge pain and probably result in spilled ink. I poured mine into a TWSBI bottle as shown in the photos.
While I like the R & K Scabiosa color more, the Diamine Registrar’s has a certain charm to it and the ink is extremely well behaved. It goes onto the paper with a true blue color (although that depends a bit on the paper) which I’m not particularly fond of. But as it dries it darkens to a nice blue-black, or a greyish-black with some nibs and paper.
The ink goes onto the paper with a true blue color which has some nice shading if wider nibs are used. Wide nib or thin nib the ink quickly darkens as it dries and the shading is less pronounced or vanishes completely. The change is quick which is some of the attraction. When I start writing a new line I like the pronounced color difference from the line above. If I write quickly I can see color differences between each of the last three or for lines. Very cool. Additional time results in even more darkening. The ink seems to darken completely overnight, at least as far as my eye can detect. To be honest, changes aren’t noticeable to my eye after about an hour unless I do side by side comparisons.
The dry time with my preferred thin nibs is very good and much better than the R&K iron gall inks. Accidental smudges were non-existent. The ink does dry slower on smoother papers such as Rhodia but the dry time is still acceptable. The dry time does increase significantly with any nib above a medium.
I like my nibs and inks on the dry side and Diamine Registrar’s fits that bill. I didn’t have any flow problems, skipping or hard starts. This ink is very well behaved.
Feathering was non-existent on any paper I used and there wasn’t any bleed-through. There was some show through with nibs and paper prone to such things. But my typical pads and papers didn’t have any problems. Notebooks and paper with which I routinely write on both sides were just fine with this ink. There wasn’t any show-through to bother me on that second side.
The ink is very water poof. I let the ink dry 24 hours and there was even a trace of the ink dye in the water when I poured water on the paper and wiped it off.
Cleaning this ink was easily accomplished by just flushing water through the pen. To be fair, none on my pens had the ink more than a week which isn’t long enough to dry out or stain.

Pens Used

My TWSBI Vac 700 was the test pen for this ink. Fine, extra fine, medium, broad, and 1.1 mm stub italic nibs were used. There’s not much to say here. All wrote well and cleaned easily. The extra fine nib was the one used as my daily writer for a couple of days.

Wrapping Up

There’s something about Diamine Registrar’s that makes attracts me to it more so than the R & K inks. By drying faster it’s more suitable for note taking and I like the color it has when it dries (the original color – not so much). I’m also intrigued by the final color being different depending on the paper. I’ll use this ink more than R & K Salix.  Diamine Registrar’s tops my list of iron gall inks and takes the slot as my permanent/waterproof ink of choice.

Additional Reading

FPN thread
Seize the Dave

Ink Notes: Rohrer & Klingner Salix

Rohrer & Klingner Salix bottle

I’ve been on a bit of an iron gall ink recently, using it in several pens so far this month. I reviewed Rohrer & Klingner’s other iron gall ink, Scabiosa, last week. I’m not a fan of blue inks but Salix has proven to be an exception.
Iron gall inks bond with the paper as they dry so they’re considered archival and they’re also waterproof. After drying about a day a little of the dye washed off but it was very minimal and the writing was still easy to read. The downside is that iron gall tends to corrode metal over time. So it’s not an ink to be left sitting in a pen for weeks on end. I tend to set a two week limit but will go longer if the pen is used regularly, meaning almost every day.
R & K Salix goes onto the paper as a true blue, especially in a wet nib, and darkens as it dries. When dry it leans towards being a blue-black which is more to my liking. I also enjoy the effect of writing a full page and seeing some color variation between the top of the page and the bottom.
I didn’t experience any feathering or bleed-through, even on cheap copy paper. There was show through especially with thinner paper or wetter nibs.
I had significantly fewer smudging problems with Salix than I did with Scabiosa. Drying time is reasonable although I wouldn’t call it fast. Dry times between Doane and Rhodia were comparable rather than the expected longer times with Rhodia.
Rohrer & Klingner Salix is a blue ink I like and it will be a frequent ink in my pens.

Additional Reading

Ink Notes: Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa

Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa bottle

Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa is one of two R & K iron gall inks, the other being Salix. Scabiosa is a family of flowering plants that often has purple flowers so it’s no surprise this is a purple ink. These modern iron gall inks are a lot milder than iron gall inks in the age of vintage pens, with a lower acid content.
Generally speaking, iron gall can corrode nibs and other metals, steel quicker than gold. Despite being milder I’ve read that R&K still recommends flushing the ink weekly. I tend to give the ink two weeks in a pen before flushing it as long as the pen is used regularly during that period and doesn’t sit unused. While it’s true to say I haven’t had any corrosion or other problems I haven’t used the ink very long in any one pen and it’s not like the nibs would dissolve on contact. In days of olde, iron gall inks were used regularly and had a higher acid content so I’m not too concerned. I am paranoid about forgetting and letting the ink sit in the unused pen for a couple of months so I do add a calendar item to flush the pen after two weeks.
Iron gall inks are considered archival since the ink bonds with the paper and is waterproof which is what has me looking at them. Although in theory the iron gall could eat away the paper after a few centuries, so nothing is forever. Iron gall inks tend to darken over time as the ink oxidizes and Scabiosa is no different.
Scabiosa goes onto the paper as a nice shade of purple and darkens over time. There is quit a bit of darkening as the ink first dries. I didn’t get any shading to speak of with thin nibs. With wider nibs there was some nice shading as the ink went onto the paper but it became less pronounced as the ink dried and darkened.
Other reviewers have said drying time is pretty good and quicker than Salix. I found the Salix drying time is comparable to Scabiosa and slower with some nibs/paper. As for the speed, I had annoying smudging problems with this ink on a consistent basis and had to be careful. The drying time isn’t all that long with my typical thin nibs but I still had the smudging problems. It seemed the ink went from wet to dry in a second, but it spent the previous 7 seconds figuring out how to dry and stayed very wet during that time. This was especially true on Rhodia paper.
Dry times on Doane paper were actually slower that Rhodia, but I had fewer smudging problems. It may have taken 10 to 12 seconds to dry on Doane paper, but in less than half that time it was mostly dry. For example, after 7 seconds on Rhodia a careless smudge would make a word unreadable. On Doane I could try and smudge the ink after 5 seconds and it would streak and I’d get a little on my finger, but the word would be completely readable.
I didn’t experience any bleed-through, even on cheap copy paper. There was some show-through with thick nibs on the cheap copy paper once the ink dried and darkened, but not on any other paper I used. Feathering wasn’t noticeable on any paper except the cheap copy paper, again with a think wet nib.
As expected the ink is waterproof. Some of the dye has smeared but there’s no problem at all reading the what was written.
I really like this ink and it will be a regular. I enjoy the bright purple that goes onto the paper as I write and yet it darkens to a business appropriate color. Plus it’s permanent and will survive my spilled coffee.

Additional Reading

Reviewed on the FPGeeks forum
Reviewed on
Reviewed on FPN