Burn Notice: the Pilot Frixion ball pen

May 22, 2011 § 9 Comments

Pilot Frixion ball - the ink is meant to be erasable by friction

So here’s one of those writing supplies that drive me nuts.

It’s a Pilot Frixion (ball-)pen. It’s supposed to be erasable with the help of that little silicon point. And it actually is. Now everything would be dandy if that ink wouldn’t be erasable by any kind of heat just as well:

Erasing the ink of a Pilot Fricion ball pen by heat

Faster than friction erasing

By the way, please use your lighter beneath the sheet of paper instead above or even better don’t do it that way at all, I just did it that way to get a nicer photo ;).

It’s enough if you just leave your piece of paper upon your heating or use your hairdryer to make the ink disappear.

So whatever you do with them never ever use them for signing important documents.

Yet in case you already wrote something with it and the ink disappeared magically, there’s a simple resolution to it: put the piece of paper into your refrigerator for a couple of minutes. The ink will reappear. It will be more faded in color, yet still readable.

I tried to emulate the refrigerator with an ice cube for the sake of a nice photo again, but it didn’t work just as good.

Don't use ice, just put it into the refrigerator for a couple of minutes ;)

First painting in a long time

April 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Crane's Nest, 20 cm x 20 cm, acrylics on canvas

This has to be my fist painting in about 3 months or maybe longer. Well, okay, I did paint smaller paintings, but mainly into my sketchbook with WC pencils or with gouache, but I did not really paint on a canvas for a very long time.

It’s an acrylic painting and the truth is I cannot handle acrylics anymore. After painting with oil colors for over a year I’ve grown so used to them that it feels awkward to paint with acrylics. They’re so fast drying (and mind you I used the Interactives and the Golden Open which both already have a prolonged open time compared to normal acrylic colors!) and they just don’t blend as well as oil colors do. Seems the only good thing about them for me is that now I don’t have to wait for months until I can varnish them and I also don’t have to worry about finding a space in my rather small studio where I can leave them to dry, as the painting is already dry to the touch now, only three hours later.

I’m determined to switch to oil color from now on. Yet I still have a huge pile of acrylic colors so I’ll try to use them up as soon as possible. Guess I will have to finish a couple more acrylic paintings in the next days.

My problem with J. Herbin’s inks

August 28, 2010 § 3 Comments

Did I mention before that I actually like J. Herbin inks? Well, I certainly do. They have a fairly wide range of colors at an acceptable price. What I like less about them is that some of their colors are just too pale to be usable in fountain pens.

Pens used in this picture were a dip pen/shorthand nib and a Lamy/ M nib.

A sample of three different J. Herbin inks

Time for a little blog cleaning

August 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

IN my neverending endeavors to make this blog simpler to navigate and easier to read I’ve once again changed the theme. “Simpla” was already nice and clean, but I think that “Oulipo” is even more so.

Also I’m currently checking all the links in order to replace or delete the broken ones.

My tiny ink collection

August 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

For some strange reasons folks tend to believe that someone who collects pens would also have a large collection of inks. So they sometimes would approach me and ask my opinion on different sorts of brands and their colors and most of the time I would have to tell them that I’m really sorry, but I haven’t ever tried one single bottle of that ink.

Since I use my pens mostly for writing, I prefer dark colors that are clearly and easy visible to the eye, mainly colors like blue and black and some dark reds and purples just for the fun of it. When sketching I work with lightfast and waterproof blacks only. So there’s no need for other colors, because they will end up dried and unused.

Well, here is my small ink collection, the ones I currently keep in my desk shelf.

Jansen / De Atramentis "Bordeaux" - ink made of red wine

Okay, I guess it’s obvious why I just had to get that bottle, right ;)?!! When I first heard of ink made of real wine I was very curious to try it. It’s a nice dark red color, once dried it reminds me a little bit of blood colorwise. And it really does have a nice faint smell of red wine.

Herbin "Opera rose" and "Bouquet d'Antan"

And even more reds. “Opera Rose” and “Bouquet d’Antan” by Herbin. Lovely colors, lovely flow, but I don’t use them too often. I hope they will last me a couple of years.

Rohrer & Klingner "Scabiosa" and "Salix"

Rohrer & Klingner iron/gall-nut inks “Scabiosa” and “Salix”. Iron/gall-nut inks are not supposed to be used a long time in a fountain pen, because those inks are known to clog up. As long as you clean your pen after using you should be fine though, at least I never had any problems even after leaving those inks for a few weeks in my pens. “Scabiosa” is an interesting color. It’s a pale purplish rose if you use it in a fountain pen, but it will look like a grayish violet if you use it with a dip pen. “Salix” is a pale blue.

Private Reserve Ink "Black Magic Blue"

Private Reserve “Black Magic Blue” is my favourite blue ink for writing. In my oppinion it’s the very essence of a dark blue. Deep in chroma and dark, without being grayish and with a shade of ultramarine/purple. Love it.

Pelikan 4001 "Royal Blue" and "Brilliant Black"

Pelikan “Royal Blue” and “Brilliant Black”, my old schoolmates. I don’t use them too often anymore. When writing black I nowadays prefer the waterproof inks and when writing blue I prefer darker blues. Also I’ve noticed that those ink erasable blue inks tend to fade with time, be careful when using them and don’t use them for important documents.

Mont Blanc "Blue Black"

Mont Blanc “Blue Black” was one of my first dark blues, however it is far too grayish for my liking. I clearly prefer the Private Reserve dark blues over it. Also I’ve heard some rumours that this particular ink would be a iron/gall-nut ink as well. Anyway, the design of the bottle is neat as it’s helpfull to use up all the ink up to the last drop. Once the ink is finished (or more likely all dried up, because I scarcely use it ;) ) I’m going to reuse this bottle for my other inks.

Pelikan "Fount India" and Noodler's "Bulletproof Black"

Finally my drawing inks, Pelikan “Fount India” and Noodler’s “Black”. Both of them can be used in pens, the Pelikan “Fount India” has a slightly better flow, yet the ink tends to bleed more into the paper than the Noodler’s “Black” does. So optically you always end up with a line that seems to be bolder when drawing with Fount India. Hence I prefer Noodler’s for the finer details. Both are waterproof, yet I’d advise you to make a first try on a scrap piece of paper.

EDIT: oh yeah, I forgot about color samples, but I’m sure you’d like some ;)

Comparison of different inks

Comparison of different inks, written with a dip pen

One more note, all these samples were written with a dip pen which causes some of the colors to look darker than if they were written with a regular fountain pen. For instance the first color “Bordeaux” looks almost like a dark brown in this sample, when written with a fountain pen it will look more like a dark red though.

Another way to change a Lamy nib

August 23, 2010 § 1 Comment

It has been brought to my attention that there are a few people who do not dare to use the pen cap for changing the nibs, because they are afraid that this method could ruin their nibs. Please rest assured that as long as you don’t exert too much force while pushing the cap onto the nib nothing bad will happen.

Anyway, for those who prefer a method other than using the pen cap or their fingers for pulling off the nib, here is the tape method.

Yet, please let me state beforehand that I do not recommend this method. Some tapes don’t adhere well enough to the nib to get it off, especially if you haven’t cleaned off the ink properly, whereas other tapes are horribly sticky and tend to leave glue residue on your nib. Be careful, if this residue gets into the part of the ink flowing system of your nib it will be ruined.

The right way to use sticky tape would be to cut a piece to this length, like illustrated in the picture below. Most tapes will be wider than that, so you might have to cut the tape in half. Gently clean the nib and make sure there isn’t any ink (or water if you have just cleaned your pen) on the nib before applying the tape. Then pull gently on the tape until the nib slides off.

How to apply tape to a Lamy nib

The right way to apply tape

What not to do:

Don’t apply the tape over the ink flowing part of the nib. That would be the parts I’ve marked red in the following picture:

Stay away with anything sticky where marked red

In the best case the ink therein will spread under the tape causing it not to stick to the nib, yet in the worst case glue residue from the sticky tape might clog up your ink flow. And believe me, it’s very difficult to get glue out of a nib, most likely you will have to get a new one.

Additional information on the Lamy nibs

April 26, 2010 § 2 Comments

Boring title, I know.

Yet I’ve promised a little update to the Lamy nibs and to answer some questions I have been asked repeatedly.

Lamy nibs old - new

Lamy nibs - from old to new

What you can see in this picture are three different kind of nibs. The oldest one is on the left, the newest one on the right.

The one on the left is about ten years old it was a default nib that came with one of my pens. As you can see there is no indication of size on it. It also lacks the Lamy logo. The nibs that came as default some years ago would not have any size indicated on them. (Nowadays they all have.) So if you bought a new Lamy pen back then, you needed to pay attention to the little sticky on the pen which would tell you what size the nib was or ask the seller to give you a pen with your prefered nib size. If you lost that sticker, don’t remember that information anymore or have bought the pen second-hand, there is no way to find out which size it is. You could try to compare it to other nibs if you happen to have some ready, of course, but other than that there’s no way to find the answer to this question I’m afraid .

In the middle you can see a nib that is approximately 5 years old, it still is completely black whereas the newest type of nib (as seen on the right) comes with a silvery shining tip. I’ve placed the tip of the latter on a darker background so that you can spot the difference easier.  (Sorry for the glare, I will get me a decent photo equipment soon.)

Sometimes people wonder whether the newer dark nibs are made of a different material, because they have that lighter tip, but I don’t think so. My guess is that the difference is just caused by a new/different way of producing those nibs. However, purely from the esthetic point of view I admit that I also prefer the old nibs that were all black ;).

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