I am by no means an ink specialist, nor do I play one on television. I'm just a girl that likes to use a fountain pen, play with inks, and share my findings.
It all started with this.
It's a Lamy Safari showing a major amount of nib-creep and crystallization with Diamine's Pumpkin ink. This is an extreme example most likely caused by my priming the converter a little too far, and then letting the pen sit. If I wipe the nib, I can get most of it off, but a line down the top of the nib does re-appear when I write. A future review will be written about this ink, which I happen to absolutely love.
As I sit here at my computer, there are several bottles of ink on my desk waiting to be reviewed and I happen to take notice of sediment developing at the top of one of my 30ml plastic bottles of Diamine. This shot shows the sediment in the bottom of one of the bottles. I believe it's the Pumpkin.
Then I start to wonder, because I've never really noticed sediment in any of my inks before and I wonder if it might have something to do with the plastic bottles as all three of my plastic bottle Diamine inks (Maroon, Poppy Red, and Pumpkin) have sediment in them.
So I grab my glass bottle of Diamine Imperial Purple and low and behold, more sediment. Lots & lots actually, and it happens to look very reddish in color.
I spend a lot of time over on The Fountain Pen Network and I've always read that you aren't supposed to shake yer ink. That sediment is bad, and that it could do horrible nasty things to your pens. That ink is supposed to be made up of particles in suspension...
Maybe this is why some people say that their inks don't look the same as other people's. If I didn't shake this ink, I would think that it would be leaning more towards blue than red.
Image above is after I shook the heck out of the bottle. Sediment gone!
Curious if this sediment issue was evident in inks other than Diamine, I decide to conduct an experiment that consists of me turning over several different brands of ink and seeing if there is any sediment in bottom of the bottle.
I checked about 6 bottles of Herbin ink and I found very little to any sediment in any of the bottles. I noticed a little bit in the Eclat de Saphir and Bleu Pervenche.
Checked two bottles of Sailor ink - no sediment at all.
Checked three bottles of Noodlers. Sediment in all three. Red-Black was the worst, Squeteague the least. BP Black had some.
All of my Diamine has sediment - Purple & Pumpkin being the worst and Maroon the least.
Curious & Curiouser.
The lack of sediment in the Sailor inks got me thinking. Those are some of the smoothest flowing inks I own, but open the bottle and take a whiff and the chemical smell will almost knock you over. Perhaps there is an additive to better keep the ink particulates in suspension.
Herbin inks either have just a plain "ink" smell, or they have a nice sweetness about them.
The Diamine inks all smell like seawater with a very slight mustiness. Not unpleasant at all.
The Noodler's Red-Black & Bulletproof Black only had an inky smell, where when I smelled the Squeteague, I got knocked over with a super strong ammonia smell that stayed in my nose for about an hour. (Reminder - don't smell that ink again or put it in the giveaway box.)
So what does this all conclude? I have no idea. These are all highly respected ink companies, and I just can't imagine that they wouldn't thoroughly test their products before putting them to market. Fountain pen inks are water based and unlike India Inks and Calligraphy inks, do not contain shellac that can bind to the inside of a fountain pen and destroy the feed. In theory, FP inks should all be able to be flushed from a pen using plain water. Though I am well aware of certain inks by certain manufactures that have a higher probability of staining than others - but IMHO, staining is different than clogging.
I appologize in advance if this post is leaving you with more questions than answers. It just all got me thinking...
I keep getting e-mails from people if they can use one kind of ink or another in their fountain pen and I don't really know how to answer them. I would think that if it said fountain pen ink on the label, that it should be safe - BUT - it's ultimately your decision on what inks to put in your pens. Do your research, ask questions, and ultimately remember, YMMV. (Your mileage may vary. )