What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements


Posted by Dirck on 26 October, 2010

Not only is it wordplay, but it has the jolly semi-ethnic tone of something from the mouth of Boris Badenov.  Who was argueably inspired by Peter Lorre (in my mind, if not in fact), which gives us the Hallowe’en connection for the day.

Yesterday I mentioned a hesitation in recommending Wancher inks, and apparently put at least one person into a holding pattern through doing so.  This misgiving is not solely founded in the potential for humourous (to the UK-English speaker) mispronunciation.  It is rather founded upon the characteristics of the ink itself.  To be blunt, it is somewhat given to feathering on the sort of cheap paper one most generally brushes up against in the course of the day.  I find I am in opposed in this declaration by a review on the blog which initially inspired me to try the stuff in the first place, and they are not substantially worse in this respect than Herbin inks, but I view this as the great failing of the Herbin line so being only marginally moreso is hardly a virtue in my eyes.

In addition to feathering, I find they tend to show through paper rather more than others.  In my first trial, I was using a paper which I generally consider proof against this sort of behaviour, and found that I dared not use both sides.  Switching to a 100% cotton paper which is not only double-proof against show-through but indeed nearly proof against ink altogether (I can really only use my wettest pens on it), I discovered a final downside with which the previously-linked reviewer agrees– on paper it can’t plunge through, the stuff takes an age to dry.  I wrote out a page, turned it over to write out the back, and found that the sheet beneath now had a ghost of the entire previous page upon it.  I could understand had it just been the last few lines, but this was the whole page, bottom to top.  A very old-school ink in this, as this is the sort of behaviour that prompted the invention of the desk blotter.

Having said these nasty things, I’m actually still going to recommend the ink, with caveats.  Coming from east Asia as it does, it is probably optimized for very fine and reasonably stiff pens, and I’ve run it through broader or flexible ones in discovering the excesses.  In a fine pen, and with a little care, they’re very pleasant colours in very useful bottles, and they cost very little… if you buy more than one.  Shipping was the majority of the cost for the four bottles I got, and it’s the same whether you get one or several.  One bottle, nominally costing $3.50, would cost a North American purchaser about the same as one of something like the new Pelikan Edelstein boutique inks, while four are still pleasantly inexpensive.  I’m not sure how many one might get before they’re forced to ask for more shipping money, but as they’re 50ml bottles one will last a while.

I mentioned yesterday that you can find them on eBay, but there is also a website which happily explains the names of the colours.  The one I haven’t tried is the black, since even before I started on this rainbow of inks kick I’m on I might make a bottle of black last a decade.  I expect it’s a black ink, possibly even a black ink.  I shrug and dismiss it.  I may come back and edit in some pictures of the stuff, as I’d foolishly hoped to have ready for today, but given my record of following through on such things in the past, you’d best not hold your collective breath.

As an afterthought, I throw out a lifeline to the poor person who hit this site with several variations of a search seeking direction on how to fill an Eversharp Skyline– work the lever several times in slow rhythm, stopping when bubbles no longer rise as it’s pulled away from the body.  All but the earliest models have a breather tube, so the filling style is more like that of a bulb-filler or a Vacumatic than a regular lever-filling pen.

Today’s not-very-wet pen: Reform 1745
Today’s on-topic ink:  Wancher Matcha

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