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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Is it dangerous? My 2 cents on Noodlers ink...

First off, I think you should all know that I've set a goal for this next week (20th - 26th). I am going to do 1 blog post a day, on both of my blogs! After the week, I will see how this went, and gauge from there on how often I can manage to normally post. I really want to blog more often, so this has become more of a priority for me. I'm thinking of alternating every other day, between my two blogs. That'd be one post a day, but only one post every other day on each of the blogs, being that there's two of them. So, wish me luck! Onto the main point of this post:

I often get asked via email, or on the forum at FPN, whether or not I think Noodlers ink is dangerous. Today I would like to give my 2 cents on this issue, for all who care to listen. :)

I'll keep it short, but to the point. And guys, let's keep the comments kind and respectful to each other. I know this can be a controversial subject, but I don't want to have to close the comments. I will though if I feel that things are getting out of hand.

Anyway, let's jump right into the article!

"Is Noodlers ink dangerous for my fountain pen?"

I can easily answer this in three words: Yes and no. :)

But that's not a very definitive answer, so obviously a little background is in order.

The first ink I ever purchased was Noodlers. The color was Luxury Blue - an oddly speckled-pale blue color from their "Eternal" line of inks. I used this ink for almost an entire year, before I finally began looking into other inks. Next ink I purchased was Noodlers, again. Navajo Turquoise (reviewed here - I love this ink).

After this, I began discovering other brands. I tried Diamine, MontBlanc, Iroshizuku, and Private Reserve. There might be more, but I can't remember them all.

After all this time, I had still been consistently using Noodlers ink, always having at least one pen inked with it. For an entire year I kept a Parker 51 loaded with Noodlers ink, and I can safely say that it never suffered  any damage whatsoever. Indeed, even in later years when I learned to repair pens, I took this one apart. It had no damage.

So, what's the point of this all? Well, this my background. The point of this is very important. Here's the punch-line: No matter what ink I used, or use, my pens never suffer from any ill effects.

So then, was I just lucky? Absolutely not. There is a good reason why none of my pens were ever harmed by ink. 

It's called cleanliness. That word right there holds the key to the lasting function of your fountain pen. Without good pen hygiene, I believe that any ink can damage a pen.

Want proof? Take a look at these:

What you're seeing here is a Pelikan M200 nib, from which the gold plating has been "melted" off, and "glued" to the feed. Believe me when I say that cleaning this feed was one heck of a job! There was no Noodlers ink involved in this incident. What there was however, was ink left in sitting in a pen for to long. I strongly believe that this is the #1 cause of chemically melted feeds and pens.

Here's another shot, showing that gold plating, and how it transferred.

Now take a look at this: See that chunk of "something", sitting right where that thin tube goes into the feed? That's a moldy ink accumulation. Once again, caused by a pen having ink left in it for to long. The nib itself is also stained very badly.

Now here is an example of how ink can be wrongly accused. This pen was filled with an Iroshizuku ink. These inks are supposedly one of the safer brands. So what went wrong? It turns out that it had nothing to do with the ink. When I first saw this (a melted twisted vac-diaphragm), I immediately assumed it was the ink. After some questioning however, I was convinced otherwise. This is actually the result of a faulty vacumatic diaphragm. The ink is not responsible in any way. So there you go - even I have accidentally accused an ink wrongly! :)

The bottom line
Here's my ultimate thought: Keep your pens clean! I personally believe that (disregarding the obvious - no India ink! one can use any ink in any pen, as long as you keep it clean. This means that every time you're ready to change inks, flush that pen out good! If you're wondering how to get a pen really clean, you're in luck, as I am going to post a little mini-tutorial on how to really get your pens clean. I'll put a link here as soon as I get it posted.

Also, anytime you want to use a more "clog-prone" ink (Bulletproof inks, permanent inks, etc.), I recommend flushing every fill, even if you're not changing colors. This will ensure that your pen will remain in the best of health.

I hope that this answers the question "what do you think of Noodlers inks?". I love them, and I see no reason not to use them. Just keep cleanliness in mind, and you won't have to worry about what inks you're using!

Remember to subscribe to the blog, especially this week, as we jump start my new routine with a post every day!

This post has been written to "supplement" my other post "Clean your pens!". If you want to read more into this subject, I recommend looking at that.

Tyler Dahl

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