In a follow on to my previous post on how to do ink reviews I think I have now come to a decision on how to do them. It will be interesting to see in a few years time how they have changed.

I have decided that I will keep to my original plans of different reviews for covering a brand and the individual inks. The former are likely to be lighter in content and could vary in time, after all I could find myself with only a few weeks to cover a large number of samples. My aim will be to give an indication of the different colours using swabs on both a comparison sheet and individual Col-o-ring cards. This will allow me to show variations in colours and a little writing.

With individual inks I will look to do a number of samples of writing on different types of paper using different pens. In addition I will compare the Col-o-ring card swabs with similar inks. I will probably also do some form of wetness and drying tests. Nothing too original alas, but hopefully still slightly different.

So on to the tools.

For both:

Col-o-ring Test Book cards. All my swab tests are on these so I have consistency (or as consitent as I can get). The method I have always used is to write the brand and ink name using a glass dip pen (from J. Herbin, with the tip lightly smoothed). The ink is then applied using a cotton bud, a second time on the lower 3/4s of the area, then a third time for the lower half, and finally a fourth time for the bottom quarter. This should give an indication of what you will see for different wetness of nibs. Is it the best way ? Well I have several times thought of other ways to do the swab tests, but it is now too late. Additionally, some of my cards have blots on them. I find the card stock used by the Well Appointed Desk does not show much sheen when the ink is applied with cotton wool buds, so when it is a sheening ink I will pool some ink on a clear area to allow the sheen to come through. Additionally I will occasionally add a writing sample.

Cotton buds. The normal ones you get from the baby sections of supermarkets.

For group tests:

I have created a template which will allow up to 16 inks to be show alongside each other at a time. I might alter it to remove the top left sample zone, allowing a dedicated spot for the ink maker and brand (if applicable). I only thought of this after completing the sheet for the first review.

For the individual tests:

Four pens and a converter. Sounds almost like a romcom film title. Was interesting trying to decide what to use as it needed to be pens I was unlikely to sell, but at the same time ones not used much. Part of my psyche is I do not like to waste ink, so do not want to empty a pen out just to run a test through it. In addition I realised that if all the pens use the same converter then I could just do the one ink fill between the group. Hope this works. The selected pens represent a mix of nib sizes, makes, and grinds and are:

  • Franklin-Christoph 451 CDLI with a size #5 Franklin-Christoph/Jowo nib ground for F-C by Mike Masuyama into a Needlepoint. This will both show what a very fine line will look like, but also is a dryer nib.
  • Pelikan Pelikano. This comes with Pelikan’s own starter nib, so wet and of a medium size.
  • OMAS 360 GM with a broad nib. Wet and smooth, the nib in the GM pen was made by Bock on behalf of OMAS, but using OMAS tooling and alloy mix. Size wise this nib is actually slightly smaller than those found on the other OMAS fountain pens of the time and the ones now produced by ScriBo.
  • Franklin Christoph Model 19 ‘1911’ with a size #6 Franklin-Christoph/JoWo broad nib with a (Jim Rouse) SIG grind. A good nib to show character.

Assorted paper. This will change over time but hopefully I will have one type that can show sheen and one that does not. Presently it will be Oxford Optik and Midori MD.

Wish me luck and patience 😀

Oh and also with the writing samples please note that my hand writing has always been rather poor…