Author Topic: Finding Kosher black ink  (Read 4498 times)

Offline bleair

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Finding Kosher black ink
« on: November 30, 2016, 06:02:18 PM »
This might be a bit unusual of a question but, does anyone know of a source for kosher black ink?


From a one day workshop we had used kosher ink. It dried on the paper with a deep rich almost glossy black. It looks really nice.


I've done some searches online and even found a few recipes for making the ink (it looks like a specific type of iron gall ink.) I most certainly do not mean to be disrespectful or sacrilegious in any way. 

Offline prasad

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2016, 03:26:37 AM »
This is basically iron gall ink but with logwood added during the making.

If I am not mistaken, reason it's called Kosher, is because only black is allowed as a colour to be written on the Torah. No other colours. And it had to remain black always, could not fade out quickly. 

Iron gall was used because of its archival properties. It works well even without logwood.

Technically any black non- fading ink is Kosher. In the olden days, this was found only as iron gall. Hence the reference to iron gall as kosher.
Prasad
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 03:31:17 AM by prasad »
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2016, 06:21:53 AM »
I haven't researched this, but if Prasad says it's iron gall with logwood that's good enough for me.

The practice of adding logwood extract has a long history, and obsessive ink fanciers can find documentation of experiments dating back to the mid 18th century if that's what floats their boat.  It's interesting stuff, because although it's commonly referred to as a dye, it is in fact reactive upon contact with oxygen, and also, significantly, with iron.  The advantages of adding it to ink are improved intensity of colour and permanence.

This, of course, is all very well but not especially helpful if you're just looking for something superior in which to dip your pen.   As far as I know there is only one ink of this type in production, namely Brian Walker's Copperplate Ink.  When I say "in production", that might be putting it a bit strong since there are only two people who make it, and that's on an as and when basis.  Still, it's generally available from either Scribblers or Penman Direct.

Is it any good?  Oh yes, incomparably so.  The glossiness you refer to is dependent on the choice of paper, but it's definitely there and the look is noticeably different from that of other iron gall inks.  That said, all IG inks work well for pointed pen, and the others are much easier to obtain outside the UK.  Another option if it's the appearance rather than the Kosher status which is important might be a high quality Japanese ink stick - but that may be an eye-wateringly expensive rabbit hole you'd prefer not to fall down.

Offline prasad

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2016, 09:43:24 AM »
If I  remember right, this is from the book you had posted on here about making of inks, Andy.
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 12:07:17 PM »
The technical bit is, yes.  Brian also adds indigo to his ink, which struck me as odd (why use two dyes?), until I read that about the logwood being reactive.  Apart from that, as I've said before it does help to have a colourant in an iron gall ink, because the more basic ones can be a bit ... invisible on high cotton papers until the tannins get to work.

Offline prasad

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 11:45:27 PM »
I have a friend who is into textile dyes.  All natural and vegetable dyes.
I managed to get some indigo from him and have made a batch of Iron gall with indigo. 
Another recipe from your Book of inks :) That is one really interesting read.

Its brewing right now and I should have it ready for trials in a week or so.
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2016, 06:49:01 AM »
Mmmm ... Brown Windsor Soup:)

I hope you'll be posting some pics of the results.

Offline prasad

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2016, 02:29:39 AM »
@AndyT

Mmmm ... Brown Windsor Soup:)

I hope you'll be posting some pics of the results.

Looks like Brown Windsor soup for sure and really smells bad.  Indigo has a nice stink to it :)

Did a small trial of it just now.  Have not added Gum Arabic to it yet, so its a bit watery but works great.  Its a kind of Purplish black shade.  Still getting a hang of making videos so the clip is a little shaky.


Will filter it to remove sediments later in the week.
-Prasad
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Offline Rednaxela

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2016, 11:27:06 AM »
Cool @prasad, love it!
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2016, 11:54:36 AM »
Looks like a resounding success already, Prasad: splendid work!  It's holding a tight line without gum, isn't it?  Reminds me a lot of Blots in terms of colour.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2016, 01:22:35 PM »
McCaffery makes an iron gall ink that dries glossy.

Paper & Ink Arts (referral link).

Search McCaffery's Gloss Black.

P.S. Very cool Prasad! I'm impressed!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 01:24:15 PM by Erica McPhee »
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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2016, 05:01:35 PM »
McCaffery makes an iron gall ink that dries glossy.

Paper & Ink Arts (referral link).

Search McCaffery's Gloss Black.

A word to the wise--this gloss black takes a long while to dry (I ruined some envelopes stacking them when I thought they had dried in the time the Penman's Black would dry, thinking it was penman's black). The two don't mix together well, either, having mixed them together to refill a half empty bottle of Penman's black--ruined it. I don't think the gloss black is an iron gall ink.

Michael? @JohnNealBooks

Offline prasad

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2016, 11:44:05 PM »
Cool @prasad, love it!

Thanks so much Alexander


P.S. Very cool Prasad! I'm impressed!

Thanks Erica :) all credit to this wonderful forum that gave me the information to make this.

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Offline prasad

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2016, 11:53:22 PM »
Looks like a resounding success already, Prasad: splendid work!  It's holding a tight line without gum, isn't it?  Reminds me a lot of Blots in terms of colour.

Thanks Andy.
Yes, it holds a great line.  But it's still a little watery, so a lot of ink is deposited when writing.  The physics of this is amazing.  Despite a pool of ink in the swell, it does not feather.  I think the Gum Arabic will give a  better flow (less ink on paper) and adhesion to the nib surface.  Not sure about this.

I will add the GA in about 2 or 3 days and repost the difference. 

-Prasad
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Offline JohnNealBooks

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Re: Finding Kosher black ink
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2016, 07:48:01 PM »
Hi @prasad, sorry for delay in responding, my iPad lost my FF password and I have been down with a nasty cold.

Only the original black McCaffery ink is iron gall.  The others were developed using ingredients that were ideal for the ink characteristics. 

Cheers!  --Michael