Author Topic: Homemade iron gall ink, anyone?  (Read 2328 times)

Offline Briana

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Homemade iron gall ink, anyone?
« on: April 30, 2015, 12:22:41 AM »
I posted this on IG but thought I'd put it out here, too!

I was on a job site yesterday and noticed little baubles all over a cluster of beautiful oak trees (that hopefully will survive construction)! I knew right away they were galls, and much to my boss' surprised, I started scooping them up. I got a few handfuls, and I'd love to attempt making iron gall ink...except I don't know how.

The internet has provided a few tips, but I thought you clever folks might have better recipes or suggestions. Has anyone made their own iron gall ink before?
Briana, aka Pickles 'N Vodka-- landscape designer, aspiring calligrapher, top-notch goofball
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Homemade iron gall ink, anyone?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2015, 05:39:58 AM »
I know a chemist who had great success with the Newton recipe, but I think she probably bought in Aleppo galls for the job.  I'm reliably informed that Blots follows the Palatino formula ... instructions for those brews are easy enough to find.  Brian Walker's ink is an improved version of a 19th century ink with added logwood and indigo: the formula is supposed to be a big secret but he's dropped quite a few hints!

My first port of call would be The Iron Gall Ink Website, which probably contains all the information you'll need.  For much more on the subject this book will keep you going.  I'm not saying that Mr Walker's recipe is in there - it's not - but all the information required to make a sophisticated ink with fairly low acidity is.

Offline prasad

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Re: Homemade iron gall ink, anyone?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2015, 09:05:14 AM »
Hi Briana,
I made some gall ink using the below recipie
Used Allepo galls though.

Grind galls into powder.
Take 1 heaped tablespoon and stir into 200 ml of warm water.
Heat the mixture (175-180F) don't let it boil, for 2 hours.
Transfer to glass container ( bottle or jar) and keep in warm place for at least 2 weeks. More the better
Warm is about 80-85F

Strain liquid into fresh clean container
Add Fe to it. About teaspoon. 
Add about teaspoon Gum Arabic (liquid) and test.
Add more GA to improve consistency.


I am not in town now. Will return Saturday and I'll post some writing colour samples.  :)

Happy mixing.
-Prasad
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Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: Homemade iron gall ink, anyone?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2015, 10:37:53 AM »
I've got a question, it may be silly but I really don't know: Are the wasp larvae still in there? Do you have to get the out before grinding the galls?
Natascha
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Offline prasad

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Re: Homemade iron gall ink, anyone?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2015, 10:52:15 AM »
I've got a question, it may be silly but I really don't know: Are the wasp larvae still in there? Do you have to get the out before grinding the galls?

There are 2 types of gall. The green ones don't have a hole in them and the wasp is still in them.
White galls have a small hole in them, where the wasp larva has gone out, and these are empty.  :)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 09:40:06 PM by prasad1970 »
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Offline AndyT

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Re: Homemade iron gall ink, anyone?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2015, 11:05:00 AM »
On a related subject, a certain somebody here made some very good walnut ink last year: here's the ingredients list:

walnut galls and whole walnuts, cloves, rusty metal, worms and water with an alcohol finish

So, it appears that the inclusion of the odd hapless invertebrate won't do much harm.  :)

Offline Briana

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Re: Homemade iron gall ink, anyone?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2015, 03:18:32 PM »
Thank you, guys! I hope there aren't any wasp larvae in mine...they've been sitting on my dresser for a week! Noodles loves to eat bugs so maybe she caught any stray ones ;)

I'll update everyone once I make a batch!
Briana, aka Pickles 'N Vodka-- landscape designer, aspiring calligrapher, top-notch goofball
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