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21
Broad Edge Pen Calligraphy / Mitchell Nib Question
« Last post by Karl H. on September 14, 2019, 01:56:05 PM »
Hi Everyone,

This has probably been done to death, but I'm coming from it at a different angle.  I'm having problems with ink flow with my Mitchells... what else is new?  I've done the usual things: scrubbing with a toothbrush and baking soda and/or toothpaste; dipped them in acetone (complete bath, not a 'tip-dip'), ultrasonic, even a lighter (briefly... don't want to alter the temper.)  I finally got out my loupe and took a close look at this troublemaker... and was surprised to see that the edge does not form a straight line, as with Speedball or Tachikawa and others; it's a very shallow inverted "V", with the apex at the slit.  The two corners of the tines touch the paper first, and I have to press down on the nib to get full contact with the paper, but then the slit opens up, and the ink 'retreats,' and no line on the paper.  I can get it started, and it writes well enough, if I start from a wet ink mark (such as inverting it and making a mark, then turning it back and making a stroke,)  but that's tedious and shouldn't be necessary.

Also, I need advice on the reservoirs... if I load the nib up and do manage to get a line, it pretty much just dumps the contents of the nib at once, resulting in a huge blot, then nothing afterwards.  By fussing with the amount of 'shake-off' or drag across the bottle lip, I can get maybe one decent letter before having to re-dip.

I'm beginning to think that these nibs aren't worth the trouble; I have no trouble whatever with my other broads, just these guys.

So, is that 'inverted-V' normal for these nibs, or do I have an aberration here?  And where/how exactly should the reservoir be set, or is that really a trial and error process influenced by the ink and paper being used.... are they just fussy in general, and it's a 'love-em-or-hate-em' proposition?  Or am I being dumb and completely overlooking something?

Thanks for your help!
22
Introductions / Re: Hello from the Arkansas Ozarks
« Last post by K-2 on September 14, 2019, 12:33:27 PM »
@ShawnHoefer -- There are a couple applications that I still like those Speedball inks for (and it almost doesn't matter how cheap your paper is - they almost never bleed)...  In addition to some India inks, you might like to try an iron gall ink.  It'll seem really watery, but they give the most delicate hairlines with pointed pen work.

Get some gum arabic and some dinky dips, and you'll be set up to use practically any ink your heart desires with pointed pen or broad edge.  How many inks does my heart desire?  So many inks, and Nick Stewart keeps making me want more of them: https://nickstewart.ink/  (we were recently having a conversation about adapting fountain pen inks to use with dip pens on the "tools and supplies" thread: https://theflourishforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=6692.0)

I'm pretty envious of your walnut trees.  I love experimenting and making ink, but these days I live too far north for walnut trees -- about a hundred miles outside of their natural range.  And I love walnut ink.

Lots of folks on the forum use gouache for color.  Watercolors are great too, and produce a lovely delicate effect.  In my own work, I mostly use sumi ink (I make one of my own) and Japanese gansai paints for medieval-style decorated & illuminated manuscripts.

Have fun inking it up!
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Introductions / Re: Hello from the Arkansas Ozarks
« Last post by ShawnHoefer on September 13, 2019, 12:12:47 PM »
Oh, yeah... already on that. Not happy, at all, with the Speedball inks... I feel like they're too thick (I know I can thin them out a bit). Quite enjoying the Sumi ink I bought, and looking at an array of India Inks. Also toying with the idea of getting a watercolor set and a set of gouache paint to play with.

I've got walnut trees on my property, and the thought had crossed my mind. Lord knows my hands have been stained often enough.

Thanks!
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Introductions / Re: Hello from the Arkansas Ozarks
« Last post by K-2 on September 13, 2019, 10:24:11 AM »
Welcome @ShawnHoefer!  I'm kind of new on the forum myself.

If you haven't done much calligraphy in the past 35 years, you should really check out some different inks.  I know we used to use those Speedball all the time, and there's still nothing wrong with it, but there are so many more inks that the internet gives us access too.  So many more colors, formulations, sheens & shimmers and other special effects.  And since you're a crafty one, I'm betting that you might be interested in making your own walnut ink sometime too.

--yours truly, K
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Iron Gall Ink Degradation over time?
« Last post by Karl H. on September 11, 2019, 09:54:17 PM »
Aaahhhh!  I LOVE science!  I don't mind that this happened (it's a very old formulation, after all, and not surprising that it isn't 'forever' ink...), I don't like not knowing what happened or why.  Your explanations clear things up nicely.  My ink seems to have precipitated, as there is indeed a precipitate at the bottom of the jar; it can be dispersed by mixing, but it settles out again pretty quickly.  It's still quite liquid, so I don't think it "mothered."

Thanks for the quick and informative replies!  I may have to learn to mix up my own batches as needed, since it doesn't store well.
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Iron Gall Ink Degradation over time?
« Last post by K-2 on September 11, 2019, 07:01:46 PM »
Yes! -- furthermore, that grainy sludge is the actual iron of "iron gall ink" that has precipitated out of the solution.  Some iron gall inks are effectively transparent when they're "fresh", so manufacturers like Diamine, for their Registrar's Ink, put a light blue dye in it so that you can see what you're writing, but the real dark blue-black color comes from the iron in suspension binding to the paper and then oxidizing as it's liquid holding medium evaporates.

The microscopic iron particulates are dissolved and held in suspension by the gallic acid (the gall in "iron gall ink").  When that evaporates or breathes out of your plastic bottle, since it's molecularly smaller than water, the iron will fall out of suspension and form that grainy sludge at the bottom, and all that's left is your lightly tinted grayish water.

Science!
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Acidic, wood-pulp paper.
« Last post by K-2 on September 11, 2019, 06:52:15 PM »
Chemically pulped & bleached cellulose paper (i.e. bleached wood pulp paper) is sold as "kraft paper" these days.  Butcher paper is a type of kraft paper.  So is cartridge paper.   I'm not sure it's the exact formula the old pen masters you're thinking of used though.  Wood pulp paper enters the consumer market in Europe somewhat after my academic specialty ends.  I'm supposing cartridge paper might be quite similar though.  Fully bleached kraft paper is very strong and very beautiful, and bright white.

Most of the paper that was have from say, England in the 17th-18th centuries is made of linen, sourced from old clothes.  It was very expensive, because it was a byproduct of the life-cycle of clothing, and clothes were the most expensive single item that most people owned, on account of the amount of grueling manual labor required to produce them -- from harvesting the linen (or wool or cotton in some parts of the world - like the American South) to washing, carding, spinning, weaving, and finally cutting and sewing it into garments, all by hand.  It's telling that the first thing that got industrialized in the Industrial Revolution was cloth-making, and the first "computer" run on wooden punch cards was a jacquard loom.

Before industrialization, people saved their clothes, reused, refashioned, repaired, and finally recycled them into paper, because even the rags had value.  The rag pickers bought rags and then separated the fibers out from the old clothes and sold them to paper makers to turn into paper.  The single most expensive element in the first edition of Shakespeare's First Folio (1623) was the paper.  It was so expensive that they didn't waste any on editing - they edited on the fly, so every copy is different.

This type of linen (or cotton paper) is very very durable though.  It can last for centuries, remaining soft and supple.  Wood pulp paper, on the other hand, degrades rather rapidly when exposed to light, since the acidic bleaching compounds literally digest the paper from the inside out.  It smells great thought, because as it happens, it releases volatile chemicals similar to vanillin (which makes vanilla smell good too).  Hence, that special smell in old bookstores.
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Walnut ink crystals -lightfast?
« Last post by Ergative on September 11, 2019, 05:09:30 PM »
I've heard Michael Sull say that walnut ink is not lightfast. But Erica's comments make it sound as if there are many different flavours of walnut ink, some of which are and some of which are not.
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Tools & Supplies / Re: Iron Gall Ink Degradation over time?
« Last post by Ergative on September 11, 2019, 05:08:09 PM »
Yes, iron gall ink is not shelf-stable. There are two ways it can go bad. One way is 'mothering', which happens when the ink generates a gelatinous mass that congeals at the bottom of the bottle. The other way is by precipitating, which happens when the ink generates a grainy sludge that collects at the bottom of the bottle.

I have been told, but have not confirmed through my own experience, that when your ink 'mothers' (gelatinous mass), you can revive it by adding distilled water, and it will turn liquid again. However, when it precipitates (grainy sludge), it's done.

If your ink bottle is plastic, it may have breathed a bit, and allowed ink to escape through the bottle itself, no matter how tight the cap was on.
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Tools & Supplies / Acidic, wood-pulp paper.
« Last post by Daniel McGill on September 11, 2019, 01:25:50 AM »
Dear members and guests,

I would like to post questions of wood-pulp paper. Is it still available? Where would you get it?

Although modern paper is superb in versatility, I would love to write on the paper that was used by past masters in penmanship.

Does anyone know any answer to my posed questions?
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