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Elwood H. Smith
GOOD NEWS: A Great WATERPROOF INK
posted:
Hi, Drawgerites. It's been a long time, but I'm back with an update on my quest for a completely waterproof ink that flows well in my Pelikan 120 fountain pen. I also found a fairly good & inexpensive substitute for my Pelikan 120 fountain pen.

First, the ink. It's Platinum Carbon Ink & it's made in Japan. If you'll recall from my earlier pen and ink post, I used to draw with FW Waterproof India Ink. It flowed beautifully in my Pelikan 120. I could draw with it on my Arches 90# Cold Press watercolor paper, run it under the faucet and the ink would stay put. Not smearing whatsoever. I tried Noodlers and every other brand I could get my hands on and they either smeared when water hit them or they'd immediately clog up my pen. The Platinum Carbon Black is great. I can tell that my pen will need cleaning somewhat regularly, but I can go for a day or two without drawing with my pen and it'll still flow okay. I suspect that if I let it sit--as I could with the old FW formula--it will begin to clog up. Too bad the company that bought FW changed it from carbon ink to acrylic. I don't like the new stuff at all. The Platinum Carbon comes the closest to the old FW and I've found it to be a superb ink. It's pricey a $22.50 a 60cc bottle (at JetPens), but I'm willing to pay a premium for a premium product.

Make sure you get the Platinum Carbon Ink. The Platinum Fountain Pen Ink is NOT waterproof!
The JetPen item number is PLATINUM INKC-1500.
JetPens

JetPen also sells the Lamy Safari pen I want to talk about. Unfortunately, they only sell it with an Extra Fine nib. I like a medium nib because I work on Cold Press Arches, which creates a finer line than I'd get if I worked on a hot press Arches or a kid Strathmore paper. I found a Medium nib Lamy Safari on Amazon. I bought mine for $25.00 and got Amazon's FREE Super savings. Note: I see that Amazon now sells it for a mere $23.50. To get the Super Savings, maybe you could get the converter.

Lamy Safari Charcoal Fountain Pen - Charcoal, Medium Nib L17M
List Price: $30.00
Amazon Price: $23.50

Lamy Safari on Amazon

The Lamy Safari is not nearly as flexible as my Pelikan 120, but I've done a couple of jobs with it and the line looks just fine. I imagine the nib will become a bit more flexible as it gets broken in. I put a converter in it and have been using the Platinum Carbon ink with good results. Today, I discovered that JetPen sells the Platinum Carbon Ink in cartridges. I assume it's the same ink and if the cartridges fit, I can use them in my Lamy Safari. To play it safe, I bought the Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen. It takes the Platinum cartridges AND they claim it flows well with it. The downside (for me) it that the nib is an Super Fine. I hope it's flexible. I'll report back.

By the way, JetPen also offers lots of other interesting imported fountain pens, plus a nice selection of Magna Pens and what they call Comic Pens. I haven't tried any of those so far, but you might want to visit the site and dig around. Let me know what you discover.
-E.S.
 
Platinum Carbon Black Ink
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen
Review of Platinum Carbon Ink
Click Here for Review

Feb 21, 2010
(Sheryl Schopfer gave me permission to reproduce her review. -E)
 
Platinum Carbon Black ink is a carbon-based ink that is made for use in fountain pens. This ink is essentially India ink without the shellac or other adhesive. It addresses the issue that many fountain pen artists face, of needing a waterproof ink that is safe for use in fountain pens.

As I previously mentioned, Noodlers makes lines of "waterproof" and "bulletproof" fountain pen inks that are waterproof in the sense that they cannot be washed away with water. However, they are not necessarily waterproof in the artist's meaning; the inks sometimes can be smeared with water applications. So, the inks are not as useful to those who like to sketch in fountain pen and then watercolor those sketches, for example. Platinum Carbon Black ink is waterproof in the artist's meaning; the ink does not smear in water (or alcohol, which is a terrific bonus).

Though the ink is intended for use in fountain pens, I recommend being careful in selecting which fountain pen to use. The ink is still carbon-based, meaning that it contains suspended carbon particles. Though these particles are very fine, they can eventually build up in the narrow feeds of most fountain pens.

I have used Platinum Carbon Black ink in Kaweco Sport fountain pens, Kaweco Sport ink roller pens, the Kuretake brush pen, and the Platinum Carbon brush pen - soft (one of the two pens for which this ink is specifically intended, the other being the Platinum Carbon Desk fountain pen, a fountain pen with a broader feed than usual). The ink rollers and brush pens handle the ink beautifully; these pens have fairly open and broad feeds compared to a fountain pen. In the fountain pens, however, the ink tends to dry on the nib and clog fast. Dipping the pen's nib in water usually gets it restarted, but I recommend not letting the ink sit more than a few days in a fountain pen, fully cleaning the fountain pen between each refill, and designating this ink to only a few fountain pens that you are willing to risk clogging badly, just in case the clog becomes irreparable.

All that said, this is an enjoyable ink to use. I have used it for both sketching in ink and inking planned drawings. It erases more than an India ink would, so I sometimes re-ink lines after erasing away the pencils. The ink is waterproof and alcohol-proof, so I have been able to use it in pictures that I water color or color with alcohol-based markers without smearing.

Platinum Carbon Black ink, being an import and a very niche product, is much more expensive than other India inks or fountain pen inks. So, I do not make it an all-purpose replacement for either, instead using it for specific purposes.
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