Ink Review: Diamine Registrar's Blue Black (Iron Gall)


Diamine Registrar's Blue Black (Iron Gall)
Pen: Lamy Al-Star EF
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm
Shading: low to moderate
Saturation: high
Flow: medium to wet
Dry Time: 20 seconds

After trying out my two favorite iron gall inks, Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa and Salix, I figured it was time to try out Diamine Registrar's.  I'd heard that Diamine Registrar's was a lot more harsh than either of the Rohrer & Klingner inks, so I decided I'd put it to the test.

Registrar's is a deep blue black color once it dries.  One of the coolest things about iron gall inks is their tendency to change color slightly, usually darkening, once it oxidizes on the paper for a few days.  This is a property of iron gall inks, and is what also gives them their permanent characteristics.  Registrar's is no exception, however since the ink is already fairly dark, there wasn't a drastic change, though it was evident.

1. Registrar's after 5 days; 2. Registrar's fresh & dry; 3. Registrar's wet

1. Registrar's after 5 days; 2. Registrar's fresh & dry; 3. Registrar's wet

You can also see the change in the ink splatter. 

Wet ink splatter

Ink splatter after 5 days

The general consensus with Diamine Registrar's ink is that it can be hard to clean, so I figured I would test that theory.  After writing up my review, I left the ink in my pen and converter for about a month without touching it.  I picked up the pen and was able to write with it, so it hadn't dried up; though the big test would be trying to clean it out.  I emptied the ink out of the converter and immediately noticed that it had stained it (I couldn't capture a picture that showed it well unfortunately).  I went ahead with my normal routine and cleaned it with water, and it didn't budge.  So I grabbed my Goulet pen flush, filled the converter and let it sit overnight.  The next day the staining was gone, to my surprise.  I was impressed with how easily it came out, despite how long I'd left it sitting in there.  Not sure if that's a bigger testament to the ink or the pen flush, but I'm inclined to say a little of both.

All in all, I really enjoyed using Diamine Registrar's.  It behaves really well on most of my papers, even the cheaper stuff.  No feather or bleedthrough was apparent, but dry time was a bit on the long side at 20 seconds.  Like some iron gall inks, it does have a distinct smell that's quite a bit stronger than the Rohrer & Klingner inks.  I didn't find it overwhelming with normal use.  I don't know that I would pick up a bottle of Registrar's just because of it's tendency to stain converters, and lackluster color.  I definitely prefer the R&K inks to this one, and I think Salix is close enough in color to be a suitable replacement.  Nonetheless, it's still a good ink; so if you'd like to pick up a bottle, you can get 30mL for $16.95 or 100mL for $33.95.