Ink Review: KWZI Iron Gall Gold


KWZI Iron Gall Gold
Pen: Lamy Safari, Charcoal - F
Paper: Rhodia 80gsm dotpad
Shading: moderate
Saturation: medium
Flow: medium-dry
Dry Time: 17 seconds

KWZI is developed in Poland by a fellow named Konrad.  He is a chemistry graduate and fountain pen user who'd been making inks for himself since 2012 - he wanted to increase the saturation of one of the inks, and his research eventually led to him developing his own line of inks for the public.  The KWZI line features colors that you just can't find elsewhere, some of which are iron gall inks that have a much wider range of colors than the few iron gall inks from the mainstream manufacturers such as Diamine or Rohrer & Klingner.

As I mentioned in a previous review of an iron gall ink from the KWZI line, I do have a fascination with iron gall inks.  Besides the benefit of their permanent qualities, they have some very cool properties that you just don't get with other inks.  KWZI's line seems to parallel much more closely with traditional old school iron gall inks, where the ink oxidizes rather quickly as you write on the page.  I did find this to be less pronounced with KWZI Iron Gall Gold than I did with their other ink Iron Gall Green Gold; but the effect is still there.  It goes on as a light golden brown and after several seconds begins darkening to a deep brown.  This effect can also mean that you may or may not have the same color that you expect once the ink is fully dried and oxidized (which can be a fun thing).  Iron gall inks do tend to have a funkier smell, so be warned.

30 seconds

4 hours

Iron Gall Gold is a well behaved ink, though I did find it to feel a tad dry coming out of the pen. The dry time was surprisingly longer than I expected given that the ink feels dry - right at about 17 seconds, with a fine nib on a Rhodia pad.  The ink wasn't at all unpleasant to use, but if you enjoy buttery smooth writing, you may want to use this ink with a bit broader nib to put more ink on the page.  It has some decent shading as you're writing, though it does become a bit less pronounced as the ink darkens from a medium golden brown to a muddy brown.  

I tried to let this swab sit for a bit before doing any color comparisons, to give the most accurate representation of final color.  It seems to sit somewhere in between Iroshizuku Yama-guri and Ina-ho.  I liken it to a more diluted version of Noodler's El Lawrence, because it has that motor oil look to it.

Chromatography of iron gall inks typically leaves a trail of dark grey/brown as it goes through the paper, and this one was no exception.  The two main colors that makeup this ink are black and yellow.

I'm often asked about whether it's harmful for pens to use iron gall inks in them.  For inks like Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa - those seem to be more mild versions of the iron gall inks out there, so in my experience they behave close to traditional inks.  For the KWZI inks, they seem to sit somewhere between the R&Ks, and something like Diamine Registrar's (which I've heard folks have issues with from time to time).  I didn't have any cleaning issues with IG Gold, though I didn't leave the ink in my pen longer than a couple of weeks, and with regular use - which is about what I'd recommend with these iron gall inks before cleaning and refilling.  If you're using vintage pens, especially with any kind of sac filling mechanism, I wouldn't recommend using iron gall in them. Vintage pens are much harder to replace, so maybe stick to traditional inks for those pens.  I'm more of a modern pen user anyway, and in my experience as long as you practice regular pen maintenance, you shouldn't have any problems.  If you're curious, Vanness Pens has great information on their KWZI page talking about the properties and warnings about iron gall use.

I enjoyed the color of this ink more than anything.  It has a very retro feel to me, and is just different enough than a plain black ink to give your writing some character.  I could have stood for it to write a tad wetter, but I don't think I'd give up on it just for that reason.  Aside from buying straight from Konrad, you can also get the KWZI line from Vanness Pens here in the U.S. (60 ml for $14).  I can't recommend KWZI enough - they have such an amazing variety of colors to choose from and from the ones I've tried so far, they perform very well.

Thanks so much for reading!
- Lori