Ink Review: KWZI Iron Gall Green Gold


KWZI Iron Gall Green Gold
Pen: Kaweco BRASS Sport (F)
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm
Shading: low to moderate
Saturation: high
Flow: medium wet
Dry Time: 11 seconds

(*edit* I originally assumed Dav was a man but she very sweetly pointed out her gender to me when we spoke today.  Thankfully she was more than forgiving of my mistake!)

KWZI was an ink brand that I'd not heard of yet until a friend told me about the website Ink by the Ml.  If you've not heard of this site, please, take a moment and go check it out, I'll wait.  Done? Awesome (you're welcome)!  Dav is the woman behind the amazing site that offers samples from not-so-common (at least if you're in the US like myself) inks from around the world, and is a pleasure to deal with.  Highly recommended!  I immediately found several samples that I wanted to try, a few of which were from the KWZI brand.

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.  His line features some of the most amazing colors I've seen.  KWZI features colors that you just can't find elsewhere, some of which are Iron Gall that stray from the typical blue-black or Diamine Registrar's, or the blue or purple of Rohrer & Klingner.

I love the color green, and have found that I have a fascination with iron gall inks.  Not because of the permanent properties, but because of the roots of iron gall ink and its history in our country and the world as the ink that many historical documents were written on.  KWZI IG Green Gold is quite unique.  The first thing you'll notice is that the ink is a very bright green when first laid down on the page - I liken it to Iroshizuku Chiku-rin.  Immediately after you start writing, though, it will begin to oxidize before your eyes and turn a deep golden green color.  It's amazing how fast the color changes.  Before you can write out an entire sentence, the first words are starting to darken.  This is starkly different than other iron galls I've used, (Registrar's & the R&Ks) as those don't darken nearly as much and do so over a much longer period of time.

IG Green Gold immediately after swabbing

Aside from the things that make it unique, IG Green Gold is a very nice, well-behaved ink.  I find it to flow very nicely, and it doesn't feather at all on typical fountain-pen paper.  It is highly saturated, so shading is only moderate at best, depending on how wet your pen writes.  If you notice on my written review, my pen (a Kaweco with a less than desirable feed) was writing very dry until I did the ink splatter, so you can see a difference in the way a pen will write being dry vs. wet with this ink.  Unintended, but it worked out!  The ink has a fairly lengthy dry time at 18 seconds, though it was with a wetter writing nib that had been recently "primed."

The ink doesn't really compare to anything I've seen yet - hence why KWZI is such a draw to folks; but here are a few that are somewhat close.  I find Diamine Safari is decently close, though not really comparable.  KWZI's Green Gold (non-iron gall) is close, but still quite different.

Notice how much darker the swab is now

Chromatography shows only greenish-blue, yellow and the faintest hint of grey.  I'm curious as to whether that grey is due to the iron gall property, though I can't be certain.  I let this one soak a bit too long so the greenish-blue is almost gone, but hopefully you'll get the gist.

Being an iron gall, I know you'll be wondering about ease of cleaning.  I've had the ink in my pen for a little over a week now, and just flushed it with no issues.  I'm not one to keep an ink in my pen for months, so I caution you to practice good pen maintenance with any iron gall ink that you use.  I find them to be stubborn but not impossible even when I've left it in for a few weeks.

I highly recommend you check out KWZI if you can.  The line has some great variety of color, with lots of uniqueness.  Also check out Ink by the Ml - not affiliated with either, just a happy customer.

Thanks for reading!

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.

Ink Review: Rohrer & Klingner Salix


Rohrer & Klingner Salix (Iron Gall)
Pen: Lamy Safari EF
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

Salix is another amazing iron gall ink from the German based ink company Rohrer & Klingner.  It is part 2 of 2 in the "Scabix" mixture that I reviewed recently.  Salix is a muted grey-blue ink after it has hit the air and began to oxidize like all iron gall inks do.  Though, when it first comes out of the pen, it is a more traditional royal blue color.  I am typically not a huge fan of blue inks, however I am a big fan of Salix after it has dried. I love inks that almost look as if they're faded out a bit - this one definitely fits that bill.

Like the other R&K iron gall ink, Scabiosa, Salix is a pretty well behaved ink.  I got a tiny bit more feathering with Salix on cheaper papers than I did with Scabiosa, however on a Rhodia pad there is none.  Dry time is about a second longer than Scabiosa, though the difference is subtle enough to call it the same.  Shading is fairly moderate which was a plus.  

If you're a fan of blue inks and want something permanent with lots of character, go try out Rohrer & Klingner Salix.  You'll thank me later!  You can pick up a bottle from Goulet or a similar retailer for $12.00.

Ink Review: Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa


Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa (Iron Gall)
Pen: Lamy Safari EF
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

Scabiosa is an amazing purple iron gall ink from the German company Rohrer & Klinger Leipzig Co.  It is part 1 of 2 in the Scabix mixture that I reviewed recently.  Rohrer & Klingner was established in 1892 when lithographer Johann Adolf Rohrer began creating "special graphic supplements" in the city of Leipzig.  His son, Adolf Jr., continued the manufacturing of these products with his partner Felix Arthur Klingner in 1907, under the company name that still remains today.  The Rohrer & Klingner inks continue to be some of my favorite inks out there.  Their brand continues to flourish in the fountain pen community, so they certainly are doing something right.

Scabiosa is my favorite of the two iron gall inks that Rohrer & Klingner carries.  It is a muted purple with a greyish undertone that I absolutely love.  As with all iron gall inks, the ink begins to oxidize once it hits the air, so after a few hours to a day, you'll see a subtle change in the inks coloring - mainly a slight darkening.  Aside from the permanence that iron gall is best known for, this characteristic makes it stand out from other inks.  One thing you'll notice about iron gall inks is they have a fairly unique smell to them.  I liken it to the smell of coins, or wet metal.  It's not evident in writing, but you can definitely smell it when you open up a bottle.

As with most of the Rohrer & Klingner inks, Scabiosa is extremely well behaved.  I see no feathering on most papers, and the dry time is around 8 seconds with a fairly wet Lamy EF nib.  It gives fairly moderate shading, though not a ton.  Scabiosa definitely stands out from the traditional purple fountain pen inks that you typically see with its unique color and the permanence of iron gall.  Don't be deterred by the fact that it is iron gall - all of the R&K inks are very easy to clean out of a pen.  So long as you practice regular pen maintenance, you should have no issue with any modern iron gall ink.

I highly recommend that you try this ink out - it is certainly in my top 2 favorites at the moment.  You can pick up a bottle from Goulet or a similar retailer for $12.00.