A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

inks and nibs

I use both oak gall and iron gall ink. I prefer iron gall, as it darkens more quickly and has an odd smell which I've come to enjoy. The brand I use is HAXX--which is what Cornelissen's sell.

However, I noticed that despite being cleaned quickly and religiously, my nibs were started to rust. Closer inspection found that this was because the bronze/brown coating (I use Mitchell nibs) had gone, and they were now just exposed steel. I though I was just using the cleaning toothbrush so hard, but experimentation has now proven that the iron gall ink is so caustic that it removes the finish from the nibs. So I set about using the oak gall, and it does it to a much lesser extent.

Using a de-finished nib leads to much less clean lines.

So essentially I can only use a nib once if I want to use the iron gall. They're only 55p from London Graphic Centre (as opposed to 85p from Cornelissen's--ID folk take note), so it's not a big deal, but still, a minor aggravation.

The causticity is what makes the iron gall work so well on perg--both it and oak gall literally eat into the surface. So what makes me love the ink is what kills my equipment.

I would be interested to see if other brands do the same thing. Does anyone else use non-HAXX iron gall?

In serviced,


Merlyn said...

I use Rohrer and Klingner oak gall "scabiosa" ink Scabiosa is the colour it has a slightly purple-scarlet tint at first which goes away after a while to black. It's a lovely ink and I've used it for a really long time.

I'm abysmal at keeping my nibs in good nick but they don't rust quickly and I sharpen them every now and then to keep the edges up.

Genevieve la flechiere said...

I use HAXX too, as well as (I suspect) the same oak gall ink as you, from Cornelissens. 2 suggestions:
- rinse the nibs more often, ie every 15 mins or so while using them, rather than scrubbing at the end of the work.
- try the gold-plated nibs available from Cornelissen. Can't find them listed online, but know I have one of each size. Slightly over £1 each.

Crystal aka Jaquelinne said...

It will also ultimately destroy your own work, eating through your paper/perg/vellum/etc. over time. While very historically accurate, I'd shy away from materials that will destroy my work (Though it perhaps won't during the lifespan of the recipient, so that's a personal choice).