Friday, March 20, 2009

J. Herbin Ink Review

Fountain pens are one of my interests/eccentricities and this post is a dedication to it.

Rhodia staple bound graph pad, Pelikan m250 black and blue new style, Lamy Flame,& a ????? on top of my pen case.

Yes, on the left that is the Rhodia web notebook. Sweet, no.?

Mrs. Karen Doherty, VP of Marketing at Exaclair, sent me some J. Herbin inks to review. In the package she sent me Orange Indien and Diabolo Menthe, an orange and a green ink. Yup, you guessed it, St. Patrick's Day colors. I was supposed to post this on the day of that celebration sadly my camera that can shoot macro was missing. Now that I've found it, let us get down to business. Oh! She also sent me a Rhodia graph pad to do the review with.

2 boxes of Orange Indien untouched. Okay 1 was opened.

First Thoughts: Let's us begin, initially my thoughts are that the colors are fun inks. Allow me to clarify, there are some inks that are dark enough for business use, conservative enough for formal correspondence, and then there are the fun inks for personal and creative use. Diabolo Menthe and Orange Indien are in the last camp. Orange Indien is a bright orange color that shades marvelously. I like it so much I have 2 bottles of my own, 1 was provided for this review for a total of 3 bottles. I make sure I keep this color stocked up. Diabolo Menthe is a very light, pastel, aqua green color. At first it is extremely pale, then it dries a little darker. I found this color to be very feminine and Spring like, the season not the device.

Testing: In order to get a decent idea of the ink we must test it so, the tests I performed were 4 fold:
  1. Dry Time
  2. Swab test with a q-tip (cotton swab)
  3. Writing Sample: it gives a visual of the ink. I used a different pen with a different nib width to give some comparison
  4. Bleed Through: flip the page and see if the the ink bleeds through or visible in the back.

1 Dry Time Test:

  1. Diabolo Menthe = Under 25 seconds
  2. Orange Indien = 35 seconds
  3. Control (Noodler's Red-Black) = 35 seconds
The verdict is use blotting paper if your a lefty or in a rush. Otherwise take your time most wont smear much past 15 seconds.

2 Swab Test: (see photos above)
  1. Diabolo Menthe = Dramatic color variation as more swipes occur and the shading intensifies.
  2. Orange Indien = Dramatic Color variation as more swipes occur and the brilliance of the orange intensifies. Shading is more pronounce but occurs less.
  3. Control (Noodler's Red-Black) = Darkens with more swipes. Shading decreases because the black over powers the red.
The verdict if you love using these colors prepare for more variation. This suggests that wetter and broader nibs should produce more color variation and shading if you like that sort of thing. The real world test of this occurs when I do the writing sample test so, stay tuned and keep reading.

3 Writing Sample Test: performed with my Pelikan m250 with a BB nib. Warning; this test is really subjective

  1. Diabolo Menthe: is a very thin ink which surprisingly, for the short time it was in my pen as I was writing with it, had very little nib creep. It wrote wetter than most inks in my Pelikan and flowed easily. It is a little darker when writing than with the medium nibbed Lamy Safari. As suggested by the swab test, Diabolo Menthe varied more and had excellent shading due the wide nib. Overall it looked brilliant.
  2. Orange Indien: is a mildly thin ink and has nib creep, both nibs, the Lamy Safari M and the Pelikan m250 BB, displayed this. You are going to want to be careful with this ink. Orange Indien performed well just like predicted and it shaded dramatically. The color while darker is more brilliant with a double broad nib in the Pelikan m250.
  3. Control: Sorry I didn't do it. Although, it does hold true to the swab test results like the other inks.
The verdict, not compatible with this test.

4 Bleed Through Test: done with a Rhodia stapled, small, grid pad

  1. Diabolo Menthe: Barely visible but present
  2. Orange Indien: Visible but very lightly
  3. Control (Noodler's Red-Black): More visible than the Orange Indien because of its darker pigment but not by very much.
The verdict is very little bleed through even in the Pelikan m250 BB pen. The amount that did bleed through is negligible. Only the most sensitive persons would have a hard time writing on both sides of the paper.

Summary of Analysis
  • Dry Time = 25secs. for Diabolo & 35 secs. for the Orange.
  • Swab Test = Dynamic Variation & Increased Shading for both
  • Writing Sample = Diabolo Menthe is thin and has some nib creep. Orange Indien is moderately thin and has no nib creep. They both do not smell bad.
  • Bleed Through = both are negligible in both a double broad and thin nib.
Limitations of my Analysis
  • Not an exhaustive testing method
  • No real control
  • No experiment ran
  • Some use of subjective tests
  • Review materials were provide by the producer of the reviewed goods
  • Only 2 pens were used to test the inks
Last Thoughts: I would purchase both inks again. As mentioned before, Orange Indien is my current favorite & I am constantly taking notes and writing in my journal with it. Diabolo Menthe would be an ink I never would think to buy; but if given would fall in love with. The color is very pale when written with thin nibs so, I will use the ink with broad nibs, stubs, italics, and flex nibs.

Wow!!! How fun was that! It could only be more fun if I added some graphs or charts. Well, there is always next time. Good night well, morning because it is passed midnight.

*Disclosure: I was provided the materials to test using my own pens.


Alan said...

A very thorough test! As someone who is left handed, I stay away from fountain pens. Nevertheless, it is great to see others enjoy them. A great hobby (not an eccentricity).