Monday, May 2, 2016

The Gall of that Ink

Who knows about Iron-Gall ink? Anyone? Hello?...Bueller?

Iron-Gall is a permanent type of ink that has been used for hundreds and hundreds of years. Many rare handwritten texts were written with Iron-Gall ink due to its permanence. What makes it permanent?

Well, what makes Iron-Gall ink? Iron and gallic acid are the main ingredients to these inks. These inks are very acidic, obviously but what makes the ink permanent on the page is what happens when oxygen and iron combine which is oxidation or what we call rust. Yup, this ink rusts on your paper which is kind of cool when you think about it. When you write with a Iron-Gall based ink, the ink will go on one color and then will darken as it oxidizes into the paper.

Simple and cool right? Sure, but keep something in mind. Iron-Gall inks need to be used with some caution when using it with a steel nibbed fountain pens as they could oxidize too. Who wants a rusty nib? 

Now will the nib rust with normal use? Nope. If you fill a pen with a steel nib and write with it off and on for a day, no big deal. If you happen to leave the Iron-Gall ink in the pen for a while, then you might have a problem with rusty nibbage. 

My rule of thumb when using an Iron-Gall ink is to clean the pen thoroughly when finished using the pen which gets to be a pain in the butt. I understand and that is why I really don't use them personally. Sometimes these inks can be a real burden to clean completely out of a pen, nib and feed on a pen. 

DON'T USE BLEACH! Did you know bleach is an oxidizer? If you are cleaning a pen that was filled with an Iron-Gall ink, do not clean with bleach or you are asking for the gift of instant rust. We don't want that. Don't do it unless you want some rusty pens.

Iron-Gall inks are not very prevalent as they used to be and you may be wondering why I am going in depth then. Iron-Gall inks are starting to show up more and KWZ is one of those brands. KWZ is an ink brand from Poland and have quite a few Iron-Gall offerings which is great, they are fun. 

Now you know about Iron-Gall. Is this all you need to know, nah, but you know the main points to these inks to be able to use them responsibly without damaging your pens. The idea of damaging pens with ink just galls me.