Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Ink On the Block: Colfer's Imperial InksTM

For the past few weeks, I've been messing around with a couple of inks from the veritable "new kid on the block," Colfer'’s Imperial InksTM Having first learned about this start-up venture on the Fountain Pen Network, I contacted Sean Colfer, the inventor, to inquire about becoming a guinea pig and he promptly obliged me with samples of four different colors.

Colfer's Imperial InksTM are billed as the "World's Only Adjustable Ink." What this means is that these inks will be available as concentrates - permitting the user to adjust the color density and other attributes by adding more or less distilled water to the concentrate. The concentrates will be sold in varying sizes, including the one-ounce eyedropper bottle, an "EZ-UzeTM" package, that makes 2-ounces of ink, and an "EZ-TravTM" vial, which will yield 1/2 ounce of ink.

Don't have the necessary supplies to mix ink concentrates? Sean has thought of that, so Colfer's Imperial InksTM will also be sold in a complete kit, with everything you need to mix your ink - except distilled water, of course. The inks will also be available already mixed in a 2-ounce Redi-2-UzeTM package. (Sean seems to really enjoy using cute-sy spellings coupled with the TM symbol, such as "EZ-TravTM" and "Redi-2-UzeTM," to identify his products - he must have an intellectual property lawyer in the family). As for me, it's getting to be a pain in the posterior to keep coding the superscript, so I think I'll stop now. But to all you would-be trademark infringers out there - you've been put on notice!

As for me, I've got a lot of things on my plate at the moment and I didn't want to fool around with mixing inks so I asked Sean if he'd just send me the pre-mixed inks. This also gave me the opportunity to see the inks as envisioned by their creator.

The inks arrived shortly after Thanksgiving. I received four different colors: Blue Spruce, NY Central Jade, Cotes de Nuit and Sovereign Blue. I've had a chance to put the Blue Spruce and NY Central Jade through their paces, so to speak, but have only dip-tested the other two.

The executive summary is that I've been very pleased and impressed with the ink. So pleased, in fact, that I decided become an authorized retailer of Colfer's Imperial Inks.TM Not that has anything to do with my review; rather, the opposite is true - it was my review of the inks that spurred my interest in becoming a seller.

Surprisingly, my personal favorite turned out the be the NY Central Jade. I filled my Hero 616 with it and the ink started flowing without a hitch (typical of that pen, I have to say). The color is a nice true green, bright without being garish. I wish I could make a good scan, but my cheap HP scanner is notoriously unreliable when it comes to color reproduction. And the color chart I posted on my website seems lighter the ink displays when you're up close and personal. Of course, monitors vary, and you may see it as it really is. The ratio of concentrate to water that Sean used may also explain the variance. In any event, the ink I used was considerably closer to J. Herbin's Lierre Sauvage than to Diamine Woodland Green, if that helps anyone visualize the color.

I tried the ink on several different papers, ranging from good quality to garbage, and it behaved well in every situation. It dried quickly and there was no feathering or bleed-through. It did smear a little when wet, but then again, it's not billed as a waterproof ink.

The next ink I used was the Blue Spruce. I was really hoping to love this color - the Blue Spruce is one of my favorite trees. Confession time: I haven't used this ink in a fountain pen. Instead, I filled my Monteverde Mega Ink Ball with it. The "nib" on the Mega writes a fine-to-medium line, and although the ink flowed really well, the color just didn't grab me at first. In fact, I was downright disappointed. I have to admit, however, that after using it consistently for the past few weeks, it's really starting to grow on me. I still like the Jade better, but I think in a pen with a broader nib, it'll be really nice.

One noteworthy thing: To address mailing labels, I have been alternating using this pen and ink combination with a Pelikan 140 filled with Diamine Woodland Green (my current favorite green ink, by the way). I was astonished to see how badly the Diamine feathered on the Avery labels in comparison to the Colfer's. And Diamine didn't feather all that badly - but feathering was virtually non-existent with the Colfer's.

I have dip-tested two other inks that Sean sent and I'm eager to try these out, too. The Cotes de Nuit is a perfect match for a burgundy pen and appears close to Herbin Pousierre de Lune.

I dipped my Waterman Liaison with a broad nib into the Sovereign Blue and it was an extremely dark blue - not at all what I expected. But I used it on the most inexpensive of papers so it is likely not truly representative of what the ink will look like in actual use. And again, diluting the concentration with more distilled water would likely yield a lighter blue.

I hope to write a review of those inks after I've had a chance to use them more extensively.

Visit the Colfer's section of my website to view the Colfer's color chart. And, if you're so inclined, feel free to pre-order these inks, in any of their various incarnations, at a special pre-introductory price.

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

Speedmaster said...

Very interesting stuff, thanks.