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Author: Subject: iron gall ink
Artemus Gordon
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[*] posted on 7-7-2014 at 14:28


Quote: Originally posted by fiberdrunk  

I wonder if the ink precipitated out when they added the egg shells? The calligraphy website IAMPETH has a .pdf article for "freshening" an iron gall once it's separated out, by adding vinegar. The acidity keeps the iron from dropping out.


Maybe you just don't need as much acidity. Vinegar is already a 1:20 dilution of acetic acid with water, so if adding 4 drops vinegar to what I'm guessing is 1 oz. of ink is enough to re-dissolve the iron, then maybe you don't have to have a nib-eating acidity.
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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 08:57


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
Quote: Originally posted by Pinkhippo11  
Are you insulting my procedure?

Whoa dude ! No Insult meant, implied or otherwise.
Apologies for the unintended offence.

Just seemed Mad (to me) to be boiling gallons of acorns for two days.
Which Utterly Insane person first did that, and were they burned at the stake for doing so ?
When it was first done, it is HIGHLY unlikely that it was seen as a sane thing to be doing.



[Edited on 6-7-2014 by aga]


Lump me in with the insane... I processed 15 gallons (dry weight) worth of black walnuts into ink last September/October, resulting in over 5 gallons of wonderful finished ink.

I processed 5 of these bucketfuls:





Sure, you can buy bottled ink. But some of us find the process fascinating and even enjoy it!
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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 09:16


Quote: Originally posted by Artemus Gordon  
Quote: Originally posted by fiberdrunk  

I wonder if the ink precipitated out when they added the egg shells? The calligraphy website IAMPETH has a .pdf article for "freshening" an iron gall once it's separated out, by adding vinegar. The acidity keeps the iron from dropping out.


Maybe you just don't need as much acidity. Vinegar is already a 1:20 dilution of acetic acid with water, so if adding 4 drops vinegar to what I'm guessing is 1 oz. of ink is enough to re-dissolve the iron, then maybe you don't have to have a nib-eating acidity.


It would be fascinating to push the envelope, to see just how little acidity I could get away with...

I've really been enjoying this forum and the resources here, even if I'm not a chemist. I enjoy seeing what people are trying to achieve in their experiments. You chemists are so cool! I'm realizing iron gall ink may very well be my gateway drug into the much bigger world of chemistry...

[Edited on 9-7-2014 by fiberdrunk]

[Edited on 9-7-2014 by fiberdrunk]
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aga
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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 10:55


Cool !
Making is Definitely much more fun than just Buy.
Never seen a black walnut fruit pod thing ever before.

What is the warning sign on the bucket ?
Looks like a 3 armed infant attacking a cup of tea.

Excellent photos.
Quote:
. I processed 15 gallons (dry weight) worth of black walnuts

What was the 'process' ?

[Edited on 9-7-2014 by aga]




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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 10:59


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
Cool !
Making is Definitely much more fun than just Buy.
Never seen a black walnut fruit pod thing ever before.

What is the warning sign on the bucket ?
Looks like a 3 armed infant attacking a cup of tea.

Excellent photos.
Quote:
. I processed 15 gallons (dry weight) worth of black walnuts

What was the 'process' ?

[Edited on 9-7-2014 by aga]


I guess the warning label on the bucket was a drowning warning for infants! Normally people use these buckets for paint.

You can see the black walnut ink-making process here.
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aga
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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 11:17


Fascinating.

"boil it covered for 10 minutes to kill the ink beasties"

What beasties ? Bacteria, Virii ?




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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 11:23


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
Fascinating.

"boil it covered for 10 minutes to kill the ink beasties"

What beasties ? Bacteria, Virii ?


The fermentation. The ink is full of biological activity while it's fermenting. If you don't boil it, it would most likely mold over.
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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 11:46


Micro organisms. Phew.

I had visions of the man-eating Ink Beasties leaping from manuscripts everywhere and taking over the world.




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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 13:57


Ok, so I'm getting a little bit concerned, because I have my oak galls fermenting in a sealed glass jar with water (they've only been been in there about a week), and it's already been so active that the lid of the jar is pressurized outward. Is this something to worry about? Do I need to let off the pressure, or will it settle down?



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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 14:08


It'll be CO2, so let it out.

Unlikely to allow world-eating aliens out.

Best check with an experienced Ink Pressure Daemon Master first though.

Edit: Ideal Gas Law
Ideally, Gas Pressure should be controlled to prevent explosions.

[Edited on 9-7-2014 by aga]




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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 14:11


Quote: Originally posted by zts16  
Ok, so I'm getting a little bit concerned, because I have my oak galls fermenting in a sealed glass jar with water (they've only been been in there about a week), and it's already been so active that the lid of the jar is pressurized outward. Is this something to worry about? Do I need to let off the pressure, or will it settle down?


Go ahead and take the lid off for a moment. Mine never did that, but then I typically make iron gall ink during the winter months so it's probably a lot cooler when I do it.
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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 14:43


Ok thanks, I'll do that. Hopefully I won't get nasty warm gall tea all over me when I do it!



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[*] posted on 9-7-2014 at 16:20


Quote: Originally posted by zts16  
Ok thanks, I'll do that. Hopefully I won't get nasty warm gall tea all over me when I do it!


Watch them ink beasties!
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[*] posted on 11-7-2014 at 17:43
New Research on Iron Gall Ink


I found an interesting 2 1/2 hour video on YouTube by the Library of Congress: New Research on Iron Gall Ink. It goes into the chemistry of iron gall ink. Pretty interesting.
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[*] posted on 11-7-2014 at 20:11


Last year I took a few of the unblemished green black walnuts with husks that had recently dropped off a tree and put them as is on a shelf in my house. After a few weeks or so the husks shrank/dried into a pleasing crenated hard shape. It's an ornate pattern but there isn't a single photo of one "developed" to this degree that I could find on Google. I'm going to dry some more now that they are falling off the tree again. They look nothing like the ugly black husks that appear bruised and decayed as when left on the ground. And while they aren't as exotic as dried poppy capsules or lotus pods, they are curious in their own way when you hold a few in your hand. The crinkled surfaces are eye-catching, maybe good enough for photo of some sort.
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Artemus Gordon
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[*] posted on 12-7-2014 at 12:56


Quote: Originally posted by fiberdrunk  
I found an interesting 2 1/2 hour video on YouTube by the Library of Congress: New Research on Iron Gall Ink. It goes into the chemistry of iron gall ink. Pretty interesting.

That is interesting, Fiberdrunk! I'm very surprised that they are still uncertain of the actual structure of the molecules! I don't have time yet to watch the whole thing, but the discussion of the chemical structure begins at 22:40.
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[*] posted on 15-7-2014 at 07:57
Ink is Finished!


I made the ink! Here is a photo of the ink used in different fountain pens and a glass dip pen.



Only the Hero 5028 felt dry to write with.

I did substitute an equal amount of salicylic acid for the carbolic acid. I also halved the water for fountain pen use (the original recipe was for dip pens). I added some glycerol as a flow moderator.

By the way, the ink goes down blue but oxidizes to black. It's very waterproof.

Here's how the ink compares with other commercial and homemade iron gall ink recipes:



[Edited on 15-7-2014 by fiberdrunk]

[Edited on 15-7-2014 by fiberdrunk]
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[*] posted on 19-7-2014 at 12:06


I wanted to test out how this ink shades. I wrote these samples on Strathmore 100% Cotton using a 3/16" Coit calligraphy dip pen. The ink is slower to oxidize to black on 100% cotton paper, so this gives you a chance to see how blue it is before it finishes transforming:





[Edited on 19-7-2014 by fiberdrunk]
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[*] posted on 19-7-2014 at 12:27


Brilliant !



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[*] posted on 19-7-2014 at 12:41


Quote: Originally posted by aga  
Brilliant !


Thanks!

Here's another sample, this time with fountain pens and a Spencerian flex nib. I don't see much shading with the fountain pens. Again, this is on 100% cotton paper, which is slower to change to black. It gives you a chance to see the blue:

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[*] posted on 19-7-2014 at 14:20


How well does the ink adhere to the paper? Could you smear the dry ink by rubbing your hand against it?
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[*] posted on 19-7-2014 at 17:17


Quote: Originally posted by Fenir  
How well does the ink adhere to the paper? Could you smear the dry ink by rubbing your hand against it?


No, it doesn't smear at all. I just tried to rub a pencil eraser over it, too, not just my fingers, and it didn't budge either way. It's very permanent.


[Edited on 20-7-2014 by fiberdrunk]
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Artemus Gordon
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[*] posted on 19-7-2014 at 21:04


Very pretty pictures, Fiberdrunk!

Is the blue due to the China blue aniline dye? Is it there so you can see the ink before the oxidation starts?
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[*] posted on 20-7-2014 at 11:27


Quote: Originally posted by Artemus Gordon  
Very pretty pictures, Fiberdrunk!

Is the blue due to the China blue aniline dye? Is it there so you can see the ink before the oxidation starts?


Thanks! Yes, the blue dye is only there to help you see it in the beginning. On sugarcane papers, the ink rapidly turns to black, almost instantly. On 100% cotton, it takes about a day or so. I guess you could make the ink without the dye (it's a lot cheaper that way) but you'd be putting down a rather pale color at first which some may not like. But you ultimately end up with black anyway. I've done it this way, without dye, for the past few years, with my plant-based iron gall inks. This was actually the first time I've ever used a dye. I had read that dyes compromise the ink in the long run, causing the writing to brown faster than it would. But I decided it'd be fun to splurge this time and try the dye.
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[*] posted on 20-7-2014 at 13:00


Here are the same samples 24 hours later:





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