Do You Need a Fast or Slow Ink?
Complied and written by ©Claes G Lindblad on December 21, 1996.

There are some rules of thumb which will help you to make the best ink for a certain task. These rules are, of course, valid for all kinds of ink, not just the stick variety:

Nib width
  • If you plan to use a narrow nib, a fluid -- fast -- ink gives better performance.
  • For broad nibs, the ink must be slow, i.e. of higher viscosity.
  • You can easily convince yourself of this by dipping a size 0 italic nib into ordinary fountain pen ink - all of the ink will leave the nib at first contact with the paper. A thick ink will stick to the nib better, and be more reluctant to leave it.
    Paper type
  • A rough paper is slow and needs a fast, fluid ink...
  • while a smooth, glossy paper is fast and requires a slow ink.
  • Yes, papers can be 'slow' or 'fast, too.
    Desk slope
  • The higher the slope, the more fluid the ink has to be, to flow properly.
  • The lower the slope, the slower the ink has to be, in order not to flow too fast.
  • The slope of your desk, i.e. its angle of inclination, also governs which kind of ink will give the best performance.
    In total
  • Horizontal writing desk + smooth paper + broad nib = a very slow ink is needed.
  • Large desk inclination + rough paper + narrow nib = a very fast ink is needed.
  • These are the two extremes of our scale.

    Does it sound complicated? Yes, at first, but just make a few experiments on your own, and you will soon get the knack of which viscosity will suit you the best.

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