While at the San Fransisco Pen Show, I was able to acquire a coveted box of Bookbinders Snake Ink sampler bottles. It probably helped that I was working at the Anderson Pens table directly across from the Snake Ink table and the Andersons are the sole distributors of Bookbinders Snake Ink in the US presently. So… access and temptation were at an all time high.


The packaging and presentation for the sampler set was epic! It was so beautifully presented, wrapped and designed. I was so glad that it made it back to Kansas City without being mangled by TSA or Southwest Airlines baggage handlers.


The outer box is kraft paper with gold foil lettering and black litho and the inner wrapping is black with a white bookbinding tape sealing the box shut.


Inside the box are die cut holes for each of the glass vials containing samples of each of the Snake Ink colors, each with a foil stamped label. There are eight 10ml bottles and the package included a pipette to extract ink from the vials and put into your pens.



Bookbinders Snake Ink Swatches

The Snake Inks are from Australia and the colors are all inspired by the colors of snakes native to Australia. They are not made from snakes and do not contain snake venom. Someone asked me that at that the show!

Bookbinders snake ink writing sample

I tested all the colors with a paint brush and my trusty Kaweco Special Dip Pen on Rhodia paper as well as doing swabs on my Maruman Word Cards. On the Word Card, I had some issues with the Blue Racer and Red Spitting Cobra. Blue Racer seemed a bit thicker than the other colors and Red Spitting Cobra was a little thinner than the other colors. In general, I find red inks tend to be more watery than any other color though. The Blue Coral and Ground Rattler were my favorite colors but I always favor the turquoise and grays so that’s a given. The Eastern Brown is a lovely rich brown color though and I quite liked it too.

snake-ink-comps-1 snake-ink-comps-2 snake-ink-comps-3 snake-ink-comps-4 snake-ink-comps-5 snake-ink-comps-7 snake-ink-comps-6

I have included an assortment of color comparison swatches to give as close approximation to other inks. I don’t have a lot of browns in my collection or at least not a lot of warm browns to choose from so I did the best I could. The color swatch comparisons were shot today with my new lighting rig so hopefully they will give as accurate as possible a color read as I can get. There is a lot of brilliance and vibrancy to the Snake Ink colors and some sheening too. In the blues, Oster might have Snake Ink beat but the Emerald Boa and Everglades Ratsnake is pretty luminous. Ground Rattler is a cool gray compared to a lot of the other grays which are much warmer, slate-y grays. Red-Belly Black is a very deep black, more so than the Waterman Black that I have. If you’re looking for a BLACK black, its pretty darn dark.

The Bookbinders Snake Ink Sampler Kit was a special offering for the San Fransisco Pen Show. I don’t know if they plan to offer it again but Anderson Pens sell full bottles of Snake Ink for $12.50 and ink samples for $1.25. The full bottles of Snake Ink come in burlap bags which are very cool too.

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