Our Favorite Inks: Platinum Carbon Black

After writing about cartridges last week, I got to thinking about my favorite inks and have decided to start a series “Our Favorite Inks”. And while I would never presume to rank these inks in any sort of order (would you rank your children?) I knew I should start with one of my all-time favorite: Platinum Carbon Black ($25 per 60ml bottle or $3.50 for a pack of 4 cartridges).

Why would I choose this ink for my first favorite ink? Because if I were in a situation where I needed to re-acquire all my inks, PCB (not Panama City Beach but Platinum Carbon Black) would be one of the first, if not THE first, inks I re-bought.

There are two reasons for this. First, everyone needs a black ink. I know we always say we want COLOR but there are occasions when nothing but black will do. Second, sometimes we need a permanent ink. Often times the need for black and permanent go hand-in-hand — like signing important documents. So, done. PCB solves both problems.

I am a devotee of the Platinum Desk Pen (formerly known as the Platinum CARBON Desk Pen). It’s extra fine nib and low price make it the perfect pen to keep a black waterproof ink loaded ALL THE TIME. The extra fine nib also makes writing on some of those lower quality copy papers a bit easier to handle since the fine nib doesn’t spread as badly as a big, broad firehose nib.

Also, that itty bitty, extra fine nib uses very little ink making a cartridge last for months or even years, even with regular use.

I’ve had it suggested that other blacks were more waterproof but I’ve not seen any proof of this. I SOAKED the page above (Rhodia paper) and the ink didn’t budge. It took hours for the water to dry and the ink looks just as crisp as when I wrote it. I am sure there are some paper stocks with different textures or coatings that may cause your mileage to vary but if the ink has been allowed to dry at least 10 minutes or so under normal atmospheric conditions (not super cold or not super humid) you should have similar waterproof results.

As for cleaning pens, I’ve done several test with allowing PCB to dry inside a pen and had it rinse clean in a short amount of time. If you let a pen sit for years with dried PCB, you may need to get some pen cleaner or an ultrasonic cleaner to help make the process easier but I’ve never had trouble cleaning out the ink or getting a pen restarted after a hard start (usually a result of leaving a pen sit for weeks or months).

So, if you haven’t added a bottle of PCB to your collection, I recommend you remedy that. The cartridges are Platinum proprietary so only purchase those if you plan to use them in a Platinum pen.


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6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Sadly I think Platinum discontinued the extra fine nib, it’s now a fine nib, which is rather disappointing.

  2. Does this ink tend to write a lot more dry than Platiunum’s standard inks? My experience with waterproof/permanent inks is that they are fairly dry, but that experience is pretty limited.

    1. I would say it’s a drier ink but doesn’t hard start often. I prefer this to the wet, runny inks that bleed which tends to be a bigger issue with waterproof inks.

    2. It does dry pretty quickly but I haven’t had too many hard start issues, even in the EF nibs of the Carbon Pen.

  3. PCB is my all-time favorite sketching ink. Completely waterproof and plays nicely with all my pens, even when I’m lazy about cleaning. And it IS the only ink I have ever bought more of — I think I’m on bottle No. 3!

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