Ink Declutter, Vol. 1

I’ve mentioned it a couple times with my Patrons that I’ve been on a bit of a stationery and ink declutter this summer. I’ve been going through my 600+ bottles of ink and attempting to pare it down to a more manageable number. Over the past year, I’ve discovered that I tend to favor a couple bottles of ink over everything else. I’ve even considered purchasing new bottles of the ink when I finish these bottles.

Alternately, other inks have languished for months or even years. It’s not that they are not beautiful colors its just that I am likely to have three or more similar bottles of ink.

I’ve become aware, over the years, my penchant for fine nibs limits the usability of inks that are lighter in color. Some lighter inks are often too light to be usable in a fine nib pen.

Also, 600 bottles is a lot of ink to store. I had it in my head that I could get the collection down to 100 bottles but everyone who knows me has laughed at my optimism. While I appreciate a good declutter, I also love having all the things I might need to make or create.

Over the years, I have gone on various adventures to fine the “perfect” grey ink, the one-true lime green ink and a mission to find the finest plummy purple color. This has left me with several, close-but-not-quite-right inks that have sat idle in my collection. I have also made various attempts made to bring a red or orange ink into my collection. I am just not a fan of red and orange inks. They’re pretty but I never want to ink up a pen with them.

Each month, I have been selecting a few brands and attempt to edit out some of the many bottles I own. So far, I’ve gone through my Montblanc inks, Robert Oster, and Sailor inks along with a few random inks. Patrons got early access to these sale inks but now I’m opening it up to regular readers of the blog.

This ink declutter/purge means that if you love red or orange inks, have been looking for that perfect grey ink or just want to try a lot of inks cheap, my loss is your gain.

If you’d like to get early access to sales like this or to participate in our monthly pen and book chat, consider subscribing to our Patreon.

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12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ana I probably do not have as many inks as you do but I do have a ton of inks. So the question becomes when I need to declutter do I just pitch them? I’m not in a position to offer them up and pay for shipping to the people who might want them, but it feels very wasteful to just pour them down the drain. What are your suggestions? I also do a bit of watercolor painting… i may try to use ink somehow as a paint!

    1. If you attend any pen related events, plan an ink swap/sale. Post on slack or another board to offer inks for sale or trade. Using them for painting is a great idea.

      I do have a couple bottles that just have a drizzle of ink left that I will either decant into a sample vial or just chuck.

  2. The problem I have found the KYZ Sheen Machine is it drys up in the nib in less than a minute. I have three of their inks. Their ink has incredible sheen but drying up in the nib is very quickly is annoying. I don’t use it anymore. I think using it with a dip pen would be the answer

  3. This is inspiring! I have to say that whoever got the Mont Blanc Encre du Desert made a great choice. That’s one of my all-time favorites, and I’m glad I didn’t get a chance to buy a second bottle. I also don’t like red in general, but I have a few faves anyway.

  4. @Ana said: “…my 600+ bottles of ink”. Tsk-tsk, I know exactly where you are coming from. I was there many many years ago. Then I just stopped dead in my tracks. Work (real hard work) was eating up my time, and all sorts of misbehaving (but very colorful) inks were just not working out for me anymore. So I decided to (as you put it) “declutter”, and concentrate on what really matters: 1) A reliable work-horse business-appropriate blue ink. It is Pilot/Namiki Blue. It comes from the factory with a small dose of phenol (carbolic acid) as a biocide. The odor is unmistakeable, especially if you know how vintage inks smell. 2). My primary pen is the Pilot Custom Heritage 743 CC-filler with a semi-flexible solid-gold #16 (Pilot proprietary size) FA (a.k.a. Falcon) nib mounted on an after-market dual-channel ebonite feed from Mr. Grasty in Texas [1] to replace the horrible flow-starved injection-molded plastic feeds that Pilot ships their pens with. That’s it… My journey is pretty much at an end. Ana, perhaps some day we will meet here – at the end of the rainbow 🙂

    Flexible Nib Factory LLC, attn: Mr. Joey Grasty

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