Finding the perfect pen and ink combination for you can be one of the most gratifying aspects of using a fountain pen.
For this first ink post I’d like to talk about Fire and Ice, a fast drying ink by Robert Oster. Most Robert Oster inks have fast dry times. The only smudging I’ve had from them is with Blue Denim, and that’s from the sheen lifting. Robert Oster has quite a few blue inks that are both similar and very different, but Fire and Ice stands out in the crowd.
On the right paper, Fire and Ice shades and sheens, ranging from a bright blue to a dark turquoise with red sheen. The first pen that I put this ink in was a Pilot Custom 912 with a Waverly nib, and that is a perfect combination for me. Fire and Ice is wet enough that it’ll always flow smoothly, but it dries fast enough that I never smudge. This ink is even wet enough that I can comfortably write with a dry pen like a Lamy Safari, which is what I’m using right now.
The Robert Oster bottles contain 50 ml of ink and are made of recyclable plastic, which is comforting to me for some reason. Last year when I was getting into fountain pens, I watched a Goulet Pens video of stationary recommendations for lefties, and Robert Oster Black Violet was on that list. I purchased a bottle, and that ink is indeed fast drying and lefty friendly. Since then, I’ve accumulated six bottles and many samples, but Fire and Ice is my favorite. If I were to recommend a single ink company for lefties, it would be Robert Oster. It dries fast, they have interesting ink colors, and their bottles are a decent 50 ml for about 15$ USD. This is comparable to Iroshizuku, who’s 50ml glass bottles are about 22$ USD.
On Tomoe River and Nakabayashi papers, dry times were 15 and 10 seconds respectively. On Rhodia and Nock, dry times were 10 seconds and 1 second respectively. With Tomoe River you see the most shading/sheening, but side-writers may want to avoid using this combination except for short notes. For most lefties, I believe that these dry times are long enough that you can write with this ink and not smudge.
I’m not giving such high praise simply because I want to impress the Robert Oster twitter account, I just think they’re really neat.