Flipping our lids

Diamine 30ml sample bottles are brilliant; a huge range of good-quality inks, at very reasonable prices, and they’re even British too.  There’s just one catch – those bottles.  The plastic is fairly robust, but so many pens just can’t get their sections through that tiny neck – and the bottom seems such a long way down.  That’s fine if you’re filling an eye-dropper, but there’s more to nibbage than that filling system, after all.

There is another way and that’s to buy one of Diamine’s remarkable box sets; both flowers and composers come in rather nice glass cubes with a sufficiently wide neck to accommodate most pens.  But they don’t sell them individually!So we needed another other way and our newest United Inkdom member has found it. Rob has explored the arcane websites of various pharmaceutical and catering suppliers and assembled a fascinating test-pack of alternative glass and plastic bottles along with the pipettes to fill them up.  Scribble and Ian have been trying them out too – and you can win one of these experimenting kits as well (see below)!Filling pens fron bottlesThe results are impressive; for just a few pennies you can get all sorts of hardy alternatives. Admittedly one of the ‘biological sample’ bottles acquired a rather suspicious crack in the post, but all the glass bottles survived and Ian tested the full set for leakage without any tell-tale dribbles appearing. Our team consensus is that alternative glassware is probably the way forward.  For further details and links to suppliers, see Rob’s extensive blog article.

These alternative bottles make for handy mixing kits too – all you need is a syringe or pipette and you’re ready to roll.  There’s even likely to be a new purple on the scene soon as a result…Alternative ink bottlesYou can win one of these kits too, along with a fine 30ml Diamine sample to decant into the bottle of your choice and a dip pen for testing your inky cocktail creations. Just leave a comment below telling us which colour you’d like to be able to dip a big fat nib into  – we’ll pick a winner at random but we’re genuinely curious to know! NB this competition has now closed and the kit is winging its way over the Atlantic, but comments are still welcome!Labelled bottles




28 thoughts on “Flipping our lids

    1. I have a Noodlers’ Ahab Flex pen ( blue ), filled with Havasu Turquoise.

      The ink is perfect for this pen.

  1. I can’t tell if the giveaway is limited to the UK (I’m in the US), but if not, I’d like to try Oxblood.

    1. The give-away is not limited to the UK, but the winner will be selected randomly – and the ink sample delivered will ultimately be Rob’s choice rather than the winner’s, in this case! But it’s great finding out which colours people are most curious about – and those Diamines are not so expensive to acquire, even from the other side of the Pond 🙂

  2. I’m fairly new to fountain pens and these ink samples are a great idea for someone starting out to get an idea of the range of inks out there. How do they compare to Noodlers?
    Thanks, Paul from Adelaide, South Australia

    1. Well, Diamine has a factory, albeit a small one, so recipes are fairly standardised and they rarely run out of specific lines. Few of the inks are known to have problems and it’s a fairly safe place to begin experimenting. Noodler’s are made by a one-man-band kind of operation, and can be harder to obtain. There are some which have excellent flow and shading characteristics, so they can nevertheless be worth hunting down, but one or two tend to stain rather, and you have to commit to a rather large bottle. As a long-term scribbler I like both, but I’d recommend the 30ml Diamine samples first if you are indeed ‘starting out’. By the way, in Oz you can also access the Toucan range, which is worth checking out as it doesn’t have to travel around the globe to get to you; they do sizes all the way from 30ml to a whopping 2 litres! http://www.tintex.com.au/toucan-technical-drawing-ink-c-8/toucan-technical-drawing-ink-p-16.html

    1. The Erka rapid works perfectly with the ones mentioned in my previous comment. They also work Pelikan 4001, Kaweco, Delta (the same format) and Omas.

  3. I am looking for even more inks with sheen so I would love to try Bilberry, Oxblood, or Wild Strawberry.

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