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Weekly Ink Review: Behind the Scenes Peek

Ever wondered what it looks like behind the scenes when we’re prepping to post about our weekly ink review? We’ve had some of you asking questions about it, so we thought we’d let you take a look at the part of the weekly ink review process that you usually don’t see.

A Few of the Supplies We Keep Handy for Ink Reviews:

  • Our featured ink (this week’s was Sailor Manyo Haha ink)
  • Clairefontaine Triomphe Notebook
  • 10ml Ink Syringe
  • Dee Charles Pen Wipe (always great to have around when messing with inks)
  • Col-o-ring Ink Testing Deck
  • A box to contain the ink mess (aka magic)

Behind the Scenes: Prepping for the Weekly Ink Review Post

Each week here at Pen Chalet, we feature a fountain pen ink in our weekly ink review. During the ink review, we test the ink using several fairly standard ink tests like the 1 Dip Test, the Water Test and the Dry Test. Once the review is posted (right here on the Pen Chalet blog), readers can enter to win the bottle of fountain pen ink we used for the fountain pen ink review. If you’ve ever wondered what was going down between the time the review was completed and the time you saw the review results online, you’re in luck.

Prepping to Post About the Weekly Featured Ink:

1. We adjust the video and lighting equipment setup so we can get images and video of the featured ink and some ink splats. (We run video while we continue with the prep).

2. We unbox the ink.

3. We pull out our “inky” box used regularly for controlling ink splatter when we’re playing with out inks. Our inky box is literally a medium sized shipping box with the bottom taped shut, the top pieces removed, and a couple “handles” cut into the sides with a xacto knife (because we’re fancy like that).

4. Having an inky box you reuse each week is part of the fun since you can see a history of ink fun right there as the ink messes layer over each other week by week.

5. We place the inky box on the table, and pull out our Clairefontaine Triomphe notebook. (You can use your favorite fountain pen friendly paper, of course. This is just the paper we use for our ink splats. And we typically use the Rhodia dot pad paper for the actual review tests. We place one sheet of the fountain pen friendly paper in the inky box.

6. We pull out the syringe (this is a “dull” syringe. You can find them at PenChalet.com, as well as many other places, but remember you don’t need one with a sharp tip).

7. We open up the featured ink of the week (in this video, we’re featuring Sailor Manyo Haha fountain pen ink) and insert the syringe directly into the bottle. Once the syringe is inserted, you pull the stopper back on the syringe to pull some ink in (you don’t need much – check the video – we made sure to give you a quick look at the small amount of ink you want to aim for when you’re filling the syringe).

8. We close the ink. Sounds simple, but forgetting this step always leads to trouble. We’ve got proof here (on the desk, on the floor, the carpet, the chair, our hands, random notebooks, etc.

9. Then we aim the syringe at the paper and squirt the ink out with a sharp movement towards the spot where we’d like to see the ink splat. Typically, this means putting my hands inside the box to get closer to the paper and holding the syringe at about a 55 degree angle.

10. Sometimes we repeat the process so we have multiple ink splats on the page.

11. At this point the ink will need to dry. Leaving it right where it is and walking away is perfectly acceptable, but more often of late, we’ve messed with it a bit while it was drying. We tend to pick the paper up as soon as we’ve placed the ink, and blowing on pooled ink areas to encourage the ink to crawl out across the paper. It seems to help create opportunities to see shading and sheening of the ink.

12. Once the ink is completely dry, we check out the results.

13. While we’re making an inky mess, we also like create a color swatch of the same ink. It provides another look at the ink and how it performs in a different scenario. The color swatch card used with the Sailor Manyo Haha ink is from Col-o-ring’s ink testing deck.

We hope you had fun getting a quick behind the scenes peek at the goings on here at Pen Chalet. What are you curious about? Send in your requests and we’ll see what we can do. Maybe there will be another Behind the Scenes feature coming soon! And in the mean time, remember, you can always get your favorite pen and ink supplies at www.PenChalet.com!

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3 years ago

Thanks! It’s always fun to be in on the criteria people use to get to know their inks.

Denise Rogers
2 years ago

I really enjoyed this “behind the scenes” look at your ink review. Thank you for sharing it.