Openinkstand Art & Calligraphy

Inkwells for oblique holders

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Hi Shin, which inkwell do you use.  I struggle to dip my oblique nib into the normal bottles of ink and I wondered whether you either decanted your ink into a more appropriate (wider mouthed container) or you had a lovely vintage inkwell that was suitable.

Hey Anonymous,

It’s true that some bottles of ink are very unreasonable for oblique holders. Here are some ink bottles I have which unfortunately do not work well with oblique holders.

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Here is a vermillion Yasutomo ink, a lovely ink for calligraphy indeed but as you can see my holder does not fit through the mouth. I would have to tip the bottle or something to get at the ink, and that can cause a mess. This also stains the holder, ick.

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And here is a fountain pen ink bottle. Fountain pen makers have some lovely inks but their bottles aren’t always accommodating to dipping.

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Even bottles that look like they have a wide mouth don’t always fit a cumbersome oblique holder. This is a Noodler’s ink bottle, they have great ink but nope, doesn’t work.

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And of course some inks come with an eyedropper. This is a little better as you can just drop the ink on to the nib, but still a pain.

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So here’s what one can do.. either deal with the bottles or pour a little bit into a container with a wider mouth.

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The cheapest way is to use a dappen dish or something similar. These little jars have a wide enough mouth to admit the holder an deep enough to dip properly. Best of all, these are made of glass so it’s easy to clean and if you use gouache, you can let the ink dry in it and just add water to reuse.

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Dinky dips are also very popular, but I don’t like them as I find them too small and needs constant refilling, and difficult to clean. Also, I can’t tell what color is in which little tube once the caps are on! Argh.

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And if you need a larger container, you can get glass jars like this. It’s clear so you can see what color ink it contains, and easy to clean for reuse.

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Of course, if you feel fancy, you can get a vintage inkwell, and you can find them in many places online. Just make sure the mouth of the inkwell is big enough to admit the oblique holder, just because it is listed as ‘inkwell’ doesn’t meant it is appropriate for an oblique holder. Also you should consider where you live.. many of these are not airtight. If you live in a dry place, the ink will just evaporate and you have to constantly refill. I can’t use these inkwells because here in Vegas, the ink will evaporate by 20% if I leave it uncapped overnight!

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These are my favorite inkwells.. the McCaffrey’s brass or stainless steel inkwell. These beauties are so heavy that they won’t tip over, holds a good amount of ink and just so lovely to have on the desk. Too bad they cost so much money though. I use mine for my favorite inks: walnut ink and iron gall ink.

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But of course, some very considerate ink makers supply their inks in big jars to solve this problem first hand. Once these are done you can reuse the bottle!

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5 Responses to “Inkwells for oblique holders”

  1. Kristen

    Thank you so much for all your help, you have no idea how helpful it is. And your talent is sooo inspiring! Im wondering if you can answer a quick question?My favorite ink to use is McCaffery’s Penman’s ink, but I feel like it gets thick when its about half gone. Do you find this to be true in your experience, and if so, is there anything I can do to salvage this last bit of ink? Thank you so much again for your videos and blog.

    Reply
    • Openinkstand

      Thank you! Yes, that happens, because of evaporation.. all you need to do is just add more water :) Distilled water preferred, then gently stir, let it settle and it should be right as rain again.

      Reply
  2. Jane Gahng

    Hi Schin! Where’d you order your glass jars with the black screw tops? I think those are the best solution for me!

    Reply

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