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Re: Rustic inks
>Organization: Texas A&M University - Biology Dept
>I mentioned the ongoing discussion concerning old ink recipes to a
>calligrapher friend of mine. He came up with the following, which
>may be of interest to others on biblio:
>The "gall" in gall ink has little to do with animal gall-bladders.
>It's the galls from oak trees, an excellent source of tannin. I
>have recipes that I copied from formula books at the IU Chemistry
>library on how to extract the tannin from the galls, and how to take
>old saw blades and dissolve them in sulfuric acid to get the ferrous
>sulfate. Some recipes included animal gall as a surfactant, but one
>can achieve the same results with gum arabic to thicken the ink.
>The best steel pen recipe I've ever seen included a bit of copper
>salts. It quickly plates your steel pen with copper (really! An
>orange pen point) and supposedly retards corrosion of the steel. It
>makes a nice black ink, at any rate. (But not for fountain pens!!
>Those old recipes produce ink so full of precipiates that I wouldn't
>trust a good pen to their untender mercies.)
Peter D. Verheyen
Rare Book Conservator
Cornell University Library