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Oak-Gall-Ink (also known as Iron-Gall-Ink):

The Scriptorium Oak-Gall-Ink is a fine example of this historically important velvety black ink.
Its indelible formula is based upon the reaction between the oak gall apple (created bay the larve of the cynipid wasp) and ferrous salts. Unlike most other inks which sit on the surface of the support, Oak-Gall-Ink depends upon a very mild acidic quality that bites into the paper or vellum to create a pemanent mark.

The physiacal qualities of the Oak-Gall-Ink are very particular. On opening a new bottle of fresh ink, the colour is a light blue-black. The ink bottle should be left open for a week or more before use. This permits oxidation and allows the ferrous salts to turn into a rich, velvety dark pigment. Our recommendation would be to allow the ink to "air" for at least a few days before use and not to use it fresh. Once applied, the Oak-Gall-Ink will become noticeably blacker on the page after three days, becoming lightfast and waterproof as the chemical reaction takes place. The color will remain this way for a long time, turning a slight brown after a number of decades as the iron content turns into rust.

Oak-Gall-Ink is considered by many to be the most important ink in the development of Western civilization. The best iron-gall-inks were superior in their permanence to most modern ink, but the potential corrosiveness of some compositions, due to inconsistent preparation, regretfully led to their abandonment in favour of more consistent recipes with less chemical aggression. An urgent Mozart is said to have demanded an iron-gall-ink from his pharmacist, requiring immediate use. The resulting preparation contained excess salts to darken the ink but over time this particularly acid formula corroded the paper upon which Mozart wrote his music, turning them today into lace-like manuscripts.

The Scriptorium Oak-Gall-Ink has been formulated using a 1798 recipe to create an ink of quality that is wonderful to work with today and which promises proven permanence.

Oak-Gall-Ink works particularly well with the quill pen, as well as metal nib dip pens. Upon first use with a metal nib, instead of cleaning the pen straight after working with it, leave the ink on the nib to allow a slight built-up and reaction between the ink and the metal. This will make for a smoother flow the next time the pen is used with the Oak-Gall-Ink. If used in a fountain pen, it is recommended that the pen is cleaned thoroughly after use to avoid corrsion of inside parts.

Careful handling of this ink is important, as it will stain and leave permanent mark on clothes or other surfaces if not cleaned immediately. Ink spots on skin/fingers disappear after 24 hours.


Walnut Ink:

The Scriptorium Walnut Ink has been made from a process which incinerates Walnut woodchips without oxygen so that the pigment created is not black but remains a brown shade peculiar to this nut tree. Although usually thought to originate from the 'nut' of the Walnut, this ink is produced from the wood of the tree but has long been referred to as a 'nut' ink.

A richly coloured ink with a naturally warm tone, Walnut Ink can be used to create a transparent wash or a more dense line depending on the desired effect. The colour is greatly affected by the tone of the paper or vellum worked upon but, unlike the Oak-Gall-Ink, it is not waterproof although it shares the same qualities of permanence.

A useful characteristic of the Walnut Ink is the ability to work over washes of the ink with water to create a 'reverse' writing or drawing effect. As the water washes away small areas of the ink, it appears to separate and reform around the edges of the area of water, leaving lighter areas defined by a fine dark lin of the ink.

The Scriptorium Walnut Ink can be removed easily from fabric, although it is suggested to clean thoroughly when the mark is still fresh.