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Re: Home-made inks

The recipe Jeff Morris gave is more a dye than an ink; without something
extra, such as gum arabic, this colorant would be likely to bleed into the
paper.  Also, lampblack is not as easy to add to an aqueous solution as
some recipes suggest.  It has a tendency to float, forming dry aggregates
on the surface.

Tannic acid soaked out of oak galls, combined with ferrous sulfate and gum
arabic, makes a brown to black ink.  The essential chemistry of this ink
(iron gall ink) has been known for at least 2,000 years.  The color range
depends largely on the source of tannic acid.  For instance, oak bark and
white oak shavings make brown inks; oak galls, esp. Aleppo galls, make a
black ink.

There is a fair amount of information about these inks in my book,
_Manuscript Inks_, including a section on ink sticks by Swedish
calligrapher Claes Lindblad.

Information about the book can be found on my web page: www.teleport.com/~tcl


>Does anyone have any more specific recipes, for example
>using oak galls which I've read were once used.
>"Mash walnut shells and boil them until the water is a deep brown.  Add
>vinegar and salt to the boiling water to set the color.  Add lampblack
>for a black color."
>Interested in any ideas.
>Jeffrey D. Morris, Ph.D.
>Eastman Kodak Co.
>Rochester, NY 14652

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217


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