Private Reserve Inks

I jumped on another fountain pen ink bandwagon. This time with Private Reserve Inks. This ink brand has been showing up on my radar and social media feed for awhile. I did some research and found the original owner had passed away in 2018 and the remaining ink bottles at the pen shops eventually sold out. Sometime in 2019, a new owner took over the Private Reserve Inks and partnered with Yafa Brands to produce the bottles of ink.

I’ve heard there were a few issues with some of the ink colors (like mold) and that was prior to the new ownership/management taking over this line of ink. I have not seen nor heard of any recent issues with the new inks.

I naturally wanted to get a teal and a pinky/raspberry/purple ink. I ended up selecting Blue Suede, Arabian Rose, Shoreline Gold, and Naples Blue to try out. Another ink color is arriving later in the week and I will be adding this ink color to this blog post.

My Private Reserve Inks

I initially swatched the colors on my Col-o-ring card and in my Stalogy 365 ink journal. I was amazed at the bright and bold ink colors that popped on the paper. Some slight bleeding occurred on the Col-o-ring card which is normal for me to see. I noticed that the ink was quite wet and my automatic pen saturated my swatch cards.

Stunning colors!
Shoreline Gold is a pretty and bright orange color with lots of shading
Arabian Rose if my fave color with beautiful shading and black sheen
Blue Suede is an absolutely gorgeous teal color with pink sheen and beautiful shading
Naples Blue is a beautiful medium blue ink with lovely pink sheen and shading

When I did my swatches in my Stalogy ink journal, I immediately noticed the feathering around the edges of the ink. This was the first time I experienced a huge amount of feathering on this paper. I flipped through the pages of my ink journal to see if I have experienced this with any other ink manufacturer or maybe an ink color. Private Reserve Inks are the only ones feathering.

I inked two pens to see if I would see similar feathering when I write with my fountain pens. I selected my two Taccia Spectrum pens. One with an Extra Fine nib and the other with a Medium nib. I also cleaned my Estie OS and filled it with Arabian Rose.

Adding my writing samples to my swatch page

As expected, writing with the Extra Fine nibs hardly shows any feathering. Writing with my Medium nib, I could see a bit of feathering.

As expected, writing on my Tomoe River Paper (TRP) did not show any feathering.

My Tomoe River Paper ink log

Here’s another writing sample using my Ayush Paper. I’m starting to come down from my fence with this paper. I like writing on this paper and especially with my Pilot Parallel pens. That’s another post for another day.

Can see the lovely shading on my Ayush paper

So I have a slight issue with Private Reserve’s jar. It’s a round squatty shaped jar. When I placed my pen into the bottle to fill with ink, I noticed there was not a whole lot of space between the tip of my nib and the bottom of the jar. Eventually, I will have to decant the ink into my Pineider or Visconti travel inkwells. I just remembered I have a few TWSBI inkwells that I could use. A better solution.

Private Reserve Ink jars are short compared to my sample vials and my small Diamine bottle

Update: A late add to this blog entry. Here’s my fifth bottle that arrived late. Lovely color!

An interesting copper color with character
Lovely shading with black sheen

I will have to spend more time with this ink brand. That includes creating a few pen and ink wash artwork to see how this ink behaves on different art paper. The ink colors are definitely gorgeous with a lot of sheen and shading characteristics I enjoy seeing.

Inks: Private Reserve Inks in Shoreline Gold, Blue Suede, Arabian Rose, Naples Blue, and Copper Burst

Papers: Col-o-ring swatch cards, Ayush Paper, GLP Creations TRP journal, and Stalogy 365 B6 journal

An Automatic Pen, a Pilot Parallel Pen, and My Opus 88 Pen Hack

I’ve changed up how I do my fountain pen ink swatching by using a way cool tool called the automatic pen. I’ve mostly used it to swatch ink colors in my ink journal which I have posted a few pictures from my previous blog posts.

My automatic pen used to create my ink swatches in my Stalogy 365 ink journal

I saw someone use an automatic pen to create their swatches on their Col-o-ring cards and also in their fountain pen ink journal. I thought that was the neatest thing to use and had to try one out. The automatic pen puts down enough ink to see any sheening properties the ink might have (depending on paper). It has improved my swatching process as well as saved me from using q-tips to smear the ink on paper.

I like how the automatic pen holds the ink in it’s “nib” area (sandwiched between two metal plates) and how easily the nib can be cleaned. I dip the nib in some water, swish the water around, and dry off the nib. I know many folks use this type of pen for calligraphy and have to re-dip the nib when the ink runs out. That is a similar process for pointed pen calligraphy.

Side of the nib

The automatic pen reminds me of my Pilot Parallel pens. The only difference between the two, my Pilot pen can use a cartridge, converter, or be used as an eyedropper pen.

I use my Pilot Parallel for decorative writing (cards, small signage, etc) and for sketching. The nib on this pen uses a lot of ink. I could easily go through an ink cartridge within a few short hours of writing and sketching.

Close up of my Pilot Parallel pen with 1.5mm nib

Then I came across a “hack” for my Parallel pen. I could put my Pilot Parallel nib into my Opus 88 Omar fountain pen. What?! I immediately saw how beneficial this hack could be with using a larger ink capacity pen with a decorative writing nib. This combination would allow me to write and sketch longer than a few hours or even a day or two.

Pilot nib unit with a tiny o-ring

The Pilot nib and feed can be removed easily by pulling out the nib from the grip/section. On the Opus 88 Demonstrator, just unscrew the nib unit (nib/feed/collar) from the grip/section. There’s a tiny o-ring that also needs to be removed and saved with the Opus nib unit. Take the Pilot nib and feed unit and push it into the Opus grip/section until you can feel it click into place. That’s it!

My Opus hack!

I put my Opus nib unit along with it’s o-ring and store it in a zip lock bag for safe keeping

Here’s a writing sample from my hack:

Oooops! Correction “to”= “too”

Why do this hack?

  • Personally, my hand prefers a girthy pen and my fingers relax more while I write
  • The Pilot Parallel nibs lay down a lot of ink
  • Opus 88 pens have a huge ink capacity that allow for longer writing sessions

The Pilot Parallel nib and feed fits into the Opus 88 Omar demonstrator and the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator pen as long as they use the JoWo #6 nib unit.

Pens: Automatic Pen, Pilot Parallel 1.5 mm, and Opus 88 Omar Tainan

Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Ku Jaku

Paper: Ayush Paper pad (fountain pen friendly)

Ayush Paper

I was sent a new to me fountain pen paper from Frank over at Federalist Pens and Paper. I was happy to do this as I enjoy trying out new paper products and anything related to fountain pens.

I received an A4 pad of spiral bound paper. The pad came with 50 sheets or 100 usable sides. The paper weight is 100 gsm. The paper color is called “natural shade” and appears to be slightly off white in color.

Front cover
Back cover with paper specs

Ayush Paper is based in India and it appears there’s a small number of online pen shops that are carrying this line of paper.

The pad has perforated sheets for easy removal.

Hard to get even lighting with this large pad of paper. Can see the perforations in the paper.

I already had thoughts on what I was going to do with this paper and how I was going to put this pad of paper through the tests.

For my first page I grabbed my EDW or every day writers and art fountain pens and started a pen & ink log. I wanted to see how my fountain pen inks reacted to this paper and how well the variety of nibs wrote on this paper.

The ink colors seem to “pop” on this paper
I had to include my pen and ink sketches with some water

The paper is not super smooth, but has a tiny bit of texture to it which I like.

Close up of this slightly textured paper

The paper handles the fountain pen inks well. On the back of the paper there is no bleed, but there is a bit of ghosting.

The paper does have a slight issue with water. It tends to buckle in the areas where I applied water to my sketches. I left the paper alone for a few days hoping the buckled areas of the paper would flatten. As you can see, it has flattened a bit.

For my second paper test, I created another swatch page. For this page I used my automatic pen and a glass dipped pen which means more ink would be applied onto the paper. Again I wanted to see how these two pens handled the paper. I also was curious to see how the inks looks on the paper and whether any of the ink’s characteristics would show.

Can see the a few inks showing some sheen
The back of the paper and some buckling and ghosting

The paper shows the sheening ink beautifully.

Solferino is stunning
Some beautiful Sailor ink sheen
Enjoy seeing the interaction between the inks and a bit of water
Back of the paper close up


There is no bleed through on the pages I used for writing and for pen and ink wash. On my second test page, I noticed some slight bleed through when a few of my inks were pooling more on the paper. There is some ghosting on the back side of the paper. That ghosting reminds me of my TRP. I have similar ghosting with my Stalogy journal paper, but the light grid lines in that journal help soften the ghosting on the reverse side of the paper.

I do like how the paper handles my sheening inks and the inks dry slightly faster than on my TRP. I like how my pen and ink sketches with a water wash flow on this paper. Also the colors appear to be brighter.

After flipping the pages back and forth on this Ayush spiral pad, I found the paper handling to be a bit noisy. I think it has to do with the paper being a bit firm. I went back to my journals and flipped a few pages and that’s when I noticed how my TRP and Stalogy paper feels more fluid.

I plan on using the pad of paper for my pen and ink washes. I love this large size pad of paper and there’s plenty of room to write and sketch.

There are two other spiral bound paper pad sizes available including A5 and a pocket version. I’ve also seen a notebook that is bound like a journal and I might purchase one of those.

After using and experimenting with this Ayush A4 pad for the last few days, I have to say I’m on the fence with this paper. While it shows wonderful sheening and shading qualities of my inks, I’m not sure how or what else I would use this paper for. I typically use A5 or B5 size paper pads (Rhodia) and journals (TRP, Stalogy, Stillman & Birn) for writing and sketching.

I plan on tearing out a few blank pages and making a smaller journal/booklet. I’m sure I’ll have additional thoughts and experiences which I will definitely share in the next few days.

Paper: Ayush Paper Pad A4 Unlined

US Reseller: Federalist Pens and Paper (