Sunday, September 02, 2012

Oak Galls, Oak Galls, Oaky Oaky Oak Galls!

I've been getting (back) into fountain pens and calligraphy lately, and while money is tight right now (oh, is that an understatement!) some things in life really are free. Today I was out on our patio, which is next to a large oak tree, and noticed that there were a few galls on it. I couldn't reach any of them that were still on the tree, but I went outside and collected a good number of them from the ground surrounding the tree. The iron pills I've been taking are ferrous sulfate, which is (handily enough!) the very kind of iron that's needed to make iron gall ink! I'm really excited -- I'm going to set this batch fermenting on the patio tonight, or possibly in the morning so I can take pictures, and then in a few weeks I'll collect the liquid from the galls, add the iron, and have me some ink!

Since there are about a million different iron gall ink recipes out there, and I live in Texas, Home of the Live Oaks Motherfucking Everywhere, I'm thinking that tomorrow I'll go out to some of the local parks and see if I can collect any more galls. I'd like to try fermenting one batch, boiling another, and just crushing them up and soaking. If I can see which one makes the best/darkest ink, I'd like to try bottling it up and giving it to some of my geekier friends. An ink that gets darker over time would be pretty goddamn sweet.

I've also thought of trying to make some actual verdigris -- copper and vinegar and scraping and time. I don't think I could powder it fine enough for ink, but what the hell, why not try? Copper sheets and vinegar are fairly cheap.

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