India ink for blackening; thinning? dulling?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Murray@uptowngallery, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

    Messages:
    1,041
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    Holland, MI
    Shooter:
    Pinhole
    Finding truly dead flat black paint is a challenge. Some are surprisingly shiny. It also builds up pretty thick, when you 'want it all', black hole of immeasurable buildup.

    Recently India Ink was recommended as an interior blackener for cam-work, but I see some manufacturers describe their India Ink as semi-gloss when dry.

    I wonder if it can...?

    1) be diluted...I believe it's aqueous

    2) be made 'duller' with additive (flour, baking powder, flocking fuzz?) In my high school wood shop, people made jewelry boxes, put adhesive inside and blew flocking powder of some kind in with a fireplace-bellows-type thing until the adhesive was covered.

    Thank you
     
  2. phfitz

    phfitz Member

    Messages:
    540
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Murray,

    You could try printer toner dust, you can get refills at Office Max, Office Depot, ect. Careful, it's messy.

    Good luck with it.
     
  3. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    India ink today is not what it used to be. It can be diluted with alcohol or water, but will no longer be opaque. The original india ink was made from ground up insects and was extremely black and opaque. Todays india ink would be a poor choice for blackening a camera. Model railroad paint is ground much finer than regular spray paint. Does not build up as fast. Floquil has several excellent dull blacks that can be thinned and air brushed for a beautiful black. That is what I use for touch up and interior work on anything from a Hasselblad to a "woodie" view camera. Available at most any hobby shops. Floquils Grimey Black will not hide the details molded into an N scale model. Flocking powder is still available from silk screen suppliers.

    Charlie....................................
     
  4. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I know Dick Blick Art Materials carries a range of black inks other then India for calligraphy.

    I would be a bit cautious about mixing any medium like toner dust into paint or using flocking powder. It seems that over time such materials could deteriorate or be abraded and cause dust problems with negatives.
     
  5. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,350
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A while ago I got interested in Chinese calligraphy and got me a stick of dry ink that you grind on a stone by adding drops of water to it. You can get very thick, water-soluble ink that's pretty flat on paper. You should be able to find it in any Chinatown craft place, or paper stores that carry Japanese/Chinese supplies. I don't know if it would bind to the surface you're using, but it's cheap, and you can always play with it later to try writing poems...
     
  6. JLMoore3

    JLMoore3 Member

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    How about a water-based black stain?

    I've been using a water-based black stain from General Finishes for lensboards. I picked it up at the local woodworking shop, but I think it can be found at most paint shops. This dries flat black. I've been using birch aircraft plywood for the lensboards, so the stain takes quite well to that surface... I'm not sure how it would work on every wood surface, but I imagine that if the surface is sanded first it should take.
     
  7. paul ron

    paul ron Member

    Messages:
    1,896
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    True flat black paint is Krylon acrylic ULTRA FLAT #1602 available at any hardware store. This is what I use inside cameras and enlargers.

    If you are just blackening the edges of lenses, a launrdy marker is more than enough.
     
  8. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would definitely second the idea of model paints. They come in a choice of enamel and acrylic, a myriad of shades, and are specifically meant to cover well without obscuring fine deail. They are also very good for spraying with airbrushes - perhaps the ultimate solution to great and even coverage without much build up. If applied properly they are pretty durable, although not bullet-proof and I would not suggest them for any heavily handled areas.
    I am a masochist, so I always used Humbrol enamels, but if sanity was to prevail, I would suggest Tamiya or Floquil S acrylics: dilute with water and alcohol, clean up with the same - clean, not very toxic and very easy to work with. And since many of the modeled finishes are of military origins, there is a whole spectrum of matt paints - what I had to do years ago (adding talcum powder to gloss paint) is no longer needed.

    Peter.
     
  9. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

    Messages:
    1,041
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    Holland, MI
    Shooter:
    Pinhole
    Thanks...great advice.

    But pints & quarts of India Ink were looking more attractive until now.
     
  10. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Testors, the folks that make model cement and paint have a very good flat black paint. Comes in 1/2 bottles at hobby stores.

    India ink is carbon black and gum arabic in water. The problem is gum arabic may hold moisture and encourage rusting.
     
  11. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Very true, but the acrylics from Floquil and Tamiya are every bit as durable and a lot less smelly to use and clean... not that I am a messy cluts or anything :D
     
  12. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would still worry about using anything water based on metal.
     
  13. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Another comment, for what it's worth. A water based acrylic when applied to metal becomes a thin film of plastic like material that is totally water proof when allowed to dry properly. The only problem with acrylic on metal is it doesn't adhere real well, meaning when dry it can be scraped and scratched fairly easily, inside of a camera, it is nearly bullet proof preserving everything it comes in contact with. The Floquil Railroad Color model paint I recommend is is not water based, it is thinned with a solvent. Poly S is thinned with water. Floquil Engine Black is very much the same as the Black Lacquer that Kodak sold for years for inside camera touch ups. I do not recommend Floquil Poly S for this kind of job! But it would work for awhile untill it became scratched, it would be next to impossible for it to cause rust or other problems.

    Charlie...................................
     
  14. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

    Messages:
    1,041
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    Holland, MI
    Shooter:
    Pinhole
    thank you...

    but those 1/2 oz bottles are for peewee camera projects...
     
  15. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When used in an airbrush the pigment contents of the tiny bottle is diluted upward of 50 percent, a working air brush with 1 full oz in the cup will go along way.


    Charlie........................
     
  16. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

    Messages:
    641
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Huntington B
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've heard that India ink isn't what it used to be either. I know that piano restorers (where India ink was used for some internal parts) have some substitute, but I don't know what it is off hand.
     
  17. Lee Hamiel

    Lee Hamiel Subscriber

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
  18. derevaun

    derevaun Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Oly, WA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There's also "ebonizing." Dissolve some rusty iron in vinegar for a couple weeks, then brush it on. It reacts quickly with tannins to blacken the wood. Thus it works best on tannic woods (some pre-treat other woods with tea), and probably doesn't work very well on metals :tongue: