Here is my experiment with iron based walnut ink cooked. First we start with walnuts, something rusty (old bore plug supplied by boyfriend) and an aluminum pot to cook it in.

The plug goes into the pot as our source of iron or rust…

Then we get the walnuts…these have been out in the garage for a while and they were a gift, they are over a year old and ate their way through two plastic bags you can see the mess in the jar…

nuts in the bag….

putting nuts into pot…(boyfriend helped with photos it was a mess) These are whole nuts, 11 in all are going into the pot. An estimate of goo was guessed as to how much belonged to each nut.

Then we fill the pot to a pre-determined line (first bolt on handle) so I know where to keep adding water too as it cooks off…

Now we bring it to a boil. There is a film that starts to form, but as it cooks it goes away. Also notice the nuts are not floating. At about the 7 hour mark they came to the surface of the water and floated. A couple were trapped by the bore plug, but once I moved it they went to the top.

Here is a color test of the ink. The first one is done after four hours, the second one after eight and when it was taken off the heat. There doesn’t seem to be much difference here.

So the weather was not cooperating with me. It wasn’t supposed to snow, but it did so I had to do everything inside. To keep the mess down I used a syringe to get the ink out and through a linen filter into mason jars. I tried using a coffee filter (shown below), but it clogged too quickly from the particles and I stopped using it right away.

The linen filters worked ok but as I got deeper into the pot they clogged faster. The binder clips are there to hold the filter in place because I could not find any non-food funnels to place them in.

You could tell that the linen was clogged when it started to flow over the edges like the photo above. It then leaked all over the counter…joy. 🙂 Luckily we have enamel stove top and Formica counters so a wet cloth cleaned it up with no stain…yeah!

When it got too thick I just turned the filter around and put the liquid in the jar and tried to strain that way…no go…too much sentiment in the liquid.

Ended up running to the dollar store to get a strainer and pour bucket. Worked much nicer.

Here is the progression of the strain cloths, you can see in the final photo at the bottom the last three as well.

Here is the pot o ink you can start to see the bore plug again as I slowly take the ink out.

Though the bore plug looks pretty rough, after scraping it and washing it off the rust was intact and color wasn’t so bad on it. it was orange again after a hit from the hose outside.

Here is the mess at the bottom of the pot. There was more already in the jars I was trying to filter, but this you can see easier…

Here is the start of the ink test. First ink has 1 tsp gum arabic and 10 drops of clove oil, second has 1 tsp vinegar and 1 tsp gum arabic, third has just 1 tsp gum arabic

The very top line is commercial ink, but is very raw sienna looking, while my ink looks more burnt umber.

This is how much ink one pot made even with the bore plug in it. The one jar to the right is the husks soaking for another step to this same experiment.




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