Review – Sharpie Industrial

Sharpie makes permanent markers, but permanent never really means permanent. Of course there are ways to remove traditional Sharpie ink, especially since it, like many modern inks, is alcohol based. So, in order to keep up with their permanent image Sharpie came up with its “Industrial” version. How permanent is it compared to the regular version? Let’s see.

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The body is virtually identical to that of a regular Sharpie, except for the information printed on it, which has been changed to reflect the more permanent nature and is in red. As far as writing on regular paper goes, it is a bit warmer than standard Sharpie ink, but not really any less or more black. The difference is barely noticeable. Also, like a regular Sharpie, it will not write on wet surfaces.

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But on to the permanence. I tested the ink on a piece of galvanized steel by making a small mark, letting it dry, and then applying pretty much anything I could think of that might clean it off. It held up remarkably well, but it was mostly resistant, and not fully “anything-proof”. By the end of my test the mark was quite faded but still readable, and it had withstood: water, fire, isopropyl alcohol, bleach, WD-40, ammonia, acetone, De-Solv-It (citrus based gunk remover), Lysol, Gojo hand cleaner (for grease and tar), dry cleaning fluid (because I couldn’t throw the kitchen sink at it), lighter fluid, paint thinner (mineral spirits), and gasoline. So I checked online and in several reviews people said that in laboratory settings the alcohol used would take the marker right off. So I went and attacked it with some denatured alcohol, and sure enough it broke it down to the most pale of lines possible, but it still wasn’t gone. So I tested on some other materials and another piece of galvanized steel. On plastic, the denatured alcohol removed it with very little problem. On aluminum it was also met with little resistance. On a tuna can (which could be either tin, steel, aluminum or a mixture) it was a little tougher but almost all of it was removed eventually. But, finally, on a galvanized trashcan the alcohol met its match, reducing it to a very faded line but it was still unable to remove it entirely. So there is likely some chemical that bonds directly to or gets through the galvanization on such materials.

Barely visible mark after denatured alcohol was applied

Barely visible mark after denatured alcohol was applied

All of this stands to reason. Modern inks are mostly made from an alcohol-based dye solution. This makes them dry faster and essentially water resistant, unlike their former water-based fountain pen ink relatives. But they still fall short of pigment-based inks on permanence, especially when it comes to alcohol, which in many cases will clean up both ballpoint ink and (permanent) marker ink by reactivating it for a short amount of time. Virtually any ink (but not all) will smear, bleed, or be removed when its base is reintroduced. But that’s why we have different bases in the first place.

In specific settings where large amounts of chemicals are continuously applied to surfaces, especially alcohol, these markers won’t work. But there are specialty markers made for work like that. As a general purpose marker that is meant to be used in tasks that are more demanding than standard household ones it works quite well. It does outperform the regular Sharpie and would work sufficiently well for many workplace or “industrial” tasks, but testing may be required before using it on the job.

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Review – Sharpie Mean Streak White

I have a pretty liberal definition of what an art supply is. Not quite as liberal as those who say everything is an art supply because (almost) everything you do is art of some kind. But I do think more qualifies as art supplies than the average person does. For instance I would say that everything meant to make a mark is an art supply. And that assumption will be tested here where I take a look at the Sharpie Mean Streak “permanent marking stick”, and see if it has any real art applications.

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The body is quite large, being about half an inch in diameter. It’s got a good amount of information on the side, but it gets a bit cluttered-looking. The back is a twist knob, like a glue stick. The cap has a slight taper with several ridges for grip. Inside is a pointy cone that can shape or dent the “marking stick” if you put it in slightly wrong. Inside around the “marking stick” (grease, wax, or whatever it is) is a sizable ridge that is quite uncommon on writing implements. There is also no grip section area.

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There are two ways I can describe this, either as a permanent (wetter) crayon, or a more slick grease pencil. Neither of those descriptions really tell you exactly what these things are. The inside substance comes in a pointy cone that is pretty useless. It’s very putty- or grease-like and when used the point becomes very flat very fast. It writes similarly to a crayon, in that it isn’t easy to control or sharpen. When the tip is flattened beyond a certain point, the base can be twisted to extend the point, but it can’t be retracted, so remember to not twist it too far out (that shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re an impatient reviewer like I am). The feeling it has is very slippery, and quite a bit of material comes off for not a lot of writing, but there seems to be quite a bit of it in the barrel, so running out should not be a major problem.

Performance is a bit disappointing. The white color doesn’t cover very well at all, meaning use in art as either correction or even to mix with other colors is very limited or would require re-application. It can be used as a covering to make things “hazy” but the coating is quite unpredictable. It likes to clump up in certain areas and barely cover others at all, meaning detail work also shouldn’t be done with it. As far a permanence goes, it is, but not wholly. I did testing (not just normal use) on metal and paper. Both were reasonably water-proof, on metal flame did nothing to it and on paper it did resist the flame but once the paper burned it did too (not that anything else would have happened). Then on the metal piece it stood up to WD-40, which has a knack for removing regular Sharpie, but was easily wiped away by isopropyl alcohol. I also suspect it could fairly easily be scraped off or crack easily on pliable surfaces. It does go on whether the surface is wet or dry as advertised and does dry in a fairly short amount of time for how tacky it is to begin with.

I would still consider this an art supply, and it can work well in mixed media, but really it is much more at home in the garage or the toolbox. The tip and lack of sharpening or controlling method means it works quite a bit better when marking large surfaces. It is “permanent” in that it’s hard to purposefully get off, but it doesn’t penetrate and won’t wear terribly well. It’s an interesting item, but certainly not a general use-one.

Review – Speedball Super Black Ink

Let’s get to inks. If you’re drawing you might want to try out some India inks. I’ve already taken a look at Higgins India inks, but today I’ll be looking at Speedball Super Black. The ink comes in a plastic half-cone container, that is fine for dipping as it is very wide. It is very full though and can be easily spilled at first, so be careful. The cap has a foil lining that isn’t very good and ink gets on the rim and underneath it constantly, so be careful when opening and closing as there may be ink where it isn’t supposed to be.

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Now on to the ink itself. It is black, and when I say black I mean black. It has virtually no greying even when applied in the finest or broadest of nibs or brushes. It goes on black, and it dries black. Though it is a warm black with a hint of yellow brown when applied very thin. It does dry fairly quickly, though not the fastest, and it doesn’t feather on any paper I’ve used, even in large amounts. It doesn’t bleed through the page, but it does have some show through and page buckling in larger dollops, so it should only be applied in one coat. It is quite water-proof as in it doesn’t even move when water is applied to it, though that is because it contains shellac which can clog up pens and brushes if not washed out properly. They recommend ammonia for that but soapy water applied right after use should do the trick if nothing else. It can also be diluted for washes etc, but because it is heavily pigmented this is not the optimal ink for the purpose as it could go bad quickly.

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Overall if you want a BLACK drawing ink and can handle the problems pigmented ink presents this is a fairly cheap ink that may just be exactly what you’re looking for.

 

 

Review – Black Sharpie Pen

 

 

 

 

I like Sharpies. They’re good makers and some of the most permanent I’ve ever used. They’re useful in tons of situations, from signing to just getting something bold out there. The only problem is sometimes they just aren’t small enough. If somethings need to be both permanent and small you seem to be out of luck. Until you find Sharpie pens, that is.

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The body of the pen is similar to most other pens, it is slim and long. It has a label containing all necessary information about the pen and helping decrease the slickness of the body. The cap has the interesting aesthetic of not being larger than the body, making the pen look slightly odd, but this makes no performance difference. Attached to the cap is a flexible clip that does its job nicely and is not prone to breaking. At the bottom of the pen is also a place to slip the cap on so that it does not get lost while one is using the pen.

 

The line produced by the pen is thin, but still thicker than common cheap ballpoints. It comes out exactly where you put it and in that deep black color one expects from a Sharpie. Pressure makes very little variation, the ink is always black, and only slightly lighter if one tries to achieve that effect. It flows smoothly over most surfaces and sticks everywhere you expect Sharpie to stick. Although it does in the end feel more like a pen than a Sharpie.

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I stated in the beginning the main reason one would get this pen. It’s a nice small, permanent, bold pen. It’s serviceable at most pen and Sharpie duties. It would even replace fine-point Sharpies for me. But of course it has the problem of not having a specific use. So it would really be up to you whether or not you have a use for this pen.