It happened slowly, my lunch breaks were significantly longer than the time required to eat a sandwich so it made sense to use the balance of the break for journalling and letter writing. Since I would be doing this writing at work, why not get my Ink Drop subscription sent there too.
Fast forward six or eight months and these little bottles start to really add up. No problem, order up a vial holder. But I have regular bottles too... might as well move them to the office since that is where the writing is happening.
Fast forward another six or eight months and it is a good thing I am handy in the workshop because I need a purpose built shelf to help organize all of the ink bottles on my desk. Life is good, I can load up any pen with any ink, any time I like. I'm surrounded by the things that make me happy.
This all came to a screeching halt two weeks ago when I got an email saying that my company's Health and Safety Committee had found "hazardous chemicals" in my office on their most recent inspection. The "chemicals" were improperly labelled, weren't stored in a fireproof cabinet, etc., etc., etc. With the help of Mary Collis, I was able to get a Material Safety Data Sheet for fountain pen ink that explicitly stated that it was exempt from the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) so these complaints from the H&S committee are now addressed but this whole affair has an "I'll be back" feeling to it.
Rather than tempt fate, I've been moving my inks home over the last week or so and now my desk is barren of the offending fluids. This doesn't really solve the problem of what to do when a pen runs dry though. Because of this, I have decided to assemble a Workplace Ink Kit, a collection of my most used inks as well as a few pen maintenance items. The kit needs to be compact yet contain enough variety and quantity of ink to be useful and most importantly, it should be easy to fit the kit in a drawer so it is out of sight and mind the next time someone comes looking.
The kit is contained in two Ziploc 473 ml Twist-n-Loc containers. These fit the bill as being compact and unobtrusive but they can also double as bowls to flush a pen in if required. For the maintenance items I have filled the first container with an ink syringe, a bulb syringe, silicon grease, TWSBI wrench, Q-tips, empty cartridges and a few spare converters.
For the ink vials I have chosen 15 ml Nalgene bottles. Thomas Hall introduced me to these when he gifted me a sample of Pilot Blue Black. This bottle holds three times as much ink as a Goulet sample vial but only seems slightly larger in comparison. Large nibs easily fit into the bottle's opening but the bottle's body is narrow enough that even a small volume of ink will still submerge the nib. I can find no fault with this bottle's design and at 75¢ each, I feel that they are good value.
Ten of these bottles fit into the Ziploc container so that is how many inks are going to the office. These inks are:
With these items on hand, I don't think that I'll run into an occasion where a misbehaving pen can't be put back into working order. All this in two inconspicuous containers that easily fit in a desk drawer. It's not as pretty as all of the bottles had been but I think I'll get fewer questions.