A Paperchase Notebook Makes Some Inky Friends


When it works well with fountain pen ink, Paperchase is just right. When it doesn’t, it fares no worse than Moleskine and with less bleed-through. At the price point, it is a viable alternative and with many inks, it is a better paper for clean, clear writing.

For testing purposes, I purchased the Purple Metallic Notebook (7.5 x 5.75″). It has a textured softcover, rounded corners, and sewn binding that holds 128 pages/64 sheets. This is a no-frills cahier style notebook with only a small, discrete logo printed on the back. Count me a fan of its minimalist but colorful design.

The off-white paper has a smooth finish and pale gray lines, a good combination for fountain pen use. Line width and line color are identical to Moleskine while the paper is slightly less yellow. Half the inks tested produced clean lines and an unusual degree of shading. The other half experienced some uneven outlines though little feathering along the fibers that paper like Moleskine can produce. Bleed-through was evident with some inks, though for the most part only the occasional dot.

Worthy of note is that most inks dried slowly so lefties beware.

Show-through or ghosting depended on ink flow and was evident with all inks tested. Some inks produced too little to be offensive especially when paired with a fine nib. With thin paper, this is common and frankly I don’t mind the look of it. Wide, wet nibs deposited too much ink making the backs of pages less useful. Free-flowing inks may produce the same result. To demonstrate how unpredictable I found this problem, Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu and Iroshizuku tsuki-yo in Pelikan italics exhibited more show-through than Diamine Dark Brown in a Platinum #3776 Music Nib. Platinum Pigment Ink showed through the least even with a very wet broad nib. That does not hold true on Moleskine where the same pen and ink made a mess with both feathering and bleed-through.

Confusing? This is one of those situations where matching ink, pen and paper could make Paperchase work well for you. Or you can take a more relaxed perspective and just write with whatever is at hand. Most of my journaling will never get read so it doesn’t matter whether a page has marks from the other side that show through. As long as I am writing, all is well.

For convenience I often carry a green metallic Lamy EF loaded with Noodler’s Black. The duo performed perfectly in the Paperchase journal. The ink did not bleed through so both sides of the paper were usable and since black is highly visible even in low light conditions, I could write anywhere. Thus all of my off-site requirements were met. In addition, the Lamy barrel is a pleasing contrast to the purple notebook cover. Attractive tools do tend to trigger my creative urges and that is a significant plus.

Along with the notebook, I picked up a packet of three larger cahiers (8.5 x 5.75″), one blank, one lined and one printed with a pattern. I couldn’t resist the foldaway bag in the Secret Garden pattern and put it to work immediately. It travels in a diminutive carrying case with a clip that will make it a steady companion for shopping excursions or a carryall for my doodle kit and journals. I managed to stuff it with purchases from two shops plus my daily notebook and writing instruments. Not too shabby at all.

Despite the iffy performance with a few inks, I will continue to purchase Paperchase notebooks. The form suits me very well and the ease of buying it at a local store along with the reasonable price, makes it a worthwhile addition to my paper wardrobe.

All of the Paperchase items were purchased at Staples and are available in several patterns. The metallic notebook was $4 and the 3-pack of larger notebooks was $8. Even my frugal budget monitor cannot frown at those prices, and if he does, he will get laughed at to be sure.


  1. The floral set of notebooks are very pretty. I could see myself getting a set of those. Thanks for the paper tests.


    • My pleasure. 🙂


  2. Is that a metallic green Lamy Safari, or more of an olive drab? A friend gave me mine over 30 years ago. Still writes well, though the cap doesn’t snap on with the same authority anymore. I use both cartridges, and Parker Quink with a converter when I start getting proprietary cartridge anxiety. I don’t know much about ink. The plastic body on the old Safari seems more robust, less flashy, and less obviously plastic than newer Safaris. I don’t think you can get the green color, or the original plastic anymore. How long have you had yours?


    • Mine is the metallic green AL-Star. Your olive Safari is a much loved color and one that brings a premium on the rare occasion one is offered.

      My Lamys were purchased between 2007 and 2011 so I can’t comment on the quality of plastic other than during that time period. None have caused me any trouble.

      Since I like to change ink frequently, converters work best for me. As long as ink doesn’t dry in the nib and the converter gets rinsed well between refills, pens perform as they should. Parker Quink is certainly a safe and respected brand. Waterman and Sheaffer are, too. If you want to add new color to your pen use, they might offer something you would like.


      • Thanks for the reply. I actually also use Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue, in both a Pelikan,Souverain and a Parker 21. The Parker seems to write better than the Pelikan pen for which the ink was first formulated! I seem to get better results with cheaper pens than with expensive ones. I have a Montblanc, but it’s always been a bit leaky. I think you’re supposed to show it, not write with it. I’m told that Montblanc nib seepage is common. In terms of writing experience, it’s hard to beat the $3 Sheaffer I got ages ago. Very smooth, though it’s getting tough to find cartridges. Finally, among the best writing pens (in my estimation) are the disposable Pilot fountain pens. I used to get them on trips to Japan, but they’re a little hard to find locally now. I wonder if you could convert one to a refillable? I just got a Pilot Kakuno as a gift. It’s refillable, but we’re back to proprietary cartridges.


        • The Pilot Kakuno works with a Pilot converter according to Jet Pens. That looks like your best bet to keep that pen filled with any brand of ink.


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