Archive for the ‘Paper’ Category

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Favorite Pens And Inks Updated

05/24/2022

Today I updated my lists of favorite pens, inks and paper plus some of the best combinations I have used. Some items are vintage and others have been discontinued so you might not find them at your local retailer.

What are some of your favorites? Is your list subject to frequent changes or is it stable?

Favorite Fountain Pens

Favorite Inks

Favorite Paper

Favorite Matches

 

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A New Notebook For Fountain Pens From Lollipro

02/21/2022

The Lollipro notebook is a relative newcomer, first appearing less than a year ago at Amazon. It is nicely put together and comes with 120gsm fountain pen-friendly paper. What sold me on ordering the Lollipro was the way they described how well the paper works with fountain pen ink. While it wasn’t a sure thing, neither was it a gamble since the binder would work with another A6 brand of paper that I already knew was good with fountain pens.

This A6 notebook lays flat, fits easily in my handbag and comfortably in my hand thus meeting my basic form requirements. The spine is a bit stiff, not supple, and will need a little breaking-in. Quite serviceable as is but it does not flop open like a cover made with cloth. The stitching is even and consistent in its distance from the edge. Like every other binder with stitching I have owned, a couple of stitches are imperfect. Not enough to be of concern, but in fairness, worthy of mention.

The cover is comfortable to the touch and has a light suede texture. The six-ring, loose-leaf design is convenient for someone like me who is constantly reorganizing notes. The binder mechanism is attached with two screws and can be removed should the need arise.

Despite the dullness of the image, the paper is ivory with gray lines spaced 7mm apart. The surface is smooth and velvety making it suitable for any nib. No feathering, no bleeding, no ghosting with fountain pen ink. My 0.5 HB mechanical pencil is another satisfactory mate for the paper and the Tombow MONOgraph in coral pink is a good color match.

The front cover has an outside pocket for a slim phone or papers. The Lollipro is stiff enough to use on my lap or on an uneven surface which makes it more versatile than a floppy A5 binder I have from another seller. I am looking forward to the spine becoming more flexible and sufficient use should improve that over time. It comes in transparent and bright orange editions in addition to my rose pink lined in gray.

There are several configurations. The bundle I purchased includes three packets of paper and two plastic, backing sheets like pencil boards, that will make a firm surface whether writing on the front or the back of a sheet of paper. They are also useful for post-its and washi tape, both of which peel off easily from the plastic surface. Think of them as mini bulletin boards.

The heart on a string could be used as a bookmark or as a simple decoration. It is easily detached and I am putting it aside for now.

In the paper world, there are two A6 sizes: personal (6.75 x 3.75″) that fits the small version of the Filofax system and the standard or European size (5.83 x. 4.14″) that is 1/2 the size of A5. I cut paper in those sizes as a test and found the personal size like the Lollipro better suited to my list-making penchant.

If you don’t usually buy from Amazon, note that it is where I found the Lollipro product line. It is a small company trying to make a go of it and the binders are good value for money. Currently at around $10 for the binder alone, I haven’t seen anything better or even close for that matter.

J. Herbin Rouille d’Ancre looks like a good mate for the Lollipro rose pink cover. The only question now is which pen to use. A transparent barrel might be just the thing like the Platinum Century Nice. Sounds like eye candy for a fountain pen lover.

Please view the images here for better color rendition.

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Lessons From 2021 And Plans For 2022

12/30/2021

2021 was my year to reorganize and consolidate making the most of what was on hand. The result was a lean kit of basic tools that make writing a pleasure.

Honestly, it was pretty simple. Selling pens financed the purchase of four inexpensive Chinese models one of which has become my favorite daily writer. A contaminated bottle of a favorite ink was replaced. Paper purchases included identical replacements for completed journals along with paper for two A5 loose-leaf notebooks. Hardly adventurous, but it was satisfying to use familiar tools. All of this led to more writing and less fiddling. And that’s a good thing.

Writing more slowly improved my letter forms and my hand was less stressed during rare longer sessions. My softer touch created less drag so extra-fine nibs were less scratchy making them useful again.

Lessons from 2021 that will apply to 2022:

  • Sell pens that will never receive the love they deserve.
  • If a pen doesn’t thrill me but I am not ready to sell it, there is a drawer where pens-in-waiting can commiserate. In the future, it might be perfect for my needs.
  • Converter fillers with satisfying nibs are best for me. Keep no more than three to five filled at a time including pens for testing ink.
  • If an ink is terrific, keep using it! Iroshizuku syo-ro in a fine fude is #1 these days with eighteen refills in recent months. Platinum Classic Lavender Black is getting a lot of love, too.
  • Stick to my paper niche of Tomoe River 52gsm, a planner with MD paper, and only an occasional tryst with a new brand.
  • Write slowly with a soft touch and don’t worry about how my writing looks so long as it is legible.
  • Handwritten notes spark ideas for my websites so do it daily if only a sentence or two.

2022 plans include only one new addition, a watercolor journal. In the past, notes, swatches, sketches, palette ideas went in all kinds of places including unrelated notebooks, my personal journal, backs of envelopes, napkins. You name it and I wrote and painted on it. Time to change my ways most likely with a Stillman & Birn Beta or Zeta Sketchbook. Both have paper that will handle watercolor swatches and sketches as well as notes made with fountain pens and pencils. A single notebook is all I will need.

On a different subject, social media can be entertaining if sometimes brutal as I experienced when a narcissistic, delusional FB bully attacked me. Anyway, no one and no topic is worth being the target of that kind of abuse. The lesson here is to trust my instincts and ignore or block people sooner. I am worth it and so are you. On the plus side, this episode encouraged me to reevaluate and expand my plans in a way that I would not have done without the bully’s attack. Instead of doing less, I am doing more. Ironic, eh?

Now you know how my 2021 tool selection evolved as well as the year’s life lesson. The opposite may be better for you with lots of pens, constantly changing inks, a huge variety of notebooks and paper, and handwriting that does not need tweaking. You might even like interacting with a bully. Hey, whatever makes you happy!

Lastly, I learned that I have a namesake. Cute, eh?

Margana, the Camel

 

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Tweaking The Selection of Tools On My Desk

11/05/2021

Does your pen-ink-paper rotation make you happy, really happy? Mine was good but needed a little tweaking in recent weeks. Reviews are in progress for the pens and the paper listed.

  • Four Chinese pens, two fude, one fine and one extra-fine. The latter needed its nib swapped but is good now. The fine is on probation so we shall see about that one.
  • In recent months, either a pen for testing (recently a Waldmann) or a Platinum Century has occupied the last slot in my five pen rotation. Perhaps a stub will be next.
  • Inks are Iroshizuku syo-ro and kon-peki, Herbin Cafe des Iles, Diamine Merlot, Waterman Blue-Black, Sailor Tokiwa Matsu. Six but who’s counting?
  • Tomoe River 52g journal, an inexpensive A5 notebook paper that is very good with FP ink and a planner with MD  paper.
  • Uni Alpha Gel and a Tombow MONOgraph, both shaker mechanical pencils with 0.5mm HB Uni Nano Dia lead.
  • Uni-ball Signo 307 Micro (0.5) when a fountain pen won’t do. It writes on glossy paper and is water resistant. There is one on my desk, one in my handbag and one next to my bed.
  • Muji hard type black plastic eraser that doesn’t leave a pile of dust behind.
  • Other tools include washi tape, an Exacto knife, stylus, clips, candle, watercolor palette, brush, and paper.

It took a few modifications to refine my current choices. In the last six months, I have tried a few brands of paper that were supposed to be FP-friendly but were not good for double-sided writing. Iroshizuku was an infrequent visitor, but is now a staple. Chinese pens were off my list for years but now dominate my current rotation. In mechanical pencils, wide to very wide soft leads have been replaced by 0.5mm HB. A shaker mechanism taxes my hand far less than the traditional clicker so two of those have earned slots.

My desk is more organized with less clutter and instead of spending time deciding what to use, I simply use what is at hand. That means I spend more time working and that is a very good thing.

Links are to products at Amazon. If you purchase there, Inkophile may earn a tiny commission. The Chinese pens might be available through eBay, but the shipping time can be lengthy if from China. Recent orders from two different sellers took a month each to arrive in California.

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Review: Ayush Notebooks From Federalist Pens

05/21/2021

My pens have made best friends with Ayush notebooks, a paper from India that is perfectly suited to fountain pen ink and at 100 gsm, sturdy to boot. Yes, they are delighted with this new match and so am I.

Fred from Federalist Pens sent a couple of notebooks to review, but Ayush would have received high marks regardless. What is written on the back of the 3.5 x 5.5″ spiral pocket pad isn’t hype.

The only problem I had was trying to photograph the colors accurately. The paper is not quite white, easy on the eyes and did not shift the ink color. The photo at the end of this post is more accurate. The cover is salmon for the grid format which suits the paper color nicely.

The surface has a very slight softness to it unlike the slick surface of some Japanese brands of paper. It made writing a little less tiring since the nib had no inclination to wander and it also made controlling the nib easier. Being able to write on both sides of the paper makes Ayush economical as well as resource conserving.

The grid lines are neutral and unobtrusive, and at 5 mm, useful with a variety of nib widths. Even a Conklin 1.1 mm stub put down very legible words. Lined paper is 8 mm if you prefer more space. The pads are offered with blank paper for writers like me who tend to doodle or reject the confinement of lines. A dot version is offered as well so there is a format for everyone.

The double-spiral notebooks come in A4 and A5 sizes in addition to the pocket size plus there is a sewn-signature, glue-bound journal that is 135 x 210 mm. With a little use, it should lay flat.

Ayush is good for fountain pens, attractive, and very reasonably priced. Toss a couple of notebooks into your next pen and ink order. I am always looking for ways to meet the minimum purchase requirement for free shipping and these notebooks could be a good way to do it.

Thanks, Fred, for the Ayush paper samples. It’s good stuff and my finicky pens were glad to make its acquaintance. Not a hint of misbehaving from any of them.

From the Ayush paper company:

 

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Mostly Ink Links

05/07/2021

Much ado about ink…

From the archives, a Sheaffer Taranis Fountain Pen with Sheaffer Blue-Black ink on Apica 6A10 paper.

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Pen, Ink and Paper Links (Hide Your Credit Card Before Reading)

04/01/2021

It is way, way, way too easy to blow your budget when there are so many goodies calling your name. Can you resist or have you been enabled?

Camellias through my kitchen window and matching pen.

 

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