Posts Tagged ‘moleskine’


Putting Old Junk To Good Use


It took some trial and error, but several old cases and notebook covers are now fitted with new journals.  Some of the paper will take a light wash of watercolor so those notebooks will see double duty.

Leather Checkbook Cover

This leather checkbook cover must be at least thirty years old and hasn’t seen anything but the inside of a drawer for at least twenty of those years. Now it has a notebook all its own.

Passport Case

The passport case worked with a number of journals including those pictured from Rhodia, Exacompta and paper-oh though using Midori inserts transforms it into a Fauxdori. Midori bands hold the journals in place and keep it closed. The lock charm adds a whimsical touch as it floats across the equator.

Leather Diary Cover

This well-used notebook contained a diary from 1986 and a blank pad on the left. The leather still feels soft and inviting, but even more so now with a Rhodia pad and Canson art paper.

Shaver Case

This case was from my son’s first Braun shaver. I think concealing a journal is a much better use for it.

Travel Clock Case

This case is so tiny, it can fit anywhere. Discovering a similarly sized pad with paper that makes nice with fountain pen ink was a stoke of luck.

Not every journal needs a protective cover. Decorate a plain exterior with with washi tape (addiction warning), scrapbook paper, or decopatch. That will strengthen the cover as well as make it more attractive.

Whether it’s called recycling or re-purposing, matching old junk with fountain pen friendly paper creates new tools and makes each item useful again. No slackers in this lot now.

Platinum pens courtesy of Luxury Brands USA. Rhodia, Clairefontaine and Exacompta notebooks courtesy of Exaclair. Paper-oh courtesy of Fine folks all.


Where Did It Go?


Has half the year gone by already? Sheesh. Where did the days go? At least some if them went into research and testing more inks than I can count. A few of those results have been posted, but there are more to come.

Most recently I experimented with Platinum Pigment Inks from Luxury Brands USA and the results have been eye-opening. Lisa Vanness assured me the line is safe for my pens so I loaded Blue and Rose Red into a couple of Platinum pens. Happily, the inks turned out to be undaunted by even the Moleskine challenge. The only drawback so far is that the Blue in a wet nib can be slow to dry on some brands of paper though the Rose Red less so. Pen-ink-paper matching applies.

An amber Conklin Duragraph 1.1 Stub joined the herd a couple of months ago. It won’t get a separate review since the cracked ice model got its due in January. Suffice to say it’s a smooth, wet writer with a hint of feedback. It isn’t for everyone, but will suit those of us who enjoy a wide nib with tons of flow. Oh, yeah!

Early in the year and after reading many posts and watching dozens of videos about the best planners and how to utilize them, I concluded that using plain grid paper would be something different and interesting for 2015. So I began collecting a few products in the pursuit of paper bliss. Thanks to Jet Pens, paper-oh, and Exaclair, things got off to a good start. But then friends donated a few more and notebooks are still arriving. So the comprehensive review has gone on the back burner until all of the paper arrives. The test pens have been loaded for months and keeping fifteen of them happy has been quite the challenge. A few have complained which I find quite cheeky. That got sorted with the miscreants by a thorough cleaning and a return to the pen drawer. Hrumph!

One of these days, when the lighting conditions are just right, there are at least eight pages of ink tests on Moleskine paper that will get photographed. Not sure any text will be needed for the post since the results will speak for themselves.

Old notebook covers have been pressed into service with new paper notebooks that are ink friendly. That made me rethink tossing even the most shabby ones. With the right paper, re-purposing is easy. This is one virtue that is a bargain.

Over the next few months, the plan is to mix things up with ink and grid journal reviews along with other subjects pen-related. However, there might be a sprinkling of notes about my rescue dog, Macy, should she sit still long enough for a photo. If you want more of one than the other, do let me know and I will try to oblige.

Note that Rose Red leans more orange than the image. Some colors just do not want to be photographed correctly and this red is one of them.




Noodler’s General Of The Armies Ink


Noodler’s Ink has a new release with a split personality. General of the Armies is dark green when wet, but blue when dry. If your pen has an inkvue window or it is a demonstrator, this ink will confuse your senses. For an audience, it looks like a magic trick so make the most of it. Thank the ink wizard, Nathan Tardif, for the admiration you will receive.

As for other inky qualities, it is well-behaved on a variety of papers. No shading with the Noodler’s Dixie #10 Methuselah Ebonite on absorbent paper, but it did shade nicely on Rhodia.  No feathering, show-through or bleed-through on any paper except to a mild degree on Moleskine. The color is green-blue when dry and not highly saturated. Like many inks from Noodler’s, it does not budge when smeared with water. Frankly, what more could you ask from an ink?

Thank you, Carol, for the ink and pen. Luxury Brands U.S.A. has been a good and supportive friend to this blog. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.









Noodler’s, Clairefontaine And A Lamy


They didn’t walk into a bar together, but they did join forces at my desk. Noodler’s Black, a Clairefontaine notebook and a Lamy AL-Star EF make a delightful trio that is suitable for use anywhere including that bar. Unlike my fancy, schmancy pens, $40 bottles of ink, and leather-bound journals, this set-up could get lost or destroyed and then easily replaced without busting my budget.

What makes these three tools so special? The Lamy may not be the most comfortable pen, but for the smooth nib, a little discomfort can be tolerated. Noodler’s Black makes every fountain pen a winner and gets my unqualified vote of confidence. Clairefontaine paper is good with any ink and available at a wide variety of retailers including Writers Bloc from whence mine came. Put the three together and this is what you get.


The Stamford Notebook


The Stamford Notebook Company offered me the opportunity to test the paper used in their handsome notebooks. How could I refuse?

Paul Sloggett, one of the partners, had this to say about their choice of paper:

It is what we use in all our main range featuring around 70 colours and textures of notebook cover, in four different sizes. The paper is a 100 gsm off-white wove. It is so smooth because it is calendered during manufacture.

We also personalise notebooks with an individual’s initials using original letterpress type and bind many different special editions for retailers and visitor attractions.

Despite the blue slant of my photos, the paper has a slight warmth to it that is easy on the eyes and quite neutral under fountain pen ink. The lines are faint and offer a guide, but not a distraction. The surface is smooth posing no obstacle to the flow of ink and nib. Even the finest Japanese nib should glide across it. In my test the paper accommodated a variety of pen widths from extra-fine to medium with aplomb. However, my flex nibs laid down too much ink showing mild feathering and bleed-through. The ink dried well enough with finer nibs, but was slow with the wide and free-flowing ones.  Still it handily puts Moleskine to shame.

So if you like fine or dry-writing nibs, this paper should work well. The notebooks come in a variety of colors with good attention to detail based on images from the website. Free shipping if you live in the U.K. Lucky you!


More Of Those Eclectic Links


It was a very weird week, but I did find some good stuff to share…

Flashmob Extraordinaire!


Markings Journals Meet Fountain Pen Ink


Three C.R. Gibson Markings journals have been on a shelf waiting review for more than a year. To be sure they are attractive which could be the reason they never got properly filled. My used journals are destined for the recycle bin and Markings are just too nice for that fate. But since you guys like paper so much, putting them to the test made a good project for this month.

The first is a Markings sketchbook (MASA-2) with a Monet Waterlily Pond cover. It contains 130 pages lightly ruled on one side and blank on the reverse. The paper is 6.8″ x 8.9″ and held together with large double rings. Line spacing is 7.5 mm and pale blue so it doesn’t interfere with writing. The paper is soft white and has no tooth but does have a somewhat velvety texture. It’s a comfortable surface for fountain pen nibs and good with other writing instruments as well.

Ink did not show through or bleed through so double-sided use is assured. This is a very nice notebook I will enjoy filling.

The two bound Markings journals are the same style though sporting different covers, one leather (MJ5A-1) and the other embossed metallic (MJ5A-3). Each has 240 pages, a storage pocket, elastic band closure, ribbon marker and lays remarkably flat. Both journals look great and are well made for the price though the 6 mm line spacing might prove too narrow for wide nibs.

The paper color is slightly more yellow than Moleskine though the lines are identical in spacing and color. The weight is similar to Moleskine, but the paper seems to be lightly coated which causes fountain pen ink to suffer inconsistent coverage. Some inks feathered significantly and all of those tested bled through except Noodler’s Black. A Sharpie Pen in black performed well, so other writing instruments ought to get along fine with these journals.

These Markings journals are readily available, attractive and well-made, but unreliable for fountain pen use. Since the feathering and bleed-through are evidence of ink incompatibility, a narrow nib won’t improve performance enough to get a recommendation. However, the right ink will write well enough even with a o.7 mm nib.

What’s the takeaway from these pen tests? Don’t expect uniform paper performance from a manufacturer. Frustrating? You bet. Waste of money? Yep. Add to that the variability of ink performance and it’s hard to recommend any brand without reservation though there are exceptions.

Not for the first time this year only Noodler’s Black performed well. It’s reassuring that there is at least one pen on my desk that should write on most anything. However, it is not fun when my other pens are loaded with pretty inks that won’t work with the journal at hand. Better to stick with what has earned the approval of my inks and pens. That makes me more productive and my pens much happier. Go team!



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