Posts Tagged ‘Noodler’s Black Ink’

h1

Moleskine Surprise

08/05/2016

When it comes to journals, Moleskine has set the standard for form. Sturdy, but lays flat. Natural white paper. Ribbon marker. Elastic band and rear pocket. The size is just right in the hand. But in recent times, the paper has left much to be desired when it comes to fountain pen ink.

When I started using Moleskine some twelve years ago, my pens were quite happy with it and the few inks I owned would cozy up to the paper and leave marks with clean outlines. Extra-fine and fine nibs were perfect, especially a vintage Parker 51 fine-medium that was the pen I carried everywhere.

Skip forward a few years and the paper quality suffered. Spidery feathers bloomed from every letter and blobs of ink showed through on the backs of pages making them worthless. One-sided writing cut the value of the pricey journals by half. Moleskine betrayed my trust and I swore off for good.

To be fair, paper sources can change over time and being ever hopeful that the company had come to its senses, I tucked a squared notebook into a recent Amazon order. The wrapper says “Mix. Paper from responsible sources.” What does that mean? It also says the notebook was manufactured in China. Lots of paper comes from China, but most of it isn’t fountain pen friendly. Hoping to be surprised, I put the Moleskine to the test.

Every instrument except the fountain pens worked well enough that both sides of the paper were useful. Clean outlines and almost no feathering with only very faint ghosting from the Sharpie Pen and the Pentel Touch make the Moleskine an excellent choice.

The scan shows a new Moleskine at the upper left with a Rhodia notebook to the right. The bottom two are Moleskine journals purchased several years ago. The recent Moleskine has paper that is more white than in the past which is another indication that the paper is from a different batch.

Fountain pen ink produced mixed results. To the good, feathering has been reduced. Not gone entirely, but spidery offshoots did not happen. That is a significant improvement over the Moleskine journals I last purchased. Outlines are less jagged though under magnification still imperfect with some inks. It isn’t Rhodia quality, but it will do.

Bleed-through on the reverse proved frustrating, but ink and nib width made a difference. Noodler’s Black in a fine nib was perfect. Sailor Peach Pink did not bleed even from a Platinum #3776 Music Nib. J. Herbin Bleu Azure from a Platinum Century B Nib left only a couple of dots. Other inks in wide nibs left so many spots that the reverse was unusable at least by my standards. However, a dry nib or an extra-fine to fine nib should have less trouble. The narrow nib for many users will be more suitable for the size of the journal and the 5 mm grid spacing anyway.

The bottom line is Moleskine has improved the quality of its paper at least in the grid notebook I tested. Some pen and ink duos will work beautifully on both sides of the paper. If you only write on one side, use any pen and ink. With the feathering reduced, Moleskine is no longer off my list. Is it time to put it on yours?

 

 

 

h1

A Good Deal On Washi Tape And A Pentel Touch Pen

07/13/2016

Washi tape is a quick and easy way to add a decorative element to a journal, but much of it is wide and can overpower small pages. When I found three rolls of narrow tape from MT for under $5, resistance was futile. Then I was offered a Pentel Touch felt tip pen (SES15N) that flexes from extra fine to very broad and is ideal for whimsical or calligraphic lettering. For about $10, hours of entertainment was assured.

A Midori Traveler’s Notebook #013 with Tomoe River paper offered to provide a playground. Now washi, pen and paper are fast friends. Sometimes the pen sits out a round which allows a vintage Pilot Elite ‘Isaac Newton’ pocket pen loaded with Noodler’s Black to take a turn. The black and silver theme is rather deco-looking and I am smitten.

h1

Platinum Nibs, Diamine And Leuchtturm1917

02/07/2016

Last night two Platinum Century pens shouted for attention following weeks of being on the back bench. How could I refuse?

The good news is that the nibs wrote beautifully from the first stroke despite a lack of recent exercise. The Century certainly can go a long time without attention. Both are smooth, but there is a slight difference between the medium and the soft medium. The latter has a cushioned feel to it which reduces feedback. The line width of the soft medium might be a tad more narrow, but that could be attributed to the ink. Both nibs are in the workhorse category. Use them for anything.

Next to Noodler’s and J. Herbin, Diamine is the brand of ink that got the most time in my pens last year. Wild Strawberry and Merlot were gifts from Beth Treadway and have proven good additions to my regular rotation. Merlot dries more slowly, but for the saturated color, I can be patient.

The Leuchtturm1917 remains one of my favorite journals though it could be better. If you look closely, the inks found threads to follow and produced more bleed-through than I would like. The previous night I used a Platinum #3776 music nib with J. Herbin Cafe des Iles that produced neither feathering nor bleeding. Pelikan Violet, Waterman Florida Blue, and Noodler’s Apache Sunset performed better on the paper than any ink except Noodler’s Black.

Does this mean Diamine inks have a problem or is the Leuchtturm paper inconsistent? Either way it’s a reminder that testing ink is valuable. The last page in a notebook is a convenient place to write the names of pens and inks for future reference. My sample page produced mixed results, but I now know which duos would be best to grab for a long day of note taking.

The Platinum Century M and SM are delightful to use and I love the soft Leuchtturm paper even with its imperfections so I want to pair the paper with inks that will not feather or bleed. Noodler’s Black and Lexington Gray might just do the trick. Not colorful, but oh so reliable. Sometimes that’s all you need.

h1

Taming Paper With The Right Ink

01/08/2016

Proof positive that Noodler’s Black deserves its #1 ranking on my list of favorite inks.

The paper is Greenroom recycled from Target. Made in Taiwan, it feathers and bleeds exactly like Moleskine. However, it is inexpensive and pencils do very well on it so the composition book has a use in my work flow. No significant show-through with pencil and amazingly little with Noodler’s Black. Any wonder I always have a pen loaded with it?

Perhaps a comparison of inks that tame naughty paper is in order. Which inks would you nominate for this list?

h1

A Paperchase Notebook Makes Some Inky Friends

07/05/2015

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.

h1

Miquelrius Ink And Watercolor Tests

01/10/2015

Much to my surprise, the Miquelrius journal paper handles watercolor from a waterbrush better than ink from a wide fountain pen nib. Admittedly the brush was on the dry side, but still there is a lot of doodling that can be done this way. Note that there was no bleed through. The show through is on par with the weight of the paper and similar to Tomoe River.

As for my continuing pen and ink experiments, a Lamy Safari EF with Noodler’s Black has proven the best match so far. Noodler’s General of the Armies works well, too. Some inks feather while others bleed through enough to make the back of the paper useless. However, at the price point of around $10 and for the amount of paper, these journals could be used up and trashed without regret which makes them perfect for having a little fun with ink, paint, stamps and some other doodads. And fun is what it’s all about.

h1

Noodler’s, Clairefontaine And A Lamy

09/30/2014

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,787 other followers

%d bloggers like this: