Posts Tagged ‘Paper’


What Do Daleks, Goldfish And Rain Have In Common?


Not a thing unless you count being mentioned in the same post. :P


Paper, Pen and Ink – Get The Best For Your Money


There is nothing quite like getting your hands or eyes on something before you buy it. With few pen stores in any community, online retailers are the only option for most aficionados and reviews the only substitute for that hands-on examination. Before the holiday-rush-to-buy strikes, it’s time for a few tips before adding to your collection.

How often have you been disappointed by fountain pen performance on your newest pad of paper? Your favorite reviewer loved it so what’s the deal? Not foolproof but do check the date of any paper review. The current batch may be vastly different from what was used for an older review. This is particularly true of planners since they are printed new each year. Look for recent reviews for the best skinny on your product of choice.

Ink varies less over time. Formulas may get slight modifications but this is rare for most ink makers. With few exceptions, older reviews should be just as valid today as when written.

Though dye batches can vary, colors remain remarkably similar from bottle to bottle. Ink makers just don’t tamper with their offerings. Nathan Tardif of Noodler’s Ink is the most prominent exception. Recently his #41 Brown had a reformulation that by all accounts is an improvement. The same is true for Baystate Blue as evidenced by samples I received in February.

Noodler’s isn’t the only company to modify a formula on occasion. A few years ago I noticed a subtle change in the color of J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil though the properties remained the same. The difference is hardly noticeable in the more saturated line a fountain pen produces.

That makes three inks that have changed in three years out of over two hundred samples in my collection. “Infrequent” really does apply.

None of this should deter reordering these inks or any others that have been updated if you liked the original formulations. There is little difference in color and performance is often improved.

J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil

J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil

Pens are another matter. Few manufacturers change a design once established. When they do, it is often with fanfare. Search the web to determine whether the pen you covet has been “improved.” If so, check reviews to see whether the new model will fit your requirements.

Quality control seems to be the bigger failing with pens. Getting a stinker stinks but it does happen. Reviews will help you find the worst offenders. Most retailers and manufacturers will back up their products so be persistent and get what you deserve, a delightful fountain pen that will give you years of fine writing.

  • Paper – Check review dates for the most recent evaluations. Some manufacturers are very consistent. Others – not so much.
  • Ink – Look for reformulations that improve color or performance. Make sure your retailer ships the version you want.
  • Pens – Consider design modifications or quality issues before you purchase. What is an improvement for someone else, may be a deal-breaker for you.

Ten Tuesday Links


Can’t recall where all these links came from but thanks to those who lead me to them.


Cursive, Sculpture and Hummus?


From paper to pens and the future of cursive, enjoy the gallimaufry.


Pen, Ink, or Paper Poll


When you have a lot of writing to do, which do you select first?


Find The Best Pen Deals On The Web


Don’t you just love a great bargain? To make your shopping easier, Inkophile will offer a home for retailers and shoppers to share time-limited online deals with the pen community. Just post a comment with the details of the sale or special offer at Pen Deals & More! That way we can all be duly enabled to spend our hard earned cash on the best of the best deals.

Any discounts or sales related to writing instruments, paper, ink, calligraphy, writing, and accessories will be accepted. Since there are some upcoming reviews related to watercolor paper, art supply offers may be posted as well.

The more folks participate, the better this idea will work. Consequently, it will start with a 90 day trial and a button in the sidebar. If there is enough interest, Pen Deals & More! will become a permanent feature but that will be up to you.


The Ink Blotter, A Dirty Little Secret


If the ink blotter seems like an old fashioned idea, think again. It is the easiest solution to slow drying, too much wetness, “where did that blob come from” problems that you ever met. Really.


Blotting Paper with Pelikan M215 and Apica Journal

Blotting Paper with Pelikan M215 and Apica Journal

My 6″ x 3″ blotting paper has been in use for at least four years. It is very heavy paper and resides in my daily journal between the most recent passage and the facing page. It serves as a bookmark plus I never have to wait for ink to dry, handy when you think about what gets written in a journal. Should someone walk up behind me, I can slam the book shut instantly without fearing a mess when I return. Two disasters averted!

Before my work space became inundated with bottles of ink and stacks of paper, a small but very cute rocking horse resided on my desk. These days I would never find her so I sweep the side of my hand over the blotter paper if I want to continue writing. Pentrace has a good article on how to use a blotter if you want more details.

Once you get the hang of it, which will take a matter of seconds on practice paper, even the most slow-drying inks can be tamed. I have a Pelikan M215 cursive italic that lays down a luscious swath of color but it is often inconvenient to let dry naturally. The blotter makes the writing tidy and as close to instant drying as this nib will ever get.

As if collecting ink and pens wasn’t engrossing enough, there are collectors of rocker blotters and even those who collect blotting paper. To be sure there are some gorgeous antique ones that turn up now and again. Ebay can be a good source but so can Pendemonium. Modern ones are available like this simple design from J. Herbin and are carried by a variety of retailers.

J. Herbin Rocker Blotter

J. Herbin Rocker Blotter

Art supply stores stock felt-finished paper but it is not as absorbent as blotting sheets from a fountain pen purveyor. J. Herbin offers light-weight paper measuring 3 ¼” x 1 7/8″ that appears malleable enough to bend around its wooden rocker. Pear Tree Pens is due to release its own heavy-weight blotting paper in January. I suspect this one will be more similar to the blotter in my journal.

J. Herbin Blotting Paper

J. Herbin Blotting Paper

Whether you want the full-on experience of the rocker blotter or the simple ease of heavy blotting paper tucked between pages, this is one dirty trick every pen user should have to hand. It even works on those untidy gel pens that spew dabs of ink at unwelcome intervals. Not that you would ever use such an instrument but just in case…


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