Selecting Notebooks For Your Fountain Pen
Many people enjoy the fun of writing with a fountain pen, but have a hard time finding the right paper-ink combination when it comes to choosing a notebook. I have been a loyal Moleskine user for years, but have always had to contend with ink stained hands and fingers whenever I wrote in one with a fountain pen.
Two notebooks, two popular inks, three different fountain pen nibs
Recently I tried 2 notebooks and 2 different popular inks, with 3 different sized fountain pen nibs. I used a Lamy Safari fountain pen with extra-fine and a fine point nib and a Sailor Profit with a calligraphy nib filled with Private Reserve sonic blue and Noodler’s blue black ink. I know that a broader comparison would have been ideal, but I was using all that was available to me at the time, for this less than scientific experiment. However, I hope that my findings are helpful.
My stand by: Lamy Safari extra Fine
I typically write with the aforementioned extra-fine Lamy Safari using Private Reserve ink. This combination works well with most kinds of paper, but I have continually had a problem finding a notebook where the ink would dry quickly and not feather.
Leuchtturm1917 a Moleskine Alternative
Recently, I tried using a Leuchtturm 1917 Classic Notebook - a product of Hamburg, Germany, Made in Taiwan. I was attracted to this specific notebook because of its similarities with the Moleskine, and also its added features: page numbers, labels, and a pen holder that can be purchased separately. I had also read that this company recently began using an “ink proof paper” that piqued my curiosity. I was delighted to find that the paper quality was superb. It was almost like writing on silk.
There were no issues when using the Private Reserve ink. The ink dried quickly. It did not feather or bleed through the page. The Noodler’s performed similarly, however, it did not dry quickly or evenly. After using the Noodler’s and the book was closed, the ink would dot the opposing page. I also had problems with the Noodler’s smearing onto my fingers. This became more pronounced when using the calligraphy nib. If one is a die hard Noodler’s fan, I would recommend using blotting papers with the Leuchtturm notebook.
Rhodia Web Notebooks and Fountain Pens
The other notebook tested was the Rhodia Webnotebook, from Lyon, France. Rhodia has many of the same features as a Moleskine (book mark, elastic band, back pocket), as well, but lacked the extras that were found in the Leuchtturm. The paper was magnificent! Using both kinds of ink, the Noodler’s dried faster and did not spot as it did with the Leuchtturm 1917. The Private Reserve ink was flawless. Neither of the inks used had issues with feathering or bleeding in this notebook, even when broader nibs were used.
My Personal Recommendation
I would recommend using either a Leuchtturm 1917 or a Rhodia notebook with a fountain pen – something I sadly cannot recommend for the Moleskine. One may find that using medium or bold nib will render different results that would require further experimentation. However, I feel confident that either one of these notebooks has the quality to take just about anything.
Blog Post by guest blogger & customer Reverend Matthew J. Teves