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Which Inks Would You Use To Test New Paper?

testing paper resistance bleed-through show-through ghosting feathering sheen

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#1 A Smug Dill

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 03:14

Which fountain pen inks would you use to test an unfamiliar paper product for (at least some aspects of) its fountain pen friendliness?

Recently I've been in a frenzy of acquiring more notepads and notebooks, on which to write with fountain inks, largely in brick-and-mortar stores with Japanese names such as Daiso, Muji and Kinokuniya.

Unfortunately, it is not common practice for stores here to have samples or tester units of paper products; Daiso has none, and Muji may put out just one or two but not selected on the basis of either, "compare our premium made-in-Japan writing paper, against our 'planting tree' line sourced primarily from Indonesia, and our recycled paper line with a minimum of 55% recycled content made in either country," or, "we say this line of notebooks is show-through resistant, so have a go writing or drawing on it with your pens of choice!" Kinokuniya offers a few, but far from covering all the main brands of which it sells multiple product lines; the samples are mostly $20+ notepads and $25+ journals. Nevertheless, Daiso products on a per-item (but not necessarily per-page) basis, are cheap enough to be perhaps 'worth' just buying one as a private tester unit, if upon inspection in-store the paper seems promising; the same can be said of (only) some Muji products. Not so what Kinokuniya sells!
 
Anyway, I'm of a mind to put together a handful of (no more than five or six) fountain pens in a carry case, as the essential test kit for writing paper, whether I do the testing on provided tester units in-store, or what I actually purchased on a punt. Obviously, the selection of pens and inks would reflect my personal writing habits and preferences, but as a limited test kit and of course limited time in which to do such testing I'm primarily interested in covering edge cases while still being 'reasonable'. (For example, as far as I'm concerned, using Noodler's Polar Green ink would be unreasonable; in my experience it feathers on and bleeds through just about every make and type of paper, so much so I had to stop using it for anything and give my bottles of it away in spite of having bought them for its purported 'bulletproof' qualities.)

Here's an example of the kind of testing I have in mind: Muji 裏うつりしにくいノート B5 Notebook Set
 
Now, I'm curious as to what you — and everyone else — would choose for testing. I hate feeling as if I have to pre-empt this, but I want to make this clear: the question is not, "What would you like to see in a paper review prepared by someone else at their expense?" I want to know what's relevant and important enough to you that you would spend the money, take risks, and/or make the effort to buy, sample and test unfamiliar paper products for their suitability for your usage with fountain pens; what enthuses you enough that, pass or fail, you'll want to share the results at your cost with other hobbyists. I'm thinking in terms of us as doers and contributors to the community, not merely takers and consumers of crowd-sourced information or frugal shoppers.
 
I'm still refining my own list, but roughly in order of priority:

  • Platinum Carbon Black — I love pigment inks for their permanence and waterproofness, including not changing colour when soaked or washed, when it comes to content that I want to remain legible for the lifetime of the paper (and perhaps my lifetime); and I'd want a dense, dark, 'formal' colour for testing. Sadly, Sailor kiwaguro is not waterproof, and so I prefer Platinum Carbon Black, but I do find that some papers don't take well to the latter. All the better to include that as the Number One ink in my test kit. Interestingly, problems with feathering and bleed-through of this ink are more likely to manifest with high stroke density using a very narrow nib, as opposed to writing with a broad or stub nib, so for the purposes of the test kit, the ink will be dispensed using a Japanese Fine or Extra Fine nib.
  • Platinum Classic Ink Lavender Black — I think a paper product should be tested for how it deals with iron-gall inks, and of the three iron-gall inks I have today (but two more are on order), I like the colour and punchiness of Lavender Black the best, when delivered using a Stub nib. Not just writing with a broad nib for "showing off" the ink, but to render some semblance of Italic writing on paper; the shading is a not-unwelcome side effect, but the base colour (which would get ruined by soaking or washing) and water resistance is the reason I use this ink.
  • Pelikan 4001 Blue/Black — This is just a very old bottle of presumably iron-gall ink I have, which is what I use with the pen that has my favourite nib, a 14K gold Pelikan EF nib that Dan Smith customised to a crisp italic for me. For the purposes of testing a paper product, I'd be primarily looking at the crispness of the pen strokes on the page.
  • Sailor Shikiori yodaki — I love the colour but hate the wetness of this ink, and it's a relatively expensive ink to boot (as it was never offered in the round 50ml Sailor Jentle bottles the way the sixteen originally Shikisai colours were). Oh, and it sheens green and gold. In my experience, many coated and uncoated papers don't deal well with a wet line of this ink.
  • Diamine Iridescink Robert — A highly saturated monster-sheener of an ink, that is much cheaper than Sailor Shikiori yodaki and of which I have a large bottle. At the moment I primarily use it in a Pilot Elabo with a Soft Extra Fine nib, and many papers have problems with bleed-through when I allow the nib to linger for a moment as I try to flex the nib to get swells in pen strokes.

I haven't quite decided what the sixth ink should be; Noodler's Air-Corp Blue-Black is a candidate, and so is Diamine Jalur Gemilang. I use Sailor souboku and seiboku pigment inks in Fine-nibbed pens often, but they tend to be so well-behaved on most papers that they don't warrant testing when I'm unsure of a new or unfamiliar paper product.
 
Over to you!


Edit: Eleven new inks just arrived in the past 24 hours, so I may have to look at revising my list.


Edited by A Smug Dill, 09 May 2019 - 23:44.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


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#2 MalcolmH

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 05:38

I'd use the inks, and pens, I'm likely to use on that paper.

 

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#3 chromantic

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 12:55

^^ What he said.

 

I'd probably take something sheeny and wet like a Sailor/Kobe, a dry medium-saturated like a Stipula and then a plain low-saturated like Levenger Fireball (definitely *not* Claret, as it will bleed through anything).


It's hard work to tell which is Old Harry when everybody's got boots on.


#4 ENewton

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 23:39

I have only about a dozen inks, and all except one are purple, so I doubt that others would be interested in any results I might publish, but the set of inks I would include to satisfy my own purposes is this:

 

  • Sailor Kobe Suma Purple.  This is one of my two favorite inks, and I would be unlikely to choose a paper that caused it to look simply black, for example.
  • TAG Kyoto Soft Snow of Ohara.  This is one of my favorite inks when it looks purple, rather than blue. In evaluating a new paper, I would want to know whether Soft Snow looks purple on it.
  • Robert Oster Purple Rock.  I like this ink when it is purple and hate it when it is green. I'd like to find more papers on which this ink is reliably purple.
  • Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa.  Of all my inks, this iron gall varies most in its appearance from paper to paper.  I am interested in papers that showcase the dramatic shading of which this ink is capable.  

 

In each case, I would be inclined to load the ink into two pens.  My Sailor Pro Gear Slim fine and broad would be good candidates, because the broad is not only wider but also wetter than the fine, and the same inks might perform quite differently depending on which of the two pens I used.



#5 silverlifter

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 23:50

Aurora Black and my PFM II <M>. If it can't handle that combo, I care not about any other permutations.



#6 Intensity

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 07:27

I pick a couple of sheening inks and also some of my J. Herbin inks that really test even some fountain pen-friendly paper (Vert de Gris, Vert Empire, for example).  If there's no feathering with those inks, I give the paper thumbs up.    I've decided that as long as I'm continuing to use fountain pens, I will stick with only high quality paper.  On poor paper, the only inks I would bother using over, say, a gel pen, would be pigment ones such as Sailor Sei Boku, Platinum Carbon Black, Platinum Sepia Brun, and the like.


“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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#7 A Smug Dill

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 07:40

I pick a couple of sheening inks and also some of my J. Herbin inks that really test even some fountain pen-friendly paper (Vert de Gris, Vert Empire, for example).


I only just received a bottle of J.Herbin Vert Empire not even a week ago, and I haven't opened it yet, but now I'll have to find a pen for it tonight and give that a go! The only non-shimmer ink from J.Herbin I've put in a pen so far is Lie de Thé.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#8 Intensity

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 08:05

Lie de The behaves pretty differently from Vert Empire on paper. It's one of my top favorite inks for good behavior, easy cleaning, great color range, flow, water resistance, and being friendly to all fountain pen types and ages.

Unless you are after a paler and faded vintage look, I recommend a wet writing pen for Vert Empire. That's only applicable for good paper like Rhoda or Clairefontaine where you can successfully pile this ink on without bleed through.

Edited by Intensity, 12 May 2019 - 08:11.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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#9 gyasko

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 12:17

Just use the ink or inks you usually use. What do i care if an ink i rarely or never use doesn't work on paper X? If my everyday ink works fine on the paper, i'm happy.

Edited by gyasko, 12 May 2019 - 12:19.


#10 A Smug Dill

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 12:29

What do i care if an ink i rarely or never use doesn't work on paper X? If my everyday ink works fine on the paper, i'm happy.


Fair enough. For me, though, if a product makes a marketing claim such as being show-through resistant, then as a consumer and prospective customer of more units of the product, I'd like to validate it and see whether "consumer guarantees" under the Australian Consumer Law are being fulfilled, regardless of whether I then publish and share such findings in reviews, if I'm at all interest in actually adopting the product into my "work" processes.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#11 Eclipse157

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 13:39

I'd certainly use some of the worst-behaved Noodler's inks, like BSB or a fast-dry/feather-prone bulletproof like Prime of the Commons. Blue Nose Bear too. My biggest worry when dealing with unknown paper are showthrough and feathering, and in my experience no ink feathers or bleeds as badly as some noodler's.



#12 almoore

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 15:21

I normally test with Diamine Oxford Blue or a similar strong colour.

Al

#13 aurore

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 15:46

I normally test with Diamine Oxford Blue or a similar strong colour.

Al


I do the same. Moreover Oxford Blue is neither super wet nor dry.

#14 Enkida

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 19:04

Hmm... this is a hard question, because one thing I would tend to do if I really wanted to test the paper was go for a control of sorts, so more like,  the same ink in a set of 3-5 different nibs, three times for three-to-five different inks, rather than just 6 rando inks in 6 rando pens.

 

I'd probably throw in this range of nibs, preferrably from the same maker if I had that range of pens:

- EF, F, M, B, and then one or a combo of: 0.5-1.0mm stub or italic / 1.5-2.0mm stub or italic / fude / flex nib

Waterman Serenity Blue would be right up there as it's my "standard ink for testing everything." 

 

I might also have another "super boring but very helpful for control testing" ink that was widely available and commonly used.  This could be anything from Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue, Black, or Blue-Black to Lamy Blue or Black.  I think Parker Quink might be considered in that list too, or Pilot Namiki Blue or Black, depending on where you were in the world (Quink and Namiki aren't easily available to me, but I could see how they might be to others).

 

I'd definitely have a sheening ink in there to test how the paper sheened; my go-to would be Blackstone Barrier Reef Blue for no particular reason other than I enjoy this ink colour very much.  I probably wouldn't test with a monster sheener like Diamine Skull and Roses or Organics Studio Nitrogen or whatever, because I wouldn't want to take a sheening ink that had a reputation for sheening on any sort of paper; I'd want one with more nuance to test the paper itself.

 

If I did sparkly shimmering ink, I'd test it, but I don't, so I'll skip right over that.

 

I'd also definitely have a shading ink in there with no sheening or sparkly properties.  Something like Diamine Soft Mint or Autumn Oak or Noodler's Apache Sunset or something like that.  Actually Apache Sunset might be too dramatic to test the paper, so probably something more subtle.

 

And then I'd definitely test my go-to favourite ink(s) on that paper, whatever they were, just because that's most likely the ink I'd be writing with.  My go-to inks can often depend on the base colour of the paper though, so they're not always the same.  One that makes the cut for almost all papers anyway is Sailor Jentle Doyou.  Diamine Asa Blue might also be in there, Montblanc Lavender Purple... these just because they're among my favourite colours, so they get inked up often.  

 

Hope this was a bit helpful. :)


Edited by Enkida, 12 May 2019 - 19:05.


#15 lukeformosa

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 18:02

When you're testing something, you want to control the variables so you can see the effect of the thing under test - in this case, if you're testing the paper you want to use an ink you already know very well, so any variability you observe is due to the paper and not the ink.

 

In my case, I've been writing for many years with a bottle of Parker Quink Permanent Blue. I've also written for years with Waterman Florida Blue (now renamed to Waterman Serenity Blue). So I'd use one of those to get a feel for how the paper behaves in a theoretical/analytical sense. If you have an ink you have years of experience with, use that one.

 

Once that's done, I'd use the ink I intend to use the paper with, so I could see if the combination looks good and writes well.



#16 doggonecarl

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 13:50

I'd certainly use some of the worst-behaved Noodler's inks, 

 

+1

 

I'd want to eliminate paper that feathered or was so slow to dry that it leaned to smearing.



#17 A Smug Dill

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 13:57

I'd certainly use some of the worst-behaved Noodler's inks, like BSB or a fast-dry/feather-prone bulletproof like Prime of the Commons.

 

 

Out of curiosity, have you every encountered paper on which Noodler's Prime of the Commons and Polar Blue/Brown/Green do not feather or bleed through?


Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.


#18 Eclipse157

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 19:29

 

 

Out of curiosity, have you every encountered paper on which Noodler's Prime of the Commons and Polar Blue/Brown/Green do not feather or bleed through?

Yes! Tomoe River 52gsm cream. On that paper Prime of the Commons, in addition, shows an incredible and totally unexpected sheen!

 

This one is with phone flash on, no sheen but you see the "bulk color"

 

P_20190514_211847.jpg

 

This one is with desk lamp at an angle, sheen is hard to photograph I hope you can see it

 

P_20190514_211851.jpg

 

Any other paper it feathered, more or less badly, even on Clairefontaine Triomphe where BSB did not.

 

I don't have any of the Polar ones I'm afraid.

 

Edit: typos.


Edited by Eclipse157, 14 May 2019 - 19:30.


#19 JesusNeverTappedOut

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 20:24

I like to use the inks I use most...MB Royal Blue and MB Midnight Blue...primarily because I know how they perform in my pens and on most papers. I would use what ever ink and pen combos you use most to test new paper as your baseline because you already know how they perform on most papers...then expand from there.

Regards,

David

 

Sorry...I miss read your post...I thought it was for personal use by the first sentence...my bad.

I would use popular pen and ink combos that the community uses...Sailor, Pilot Iro, Robert Oster, KWZ, Organics Studio, Diamine, J. Herbin, and Waterman. Maybe Waterman as a baseline.


Edited by Jesus1, 14 May 2019 - 20:38.


#20 A Smug Dill

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 00:14

Sorry...I miss read your post...I thought it was for personal use by the first sentence...my bad.
I would use popular pen and ink combos that the community uses...

 
David, no, I don't think you either misread or misinterpreted my question. :) The testing I'm talking about is indeed for one's personal use, just not necessarily (constrained to) everyday uses.
 
I have some pens with Stub nibs that are too broad for my preferences, so it's not outside of the realm of possibility that I would want to write the odd heading with one of those on the page, even though I seldom use those pens (and don't really enjoy it when I do). Another thing I rarely do is draw, but it's still possible I may want to do some cross-hatching with a very narrow nib on the rare occasion, and where lines of ink intersect on the page is most vulnerable to show-through and bleed-through. That's the sort of edge cases in my personal use of notebooks and notepads I want to test.
 
If you test drive a sedan or coupe (at a dealership, or on loan from a friend), you probably wouldn't be doing doughnuts or doing any off-road driving with it, unless the vehicle is sold as being suitable for off-road driving, but then you probably wouldn't want to limit your test drive to sedate driving at suburban speeds either. What would you care to test, either (preferably) before you buy or after receiving what you've bought, so that you can confirm a car will do what you reasonably expect based on what the manufacturer put in its product specifications and marketing collateral?
 
That's essentially what I'm asking, with regard to paper instead of a car being the product.
 
I see no point in testing what someone else may or would be keen to know, if I don't have a personal interest. Even if I was or am going to publish a review, off my own bat (and not commissioned by someone else for reward or compensation), I firmly believe it should be focused solely on what I want to look at or know; that is the key contribution to the community, because I'll assume most reviewers are not like me with the same primary interests, preferences and concerns as well as testing methodology. People who are interested in a product can then read a dozen or a hundred reviews to get a dozen or a hundred different viewpoints, and from bits and pieces of information gleamed, (make significant effort to) stitch together narratives to fit their own needs. Whether someone else who is already investing time, effort and resources to examine a product — and is thus in a position to more readily and/or cheaply produce a summary of information that a particular consumer in 'the community' is keen to get — is irrelevant, because the latter's 'savings' in information acquisition costs aren't inherently beneficial to anyone else.

 

However, if you see your personal use as almost perfectly aligned with what are popular choices in 'the community', or if you are personally curious or find it personally rewarding to discover information on behalf of others' interests, then of course it would make sense for you to choose to wear the expense of the requisite testing.


Edited by A Smug Dill, 15 May 2019 - 02:25.

Pretending that all fountain pen collectors and/or enthusiasts here are like-minded, or at least find some merit in each others' personal preferences, is misguided to say the least. Having a shared or common interest in the acquisition and use of fountain pens does not mean one thinks that any of the following qualities is essential, ideal, superior, or preferable: wetbroadflex, vintage, piston-fill, transparent, shading, sheeny, and cheap.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: testing, paper, resistance, bleed-through, show-through, ghosting, feathering, sheen



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