Jump to content
Classifieds is broken, please do not submit any new ads ×

What Am I Doing Wrong?


steelwolf
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've been obsessed with pens ever since I was a little kid, and about a year ago I decided to fully indulge the addiction and plunge into the world of fountain pens. I got a TrueWriter and some Skies of Blue ink from Levenger and started writing.

 

Now, a year later, I'm about ready to put the pen in the case and go back to my Dr. Grip Center of Gravity pens. I feel like I've got to be doing this wrong somehow because the experience has not been great in the least. Because I'm sure it will come up at some point, I don't think the solution is going to be for me to buy more expensive gear - I need to learn how to do this right first.

 

Overall my experience has been that the ink is extremely heavy and thick, making it difficult to keep from blurring small letters and causing extensive bleed-through on the paper. I began writing in a Moleskine journal with a medium nib. Switching to a fine nib showed very little if any difference. I heard that bleed-through on Moleskines was a common problem among fountain-pen users due to the poor quality of the paper, so I ended up getting some Rhodia journals with the famed 90g/m^2 Clairefontaine paper. There has been almost zero difference in the amount of bleeding, with ink sometimes soaking so far through the paper it marks the following page as well.

 

I clean my nibs in cool distilled water before using them the first time and dry them completely before filling them with ink. I use a piston converter and expel a few drops of ink from the nib after filling to start the flow. I thought the nib I had might have been damaged due to some kind of user error and recently replaced it without any change. Attached are some pictures of me writing on the supposedly excellent Rhodia journal and paper, with ink strokes so thick I can't write small and bleed-through rendering the back side of every page almost useless.

 

What am I doing wrong here? The only things I haven't replaced at this point are the converter and the ink. Am I missing something critical here?

post-100671-0-66411800-1363363251.jpg

post-100671-0-94361200-1363363252.jpg

post-100671-0-13079800-1363363254.jpg

post-100671-0-54482500-1363363255.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 34
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Bo Bo Olson

    3

  • jar

    2

  • steelwolf

    2

  • Shutterbug57

    2

First, welcome home. Pull up a stump and set a spell. It doesn't look like you are doing anything wrong. That's not unusual bleed through based on my experience if you are using a relatively wet ink.

 

Not all fine nibs are equal, the actual width can vary greatly from maker to maker, in some cases from pen to pen even from the same maker.

 

Probably your next step, should you want to continue, would be to switch to a drier ink like Pelikan 4001 and see if that helps.

 

My Website

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of questions:

 

Was there a reason you are expelling ink to start up (no flow initially, etc)?

 

Have you attempted to use any other inks in your pen? Here's a quote from the only review I saw on Skies of Blue: "My first bottle of Skes of Blue is a bit lighter in color. It also turns every pen I own into a firehose and feathers wildly on most paper. I like the color, so I bought a second bottle, which I have not tried yet. Maybe it will have more constrained flow." Here's the link to the review (the reviewer actually seemed to have a pretty positive experience with the ink): Levenger Skies of Blue

 

edited to add: jar beat me to the punch on a lot of stuff, and I forgot to say welcome to FPN! :)

Edited by quinden

Currently using:Too many pens inked to list, I must cut back! :) I can guarantee there are flighters, urushi, and/or Sheaffer Vac-fillers in the mix!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, I have never seen Clairfontaine do that. Maybe a finer nib and dryer ink? I have good results with Lamy Blue Black, Waterman Florida Blue and to some extent Omas Blue ink and an EF nib on Moleskine paper. You may also try having your nib adjusted so it does not dump as much ink on the page. Myself, I prefer a wetter nib.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would also recommend going to gouletpens.com to buy ink samples, so that you're not forking over $20 bucks per attempt to find the right ink for your pen.

 

To find the perfect fountain pen situation for you, you have to consider a triad of factors: the pen, the ink, and the paper. It sounds like you have good paper, and you have one pen that won't change soon. If so, then definitely look at changing your ink.

 

I have found that different pens treat ink differently (the "firehose" effect mentioned by another poster can also have the reverse effect with a different ink). So my recommendation to you is to find an ink, maybe by trying ink samples, until you find an ink that makes you super happy inside.

 

Some crotchety old timers just stick with Parker Quink, because it works well in a variety of situations. So if you don't want to mess around with trying different inks, and you want to go to one with a good reputation, you could try that. The artist in me wants to warn you urgently that you would be missing out on so much, though, if you didn't try different inks until you found a good match for your pen.

----

Oh, pens, all of you are my favorite! TWSBI, Jinhao, Montblanc, Waterman, Danish Penol De Luxe flexy pen, Cross, -- I can't choose between you! That would just be wrong.

---

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a nice paper. I don't think anything is wrong with that. That leaves the pen and the ink, both from Levenger. Hmmm. Is that a clue? I don't know. It seems like the nib is adjusted for too much flow even though you replaced the nib, it still didn't fix the problem. That could mean both nibs write the same way and also the ink may be too watery.

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time. TS Eliot

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're not doing anything wrong. It sounds like you need to try another ink. I'd recommend Waterman, Parker or Pelikan for now; all reasonably priced and well-behaved inks. Also Pilot, Sailor, J. Herbin and Pilot Iroshizuku (the Irsohizuku being more expensive than the others I've mentioned). You can find these online at Jetpens, Amazon, isellpens, Gouletpens, Pen Boutique or ipenstore, among other places

 

I have used Levenger ink, which I found highly saturated and prone to feathering. So I'm betting that it might be the ink.

 

If the problem persists even with new inks, figure the pen has an issue, and try a Lamy Safari/Al-Star or a TWSBI.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know what you are talking about. I have a very small handwriting and find that a fountain pens need more room to show all their beauty. This is the reason why I still use pencils and lead holders.

 

I have one pen that works very well under these circumstances: Sailor Industrial Revolution with Fine nib ($115, but I paid $55). This is the only pen I can use to write very small letters. When I say fine, believe me it's fine 0.3mm. There is no flex or line variation.

 

I have tried other brand with extra fine nibs, they are usually too fat for me to consider them "Fine". Lamy, Waterman and Parker wont get you a fine line.

 

The only other pen I have had acceptable success in getting fine lines out of a fine nib are: Pilot vanishing Point ($140) and Platinum Preppy ($5).

 

Lastly, fountain pens aren't for everybody. We, fountain pen users, don't mind a little smudge here and there, getting our hand dirty nor having to clean our pens (some of us even like these things).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It isn't you, it's your tools. As others have suggested, first thing to try is a different ink. After that, probably an F or XF Japanese nib. Maybe even experiment with different paper.

 

If you like the concept of using a fountain pen, there will be a combination that you'll find satisfactory and enjoy, and what you have now isn't that combination. It shouldn't be too hard to get you going in the right direction, just be sure to ask a lot of questions here on FPN. If you don't want to change pens, I might suggest asking for people's ink suggestions, and then order a few of those as ink samples from Goulet Pen Co. before you commit to an entire bottle.

 

Hang in there. You are close!

"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

~ Benjamin Franklin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're not doing anything wrong! I, too, have been frustrated with fountain pen ink bleeding through paper, especially office paper. So at some point, I decided to try to find an ink that would be resistant to feathering and bleed-through. Here are my findings. I use EF and F nibs, and I do enjoy wet flow:

 

Black - Noodler's Bulletproof Black (good flow, very well-behaved, on any paper, really)

Blue-Black - Montblanc Midnight Blue (my favorite ink), R & K Salix (awesome shader), Pelikan Blue-Black (a tad dry, but rewarding)

Blue - Pilot Blue (awesome light blue ink, very well-behaved)

Other colors - R&K Scabiosa (a kind of burgundy, brownish ink, very good shader)

 

Generally speaking, iron-gall inks are best in terms of resistance to feathering and bleed-through, they're also slightly drier, so if you have a wet pen (it seems that you do), they will perform very well.

---

Please, visit my website at http://www.acousticpens.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been obsessed with pens ever since I was a little kid, and about a year ago I decided to fully indulge the addiction and plunge into the world of fountain pens. I got a TrueWriter and some Skies of Blue ink from Levenger and started writing.

 

Now, a year later, I'm about ready to put the pen in the case and go back to my Dr. Grip Center of Gravity pens. I feel like I've got to be doing this wrong somehow because the experience has not been great in the least. Because I'm sure it will come up at some point, I don't think the solution is going to be for me to buy more expensive gear - I need to learn how to do this right first.

 

Overall my experience has been that the ink is extremely heavy and thick, making it difficult to keep from blurring small letters and causing extensive bleed-through on the paper. I began writing in a Moleskine journal with a medium nib. Switching to a fine nib showed very little if any difference. I heard that bleed-through on Moleskines was a common problem among fountain-pen users due to the poor quality of the paper, so I ended up getting some Rhodia journals with the famed 90g/m^2 Clairefontaine paper. There has been almost zero difference in the amount of bleeding, with ink sometimes soaking so far through the paper it marks the following page as well.

 

I clean my nibs in cool distilled water before using them the first time and dry them completely before filling them with ink. I use a piston converter and expel a few drops of ink from the nib after filling to start the flow. I thought the nib I had might have been damaged due to some kind of user error and recently replaced it without any change. Attached are some pictures of me writing on the supposedly excellent Rhodia journal and paper, with ink strokes so thick I can't write small and bleed-through rendering the back side of every page almost useless.

 

What am I doing wrong here? The only things I haven't replaced at this point are the converter and the ink. Am I missing something critical here?

 

There, there.

 

Everything will be okay. It's just a metter of finding the right pen, ink and paper combo.

 

Levenger's is indeed a thick ink. My friend refers to it as 'blue blood.' and a fine nib might be reluctant. I don't know whether True Writers are considered wet or dry pens, but try diluting the ink with a little water.

 

Then try some different papers.

 

You don't need expensive equipment to enjoy fountain pens. There's a level for everyone!

Edited by Sailor Kenshin

My other pen is a Montblanc and...

 

My other blog is a tumblr.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like all the others here, I don't think you're doing something wrong. But your tools may need adjusting.

What you have not yet tried: change the feed? I have had at least one pen where the feed was contributing to too much ink flow. Maybe you can ask the seller if you can change the feed in your pen, how to do it, and if they would send you one? You might also try pinching off the feed a little, by reducing the space (gap) between the nib and the feed. There is a thread on the Writing Instruments forum, pinned, that describes things that can go wrong with new pens. This has many tips and tricks that I have found helpful. Look here.

Then, the ink. There, I think you can start with diluting your ink. I've found at least one ink I have that undiluted is too wet for some pens, but if I add water, it becomes manageable (also less intense-looking, but that's the price) and does not bleed or feather. How much dilution? That's part of the experiment, but don't be afraid. People here have tried up to 40% dilution (that is, 40% of your mixture is ink) with good results. I'd start lower and work up to a mix you find has acceptable behavior and a color you don't dislike too much.

 

I hope this helps. Don't give up yet! When you find the right combination, you will find your pen(s) a joy to use. Please report back!

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

fpn_1425200643__fpn_1425160066__super_pi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a friend that had a similar problem, turns out it was a combination of grip IE pen angle and too mush pressure. He had just spent too many years with ball points. Once he became accustomed to a tripod grip and not having to press but to let the pen float over the paper the improvement was dramatic.

Amos

 

The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once.

Albert Einstein

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You've already gotten one bit of important advice: try different inks.

 

But the pen may also be the culprit. Pens (and their nibs) vary a LOT in how much ink they deliver. Your hand pressure is also a factor. Since it's unlikely that you're going to want to change your hand pressure (although it can be done), you can also experiment with other pens, assuming there is a store near you that will allow inking to test. (Or is there a pen club in your city???)

 

I have seen the very same ink perform radically different in different pens, and at different hand pressures. And I also have some ideas about paper.

 

* An older Wahl-Eversharp that writes _very_ thin and dry with minimal pressure, but writes with a ton of ink if I increase pressure a bit more. it's a great pen for drawing, but you have to pay a lot of attention to get the result you want. It behaves like this no matter what ink is in it.

 

* I generally have my pens adjusted to have a higher-than-average ink flow (7 out of 10). So it's very typical for me to see bleed-through on just about any paper with any pen. Moleskine paper has been a complete bust for me. It's just not polished enough to reject ink. Even some Clairefontaine papers are a problem; it's not just the weight of the paper, but the surface polish. Some excellent papers still absorb ink; some reject it quite thoroughly. The latter are best at preventing feathering and bleed-through, though with some inks and nibs, even very good paper will still have issues if you write with a medium to heavy pressure (because it tears the surface of the paper). In some cases, nothing but the best paper and a light hand will do the job as you would like it done.

 

* Nibs can be adjusted across a large range of wetness. I have pens that literally will leave a hump of ink even with the lightest possible pressure. I have others that write a a dry line even with a lot of pressure. You can look at the line you are putting down as you write; if you see wet ink humped up, even slightly, you might want to consider having a nibmeister adjust the ink flow for you.

 

* Also take a close look at the paper under the pen. Do you see any evidence of roughening, tearing, or other changes where the pen hits the paper? I always thought I wrote with a light hand, but I was completely wrong about that. Over time, I've developed a lighter hand (I had to, in order to draw with pens!), and it changes things quite a bit.

 

I can understand that you'd like to get the pen you have working the way you want, but any given pen has a range of possible behaviors, and it could turn out that this pen will not be able to write the way you would like it to. In that case, you can ask here about which specific pens in your price range would fit the bill.

 

For whatever it's worth, I've pretty much given up on the idea of no bleed-through. I now only write on one side of the paper (especially because I like to scan my drawings). There is one exception to this: the Stillman & Birn "Epsilon" series of notebooks. Really thick paper, exceptionally suitable for inking. Available in hardcover and wirebound.

Ron Wodaski

<hr>

<a href='http://wodaski.com'>wodaski.com</a>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 What everybody up there said. My past in the FP world includes half a dozen Levenger nibs ranging from fine to broad and 4 different inks. The nibs tend to write broad and, in my experience, dryish. Three of the four inks were very wet and fast flowing (Cobalt Blue, Cardinal, and Amethyst). If you like the pen and the nib is the issue you can always send the nib to a nibmeister for adjustment. Mike Masuyama and Pendleton Brown have done nibwork for me and both gave me exactly what I wanted. Pendleton's nib is doing journal duty this week. Truewriters are good pens for the money so don't give up. I have another one inked right now, grading student exams.

Dave Campbell
Retired Science Teacher and Active Pen Addict
Every day is a chance to reduce my level of ignorance.

fpn_1425200643__fpn_1425160066__super_pi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Now, a year later, I'm about ready to put the pen in the case and go back to my Dr. Grip Center of Gravity pens.

 

I have no additional advice to offer. I will say, Kudos for going a whole year with a pen and ink combo you were unhappy with. Not sure I'd have that much patience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would try a small bottle of Diamine ink - pick your color and see if your results improve. The paper is known to be FP friendly, so it has to be the ink or the pen. If switching to another ink does not solve the problem, can you borrow a pen from someone to see if it is just the way the Levenger pens work?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of good advice in this thread, with your ink being the number one suspect. I tried Levenger ink years ago and my experience was not good. I'd nudge you in the direction of Noodler's Black.

 

One thing I haven't seen anybody mention yet... Could you be applying too much pressure to the page? When I was a new fountain pen user, my ballpoint-trained hand was very heavy indeed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a friend that had a similar problem, turns out it was a combination of grip IE pen angle and too much pressure. He had just spent too many years with ball points. Once he became accustomed to a tripod grip and not having to press but to let the pen float over the paper the improvement was dramatic.

Many have problems with Moleskine but not with Rhoda.

So how you hold the pen, it's pressure and a few different inks should work.

 

A fountain pen should be held behind the big knuckle....45-40-35 degree angles are acceptable.

 

You should hold a fountain pen like a featherless baby bird.

You should not make bird paste.

With no pressure the nib floats on a small puddle of ink.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of good advice here. I would concur with the suspicion of the ink as the root cause of your issues. I have used Skies of Blue before and can corroborate its tendency to feather and bleed more than some other inks. It's a bit watery. I've tried other Levenger inks and haven't been too thrilled with any of them. I have better results with Private Reserve and Diamine. (I haven't tried the legendary Iroshizuku inks yet, but intend to soon, and I've used the regular Pilot blue which is excellent but also tends to be wet).

I have one Levenger pen - the L-Tech - and have found the nib to be very wet. Personally I find this ideal. I prefer wet inks and wet nibs. To me that's a main appeal of fountain pens. If I wanted a dry write I'd go with gel ink rollerballs.

So again you're not doing anything wrong, but it seems as if your personal preference is towards drier, or at least more cohesive, inks; perhaps less flow, and perhaps finer nibs?

I agree with other posters to continue the search - for your ideal ink(s) and pen(s). And therein lies the blessed curse of fountain pens - the grail is never attained, nor should it be; the journey is the point. Explore and experiment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share








×
×
  • Create New...