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Fountain Pen-Friendly Steno Pads


fiberdrunk
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I got back into doing shorthand again this year, after 30+ years of neglect! That led me on a search for steno pads that would work with fountain pen ink. Here are two that have worked for me: Ampad Pastel Orchid Steno Pad and Skilcraft Bagasse Steno Book. Both are Gregg-ruled (which means 3 spaces per inch).

 

Ampad Pastel Steno Pad -- Orchid ($13.99 for a 4-pack on Amazon -- free shipping if you have Prime)

 

The sheets are supposed to be orchid in color, but they look more like a light blue to me. The sheets are quite thick and have next to no show-through. The ink does not feather. It looks like this company makes a Dusty Rose pad, too, though I have not tested it. Colored sheets are always a nice option.

 

The writing sample below shows Noodler's Heart of Darkness, written with a Jinhao 599 EF nib (this pen writes more like a medium, though). You can see how much show-through is on the sheet, though in this scan it looks a little more pronounced than it is in reality. I don't have a problem with writing on both sides of the sheet. This product is made in Mexico.

 

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Skilcraft Bagasse Steno Book ($15.49 for a 6 pack + free shipping at Paper Clips Etc.)

 

The Skilcraft pad has sugarcane paper, and so far as I know, it is the only steno pad available that has sugarcane paper. The sheets are quite thin (16 lb.) so there is a some show-through. For practicing shorthand I don't find the show-through too bothersome-- I'm not sure I'd want to write someone a letter using both sides, however. The degree of show-through for Skilcraft falls in between what you'll find with Office Depot's Sugar Cane Notebooks (which is basically unfit for fountain pen inks) and Staples Sustainable Earth Notebooks (which has minimal show-through). Some may find Skilcraft to have a little too much show-through for their needs. The ink performs quite well on it otherwise, without feathering.

 

The writing sample below was done with Noodler's Heart of Darkness and Noodler's Bad Blue Heron, with Sheaffer Gregg Writer and Jinhao 599 fountain pens.

 

As an aside for the Skilcraft pad, the sales of this paper benefit the blind, so you can feel good about buying this American product for not only helping the Arkansas LIghthouse for the Blind, but also for saving trees.

 

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So of all the steno pads I have tested, these two perform the best with fountain pen ink and I would gladly buy both products again.

 

I've also tested the Staples Steno Book, Staples Graph Ruled Steno Book, and Tops Docket with blue paper, and they all show through far too heavily on the back side of the sheet for fountain pen ink. But they're perfectly fine for ballpoint pens.

Edited by fiberdrunk

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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I have a bunch of old Office Depot stenobooks, and use them with my FPs.

They shadow to a limited degree, but easily read.

These are at least 5 years old, so don't know what the current stenobooks are like.

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I have a bunch of old Office Depot stenobooks, and use them with my FPs.

They shadow to a limited degree, but easily read.

These are at least 5 years old, so don't know what the current stenobooks are like.

 

That's good to know... do these stenobooks happen to have an order # on them? I know what you mean about batches of paper changing over time. I tend to stock up on the ones that work well, knowing that in the future the later batches may not be as good.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

 

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

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