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Favorite Pen And Ink For Cheap Paper


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I was writing with my Conklin Mark Twain today and just really enjoying everything about the pen from its buttery smooth nib to its well balanced weight. After writing some lines I set the pen down, picked up my Esterbrook J, and walked out the door to head to an interview for a new job (I got the job, by the way). I did this because as much as I enjoy my Conklin, it just does not write well on cheap paper. My Esterbrook J (with an Osmiroid Medium Italic nib), on the other hand, is an excellent choice for use with cheap paper. It is what I am most likely to bring with me when I know that I will be dealing with junk paper. I have it perpetually loaded with Lamy blue-black ink, and ready to go anytime that I need to write on my daughter's school stuff, random employment papers, or official forms. It is the pen that I pick up when I do not know about the quality of paper that I am about to write on.


I think that most of us have a go-to pen and ink combination for use with cheap paper. I am curious to hear what other folks use for the random bits of junk paper that they may encountered on a daily basis, so tell us about the pen and ink combos that you use for those questionable quality pages that you happen across. Is your go-to pen and ink for use on cheap paper different than your every day pen and ink? How much does the anticipation of dealing with cheap paper affect your choice in what you carry out the door?

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First, congratulations on getting the job and I hope it is all you could hope for. I am a fan of broad nibs but I found that I needed to cut back to a medium and use a drier ink. I am currently using a Blue marbled Pelikan M200 with KWZ green iron gall ink and find it a very good combination.

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova





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My go-to for cheap paper (think work papers) has been the Pilot Vanishing Point (F) and Noodlers X-Feather ink. I have to do a large amount of charting at work and the paper used for that is less than optimal. I find that the above combination makes for a good way to circumvent cheap paper issues. :)

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My fav combination for mediocre paper is a Lamy Al-Star with F or EF nib inked up with Lamy's blue ink or R&K Salix.


However, last week I got my hands on some Camel ink and I get the impression that this ink was meant to be used on some of the most questionable papers ever made. Buddy who sold me the ink suggested the ink has never encountered a paper that it didn't come across legibly on and that every day thousands of students use this ink. At 40 cents a bottle, this may be my new official work ink.

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Most of my pens are fine and extra-fine points, so I don't need to worry much about ink, but when I take a medium point to work, it is filled with R & K Scabiosa. Scabiosa is well behaved, easy to flush, and while it is conservative enough for a business setting, people can always tell which annotations on the page were mine.

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Montblanc Midnight Blue (old formulation) in just about any pen.


If permanence isn't an issue, Parker Quink Blue is good on most cheap paper. I favor it in Parker pens.

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I have cheap(inexpensive paper that seems to work well with every ink and pen I've thrown at it.


Staples sustainable earth.


Outside of that, generally, finer nibs work better for me on things such as office paper/copy paper. Or at least the feathering is less noticeable.

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Yes if you write on paper like Clairfontaine or Rhodia at home, you will have to adjust for work, where they have lesser quality paper.

I use Brazil notebooks at home so I'm part way there, but sometimes when I write on office papers, I still blot/feather.


Some of my working combos:

- Baoer 388, M nib (similar to an old US Parker F nib), Waterman blue

- Parker 51, F nib, Waterman blue

- Parker 88, F nib, Waterman blue

- Parker Classic, F nib, Waterman black

- Reform 1745, F nib, Diamine Sherwood Green

- TWSBI Eco, EF nib, Noodler's Gruene Cactus


I am trying some Noodler's inks in the Baoer 388 and Parker 45s.


There seems to be a common thread, all the nibs are F nibs (old US Parker).


The other thing about work is writing space. If you have to fill/sign forms, many times you have to sign in a smallish box, so you can't use your 1.5 italic nib, you have to use a Fine/ExtraFine nib, to fit your signature in the box...unless you sign with a "X" :-)

Edited by ac12

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California


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My choice for these situations is my Sheaffer Targa with an Fine nib and Noodles Bad Belted Kingfisher. I use a Medium nib for addressing envelopes. It's fairly water resistant, too.


Edited to correct the work of the *incorrector*.

Edited by corgicoupe

Baptiste knew how to make a short job long

For love of it. And yet not waste time either.

Robert Frost

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Noodler's X-Feather works great on Rhodia and cheap copy paper in my Rotring Artpens: EF, 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm and Waterman Executive with a fine nib.


I also like Montblanc Permanent Blue in Waterman Kultur with a fine nib and Montblanc 146 with a fine nib. Works great on Rhodia and cheap copy paper.

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My daily writer at the office is a Parker Sonnet with an M nib. I use the discontinued Parker Blue-Black c/w SOLV-EX in that pen.


For the most part our shop has pretty good 90gsm copy/print paper, so no worries there. But there are some forms which are printed both sides on very flimsy paper (a tribute to the lithographer's art) that I need to use my pen inverted (feed-side up) to fit the written line into the form.


When it is a random encounter with naughty_word paper, laying-down a small amount of dark ink with a light hand seems to to the trick.


When I know such forms are on the horizon, I most often bring the Red Estie J fitted with The Steel Driver, which I may pair with an iron-gall ink. *


Then again, as I have little affinity with bureaucratic form-filling, if there's bleed- show-through, line-width gain, colouring outside the lines or some other fault, then those who take exception are welcome to chat with me about such deficiencies. To date no takers. :)





__ __

* NIB-ism https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/282704-esterbrook-9450-extra-fine-nib-tines/?p=3242369

Edited by Sandy1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


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For the absolute worst cases, I use a very fine nib with Sheaffer Skrip Blue. The pen I normally use is a Smiggle pen (same pen and piece of string feed as a Pilot V-Pen/Varsity) but with a converter filled with the above ink.

Others might like to use Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue instead, for a darker blue colour.

For the next worst I use my Parker 51 with XXF nib, filled with Sailor Kiwaguro Carbon Black.


“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.

And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”

Granny Aching

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The joys of mountains of paperwork and cheap paper have become just one of the challenges of my job.


In general, I bring to work pens with vintage F nibs (which trend to be narrower than their modern F counterparts). I then try to match these pens with dry inks. I've had some great luck with iron galls from KWZ Inks and Diamine, pigment inks from Sailor and Platinum, and the drier inks from Pelikan and Mont Blanc.


That doesn't mean I won't bring a more diverse load of inks and pens to work, but they end up writing on my Levenger or FP-friendly legal pads.



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