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This is an ongoing bleed-through comparison test between ten different commercially available notebooks. This test will continue as long as there is interest in it and pages remaining in the current set of test notebooks.



This is a simple test, and will involve three steps:

1. Every time I fill a pen with ink I will write the names of the pen, nib size, and ink in ten different notebooks.


2. I will assign each entry a score indicating the severity of bleeding based upon predetermined thresholds. Absence of bleed-though is scored with a checkmark.

Bonus points will be given for each additional page side where ink is present. A plus sign indicates that the ink has bled onto the subsequent sheet and the number following it indicates the number of sides bled onto.

e.g. an ink that bleeds ink onto the next sheet will get a +1, an ink that bleeds through that same second sheet will get a +2.

3. Points will be tallied at the end of each round to a cumulative total, and the leaderboard will be updated. Lower numbers equate to higher bleed-through resistance.



1. To determine what notebook paper, of those tested, has the best resistance to bleeding.


2. To see how the same ink appears and behaves on different paper.


3. To see what inks do well on otherwise bleed-prone paper.



Notebooks must meet the following qualifications:


1. They must have at least 30 ruled lines to accommodate ten sets of two written lines with one blank space in between each entry.


2. They must have side wire binding with perforated pages. Ten notebooks take up a lot of workspace and wire binding is ideal as it allows notebooks to fold back on themselves into single stacks of paper. Having detachable pages is only important for ease of scanning. Two exceptions were made, as noted below, because these examples were deemed too important to be excluded due to format.

3. The cost of notebooks must not exceed $12.00 CAD including shipping if applicable. This includes instances of sale prices and promotions. In cases where notebooks were obtained free of cost the price would reflect the lowest price found online.

The Contenders





1. I have debated whether to post a scan of the back of each page but have decided against it. We all know what bleed-through looks like. It would be twice the work in scanning and uploading, and in many cases there would be very little or nothing at all to show on the opposite side of the page. Also this is a comparison between notebook paper and not a focused review of one particular product, and so the empirical aspect takes precedence over individual peculiarities. Refer to the scoring examples for an approximation of bleed-through severity.

2. The white sticker at the top of each page is to provide a standard white balance to each example.

3. The Maruman Mnemosyne notebook is the only B5-size notebook, chosen because there are thirty lines per page, and a larger A4 notebook would have many more lines than needed

4. The Clairefontaine and Black n' Red Casebound notebooks are the only ones without perforated pages. Additionally, the Black n' Red Casebound notebook is the only one without wire binding. This is because neither was locally obtainable in a perforated wirebound format.


5. Two Black n' Red notebooks were chosen because, examined side-by-side, it's very obvious that they have different paper. The paper made in Poland is significantly smoother by touch.

6. The show-through on Staples Sustainable Earth is strong enough that what bleed there is may not be noticed without close inspection. However hidden or understated, bleed will still be counted and scored in full.

7. The Polish Black n’ Red notebooks bleed mostly at the printed lines. Line bleeding is not omitted or counted partially in the overall score and no separate score will be given discounting it.















1. Clairefontaine - 0.0
2. Cambridge - 0.5
T3. Rhodia 80gsm - 1.0

T3. Staples Sustainable Earth - 1.0
T5. Black n' Red (Germany) - 2.0
T5. Maruman Mnemosyne - 2.0
T7. Five Star Heavyweight - 7.0
T7. Hilroy - 7.0
9. Black n' Red (Poland) - 9.5
10. Staples Notes - 16.0

Cumulative Bleed-Through Score By Sample:

Sample 1 - 0.5
Sample 2 - 8.0
Sample 3 - 1.5
Sample 4
- 8.5

Sample 5 - 8.0

Sample 6 - 1.0

Sample 7 - 8.0

Sample 8 - 6.0
Sample 9 - 1.0
Sample 10 - 3.0

Edited by jaysongo
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I really like this review! Do keep us updated!


PS. Love your handwriting, it's easy to read! :D





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PS. Love your handwriting, it's easy to read! :D

Thanks! That's nice of you to say. It won't always be so neat though, I'm at #232 now and the degrees of legibility will vary widely.

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Thank you, this is wonderfully informative.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Create a Ghostly Avatar and I'll send you a letter. Check out some Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 

Don't know where to start?  Look at the Inky Topics O'day.  Then, see inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY







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Good stuff, many thanks.



Thank you, this is wonderfully informative.

You're very welcome. It's my pleasure to share these results.

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Round II Standings

1. Clairefontaine - 1.0
2. Maruman Mnemosyne - 2.0
3. Rhodia 80gsm - 3.0
4. Staples Sustainable Earth - 4.0
5. Black n' Red (Germany) - 7.5
6. Cambridge - 10.0
7. Black n' Red (Poland) - 11.5
8. Five Star Heavyweight - 13.0
9. Hilroy - 17.5
10. Staples Notes - 29.0

Overall Standings
1. Clairefontaine - 1.0
T2. Maruman Mnemosyne - 4.0
T2. Rhodia 80gsm - 4.0
4. Staples Sustainable Earth - 5.0
5. Black n' Red (Germany) - 9.5
6. Cambridge - 10.5
7. Five Star Heavyweight - 20.0
8. Black n' Red (Poland) - 21.0
9. Hilroy - 24.5
10. Staples Notes - 45.0

Cumulative Bleed-Through Score By Sample:


Sample 11 - 7.5
Sample 12 - 8.5
Sample 13 - 5.0
Sample 14 - 15.0
Sample 15 - 2.0
Sample 16 - 12.5
Sample 17 - 3.5
Sample 18 - 18.5
Sample 19 - 15.0
Sample 20 - 11.0

- Please see https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/301105-kaweco-sport-squeeze-converter-and-bleeding/?do=findComment&comment=3515778 for context on why Sample 14 showed higher than usual bleed-through results.
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This is excellent! I look forward to see the next round.


Truthfully, I was surprised to see that J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche had such a high bleed through score. I've never noticed that much before. But I have notice lots of bleed through with any of my Noodler's inks.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today




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Excellent review, thanks!


You're welcome. There'll be more to come in the next few days or so.

Edited by jaysongo
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This is excellent! I look forward to see the next round.


Truthfully, I was surprised to see that J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche had such a high bleed through score. I've never noticed that much before. But I have notice lots of bleed through with any of my Noodler's inks.


That surprised me too considering that the brand has a reputation for being conservative and a bit dry. If you click on the Hilroy and Five Star examples and look at them close up you can even see feathers shooting out into the fibers.


I do tend to fill these out after I ink my pens, so perhaps the feed being more saturated than usual would cause more bleed than under normal circumstances. I'm sure that if I did the test today with the same pen and ink the results wouldn't be identical. I don't actually recall whether I've done that before because I don't test again if I refill a pen with the same ink and I always try to use different inks with all my pens after I clean them out. Though I do recall testing sample 16 more than once since I gravitate toward that combination.


Thanks for the feedback.

Edited by jaysongo
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