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I am always hunting inexpensive notebooks or legal pads that are fountain pen friendly for my work. I have been, for the most part, disappointed by the cheap quality of the paper on most pads and notebooks for everyday use. Last night, I spotted a display of these "new" notebooks that boast a high quality paper that resists ink bleed. At $1.97 per notebook, I decided to purchase a couple.


A Quick Review of the new Five Star Coillege Ruled Notebook by Acco Brands in A5-related size: This notebook is made in the U.S, and is Number 11231. It has a 2 subject divider and a colorful cover. The paper is a light weight, student quality and likely not archival. The overall feel of the paper is smooth, but has a slight amount of toothiness. The manufacturer indicates that the notebook "Lasts all year. Guranteed!", and contains reinforced storage pockets, water resistant cover and high quality paper, "which resists ink bleed with common student writing instruments such as pencil, ball point pens, gel pens, felt tip pens and markers". I decided to see how fountain pen ink would do.


The pens, nibs and inks used in this test for feathering, bleedthrough and showthrough were:


Montblanc 144, fine 18K gold nib: Sailor Kobe Ooji Cherry

Namisu Nova, medium titanium nib: Montblanc Irish Green

Conklin Duragraph, 1.1 stub nib: Midnight Blue ink creation of mine

Franklin Christoph Panther, Matsuyama medium italic 14K semi-flex nib: DeAtramentis Aubergine

Italix Captain's Commission, medium italic nib: Diamine Woodland Green

Lamy Studio, fine 18K gold nib: Akkermann #14 Purple

Lamy 2000, medium 18K gold nib: Sailor Nioi Sumire

Lamy LX, medium nib: Robert Oster Australian Mauve Opal

Delta Capri Marina, broad fusion nib: GvFC Deep Sea Green

Lamy Safari, broad nib: Diamine Bilberry

Lamy Safari, medium nib: Robert Oster River of Fire

Lamy Al-Star, fine nib: Robert Oster Tranquility

Lamy Safari, fine nib: Cross Violet

Custom made, fine 18k nib: Robert Oster Green Diamond

Delta Horsepower, 1.1 stub fusion nib: DeAtramentis Robert Louis Stevenson

Jinhao 450, Goulet 1.1 stub nib: DeAtramentis Edgar Allen Poe


The following are printer scans of the inks tested on the paper. The image quality is not the best, but it should give you some idea. Note that the pink/red/purple colors seem "fuzzy". This is the result of my printer scanner, not the ink feathering.



Page 1:



Page 2:




Feathering/Spreading: Overall there was minimal feathering. Those which did have some feathering included those inks which came from stub or broad nibs. Almost all fine or medium nibs showed little to no feathering.


Bleedthrough: There was no bleedthrough, except with my very wet Italix Captain's Commission with Diamine Woodland Green,there were a few tiny spots where the ink was just beginning to bleed.


Showthrough: Almost all of the fine and medium point nibs did not show through. The exception is my Namisu Nova which has an exceptionally wet medium titanium nib, and Lamy Safari medium nib with the very wet Robert Oster River of Fire ink. Almost all of the broad and stub nibs did showthrough, with the exception of Conklin Duragraph because the ink is fairly light in color, and surprisingly the Delta Capri Marina with a very wet broad nib filled with GvFC Deep Sea Green.




Overall, I am very impressed with these little notebooks. I would recommend these to any student who uses fountain pens, particularly with fine and medium nibs. And with the black or dark blue cover, this would be acceptable for professional use as well as long as your use is non-archival.




Edited by DrPenfection

"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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A very nice review. Thanks!


Thank you for the kind comment.

"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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Am I missing Something? Where is the link to the notebook being reviewed?

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Am I missing Something? Where is the link to the notebook being reviewed?

Thanks for the comment. I purchased this at Walmart. But this is a link for Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Mead-Spiral-Notebook-Subject-Assorted/dp/B00MP2OJHG/ref=sr_1_1?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1500850589&sr=1-1&keywords=Mead+5+star+2+subject+notebook


And here is a link for Staples:


"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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Great to know. I'm always on the lookout for reasonably priced FP friendly paper. Thanks for such a complete review and the links to go with it.

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  • 1 month later...

Mead also now, finally, makes half-way decent composition notebooks. I bought two last week at Target, one wide rule and one college. The covers are stiff cardboard. Bravo to Mead for that. The label on the back says the notebooks were made in Vietnam. Lately, Made-in-Vietnam paper has been among the best-quality I've found in composition notebooks. And when I ran my hand and fingers across the paper in the store, I thought it felt somewhat smoother than Mead Five-Star paper, which is not smooth at all. Nevertheless, I wouldn't classify the composition notebook's paper to be smooth either. Once I put pen to paper, its feedback reminded me of Mead Five-Star paper, and that was disappointing but not shocking.





What was surprising and pleasantly so: I experienced no feathering with any pen-ink combo I tested.










Despite the appearance to the contrary, none of the inks bled through. I consider the show-through to be less than the average of the Made-in-Brazil composition notebooks I've bought over the years.






I steered away from Mead products over the past eight years—the FP years—because the paper wasn't smooth, feathering was guaranteed and so was bleed-through. Every notebook I saw (I admit I didn't look at all that many) and every package of loose notebook paper said it was made in the USA. Perhaps Mead has broadened its horizons in that regard.

Edited by Bookman

I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.



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Bookman, thank you for the great review of the Mead Composition Notebook. I always prefer a bound notebook over a spiral bound notebook. Thanks for letting us know.

"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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  • 3 years later...

Very, very helpful review. Thank you so much.

"I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me." Terence


I share the humanity of people, I’m like the rest of everybody and certainly I’m not better or higher than anybody in anything, regardless of what they believe in or don’t believe in. What they experience is certainly not alien to me. I’m part of all people and they are part of me, interbeing, that is.

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