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Ink Comparison On Non-Coated Paperblanks Paper


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Paperblanks makes beautiful notebooks and diaries with off-white paper. I've used various Paperblanks notebooks for journaling and found the paper to be of good quality. Not overly smooth (i.e. not coated), but well-behaved with all but the wettest fountain pens and with a nostalgic feel, like old paper. Having been so encouraged, I bought a 2019 diary from Paperblanks, in the expectation that the paper would be the same.


Guess what? it isn't.




At first glance and first feel, the paper appears to be the same as that used in their notebooks but in fact it responds totally different to fountain pen inks. I decided to do a quick test and got interesting results.




On the positive side, this paper (despite being off-white) really brings out the colour of the ink. The colours are a joy to look at. Also the paper has a pleasantly "grainy" writing feel, a sort of texture that offers lots of control while still being pleasantly smooth. No fibers, no plasticy feel as with some coated papers, just a really nice writing experience. The degree of control also makes it easy to jot readable notes when on the move (cars, buses, trains, planes).


On the negative side...




As you can see, there's a profound "mottling effect" that's caused by the ink being absorbed into the paper in some spots, which leads to colour differences. The inks that mottle most also cause the most bleedthrough and are pretty much unusable. The Herbin inks fall in this category, which surprised me a bit because I consider Herbin inks to be extremely well-behaved. But not on this paper...


The best-behaved inks on this paper, i.e. the ones with only very little mottling or no mottling at all, are Sailor Kiwa-Guro (bottom line in above image) and Platinum Blue-Black. Both are pigment inks. By far the wettest writing sample is from an '80s Sheaffer Targa M with Platinum Blue-Black:




There's a ton of Platinum ink on the page, but zero mottling, zero showthrough, zero bleedthrough. Remarkable. The only non-pigment ink that comes close is Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black, which also doesn't mottle or absorb. Diamine Ancient Copper is also well-behaved on this 'difficult' paper.


The purpose of this comparison is not to burn down Paperblanks diary paper, but to show how much inks differ from each other in how they interact with paper. Their properties really vary widely. The amount of ink deposited on the page (wetness) is *not* the deciding factor, it's really all about the chemical composition of the ink and how the paper responds to that.

Edited by TheDutchGuy
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This is a wonderful comparison. I found that the paperblanks do not really work for me, but this is a great explanation.

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

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Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016

Check out 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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From the Paperblanks blog:


Due to the different variables in terms of nibs, inks and hand pressure, as well as different paper batches, it can be difficult to guarantee which specific products will take ink best. At the moment, journals with a smaller page count (like your 176-page midi) and larger formats are the best designed to work with fountain pens, as they have thicker paper. Our guest books are also great options, at 120 gsm. Dayplanners, however, given how quickly people tend to use and discard them, are less likely to work with a fountain pen.


Here is a link to the post from which I extracted the quote:




The blog post is a few years old, but the quote above is in the comments sections and dated July 2018.

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That's explains the lower paper quality, thanks. Still, it's interesting to note that pigment inks work fantastically well on that paper where most dye-based inks don't.

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