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Tomoe River Smearing?



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Hi pen friends! I'm new to the hobby and still searching for a paper/notebook that works best for me and the pens/inks I use. I was so excited to try TR paper after hearing so many good things from others, but I'm massively disappointed by how much smearing I'm seeing, even days after my writing has dried. 

 

For reference: I am using TR 68gsm paper (in a Lochby field journal) with a variety of inks, including inks from Birmingham, Diamine, Montblanc, and Monteverde. I'm using a medium nib in all of my pens, but I don't think they're laying down too much ink to where this level of smearing makes any sense. The smearing is persists even days after writing and leaving the page open to dry. As a journaler, this just isn't practical or sustainable at all for me! :( 

 

Are there any suggestions on ways to avoid this, or other types of paper to try next? I want my inks to really shine - and smearing my writing every time I flip back through my journal is totally disheartening to me. Any tips would be much appreciated!

 Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity. — Khang Kijarro Nguyen

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1 hour ago, Karmachanic said:

Blotting paper?

 

Once I noticed the smearing I started using a piece of scrap paper as a makeshift blotter... Would you recommend using specialty blotting paper? Is that necessary? I hate the idea of spending more money on fancy blotting paper after I've already purchased a nice TR notebook, but... :( 

 Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity. — Khang Kijarro Nguyen

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Karmachanic

I use a sheet of low grade office paper folded in half. Doubles a s a palm rest to keep hand oils off the page as I write.

I wait thirty seconds at the bottom of the right hand page before blotting.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Paul-in-SF

Blotting paper isn't particularly fancy or expensive, and it can take a lot of usage before you have to throw a piece out and start a new one. The trouble with blotting paper is that it can soak up and remove some of the ink and therefore some of the ink effects (sheen and shading, for example), which can defeat the purpose of using those inks and the nibs that show them off. 

 

I have never experienced TR paper smearing after the ink has actually dried, so if that is what you are getting then blotting paper will not help. Is it possible that the ink is smearing when you finish writing and close the notebook, and that you only see it for the first time when you open the notebook again? This has certainly happened to me. But I made a notebook myself out of TR paper and had only very few instances of this problem, after which I resolved to be more careful. I have had even fewer instances in notebooks using Clairefontaine paper, or the paper (Oxford?) they use in Black n' Red notebooks. 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Paul-in-SF said:

Blotting paper isn't particularly fancy or expensive, and it can take a lot of usage before you have to throw a piece out and start a new one. The trouble with blotting paper is that it can soak up and remove some of the ink and therefore some of the ink effects (sheen and shading, for example), which can defeat the purpose of using those inks and the nibs that show them off. 

 

I have never experienced TR paper smearing after the ink has actually dried, so if that is what you are getting then blotting paper will not help. Is it possible that the ink is smearing when you finish writing and close the notebook, and that you only see it for the first time when you open the notebook again? This has certainly happened to me. But I made a notebook myself out of TR paper and had only very few instances of this problem, after which I resolved to be more careful. I have had even fewer instances in notebooks using Clairefontaine paper, or the paper (Oxford?) they use in Black n' Red notebooks. 

 

 

 

No, unfortunately the smearing persisted after I had written on a page and left it open to dry overnight. I'm not being rough with the pages or pressing down hard with my fingers either. Just ghosting my fingers over the page (as I might when flipping through the journal to read a previous entry) results in smearing, even in Birmingham inks, which on every other paper I've used dry very quickly. :( I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, because I haven't heard anyone else who uses TR paper describe smearing like this!

 Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity. — Khang Kijarro Nguyen

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Your inks may have evaporated a bit, thus becoming so saturated that you get the effect that they do not actually dry completely? I've been using TR paper, both 52gsm (my favorite) and 68gsm for years now, with many different inks, and while it hardly ever smears, I have seen bleeding through, when I use an ink that has become over-saturated.

And yes, blotting paper does help some to prevent it. Even paper towels are useful for this. Or scratchpad paper.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

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1 hour ago, mhguda said:

Your inks may have evaporated a bit, thus becoming so saturated that you get the effect that they do not actually dry completely? I've been using TR paper, both 52gsm (my favorite) and 68gsm for years now, with many different inks, and while it hardly ever smears, I have seen bleeding through, when I use an ink that has become over-saturated.

And yes, blotting paper does help some to prevent it. Even paper towels are useful for this. Or scratchpad paper.

 

To be perfectly honest, I've never heard of ink evaporation before! But of course that makes sense... I'll definitely start keeping some spare sheets of paper towels around to try blotting more thoroughly after I finish a page. Thanks for the tips! :) 

 Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity. — Khang Kijarro Nguyen

round-letter-exc.pnground-ink-exc.png

 

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A Smug Dill
8 hours ago, Percy said:

I want my inks to really shine

 

If you're — at least partly — talking about sheen, that is only exhibited when there is at least some component of the ink sitting (dried) on top of the page without being absorbed by the paper. That sheeny layer of unabsorbed ink can be reactivated by moisture, even just from microscopic beads of sweat on your fingertips, and become fluid again. So, in general, the more sheen you see, the more likely smearing will occur, even from the same ink (on different types of paper, or even on the same sheet of paper where some pen strokes or part thereof exhibit more sheen).

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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5 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

If you're — at least partly — talking about sheen, that is only exhibited when there is at least some component of the ink sitting (dried) on top of the page without being absorbed by the paper. That sheeny layer of unabsorbed ink can be reactivated by moisture, even just from microscopic beads of sweat on your fingertips, and become fluid again. So, in general, the more sheen you see, the more likely smearing will occur, even from the same ink (on different types of paper, or even on the same sheet of paper where some pen strokes or part thereof exhibit more sheen).

 

Oh wow - this is super helpful. Makes perfect sense, too. I guess I'm just not used to having to be so careful with the handling of my journal pages. I need to do some thinking about whether or not the beautiful sheen possible with TR paper is worth the potential smearing for me and my journaling habits. Thanks again for the thorough explanation!  

 Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity. — Khang Kijarro Nguyen

round-letter-exc.pnground-ink-exc.png

 

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You could find a compromise. Dilute the worst smearing inks just a little, that would leave them still concentrated, just a little less so, and they might dry up better. Experiment to see how much dilution gets you where you still have some sheen, but the inks won't smear when you touch them once they're dry. Careful: it takes just a little water! and if you overdilute, you have to re-evaporate that water before the ink will be saturated enough to sheen...

Good luck, and enjoy the journey.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

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When you write perhaps you could use an additional piece of paper as a "cover sheet" then any moisture from your hands/fingers would not get onto the inky paper?

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5 hours ago, mhguda said:

You could find a compromise. Dilute the worst smearing inks just a little, that would leave them still concentrated, just a little less so, and they might dry up better. Experiment to see how much dilution gets you where you still have some sheen, but the inks won't smear when you touch them once they're dry. Careful: it takes just a little water! and if you overdilute, you have to re-evaporate that water before the ink will be saturated enough to sheen...

Good luck, and enjoy the journey.

 

I haven't yet experimented with diluting any of my inks but this is a fabulous idea that may help solve my problem - or at least lessen the smearing! Thanks for your advice - I'll be sure to use a light hand with the water I add. :) 

 

4 hours ago, Dione said:

When you write perhaps you could use an additional piece of paper as a "cover sheet" then any moisture from your hands/fingers would not get onto the inky paper?

 

Ooh that's a great idea too - I'll be sure to give this a try! 

 

Thanks everyone for all of the tips! This community is so helpful. :wub: I knew you all would have some great ideas!

 Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity. — Khang Kijarro Nguyen

round-letter-exc.pnground-ink-exc.png

 

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If you were using Noodler's inks, then I'd be inclined to think that the inks are just doing their Noodler's thing of not drying out fully. But since you mention only the ink smearing when you run your fingers over it and not transferring to the other side of the page in a closed notebook, and you are using a number of ink brands that are usually filled with water-soluble inks, I am strongly inclined towards moisture on your fingers or oils on your fingers being the cause of the smearing. This might be exacerbated in the case of high general atmospheric humidity. 

 

You could test this. If you let a page dry overnight, take a cotton swab or some other perfectly dried item, and lightly run it over the page. If the ink is truly dry, the cotton swab should not pick up any ink. Then run your fingers over the page, and if it smears after that, but not with the cotton swab, you can be relatively sure that your fingers are too wet on the page and are likely to be the cause of smearing. 

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10 hours ago, arcfide said:

You could test this. If you let a page dry overnight, take a cotton swab or some other perfectly dried item, and lightly run it over the page. If the ink is truly dry, the cotton swab should not pick up any ink. Then run your fingers over the page, and if it smears after that, but not with the cotton swab, you can be relatively sure that your fingers are too wet on the page and are likely to be the cause of smearing. 

 

This is a great idea - I'll have to run this experiment over the weekend! 

 Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity. — Khang Kijarro Nguyen

round-letter-exc.pnground-ink-exc.png

 

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8 hours ago, Percy said:

 

This is a great idea - I'll have to run this experiment over the weekend! 

 

Keep in mind that if you are in a truly swamp-ish environment, it may be possible that everything is just so damp and humid that everything is wet, even the cotton swabs and paper, but only God can help you in that case. Well, that and maybe air conditioning. 

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48 minutes ago, arcfide said:

 

Keep in mind that if you are in a truly swamp-ish environment, it may be possible that everything is just so damp and humid that everything is wet, even the cotton swabs and paper, but only God can help you in that case. Well, that and maybe air conditioning. 

 

Haha I just moved away from Charleston, SC after living there for nearly 7 years. Thank goodness I didn't pick up the hobby while I was still living there - the humidity would've made things so much harder! 

 Crafting a novel on cotton rag paper with an antique fountain pen is a sensuously rebellious act against modernity. — Khang Kijarro Nguyen

round-letter-exc.pnground-ink-exc.png

 

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