The post that I intended to write today was about the use of fountain pens with Moleskine brand products. I may, in the future, post the comparison pictures with various pens and ink in combination with Moleskine paper, but, for now, I would like to share some of my thoughts and solicit the experiences of others, in regard to these popular paper products.
Despite the quality (and price) of Moleskine products, I find that they are not always the most useful with fountain pens. This is not so much on account of the pen, but, more often, the ink is at "fault." While the Moleskine paper has no problem handling drier-writing pen and ink combinations, wetter inks seem to get into the fibers and spread like miniature spider webs. Even some inks, such as Noodler's X-Feather, which work wonderfully on many cheap papers, seem to have issues at times.
Surprisingly, the worst Moleskine writing experiences I have encountered come with the use of rollerball pens, both disposable rollerballs (such as the Pilot G2) and refillable rollerball pens (such as those from Noodler's and J. Herbin). On an important note, this is by no means discounting Moleskine...I have a Moleskine notebook that I very much enjoy using, and I have been looking at acquiring a Moleskine daily planner.
What experiences have you had, positive or negative, with ink and pen combinations on Moleskine products?
Edit 10/3/2013: After quite a few fountain pen ink tests on the page of a Moleskine notebook, I am sharing my results and some changed thoughts! View that new post, here.
The paper in the Moleskine products is well known in the fountain pen community for not being able to handle many (dare I say most?) pen and ink combinations. The notebooks are nice enough, but they just don't have the kind of paper required to be able to use a fountain pen and not have to worry about how thick or wet it writes.ReplyDelete
My own experiences with a couple of Moleskine notebooks were bad, though one was a little better than others. From what I've read online it seems the quality of Moleskine paper can vary a bit between notebooks, and my own experiences certainly back that up.
It's a bit of a bummer, but at the end of the day I figure you can hardly fault Moleskine for using cheap and nasty paper that doesn't stand up to liquid inks. After all, they are targetting a market that largely uses ballpoint pens, and has done for decades, so they can get away with using lesser quality paper. There probably isn't enough of a market among those that use fountain pens for them to warrant the extra cost of using better paper, though that of course leaves those using fountain pens to look elsewhere for their notebooks.
Some still use fountain pens and Moleskines, but usually with finer nibs and dryer ink. Its seems most use products with better paper so they don't have to think about whether or not their pen will be a problem when they go to write something down.
Are there other papers that you use, especially in the same notebook form, as Moleskine, that better hold fountain pen ink?Delete
Try Noodler's Black with a F/EF nibbed FP. It's a combination that works for me.ReplyDelete
Pilot G2 is a gel ink pen and not a rollerball pen, and I'm surprised that you've had issues with it. I've used G2s with tips ranging from 0.38 all the way to 0.7 and have had no issue with them (or with any other gel ink pen). Could you have meant Pilot V5 or V7?
It may have been a v5 or v7, though I do not remember it clearly. Thanks for the correction and the recommendation. Despite trying many other Noodler's inks, I have never tried Noodler's Black, though I have heard that it is a bit of a staple ink to have on hand.Delete
I find that Moleskine paper simply cannot handle fountain pen ink for the most part. I have not had much trouble with other inks.ReplyDelete
I may need to contribute this notebook to a non-fountain pen-using friend! (And then convert them to fountain pens, shortly thereafter.)Delete
Are there other papers that you have tried with fountain pens that have worked better than Moleskine?
I agree that fountain pens and Moleskine do not agree with one another. I've quit using them together.ReplyDelete
By far the best notebooks with a moleskine like form factor for fountain pens are the Rhodia Web Notebook and the Leuchturm. The Rhodia uses Clairfontaine paper which has long been known as the best paper for FP's. The Leuchturm uses a very high quality paper, and are also quite cheap.ReplyDelete
Good to know! Thanks! I will look into both of those. I recently tried a friend's Rhodia Dotpad, and I loved it, so Rhodia is on my radar for future paper purchases.Delete
Yeah, definitely look into Rhodia and Clairfontaine stuff. They come in lots of different formats and such, so there's bound to be something you like.Delete
I've never tried out a Moleskine book because of their bad rep in the FP community and the high price of their tiny notebooks. Also, I'm pretty sure I've never seen one of them that wasn't totally sealed in plastic so that I couldn't touch the pages. That always made me suspicious of them.
I have used Moleskine noteooks for years. Lately I have been using a Safari with Montblanc blue and have not noticed any major issues. Sometimes the ink does seem to sit on the paper for a moment, but overall no real concerns. Though in fairness I will say I am giving Rhodia a try.ReplyDelete
Some specifics to support the generalities above: Most Moleskine paper has unacceptable levels of feathering (lateral spreading of ink into the paper from individual letters and strokes); bleed-through (seepage of ink through the paper that manifests as visible marks on the back side); and show-through (faint or pronounced "shadows" from the front side). There are two exceptions, however.ReplyDelete
Firstly, as mentioned above, F/VF nibs that write very dry may minimize one or more of these three effects, especially feathering, though they will never go away. Show-through will likely always be present.
Secondly, the Moleskine sketchbook and the new storyboard book both have substantially heavier paper. My guess is that they are in the 150-160 gsm range, with the sketchbook being perhaps every so slightly heavier. For comparison, the best Clairefontaine and Rhodia papers are 85-90 gsm. Standard Moleskine weight is not specified, but Brian Goulet reported some measurements a couple of years ago on Ink Nouveau that were around 70 gsm.
Thanks for the details!Delete
I compared a pocket notebook from Moleskine, and a local stationer - although neither was stellar, the Moleskine comes at a premium price that (to my mind) can't be justified.ReplyDelete
If you have one to use up, as others have said, "dry" inks like Pelikan Blue/Black and fine nibs are a good bet. (In plain Moleskines, I really like a soft graphite pencil - 2B or softer - something about the combination is very nice). I echo the recommendation for the Rhodia webnotebook too. I've also heard that the Moleskine limited editions (Star Wars, Lego &c) use paper that is more consistent in quality, and handles fountain pen ink better.
My comparison, if you're interested, is here; http://monkeyphotomcr.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/ryman-softcover-notebook-pocket-vs_756.html
Also, I don't think anyone mentioned Inky Journal, a blog that rates inks on their Moleskine friendliness;ReplyDelete
The link should go to posts about inks deemed wholly Moleskine friendly!
Thanks for the great links, John! Your comparison is well-done. Ryman is a brand that I have never seen here, and it was cool to see the comparison.Delete
Thanks Spencer - one thing I forgot to add was that the two Moleskine planners I've tried (2009 pocket hardcover daily, and 2010 pocket soft cover daily) had really good paper!Delete
That's what I find so frustrating - why pay a premium price for a product that can vary so drastically? Rhodia & Quo Vadis cost about the same here, and the quality is (so far!) uniformly good, in my experience.
A Rhodia dot-pad day planner that was week-at-a-glance over both pages would be amazing. All the same, I suppose that I could go for something like this (http://www.gouletpens.com/Rhodia_Small_Black_WebPlanner_p/3581r5.htm), and simply deal with having the week-at-a-glance on one side. If only it came in dots, rather than grids...Delete