Reflections on Fountain Pens

I have always been a fan of fountain pens from my school days and throughout the university years. But recently I haven’t been writing all that much and consequently my fountain pen usage went down.

However, discovering some really nice fountain pen inks recently rekindled my interest in fountain pen writing along with taking written notes.

Since I liked these inks so much and given that I learnt about them only recently, I thought of writing a short blog post on how they look on paper and other fountain pen related things I tend to use or have used in the past.

Paper

Fountain pens demands a certain qualities from paper to have a good writing experience. When it comes to paper, getting high quality gsm paper1 is probably a safe start even if we ignore many other factors which influence the writing quality with fountain pens. Following are some of the popular notebooks among fountain pen users which I have also used in the past,

  • LEUCHTTURM1917 Dotted Notebooks - these notebooks are excellent for fountain pen writing as they do not bleed through even when writing with the wettest fountain pens and ink combinations. These notebooks comes with dotted paper as well, which are quite nice for writing with fountain pens since it give more flexiliby to control your letter sizes to fit your fancy and style.
  • Moleskine Classic Ruled Paper Notebook - At least from my experience they were not as good as the Leuchtturm notebooks when it comes to properties such as bleedthrough.

Following are my current favourite notebooks for bulk writing,

  • Oxford My Notes, A5 Notebook - These books I found to be as good as more expensive Leuchtturm1917 even for fountain pen usage.
  • Cambridge Jotter, A5 notebooks - These ones are even cheaper than Oxford ones, but they are a little lighter and wouldn’t be of the highest standard when it comes to fountain writing.

Latter is even cheaper and great for writing stuff you wouldn’t want to keep for long. This is pretty useful for my language practice where I tend to write like a nursery kid for learning new languages.

Pens

Although I do not collect fountain pens as a hobby, I have bought more than a few fountain pens over the years. I try not to buy fountain pens which I would think twice to ink up and use on a daily basis. This heuristic has helped me curb my enthusiasm for spending a lots of money on really expensive pens!

Following are some of my favourite fountain pens2 which are almost always inked up, if I happen to be in fountain pen mood,

  • TWSBI Diamond 580 - TWISBI makes relatively affordable steel nib fountain pens which are excellent for writing
  • Lami Safari - These pens comes in myriad colours and would be a perfect pen to get as a starter pen. Make sure to get a converter as well since they only come with a Lamy cartridge.
  • Platinum 3776 (Chartres Blue) - This is on the smaller side for my hands, but it is comfortable after posting. This is an excellent writer and I really like the Japanese fine nib for writing given my preference for fine nibs. In fact, Platinum F nib is even finer than the Lamy Safari EF nib!

My nib preference is usually on the finer side due to a couple of factors such as my handwriting size and the purpose (which is mostly note taking).

Inks

In the past I have been quite conservative in my ink choices, sticking with excellent Waterman fountain pen inks and occasionally Diamine inks. For people getting started with fountain pens, sticking with inks which are known to work with most type of nibs and papers is a good way to go. Most Waterman inks definitely ticks those boxes in my experience as well.

After coming across Rohrer and Klingner Cassia Ink Review, I also got interested to try Rohrer and Klingner inks and following are the ones which I tried recently. All the inks below have really good flow and quick drying properties. As far as I can see, they are pretty easy to clean as well.

Note that my writing samples are only good as a crude approximation for what the inks look on Oxford notebook paper.

Cassia

cassia

Cassia is my favourite out of the three Rohrer and Klingner inks I’ve gotten thus far. It is a very lively purple with really good ink flow properties. My writing sample, which is from a Lamy Safari with a fine nib on Oxford notebook papper, cannot do justice to how nice this ink looks in person at all. See Goulet pen’s for a better review - Goulet pen’s Rohrer and Klingner Cassia Review.

Blau Permanent

blau

Blue is a staple colour for me and I have been very happy with Waterman blue inks, of which I have at least two shades. But, I found that I quite like the Blau Permanent ink from Rohrer as well and this sample is from the Platinum 3776 with a fine nib on Oxford notebook paper.

For a better a review check this out Goulet pen’s Rohrer and Klingner Blau Permanent Review.

Bordeaux

bordeaux

This is my first reddish colour fountain pen ink and altough not my favourite to write notes with, it does add a nice variety when I feel like. Rohrer and Klingner Bordeaux is, as the name suggests a very nice Wine coloured ink. This sample is from a Lamy Safari extra fine pen on the same paper as before. See Goulet pen’s Rohrer and Klingner Alt-Bordeaux Review.

I hope to explore more of the Rohrer and Klingner ink range in the future.


  1. For a more in depth review of good paper for fountain pen writing, see JetPens - The Best Fountain Pen Paper 

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