Fountain Pens, Ink, Paper & More

Well, that’s disappointing. I’ve heard good things about Endless Regalia paper, which is backed up by their claim of “Ink-Loving” paper. But as you can see from the bottom image, almost every pen-and-ink combo bled through the paper, making the back unusable. And maybe they foresaw this, as the dot grid on the front is not continued on the back.

To be fair, there is no mention of fountain pens in their ink-loving claims. And in its defense, there is no sign of feathering or even spreading. It shows shading well enough, and even a bit of sheen.

The icons on the front, bottom right corner are fairly useless—not to mention, unexplained on the packaging. And the prominent logo, on the back of every single sheet seems vain and a waste of space. Oh, but we can’t use the back, anyway. So, I guess it’s okay.

If you do want to try Regalia paper with your fountain pens, 80 gsm is clearly not suitable. Look for a minimum of 90 gsm. But your best bet will be 100-120 gsm.

Personally, I can’t help but compare all paper to Tomoe River. They set the bar extremely high with their 68 gsm paper performing far better than other brands’ 80+ gsm paper. Having used hundreds of pen-and-ink combos on it, I’ve only ever seen two little dots of bleed-through.

Yep, that bar is about as high as you can get. And the Endless Creative Block Tear-Off Notepad falls well short of it.

Well, this is new. To this blog, anyway.

In April 2023, I gave up on using the Hobonichi Weeks Mega for planning, and in May I started using it to record my pens and inks in use each day. It’s actually quite perfect for that.

I write the name of the pen and its nib size, the name of the ink, and I score each along with a brief note. At some point, this became redundant since I tend to use the same pen and ink combos for long periods. So if a combo has been scored in a previous week, and there has been no change in performance, then I just have some fun with the ink. I make a rectangle and fill it in, then I draw these snail-looking things because they’re fun… and super cute.

And here are some additional notes on these combos:

  • November 6 – I originally gave the Koloro with a broad nib a 9, and Cool Gray a 10. The pen makes me realize my negative experience with the Opus 88 Halo does not mean all Opus 88 pens are bad. And Montblanc’s ink has me questioning if Kaweco Smokey Grey has been knocked out of the top spot as my favorite grey ink.
  • November 7 – The H3 is a slim pen, but it’s not slim on fun with the fude nib. And Wrought Iron is a new ink for me, but doesn’t even come close to meeting my “darker is better” philosophy on black inks.
  • November 8 – Kaigelu stands alone in making me think, if only for a brief moment, that extra fine nibs aren’t so bad. It was a mistake choosing this ink for an extra fine nib.
  • November 9 – I dug the Perkeo out of the “get rid of me” pile, as I have since grown to love Kaweco, but this pen is still bad. Cross Green is… green. Meh.
  • November 10 – This pen and ink pairing is a moment of (near) perfection! The nib is SO close to perfect, and the ink is one of my go-to blues.
  • November 11 – I wouldn’t want anyone to judge the modern-day Sheaffer pens based on this particular one, as they’re usually very smooth, wet, and consistent. Meanwhile, the ink is another go-to, and I’ll choose this one if I need a little more pop on the page.
  • November 12 – Another pen—and brand—I had given up on, but this seemed smoother than I remember it, after some work I did on the nib way back when. The ink is good, with a touch of sheen, but I prefer my blue inks more saturated.

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An irresistible price had me deciding to give Opus 88 one last go.* Or, technically, two last goes. I picked up two Opus 88 Koloro pens. Here, I have the Amber/White with a medium nib. It’s a much more promising experience (see footnote), though not perfect. On this one page alone, there were a few skips, such as the initial down stroke in the word “marked.” I hoped to chalk this up to finger oils, but it happened in places I likely didn’t place my fingers. Also, I was sure to use my writing glove. So I’ll have to keep an eye on this one.

For the second time in a month, I found myself at a Montblanc store. And, of course, all I could afford was ink. But I was very pleased to find James Dean Rebel Red in a 50 ml bottle. The packaging illustrates the color fairly accurately, so this falls right in my sweet spot for reds: on the deep side, with no pink highlights. The highlights, in fact, lean towards a rusty orange-red, as seen in the tops of many of the letters. Perhaps it goes without saying that this is new to the list of my favorite red inks.

* My first Opus 88 experience was extremely disappointing. I was excited to pick up the Halo and bought a variety of nibs for it. All three nibs were scratchy. In addition, there was horrendous skipping and some leaking. To top it off, the pen has a design flaw, making it possible to unscrew the section as you unscrew the cap. It being an eyedropper-filled, this could be—and kind of was—disastrous. The fix, by the way, is to screw the section down harder than you think you should. However, I will forever be afraid to use that pen!

Before putting this stellar Nahvalur Nautilus in Bronze Corydoras with a broad nib to bed for a while—i.e. cleaning and storing it—I gave it one last go. It showcases Octopus Fluids Aubergine—my favorite purple?—beautifully, and they’re a wonderful pairing, sure to reappear.

I missed the TWSBI Eco when it originally came out in orange, so you better believe when they recently released it in Heat (i.e. orange), I was all over that like spilled ink. I opted for the medium nib—they can’t all be broad, right?—and it writes well. But broad is always my happy place. I enjoy a good, saturated black ink, deep and dark… and Private Reserve Infinity Black is not it. Too bad their inks come in lifetime supplies.

I’m pretty darn sure this is my first experience with a Majohn stub nib, and I was not disappointed. In fact, I’m quite impressed. It’s one of the best ones I’ve used. So it made this P136 in Gray a delight to use. And speaking of delight, Monteverde Purple Mist was made for a stub nib, so this combo is a winner. Isn’t that periwinkle lovely?

I had to jump on the bandwagon and get my very own Jinhao 9019 which is making its way around the YouTube fountain pen community. I opted for the Wine Red with a medium nib. Let me tell you: Jinhao is stepping up its game! This is easily the best Jinhao in my collection… and I have a lot. I thought my ink choice, Monteverde Pumpkin Cake, would be a better match. It goes down red, but dries to a definite brown. Keeps just that tinge of red, so I guess I’m okay with that. I do love brown inks. This is a smooth, wet combo. I love it.

I thought I had TWSBI Black loaded into this TWSBI Diamond Mini Classic in black, so it was a pleasant surprise when the green hit the page. Diamine Sherwood Green has some excellent shading and makes for a wet pairing with this pen.

The Diplomat Aero was at the top of my wishlist for a long time. I always imagined getting the orange one, but this black stripe version was definitely my second choice, and the price was very right. I wanted to ink it with a very different color that I hadn’t used in it before, and Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki was perfect. I mistakenly imagined it would be more of a consistent red, but it makes sense that it is an orange-red for its namesake, the persimmon.

I had been curious about the Pilot Prera for a long time, and had it on my wishlist for nearly as long. In a birthday outing yesterday, we found ourselves at Mai Do, inside the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa, California. I spotted the Pilot Preras in the glass case at the register. With a hand basket already full of stationery and other Japanese goodies, I put back an all-black Kaweco Perkeo in medium and some air mail envelopes to make the purchase of the Prera in Slate Gray with a medium nib more sensible. Perkeos are decent beginner pens, but the Prera is a step up from Pilot’s beginner pen, the Metropolitan. And it’s well worth the higher price. I couldn’t be happier. Happy birthday to me!

I wanted something a little different from the standard black cartridge that came with the Prera, and I happened to have an unopened box of Pilot Blue Black cartridges. Nice combo!

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