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Does Fast-Drying Fountain Pen Ink Feather? – Writer's Bloc Blog

Does Fast-Drying Fountain Pen Ink Feather?

I’m a lefty, and unless I use just the right fountain pen, ink and paper combinations I have trouble with smearing ink all over the paper with my hand. I’ve been thinking of getting some fast-drying fountain pen ink to see if this will allow me to expand my regularly used paper selection. Online reviews of this type of ink sometimes mention that whatever changes are made to the formula of this ink to make it dry more quickly also cause more problems with feathering. Since Noodler’s Bernanke Black and Bernanke Blue just arrived in our shop I thought I’d do a very quick test of this ink on several types of paper to see the results. For this test I used both a J. Herbin glass pen which laid down a ton of ink with the Bernanke inks (the bold and broad writing) and a Platinum Preppy fountain pen with a fine nib. Here are some scans of the results:

Clairefontaine French Ruled Paper – the gold standard. Under a magnifying glass I could see an eensy bit of feathering using a Platinum Preppy fine nib fountain pen, but unmagnified it looks fine. Not shown in this scan, the plentiful ink flowing from the glass pen did cause feathering.

Rhodia grid paper. The abundant flow of ink from the glass pen feathered some, but the Preppy pen writing looked just as good as on the Clairefontaine French ruled paper.

Compendium Live Inspired “Her Words” paper. Same results as the Rhodia paper – the broad line with lots of ink has a bit of feathering, the writing from the fine nib looks good.

Exacompta Basics Forum Journal with blank paper. Bernanke inks behave quite well on this paper, even the broad line from the glass pen had only a little feathering (there is some bleed through, but that is typical of this paper – perhaps this reduces the feathering?).

Leuchtturm1917 blank paper. Some feathering with both the broad and fine tip pens.

Myndology Luna Note paper. More feathering with the broad tip glass pen, less feathering with the fine nib.

Office Max generic top-stapled notepad paper. I imagined that this paper would perform the worst, but it’s actually not too bad. The broad tip glass pen feathered some, but the fine nib is pretty good.

Rhodia Webnotebook lined paper. Under magnification I could see a tiny bit of feathering with the black, but without magnification it looks great! I have not been able to use the Rhodia Webnotebook with a fountain pen because ink usually takes too long to dry on this paper and I smear it. In this test I tried smearing the ink immediately after I wrote with it – probably within one second or less – and the results were pretty good. Bernanke fast-drying ink definitely reduces the smear factor!

My conclusion so far is that fast-drying fountain pen ink does seem to feather more than regular ink, however, I will probably do very well using Noodler’s Bernanke ink with a fine nib fountain pen. It also made me wonder – do the Noodler’s Bernanke inks would work well in dry-writing pens? Does anyone know?

Do you use fast-drying fountain pen ink? What results have you had with feathering? Do you have any favorite fast-drying ink, paper and pen combinations you’d like to share?


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4 Replies to “Does Fast-Drying Fountain Pen Ink Feather?”

  1. The two Noodler’s inks you tested above feather for me, as do many Noodler’s inks to be honest.
    I teach handwriting and every single one of my left-handed students has tried fast drying inks and then returned to “normal” inks, they don’t seem to offer a huge benefit over a “normal” ink in a dry writing pen. In my lessons I always use the Clairefontaine Séyès ruled paper you used above.
    A lot of my adult students go for something like a Sailor EF nib – it’s very fine, probably around a 0.2mm line – and find that works perfectly with any ink (I tend to use Diamine in lessons – being from Liverpool I have no choice!) .
    For my teenaged students I will adjust the feed on a Lamy Safari / Al-Star to reduce the flow of ink somewhat, and that with an EF nib works well.
    In my experience finding the right pen and ink combination takes time for any writer – some left handed writers have this additional factor to consider. It looks like you are well on the way to finding a combination that works for you.

  2. Hi Fayre,
    Thanks for sharing the experiences with your left-handed students. From my own experience I find that using a fine nib does help reduce smearing in that it lays down less ink which allows the ink to dry more quickly. Even when I use a fine nib I still have not been able to use the premium 90g Clairefontaine paper with success. I’m hoping a fast-drying ink will allow me to use this paper! We’ll see 🙂

  3. Hi Bradley,
    We would like to refer you to the Noodler’s Ink website –
    They have several in-depth reviews of their inks that explain what colors show up when the ink is water washed. Noodler’s does have several “bullet-proof” and water-resistant inks so you may not want those if you want them to bleed when water is added. We have an extensive selection of Noodler’s ink on our website in case you find one that suits your needs. Nice artwork! We hope you find what you are looking for.

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