Reading and writing, two of the best things in life. When you need some inspiration for these two virtues, please visit my friend Mrs. Duffy’s site.
She drinks pints of coffee and writes little observations and ideas for stories with her best fountain pen on the linen-white pages of expensive notebooks. Sometimes, when it’s going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is really just a fetish for stationery.The true writer, the born writer, will scribble words on scraps of litter, the back of a bus tickets, on the wall of a cell. Emma is lost on anything less than 120gsm.
From “One Day” by David Nicholls
Since I wrote the text below I have been made aware of that the inks Salix and Scabiosa have some issues in regard to fading over time and being less resistant to light. I have no further details but urge you to take this in consideration, especially if you are planning to use these inks for journals.
I am not a collector of pens and inks per se, but in order to find the ideal combinations for me, I’ve had to try quite a few. I’ve absolutely no interest in having a lot of fancy pens in the drawer or a lot of bottles on the shelves, but I want that special feeling when I reach for the pen in the shirt pocket and put a trail of ink on the paper and can say: Man, this is classy!
Just recently I think I’ve gathered enough experience to share it with you dear Reader.
Paper is a factor that I cannot completely control. I have to use different kinds of paper qualities from Moleskine and ordinary office paper to G.Lalo ”Velin de France”. The settings in which I write are often far from optimal. I often write in a Moleskine while travelling on commuter trains.
When it comes to pens I’ve decided to go for Pelikan M200s, (and a M400 with friction fit nib unit). Sturdy, reliable, with interchangeable nib-units and they hold a more than decent amount of ink. Pelikan is also a brand with excellent customer service and is a company that you can communicate with, both with the HQ in Germany as well as with your national office, at least in Sweden. You can also buy nib units separately. I also love the Sailor Professional Gear series but the ink capcity is to low for my needs and the Sailor Company is not easy to have a deeper corversation with, at least so for me. Yes, I have a PG Realo that I love and that takes a lot of ink, but I don’t want to have an accident with that nib.
I’m now down to three inks. First Im still using Noodler’s BP Black. Someone called it the ”King of Inks”. Excellent permanency, good flow and a minimal tendency for feathering and bleed-through. But it smears badly even when dried, on paper of decent quality that is. It has costed me some trouble over the years. I’m only using it in my edited diary which I can leave open to dry overnight. When this QV Habana in one of the bigger sizes is finished I plan to say goodbye to this ink. Other inks from Noodler’s just don’t attract me or are not an option for one or another reason. J.Herbin inks are classy with good flow but are bleeding through too much to be usable in, for instance, a Moleskine. Just recently I took the plunge to try iron-gall-inks, Rohrer & Klingner Schreibtinte 40-710 ”Scabiosa” and 40-711 ”Salix” to be more precise. These two inks have blown me off my feet. Fast drying, minimal feathering or bleed-through, waterproof, no smearing and looks classy and a bit antique, and with beautiful shading. I need no other inks besides from these two. Period. The Scabiosa is for letters, signing of documents and ”external communication” in general, and the Salix for everything else.
If you happen to be one of my penpals you have probably received one or two letters written with this pen, a Parker Vacumatic 1946. It once belonged to a ”MARVIN YATES” of whom I know nothing. I bought the pen from a friend on http://www.fountainpennetwork.com . I sent it to Mr Björn Arebom in Malmö in Southern Sweden. He installed a new nib, a breather tube and a new diaphragm and voilá, an absolutely gorgeous pen that I use for those special letters. It’s filled with J.Herbin ”Lie de Thé”.
On Fountain Pen Network and other boards you’ll find a lot of discussions on different pens, inks and paper, separately. Some authors though stress the interactions within the triad: pen, ink and paper. That makes real sense to me. What use do you have of a gorgeous and expensive pen if the ink feathers a lot and bleeds through the paper? On the other hand, a cheap Hero could work just fine with a good ink on, for the ink, good paper. I would also like to add a fourth parameter. I hesistate wether to call it mood, situation or setting. I mean, there is a huge difference between writing a personal letter on G.Lalo “Velin de France” at home a Sunday morning while the rest of the family are asleep, and sitting on a stone in the woods, or on a commuter train, writing in cheap Chinese notebooks. In the first setting I could use my big and expensive Sailor Professional Gear Realo, and on this quality paper I could use just any ink. On the run I have to use small Sailor Sapporos that fit in my shirtpocket and the ink has to be a non-bleeding one , for example J.Herbin “Perle Noire” or Noodler’s BP Black. At work I can’t use pens with screw cap but a Parker 51 will do just fine. Any ink can work for single-sided writing on office paper. (An alternative to a P51 would be a Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point.) When I’m upset or in a hurry I can’t use my italic nibs as the corners of the nibs will dig in to the paper. I have to be in peace of mind to do the italic nibs justice. On envelopes I use Noodler’s BP Black, but the drying time and smear factor forces me to let the envelope be in peace for a while. An alternative is to use a non-waterproof ink and rub the text with a piece of a candle to waterproof it. As you can see the main thing is to find a combo that will work for you, and in your types of settings, for writing. Comments are appreciated…