The writing experience won’t be complete with just pens and inks. Paper plays a role as important as the other two.
Rhodia 90 gsm paper was one of the first fountain pen friendly paper products that I tried. After using the paper for a while, I started to get frustrated and feel that maybe it’s not the best for me: certain pens do not work well (skipping and hard starts) on the paper, and several inks do not look as nice as how they appear on other paper and notebooks, even the ones that are considered to be with lower quality. That’s when I started looking for more varieties of paper to try. Here is my top 5 favourite paper products:
1. Rhodia 80 gsm Dotpad
Rhodia #16 Dotpad has my go-to paper. I like its convenience and portability. The 80 gsm paper feels relatively less glossy and polished, which is friendly to nearly all of my pens and inks.
2. Tomoe River loose sheet paper
Tomoe River paper is relatively new to me. I have heard of this paper for a while already, but wasn’t interested in it, because I thought it wouldn’t be practical or useful for how I prefer to use my notebooks and notepads for daily writing. However, one day I decided to give it a try, after hearing so many times about how wonderfully it shows the sheen and has no feathering or bleed through. It is really fun to use and now I try every ink that I fill into the pen with this paper, just to see what kind of magic it has. I still don’t think that it is practical. But it’s definitely fun to use.
I prefer the Maruman Mneymosyne notebooks for their design. This is my choice of the daily notebook, mainly for two reasons:
- Being a wire bound notebook, it can lay flat and give enough time for the ink to dry.
- Each page is perforated, so that when I want to quickly take some notes and remove the page, I have the option to easily do so.
4. Leuchtturm1917 notebook
The Leuchtturm1917 notebooks get a spot in the top 5 for their excellent paper quality. In comparison, the paper seems to be not as glossy as the Rhodia 80 gsm paper, and it gives more feedback. What I like about it is that many inks appear more vibrantly on this paper, such as Sailor Jentle Souten and Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue. For certain inks, there is even more sheen shown on it. Last but not least, there are so many colour options for the notebook cover! It’s always nice to have a lot of options!
5. Midori TRAVELER’s Notebook insert 001
I always carry my Midori TRAVELER’s Notebook with me. I use it for any type of writing from to-do lists to short articles. The insert 001 (lined) works well exactly for that. However, while it certainly has a big advantage, which is the convenience, it isn’t my favourite paper type, for a similar reason like the Rhodia 90 gsm paper. It can be too glossy for the pens sometimes, which is not only causing skipping or hard start issues, but also taking certain inks a lot of time to dry.
Other than the lists of pens, inks, and paper, I have another one that I think is interesting to talk about. And that is accessories. For this list, I consider anything that is related to this hobby but not being pens, inks, or paper as accessory. There are ones that I find particular useful or fun to have. And here are the top 5:
1. Bulb syringe
This is one of the best tools for fountain pens in my experience. It is so useful for cleaning cartridge converter pens. Its efficiency and effectiveness guarantee it a solid place in the top 5.
2. Fountain pen cleaning solution
I had several pens that had flow or skipping issues. I wasn’t sure if the cleaning solution could offer much help. It didn’t take long for me to absolutely believe in it. The pens’ performances got much better. It is also useful to clean the pen with it occasionally just as a regular maintenance. I am often surprised by how much ink is still trapped in the pen.
3. Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 6 Pen Holder
Among all the pen pouches that I have used, this Visconti 6 pen pouch outshines everything else. I usually carry 3 to 6 pens and this pen case offers more than sufficient. The slot reserved for each pen is spacious enough to handle any pen in my collection, even the Delta Dolcevita Oversize. It features the full protection to pens and the build quality is excellent. Small details such as using the non-metal zipper and full-length divider certainly help ensure that the pen pouch itself will not cause any damage to the pens inside.
4. Silicone grease
I do not eyedropper any of my pens, but the silicone grease still comes handy greasing my piston-fill Pelikan pens and some other converters that can be disassembled. One quick maintenance can ensure that the piston mechanism works smoothly for a long time.
5. LEGO bricks
Why do LEGO bricks appear on the list for the top 5 favourite fountain pen accessories? Building LEGO is another big hobby of mine. While having many LEGO bricks around, it’s fun to combine the two hobbies together. I started to use LEGO bricks to build pen holders and individual pen stands. It is extremely useful to store the pens being used frequently and glass dip pens. For the one that I am currently using, even a base plate is added to hold ink bottles. With the LEGO bricks, the possibilities are endless and it’s always been a great pleasure to design and build something purely based on my preferences and further improve it along the way.
Here are my favourites for 2015. What are your favourite pens, inks, paper, and accessories?
Thank you for reading!