Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fountain Pen Friendly Staple's Find

I have been using a Moleskine 3.5 inch by 5.5 inch leather bound pocket notebook since this past summer.  I like Moleskine products, but I was very disappointed when I noticed they were made in China and cost a fortune.  Very over rated.

I set out on a quest to find another notebook locally that I may like and did not cost as much as a Moleskine notebook.  The criteria was same size, good paper, preferably leather bound, and fountain pen friendly.

I like the Moleskine paper.  To me it is unique unto itself.  Writing on the paper is nice when using pencil or anything but a fountain pen.  My fountain pens write fine on it, but not all inks work fine.  Many inks feather and most bleed through the page.

On my last trip to Staple's I found this notebook on sale for less than half of the normal selling price, and I could buy up to 4 of them at the special price.  I bought them thinking if they do not work for a fountain pen I will have a nice notebook for pencil.

Compared to Moleskine. This notebook is the same size.  This notebook is also made in China.  It is more economical, even at the regular price of $6.99, than my Moleskine.  The paper is smooth and nice to write upon.

Next I tested the paper with the pens I presently have inked.

Please pardon my sloppy penmanship.  I was too lazy to look at the Pilot ink and I mis-spelled Namiki.  Like I blame my typewriters for making typos I will blame the pen for the mistake(s).

This paper does not have the nice feel of Moleskine paper, but it is smooth and takes to fountain pen ink nicely.  There was no feathering, only a small smudge on FL Blue because I did not give the ink enough time to dry before letting the cover page touch it.

As seen below bleed though is minor.  A slight bit better than my Moleskine?

The Jinhao pen with Higgins ink seems to be the worst.  All pens wrote smoothly and none scratched or stubbed.  None bled to the next blank page.

I prefer an unlined notebook for fountain pens so I can write any size I like.  For the price this will be fine.  (The local store did not have any unlined ones.)

For those who, like me, like the ribbon page marker, the elastic closure, and the pocket on the inside of the back cover, this notebook has all three.

I still plan on trying others including Clairefontaine, Rhodia, and Quo Vadis Habana and other notebooks as I get around to ordering some. 


  1. Nice find, Bill! I have found that Moleskines can tend to feel a little 'waxy' at times, like the texture of baking paper. I had an A5-sized Moleskine notebook where every second page felt very slippery to the touch. As such, I noticed that my fp nibs couldn't write on those pages. The ink would not flow. Most annoying. And one year, I made the mistake of buying a Moleskine Diary and the bleedthrough was very irritating. Hardly life-or-death, but it was a daily nuisance. Maybe I'll see what Rhodia have on offer. Their notepads are top-notch.

  2. Marvelous! I made the same find at Staples and before Staples, found the books at WalMart.

  3. I too love Moleskine paper, but find the price and the bleed-through big bummers. Hope you find something you love eventually! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Bill, I know it is a time-intensive solution, but you might enjoy finding a nice American paper of suitable weight and making your own notebooks. If so, head on over to Hamish's blog - I'm sure he'd be pleased to help out with instruction. Meanwhile, thanks for an interesting post!

  5. I thought of making my own after seeing this post on Studio Sweepings:
    I have also read some posts on making bound notebooks that were much more involved than I want.
    As I get to ordering them, I will try various commercial ones for now.

  6. love love browsing thru Staples notebooks' selection. They have a lot of fountain pen friendly paper in there. I'm currently hooked on their Circa copy - The ARC.