The Scale of Paper Absorption

This is the lefty fountain pen dilemma: do you want to be able to see all the lovely ink properties but have to contort your hand so you don’t smudge? Or do you want to be able to write how your body wants to without a cramping hand and without worrying about smudging? There are so many different paper options on the market, but which ones are lefty and fountain pen friendly? I’ve taken all the different notebooks I have and measured dry times, bleed-through and feathering. I chose 12 pens with varying nib sizes and wetness to use across the different papers for consistency. For each paper I’ll include average dry times and rate bleed-through on a scale of one to five. One being minimal and five being the ink bled onto the next page. Each paper will also have a rating from absorbent to impermeable, from zero to ten.

Stalogy 365:

Stalogy 365 paper has an average dry time of 14.2 seconds. Bleed-through is a 2, but the paper is thin enough that there is show-through on the back of the page. Sailor Haha had a dry time of about 10 seconds and feathered a tiny bit. Noodlers Golden Brown had a dry time of about 20 seconds and also feathered a tiny bit. With minimal feathering and bleed-through and a fairly fast dry-time, Stalogy 365 is a 3 on the Scale of Absortion.

Mnemosyne:

Mnemosyne paper has an average dry time of 15.42 seconds. There was no bleed-through and minimal show-through, making this paper a 1 on the bleed scale. Both Noodlers Golden Brown and Colorverse Schrödinger had a dry time of 20 seconds and feathered noticeably. Sailor Haha feathered a tiny bit with a dry time of 10 seconds. With the slightly slower dry time and no bleed-through, Mnemosyne is a 4 on the Scale of Absorption.

L!fe:

L!fe paper has an average dry time of 20 seconds. There was no bleed-through or show-through, a 1 on the bleed scale. Colorverse Schrödinger had a whopping 45 second dry time, while Noodlers Golden Brown had a 30 second dry time. I’ve learned that Iroshizuku Ama-Iro is a consistently fast drying ink. With a slow dry time and no bleed-through, L!fe paper is a 6 on the Scale of Absorption.

Moleskine:

Moleskine paper had an average dry time of 5.41 seconds. There was a lot of bleed-through and a lot of feathering, making this a 4 on the bleed scale. This paper isn’t pleasant to write on, but if fast dry times are a priority for you, then Moleskine will work. With paper this absorbent, the ink just sinks right in and there’s no sheening or shading. Every ink that I tested dried in about 5 seconds except for Kyoto Kokeiro, which dried at about 10 seconds. Moleskine paper is a 1 on the Scale of Absorption.

Rhodia:

Rhodia paper has an average dry time of 10.83 seconds. There was no bleed-through or feathering, a 1 on the bleed-scale. This paper shows off both sheening and shading. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but Fire and Ice and Pilot Blue-Black both sheened. I ended up lightly smudging some ink that had already dried while writing. Rhodia is a 5 on the Scale of Absorption.

This is part 1 of what will be a series of scientific tests on paper absorption. I’ll keep using the same pen and ink combinations, but 5 different paper tests seems like a good place to start.

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