What is it we look for in paper?

I was rather surprised to read a thread in which a Fountain Pen Network member said that Rhodia paper didn't suit, and that it took an inordinately long time for ink to dry. Other papers were recommended, but not by name.

I happened to have several notebooks out, including my Rhodia Poly, and several pens so I tested the drying times with a Sailor Sapporo (Music) inked with Sailor Gentle Blue-Black), the Pelikan 215 (Broad) inked with (Waterman Havana Brown) and Pelikan 100 (Medium) with J. Herbin Le de The.

Of those tested, the Waterman and Sailor took more than 20S, and as much 30S to dry, while the J. Herbin Le de The took less than 10s.

It crossed my mind that perhaps when inks are formulated they test specific papers, and as J. Herbin and Rhodia are part of a family of products, I speculated that perhaps they were tested together to act as complements.

For someone who has used fountain pens for decades, I've never seriously given drying time much consideration. I tend to write left to right, with the pen firmly gripped in my hand, and my hand rather low on the barrel. It is the rare occasion that an ink smears unless I go back quickly to make an adjustment, a dotted "i" or a crossed "t" but even then I don't think I remember much mess.

Then I played around with a small Exacompta journal I have, and my Exacompta Gulliver*, also Exaclair products, and both of these dried much faster, more like 5 to 10S regardless of pen or ink.

I fiddled with several other papers, but concluded that one has to make a choice, and in this case, I don't know that I want to trade the paper I like for a paper that may dry quickly.

I also noticed recently I am paying too much attention to these little issues, and spend ages watching the ink glisten on the page.

* I am waiting for more product information on this paper, weight, etc.


  1. The paper in that medium Ciak I like so much? Ink dried almost instantly.... I don't like waiting for ink to dry, but if it's really a problem for me, I'll use a blotter.

  2. If you ever have occasion to take out a page, I wouldn't mind a try.

    I suspect it is a low glare, less shiny surface, n'est ce pas?

  3. Lucky you with your writing style - although I'm right-handed, I'm an over-writer, and drying time/smudging is a big problem for me. I'm not willing to give up my glossy papers or smudgy inks, though, so I've developed compensation tactics.

  4. Over-writers fascinate me. I always wonder how a person comes to hold a pen that way. I have a cousin who's a left-handed over-writer and contorts his wrist to the point where it looks to me like it should be painful.
    Meanwhile, my sister's a left-handed under-writer. Ink-smearing is not an issue for her.
    I'm a right-handed under-writer.

  5. It's fascinating that we can all write so differently.

    Here's a link with some photographs of under and over writing left-handers.