Tag Archives: Black Ink

Ink Review: Noodler’s X-Feather


Noodler’s X-Feather: fountain pen ink designed to not feather on most types of paper, including cheaper copy paper.

Noodler’s X-Feather Ink is a black ink with a specialty in not feathering.

People generally try to avoid feathering because it just doesn’t look very nice. We want to have nice, clean, crisp lines without any of the fibres around the paper soaking up some of the ink. On certain types of paper, or with extremely small writing or fine details, feathering can sometimes mean your writing is illegible, although these are in extreme circumstances.

The three factors that determine how your ink looks (in feathering as well as everything else) are paper, pen and ink. If you find a certain type of pen or ink or paper that you really like, you can experiment with the other factors to find your just-right combination.


An example of feathering – usually a result of the combination of paper and ink, especially frequent with really “wet” or broad nibs.

Fountain pen writers are often on the hunt for “fountain pen friendly” paper, although this usually comes with a higher price tag. Good brands include Rhodia, Quo Vadis, Japanese Life Stationery and G. Lalo, along with many others. This paper often has a higher gsm – grams/meter weight, meaning it is a little thicker but also denser. However, thicker paper does not mean it is going to be fountain pen friendly.

The example above is on Hilroy spiral-bound school notebooks – terrible paper. This is the $0.49 notebook you can get at Staples at back-to-school season. The writing was done with a Jinhao 126 and a Fine nib – not a pen that writes a very wet line! Paper that is newsprint or cheaper copy paper is often great for the more oily ink of ball-point pens, but not good for fountain pen ink.

Some good fountain pen paper also has a higher cotton content, or is vellum paper (plasticized cotton), meaning it is more ink-resistant – rather than absorbing the ink, the ink sits wet on the surface of the sheet until it dries.

In my opinion, it is generally the paper that is the biggest factor in how much an ink feathers, though of course, there are certain inks that are terrible with feathering and some inks that do not feather very much or at all.

As well, the wider or wetter your nib, the more ink you lay down. When that happens, the paper fibres around your line will start to absorb the lines, resulting in something that looks a little hairy.

One example of an ink designed especially to avoid feather is Noodler’s X-Feather.



Writing Sample of Noodler’s X-Feather with Noodler’s Ahab Flex on Rhodia 80gsm paper.

Often calligraphers or writers who like really wet nibs will go to this ink because it allows them to lay down a lot of ink without it feathering.

For this writing sample on Rhodia Paper, I used the Ahab Flex.  Because it’s a flex nib, it will definitely lay down a lot of ink for the wider lines.


While X-Feather is known for its anti-feathering property, it’s also a dark, saturated black that is a great black on its own.

I do find this ink to be a black ink – a dark, almost creamy, saturated black with very little shading. Even with the flex nib, you can hardly see any shading, at all. While it’s still a liquid ink, it almost seems like a little bit of a thicker ink, leaving a crisp line.


Writing Sample: Noodler’s X-Feather on Rhodia Paper

Of course, on the Rhodia Paper, which handles most inks very well, has no problem at all with the X-Feather. In fact, you might have a difficult time finding an ink that does feather on Rhodia Paper, although I’m sure it could be done.

It has a slower dry time: feathering often speeds up the dry time by absorbing the ink into more of the paper – since this doesn’t feather it takes a little longer to dry.

The real test is on the lower quality paper. Below, I tried the Ahab Flex with X-Feather on the same Hilroy paper as the example of feathering above. If you look really closely, you can see the paper trying to pull the tiniest particles of ink, but even on this paper, X-Feather does an admirable job.


Even on lousy spiral bound school notebooks, X-Feather looks great!

IMG_4145  While on the Rhodia paper there was no bleed-through at all, on this paper, there was definitely bleed-through. However, I think you would have time with any sort of ink pen on this paper, as it is thin, fibrous paper.

If you’re someone who works in an office with copy paper or you’re a student looking to take notes without having to purchase high quality paper, this is the ink for you.

You can take a look at more details about the ink here.

You can also see a cool drawing using the ink here at: Leigh Reyes

Sailor Jentle Black Ink Review



Sailor Jentle Black is a dark, rich, warm black.

Sailor is one of my favourite ink brands, and while some of their inks are known in particular
for beautiful shading and a sheen, the Jentle Black is a great ink for your everyday writing.

The review was done on Rhodia 80gsm paper, with an eyedropper Serwex 101 with a flex nib – one of my favourite no-nonsense get-er-done pens.

One of the most distinctive features of this ink, but also most of the inks in Sailor’s Jentle line is the lubrication – it’s super smooth and wet and flows beautifully.  It’s a great ink to try if you have a drier pen or in flex pens.

I love the sheen from some of Sailor’s other inks, but this is not an ink that will give you too much shine when it dries. If you’re looking really close at the right angle you might see the tiniest hint of sheen, but it might also be because you’re squinting too hard.


Even with the super wet flow and a flex nib, on the Rhodia paper, I got zero feathering or bleed-through. The flip side of some inks with low or no feathering is a long dry time, and this ink is no exception. In part because it flows so well, and lays down such a nice wet line (that doesn’t dry in feathering) is that it will take a little longer to dry.

It’s a dark, opaque black, with just a hint of shading. There might be other blacker/blackest-possible inks out there if that’s what you’re really looking for, but this is a warm, dark, rich black.


Just a few flecks of sheen in the right light.


Sailor Jentle Ink Bottle – a wide base to prevent tipping. Each bottle has 50mL.

Typical of Japanese design and innovation, the bottle is one of the most user-friendly ink bottles on the market. It’s a bit hard to tell in the photo I took, but there’s actually a cone inside the bottle that allows you to draw from the bottle even when you’re near the end. With the lid firmly closed, you turn the bottle upside down, and back upright, and ink will have filled the inner cone, allowing you to fill up.


The Sailor ink bottles all come with a cone to help you use the last bit of your ink.


Elsewhere to read:

The Piker Press

Ink Review: Rohrer & Klingner Leipziger Schwarz (Leipsician Black)

Roher & Klingner’s Leipziger Schwarz (Leipsician Black) was one of the first inks I got when I first started writing with fountain pens. I like black inks, and I really like a lot of things about this black ink in particular.

Rohrer & Klingner is a German company who makes all sorts of inks and fluids for lithography and calligraphy and writing.



Rohrer & Klingner Fountain Pen Ink – Leipsician Black

I wrote with a black Kaweco Sport in a fine nib, which is generally a smooth writing pen, and on Rhodia 80gsm paper. I like the look of the bottle itself, which may have actually been one of the original reasons I bought the ink…but now of course I know better, and know that you can’t judge an ink by its bottle.



On Rhodia paper, no feathering and no bleedthrough, but it’s great paper, so you might get a some feathering on copy paper.

The ink is pretty heavily saturated – I get a nice dark line, which I love, without too much shading. The little shading you might see in the close-up writing sample is probably more to do with my inconsistent writing pressure. It’s smooth in my Kaweco pen, which is generally a good writer with most inks.

It’s not a waterproof ink, with a pretty long dry time – with a wet nib it could take up to 15-20 seconds to dry – so probably not the best for lefties or working in the jungle.

You can see some hints of blue or charcoal in it if you’re writing with a very dry nib, but it’s a great black for everyday writing or for the workplace.



La Plume Etoile on the whole line of Rohrer & Klingner Inks
Fountain Pen Network Review by Mafia Geek