Tag Archives: ink

How to Wash Inky Fingers Clean

Anyone who uses fountain pens has likely experienced a bit of ink your hands at some point – it kind of just goes with the territory, especially if you’re using ink from a bottle, rather than cartridges.

Fingers Stained from Fountain Pen Ink - How to Remove


The best thing you can do is act quickly! The faster you get water and soap on your hands, the better.

If you know you are going to be doing inky work, and want to avoid inky hands, it’s best to wear gloves. After that, you can consider keeping a damp towel nearby to wipe your fingers as you go to limit the damage.

If you do end up with ink, here are some strategies you can try to getting ink off:

1. Hot soap and water! Usually gets most inks off with some pretty good success.

2. Toothpaste and a brush. Put a little bit on a nail brush, or even your fingers and rub. A nail brush will be better because it will act as a bit of an abrasive to rubbing off the ink.

3. Windex – the ammonia in the Windex is also the same ingredient in pen flushes that helps dissolve the dyes to get them flowing. Spray, rub, rinse well.

4. Pumice stone, available at most Shoppers or pharmacies. Pumice stones are also used in manicures and pedicures to wear down and soften calluses on your skin, so by rubbing the stone on the stained skin, you’re taking off the top layer. You can also try emory boards. Be gentle!

5. If you don’t have a pumice stone, you can try mixing a bit of sugar with some dish or hand soap, and that will rub away at the ink on your skin.

6. Rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad. The alcohol can be quite drying, so be sure to moisturize after.

7. Usually the length of a shower, with the hot water and soap and shampoo gets most stains off. Even though I get ink on my hands almost every day, just by helping people with their pens or playing around with inks, every day is a different mix because it washes off in the shower.

Try one or try all, and let me know how it goes!

Otherwise, you can just embrace the ink on your hands and pretend you’re an artist.

Fountain Pens & Paper

Often when people start using fountain pens, they discover quickly after that not all paper is made equal. When using ballpoints or rollerballs, most paper performs fairly similarly, which has to do with the oil-based greasier ink of these types of pen.

How well your ink does on your paper has to do with your pen, your ink and your paper. The wetter the pen, the more ink goes on the page, and so the more likely you’ll have problems. Certain inks display certain tendencies, and so you’ll have to play around and try a few inks to see how they differ. However, the paper you write on often has the biggest variation in how your pen and ink perform.

Paper weight is an indication of how heavy it is. Most paper is measured according to “gsm” or grams per square meter. American paper weights are in pounds, and it’s very confusing. My reference point is: 20lb paper is around 75 gsm. Rhodia’s standard staplebound pads have 80gsm paper. If you ask me any more questions about paper weight in lbs, I will likely spend a long time on this online conversion tool.

I think the real difference between how paper performs comes down to the sizing of the paper, or how the paper is treated in manufacturing to change the absorbency level of the paper. The basic idea is that the more absorbent the paper is, the more feathering and bleed through you will experience. Paper that has additional surface sizing will have the ink sit on top of the paper and take longer to dry, rather than absorbing into the paper, to dry quickly.

Bad things that can happen with paper:

Show-through: if you’re writing on the other side of the page, show-through or ghosting can make it more difficult to read what you’re writing. This is much more prevalent in thinner paper, such as Tomoe River Paper, and obviously if you hold it up to the light.

Bleedthrough on low quality paper with fountain pen ink

Bleed-through happens with a lot of ink on more absorbent paper.

Bleed-through: when the ink actually makes it way to the other side, bleed through makes it almost impossible to use the back page. Really terrible paper may even have ink on the next page.

Feathering: this is probably the least acceptable characteristic. Many people are willing to forgo the back of the page, but if the writing itself on the page looks terrible, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

Feathering on low-quality paper with fountain pen ink

Feathering makes your letters look a little hairy.

Here are a few ways to think about paper: 1. Regular paper
This is the copy paper at your office, or the lined notebooks for students. This paper often isn’t great for fountain pens, as it was designed for fast consumption and for use with ballpoints. There are a few types of copy paper that are designed for laser printers, and that perform quite well with fountain pens, for example HP Laser Jet 32lb paper.

If you’re stuck using poorer quality paper, you can try either using a thinner nib, like EF or F, or trying an ink that general performs a little better on cheaper papers, like Noodler’s X-Feather, or Rohrer & Klinger’s Iron Gall Salix.

2. French/European paper
Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper are considered two of the top brands in paper. While both companies make a variety of paper formats and sizes and weights, in general, their paper is smoother, slightly thicker and excellent for fountain pens. Most people find they can use broad, stub or flex nibs without problem because this paper is good.

High quality Rhodia paper for fountain pen ink - J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune and Flex Nib

Rhodia 80gsm pad, Noodler’s Nib Creaper Flex, J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune

This paper is more expensive than regular or copy paper, and it also has longer dry times.

3. Japanese paper
Japanese paper is making is beginning to become much more widespread in North America. Japanese paper tends to be thinner, but definitely holds up to fountain pen ink very well. Even though the paper is thinner, the lines you get are often exceptionally crisp.

Flex Nib Writing Sample and Shading Fountain Pen Ink

Life Noble Note paper, Dilli Flex and Sailor Jentle Grenade.

Life Stationery has a lot of ivory and thin paper in a huge variety of formats (notebooks, typing paper, writing paper, bank paper…), and Tomoe River Paper is exceptionally thin, and so has quite a bit of show-through. Japanese paper tends to have very long dry times.

4. Stationery Paper

Textured Laid Correspondence Stationery from G. Lalo Verge de France

G. Lalo Verge de France Stationery

Stationery or correspondence paper is usually A5 or A4 sized (rather than the North American standard sized letter or legal”) and come from Europe. This paper is often used for letter writing or more formal situations.

G. Lalo and Original Crown Mill are two companies that are known for their stationery paper, and in particular for their laid finish. This paper is thicker and much more textured, sometimes with “verge” or grid textured lines (that can be very helpful for writing straight across!).

What’s the deal with Moleskine?

We get asked quite a bit about why we’re not carrying Moleskine, mainly because we’re a stationery shop and we get a lot of people who aren’t using fountain pens but are maybe looking for a notebook. The long and short of it is that Moleskine paper is great for ballpoints and pencils, but not as great for really inky pens, like fountain pens.

There are many, many other paper products out there, some we carry and many more we don’t. You can always read reviews online, and they often also have pictures, so you can see how one paper performs, but it usually comes down to a combination of the pen, the ink and the paper, so your best bet is to try it out yourself.

Weekly Update! July 22-28

We’ve got new stuff in!

It’s been very hectic around the store! The hot weather meant staying in AC and cold drinks and not moving around too much – but it was a busy week for us with those willing to brave the heat and some new products coming in!

We now have the extra large Master Leuchtturm Notebooks in Plain and Dot Hardcover. They are big and beautiful. We also got some of the Leuchtturm Slim Master with music ruling for all the musicians out there.

Leuchtturm Master Notebooks! Just the name sounds impressive.

Leuchtturm Master Notebooks! Just the name sounds impressive.


We’ve received our latest shipment of Noodler’s Inks, especially exciting because a few bottles were broken! I think I spent a morning with inky hands rescuing intact bottles from soggy paper boxes. Not surprisingly, a corner bottle was broken, but surprisingly, two bottles next to each other right in the middle of the package were broken.

However, we do have some bottles in, and some new colours in particular!

New Noodler's Inks in, including Ottoman Azure

New Noodler’s Inks in, including Ottoman Azure

Ottoman Azure
Kiowa Pecan
Heart of Darkness (only in the larger 4.5 oz bottle)

I hope you especially enjoy how our photographing techniques are different with each batch of new products! Variety is the spice of life 🙂

We’ve had a lot of requests for the Konrad in Clear Demonstrator, but our distributor seems quite out of stock, or else we’re just ordering at the wrong moments! We did however get some Konrad Flex Pens in the Ahab Pearl colour.

We’re back in stock with Pilot Black Fineliners and Black G-Tec-C’s, as well as TWSBI 580s in the stub 1.1 and 1.5 nibs!

Most exciting of all, we’re going to give our hand at offering ink samples. We love when people come into the store to try out the inks first hand because we know even when you compare all of the reviews and images of the ink from other people, it’s not quite the same as seeing it yourself with your own eyes. However, not everyone has the time or is able to come to visit our little shop, so we’re offering samples of all our inks.


Ink samples.

Our vials are a little different from the vials from other retailers – they’re quite a bit smaller, and rather than plastic, we chose glass (just a bit more environmentally friendly!), which will also resist staining a little more so you can re-use and re-use as much as you like for all your ink sharing and swapping.

You will need a syringe or an eyedropper to get the ink out because the mouth of the vial is not big enough to accommodate a nib, but we figured the sample amount of 2 mL is not really a super easy amount to get all out with a nib anyways – using a syringe will let you get 100% out.

For a limited time (until the end of August), we’ll give a free ink syringe with your first ink sample from us. If you already have enough ink syringes, you can leave us a note in your order to tell us you don’t need an extra, but an ink syringe is always a handy thing.

Let us know what you think!

Coming soon: Midori Traveler’s Notebooks, Lamy Safari Limited Edition Pink, Clairefontaine Paper, Organics Studio Ink, Kaweco pens and pencils back in stock…