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!
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