Tag Archives: noodler’s

Diamine Sapphire Blue

12 Aug

This is an oft recommended ink, and I can understand why. It is  a very standard looking medium blue with a hint of purple. There are other similar colors such as Waterman Florida Blue, J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir and Quink Washable Blue. But, what this ink has that those don’t is higher saturation. That fact makes this my favorite purplish blue ink of the bunch.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding.
  • Great flow and lubrication
  • Average drying time
  • No shading
  • Surprisingly water-resistant

Now, last week I reviewed Noodler’s Baystate Blue. In my opinion, this is the closest BSB sub that I have seen. Of course it isn’t perfect. When you are trying to come up with BSB subs there are certain concessions that must be made. Firstly, you aren’t going to be able to get that trademark vibrancy that BSB is known for. There really aren’t any other inks on the market that will glow like BSB, so if that is the most important characteristic to you, then you might as well stick with BSB. Secondly, you aren’t going to get the same level of waterproofness from any sub. You can get some water resistance, but not 100% waterproofness.

In my opinion, Sapphire Blue is  a very similar blue with a bit more purple thanBSB. It is not as vibrant, but it still jumps off the page. It is almost as saturated. It has a pretty high level of water-resistance.

This sample was sent to me by the good folks at Diamine. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Noodler’s Bluenose Bear, A detailed review

10 Aug

I want to start this off by saying that I am an incurable Noodler’s ink fan. I believe the company, with very few exceptions, makes inks that make the everyday usage of fountain pens possible. The wide array of colors, fraud/water resistant specialty inks, and constant innovation are invaluable. I honestly, don’t know where our hobby would be without Noodler’s ink. I will forever be a fan.

Having said that, I must admit that I am terribly disappointed in Nathan’s latest creation , The Bluenose Bear. Perhaps this ink is a victim of misdirected marketing or over-hype. At particular issue here is the claim of a lighter, brighter blue outline/halo around your line when you use a flex pen. Nathan has been hinting at creating such a novelty ink for a couple years now. I, for one, have been eagerly awaiting its debut. Unfortunately, that feature is inconsistent at best and unattractive at worst.

On the other hand, Bluenose bear is quite a nice blue-black color with a bit of a green hue. The color of the ink itself is very similar to Noodler’s Coral Seas, an Australian exclusive ink. The “outline” is a much brighter turquoise sort of blue.

The Condensed Details (with explanations to follow):

  • This ink exhibits some of the worst feathering and bleeding I’ve seen in a Noodler’s ink.
  • The flow and lubrication are average.
  • This ink is very fast drying
  • The shading is excellent. The ink produces a bright blue outline/halo where the line is the most saturated.
  • This ink is not 100% waterproof, but there is a grey component that remains on the page.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the images below)

Now let’s get into a bit more detail:


While I had high hopes for this ink, I have to admit that I was concerned that the blue halo might look a bit too much like feathering for my tastes. Unfortunately, I was right. The bright blue component of this ink behaves quite poorly. Presumably, this is what makes the halo effect possible. On certain papers, the bright blue component separates from and spreads out beyond the blue-black line thus giving the impression of an outline/halo. The outline is by no means smooth. It is jagged like one would expect from feathering. It is also inconsistent. It jumps out here or there depending on the amount of ink put down.

Below are two samples of the “halo”. “Xerox” is written on 24# Xerox multi-purpose paper. This is typical office paper stock. This paper is generally quite fountain pen friendly, but it seems to bring out the worst in Bluenose, and, consequently, displays the halo best. “Rhodia” is written on a Dot Pad. Bluenose is better behaved there while still showing some halo.


That same bright blue component of the ink tends to bleed if enough of it is put down on the page. When I say bleed I do mean bleed. In some cases, it will go through to the next page. Here, again, are the words “Xerox” and “Rhodia”.  I am also including a full scan of the back of two office papers sheets. As you can see, the bleeding is awful on the office paper, but tolerable on the Rhodia. However, it should be noted that it is very difficult to get an ink to bleed through (or feather) on Rhodia paper. This ought to give you an idea of how pervasive the problem is.

Flow and Lubrication

The flow is good to average. I’m still getting used to the flex pen, so I had some railroading issues in some of the samples. That was my fault not the ink’s. Lubrication is also average. The flex nib is quite scratchy at times. That is the nib’s issue, but it would be nice if the ink has more lubricant qualities to help smooth the nib out a bit.

Drying time

Bluenose dries almost as soon as it hits the page. This was true of all the papers I tested.


Now, the shading of this ink is phenomenal, but with it can come feathering and bleeding. If you use high quality heavier papers (like the Clairfontaine Graf It pad or Crane’s Choice) and a juicy stub italic nib you can get some truly amazing shading with minimal feathering and bleed through. If you are an artist, I’m sure you could achieve wonderful results with a brush pen.


I need to do some further testing, but I’d place this ink in the near bulletproof category. The blue-black color washes away, the bright blue fades and spreads, but a grey line remains.

Other considerations

Perhaps this ink is better suited for the artist rather than the conventional fountain pen user. As Nathan promises, this ink does glow when used on IVORY paper and viewed under a black light. The ink also shows some interesting variations when swabbed that might yield interesting result if used with a brush pen.

All in all, I am not happy with this ink. I have no intention of buying a bottle of it. It is just too ill-behaved to use for writing. If you are like me and you can’t abide feathering and bleeding you might seek out the aforementioned Australian Noodler’s Coral Seas as a suitable substitute. However, note that it is whopping $32.

Below are more writing samples. I wrote on the following papers using a Noodler’s Flex pen and a Lamy Vista fitted with a 1.1mm Italic nib: Xerox 24#, HP LaserJet 24#, Clairfontaine Graf It 90g, Rhodia Dot Pad, Crane’s Choice 90g, American Stationery Business Monarch in Ivory, Tops 3 x 5 blank index card, and Tops 4×6 lined index card.

No Affil.

Noodler’s La Reine Mauve

3 Aug

Noodler’s La Reine Mauve, what a fantastic purple ink!

I love this color. I have no idea what took me so long to buy a bottle of it. LRM is a rich, deep, dark purple, and it’s waterproof to boot! What more can a purple lover like me ask for? I’ve been using it everyday for over a month now, and I’m still just as in love with it as I was when I first got it. I highly recommend this ink. It is a win for Noodler’s I assure you.

This ink is quite well behaved. Like all other Noodler’s Eternal/Bulletproof/Warden’s ink lines it will require a little higher maintenance, but nothing beyond an extra rinse here and there. It is quite fast drying, and it can be a hard starter if you leave your pen uncapped. Still, I haven’t had much trouble getting the ink flowing again. It just takes a couple strokes and I’m back in business.

Now, one of the things I really don’t like about this ink is the price. It is about $13 for only 1 ounce of ink. Noodler’s regular like runs about $12 for 3 times as much ink.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding on good quality paper. Can bleed a little on light weight/poor quality papers.
  • Excellent flow (can be a hard starter if the pen is left uncapped) and average to very good lubrication
  • Dries very quickly.
  • No shading whatsoever.
  • Completely waterproof. This is a Noodler’s eternal ink.
  • This ink has a strong chemical smell to it. If you use Noodler’s inks you are very familiar with the smell.
  • Finally, I do experience a bit of line bloat with this ink (same with its cousins Fox Red and Hunter Green).

(click to enlarge and sharpen the image)

No Affil.

Noodler’s Baystate Blue

25 Jul

Few inks inspire the kind of intense emotion that this ink does. You either love it or hate it, and each camp is very vocal about its opinion. FPN has recently attempted to curtail discussions of this ink because of the kind of vitriol that it inspires. Kinda crazy, huh?

These intense emotions all come from stories (some true and some not) that BSB (as it is called) destroys pens. This, in my opinion, is silly. Basically, there was a run of Lamy feeds that were made from a ‘defective’ plastic. That plastic became very brittle/melted when it came into contact with BSB and some other inks. That material has since been replaced, but the legend lives on. Every once in a while someone will get a hold to a new old stock Lamy Safari and resurrect the whole business.

BSB is a high maintenance ink to be sure. IT DOES NOT LIKE OTHER INKS. Even trace amount of other inks can cause it to turn into goo/throw off percipients that, once dried, can severely clog a pen. So, if you are going to use this ink, your pen should either be unused or 100% cleaned of all other inks.

For more info on how to safely use BSB, and tips for dealing with some of its quirks click here.

OK, honestly, I had no intention of trying this ink. It’s not necessarily a color I’d use often, and I didn’t really have a good pen to use it in. Well, when a sample of it came in one of my Ink Drop packages, I figured I might as well see what all the fuss is about.

It’s a nice blue violet sort of ink*. Its main draw is its intense vibrancy*. Honestly, it is too bright for me. In fact, it is so bright that it gives me a headache. Still, some folks absolutely swear by it and use it for everything. It’s a nice ink, it’s just not for me.

I didn’t have any clogging issues. There was some staining to the feed and the barrel, but it came right off with a little diluted bleach and soapy water. The Dollar pen was no worse for wear. (I am not recommending that you bleach your pens. I have no idea how your pens will react. Bleach your pens at your own risk!)

The Details:

  • It feathers and bleeds a bit depending on the paper
  • Great flow and lubrication
  • Fast drying time
  • Some good shading depending on the pen/paper combo
  • Waterproof

It is hard to capture the neon quality of this ink. I’ve done my best. (Click to sharpen and enlarge the images)


* I’ve noticed that overtime my writing samples are changing color to a rather average (and not neon) medium dark blue.

No Affil.

Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red

21 Jul

This is the 5th of six reviews I’m doing for FPN member Alecgold.

Up today is Pelikan Brilliant Red. I really haven’t the slightest idea why they would call this color “red”. It’s a pink-orange not unlike Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm, Diamine Vermillion, or Diamine Coral. I will say that the “brilliant” portion of the name is quite fitting. This ink definitely jumps off the page at you. As such, it would make a great editing ink, but honestly, I’d rather have Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm. It is bolder and brighter still.

The Details

  • No feathering or bleeding
  • Good flow, Average lubrication
  • Average drying time
  • Good shading
  • Disappears at the mere thought of water.

This color is near impossible to get right. The scans were completely useless, so I went for a photo instead. The photos are better, but they’re still not great. I did the best I could.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the images)


Alec review 5/6. No affil.

My Writing Arsenal *Updated*

9 Dec

In February I put up a blog post about my arsenal. That is the list of the items in my accumulation that I could not live without. Needless to say, my opinions have changed with my collection. In addition, as I get deeper and deeper into my school work, my needs have changed tremendously. So, it’s time for a bit of an update (OK, more than a bit of an update. This is a long post. You’ve been forewarned!)

Pens:  Pilot VP, Pilot Custom 823, Pilot Prera, TWSBI Diamond 530, Edison Glenmont

Until I started this posted I had not realized just how much I use and rely on my Pilot pens. I would have never described myself as a Pilot fan, but I guess this makes me one doesn’t it?

The VP remains the perfect note-taking pen. The click/retractable nib mechanism makes it perfectly suited for jotting down quick notes in a meeting or when on the go.

I purchased the 823 (review forthcoming) specifically for use in drafting my long papers, articles, and chapters. It is really perfect for that task. It holds over 2ml of ink when I use my Visconti Inkpot (review forthcoming) to fill it. The Broad nib is juicy and smooth which makes writing fun while also forcing me to slow down.

My little Brown Prera (review forthcoming) is my editing, grading, and marginalia pen. It’s super fine and smooth nib makes it perfectly fit for that purpose. It’s also a comfortable little pen.

The TWSBI was also purchased with long writing sessions in mind. Boy is it a winner! I love that thing. I use it most everyday.

My Glenmont remains a favorite especially for letter writing, but then I designed it myself, so why wouldn’t it be?

The Stipula Vedo and Levenger Plumpster have fallen off the list. I still like them quite a bit, but as my workload has changed so have my writing instrument needs. The Vedo’s nib is a bit too sharp for long writing sessions and the Plumpster lacks the ink capacity I need for lots and lots of writing.

Inks: Noodler’s Navy, Noodler’s #41 Brown, J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune

Noodler’s Navy has become my workhorse ink. It’s near-bulletproof, so I don’t have to fear for my writing’s longevity. It’s an unassuming and relatively nondescript dark blue, so it’s not at all distracting. It’s extremely well-behaved no matter what I throw at it. To me, this is the definition of workhorse. I’m seriously considering ordering a 16 ounce bottle of the stuff… maybe I should make that 32 ounces just to be on the safe side?

Noodler’s #41 Brown is a great dark brown. It’s very well-behaved and bulletproof to boot. I’m entering a phase in my writing where I need to know that it will survive the odd spill (I’ve got a story behind this, but that is for another time).#41 accomplished this goal while still being nice to look at.

I love purple inks, so it’s only right that one be on this list. Poussiere de Lune is just the ticket. I have a lot of purple inks, but this is one of my favorites. It also has a good measure of water resistance. That is a must.

Visconti Blue has fallen off the list, but I still believe it belongs in every ink collection. It is the perfect medium dark blue to me. It is exceedingly well-behaved, and it is vibrant enough to set you part from the crowd while still maintaining its professional air. The only problem for me is that it offers absolutely no water resistance. It this point, water resistance is non-negotiable.

MB Violet has fallen off this list as well. I still love it and it still holds all the sentimental value it did before, but I just don’t use it as much as I used to.

Journals: I still haven’t found “the one.” I do still use and quite like my Exacompta Basics sketchbook, but I’m not sure it is the one. I’ve tried and loved the Rhodia Webnotebook, but I haven’t had it and used it long enough to know if it is really “the one.” After I finish the Exacompta, the Webbie is going to become my dedicated journal. We’ll see what happens.

Stationery: American Stationery Business Monarch and Crane’s 90gsm Pearl White

I still use the Business Monarch as much as I did.  I’ve also developed a fondness for the Crane’s paper. Lately, I’ve been using it almost exclusively. My pens and inks love both these papers, and the papers certainly look the part.

Paper for everyday use: HP LaserJet 24lbs.

I simply cannot say enough good things about this paper. All of my pens and inks love it. It is smooth and it resists feathering and bleed through. At $9.99 per ream of 500 sheets it is quite affordable. The local big box office supply stores often run 2 for 1 specials on it, so that’s 1000 sheets for $10. That’s some of the better rates I’ve seen for good quality consistent paper. I go through a lot of this paper, and it does not break the bank. This is always a good thing when it comes to the student budget.

Staple’s Bagasse has fallen off the list. It has become a bit inconsistent, and I’m no longer a fan of its thin crispy feel and lined rule. It also bleeds like crazy.

Planner: This category is presently in flux. I had been using and loving a Quo Vadis Septanote, but I thought I’d do better with a pocket planner. This academic year I’ve switched to the Quo Vadis University. It is quite similar to the Septanote, but it’s pocket-sized. So far so good, but I still need a desk planner I love. I’m trying out the Quo Vadis Principal, but I’m not sure I like it.

Misc.: Circa Desk Punch, Rollabind discs, Large Staples Rolla Notebook

When I made my first arsenal post I speculated that the Circa punch would become a staple. Well, it has in a big big way. I was able to get one of the older versions for $30 from the Levenger Ebay Outlet. That plus Rollabind discs also from Ebay had me all set to punch and organize. Covers were and are, to some extent, an issue. Levenger covers are expensive, so I went on a search for cheap cover options.

While at Staples I noticed a Rolla Notebook. It is, of course, disc bound with a stiff yet padded black faux leather cover. It fits 8.5×11 paper, so it seemed perfect. I got it home, and I tried it out. The paper sucks SUCKS, so I recycled it and refilled the Notebook with my beloved HP LaserJet paper. PERFECTION!!!


So there you have it. These are the writing products I cannot live without. How about you? What are you using and loving these days?

Noodler’s Stylographic Pen, A Video Review

15 Oct

I was just going to do my standard write up, but I wanted to be able to demonstrate how easy it is to fill these pens up. There had been some confusion about that. This is my first video so be gentle. Videos are not really my thing, but I’ll tell you who does GREAT video reviews: Brian Goulet over at Ink Nouveau. You should check them out!

All in all this pen is decent for a roller ball; it writes a wet consistent fine/medium line. However, there is a reason I use fountain pens almost exclusively: roller balls aren’t the smoothest pens on the block. I will say this, I’d much rather have a refillable rollerball if I have to have one at all.

In the video I also compare the Creaper with a Dollar 717i. The pens are nearly identical, but I go over some differences as well. There is also a writing sample in there.

The only “issue” I have with the pen is that it squeaks as I write. I think it’s because the friction fit nib unit has a little play in it. I don’t know if this is normal or a malfunction. I’m hoping it settles down a bit with time.

I hope this is helpful. If you have any questions do let me know. I’ll be doing a more in-depth review of this pen at some point in the future.

(you’ll want to play the video at 480p) The writing test is at the end. Sorry.

No affil.

I purchased this pen from Todd at isellpens.com . As of the date of this posting, he is out of stock. I understand that he is expecting another shipment on 10/21. MSRP=$14

Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku vs. Noodler’s Turquoise/Eel Blue mix?

6 Aug

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Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

Ku-Jaku is easily my favorite of the Iroshizuku line. I wish I could offer you a ready-made substitute, but honestly I just can’t find one. This color is just that unique. Every turquoise I tried was either too green, too blue, too light or too dark. Then there is the issue of shading too much or too little.

The closest sub was Noodler’s Turquoise (standard not eel), but it was too green. So I started to mix it with Eel Blue. I finally came up with a good mix: Noodler’s Turquoise to Eel blue mixed 3:2. The resultant mix is just about exact in color except that the mix is just a hint more green than Ku-Jaku. Even though the color is nearly identical I am still not happy to call this a real substitute. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it just doesn’t have the Ku-Jaku feel (if you’ve ever used the ink you’ll know what I mean).

Here is a swab comparison of the two:

Noodler’s Turquoise/Eel Blue is

  • Darker than Ku Jaku
  • A little more green
  • Shades a lot more
  • Doesn’t have that “it factor”

Here are the accompanying review cards and sheets (click to enlarge):

I haven’t tried every blue-green there is. If you know of a better substitute please let me know.

No Affil.


Iroshizuku Yama Budo vs. Noodler’s Saguaro Wine

4 Aug

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This is the first installment in my Iroshizuku segment. Before I begin let me add a disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

Yama Budo is one of my favorite Iroshizuku inks. It is a deep rich sort of mauve color. It is very reminiscent of grapes and wine. As with all the Iroshizuku Inks it is very well-behaved. The only problem for me is the price. Of the inks I have tried, Noodler’s Saguaro Wine comes the closest to being a substitute for Yama Budo. It is almost the exact color except that SW is a bit brighter and pinker than YB which is matte-er and redder than SW. As you can see from the scanned reviews, depending on the pen these two inks can be largely indistinguishable.

Here is a quick comparison card. Swabs have a way of highlighting the differences between similar inks, but those differences diminish when you run the inks through fountain pens.

Saguaro Wine is

  • Pinker and brighter (try mixing in a little red to get the color closer to YB)
  • Higher saturated
  • Slower drying (you can fix this by adding a little water to SW)
  • Smears on Rhodia paper (you can fix this by adding a little water to SW)

Reviews for each (click to enlarge the pictures):

All images were scanned in at 600dpi and then compressed. All images were adjusted in the exact same fashion.

Other suggestions for substitutes (from FPN):

  • Private Reserve Plum
  • J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen
  • Diamine Claret
  • Rohrer & Klingner Magenta
  • Caran d’Ache Storm

If you have a moment please leave some feedback. Do you like this set up? Is there some other information you want me to include? Do you know of another substitute?

Thanks for looking. No Affil.


Noodler’s Navy

30 Jul

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This is Noodler’s review 3 of 3 for this week.

I never even planned to try this ink, but that all changed when I received a letter written with it. Now, I’m sure it had something to do with the letter writer’s amazing handwriting, but I really fell for this shade. See, I like blues, but I love them even more if there is a hint of green to them. Noodler’s Navy is just that: Navy. It is a dark blue with a touch of green.

It is very well behaved. I’ve had it in a Pilot Petit 1 for at least 3 weeks straight, and it is still going strong. I carry that little Petit 1 with me everywhere. I use it to sign receipts, jot down quick notes, or anything else that requires a pen. This ink performs admirably even on less than stellar paper.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleed through. Even in poor quality papers.
  • Good flow and even better lubrication.
  • Fast drying at under 5 seconds.
  • There is a little shading depending on the nib, paper, etc.
  • This ink is not waterproof, but it is VERY water resistance. The blue rinses away, but a blackish line remains. It is very easily legible.

(click to enlarge the photo)

No Affil.


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