Posted by: wordsworthwhile | April 28, 2010

On writing letters

Words to live by, according to Emily Post.

in the 1922 edition, on writing longer letters. Here, the entry on notes and shorter letters.

They are both delightful entries, full of wisdom, including the value of modesty.

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | April 27, 2010

Blue-blacks: home mixture of the day

Not a recipe, but a combination of two store-bought inks:

Diamine Majestic blue and Waterman black gives a lovely blue-black.

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | April 27, 2010

Wondering how to fill a vintage pen?

Here are some helpful instructions for various filling mechanisms.

Courtesy of Pendemonium.

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | April 18, 2010

St. Patrick’s Day ink from Exaclair

There was an offer on the Quo Vadis blog of inks, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

Karen Doherty, who is the VP of Marketing for Exaclair, kindly sent a bottle of Herbin Lierre Sauvage fountain pen ink. It is a lovely, warm, medium green color. It looks like traditional shamrocks and ivy. I find it a pretty, cheery color. The ink is, of course, smooth and delightful to write with.

Also in the box, was a small Clairefontaine notebook, in a handy, small size, 7.5 x 12 cm. Clairefontaine paper is smooth and a joy to use. I didn’t find this particular size in the Clairefontaine catalogue, so perhaps this one is one of the sizes used in France. If everyone had nice fountain or dip pens and paper this smooth, perhaps writing letters would again be a popular pastime.

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | February 25, 2010

Report on products from Exaclair

Last fall, Karen Doherty, of Exaclair, very kindly sent some things for review. I apologize for not having photos, the camera is currently in need of repair.

The Herbin inks:

Rouge Bourgogne: a strong red, on the blue side. It has a lush, Valentine’s Day, love-letter look. It is smooth and brilliant.

Lie de Thé: a dark, but not-too-dark brown, with a glimmer of green and yellow. It looks lovely on cream paper, and has a hint of a vintage look to it. As one can expect from Herbin inks, it is smooth and enjoyable to write with.

Amber de Birmanie: a pale, golden brown with the sheen of sunshine in it. It has a warm glint and a calm tone.

Poussiere de Lune: soft, muted, almost mauve-purple. Much more beautiful than what I could guess from photos and reviews on the internet. I find it a very useful winter purple.

I have never had Herbin inks stain an ink-view window, or the barrel of a clear pen used as an eyedropper. They wash out of clothing easily. All the ones I’ve tried have a wonderful translucency and shade very well.

The smoothness, the attractive color tones and shading, make them most enjoyable to doodle and draw with. It’s no surprise they are advertised as the jewel of inks. Here is the color chart for fountain pen inks.

Ms. Doherty also sent some notebooks:

A tiny Rhodia pad with graph paper. It has very smooth paper. It’s tiny size, 2″ x 3″, could be useful for calculations, plans and other reckonings on the go.

A small, reddish-brown notebook, from Clairefontaine, with 90gm paper, 9 x 14 cm, a stapled binding, and lines to the top of the page. A handy size for putting in an overcoat pocket or a handbag. As is to be expected from Clairefontaine, it has wonderfully smooth paper, and is a joy to write on. No feathering or bleeding with the XF and F nibs I tried. I use traditional inks, not the modern super-saturated ones.

A small, school notebook, in the Classic Clairefontaine line, with a stapled binding. There are several versions, all with the delightfully smooth paper, fountain-pen friendly paper. I first discovered these at an office supply store in France, several decades ago. These are one of the few things in life that are still as nice as one remembers. Very handy.

A journal-sized notebook, also with the wonderfully smooth, 90gm paper. Attractive reddish-brown cover, 14.8 x 21 cm, cloth tape on the spine, sewn binding. There is a small margin at the of the pages, both front and back sides. It is a very attractive notebook, the kind one gives as a present.

If you have a friend who enjoys fountain pens, nice inks and wonderfully smooth paper, I highly recommend these things. It’s too bad they aren’t carried at local shops, as they are in Europe. Thank you to Exaclair for making such good supplies available in North America.

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | December 22, 2009

Inks of choice

Very light: Herbin Bleu Azur
Light/Medium: Sheaffer blue, nice for summer
Dark: Visconti, Diamine Majestic, perfect, cold weather blues

Hero Doktor: nice color, inexpensive
Montblanc: old-fashioned look, due to iron gall. Great fun to write with.
Parker: green tinge, but nice
Pelikan, splendid color, writes a bit dry
Sheaffer vintage: glorious
Sheaffer Slovenian: nice
Waterman: teal cast, great flow

Valentine red: Skrip
Love letter red: Herbin Rouge Bourgogne

Yellow: Herbin Bouton D’Or, wonderful for mixing, and for drawing

Green: Vintage Skrip emerald green
Herbin Vert Pré is great for mixing and drawing.

Skrip, light, very nice
Pelikan violet: vivid
Herbin Violet Pensée: great flow and writing feel, changes color as it dries

Browns: Herbin Café des Iles, wonderful shading
Lie de Thé: dark, with a green cast, and a tad golden
Ambre de Birmanie: light, golden, great for drawing

Blacks: Waterman is light, shades nicely, and has that wonderful flow
Pelikan 4001 is dark and is great for drawing
Sheaffer and Parker are good, dark, and useful when a somber color is needed. Sheaffer has a warm tone.

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | November 4, 2009

Supporting good penmanship: links to articles

This endeavor, in 1935.

And, again, in 1947, a request for better penmanship appeared.

It seems technology has always been a problem.

Here, some good ideas about helping young ones improve their penmanship.

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | October 22, 2009

Pleasant ink mixes: small report

Added a bit of Herbin Café des Iles to some Skrip blue-black and found I quite like it. It is softer and more muted than adding black. Has an old-fashioned look about it.

It’s nice to try something a bit daring. Sometimes the results are a pleasant surprise.

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | September 28, 2009

Inks at the autumnal equinox

I’ve been putting darker colors, fall colors of ink in my pens the last couple of weeks.

Today’s mixture, which nicely matches the aged brown of the vintage, black, hard rubber chasing of my Waterman 52 1/2V:

one part Herbin Café des Iles and
two parts Herbin Poussiere de Lune.

The Sheaffer blue gave way to Visconti blue or Pelikan blue-black.

The greens got a few drops of vintage Pelikan 4001 black or vintage Quink black.

Paper stays the same, white or cream. If I could find the old, eye-ease green at a reasonable price, I’d use it.

It’s lovely to have choices of inks with the changes of seasons.

Soup is again appealing for meals. The jackets are handy for mornings or for when the sun is behind the clouds. Favorite, wool-lined, house shoes make a comforting appearance again.

Warm colors in the fall feel cozy.

Hope you’ve got some tried-and-true, and some new favorites picked out!

Posted by: wordsworthwhile | September 25, 2009

Quo Vadis Sapa X Equology review

This planner, at 3 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ and less than 1/2″ thick, fits nicely in a handbag. The paper is 100% recycled.

The planner I received for review has a bright red cover with the Equology logo imprinted in the upper right corner, and the Quo Vadis logo in the lower right corner. The cover is thin and flexible. It feels, smells, and looks like some kind of plastic, It has a bit of texture, and seems to be waterproof. (Handy for a make-shift coaster.)


The format is weekly on two pages, beginning with Monday.

The refill itself has a thin, cardboard cover. It is too thin to use without an external cover. The refill is nicely sewn, with six stitches through five sections. The pages turn easily. With use, the planner would probably lie completely flat.

From the Quo Vadis catalogue:

Special monthly notes feature — two blank pages at the beginning of each month
Vertical one week on two page layout
12 months, January to December
8 AM to 7 PM schedule

Crisp two color print — grey and teal
Mini calendar of current month, highlighted week
Tear-off corner opens to week in progress
Sewn binding
The schedule on the margins offers maximum room for daily memos
Bound in address book

There is a monthly date calendar at the bottom of the left page. While this is useful, I’m accustomed to having the next month’s calendar there, too. There is a 2010 calendar after the title page, and a 2011 just before the back cover. Those are helpful, but, one has to flip to them to see the next month.

The format is European: week begins with Monday, ending on Sunday.
Which week of the year is noted in the upper left corner of the left-hand page, and the upper right corner of the right-hand page. Ex: 23rd Week.

The hours printed for appointments begin with 8 a.m. and end at 7 p.m. The appointment times are printed according to the 12-hour clock. I don’t use the appointment times, as I write my own. I would write over the printed times. I’d rather not have the appointment times printed on the pages.

There are some small numbers printed in teal next to the day. One can count which day of the year it is, either forwards, or in reverse. Another part of the European format.

Holidays of the major religions are noted.

And now, the paper. It is coarse and absorbent. With an extra-fine nib or a dry, fine nib, the feathering is very minimal. With a broader or wetter nib, the feathering is pronounced. Additionally, regardless of how fine or dry the nib, there is bleedthrough. The writing shows through on the other side of the paper so much, that the pages look very messy.


Here is the back of that page:


Another recycled paper not suitable for fountain pens.

If you write with a ballpoint, the impression makes bumps on the other side.

This is a planner for a soft-lead pencil, with the standard European information.

The Writer’s Bloc sells this planner for $16.25. Rather expensive for a pocket planner with a plastic cover and poor paper.

Conclusion: handy size, nicely sewn, European format, paper is typical of recycled paper: not good for fountain pens. Not a good value for the money.

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