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These days, with fewer people using a fountain pen to write, many notebooks/paper you find blotting the ink.

If I am at a store and contemplating to buy a notebook or writing/printing paper, how can I check if the paper blots or not? Most of time, it is not mentioned on the notebook or ream itself and I cannot test by writing on it. Please note that I am talking about office supply retail chains where the staff cannot answer in detail.

What is the best way to find out if paper of a notebook or paper will blot or not?

I am specifically looking for some physical attributes of the paper which I can check without starting a longhand penmanship.

  • Brief discussion about this question on chat – Farhan Jan 25 at 17:02
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    It's a reasonable question. And one that will have an answer that can be a best answer. Not opinion-based. I have no idea what the answer is myself. – Cyn Jan 25 at 17:23
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    @ashleylee The question is not about which notebooks safe for pens? I read your first comment and ignored your insult. And your second comment does not address the question. What if I want to buy a ream of printer paper on which I can use a fountain pen? – Farhan Jan 25 at 17:50
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    @ashleylee If you think a question is poorly-researched, downvote it. The downvote tooltip says "This question does not show any research effort". There's no need for passive-aggressive comments about Google. Try instead asking what research OP has conducted already, which is nicer and more constructive. – F1Krazy Jan 25 at 19:46
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I don't know whether this will help you or not, but the factor that determines whether a paper will blot ink (that is, whether it will draw ink into itself, letting the ink spread freely through the fibers, as opposed to letting the ink sit on the surface and dry, which is what you want especially for a wet-writing fountain pen) is what is called "sizing."

Sizing makes paper more water-resistant, so if you wanted a paper that blots well, you'd want a paper with as little sizing as possible. But if you want a paper that a wet fountain pen will write on without bleeding, you want a paper with a decent amount of sizing.

As I understand it, sizing is usually some kind of glue -- either one derived from gelatin, or something else. If this was mixed into the paper pulp during production, it will blot less. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about whether papers at big office stores list any information about sizing or glue on their packages.

  • Hi Stephanie! Welcome to Writing.SE! I see nobody has pointed you yet towards our tour and help center pages. Hope they're helpful to you! And hope to see more of you here. :) – Galastel Jul 29 at 9:07
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I'm a fountain pen user as well.

If your pen isn't too wet, you can use almost any reasonably hard surface paper, but generally those made for ink jets will be problematic for wetter writing nibs, because the paper is made to quickly absorb the liquid component of the ink from a printer (xerographic paper often doesn't have this quality, so doesn't work as well in ink jet printers). The only reliable way to know if a certain paper will work well, however, is to test a sample with your actual pen.

Stationery stores (as opposed to office supply stores like Staples) are likely to know ahead of time what papers will work for fountain or dip pens, but they'll also generally be happy to let you test a sample (or even have small pads of various papers made up for this purpose).

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I read this question initially as "What paper is best to write on with a fountain pen?" but on a re-read, I'm thinking it may instead be "What paper can I use for blotting my work written with a fountain pen?" Your use of the Wikipedia link to blotting paper is important (and funny, as I started to link to the same page).

As blotting paper behaves differently than paper upon which you write, I'd think the more absorbent the better so that your ink is blotted and you can continue your work. Zeiss points out ink jet is absorbent for the printer's inks (and therefore bad to write upon) but I think that for actual blotting, ink jet paper may even be preferable.

JetPens reviews inks, writing surfaces, and pens in great detail, and also sells blotting paper. (I love them, that's my only disclosure) :)

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