I’ve had several people ask me recently what notebook I use to test my pens, pencils and inks. A couple years ago, I found a Miquelrius Grid notebook in my collection and decided that its large capacity would make a perfect repository for all my pen and ink testing.
The book contains 300 pages with a flexible leatherette cover and a glued spine. I’ve ripped pages out over the years and the cover has started to pull away from the spine but the paper satisfied my need for a mid-range quality, bright white paper. Its not as fountain pen-friendly as some other papers but is better quality than Moleskine or office copier paper. It is a good middle-of-the-road paper to give me a starting point when experimenting with inks and pens.
With most tools, besides pencil, I get a little show-through on the reverse side of the page but its not terrible. When I use fountain pen ink with dip pens, I do tend to get feathering and bleed-through. Overall though, the paper in the Miquelrius is a perfect compromise in terms of quality. I don’t want to test all my pens on the highest of the high-end paper because in day-to-day use, most pens end up marking photocopies handed out in meetings, Moleskines, composition books for projects and 3x5s — none of which are necessarily high-quality paper. I feel safe in saying that if a pen performs well on the Miquelrius paper, it will not misbehave too much on lower quality papers and will probably shine on high quality papers.
I’ve tested vintage fountain pens, all sorts of inks including over a year’s worth of Goulet Pens’ Ink Drops, pencils, gel pens and just about everything else that’s crossed my path. The frightening thing is that I’m getting to the end of the notebook so I’m going to need to buy another one or change horses mid-race.
To see all the pen tests and ink tests that have appeared on the pages of the mammoth Miquelrius, check out my Miquelrius Grid Flickr Set.
The notebook measures 6 x 8.25″ and is also available in smaller configurations of 100 and 200 pages as well as the mammoth 300 page edition through the Miquelrius web site. A smaller edition is also available at 4 x 6″. Prices start at $9.99 and go up to $16.99. My notebook was purchased at my local Barnes & Noble.