Noodler’s Ink – the Pilot G2 killer


"This ink, though water-based, becomes waterproof when it chemically bonds to
the cellulose on paper. A variety of tests in the harshest of circumstances
shows that Noodler’s fountain pen ink on paper can survive water soaking,
acetone, naphtha, bleach, ammonia, blue magic, industrial cleaners and chemical
lifters. A quick query out to Usenet gave me back the ink’s pH acidity level of
7.1. pHs of 7 and above are considered acid free.

So I ordered up two bottles from Fountain Pen Hospital at $12 for a 3 ounce
bottle and last night it arrived. What did I find?

I loaded my three fountain pens full of the Noodler’s ink including my
Waterman Phileas fine tip, my Waterman Expert 2 fine tip, and my Lamy Safari
medium tip. I wrote out a page of text using each of the three pens for one or
two paragraphs. I cut it up, took one of the paragraphs, and soaked it in water
for about 20 minutes. Its just fine. The ink is as strong as it was when I put
it in.

I found something else as well. My Expert 2 fountain pen, my personal
favorite pen, had a bit of a broad line when writing with Waterman ink. When I
switched to Noodler’s I found that the line the pen wrote was much narrower yet
flowed as smooth as I could ask for. I wrote a couple pages of a story in my
favorite Moleskine pocket plain notebook without any bleed through and the tip
width is perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better pen.

So I now have an ink both worthy of daily writing and traditional enough to
let me enjoy writing strange tales of the macabre in my new leather-bound
journal or my pocket Moleskines.

While the Pilot G2 is a fine pen for daily writing and especially air travel,
where fountain pens have a tendency of exploding with greatly humorous results,
I will write daily with my Waterman Expert 2 fountain pen with Noodler’s ink. It
is traditional, fun, archival, and water resistant."

Mike Shea

Visit his site.

29 thoughts on “Noodler’s Ink – the Pilot G2 killer

  1. Right (write?) on, Mike. Next, if you miss the one-handedness of a retractable G-2, you might try a Pilot Vanishing Point. Mine serves me well with it’s fine nib and the complex (internally, not to the user) design keeps ink from evaporating while not in use.

  2. I sort of like having a pen with no moving parts at all (not even a ball). Even the act of uncapping a pen brings me a little surge of snobberistic joy.

    So now we can open up a whole new line of questioning. What is everyone’s favorite fountain pen for Moleskine use? I myself use a Waterman Expert 2 fountain pen I got on sale at Fountain Pen Hospital for about $60. My next favorite is a Waterman Phileas $30. Today I will receive my Lamy Safari extra fine point $20 fountain pen but its a bit industrial. I always wanted a Parker 51 but I can’t get myself to buy a new one and the old ones are all of questionable quality.

    What fountain pens do other folks enjoy?

  3. I collect fountain pens (about 100 right now), though I’ve only taken to using a Moleskine on a daily basis recently. I use fountain pens every day, for almost everything, including Moleskine scribbling. I figure I’ll try one Noodler’s color or another soon. (So many colors, so little time.)

    Old Parker 51s are not “all of questionable quality” — many of them are in fact quite wonderful. You’re near DC, aren’t you? The Washington Pen Show is in August, and you should go and enjoy yourself. Buy 51s and a bunch of other great old pens too.

    (Currently using: 1970s Parker Falcon, 1950s Sheaffer PFM.)

  4. Up until last week, I regularly used two Cross fountain pens, a Townsend with extra-fine stainless steel nib and an ATX, with extra-fine stainless steel nib. Both work well in my Moleskines (the grid, pocket) when using Waterman Violet and Waterman Havana Brown ink. When I received a new Namiki Vanishing Point (Pilot) fountain pen with a 14K fine nib, my life changed forever. This nib is the finest I’ve ever used, and as Fahrneys Pens says, “it is the clearest writing on the market.” I love it. The nib puts down a finer line than my extra-fine nibs. I also have a variety of antique fountain pens, most of which are in need of repair, including Sheaffer, Esterbrook, Parker. I’ll be buying another Vanishing Point soon.

  5. Has anyone here tried the Pilot disposable fountain pens? I’m guessing they pale in comparison to the “real” ones, but I’m wondering if anyone finds them preferable to the G-2 …


  6. The disposable nib width is wider than I like; tiny fonts and fine line drawing is easier with the Japanese fine nibs. They’re narrower than American and European fines.

    Don’d hesitate to buy an old Parker 51 from any of the regulars at Pentrace. I have several and they’re all excellent writers; the finer nibs are good for drawing, too.

  7. I use Noodlers Black in my favorite fountain pen du jour (I’m a collector) it is a 1980s vintage Montblanc 149 with a 14kt. XF nib. Among my fp favorites are a custom made Nakaya urushi lacquer pen with a flexible Japanese medium (that writes like an extra fine) and a Pelikan 1931 Gold LE fountain pen.

    I also use Pilot Hi-tec-C pens, which are like a G2 with an impossibly fine point, for sketching. You can’t get them in the US but the Kinokuniya Stationary store carries them in SF, LA and NJ. Hmmm, let’s see….other faves include a Montblanc LeGrand Rollerball with F point, but that tends to show through just a little bit, and a Mars Professional drawing pen with various tip sizes.

    Finally, if you are looking for something better than the G2 I have it: It is the Sailor Gel Innovation. It is much smoother than the G2, comes in points ranging from Broad (bold line but guaranteed to soak right through your Moleskine) to fine (perfect, IMHO) They are about the same price as a G2, and sexier to look at and hold. Not retractable though. They are also hard to find but can be had at Swisher pen.

    Swisher is a good place for pens as their service is good (Chuck and Chun are super nice guys) and ther prices are pretty good too. I have no affiliation with them except as a customer (usually boxes of Sailor gel pens). They are on the web and easy to Google. They also sell Noodler’s ink.

  8. I discovered Noodler’s makes other waterproof inks, but these seem to be exclusive to certain pen dealers. For instance, there is an Eternal Brown Noodler’s and Legal Lapis Noodler’s available at These are made just for Pendemonium, according to them, and are waterproof. There is a Legal Lapis waterproof test on their site. Because they are exclusive, Pendemonium sells them for $18 a bottle, rather than $12.

  9. I received my Lamy Safari extra fine fountain pen last night. It’s not bad for a $20 ink-bottle fillable fountain pen. It’s built like a tank and the nib feels like I could stab it through a car door.

    It lacks a lot of the traditional appeal of fancier fountain pens, like my Waterman Expert, but as a workhorse, its not so bad.

    The nib is a little scratchy but works well if you have stacks of paper instead of paper sitting on a hard table.

    I’m carrying it right now loaded with Noodler’s black.

  10. I’m so pleased to see this post. Nathan Tardif’s reputation as a fountain pen restorer carries over to his work in creating inks that are both affordable and as robust as those of the FP’s heyday. While Moleskine paper is less amenable than some alternatives to fountain pen ink, I’ve had good results with the blue-black, red-black and legal lapis.

    A fine, firm nib seems better suited to the Moleskine. I’ve had good results with the Triumph-nibbed Sheaffer Tuckaways that Nathan sold me last year since they’re a lovely pocket-sized pen. Parker 51s, too — Mike seems to have had bad luck, since my trio of Aerometric 51s write as well as they must have done back in the 50s.

    You may also like the ‘Hero’ range of Parker 51-a-likes, made in China: the nibs are an ‘Asian fine’ (i.e. x-fine) and at $15 each, you won’t worry so much about losing your pen than if you carry an older, more expensive one.

    And Eric makes me jealous, since he mentioned two of the pens on my wish-list, particularly the Nakaya urushi model.

  11. I have heard so many good things about Noodler’s Black. I am going to have to try it. My current favorite pen is a Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point, black carbonesque, fine nib (which is really extra fine by most standards). I keep it filled with Aurora Black, but will try the Noodler’s. After that, my second most favorite is a Pelikan M250 transparent amber, which I keep filled with Private Reserve Black Cherry. The Pelikan has a broad nib. My small collection of fountain pens otherwise contains a Waterman Edson, and a Waterman Phileas, both of which I use currently with Waterman’s Florida Blue. All the inks I currently use feather on the standard Moleskine notebook paper. I am quite disappointed in this paper quality. Still, I’ve heard several accounts that the Noodler’s Black will work without feathering. I’m happy to give it a try.

  12. I like fountain pen very much. I like black ink. I have tried different brands and try to find one that would give real dark black colour. So far, I really find that even the same ink same colour, it comes out in different tones from different pens (even the same pen model !!!). So far, I am happy with Parker Quink black (although it is bluish). It flows good and gives dark black in one or two of my many pens…. but it is not waterproof.
    I am happy to learn that there is Noodlers ink. I ordered 2 bottles each of the Polar black and American Eel black.
    I have tried the ink in all my pens (one at each time of course) and find that the ink is not very black. It appears to be greyish, and not a rich dark tone. It also does not flow as good as Quink !
    I am not sure what has gone wrong. May be some one can give me some clues on how to obtain a good flow and a rich dark black tone from these Noodlers ink ? I would be grateful to hear from you. Thanks

  13. I have a question about Noodler’s Legal Lapis and Parker 75 pens. I recently filled my Parker with Legal Lapis for the first time and it seems to be staining the nib along the split. I have a fine italic french 18k nib, and the Lagal Lapis also seems not to flow vey smoothly through this nib. I also have a medium italic nib for this pen which displays the same problems. This pen and its nibs seems to write so much better with Waterman inks. Has anyone else experienced these problems with Noodler’s?

  14. As far as the “staining” goes, I think it’s actually a film that the ink leaves on the nibs that wipes right off. I’ve never had any staining with any of my Noodlers (though I haven’t used the LL).

    As far as the flow goes, I’ve never had any problem with the Noodlers, and usually find that my pens flow better with them, so I don’t know what to suggest.

  15. Thanks Rob,
    The Noodler’s Legal Lapis seems to work fine in my Waterman Phileas and my Pelikan – it’s just the Parker that doesn’t like it. It seems to gum up after one day.

  16. I also experience nib staining when using Noodler’s ink. It doesn’t seem to matter which of my pens I use or which color ink I choose. I can’t quite fathom why the ink wicks it’s way across the surface of the nib but it doesn’t happen with the Waterman, Lamy or Pelikan inks I use. It’s relatively easy to wipe clean and I experience no flow issues whatsoever but I find it aesthetically unpleasing.

  17. I asked the question about Noodler’s ink and my Parker pen to the folks at Classic Fountain Pens and was advised that any ‘permanent’ ink will eventually clog any fountain pen – even Noodler’s. They don’t recommend using it unless you thoroughly clean the pen every day – but eventually it will cause problems.

  18. I’m surprised to read so much here about Noodler’s being a good match for Moleskine paper. My initial tests with Noodler’s Polar Black and Hunter Green in Moleskines has them spreading and bleeding like crazy. The spreading is clearly visible here:

    even in the thumbnail version. I’ll do some more tests with different inks and nibs, but my experience so far is that as much as I like Noodler’s ink and Moleskines seperately, together they seem to be a disaster.

  19. After trying and dismissing a good number of combinations of pens, inks and molekines, I have finally found the faultless combination to be a little Hero 329 fountain pen (available on Ebay for around $12.50), and Quink, and a pocket sketchbook. Fine line, no beading, bleeding or feathering and quick drying. The combination doesn’t work as well on the plain notebooks: ghosting is the problem there. I have always been tempted by the Swisher blend of Noodler’s, but last time I tried to but a bottle, they saw fit to charge me $21 for USPS delivery of a sigle bottle (I recently had Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason sent from America to Australia for $12 USPS)!! That’s around &7 an ounce for delivery!!!!

  20. I have a question about India Ink. I have applied it with a brush to matte drafting mylar. Issue #1: It is not drying completely. The ink surface remains tacky and will transfer to whatever touches it. I have theories as to why this is happening, but I am seeking a technical explanation and some advice to overcome this. Thank you very much.

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