Testing My Fountain Pen Inks’ Water Resistance

I wondered how water-resistant the inks from the various pens on my desk would be. For my unscientific test, I wrote a small sample of text with each of these inks on a sheet of plain white copier paper:

Don’t judge my penmanship. I know. I know.

Dry inks

I let them dry overnight. Then I used a wet toothpick to put one drop of water on each sample, being careful not to move the paper or water at all. The results were mixed:

Wetted inks

  • Jacques Herbin melted away.
  • LAMY was as ruined.
  • Herbin feathered badly but was readable.
  • Noodler didn’t notice.
  • Fisher blurred slightly.
  • Zebra: what water?
  • Pentel was also lost.

While I don’t make a habit of getting my notes wet, if were carrying a notebook out of the house, I’d pick one of the survivors. Baystate Blue and the Zebra F-701 weren’t affected. The space pen was fine, and Perle Noire was readable. I wouldn’t risk Émeraude de Chivor, LAMY, or EnerGel to rain, drops of water off an ice tea glass, or even damp hands.

My notebooks often spend their entire lives on my desk and I don’t exactly take them scuba diving. Yet, this is a good thing to know.

For my next experiment, I’m going to let the same inks dry for a week before testing.

Followup 2024-03-17: I tried again after letting the inks sit for 2 weeks. The results were similar to the original test:

Two weeks later

The extra time didn’t let them “cure” or “harden” or “set in” or such.

Related Posts