Recommended Materials

Hello there. I would like to receive some information on recommended materials for writing Gregg. I’m specifically interested in what size nib is recommended (e.g., extra fine, fine, or some other size, along with whether one means a Western or Japanese size), but I’d also like information on what pens or paper you’d recommend (e.g., perhaps a Pilot Metropolitan or some other pen) and where I could find these. Links to posts or other places on the internet where this topic has been covered would be nice at all. I’d greatly appreciate anything you could offer. Thanks for reading this post.

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  1. Hello Brian

    i have been puzzling with the same question. After trying several solutions i find the best option to use the Stabilo sensor F. Fineliner 0,3. Art. No. 189/46.
    This pen costs in NL app. 1,50 euro and writes the outlines very good and smoothly. The M size of 0,5 is too thick. However one has to get used too write fine outlines and for that reason i recommend to excercise first with a cheap and very good solution before buying a fountain pen with a nib that would be too thick after a while.


    The Pilot flex nib fine i liked very much though bus costs 300 euros.

    kind regards



  2. I do most of my shorthand writing with a Pilot Metropolitan or Pilot 78G fine nib fountain pen (with Noodler's Heart of Darkness, Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng or Noodler's Bad Blue Heron inks) and Leuchtturm 1917 Master Classic journal (A4+ size) and Medium (A5) size. 

    I like sugarcane (bagasse) papers when I can find them, as they work very well with fountain pen inks.  Staples has their Sustainable Earth bagasse composition books, notebooks and copy paper, too, but they seem to be phasing them out, unfortunately. 

    I like Skilcraft Steno Book… this may be the only bagasse steno pad out there.  I did a review of a couple of the steno pads a few years ago on Fountain Pen Network here.  I'm not sure if the bagasse version is available any more.

    My recommendation is if you find a paper you like, stockpile it because they never seem to last.

  3. When practising and writing outlines, I normally use a Pilot Metropolitan in Fine. This works wonderfully in achieving fine lines. The Metropolitan's nib is smooth and rarely skips, which is greatly appreciated. I've used fine and extra-fine nibs that are not of Japanese make, and they work perfectly as well. 

    I ink up my pen with Noodler's X-Feather Black, which I love because it works so well on any type of paper. Of course, extremely poor paper still yields traces of feathering, which isn't ideal for proper notes, but works just fine for practice. I think any ink that is well-behaved, not too wet, and smooth, would be suitable! Diamine inks are fantastic, and although the Noodler inks are a bit hit-or-miss (they're manually mixed in batches) they're normally also great quality for the price.

    At the moment, I'm not using great quality steno pads, so I don't have any recommendations for those. But I did start off with fountain pen-friendly notebook paper, which you might find suitable for your uses; laser-printer paper has a smooth coating that prevents feathering, and other FP-friendly brands like Clairefontaine, Tomoe River, or Rhodia, are good examples of these. The branded paper can get a bit pricey though, so I'd just go with any laser-printer paper.

  4. I think there's no reason to be too focused on specific materials.  The Gregg manuals used to give advice like "use a good quality fountain pen or ballpoint pen and a good quality steno pad", but didn't go beyond that.  

    What's actually available is likely to vary, depending on where you live.  And specific products often go out of production and are no longer available.  

    The important factors are paper with a smooth surface (and that doesn't bleed if you're using a fountain pen), and a pen that makes strokes without variation of thickness and is fine enough to distinguish outlines like "a" and "e".  

    Most shorthand writing is personal and ephemeral.  In other words, things you're going to write for yourself, and not keep.

    If you're journaling in shorthand, or doing some kind of artistic writing, the materials you'd use for regular handwriting are likely to be fine, as long as the pen produces a single-thickness line.  

    1. My preferred steno pad, by the way, is the one made by National.  (Seems like it's now produced by a company named Rediform).  80 pages, green tinted paper, Gregg ruled.  I haven't bought any for a long time, but they're still available from Amazon for around $20 for 12 pads.  

      Here's the Amazon link:

      Lots of people have mentioned the Pilot G2 pen.  They're widely available.  Lately I mostly use the Uniball Signo pen.  

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