Tale of a Vandal Whiteboard User – Update

My whiteboard is one of my favorite writing tools. I use the board frequently to keep track of things I don’t want to forget, or to play out story ideas. Often I take a photo of my scribblings, and stash the notes in Evernote before erasing the board to make way for new scribblings.

Noodler's Waterase Blue and Expo Vis-a-Vis Blue on my whiteboard
Noodler’s Waterase Blue and Expo Vis-a-Vis Blue on my whiteboard (very hard to photograph da board!)

Once upon a time, I migrated to Noodler’s Waterase for my whiteboard notetaking. Waterase is a wet erase ink for whiteboards; you use a damp cloth to remove it from your board. The ink is used in refillable marking pens such as a Platinum Preppy. The ink comes in two colors: black and blue. You gotta ED the Preppy to use the Waterase ink. BTW: I’ve only used the ink in a Preppy.

Freshly inked Platinum Preppys with Noodler's Waterase
Freshly inked Platinum Preppys with Noodler’s Waterase

In case you don’t know: Wet erase vs dry erase — dry erase ink wipes off your board with any dry cloth or felt eraser. Wet erase ink requires a damp cloth to wipe the ink from your board.

The reason I use wet erase ink is because IMHO dry erase pens don’t last very long, and tend to leave ink residue—”ghosting”—behind on the board. Ghosting of course can be affected by how well you maintain your whiteboard, and especially by the quality of the board in use.

My acrylic whiteboard came cut to order, seven years ago, from a local plastics company for $35. I chose acrylic for the board because it needed to be lightweight and mountable on a closet door. Wet erase markers were my chosen medium for the acrylic. I’ve never-ever used dry erase markers with this board. Could be wrong but I don’t think acrylic is a great material for the dry erase stuff.

In seven years of steady usage, I’ve not had a problem with ghosting on my acrylic board with either traditional wet erase markers or the Noodler’s Waterase inks.

The Noodler’s Waterase ink performed very well with my board. The longest time I’ve gone without erasing notes from the board was about four months. Waterase washed off without leaving marks on the board. Yay! In addition to a damp cloth, I also use some commercial plastic cleaner/polisher every few weeks to clean the acrylic board.

Waterase does what it’s meant to do:  write on the board, and wipe off easily. However, Waterase has not been troublefree in my experience. The Platinum Preppy for one is not a reliable delivery system. The tips tend to dry out. I found the Preppy pens needed always to be stored nib up. Otherwise, the Waterase would ooze into the cap. This was an annoyance to me when I’d forget from time to time and leave a pen lying horizontal on my desk.

Oh, and the pens crack no matter how careful I aim to be with them. The Preppys are more delicate than any of my fountain pens.

Platinum Preppy with Waterase Blue
Platinum Preppy with Waterase Blue

When I used the markers every day, or even every other day, the pens worked fine. If a pen was left unused for a couple of weeks, I found it could be tough getting a marker writing again. (I’ve had far better luck using the Preppy as a highlighting pen.)

Recently, I used up the last of my Waterase ink. I picked up an Expo vis-a-vis marker that hadn’t been used in some three years… it worked perfectly. That gave me pause, and I’ve decided to keep track of how long these old markers keep working.

Two empty bottles of Waterase on their way to the recycling bin
Two empty bottles of Waterase on their way to the recycling bin

For a time I loved this Waterase stuff. Later I just hung on until it was used up. Initially, Waterase made me feel prudent and environmentally happy…  until I found I was replacing the Platinum Preppy markers far more often than an Expo wet erase marker. My goal in using refillable pens is to leave a softer footprint. To me that appears to be a, uh, wash using Waterase. And so back to Expo for now. Whether it’s the ink or the pen or the combination, the experience of Waterase has been too fussy overall.

Having returned to the Expo wet erase markers, I confess the crispness of the marker tips is refreshing, as well as being able to pick colors from black, blue, green, red, and more,

And so three years and four empty bottles later, I’ve decided not to replace my supply of Waterase.

Of course, YMMV, ay?

Related PW Reading:  Waterase


Two ellipses were used in this post. They could not be helped. The word “never” was used once and purposely.


Brief Tale from a Vandal Whiteboard User

My film slate is a masonite economy thing which gets used with some frequency. When I got this slate it came with a notice to use a particular DRY erase marker.

Last summer white shooting a tiny film, my sound person (aka my Beloved) discovered the dry erase marker was DRY. Dead. Dry. The only alternative we had on us was a wet-erase marker. We used it and kept the shoot on schedule.

Many folks are worried about “what kind of whiteboard” they should use with Noodler’s Waterase. As I’ve written before, I use an acrylic sheet custom cut for my purposes. So I cannot say with any authority what kind of whiteboard you should use.

I did want to note for you, though, that the slate pictured below worked very well with Waterase. In the photo below, any imperfections you see in the “wiped clean” slate were not in any way caused by Waterase.

On my custom acrylic board, I’ve left notes up for days and days, adding more notes of course as I live along. Still no ghosting issues here. The masonite slate, however, gets wiped clean after filming. We learned the hard way last summer not to leave the board marked up for days at a time—both dry or wet markers. So for cheap-y whiteboards do a test in a far corner you don’t normally use for notes. That’s the only way you’re gonna know with any certainty what will work for you.

I love this stuff.  As someone who employed four different colors previously, my note taking has adjusted to the two available Waterase colors far more easily than I imagined I would.

Don’t forget you need a damp cloth or a cloth alongside a spritz bottle of water in order to clean Waterase off your boards.

Feel free to chime in about the whiteboards you’ve found that are working for your Waterase, eh?

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Tale of a Vandal Whiteboard User: It Came Thru the Crack

As the day progressed and continuing to lay the pens on the shelf near my whiteboard…one of the pens began leaking again. It turns out there is a hairline crack in both pens! The silicone grease is keeping one pen from leaking but not the other.  Replacement Preppys are on their way. (Thank you, Rachel Goulet! It always pays to do business with good service oriented folks.)

Yet something else to be aware of. Jeez Louise.

Do not be deterred from Noodler’s Waterase or Platinum Preppy pens. I’m not.

Nobody not nuttin’ is poifect! Not moi. Not Preppys. Not no one!

Be a good customer and do business with good people. That’s my philosophy. Works for moi.

Updated to include:  Platinum Preppys will crack if you over-tighten!

Other Waterase posts:

Tale of a Vandal Whiteboard User: Apply a Little Grease

The modified Platinum Preppy that comes with Noodler’s Waterase is equipped with an o-ring to prevent leaking of ink at the section. Pens converted to fill as “eyedropper pens” need an o-ring and/or silicon grease applied to the section. Usually I do not add silicone grease when an o-ring is in place. You may want apply some grease to your Waterase pens.

Platinum Preppy filled with Noodler's Waterase post silicone grease application

This morning I found that my two Waterase pens were leaking at the section. I store my pens nib up in a cup. This morning I left them laying flat as I was “up and down” from my desk to the whiteboard making a ton of  notes.

Perhaps I had over-enthusiastically tightened the nib section to the barrel over-stressing the o-ring? With my non-Preppy eyedropper pens I don’t use an o-ring…only silicone grease. The Waterase modified Preppy comes with the o-ring which in theory should be enough to hold back the tide, er… ink. My highlighter eyedropper pen has never leaked with just an o-ring in place.

Anyhoo, I applied some silicone grease to the section thread and also left  o-ring in place. All is well again. No leaking. Left them laying flat, too.

Silicone grease is more readily available to fountain pen eyedropper enthusiasts than it was even a year ago. Goulet Pens, Pendemonium, Writer’s Bloc, Richards Pens among others carry it. If you are buying Waterase for the first time, it wouldn’t hurt to add $2-$3 to your order for some silicone grease!

The caution about silicone grease, for those of you unfamiliar with it:  use pure silicone grease with no additives. I found mine at Lowe’s in the plumber’s section. You can trust, however, that the fountain pen retailers listed above carry the real deal.

I will say that, uh, Waterase wiped clean off of every place it left a trail. Helps to have lots wood surfaces and no carpet! My fingers, however, need some serious InkNix-ing.

My original review Noodler’s Waterase Ink is here.

Yes, Virginia, there is more Noodler’s Waterase Ink Coming!

Rachel Goulet kindly wrote me that Mr. Tardiff has made another batch of this ink. She and Brian are expecting their shipment to hit Virginia sometime next week. The shipment contains 35 bottles of each color (black and blue). Not all 70 bottles will be available for sale as the Goulets will hold some back for samples.

Rachel also wrote that GouletPens will carry Noodler’s Waterase Ink yet they will not be the exclusive seller of it. If you want to know when the ink will be available from GouletPens, sign up for email notification at GouletPens. You do that by adding the color of the ink you want to a “wish list.” It is a pretty efficient system the Goulets have going.

The colors are blue and black. The bottles are 4.5 oz. A modified Platinum Preppy highlighter style pen comes with each bottle.

For reference:  my original post about Waterase Ink. Drop a comment and let me know what you think of this wet-erase ink after you use it.

Thank you, Nathan Tardiff! And thank you to Brian and Rachel Goulet for helping to get more Waterase Ink to the market! I hope it becomes a staple for folks. I’m a big fan of the ink and the reusable wet-erase marker concept. I’ve been using it nearly every day since I bought my first two bottles.

Trust me, I get no kick-back from anybody by pushing this ink or GouletPens for selling it. My last post about Waterase Ink generated a lot of interest and I felt I had to pass the word along that more Waterase Ink will be available.

Other Peaceable Writer Waterase Posts

Tale of a Vandal Whiteboard User

Opportunities to reduce my supply of things that get thrown away are golden ones. My initial return to fountain pens was simply to forgo disposable pens.

Once upon a time, I used to write notes on big sheets of paper and tape them up all over my room. These notes contained snippets of information, reminders, and sometimes outlines of whatever the current project might be. While I keep a computerized note file, I like having non-computer type visuals around to jog my brain in a different way. At some point newsprint gave way to a whiteboard and dry-erase markers.

Moving into a new space without wall space for a traditional whiteboard required consideration. A visit to a plastics distributor resulted in a piece of Lucite cut per my specs to fit a closet door. The whiteboard/door sits five feet away from my desk in perfect view.

My research at the time indicated that dry-erase markers would cause ghosting on the acrylic.  “Ghosting” means the ink never comes completely off. Sometimes faint outlines of words are left behind.  Especially if you do like I do and leave notes up for days at a time. Wet-erase markers were recommended in place of dry-erase.

Dry-erase ink wipes off a board with a dry pad (usually made of felt like a chalk board eraser). Wet-erase ink wipes off with a damp pad of some kind. In my case, I use a soft microfiber type cloth. A spray bottle of water is also on-hand.

The transition was easy as the wet-erase markers were nicer and didn’t conk-out as frequently as the dry ones did. Sadly, these markers were still disposable pens.

New Noodler’s Inks
Fall of 2010: Nathan Tardiff announced his new shading ink, “Black Swan in Australian Roses.” He made a video for YouTube about it. Exploring his handful of other videos I watched one about an ink he’d made called Noodler’s Waterase Ink.

I knew I had to have some of this ink. Reusable wet-erase pens! Yes!

Contacting Mr. Tardiff via YouTube got me no answer…in my excitement I forgot he said to contact the distributor…I decided to contact the yes-if-humanly-possible-is-always-the-answer Brian Goulet of Goulet Pens. He scarfed up a few bottles. He sold them out and no one else is talking about supply.

Noodler's Waterase Ink

Noodler’s Waterase Ink
There are only two colors of Noodler’s Waterase Ink: blue and black. I got one of each. The 4.5 ounce bottles came packaged with a modified Platinum Preppy highlighting pen.

The bottles, like Noodler’s highlighting ink, have eyedroppers built in to the caps. I filled each pen, laid them aside for a few moments to let the tips saturate. I tested a small patch of whiteboard first, writing a few lines and then wiping them off with a damp cloth. Worked great.

The Preppy highlighter tips are chiseled and provide get a couple of line variations. The pens are not broadly tipped yet are thicker than the fine point disposable pens I have been using. Using the top part of the Preppy’s chisel tip gives a finer line.

Waterase Blue halo effect

The Blue Waterase is like an aquamarine color.  Using the regular part of the Preppy tip, the ink lays down with a halo effect.  I don’t know if that’s caused by the ink, the Preppy, the whiteboard, my scrawl-style or the combination thereof. As a result, blue words don’t look as crisp as the black words. Even so, the blue is bright, clear and easy to read.

The Black Waterase lays down quite nicely on the whiteboard. The black is dark like a disposable pen’s black. There is no halo effect.

Close-up Waterase Black

The true test for me is to let notes sit for a few days and to still be able to wipe them off easily. After three days, the ink wiped off without issue. No sticking of ink—no ghosting or smears left behind. I suspect even longer periods of time will also be without issue.

Again, my whiteboard is not a commercial board. It’s just a sheet of glossy acrylic which works great for a wet-erase board. [Note the poor lighting in my office, the glossy nature of the whiteboard and my lack of skill make photographing it difficult. The whiteboard appears kinda dingy in my photos. It’s not dingy at all! The board’s a bright white.]

Truly Nerdy Section About Cost
At first glance the ink was expensive at $19/bottle.  A disposable wet-erase marker can be had for $1.20. If I have to replace two disposable pens every 18 months that’s about $3.60. A 4.5 bottle contains about 44 Preppy refills assuming you fill the pen completely. (A Preppy holds 3mls or 0.1014420676767 ounces.)

Resuable and disposable side-by-side

If I did my math right, a Preppy holds $0.43 worth of Waterase ink. How much does the Preppy eyedropper cost? You can get one already modified for $6 at Swisher Pens. Or you can buy your own Preppy for around $3, some o-rings for $1 and silicon grease for $2-$3. Plus shipping. So let’s tack on $6 (as a shipping average). Approximately $12 for the eyedropper pen. (Occasionally you’ll need to replace the highlighter tips and they cost $1.50 for a pair.) Even so, over the long term the Noodler’s Waterase breaks out to a better cost than disposable pens.

No More Noodler’s Waterase Ink?
Tardiff made 70 bottles of his waterase ink. There has been so little interest in this ink he probably won’t make any more. I only have two bottles. I don’t know how long approximately 44 refills per bottle will last me. A long time, I think.

I did mention only 70 bottles were made and they are all gone, right? Why am I bothering to post about a product that can’t be had? Because I feel it should be had and made by someone even if not Mr. Tardiff. I want more re-usables in my life, not more disposables. Noodler’s Waterase Ink is a wonderful idea.

If you want this ink… if enough people demand it, maybe more will be made.

Blue and black are plenty color for me. Perhaps the lecturer or presenter types among us, though, could use red or purple or green.

A Select Viewing List

Other Peaceable Writer Waterase Posts


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