Ink Spot: Franklin-Christoph Terra Firma

The ink for this review was provided free of charge by Franklin-Christoph. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed herein are my own. 

Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

Franklin-Christoph’s Terra Firma is one of the newest inks in their line of 12 colors, the most recent four of which were released for the first time at the DC Pen Show in 2015. It is a rich, lovely, Terra Cotta red/brown color that is similar to, but not quite like one of my favorite (and currently out of production) inks, Montblanc Leonardo Da Vinci Red Chalk. It also has a lot in common with the much-loved Diamine Ancient Copper.

Tomoe River 52gsm

Tomoe River 52gsm

Terra Firma is a very matte ink, which fits its color wonderfully. The rust color gives it a sense of age and depth despite lacking any sheen to speak of. It shades wonderfully, and performs well on every paper I tried it on (with the exception of slightly long dry times on Tomoe River.)

I was especially surprised at how well this ink performed on cheap copy paper, with minimal feathering, and next to no bleedthrough until I got to the flex and 3.8mm writing. Even the 1.5mm writing on my Staples brand copy paper only exhibited the slightest amount of feathering. If you have to use poor quality paper, this is an ink you should take a look at.

Tomoe River 52gsm

Tomoe River 52gsm

This ink does tend to run a minor touch on the dry side, and feels just a touch less-lubricated than, say, Diamine Ancient Copper. In my experience that seems to be rather typical of most of the Franklin-Christoph inks. Despite that, the inks flow well, and are quite lovely to clean. I just wouldn’t recommend it for a pen that has a dry ink flow. (That’s not a problem for any of my regularly used pens.)

Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

It does not, unfortunately, do very well with water, bleach, or ammonia. But, if like me, you don’t care too much about water-fastness, this is a wonderful ink. Once I run out of my beloved MB Leonardo, I expect I’ll pick up a full bottle of Terra Firma. It’s a very nice substitute. And, at only $12.50 for a 59ml bottle, this is quite an affordable ink.


  • Lovely color
  • Great Shading
  • Behaves well
  • Easy to clean
  • Good dry times (except on Tomoe River)
  • No Feathering
  • Price


  • Not water resistant
  • A touch on the dry side.


  • Matt Taylor

    Very fascinating color. Seems to be similar to J. Herbin Terre de Feu, although a bit redder.

  • I tired this ink at the DC pen show and fell in love with it immediately! In your review you used the words, “Dusty and Mat finish” which I completely agree with, but those are the characteristics I liked and the reasons I fell for it. Just a great color, and yes Diamine Ancient Copper is close, but I’m thinking the Terra Firma is just a bit darker. Thanks for doing this review. Great to see the match up with other colors.
    BTW – Happy New Year!!

  • Matt, I have been looking for a Red Chalk replacement.. Would you say this Terra Firma or Ancient Copper is closer? Thanks Buddy

    • Terra Firma. Ancient copper is close, but Terra Firma has that more “dusty” quality that Red Chalk did.

      • Thanks Matt. Thats the quality Ancient Copper was missing…. I didn’t know how to term it

  • Glenn Higley

    Hi Matt, I’m a big fan of brown ink and this one looks so good that I’ve ordered a bottle. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate all that you do for the FP community.

  • Marek K.

    I have ordered a bottle of this ink and was surprised to discover it is a bit burgundy-rust, much less brown than I originally expected.
    Whatever it is, I love it! With F-C M-Stub it just fascinates me.