Posts Tagged ‘fountain pen paper review’

h1

A DIY Journal With Tomoe River Paper

03/02/2018

It is always satisfying to assemble a DIY journal for a new year. For 2018, I discovered a leather passport case that will accommodate two Traveler’s Notebooks. It makes a small and lightweight companion that takes up little space, but looks great and offers enough pages to keep the writer in me creative and content.

The notebooks come in diary, blank, grid and lined editions all with fountain pen friendly paper. I prefer the Traveler’s #005 with Tomoe River paper that Leigh Reyes introduced me to a few years ago. Tomoe takes fountain pen ink like a champ, but also holds up to a light watercolor application which makes it fine for small sketches or to add extra color to written pages.

The Sea Green (more teal than turquoise) cover from Banuce is eye-catching and just the right size for the Traveler’s Notebook. It has lots of slots for credit cards, stickers, and other bits and pieces. Another passport-sized cahier might fit, but the Moleskine does not. I might purchase the coral to house all those lists and task notes that clutter my desk. Two notebooks doesn’t seem excessive when it comes to being organized, does it?

The leather is smooth to the touch, but firm enough to give the journal a solid writing surface. Either a writing board or a piece of blotting paper will protect lower sheets, but Tomoe has rarely bled through in my experience. The cover folds back easily for notes on the go.

The snap clasp will keep everything firmly inside. The corners are slightly round, and the stitching consistent. The black edging offsets the striking color and gives the journal a finished look.

The only drawback is the over-sized stamp of the manufacturer’s name. It would have been more subtle centered on the lower edge of the back cover.

This is not a pricey item and durability is hard to predict, but it should last through the coming year. It arrived attractively packaged should you want to give it as a gift. Add a Traveler’s Notebook and any writer would be happy to fill the pages. For less than $15, the cover and notebook make quite the bargain.

Banuce passport covers here and here. Traveler’s Notebook with Tomoe River paper. J. Herbin Blotter Paper. Taroko Design Pencil Board. All links are to Amazon. When you purchase through my links, I get a tiny commission but every penny helps keep this Inkophile supplied with new items to review.

Advertisements
h1

About A Muji Notebook

01/15/2017

Last weekend, John reminded me how good Muji notebooks can be so I ordered a pack to test the current version. Two days later we got acquainted and immediately became fast friends.

The notebooks are made in Indonesia though Muji’s paper can come from Japan or China. The slim, 30-sheet version is in the minimalist vein with no frills, not even labels. Each notebook in the five pack has a different colored binding. It’s a nice touch that makes it easy to differentiate notebooks.

They have a thin cardboard cover that can easily be written on or decorated. The notebooks aren’t sturdy like a hardback, but they do lay totally flat.

With fountain pen ink, there is no feathering, bleed-through and only the faintest show-through. Writing on the reverse completely obscured the almost non-existent show-through. The 6 mm line spacing should work for most writers and the smooth paper suited all nibs tested. Not one pen complained. In fact the paper was so good that it improved the performance of a scratchy nib.

Thirty sheets does make the Muji quite slim. They tucked in nicely at the back of my Staples Arc notebooks which adds to the usefulness of both.

A package of five B5 Muji notebooks is less than $9 with the A5 pack of five available for less than $8 though Amazon prices can shift several times a day. The cost could change in the time it took me to hit the “Publish” button. If you like the price, grab it while you can.

h1

Strathmore Writing® Paper

06/11/2016

The Strathmore Paper Company has been in business since 1892 so they know a thing or two about making paper. Their line of Writing® paper products is aimed at those who want the best in a writing experience and they have done a creditable job of achieving that goal.

Writing® paper is available in pads, envelopes, flat and folded cards as well as hardbound and softcover journals. The soft white paper has a mildly textured, wove finish that slightly resisted a few inks, but is otherwise quite nice for fountain pens. The stationery is heavy at 24 lb (90 gsm) and comes with 50 blank or non-photo blue, dot-lined sheets to a pad.

The artist who created the calligraphy logo, Heather Victoria Held, is given credit on the cover which is a very nice touch.

A few days ago, I wrote a letter on the paper and decided it has more texture and absorbency than some of my nibs can handle well. Round nibs worked better than italics though a very light touch with a free-flowing ink somewhat improved the latter. Pale inks looked a bit dull on the soft white paper, but aqua and blue took the paper color in stride producing very legible and attractive writing.

The sturdy cardboard back would make the Writing® pad a good traveling companion. For a simple pad, it is well-constructed and should tolerate a modest amount of abuse.

The lines are on only one side of the paper so presumably Strathmore does not expect double-sided use. Even so, there was absolutely no bleed-through and only the faintest hint of ghosting. In that regard, it is an admirable product.

The only version tested was the 6″ x 8″ pad, but the website indicates the same paper is used for the whole line except the cards that are 110# (297 gsm). That rivals watercolor paper which could make them useful for one-of-a-kind, original greeting cards. Strathmore lists the Writing® line under its 500 series paper which is their premium line for artists.

Currently, Amazon offers the pads and journals. Walmart and a few other retailers carry some items from the line, so that is another option.

Admittedly, I am partial to soft white paper and 8 mm line spacing for my widest nibs. Now to find the perfect pen and ink for the Strathmore Writing® pad. Isn’t that half the fun?

h1

Leuchtturm1917 Ink And Watercolor Tests

01/12/2016

Pen friends are great! One of mine sent a Leuchtturm1917 Squared Notebook that she thought I might enjoy. She was right. The soft surface of the paper is kind to nibs as well as my hand. The pale gray grid on ivory paper is even easy on the eyes. All to the good. However, a reader mentioned that he was having trouble with bleeding so I put my dozen ink rotation to the test.

Four of the twelve inks bled and showed slightly stronger marks than the photo. Iroshizuku tsuki-yo and Diamine Merlot left dots behind on almost every paper and remained true to form here. Great colors, but disappointing performance except with the finest of nibs. Earlier in the year, I wrote pages with Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu, Pelikan Violet and Iroshizuku yu-yake without bleeding. In order to use both sides of the paper, I have to be a bit selective with using free-flowing ink in a wide nib. Not a big deal since I love the paper’s texture and the size of the notebook.

The mild Moleskine-like feathering is only visible on close inspection and is not a deterrent for my purposes. The show-through was not offensive and in line with the 80gsm paper.

The surprise was that a light wash of watercolor did not exhibit any feathering or bleeding and so little buckling that the reverse can be written on with a fountain pen. That last is impressive and very convenient for my tendency to write about all kinds of things in my journal.

The form factor, paper texture, grid size and color, make the Leuchtturm1917 Squared Notebook a worthy contender for your affection. It may not be perfect, but it’s good enough for me.

 

h1

Review: Clearprint Vellum Field Book

12/13/2015

Since 1933 Clearprint has offered cotton vellum paper in a variety of forms from 100 yard rolls down to 8.5″ x 11″ sheets. Now offered as a portable field book, this unique paper can fit anywhere including a pocket.

As a child I loved the texture and crinkly sounds from the discarded scraps that came into my hands. To a budding paper hoarder, this was treasure. Not long after rediscovering fountain pens, a packet of vellum made its way into my paper stash and became a happy mate to any fountain pen ink.

What’s not to like about a notebook that is

  • filled with translucent paper
  • works well with any fountain pen ink
  • good for many uses and excels at layering
  • incredibly smooth and kind to nibs
  • good with watercolor though the paper may buckle mildly
  • tough enough to be primed for oil or acrylic painting
  • available in blank or grid (3mm) formats
  • outfitted with a substantial cardboard back for field use
  • made with removable pages
  • free of bleed-through with FP ink though translucency produces show-through

Note that vellum is not absorbent so ink can take a long time to dry. Blotter recommended. That or a ton of patience.

The notebooks come in 3 x 4, 4 x 6, 6 x 8, and 8.5 x 11 inch sizes holding 50 sheets each. Since the sheets detach easily, the 6 x 8 pages could be used for correspondence. I like the thin but sturdy paper for notes to slide between the pages of a book and it is perfect for tracing or overlays.

Got a thing for paper, but aren’t acquainted with vellum? You are in for a treat. If you have experience with vellum, a Clearprint book presents a handy form and size to take this lovely paper on the road if only so far as the local coffee shop.

If you can’t find these notebooks locally, toss one into your shopping cart at Amazon for some good, clean inky fun.

 

h1

Markings Journals Meet Fountain Pen Ink

04/22/2014

Three C.R. Gibson Markings journals have been on a shelf waiting review for more than a year. To be sure they are attractive which could be the reason they never got properly filled. My used journals are destined for the recycle bin and Markings are just too nice for that fate. But since you guys like paper so much, putting them to the test made a good project for this month.

The first is a Markings sketchbook (MASA-2) with a Monet Waterlily Pond cover. It contains 130 pages lightly ruled on one side and blank on the reverse. The paper is 6.8″ x 8.9″ and held together with large double rings. Line spacing is 7.5 mm and pale blue so it doesn’t interfere with writing. The paper is soft white and has no tooth but does have a somewhat velvety texture. It’s a comfortable surface for fountain pen nibs and good with other writing instruments as well.

Ink did not show through or bleed through so double-sided use is assured. This is a very nice notebook I will enjoy filling.

The two bound Markings journals are the same style though sporting different covers, one leather (MJ5A-1) and the other embossed metallic (MJ5A-3). Each has 240 pages, a storage pocket, elastic band closure, ribbon marker and lays remarkably flat. Both journals look great and are well made for the price though the 6 mm line spacing might prove too narrow for wide nibs.

The paper color is slightly more yellow than Moleskine though the lines are identical in spacing and color. The weight is similar to Moleskine, but the paper seems to be lightly coated which causes fountain pen ink to suffer inconsistent coverage. Some inks feathered significantly and all of those tested bled through except Noodler’s Black. A Sharpie Pen in black performed well, so other writing instruments ought to get along fine with these journals.

These Markings journals are readily available, attractive and well-made, but unreliable for fountain pen use. Since the feathering and bleed-through are evidence of ink incompatibility, a narrow nib won’t improve performance enough to get a recommendation. However, the right ink will write well enough even with a o.7 mm nib.

What’s the takeaway from these pen tests? Don’t expect uniform paper performance from a manufacturer. Frustrating? You bet. Waste of money? Yep. Add to that the variability of ink performance and it’s hard to recommend any brand without reservation though there are exceptions.

Not for the first time this year only Noodler’s Black performed well. It’s reassuring that there is at least one pen on my desk that should write on most anything. However, it is not fun when my other pens are loaded with pretty inks that won’t work with the journal at hand. Better to stick with what has earned the approval of my inks and pens. That makes me more productive and my pens much happier. Go team!

 

%d bloggers like this: