Posts Tagged ‘fountain pen paper’


Review: Midori Traveler’s Notebook


Are you acquainted with the Midori Traveler’s Notebook? It’s a journal/calendar/notebook designed to follow you anywhere. Jet Pens introduced me to this brand that has since become a staple in my writing arsenal. The original black and brown leather covers are suitable for even the most conservative work environments, while the flashy, happy, colorful ones made by devotees invite a steady stream of journal entries. But there is more.

In case you aren’t familiar with Midori, there are lots of video tutorials about making covers and inserts (cahiers) and other clever additions to personalize your journal. One useful benefit is that the inserts can be limited to single subjects and archived for future reference.

Midori didn’t invent the cahier, but they did devise a means of connecting several together. What looks like a book is actually a number of inserts that can be removed or swapped for instant customization. Currently my Midori contains three inserts with pen and art related notes and swatches. In January, a calendar will get added. The elastic bands make it simple and easy to add or remove inserts as well as other additions like pockets and folders.

Pictured below is a single insert decked out with washi tape, Post-its, colorful tabs and some pen work. The uncoated and unmarked cardstock cover got along well with a brush pen and glue.

For brief notes, the Passport (90mm x 124mm) will do. For more extensive writing or for large handwriting, the Traveler’s size (110mm x 210mm) will provide room to roam. From minimalist to loaded to painterly, Midori works well for all sorts of uses.

Many of the modifications could be adapted for other journals and notebooks like composition books and Field Notes journals.

Midori paper is excellent with fountain pen ink and comes in a large assortment of styles from blank paper to calendars. It’s easy to see why it has a cult following and a variety of groups on Facebook.

A few DIY videos:

Not into DIY? Let an Etsy artisan do it for you.

Want to try Midori notebooks? Jet Pens has enough variety to get you started. There are plenty of inserts and other goodies available in the Traveler’s size. My favorite notebooks are the grid style #002 and the ultra thin paper #013. However, the Passport is more portable and fits nicely in the hand. I took an old passport cover and adapted it with Midori elastic bands to hold two inserts.

The Midori system is a tactile adventure as well as an excellent journal. Hard to knock it on any level.

The #013 insert contains Tomoe River paper and shows only a slight amount of buckling with watercolor. At 128 pages, this lightweight paper refill gets my vote for best value for money especially since it is excellent with fountain pen ink. Leigh encouraged me to buy one and I am so glad she did.

Stuff&Things Review: Midori Traveler’s Notebook (A Man’s Perspective) Bradley is a fountain pen user and has positive things to say about the paper as well as the format. He has made additional videos about the Midori TN including a modification that makes swapping out a journal very easy.


Another DIY Notebook For Fountain Pens


Re-purposing binders and notebooks was covered recently, but a new idea has emerged in the last couple of days that deserves mentioning.

For some reason, pretty paper sneaks its way into my shopping cart whenever I hit one of the crafts stores or stationery shops. Recently, this very attractive pad of scrapbook paper managed to follow me home. I had no use for it at the time, but realized this morning that folding the sheets in half would make them fit perfectly into a checkbook cover. But would fountain pen ink work on the coated stock? Remarkably well to my surprise. The paper is textured which allowed some of the ink to appear to feather, but a smoother scrapbook paper might not. I wasn’t offended by it regardless. Even a Sharpie worked beautifully and there was no bleed-through whatsoever. So you can write on both sides of the paper and even over the printed designs. Does that not open all sorts of possibilities?

This is how I put it together. The package of Jodie Lee Designs Nature Garden Collection 6″ x 6″ Paper Stack contains 48 sheets and retails for $5.99. Sales and discounts can reduce that to much less. Since both sides are usable and they get folded to create four pages each, that’s 96 blank pages and 96 decorated pages on which to write. All it takes is a checkbook cover to protect it and a rubber band or 1-2mm elastic string to hold the pages in place. Make sure there is a little tension when the band is placed in the crease. If not, the paper will fall out too easily. A second band around the outside will hold it together and even secure a slender pen or pencil just inside the edge of the cover.

Another way this can be assembled is with vellum between the pages for a very fountain pen friendly paper and more room to write. The decorated pages will show through as a soft background to your musings. Torn edges might be especially nice and vellum does that very well.

Has your checkbook cover seen better days? Use washi tape to strengthen edges and cover worn areas. it’s all part of personalizing your notebook.

If you like the scrapbook paper idea, but are a Midori fan, the 12″ x 12″ pages can be cut to fit the Traveler’s version. The elastic band will hold the pages together without having to bind them together. Simply adding a few pages here and there inside a Midori would add a little color and interest.

For less than $5, I put together a new journal with some very pretty paper that works with wide nibs and fountain pen ink. I’d say today was a day well spent.





The Stamford Notebook


The Stamford Notebook Company offered me the opportunity to test the paper used in their handsome notebooks. How could I refuse?

Paul Sloggett, one of the partners, had this to say about their choice of paper:

It is what we use in all our main range featuring around 70 colours and textures of notebook cover, in four different sizes. The paper is a 100 gsm off-white wove. It is so smooth because it is calendered during manufacture.

We also personalise notebooks with an individual’s initials using original letterpress type and bind many different special editions for retailers and visitor attractions.

Despite the blue slant of my photos, the paper has a slight warmth to it that is easy on the eyes and quite neutral under fountain pen ink. The lines are faint and offer a guide, but not a distraction. The surface is smooth posing no obstacle to the flow of ink and nib. Even the finest Japanese nib should glide across it. In my test the paper accommodated a variety of pen widths from extra-fine to medium with aplomb. However, my flex nibs laid down too much ink showing mild feathering and bleed-through. The ink dried well enough with finer nibs, but was slow with the wide and free-flowing ones.  Still it handily puts Moleskine to shame.

So if you like fine or dry-writing nibs, this paper should work well. The notebooks come in a variety of colors with good attention to detail based on images from the website. Free shipping if you live in the U.K. Lucky you!


Sailor Peach Pink Ink And A Maruman Croquis Notebook


Jet Pens sent a bottle of Sailor Peach Pink ink and a Maruman Croquis notebook in the same box. Naturally they got paired for product tests, following a quick go on a Staples pad, and became fast friends immediately.

Sailor inks have a deservedly good reputation and an expanding catalog of lovely colors. The characteristics are well-matched to smooth Sailor nibs. Not that other inks don’t work well in Sailor fountain pens, but the flow and degree of lubrication seem especially well-suited at least to the Sapporo and the 1911 in my collection.


The photos don’t reflect the color well, but Peach Pink is a slightly warm pink that goes well with aqua and turquoise. It is pretty on cream paper and suits the Maruman Croquis very well.

It’s a good ink for a wide nib and showed some shading with a cursive italic nib, a dry-writing straight-cut affair. The ink isn’t very lubricating and would be a good match for a free-flowing pen that could use a bit of taming.

The Maruman Croquis S163, 4.2″ X 6″, notebook makes a useful sketchbook, but since it works beautifully with all of the pens I tested, it would make a good journal, too.

Of course Sharpies bled through, but they do that on most paper.

Watercolor sketching with a typical amount of water did cause the 45# paper to buckle. Using a dry brush lessened that effect.

Paint straight from the tube did not buckle at all.

The cardboard cover is strong enough to make the Croquis suitable for use in the field though the size is at my limit for a width I can hold without strain.

Colored pencils would be a very good match for the paper as would graphite. Ink produced some show-through, but it is at a tolerable level for a writing journal. For artistic purposes, one-sided use would be better so that nothing interferes with the appearance of the drawing or painting.

A pale painting could be a good backdrop for a haiku poem or an inspirational quote.

The performance was good enough to make the Maruman Croquis a multi-purpose journal in a very convenient size and Sailor Peach Pink makes a very good mate for the pale cream paper.  Neither will go to waste around here. Not at all.

Want a bottle of Sailor ink, but can’t decide which one? Let me make it harder for you.

Oh, and a big thanks to Jet Pens for the ink and paper. I am always a sucker for both.


Where Do Inkophiles Go For Kicks?


So this is where you go.

Sites clicked most often from Inkophile

The list covers the past year, but looking at just the past three months, Paper For Fountain Pens has risen to number six while Levenger has disappeared. Otherwise, the list has remained fairly consistent. You guys are definitely pen people, but some art supplies sites like Daniel Smith and Jackson’s Art are coming on strong. Diversification is imminent.


The Ink Whisperer – Tomoe River Paper


“Love” is the best way to describe my initial response to Tomoe River paper. For correspondence, general writing, or musing in a journal, this line brought joy to every fountain pen and ink duo tested. This is a writer’s paper.

The word-of-mouth is consistently outstanding, a rarity in the fountain pen community. There is no substitute for first-hand experience, so I solicited a sample from Jay at Paper For Fountain Pens. I was hoping for a few sheets, but he generously sent a journal, a pad and a packet of single sheets. He included a three-page letter that immediately got passed around to family members who were impressed with the texture and the thinness of the paper. We all use fountain pens and the amazing performance as evidenced by Jay’s letter wowed us all. Rest assured we are not easily impressed.

There is something unusually satisfying about the combination of weight and texture. It is not unlike airmail paper or even the paper in some Bibles. For people who are fascinated with paper, Tomoe River will delight the senses.

Tomoe River is smooth but not glassy and for fountain pens, that is a very good thing. It is smooth enough to tame even a scratchy nib and that earns it the highest marks. Given the weight of the paper, there is surprisingly mild show-through and only the occasional dot of bleed-through. The thin sheets pack a lot of writing into a very small profile.

The only caveat is that the paper needs somewhat gentle handling and the support of a solid writing surface. The journal format meets both criteria, but the pad and single sheets could use a protective binder and a desk or clip board for best performance. In fact the pad would benefit from a cover that could easily be constructed from a heavier paper measuring 9.5 – 10″ x 6 1/10″. This would allow enough extra paper to wrap around the top edge and glue to the back of the pad. It won’t interfere with detaching pages, but it will protect the top page and the edge where the pages are glued together.

Ink whisperer is fitting as the writing samples above show, but Noodler’s Blue Nose Bear is in a class unto itself. It’s a lovely color, but feathers on many brands and grades of paper as the samples below demonstrate. However, Tomoe River tames the beast and that is no mean feat.

This is one of the few papers that enhances shading. Yes, you read that right. The writing sample shows how well it does the job with inks that are so inclined.

Peruse the Paper for Fountain Pens website for more information, but suffice to say, this is one paper that won’t disappoint. I would never say you need to own anything, but Tomoe River might be the exception.

More at PenPaperInkLetter including a gazillion photos.


A Few Links Plus A Short Story


I’m on my second used Volvo and would take that wagon in a heartbeat…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,027 other followers

%d bloggers like this: