I tend to be a bit of a paper snob, and I just can't seem to find very many papers that live up to my standards for performance with fountain pens. When I write in notebooks, I personally just can't have bleedthrough or excessive echo, since I always want to be able to write on both sides. A bit of feathering with some inks is ok with me, but excessive feathering is a deal breaker. I'm a big Clairefontaine fan, and I personally like very smooth paper. I have never found any inexpensive notebooks available retail locally that can perform the way I need them to. Until now.
Here is the "M by Staples" A5 spiralbound:
here's the label:
And the cover with the label band removed. The cover has this weird fake alligator skin band on the left side. Probably could have done without that detail. But the cover and binding is solid and appears durable.
But the star here is the paper. The label doesn't list the weight, but I'd say it's about 75g. It is a pale grey color that is very easy on the eyes. The pages are micro perforated, and they tear out very cleanly and easily. The paper is lined, with no margins, and there's a little line at the top for what I imagine most folks would use for a date or a page number. The paper is very smooth in texture, and nibs glide over it nicely. Not Clairefontaine smooth, but close. The only annoying detail is the little "M" logo on the bottom of every sheet. Why they felt compelled to remind us on each and every sheet of their brand is beyond me. Well, I do understand WHY, but it's annoying nonetheless.
This irritates me:
The paper is nice quality, and performs well. I tested it out with whatever pens I happened to have inked, and I was pleasantly surprised. There was no significant bleedthrough, although the Dark Matter came close with my very wet Levenger medium. But the echo was very faint, very tolerable, and I wouldn't hesitate to use both sides of the paper. Almost no feather to speak of, except a couple of my juicy dots and periods. Again, totally acceptable.
Here's the back of the same sheet. A bit of minor bleedthrough on the Dark Matter, none at all with the other inks/pens:
So, bottom line is that this was a very nice find at my local Staples. I'd call this a quality, genuinely FP friendly notebook. It isn't Clairefontaine, but for $8, I think it's a good value. If they got rid of the cheesy alligator trim on the cover, and the logo on the paper, I'd be able to recommend this line without reservations. The book-bound journals also looked nice, and had bookmark ribbons in them. Good stuff.
Edited by EKE, 13 November 2012 - 01:56.