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Neenah Classic Crest Papers


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#1 Daisy

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 21:41

Okay, I finally got around to it:

The Neenah Classic Crest Swatchbook Ink Tests.

A month or two ago, I ordered the Neenah Classic Crest swatchbook (along with a couple of others) for the purpose of trying out the various papers with various inks and maybe settling on one to use as personal stationery. The paper isn't overpriced, but the envelopes are quite an investment, so it was worth it to me to shell out the $4.99 for a swatchbook that I could ink up in my quest for the perfect paper. And I finally got the opportunity to go ahead and ink it up a little to see how it behaves with various inks.

This swatchbook contains waterfall samples of Smooth whites and midwhites, Super Smooth whites, Smooth accent colors, and their new Stipple and Eggshell offerings (available in the same colors as the Smooth and Super Smooth papers).

The inks I used, from left to right, are:

  • Noodler's Baystate Blue, full strength, fine point Abraxas glass pen
  • Noodler's Baystate Blue, diluted 1:1 (except on Smooth accent colors), same pen
  • Noodler's Burma Road Brown, Sailor 1911M H-M
  • J. Herbin Perle Noire, Pilot 78G F
  • Sheaffer Blue-Black, Kaweco Sport B
  • Noodler's Habanero, vintage Waterman flex
  • Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black, Lamy Safari M
  • D'Atramentis Khaki, Parker Duofold (extremely wet writer) -- on the Super Smooth papers this is actually ink #1 because I ran out of room

Please note: while the humidity is usually pretty high here, today it's in the 50-60% range and quite nice. So none of the feathering you will see can be attributed to high humidity -- at least not this time around.


Here's the swatchbook, inside view, before I defaced it with multiple inks (my apologies for the really bad photography):

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And here's Page 1:

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And here's Page 2:

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Now for the closeups. I made some edits in Gimp to create the best views of the ink samples and paper titles to eliminate any confusion and preserve sharpness when Photobucket resizes them. If you want to see the completely unedited versions refer to the above scans (Page 1 and Page 2).


All the Classic Crest Smooth papers:

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All the Classic Crest Super Smooth papers:

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Classic Crest Smooth accent colors:

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Classic Crest Stipple and Eggshell finishes:

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In addition to going over each scan with bare eyes, I went over the actual samples with a 20x loupe and a 60x hand microscope, taking my time as I went. These are my own findings; feel free to differ.

Daisy's Picks for Best Behaved:

Smooth: Keep in mind that to the bare unaided eye in real life, none of these appeared to feather at all except the BSB and in a couple of places, the D'A Khaki. I'd be happy to have and use any of them, to be honest. But for the price and the investment I plan to make, I was looking for THE BEST, and of course the loupe and hand microscope told the whole story.

So of the Smooth papers, surprisingly, the Antique Gray Smooth was the very best of all. None of the inks feathered at all on it, not even the BSB, the Habanero, or the Khaki. Stellar performance.

Of the four white-whites, the Recycled 100 Bright White Smooth seemed to perform the best, followed by Avalanche White Smooth.

Of the four off-whites, the BSB feathered on all of them in a way it did not on any of the other Smooth offerings. So ignoring the BSB, the best performer was the Baronial Ivory Smooth, followed by Classic Cream Smooth.


Super Smooth: I expected the best performance from these because of what I thought would be a hard finish, and instead they were the worst of all the papers, with one exception. Three of the four had bare-eye feathering with the BSB and Khaki, and even a little with the Burma Road Brown. The only one of these I found worthy was the Avalanche White Super Smooth, which actually took all the inks well. I'd buy it, if a super white, smooth finish appealed to me.


Smooth accent colors: The scan speaks for itself; none of these had the least bit of feathering or bleedthrough. Even the BSB played well on these (that big blob of BSB on Saw Grass is user error). I'd have any of them, and though the Pewter is kind of dark, a little too low contrast for regular letter writing, the rest are quite attractive and suitable for correspondence. I find the colors somewhat masculine and muted, perfect for the gents if that's what they're into, but not too desperately unfemme for a lady either. Does that make sense? I sure hope so, because that's as far as I'm gonna go with that. :D


A note on the Stipple and Eggshell finishes:
While the swatchbook text describes them as "striking[ly] tactile" and "toothy" I must say I find those descriptions to be a bit enthusiastic.

Yes, there is a lovely tactile thing going on with the Stipple, but my Pilot 78G fine point sailed right over it with nary a complaint. You can't see the texture in the scans, and even under the loupe it's not obvious. It's just... nice under the fingertips. On heavier weight papers it would definitely add a VERY expensive and classy touch; think embossed or engraved attorney letterhead. But even in the lower weight 24 lb. writing, it's got a nice feel.

The Eggshell is no more toothy (to me) than most copy paper; by contrast I have some Crane 100% cotton that has twice as much tooth as this Eggshell and still takes FP with joy, even from fine points. Also by way of contrast, my Neenah Classic Crest Baronial Ivory Woven has three times the depth of texture and still takes FP well, at least M and broader nibs. (I never tried a fine nib on the woven, so I don't know about that; a fine nib might get hung up in the woven, but certainly not in this Eggshell.)

So don't be put off by the texture thinking it'll be like writing on the sidewalk! They're both actually very pleasant, and smooth under the nib.

Stipple: Of the six Stippled papers in the waterfall, Solar White Stipple and Antique Gray Stipple were the clear winners, followed by Classic Natural White Stipple and Recycled 100 Bright White Stipple, neither of which were perfect but were definitely acceptable. (You can see this in the scans; they both look fine to the unaided view but add magnification and you can see the differences.) Avalanche White Stipple and Avon Brilliant White Stipple both had bare-eye feathering.

Eggshell: Four of the six of these did really well, and in fact they all seemed to take the ink with similar excellence. If I had to name a winner it would be Avon Brilliant White Eggshell because of the lovely contrast it gave the colors of the inks, but Recycled 100 Bright White Eggshell, Classic Natural White Eggshell, and Antique Gray Eggshell were all as good. Avalanche White Eggshell and Solar White Eggshell both had a bit of bare-eye feathering.

Bleedthrough: This doesn't really matter to me since I only ever use one side of a page of anything, but I know it matters to some so I include it. The thing to note is that of all the papers tested but one, ONLY BSB bled through. At all. For the most part you can't even tell there's writing from the backside. So where any bleedthrough is present at all, it's very limited.

Please note I do not count edge bleedthrough: there's no way a cut end won't suck up ink on any paper. But amazingly enough, most of these papers had little to none of that either. I just don't think it's fair to count it at all.

The papers that had the BSB bleedthrough were all 118 gsm or 24 lb weight, and they were:

Smooth: Classic Cream, Baronial Ivory, Classic Natural White, and Recycled Natural White had BSB bleedthrough.

Super Smooth: Classic Natural White, Avon Brilliant White, and Solar White had BSB bleedthrough.

Smooth accent colors: none, not a trace of bleedthrough.

Stipple:
Avalanche White had the only bleedthrough, but Habanero bled through a bit as well the expected BSB.

Eggshell: no bleedthrough at all.


Enjoy! :D

Edited by Daisy, 19 December 2012 - 23:57.

Not really a scribe, more of a Pharisee...



"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
-- Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


#2 wastelanded

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:07

This is fantastic, Daisy, thanks for this! What a great way to sample a company's line. "writing on the sidewalk". I love it! :roflmho:

I don't care about bleedthrough either, I never write on the back of a page. But I think BSB would bleed through aluminum foil!
"I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original." - Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 - 1809

#3 Daisy

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:36

Thank you! :D

But I think BSB would bleed through aluminum foil!


Hence its inclusion. :P

Not really a scribe, more of a Pharisee...



"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
-- Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


#4 Maurizio

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 14:05

Just saw this. Thanks for posting it. I'm in a search for a replacement for Crane's Thesis paper & I'm looking at Neenah papers.

#5 Maurizio

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 14:07

Just saw this. Thanks for posting it. I'm in a search for a replacement for Crane's Thesis paper & I'm looking at Neenah papers.

#6 alc3261

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 15:07

I appreciate your efforts but these papers are not practically available outside the US or Canada.

                                                                            

 

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#7 chad.trent

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 20:12

I have literally hundreds of swatchbooks like these in boxes in my garage. I work in printing, and every time our paper salesman comes in he brings samples of the latest and greatest papers. I need to do this with some of them.
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#8 Daisy

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:30

I appreciate your efforts but these papers are not practically available outside the US or Canada.


The whole entire world is chock full of things I can't have, for one reason or another. :D

I expect Neenah's about as available to you as Basildon Bond is to me. Just depends on how much you want it... which I found out when I went looking for Basildon Bond and realized that for whatever reason, it can only be had internationally via amazon.co.uk. But I did get some. Ryman's Bank Paper I can't get at all through normal channels, at least right now, because it is currently only to be had through Ryman's (surprise!) and Ryman's doesn't do overseas. Tomoe River remains elusive for many outside the U.S., and it's only through the generous efforts of a couple FPNers that I got any at all. Those are just a few examples, and I'm not even going to touch all the lovely expensive handmade Italian papers that would require a second mortgage on my part. :D

So no matter where you are or what paper (or pen, or ink, or widget) you're looking for, it really just depends on how much you want it and to what effort and expense you are willing to go to get it.

That said, if I do end up getting some Neenah, would you like a few sheets? I'll be happy to share. :D

Not really a scribe, more of a Pharisee...



"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
-- Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


#9 Daisy

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 01:36

Just saw this. Thanks for posting it. I'm in a search for a replacement for Crane's Thesis paper & I'm looking at Neenah papers.


No problem! Yeah, Crane's Thesis is gone. I have some of their super-la-dee-dah resume paper, and it's nice, but to me it's overpriced. Pardon my frankness, but there it is. On the other hand, I think Crane's Thesis would have been a perfect choice for me both in cost and quality. Alas...

I have literally hundreds of swatchbooks like these in boxes in my garage. I work in printing, and every time our paper salesman comes in he brings samples of the latest and greatest papers. I need to do this with some of them.


The hardest part was trying to figure out which of my inks would be the worst behaved so I could be sure to include it. :D

The only thing I would say is to avoid testing the adhered chip samples and stick to the looseleaf and waterfall paper. The chip samples don't always seem to act like the papers they represent, and it may well be because of the glue and heat involved in sticking them to the swatchbooks.

But if you have em', test 'em! I'd LOVE to see what you come up with! I still have two Mohawk swatchbooks to try myself, as well as the extended testing I'm going to do on the Neenah Classic Crest "winners" I found (see the first post), it's just that life intervened. But I'll get to it one of these days! :D

Not really a scribe, more of a Pharisee...



"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
-- Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


#10 Laura N

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 02:55

Daisy, this is great, thank you. Where did you get the swatch book? I don't see it on their website. There appear to be "virtual" swatches, but like you I like to actually see and feel the paper.

#11 Daisy

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 18:06

Hi Laura! I'm pretty sure I got this swatchbook from ThePaperMillStore.com -- see this link for the Neenah swatchbooks. If I recall correctly, there was no shipping for the swatchbook. :D

I know you can order sample packs and single sheets from Neenah directly, which is cool if you need a non-standard size, but you can also order 7-sheet samples of most papers from ThePaperMillStore.com as well.

FWIW, I found the Neenah site somewhat difficult to navigate.

Hope this helps!

Not really a scribe, more of a Pharisee...



"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
-- Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


#12 DanF

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 19:43

If you live in a relatively large city, there will probably be one or more paper distributors who will have the swatchbooks on hand, and who can sell you the paper which will eliminate the shipping cost (some do sell retail).

I have several selections form Neenah Mills - Classic Crest wove Natural White and Whitestone; and Imaging Laid (a very subtle embossed laid pattern that most nibs glide right over) in Whitestone and Ivorystone. The "stone"colors have tiny darker fibers scattered through them, giving a rather more interesting appearance than the pure whites and cream variants. They all take ink very well, though the CC Natural White can feather a little with certain wet pens and inks. It may be due to wove surface, with the ink just running into the the tiny depressions on the paper surface, rather than actually seeping into the paper itself, though the Whitestone doesn't show this.

Dan
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#13 Mickey

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 20:31

Thanks Daisy.

On the strength of your analysis, I bought a ream of Antique Gray, but with the laid finish. As the finish appears to be only an embossed feature, the reverse side is essentially the same as the smooth version of the paper. As I don't usually write on both sides of the page, it's like getting two papers for the price of one.

The paper takes ink beautifully. It's not Clairefontaine-smooth on either side, nor does it hold quite as tight a line, but is better in these respects than nearly anything else I've encountered. (Rhodia pads are smoother, but seem more prone to line bloat and feathering than this Classic Crest paper or the papers Clairefontaine makes for products sold under its own name.) While the laid finish is definitely noticeable with very fine nibs (e.g., Platinum UEF and Esterbrook 128 dip nib), it is not terrible disruptive. It merely encourages me to slow down a bit, which is generally a good idea. Without other papers around it, the paper does not look grey so much as ever so slightly dingy, antique. It is aptly named.

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#14 chad.trent

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 21:01


Just saw this. Thanks for posting it. I'm in a search for a replacement for Crane's Thesis paper & I'm looking at Neenah papers.


No problem! Yeah, Crane's Thesis is gone. I have some of their super-la-dee-dah resume paper, and it's nice, but to me it's overpriced. Pardon my frankness, but there it is. On the other hand, I think Crane's Thesis would have been a perfect choice for me both in cost and quality. Alas...

I have literally hundreds of swatchbooks like these in boxes in my garage. I work in printing, and every time our paper salesman comes in he brings samples of the latest and greatest papers. I need to do this with some of them.


The hardest part was trying to figure out which of my inks would be the worst behaved so I could be sure to include it. :D

The only thing I would say is to avoid testing the adhered chip samples and stick to the looseleaf and waterfall paper. The chip samples don't always seem to act like the papers they represent, and it may well be because of the glue and heat involved in sticking them to the swatchbooks.

But if you have em', test 'em! I'd LOVE to see what you come up with! I still have two Mohawk swatchbooks to try myself, as well as the extended testing I'm going to do on the Neenah Classic Crest "winners" I found (see the first post), it's just that life intervened. But I'll get to it one of these days! :D


It's because they are often different paper. Usually they are the cover weight (cardstock) version of the paper.

This weekend I'm going to dig through my swatchbooks and find some interesting ones to try out. I had a bunch more that I gave to my wife for use in her mixed media art. Unfortunately there is very little paper left in those books.
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#15 Daisy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 22:23

This weekend I'm going to dig through my swatchbooks and find some interesting ones to try out.


Awesome!!! Can't wait to see what you come up with! :D

I had a bunch more that I gave to my wife for use in her mixed media art. Unfortunately there is very little paper left in those books.


Fortunately, the goodwill you bought with such generosity is probably of far more value than the paper. You made a wise investment, I think. :D

Seriously, though, you only need a tiny scrap to know whether something is probably going to be a winner or a loser. That's why I did my own test the way I did, with a ruler down the waterfall, because I wanted to compare them all -- first -- and then have the rest of a given page available for extended testing. I just haven't gotten around to Phase 2 of testing... yet. I don't know if you have scraps left or not, but if you do -- and you can still identify which paper the scrap is from -- I'd say don't hesitate to try it, if you feel so inclined.



(edited for clarity)

Edited by Daisy, 19 January 2013 - 22:31.

Not really a scribe, more of a Pharisee...



"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
-- Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


#16 Daisy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 22:29

On the strength of your analysis, I bought a ream of Antique Gray, but with the laid finish...


I'm so glad to be of some help, and very pleased you liked what you bought! I was unaware that the laid finish is one-side-only on the Neenah Classic Crest; that's good to know.

The color of Antique Grey is very unique; I agree with what you said about it being aptly named. I think it may be one of those love-it-or-hate-it tones, honestly. For my own taste it was a little too masculine, though going by your username I imagine you find that a plus. :D

Thank you for letting me know how it worked out for you!

Not really a scribe, more of a Pharisee...



"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
-- Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution