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Rhodia Webnotebook Review

rhodia notebook review webnotebook webbie

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15 replies to this topic

#1 yogalarva

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:37

I purchased the large-size Webbie back in March.  I’ve been hesitating to do a review because I just wasn’t sure what my final verdict was going to be, but now I think I know. 

 

IMG_2089.jpg

 

In case you’ve been living under a rock or something, here’s a brief overview of the Webbie:

  • Made by Rhodia
  • Contains 90g creamy Clairefontaine paper
  • Sewn binding, all encased in a soft-to-the-touch leatherette cover
  • Includes a ribbon bookmark and elastic closure
  • Available in lined, dot-grid, and blank
  • This size sells for $22+ online, depending on retailer (I bought mine for $25 from Goulet Pens)

That’s the infamous Webbie.  Some people love them, some people hate them.  I am going to do a bit different format today and list the things I like about this notebook, the things I don’t like but aren’t severe enough to keep me from using it, and the thing I didn’t like that ultimately delivered the death blow.

 

Things I like:

  1. The hard cover is very sturdy and I enjoy the texture of it.  Soft and supple to the touch but without seeming delicate - it’s a good balance of style and stability.  The material also doesn’t seem to be prone to picking up an inappropriate amount of dirt, even when used as a daily carry.
  2. The paper is but-tah smooth.  I started to say that it’s the smoothest paper I have ever used, but in reality it’s on the same level as the Tomoe River Paper in my Seven Seas journal and the Staples inkjet paper I write reviews on is of similar quality.
  3. There are different ruling styles available.  Not all retailers seem to have all rulings, but they are out there and it nice to have choices.  The only experience I have is with blank pages, but it’s nice to even have that option since a lot of notebooks seem to only be offered in lined and maybe grid.

That might seem like a short list, but overall I have to say that the experience of using and writing in a Rhodia Webnotebook is very pleasant.  The paper is some of the best you can buy and the build quality is excellent.  If you are looking for a really nice notebook, I don’t think you can go wrong with trying out a Webbie.  However, there are some things that I don’t like at all about the Webbie.

 

IMG_2055.jpg

 

Things I don’t like (minor):

  1. The notebook is only available in black and orange. While I do appreciate having choices, I only dislike the color orange slightly less than I dislike the color black, so there’s that.  This is obviously a personal thing, so take it with a grain of salt.
  2. The Rhodia logo on the front cover is anything but discrete, at least on the orange version.  I can see how it would be easier to miss on the black one, but the imprint is so deep that the shadows created on the orange cover means you will always be able to see the logo, unless of course it’s so dark that you probably won’t be doing much writing anyway.
  3. The paper, while fantastically smooth and able to handle most inks, is not perfect.  I did have a few inks that started to bleed through the pages, which is something of a deal breaker for me.  Granted, these were not the inks I used regularly, but I think I’ve been spoiled by Tomoe River Paper where nothing bleeds through the pages.  I don’t mind a fair bit of ghosting, but bleeding is unacceptable.
  4. The elastic band is so tight that it leaves little indentations in the soft material of the cover.  The flip side of that being that the elastic band starts off nice and tight, so the notebook is held closed very securely.

All of those things are minor quibbles, and for the most part personal annoyances more than anything else.  Not everyone has the same standards that I do, so these things might not bother you at all or they might be the ultimate deal breakers for you.  For me, there was a single quality that has caused me to stop using the Webbie as my EDC:

  • The paper is cream.  It’s listed online as “ivory” but it’s darker than the color I consider ivory.  It’s noticeably yellowed, and this will dramatically affect the appearance of your inks on the the page.

Which is not a big deal unless you are using this as an ink journal.  But, for me the color is too much.  I absolutely love bright white paper.  I like my writing to pop off the page.  I’ve learned that I will probably not find a notebook with bright white paper that is also FP friendly, but the color of the paper in the Rhodia is too much for me.  

 

IMG_2077.jpg

 

Thus, while the paper quality and build quality of the Rhodia Webnotebook is fantastic, it is ultimately not the notebook for me.  I have recently shelved it and gone back to my Seven Seas journal, which is making me wonder why I ever left it.  The issues that made me switch to the Webbie have turned out to not be something that I really took that much advantage of in the Webbie anyway, so I’m back to the wonderful Tomoe River Paper.

 

Overall, I think the Webbie is a great notebook, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a classy looking notebook filled with FP friendly paper that will hold up to a daily beating.  All of the objections above are personal criteria I have used in my quest for the one true notebook and are in no way meant to bash on Rhodia.  Yes, the Webbie is pricy, but there are few other notebooks out there that boast such nice paper and a sewn binding with hardcover.  The only thing I can say is try it out if you are curious, since the only person who can tell you if a notebook will work for you, is you.  :-)

 

This notebook was purchased with my own money and I am in no way affiliated with any companies mentioned above and am not being compensated for this review in any way.  The opinions expressed are entirely my own and you are free to disagree with them if you like.


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#2 Scribblesoften

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:46

Thanks for writing and posting your review. I like the way you clearly present your process in reaching your final decision.

#3 dunhamsa

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 17:29

Thanks!

 

I was attracted to Rhodia papers because of their choice of paper colour that are not bright white. However, in the end, I have also decided to pursue other options when I am finished journalling in my Webnotebook. The main problem I have with Rhodia is that it tends to cause certain nibs to skip more easily when the paper is soiled by my hand/wrist.



#4 theverdictis

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 17:37

I have just purchased one of these, mainly due to the colour note being bright white. Kind of reminds me of the colour of parchment paper, (probably just me) but I find paper that is too white difficult to read from. I have never heard of the Tomoe River paper, so I will definitely check this out as well. Can you get this from the Writing Desk? Thanks for the review. 

 

Ben 


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#5 David_W

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 17:53

The main problem I have with Rhodia is that it tends to cause certain nibs to skip more easily when the paper is soiled by my hand/wrist.


Have you considered putting a sheet of plastic (as SBRE Brown) or blotting paper under your hand as you write? It might be worth trying, even if it just helps you get the most out of the remaining pages of your Webbie before you switch notebook brand.



#6 yogalarva

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 18:20

I have never heard of the Tomoe River paper, so I will definitely check this out as well. Can you get this from the Writing Desk? 

 

Sadly, it does not look like the Writing Desk or Cultpens carry Tomoe River paper.  I got my journal from Nanami Paper and I'm pretty sure Dave also sells just sheets of it too.  Jetpens is also an option, but of course with either of those you'll be paying a lot in shipping.  Not sure of other sources, though I'm sure that there are some closer to you...


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#7 dunhamsa

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 18:30

Have you considered putting a sheet of plastic (as SBRE Brown) or blotting paper under your hand as you write? It might be worth trying, even if it just helps you get the most out of the remaining pages of your Webbie before you switch notebook brand.

 

I do that when I am at my desk--the normal procedure. However, my journal is used in other places occasionally where it is more awkward to do so, and then I find it annoying. The experience with Rhodia has helped me come to the conclusion that really smooth paper is not necessary for a pleasant writing experience.



#8 Gloucesterman

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 22:54

Good information. I particularly found value in the way you expressed your likes and dislikes. A very balanced approach that was helpful.


“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”


#9 Bookman

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 19:31

Very nice review, succinct and balanced.  I have 3 Rhodia Webbies, 2 large and 1 small doing different jobs.  I haven't experienced the bleed-through you did.  I love my Rhodia Webbies, but I empathize with your situation.

 

[By the way, you don't have to choose between a hardcover journal and a Tomoe River Journal if you're willing to step up to 8½x11 and also willing to joint-venture a semi-homemade spiralbound notebook with the help of Kinko's.  It won't have the build quality of a Rhodia sewn-bound hardcover; but then again, there isn't one of these on the market with Tomoe River paper.  And when someone gets around to making a large hardcover Tomoe River journal it will likely cost 2½-3 times what you will have spent on this notebook.

 

If you haven't done this, here's the process:

 

(1)  Buy blank loose-leaf Tomoe River paper.

 

(2)  If you want to copy ruled lines, dots, or grids onto your sheets, beware that this flimsy paper can easily jam in the printer.  Four of my 100 sheets did this.  I managed to salvage 2, and so I only lost 2.

 

(3)  If you want hard covers, cut the heavy-duty "backs" off 2 yellow pads.  (I use Costco pads because theirs are the thickest and firmest I've found.)  Trim the tops of the "backs" to make them 8½x11.  Sandwich your stack of Tomoe River paper between the 2 "backs."

 

(4)  Take your book block to Kinko's.  Specify that you want the whole sandwich drilled and covered, just the way you handed it to him/her.  Specify that you want a "coil" binding.  He/she will drill the whole thing, cover it, and "coil"-bind it for about $5.  You select the color of the cover.

 

(If the Kinko's technician tells you the machine won't go through the "backs," tell him/her that Bookman sent you, or maybe say someone you know has done it several times, whatever you think sounds most convincing, but the bottom line is that I have had 5 or 6 of these notebooks made this way, although up till the Tomoe River notebook I only added a "back" to the back.  In any case the machine will drill through the whole thing, no problem.)]

 

Having said all that, let me repeat I love my Rhodia Webbies.  I wouldn't talk anyone out of buying one of these for the world.


Edited by Bookman, 09 May 2014 - 19:35.

I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

 


#10 yogalarva

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 19:43

Very nice review, succinct and balanced.  I have 3 Rhodia Webbies, 2 large and 1 small doing different jobs.  I haven't experienced the bleed-through you did.  I love my Rhodia Webbies, but I empathize with your situation.

 

[By the way, you don't have to choose between a hardcover journal and a Tomoe River Journal if you're willing to step up to 8½x11 and also willing to joint-venture a semi-homemade spiralbound notebook with the help of Kinko's.  It won't have the build quality of a Rhodia sewn-bound hardcover; but then again, there isn't one of these on the market with Tomoe River paper.  And when someone gets around to making a large hardcover Tomoe River journal it will likely cost 2½-3 times what you will have spent on this notebook.

 

 

Thanks!  And that's some good food for thought - I do like the idea of a spiral bound book since it would lay more flat and who can resist Tomoe River?  I'll have to look into doing this.  :-)  Do the paper hold up well to be in the spiral binding?


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#11 Bookman

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 22:53

 

Thanks!  And that's some good food for thought - I do like the idea of a spiral bound book since it would lay more flat and who can resist Tomoe River?  I'll have to look into doing this.  :-)  Do the paper hold up well to be in the spiral binding?

 

I'm about halfway through mine.  The paper is holding up very well.  No rips at the spiralbinding.  I never forget, however, that the paper feels only slightly more robust than carbon paper.  I treat the notebook gingerly, not the way I would if it were filled with 24lb paper.


I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

 


#12 TMac

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 23:21

I'm about halfway through mine.  The paper is holding up very well.  No rips at the spiralbinding.  I never forget, however, that the paper feels only slightly more robust than carbon paper.  I treat the notebook gingerly, not the way I would if it were filled with 24lb paper.


Bookman, can you post a photo of your Kinkos journal. I'm very interested to see what the binding looks like.

#13 Bookman

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 00:40

Bookman, can you post a photo of your Kinkos journal. I'm very interested to see what the binding looks like.

 

Watch this spot.  I will post photos here with an edit.  That is, I will post photos if I can remember how to do it.  It has been a few years.

 

Edit:   The 1st photo is of an earlier Kinko's-bound notebook.  The 2nd and 3rd photos are of the Tomoe River notebook I mentioned.  Be advised that the actual spiralbinding you see in the last 2 photos is not the plastic coil that Kinko's installed.  For the Tomoe River notebook I removed the plastic coil shortly after I got it home and replaced it with a wire spiral from a spent 8½x11 Miquelrius notebook.  In the past, occasionally, the bottom end of the plastic coil would come undone from the bottom of the cover, and I would have to re-coil the end through the last hole in the cover.  I never had this problem with the Miquelrius wire spiral, which bends closed at the end of the wire.

 

 

fpn_1399683403__kinkos_notebook_8.jpg

 

fpn_1399683235__tomoe_river_notebook_05.

 

fpn_1399682538__tomoe_river_notebook_01.


Edited by Bookman, 10 May 2014 - 01:32.

I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

 


#14 yogalarva

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 01:46

Bookman - Thanks for the pics!  I'm actually giving this some serious thought now, but perhaps in A5 size... :-)


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#15 Bookman

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 02:08

Bookman - Thanks for the pics!  I'm actually giving this some serious thought now, but perhaps in A5 size... :-)

 

Good luck.  One last thing. The sheets in a stack of Tomoe River paper don't square up as easily as a stack of 24lb paper.  Once you done it, binder-clip your stack in place until you get it to Kinko's.


I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

 


#16 da vinci

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 02:40

An interesting thread and thanks to the OP for an excellent review :thumbup:





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