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Bloc Rhodia No.11 Notepad

rhodia a7 ruled 80gsm

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#1 A Smug Dill

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 17:40

Recently, I picked up a number of different Japanese-made A7 and B7 sized notepads from Daiso. I have yet to get around to using them, but they reminded me that I also bought a Bloc Rhodia No.11 notepad several months ago (at 50% off) for A$2. It's not that I can think of a good use for a notepad of that size, but in the case of the Rhodia, the purpose was primarily to trigger a special offer for a free hardcover A6 Rhodiarama notebook (with free shipping to boot, for a reason that was not a term of that offer).
 
The Bloc Rhodia No.11 notepad is A7 in size (7.4cm x 10.5cm), and has 80 sheets of 7mm-ruled 80g/m2 white vellum paper that is made in France. The pages are bound by a single staple near the top edge in portrait orientation, and each page is finely perforated across the top about 1.35cm below the top edge of the paper for easy detachment. As with other Bloc Rhodia notepads, that means the available writing area is rather less than the nominal size of the notepad; in this case, approximately 13% of each page is lost to the binding above the perforations.
 
The paper is quite typical of this line of Rhodia products in terms of smoothness and whiteness, and generally speaking it is quite resistant to feathering, ghosting and bleed-through when used with fountain pen inks. I can see shading even when writing on it with very fine nibbed pens. There's a bit of 'woolly' outline when writing on it with Sailor kiwaguro pigment ink using a Stub nib, but the effect is quite inconsistent from one page to the next. (See images (2a) and (2b).) I attribute that to the obviously uneven application of coating to the paper, even on the recto side. Even though I didn't feel more feedback or friction resulting from that, at some random spots on the page the coating is so lacking and/or defective that half a word may cause terrible feathering and bleed-through see images (3a) and (3b) even though the other half of the word doesn't.
 
On the verso side the inconsistency in the coating is more evident; using the same pen and ink on the same spot, to write exactly the same thing with the same handwriting technique, on consecutive pages can give noticeably different line widths and/or levels of ink spread and feathering. (Compare images (4a) and (4b); (5a) and (5b); and (6a) and (6b).)
 
On where the coating is not defective, ink can take relatively long to dry. The marks seen in image (7a) are not the results of bleed-through from the writing on the verso side of sheet #3, but just smearing from touching the verso side of sheet #2.
 
Frankly, this isn't a product I can find any reason to recommend, even though I'm usually a Rhodia fan. It's expensive, the size is impractical unless you have a really small pocket that can nevertheless handle a 1cm-thick notepad, the unavailability of 13% of the already small paper surface for writing is annoying, and the paper quality is poor on account of the inconsistent coating, not that I expect anyone to put such a notepad to use with calligraphic or artistic endeavours.


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Edited by A Smug Dill, 17 April 2019 - 17:41.

Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. I believe we're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but no shared values and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative.

Don't think 'cos I understand, I care
Don't think 'cos I'm talking', we're friends

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#2 A Smug Dill

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 01:44

Hmm. After dunking the sheets into the kitchen sink for a long soak, just for the hell of it to test water resistance of the various inks, I'm starting to wonder if it isn't actually a case of the coating on the paper being applied inconsistently, but that it is particularly sensitive to skin oils and what-not, such that the layer is easily damaged or destroyed. The major problem spots with feathering and bleed-through seem to coincide with where I see 'fingerprints' on the page once it got wet:
 
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I can't say I've seen that on the A5 sized sheets from Bloc Rhodia notepads that I've dunked in a bath of water before, and with this notepad being so small, not touching the paper surface with one's fingertips to hold it still while writing would be a hard ask.


Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. I believe we're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but no shared values and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative.

Don't think 'cos I understand, I care
Don't think 'cos I'm talking', we're friends

'6 Underground' by Sneaker Pimps


#3 DilettanteG

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 20:46

As always, your review is amazing. Thanks so much for doing such an exacting and objective review.





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