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Tomoe River Paper Changing Manufacturing


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77 replies to this topic

#1 OCArt

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:32

From Musubi press release.  Whole release here

"Is the paper any different?

In short, yes.

The new Tomoe River exhibits the following changes:

  • It is a few microns thicker than the previous version.
  • As a result, it is stiffer in the hand, and less crinkly than the old version.
  • The writing experience is different. There’s no good way to describe it, but the paper feels a little drier and has more drag.
  • Some inks show up on the new version as a slightly different colour from what you might be used to on the old version.

Things that, as far as we can tell, haven’t changed much if at all:

  • The new version still shows sheen and other properties of ink well.
  • The dry time is still the same; that is to say, ink dries slowly on Tomoe River, as it always has.

We haven’t yet been able to apply the full Musubi suite of tests to the new paper, so we don’t have anything firm to say on the new paper’s bleedthrough and feathering.

Preliminary results, however, indicate that its performance with some nib and ink combinations has changed."


“The proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters.”

Lewis Carroll

 


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#2 Karmachanic

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 10:13

Thanks! Ordered a 68gsm journal. Just in case.


Edited by Karmachanic, 07 July 2020 - 10:13.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."


#3 Intensity

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 15:05

Just read that article, and it has me worried.  I love TR52 and use it daily, both loose leaf and in my Hobonichi Cousin planner.  Crossing fingers that the changes have not been bad.  Although I do wonder if my 2020 Hobonichi Cousin already uses the new paper.  If so, I still like that paper very much.


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#4 Sashku

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 19:32

This is not the best news. I really prefer TR52. 

 

This new paper is different in shading as well. Namely, it exhibits less of it. 



#5 eciton

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 21:53

This was a very expensive article for me. I ordered four Musubi journals for over £200 to add to the Tomoe pile.

 

This is a good point to bear in mind, though. Fine stationery is a tiny, tiny market. Our fancy paper is a rounding error in the grand scheme of paper production for commercial print, books, packaging, instruction manuals, printer paper, etc. If a manufacturer sees benefit in going in a different direction, we have zero leverage.


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#6 Karmachanic

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 23:12

Different does not necessarily mean worse. Doesn't sound good for Taroko though.


"Simplicate and add Lightness."


#7 Sashku

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 12:11

I should add that I am pretty sure I already have the new version and it isn't easy to tell unless you've been told.



#8 mehandiratta

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 12:14

Well thats not the end of the road.. There are many equally good papers out there...


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#9 gerigo

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 15:33

Wow I wonder whether the drier feeling would make for a thinner line? This is one of the reasons why TR paper has never appealed to me. I have pens that write like uncontrollable wet mediums on TR and they are lovely and fine on Rhodia and other papers like MD and Life. Since I focus quite a bit on Mandarin, TR has been a no go for me for a long time.



#10 AurorasLover

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 18:23

Many people have hoarded Tomoe River notebooks. They will probably only experience the new formula in a decade or two ...  :D



#11 Intensity

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 20:29

Well I have a set of A5 loose leaf sheets coming from Amazon soon, presumably it will be one of the newest batches, post-change.  If so, I'll be able to compare, as I have older Tomoe River paper too.


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#12 inkypete

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 22:51

Nothing more alarming than this sort of news. I don't think I know of one change like this that worked out better for us users. I am still having counselling from when Quo Vadis 'upgraded' their Habana notebooks and went from beautiful Clairefontaine white to an ordinary cream paper. Ruined the best notebook I have ever used - I still cannot let this one go.

 

I'm not a big Tomoe fan. Love the writing experience but cannot manage the thinness of the stock. But I understand why the devotees love the stuff. Good luck with the change. Let's hope it breaks my observation of never being better.


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#13 Keyless Works

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 05:07

This was a very expensive article for me. I ordered four Musubi journals for over £200 to add to the Tomoe pile.

 

This is a good point to bear in mind, though. Fine stationery is a tiny, tiny market. Our fancy paper is a rounding error in the grand scheme of paper production for commercial print, books, packaging, instruction manuals, printer paper, etc. If a manufacturer sees benefit in going in a different direction, we have zero leverage.

 

I have a new Endless Notebook that I cam going to compare to my 5 year old Paper For Fountain Pens Notebook...if the Endless is bad I am sure I will be spending a lot of money on Musubi journals as well.

 

 

Nothing more alarming than this sort of news. I don't think I know of one change like this that worked out better for us users. I am still having counselling from when Quo Vadis 'upgraded' their Habana notebooks and went from beautiful Clairefontaine white to an ordinary cream paper. Ruined the best notebook I have ever used - I still cannot let this one go.

 

I'm not a big Tomoe fan. Love the writing experience but cannot manage the thinness of the stock. But I understand why the devotees love the stuff. Good luck with the change. Let's hope it breaks my observation of never being better.

I have a new Quo Vadis Habana and it says Clairefontaine paper on the jacket but the performance is pretty bad...not at all like I remember. Is it just a lower quality Clairefontaine paper?


Edited by Keyless Works, 09 July 2020 - 05:12.


#14 inkypete

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 07:35

 

I have a new Endless Notebook that I cam going to compare to my 5 year old Paper For Fountain Pens Notebook...if the Endless is bad I am sure I will be spending a lot of money on Musubi journals as well.

 

 

I have a new Quo Vadis Habana and it says Clairefontaine paper on the jacket but the performance is pretty bad...not at all like I remember. Is it just a lower quality Clairefontaine paper?

From memory they went for a cream/off white paper that was nowhere near as good as the white. Plenty of us regulars haven't bought again.


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#15 XYZZY

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 17:18

Mildly concerning yes, but there's actually nothing in the post that alarms me.  The Sheldon Cooper in me certainly is thinking "Change is never good", but it's actually a pretty informative blog entry and the changes it describes are not, to my mind, particularly bad.

 

I like TR paper because how it accepts ink and how it feels when I write on it.  To me it's biggest downside is how thin and crinkly it is.  So if it's getting thicker my initial reaction is going to be "Thank you!".  I'm assuming of course that they're going to mess up the texture or the ink handling.

 

I prefer 68gsm to 52, not just because of the extra thickness and reduced showthrough, but also because of the different texture of the paper.  Interesting to read, though, that the 68gsm I have been using is intended for a different purpose than the 52gsm.  Perhaps the new 68gsm paper intended for writing will have a finish that more closely matches the 52?  And to be clear, the surface differences are minor: the experience between 52 and 68 is smaller than the difference between, say, TR and Midori.

 

I've read elsewhere that Tomoegawa is so large that nobody producing notebooks buys directly from the manufacturer:  they buy from distributors who buy from the manufacturer.  I have also read that the current 68gsm paper is already special order.  So what the blog post says about the state of purchasing the new 68gsm doesn't sound very different from the current state.  I don't know what the current minimum order from Tomoegawa is, but 20 tons of paper isn't all that much (have you ever toured a modern paper machine?)

 

The only place here that I might be concerned, every notebook maker will address changes to thickness as they see fit:  if they think page count is important then the notebook gets thicker (and maybe your old slip-covers no longer fit).  But if they think the experience of the heft of the notebook is more important then the pagecount could go down to maintain the same thickness.  Personally, I prefer a lot of pages, but up to a point:  for a 192page notebook I would prefer that it get thicker, but for a 480 page like Nanami then maybe reducing page count a bit in order to keep the same dimensions would be ok.

 

At least when we chase notebooks that use TR paper, we know what the paper is even if it's subject to occasional manufacturer tweaks.  On the other hand, when you buy a notebook that is just for the notebook brand, then you don't even know what the paper is and it's subject to the notebook companies' purchaser's whims as well.  A more extreme example there is Moleskine, but there are recent threads here about changes in Leuchtturm paper and the once-revered HP copy paper.


Edited by XYZZY, 09 July 2020 - 17:19.


#16 BaronWulfraed

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 21:50

If the paper remains rated at xxGSM, yet is described as "thicker", that implies the density of the paper had to go down. Two ways to achieve that: either the entire paper stock is "foamier" and not pressed as hard as it comes out of the mill; or there is a waffle/fabric texture embossed into the paper, moving material from the indentations up into the ridges.



#17 XYZZY

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 00:30

If the paper remains rated at xxGSM, yet is described as "thicker", that implies the density of the paper had to go down. Two ways to achieve that: either the entire paper stock is "foamier" and not pressed as hard as it comes out of the mill; or there is a waffle/fabric texture embossed into the paper, moving material from the indentations up into the ridges.

 

Or they could change the ingredients (e.g. mulberry vs pine).  Or the ratio of the ingredients (e.g. less sizing, more fiber).  And I wouldn't bet my paycheck that xxGSM paper really needs to be xx grams per square meter:  it might simply be heavier but with the same name.

 

And I've learned the hard way when I say "There are X ways you do Y", there are usually other ways I haven't through of yet  :unsure:



#18 Kessel

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 05:20

Hello! I'm Daryl, and I wrote the piece linked in the OP.

 

I've updated the story based on additional technical information I've received from within the manufacturer, but the short of it is that the ratio of pulp to sizing has changed, with the paper layer itself being thicker and the sizing layer being thinner. This is what is causing the changes in thickness and performance characteristics.



#19 Karmachanic

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 06:05

Thank you Daryl,

 

It'll be a year until friends in Singapore come my way. I look forward to a Musubi pen case, and a notebook or two a that time. I have sufficient TR on hand to last until then.

 

As to changes - it'll be amusing to watch the vintage TR market.


Edited by Karmachanic, 10 July 2020 - 06:05.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."


#20 LizB

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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:17

Does anyone think they have received the new version of the paper in recent purchases? Daryl's story says that the new version is very likely to have been around for some time now.








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