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  1. I've used printer paper for a year and used a fountain pen almost exclusively. Everywhere i go I hear that printer paper is bad and you shouldn't write with a fountain pen on it, but I've had pretty much no problem with it. I've only used Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue and Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black and I've heard they are dry inks, so maybe thats why I had no feathering, or any bleedthrough that's too bad. Also I've mostly used a Japanese medium nib. It was some 80gsm ink jet paper from Fabriano (it was Copy 3 I think) I got it because it was cheap, and it looks like it performs vastly better than cheap notebook paper. Why is printer paper frowned upon? Sounds like a good option for people on a budget.
  2. 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.
  3. I recently bought a Taroko Enigma A5 journal, featuring 68gsm dot grid Tomoe paper. At the same time I bought a similar journal from Taroko featuring their 80gsm Orchid paper. I thought it would be worth trying it out as it is half the price of their Tomoe version, at US$15 + shipping. Delivery from Taiwan to Australia was under a week. I am vey impressed indeed with the customer service from Steven Chang at Taroko, his comunications, the care with which he packs and ships his products and with quality of the journal. All these factors are excellent. Summary from their web-site. My comments in italics * 400-page of Taroko Orchid Paper (80gsm of fountain pen friendly paper with most nib/ink combinations. Wet nibs, flex nibs, and certain inks will occasionally bleed. Not suitable for watercolor) The paper is great with all the inks I've tried so far. There is minimal show-through, especially when compared to Tomoe 52gsm. There has been no bleed-through or feathering. * Sewn bound journal reinforced with glue at the spine (in essence, like a case bound book without the hard cover), and when opened, will lie completely flat. If you are familiar with Nanami Seven Seas journals, the construction of the Mystique is very similar. I actually think the page alignment and sewing is better than Nanami's, which I've found a little inconsistent. The cover is an attractive dark red, with a textured finish. It is a soft cover, same as Nanami. It does lie almost completely flat with very little central gutter to impede hand position when writing. No pressure is required to make the pages lie flat - they fall into place easily. * Layout in 5mm dot grids I really like the dot grid print. It is a soft grey, not too dark, so doesn't impede writing and could be easily used for sketching. Yet the dots are visible enough to provide a good guide. * Comes with 3 index pages at the beginning.The index is useful. The pages aren't numbered so you'll have to number them yourself to take advantage of this useful addition. There are also Keyword/tag list pages at the back for your use and a 2016 and 2017 calendar. The calendar page also has the top and bottom edges marked with an imperial and metric ruler respectively. * Perfect for bullet journaling. Lots and lots of pages to write with, if you write at length, and feel like you should have all your writings in one place. I don't bullet journal but I think it would be ideal for those who do. There are indeed plenty of pages - 400 in fact. I've put mine in a Mircofibre slip cover from Belle & Sofa, but it could be used without. Being a standard international/ISO A5, covers are very easy to find. It doesn't come with a page marker/ribbon (but my Belle & Sofa cover has one already so that addresses the omission). Shipping from Taroko Shop in Taiwan, to me in Australia, was US $10 - about a third of the shipping charged by Nanami. Overall, I'm delighted with this journal. It's good quality and a fair price. (NB Taroko Design Enigma A5 68gsm Tomoe journal is the same construction, with a dark blue cover, the same dot grid print and other features, but with 420 pages. It costs US$30 + shipping) Finally, here are some photos. Apologies that some are rather blurred, I tried to keep the sizes down. I hope this overview of the Taroko Mystique Journal is helpful. STURDY CARDBOARD WRAPAROUND PROECTION, SHIPPED INSIDE AN OUTER CARDBOARD BOX THE JOURNAL COVER THE INDEX PAGES THE KEYWORD/TAG AND CALENDAR PAGES AT THE BACK LAYFLAT PAGES - THIS IS APPROX THE MIDDLE OF THE 400 PAGES TAKES INKS WELL - NO FEATHERING LITTLE SHOW-THROUGH AND ZERO BLEED-THROUGH MYSTIQUE JOURNAL ON TOP OF NANAMI SEVEN SEAS (TOMOE) WRITERS JOURNAL, TO SHOW COMPARABLE THICKNESS (BOTH INSIDE BELLE & SOFA MICROFIBRE COVERS)





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