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william2001

Just a quick and short question: Why is some paper more expensive than others? I heard that the quality of expensive paper is better (obviously), but what are the benefits of writing in a good quality and expensive paper? Is it smoother or something? Thanks.

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane. - Graham Greene

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As I have not yet tried the more "fancy paper (Like tomoeriver, clairfantaine, rhodia, ect) because I can't afford fancy paper in the amount I want it, I can only tell you what I've heard, from individuals like Brian Goulet, and SBRE Brown. But, supposedly the fancier paper is smoother and has less bleed through, feathering, ghosting and what not.

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Runnin_Ute

Some papers are more "fountain pen friendly" than others. Less bleed through, show through, feathering, but one of the downsides is some inks dry slower as the paper is less absorbent.

 

One of the papers I have had good luck with is Southworth's Granite Specialty Paper. It is 90 gsm (~24 lb) watermarked and 25% cotton. I paid something like $35 for a box of 500 sheets a few years ago. I originally bought if for use with resumes. Turns out it is pretty fountain pen friendly to boot.

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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"Fancy" paper is going to generally be smoother, and often times more dense than standard papers, though not always. Tomoe River is a brilliant contradiction of the "heavy is better" mentality.

 

A good read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_chemistry_of_paper

 

Usually it's less absorbent (longer dry times with wet inks) but that same characteristic is what leads to less feathering and bleeding.

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SujiCorp12345

Usually it is because there is no feathering, at the cost of longer dry times. Also there is a certain smoothness on some of them such as Rhodia, where it feels like the nib is just skating along the page.

Pelikan 140 EF | Pelikan 140 OBB | Pelikan M205 0.4mm stub | Pilot Custom Heritage 912 PO | Pilot Metropolitan M | TWSBI 580 EF | Waterman 52 1/2v

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Usually it is because there is no feathering, at the cost of longer dry times. Also there is a certain smoothness on some of them such as Rhodia, where it feels like the nib is just skating along the page.

 

Which, perhaps not unsurprisingly, makes Rhodia notebooks poor choices for pencil users. Pencils need a hint of texture in order to get nice sharp lines.

 

My favorite paper is the paper they use for the Staples ARC products. It works great for both pencils and fountain pens. I use the junior size so it costs $3 for a pack of 50 (I have to order it since they don't carry the graph paper in the local stores).

 

--flatline

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Gloucesterman

 

Which, perhaps not unsurprisingly, makes Rhodia notebooks poor choices for pencil users. Pencils need a hint of texture in order to get nice sharp lines.

 

My favorite paper is the paper they use for the Staples ARC products. It works great for both pencils and fountain pens. I use the junior size so it costs $3 for a pack of 50 (I have to order it since they don't carry the graph paper in the local stores).

 

--flatline

+1 to the Staples ARC paper.

 

Be sure to track Staples discount activity, because they often offer 25-40% discounts on the ARC paper

“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!”

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Gloucesterman

Something that no one has mentioned yet is that some of the premium quality papers (Tomoe River excepted) feel more substantial, more elegant in addition to having better FP behavior qualities.

 

When I am writing an important letter to someone, I want it to feel right as well as look good. My paper of choice is Crane paper. It's one of my few real indulgences (okay, maybe some Iroshizuku to go with my Pilot Metropolitan <F>).

“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!”

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It wasn't always this way--folks thinking you had to buy expensive paper for fountain pen use. I still have cheapo, off-brand, store brand, recycled paper from college, 10-15 years ago, that performs excellently as compared to any touted paper: Clairefontaine, Rhodia, Apica, Tsubame, Life, Midori, etc., etc. I mean NO feathering, bleed through, spreading, ghosting or whatever. At the time my only criterion was how cheap was it for the size, binding, ruling, etc. that I needed. Cheap was king not brand or %recycled or if it were made in a certain country. When I took up fountain pens again, what a shock to find out that, no, I could not grab any notebook off the office supply shelf and use it--writing on toilet paper is a better experience. Even my old index card are considerably better quality than anything I've found so far.

 

I have made expensive paper purchases just to discover the paper is very, very bad for fountain pen inks. I bought a Rhodia planner based on some reviews--never again. It bled and feathered everywhere. I've purchased some Kyokuto, Kokuyo, and Maruman notebooks that weren't that great as well. The point is brand does not guarantee quality either. HP 24# paper is no better that Double A 22# paper in my opinion; and I'll pay more for the HP branding. I won't even touch Bagasse from Staples after my one and only trial gave disastrous results even when looking for a specific notebook type from a specific country bound in a specific way based on reviews. :wacko: It's only cheap when it works the first time and then every time after that. Buy Arc paper with due diligence--no it is not all the same.

 

With the advent of PCs, copiers, laserjets, and inkjets, today's student or business is not about anything handwritten . So, the paper doesn't necessarily have to perform well for any type of writing instrument; that's an after thought. It is the sizing on the paper that determines drying times given all things equal, not the weight, texture, or expense. It is how the paper is treated that determines if fountain pen ink performs well with the paper and the drying time. It is the texture of the paper that determines if a writer enjoys how the nib performs with the paper.

 

What you pay for is about how that pen/ink combo performs with an expectation that the ink will not feather or bleed through or the line spread out measurably; that the dry times are reasonable, the ink won't smear; that the paper will not discolor the ink or dull it in some way; that the nib won't catch, snag, drag, or slide out from under you hand as if skating on ice; and that you can depend on consistent performance. If you are OK with compromise then you will be OK with less performance in all areas from batch to batch and year to year.

 

Today, the standards for "quality" writing paper are low; so that if/when someone finds paper that works as paper should with fountain pen ink, you pay for it, quite dearly too. At one time rag content, the amount of cotton, inferred "quality" or an elegance as brgmarketing pointed out and with that came an expectation of paper weight--not too thin, not too thick. Thin paper was for air mail correspondence and for carbon copies. Strange that Tomoe River is iconic. I've got vintage onionskin paper that is equal in performance to Tomoe River and cheaper even with the outrageous prices it garners today, yet few discussions ensue and no one fawns when one mentions "onionskin paper". I think onionskin paper is a tad too pedestrian for fountain pen users if the amount of posts is a metric. :rolleyes: I don't think my elders receiving a letter written on Tomoe River would appreciate what it cost me or that the paper gives my inks that special "glow". They would be very impressed with a letter written on G. Lalo or paper that was about 24# with 25% to 100% rag content perhaps with a linen texture or had a watermark or was embossed. Equally Impressive is anything handwritten that was folded correctly in an envelope sized correctly and maybe if it had some rag content.

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william2001

So it's mostly about smoothness and other little benefits. Thanks y'all!

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only good for filling out forms on a plane. - Graham Greene

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So it's mostly about smoothness and other little benefits. Thanks y'all!

 

It's about finding a combination of properties that, when coupled with your pens/inks/pencils/whatever gives you the writing experience you want, hopefully without breaking your budget.

 

Of course, if you're happy with whatever you're currently using, there might not be any reason at all for you to experiment with other papers. That's entirely up to you.

 

--flatline

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