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Once You Go Rhodia, You Never Go Back?



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Hi all,

 

For those of you just tuning in, I just got back into fountain pens after a long layoff. Among other things, I am studying for IT certifications (Security+, RHCE, passed the CCNA two months ago) and it is well-documented in the scientific literature that taking handwritten notes (see, e.g., https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop) improves retention dramatically. So, I figured if I am going to be writing a lot, why not pick up some tools that make the job nicer and easier?

 

The first "nice" notebook that I got, which I use for my RHCE studies, was a Moleskine. The hard cover and ribbon place markers are both very nice, but I quickly discovered that the paper quality left a lot to be desired. More specifically, I got awful shadowing and bleed-through even when using well-behaved inks that usually do not have those issues. Truth be told, I was very disappointed, especially given that I forked over nearly thirty bucks for the thing.

 

Disappointed as I was with the Moleskine, and after watching numerous ink review videos that mentioned Rhodia and Leuchtturm1917, among others, I decided to take the plunge. Previously, my only experience with "fine" paper was the bond lawyer letterhead/pleading paper that my boss at my last job insisted upon continuing to purchase and use. My first foray into this new world was a Leuchtturm1917 Master A4+ notebook, which I now use for my bullet journal.

 

From the moment I took the plastic off, I knew I had scored something extraordinary. The pages in that thing feel like what you would find in a wedding guest book or something else reserved for similarly formal occasions. It was/is magical, otherworldly, nothing like the bond paper I mentioned, and certainly nothing at all like the reams upon reams of copier paper I had grown accustomed to at my last job. I also could not believe how well the nibs of my pens glided across that paper, as opposed to the constant skipping and feathering I experience with my Moleskine. Also, I love love love dot grid paper as it allows me to keep my outline format notes straight. It's like nothing I have ever experienced before.

 

After my Great Awakening with Leuchtturm1917, I ordered some Rhodia spiral pads, also in dot grid. Admittedly, I was loath to spend close to US$35 on notebooks that I had grown accustomed to getting for 1/10th the price. I used them in class tonight and, well... same thing. Magical. I just... I can't even. I'm hooked. I love the stuff. I can't get enough of it. It is amazing to me how much of a difference a few small luxuries like nice paper, ink, and pens make what would seem like a mundane everyday activity like writing something truly special and extraordinary.

 

I'm not a snob and I loathe conspicuous consumption, hence a distaste for Mont Blanc. I am a practical guy and I am loath to spend big bucks on innocuous things like paper. And I constantly hear the voice of my dearly departed grandmother who lived through the Great Depression: "It costs ten times as much, is it ten times as good?" Well, in the case of this paper that is expensive as all get out, yes it is.

 

Moleskine? Pfft. What I really feel now is best not repeated in polite company.

 

Trouble is, I have half of my RHCE notes in it, so pitching it is not an option. Once again, experience is a cruel teacher that gives the test before the lesson.

 

I also find that, when I hand-write study notes, daily plans, thought logs, agendas for meetings, or whatever, it is much easier for me to get into a state of "flow" than when using the computer. Why, I'm not sure, maybe it's because I spend more time putting thoughts to paper than constantly having to fight M$ Word as it does its best to botch up even the simplest of documents.

 

One more thing: I can't help but wonder how much of the cost of these fine papers is import duties and taxes. Are they cheaper in other countries?

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Amazon Germany Prime price for Leuchtturm1917 Master A4+ is 26,95 Euros inc tax (circa $33). Not certain about purchase tax (MwSt) on blank paper but I assume it's the standard 19%.

 

So it doesn't sound like there is too much import tax applied in the US.

Edited by AidenMark

Less is More - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Less is a Bore - Robert Venturi

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roaringrabbit

I get my paper from goulet pens and jetpens. They have a good selection at several price points. Few other good brands too! Have you had a chance to try Tomoe River paper yet? It brings out the best in every ink I have used and is very fountain pen friendly.

I put a spell on you..

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Rhodia dotPad n°18 is something like 6 €, here (France). Most of the price you pay seems to be shipping and taxes.

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Hi all,

 

For those of you just tuning in, I just got back into fountain pens after a long layoff. Among other things, I am studying for IT certifications (Security+, RHCE, passed the CCNA two months ago) and it is well-documented in the scientific literature that taking handwritten notes (see, e.g., https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop) improves retention dramatically. So, I figured if I am going to be writing a lot, why not pick up some tools that make the job nicer and easier?

 

The first "nice" notebook that I got, which I use for my RHCE studies, was a Moleskine. The hard cover and ribbon place markers are both very nice, but I quickly discovered that the paper quality left a lot to be desired. More specifically, I got awful shadowing and bleed-through even when using well-behaved inks that usually do not have those issues. Truth be told, I was very disappointed, especially given that I forked over nearly thirty bucks for the thing.

 

Disappointed as I was with the Moleskine, and after watching numerous ink review videos that mentioned Rhodia and Leuchtturm1917, among others, I decided to take the plunge. Previously, my only experience with "fine" paper was the bond lawyer letterhead/pleading paper that my boss at my last job insisted upon continuing to purchase and use. My first foray into this new world was a Leuchtturm1917 Master A4+ notebook, which I now use for my bullet journal.

 

From the moment I took the plastic off, I knew I had scored something extraordinary. The pages in that thing feel like what you would find in a wedding guest book or something else reserved for similarly formal occasions. It was/is magical, otherworldly, nothing like the bond paper I mentioned, and certainly nothing at all like the reams upon reams of copier paper I had grown accustomed to at my last job. I also could not believe how well the nibs of my pens glided across that paper, as opposed to the constant skipping and feathering I experience with my Moleskine. Also, I love love love dot grid paper as it allows me to keep my outline format notes straight. It's like nothing I have ever experienced before.

 

After my Great Awakening with Leuchtturm1917, I ordered some Rhodia spiral pads, also in dot grid. Admittedly, I was loath to spend close to US$35 on notebooks that I had grown accustomed to getting for 1/10th the price. I used them in class tonight and, well... same thing. Magical. I just... I can't even. I'm hooked. I love the stuff. I can't get enough of it. It is amazing to me how much of a difference a few small luxuries like nice paper, ink, and pens make what would seem like a mundane everyday activity like writing something truly special and extraordinary.

 

I'm not a snob and I loathe conspicuous consumption, hence a distaste for Mont Blanc. I am a practical guy and I am loath to spend big bucks on innocuous things like paper. And I constantly hear the voice of my dearly departed grandmother who lived through the Great Depression: "It costs ten times as much, is it ten times as good?" Well, in the case of this paper that is expensive as all get out, yes it is.

 

Moleskine? Pfft. What I really feel now is best not repeated in polite company.

 

Trouble is, I have half of my RHCE notes in it, so pitching it is not an option. Once again, experience is a cruel teacher that gives the test before the lesson.

 

I also find that, when I hand-write study notes, daily plans, thought logs, agendas for meetings, or whatever, it is much easier for me to get into a state of "flow" than when using the computer. Why, I'm not sure, maybe it's because I spend more time putting thoughts to paper than constantly having to fight M$ Word as it does its best to botch up even the simplest of documents.

 

One more thing: I can't help but wonder how much of the cost of these fine papers is import duties and taxes. Are they cheaper in other countries?

 

I love using Rhodia dot pad, ever since I felt/touched it at a penshop ( I had bought a moleskin notebook a few weeks earlier with a lamy safari at another shop, unfortunately the notebook is still in its wrapping paper and is not being used). A lamy fp and rhodia is a good combination IMO. A good alternative to the notebook is the pad paper which seems a lot cheaper than the notebooks.

"Storyteller, unfold thy words untold!"

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I personally hate Rhodia. Dry time too slow.

 

There’s a LOT of good, cheap paper out there. Mead used fountain pen friendly paper in this year’s batch of composition books, so I bought a stack of 5 despite not loving lined paper for much besides calligraphy drill. $1 each on sale it was worth it. The back cover has a nice sturdy line guide, very helpful if I’m going ultra fancy on blank paper.

 

Maruman Basics is around $6 for a B5 spiral notebook with double sided paper. Lined, graph and blank options. 80 sheets, so decently large.

 

Fabriano’s Eco Qua line should be available in most college bookstores, and has really good paper. The form factors can be a bit weird if you want standard us style stuff, but there’s probably something you will like.

 

Most art supply shops offer a range of paper by the full sheet. Want to try out 6 different kinds of cotton papers? You can. It’s mostly going to be heavier paper, but buying by the full sheet is very cheap compared to prefab books if you’re fussy. At “regular” writing weight it probably will be by the roll, if the shop has it at all. Sketchbooks also come much cheaper than a Moleskine and for regular writing can hold up fine. Blank usually, but art shops tend to offer a little lined paper for when you don’t feel like doing your own line guide.

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Charles Rice

Rhodia is fine paper, no doubt. I like to use it for taking notes. The pen seems to glide on the paper. I just filled a couple of pages as I "attended" a Corel webinar on Paint Shop Pro. Drying time has never been a problem no matter how wet my pen, I use the lined which I find a bit tight for letters. Besides I prefer 100% cotton when I'm using sail mail.

 

I might have used it when I wrote my book, but it is a little pricy for that. For the book I got a huge supply of dot matrix continuous feed which I got for free.

 

If you need a lot of paper and are not too concerned about quality, see if the office you work at has a back room full of that old paper that was pulled through by sprockets. All you have to do is pull the sheet apart. Often as not, it was going to be thrown out anyway. I'll never have to by more paper for my ink jet printer.

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I guess it's different for everyone. I personally find it too shiny and ink-repellent, along with Clairefontaine.

 

For me it was the first exposure to Seven Seas TR notebooks when I thought : why would I want to write on anything else from now on?

 

Same process happened at work, but with a different paper : Kokuyo's Campus refills. (I absolutely need a binder type setup at work, so TR was out of the question)

 

-k

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For that kind of work, I honestly just say F#$% it and buy cheap paper and use ballpoints, gel pens, and rollerballs.

 

Tomoe is definitely more for personal use and not as practical... But the feel and experience is unequalled.

 

I'll keep the Kokuyo's in mind though. Thank you for the mention.

Edited by IndigoBOB
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Red N Black (available at Office Depot/OfficeMax, Staples - about $10 for A4 ring bound - 140 pages. Not as slick as Clairfontaine, Rhodia, or Tomoe River (TR is my favorite for letters. Especially international mail). It is FP friendly, but a tad more absorbent. The Rhodia I have is mostly A4 top bound pads. I have dot, grid and blank in A4 and a dot pad A5. Sometimes Massdrop will have offerings on Rhodia pads.

 

Composition books with Brazil paper are very good, but getting harder to find. I haven't used Vietnam and Egypt paper enough at this point to have a good feel for it. They seem to be more available than Brazil the last time I looked. (I still have a few Brazil books)

 

I do like my A5 Leuchtturm notebooks, but as you have indicated they are not cheap.

Edited by Runnin_Ute

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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I find the lowly Mead Five Star spiral-bound notebooks more than adequate for fountain pen use. My philosophy is my pens have to work with whatever paper is readily available. On papers where even a fine point pen filled with ferrogallic ink feathers, I switch to pencil.

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Karmachanic

Try some HP laser paper and see how you get along. Should work well enough for your study notes. Keep the Rhodia/Clairefontaine for a journal, or something similar. Plus what wasteland said.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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Honeybadgers

Rhodia's bindings and paper smoothness are right up my alley. But their paper is offensively white. I can't stand how white that paper is anymore. And the page coating can be spotty in places, resulting in a random word bleeding and feathering HARD.

 

I'm looking for a new notebook in the A4 size that fills the role. So far, Apica premium paper has fallen on its face (even worse coating that bleeds and feathers almost the entire bottom third of every page) peter pauper press (good, but a little feather prone and only a5) and thusfar, the winner has been the "Scribbles that matter" which is lovely. No sheen, but it's heavily feather resistant and dry times are spectacular.

 

I'd love a tomoe notebook in A4.

Edited by Honeybadgers

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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I guess it's different for everyone. I personally find it too shiny and ink-repellent, along with Clairefontaine.

 

 

It's more the wide ruling that puts me off: I like the Rhodia paper fine, but I'd like it a lot more if they did lined notebooks in a narrower feint.

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Honeybadgers

 

It's more the wide ruling that puts me off: I like the Rhodia paper fine, but I'd like it a lot more if they did lined notebooks in a narrower feint.

 

Try french ruling (clairefontaine). same sized spacing but the extra lines make writing feel more compact.

Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)

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HP LaserJet 32lbs is a great suggestion to lower the cost per page, it's just thicker. Clairefontaine is an even better paper for me, although there are variations, my blank notebooks definitely seem different from the more common Séyès ruled. For a different feel, try Tomoe River. Being heavy items, the cost can get crazy in different countries, if at all available, it's the same for stereo components like speakers. I had to pester several friends to get me some paper on their travels, but I was really ashamed when the 500 Tomoe River pack arrived, it was heavier than I thought.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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Because of its availability and consistency Rhodia is often the first nice notepad or notebook FP users leviatate to, but then find the world of FP friendly paper to be a far wider and diverse adventure. For me Rhodia is an easy brand to grab in a cinch if nothing else is available, but I find that its coating although great at limiting feathering, often will reduce the thickness of the line to a point where fluidity of my writing is not as enjoyable as what is found on paper that neither reduces, nor spreads the ink, and for me that is found with Miquelrius notebooks, and Tomoe River notebooks such as the Seven Seas Writer, and Cafe Note.

Edited by JakobS

FP Ink Orphanage-Is an ink not working with your pens, not the color you're looking for, is never to see the light of day again?!! If this is you, and the ink is in fine condition otherwise, don't dump it down the sink, or throw it into the trash, send it to me (payment can be negotiated), and I will provide it a nice safe home with love, and a decent meal of paper! Please PM me!<span style='color: #000080'>For Sale:</span> TBA

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