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Tomoe River Paper Changing Manufacturing


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This is distressing news. I have become so (over) reliant on the known properties of TR in regards to pen/nib/ink compatibility that I do not know of a suitable-to-me alternative if the new stuff turns out to be (bleep) in comparison. I wonder how large a book can be bound with those A4 sheets of TR I've got stocked up?

Dammit I hate product change. It's almost always for the worse too.

Arrgh!

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This is distressing news. I have become so (over) reliant on the known properties of TR in regards to pen/nib/ink compatibility that I do not know of a suitable-to-me alternative if the new stuff turns out to be (bleep) in comparison. I wonder how large a book can be bound with those A4 sheets of TR I've got stocked up?

Dammit I hate product change. It's almost always for the worse too.

Arrgh!

 

If you buy a stapler ( I think they are called Long Reach), then you can make notebooks easily via this method. Or you can learn how to saddle stitch.

 

I usually buy B5 paper (Kokuyo) and make my notebooks using the stapler method above. I prefer 50 sheets, which I can get very easily. Maybe 100 sheets, when using this method, gives you 200 sheets (A4 folded becomes A5).

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If you buy a stapler ( I think they are called Long Reach), then you can make notebooks easily via this method. Or you can learn how to saddle stitch.

 

I usually buy B5 paper (Kokuyo) and make my notebooks using the stapler method above. I prefer 50 sheets, which I can get very easily. Maybe 100 sheets, when using this method, gives you 200 sheets (A4 folded becomes A5).

Had to look up "Long reach stapler" -- I just have the typical heavy duty type, but that only has a 2 inch throat. I may have to budget for one of these -- though my common use is stapling mid-size manual printed from PDFs (Larger manuals either get 2-hole punched for ACCO report covers, or comb binders).

 

Though I'd think, even if you adjust for center of sheet, folding 50+ at the staples is going to result in very staggered outer edges...

 

For pamphlet size stuff, theoretically up to 20 sheets (so 40 sheets folded, 80 pages), a booklet stapler https://bostitchoffice.com/booklet-stapler-black.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs-ftj4uW6wIVTNbACh1HLgRVEAQYASABEgJZkPD_BwE might be desirable (especially as one folds the paper first, then balances the crease over the anvil edge for centering).

Edited by BaronWulfraed
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Had to look up "Long reach stapler" -- I just have the typical heavy duty type, but that only has a 2 inch throat. I may have to budget for one of these -- though my common use is stapling mid-size manual printed from PDFs (Larger manuals either get 2-hole punched for ACCO report covers, or comb binders).

 

Though I'd think, even if you adjust for center of sheet, folding 50+ at the staples is going to result in very staggered outer edges...

 

For pamphlet size stuff, theoretically up to 20 sheets (so 40 sheets folded, 80 pages), a booklet stapler https://bostitchoffice.com/booklet-stapler-black.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs-ftj4uW6wIVTNbACh1HLgRVEAQYASABEgJZkPD_BwE might be desirable (especially as one folds the paper first, then balances the crease over the anvil edge for centering).

 

I used the one at the school library before Covid to make some. IRC, the stapler could stapled around 100 pages, and it was very easy to center the staples. What I did to prevent outer edges, was to make the covers be a bit larger than the paper inside them. So that no edges appeared. Moreover, I used old comics I had multiples of to decorate the covers. The coolest one being when wolverine tricks Mr FixIt (Grey Hulk) to do his dirty work in the Wolverine comic series.

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I've just received cream and white TR blank A5 sheets from JetPens in packaging I've never seen before. It's not the typical Sakae Technical packaging. Using Google Translate, the text reads "Tomoe River Notebook White 52g/m2 A/5T eye 100 sheets". Not sure what the T is or the "eye", probably a mistranslation.

 

Scan of the white paper packaging front:

fpn_1597336960__img_20200813_0001.jpg

 

and back:

fpn_1597336988__img_20200813_0002.jpg

 

Pretty sure it's the new paper. Edited out initial observations, as I'm not really sure if they are true, to be tested further. I think the new paper is of the new type based on the change from Sakae Technical to this new paper packaging. That's my assumption, and it can well be wrong. It just seems doubtfully coincidental to receive new paper packaging at this time, and I noticed JetPens has updated their product pictures of Tomoe River loose leaf packs since I placed my order.

Edited by Intensity

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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Using Google Translate, the text reads "Tomoe River Notebook White 52g/m2 A/5T eye 100 sheets". Not sure what the T is or the "eye", probably a mistranslation.

 

目 is the word for eye, and its primary meaning is indeed the organ of visual input. However, "T目" being paper industry jargon, and not expressed entirely in Japanese (which would be 縦目) at that, no general language translator could be expected to understand the context and express in English the concept represented by the term. See:

At a guess, the "A/5" (preceding "T目") just means A5 size.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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The thing being (mis)translated as EYE is referring to paper grain in this context. @Dill thanks for those links: the illustrations make it pretty clear that T目 means long grain, which I wasn't sure about before.

Edited by XYZZY
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Quote: "Pretty sure it's the new paper."

 

Ok, so despite the different packaging, the Tomoe River from Jet Pens that I just got appears to be the same as my older 52g TR paper. I've done a lot of tests writing side-by side with the same pens and inks, and the results are the same in all ways. Texture and color of the sheets are the same. So I conclude that the packaging didn't make a difference in this case. Not sure who this competing distributor is that makes those packs, but they have the same paper as my older Sakae Technical packs. Probably the paper I got is from the older stock, pre-change, as I expected to see at least some difference if this were the new paper, but I didn't.

Edited by Intensity

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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I saw this review/comparison doesn't seem good as it has a texture that wasn't there before.

 

 

Thanks for the link! It's an interesting read.

 

The changes seem all positive from my perspective, so I might give the brand another chance; and also hope this transition is a hype-killer to make everyone re-evaluate and reset their expectations.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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On a vaguely related note, while we are lamenting the changes to Tomoe River 52g, I'm also lamenting the inconsistency in my other favored Italian paper: Fabriano Bioprima.

 

I've just finished my 4mm dot grid glue-bound A5 notebook which I use for ink reviews and moved on to a fresh A5 with the same paper but with 5mm dot grid. I've bought various versions of this paper while on my trips to Italy and the UK from Fabriano boutiques, as well as a few local in USA from an art store. Well, I was noticing more feathering than usual in my new notebook and thought it was the new inks I was testing. Went back to my finished 4mm dot grid notebook and wrote with the same pens there. Nope, definitely a significant difference in paper. The 4mm dot grid one has zero feathering and crisp lines compared to some feathering and bloated lines in the new 5mm one. Then I went through 3 more 5mm dot grid Fabriano Bioprima gluebound notebooks from all those different sources, and all are slightly different. My worst one is actually the very first one I bought in USA 3 years ago from an art store. It's a night and day difference, behaves like entirely different paper despite looking the same and being labeled the same. The 4mm printed dot grid version is smooth, good shading, crisp lines, no feathering. The worst 5mm dot grid one has higher ink penetration with lots of feathering, not as smooth, low shading.

 

All are marked as the same 85g Bioprima paper with very similar bar codes and product numbers. *Facepalm*. Now I can't even rely on this paper for consistency either :( And I've had similar adventures trying to get a good batch of Kokuyo loose leaf paper. So when I write "no feathering" on my review, the question will be "but will it be the same on another batch of this very paper?" :(

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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Thanks for the link! It's an interesting read.

 

The changes seem all positive from my perspective, so I might give the brand another chance; and also hope this transition is a hype-killer to make everyone re-evaluate and reset their expectations.

The 52gsm changes all sound perfectly fine to me too. I'm more concerned about what happens to the 68gsm, myself, as that's easily my favourite paper.

 

I'll move to Stalogy if it goes too far downhill but despite Stalogy's gorgeous shading, it really isn't the same and bleeds a lot more. Anyone heard anything on the 68gsm yet?

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On a vaguely related note, while we are lamenting the changes to Tomoe River 52g, I'm also lamenting the inconsistency in my other favored Italian paper: Fabriano Bioprima.

 

I hate this. This seemingly inevitable decay of things. I have never tried Fab Bio but was on my list of contingency papers. Thing is it's all well and good (not) that companies change things, usually for the worse, but there was always the assumption that there'd be something else out there to be discovered that could pick up the slack. Something to fall back on. Problem is that in this day and age fine stationery that can handle the demands of a variety of liquid inks gushing forth from a variety of different nib sizes and degrees of wetness is just not profitable enough to make in any volume. And it's only going to get worse with increasing "paperless" computerisation of all things. Those hand made papers I've seen for sale in craft markets just don't cut it and are barely suitable for the driest of ballpoints and graphite so I'd imagine a small niche maker producing something like Tomoe River 52 or 68 is not on the cards.

 

I'm very fond if the 52 TR; it took everything I ever threw at it, all manner of inks in a variety of different pens bar one rare ink of a strange colour I never use anyway. It was smooth enough such that even if you had a junk QC nib the characteristics of the paper compensated for and helped to mask the pen manufacturers' now seemingly typical and near ubiquitous inadequacies. It's light and thin meaning a bound volume can have double the pages at the same size and weight as comparable papers that aren't even as good (imo). When soaked it doesn't just disintegrate but is strong enough such that when left to dry a sheet can be written on again without problem. Multiple times (I've tried).

 

It was the titanium of papers.

 

Maybe the new stuff isn't that bad. But the old stuff is a known quantity to me.

It's all so tedious.

Well that's enough whinging from me today. I'm off to try this new cotton rag stuff to see if it'll suffice.

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How do the Seven Seas Notebooks compare with the Musubi Tomo folio A5 noteooks? I want to stock up just in case the change is worse than it sounds.

I am using both, the paper is the same, or at least it feels that way to my nibs. The difference is that Musubi has 100 fewer pages than the Nanami Seven Seas, as well as a stiffer cover. Both are fabulous journals. For those of us living outside of the US, Nanami has stopped shipping due to issues with the USPS. I have reached out to Dave (Nanami proprietor) on a couple of occasions to ask if he would consider using a courier like FedEx or DHL at my expense to ship to Canada, but he has not responded.

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Looks like Dave from Nanami Paper has the new Tomoe River paper and is sending out samples to people who send a stamped self-addressed envelope.

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Maybe the new stuff isn't that bad. But the old stuff is a known quantity to me.

It's all so tedious.

Well that's enough whinging from me today. I'm off to try this new cotton rag stuff to see if it'll suffice.

 

 

Learning, knowing, due diligence and/or keeping up to date with industry/market/technological "advances" or changes take time and effort. Everyone has to make a personal decision to stock up, "preserve" and do one's best to stay cocooned in an earlier snapshot of everything, or stay up-to-date, learn about changes and trends, and do one's best to adapt even if compromises have to be made and some previous "knowledge" about the world as it is has to be discarded. Practitioners of medicine, law, accounting, and many other disciplines have to do it (as professional or licensing requirements). Keen runners, swimmers, sport shooters, etc. have to keep across new inventions, products and trends to stay competitive. Doing what it takes to retain or continue having what one has known and enjoyed should not be tedium or "so tedious", but an active pursuit and investment in what one really likes.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct, and valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Looks like Dave from Nanami Paper has the new Tomoe River paper and is sending out samples to people who send a stamped self-addressed envelope.

Sadly, not to anyone outside of the US. The last 5 Musubi TR 52gsm journals I ordered recently are the old stock.

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  • 1 month later...

I've just tried my 2021 Hobonichi Cousin, expecting new TR52 paper. But the paper in the planner appears to be identical to the pre-factory change TR52, I even got out a strong magnifying glass to look at edge definition of ink lines and paper texture. Just a data point for those considering the 2021 Cousin books. I don't know if they will all be using old paper stock, but mine arrived from Amazon Japan about a month ago. It was going out of stock there frequently, so I assumed I was getting the most recent batch.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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  • 3 months later...
On 10/25/2020 at 2:02 PM, Intensity said:

I've just tried my 2021 Hobonichi Cousin, expecting new TR52 paper. But the paper in the planner appears to be identical to the pre-factory change TR52, I even got out a strong magnifying glass to look at edge definition of ink lines and paper texture. Just a data point for those considering the 2021 Cousin books. I don't know if they will all be using old paper stock, but mine arrived from Amazon Japan about a month ago. It was going out of stock there frequently, so I assumed I was getting the most recent batch.

 

I came looking to find out if Hobonichis for 2021 used old or new because on one of my pages the ink has feathered and bled through to the back... never seen that for TR before 😐

 

I also didn't see it happen on the other pages so far...

 

Edit: I just saw that 2021 planners use old TR, so I'll assume I just have an awkwardly dud page or I left hand oils on that part or something

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Hm I'm not sure--normally when there are oils on a TR52 page, the ink just doesn't adhere well if at all.  It shouldn't be bleeding through or feathering.  If it's just one page and the rest are fine, could be somehow that page.  My Hobonichi Cousin 2021 has been completely identical to its 2020 version for paper performance and appearance.  

 

I frequently use a  water brush to do ink drawings on the margins of my Hobonichi Cousin, and then some inks can indeed bleed through--or rather some of the ink components.  For instance yellow or pink components from some brown or red Japanese inks I use can show through slightly on the other side.  I haven't seen any feathering in normal writing, however.

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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