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My current journey to find my perfect paper and ink



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So, it's no secret here that I've been in love with the Platinum Blue Black ink for a while, and I really have continued to appreciate it. However, in writing on a number of different notebooks with this ink, I've noticed a trend that I *didn't* like. 

 

Since I am writing usually with stub-ish nibs at this point, mostly a Platinum Music nib, the issue I found was that on the super smooth, classically fountain pen friendly papers, the color of the ink was really good, but slightly too variable for my tastes. That is, because the ink has some shading properties, and the Music nib shows slight variations in wetness throughout the use of the pen, it would mean that sometimes I would get a lighter, heavily shaded line, and other times, a darker line. Frankly, I liked the saturation and tone of the darker line a little bit better, but the "nicer" fountain pen paper just isn't as good at bringing this out. Moreover, I found that I appreciated some feedback in the paper, even though the Music nib already provides some feedback. 

 

The Blue Black ink is very forgiving, since it's iron gall, and it is designed with some quick drying in mind, at least according to their packaging, so it tends to be very well behaved. So, I started hunting out an ideal balance of paper, but this time, trying to look for *absorbent* fountain pen friendly paper. That has taken me all across the map. 

 

I found that things like Clairefontaine or Rhodia white were okay, but they were too smooth and brightened, making the color a little too light. The nicely textured MD paper was too yellow/cream, and also had a tendency to resist ink spread too much, meaning that the paper didn't take the ink nearly well enough to get consistently crisp lines. The Apica CD paper was pretty good, but still "too white" and too ink resistant. Some of the cheap composition notebooks were just too absorbent, and they didn't provide a crisp enough line for me while also just having overall quality of life issues. 

 

Tsubame Comfort was too cream, but I haven't tried their normal note. However, during this time, I also discovered that I really appreciate the ultra thin papers in terms of being able to get a lot of content down in a single book, but also in being able to have more pages while still not annoying my hand while writing. This meant that I was searching for absorbent but crisp, thin fountain pen friendly paper. Tomoe River paper was okay, but again, not nearly absorbent enough. 

 

Apica Premium A.865 Silky paper is actually really good. It's just a hair too bright/light for the ink color, making my notes come out much brighter and less "sober" than I would like, but the feeling of the paper is really neat. It's also a touch more absorbent than other papers, which meant I got a more consistent line with a slightly better saturation. Still, I found that while the premium notebooks are possibly the best notebooks I've used in terms of build quality (leaps and bounds better than the Noble Note, which was also *way* too yellow) and I did find the paper enjoyable, it's thicker than I would have liked, and just not quite there.

 

At this point, I've now picked up a set of Kokuyo high grade MIO notebooks and a Jibun Techo with the MIO paper as well as the THIN paper. I've been really pleasantly surprised by this paper and notebook in ways that I didn't think I would. I am still a bit hesitant about the glue binding on the notebooks, but given the paper, I'm willing to give them a shot and see how things pan out. What I like about both the THIN paper and the MIO paper is that they were designed to be ultra-thin papers while also being crinkle resistant and more absorbent/quick drying. I don't actually care about the dry time per se, but what this means is that the ink absorbs on the paper a little better and in a little bit greater quantity, leading to a more saturated line that's basically the perfect, elegant, sober color of blue that I love the Platinum Blue Black for. Moreover, they both have that extra little bit of feedback that helps to make the writing experience a bit more pleasant for me.

 

The MIO paper is definitely a bit higher quality than the THIN paper. I like having the same paper in both my planner and my notebooks, and I like the consistent line quality I get from the MIO paper as well as the color. The thin nature of the paper means that my notebooks are much handier now, and yet they can grow to contain the contents that I want in them. The THIN paper takes the ink a bit more readily, so the line that it writes is a bid broader than the line with the MIO paper, but both are well behaved for me in this combination. I can also agree with Kokuyo's advertising that the show through on both papers is less than the Tomoe River paper, and I think that's also a plus. I can get bleedthrough if I scrape the paper away through the use of a UEF nib and excessive "scrubbing", but that only happens when I really do strip the paper off. 

 

My biggest complaint about the MIO paper is that it doesn't come in a high capacity B5 size. The Apica Premium notebooks have a terrific form factor with their high page count and B5 size option. I wish that Kokuyo offered that. I'm also not sure how the glue binding will hold up. 

 

Overall, though, I'd have to rate my best paper experiences so far as the Apica A.865 Silky Premium and the Kokuyo MIO+THIN paper. I suspect based on my experience with the Tsubame Comfort cream paper, that I will also find the Tsubame Fools paper in white to be quite good. 

 

I was surprisingly disappointed by the MD paper (though I still have one notebook that I'm using of the stuff). Rhodia Premium is also quite good, but the color is just too much for me. 

 

I'd love any other recommendations people have for ultra-thin paper that can compete with TR, MIO, and THIN paper. 

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When I first read "THIN" above I thought you were using all-caps to stress that you wanted really thin paper.  But you keep writing it that way.  Is that a paper brand?  

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10 hours ago, XYZZY said:

When I first read "THIN" above I thought you were using all-caps to stress that you wanted really thin paper.  But you keep writing it that way.  Is that a paper brand?  

 

Yes, it's a brand of Kokuyo paper. 

 

紙へのこだわり|1年で終わらない。一生つかう「ジブン手帳2021」|商品情報|コクヨ ステーショナリー (kokuyo-st.co.jp)

 

The Jibun Techo originally came in Tomoe River paper in most of their stuff (as far as I can tell) along with the Biz version coming in MIO paper, but Kokuyo I think wanted to gain more control (and maybe better margins) over some of the experience, so they switched over to a newly designed paper they call THIN paper. The LIFE booklet and the Biz planner both still come with the MIO paper, but the normal planner and the IDEA booklets both come with their THIN paper instead of the Tomoe River paper they were using before. It's supposed to also be a 52gsm paper, but made to be a bit "harder" and more resistant to crinkling and showthrough, which are two of the biggest complaints about Tomoe River paper. The idea is that the paper is still thin, but allows for the use of Frixion erasable pens (quite popular apparently) on the paper without messing it up as much, and also prevents as much ghosting. 

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18 hours ago, Karmachanic said:

Give Stalogy a try

 

I've looked at them! The only thing is that where I can find them, they all seem to be in the 365 format with graph paper, which is a format that is pretty off putting, especially with the daily planner layout. I know in my head that I could just ignore the dates and I'd probably be able to get over the graph paper in such a big book, but emotionally it's a big push for me at the moment. 😞 However, they do look nice. 

 

I do want to pick one of them up at least once to give them a try though. 

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6 hours ago, arcfide said:

 

I've looked at them! The only thing is that where I can find them, they all seem to be in the 365 format with graph paper, which is a format that is pretty off putting, especially with the daily planner layout. I know in my head that I could just ignore the dates and I'd probably be able to get over the graph paper in such a big book, but emotionally it's a big push for me at the moment. 😞 However, they do look nice. 

 

I do want to pick one of them up at least once to give them a try though. 

 

With 368 pages of TR-like paper at a reasonable price, I find both the fine, feint dates at the top of the page, and the grid easy to ignore. I use a 6mm guide sheet.

 

I also use TR. Just purchased some defective Elia Note A5 journals. Not bothered too much about the defects as I recycle once filled. They should arrive by weeks end. I'll post a mini review. 496 pages of TR at £12 will, no doubt, help me similarly ignore the defects.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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On 12/6/2020 at 4:45 AM, Karmachanic said:

 

With 368 pages of TR-like paper at a reasonable price, I find both the fine, feint dates at the top of the page, and the grid easy to ignore. I use a 6mm guide sheet.

 

I also use TR. Just purchased some defective Elia Note A5 journals. Not bothered too much about the defects as I recycle once filled. They should arrive by weeks end. I'll post a mini review. 496 pages of TR at £12 will, no doubt, help me similarly ignore the defects.

 

Is the Stalogy paper more ink absorbent than TR or about the same? While I like the thinness of TR, the MIO and THIN Kokuyo papers do have a distinct advantage over TR in that they take ink a little more readily, so the color is a little more consistently saturated over the more ink resistant sizings like TR/Apica. 

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4 minutes ago, arcfide said:

 

Is the Stalogy paper more ink absorbent than TR or about the same?. 

 

It is.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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On 12/8/2020 at 2:00 AM, Karmachanic said:

 

It is.

 

Cool! I've got it on my Christmas wish list, so maybe someone will pick one up for me. One thing I do like about them is that they have a B5 size, which Kokuyo MIO and most TR notebooks don't have in high page counts.

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On 12/6/2020 at 9:45 AM, Karmachanic said:

 

With 368 pages of TR-like paper at a reasonable price, I find both the fine, feint dates at the top of the page, and the grid easy to ignore. I use a 6mm guide sheet.

 

I also use TR. Just purchased some defective Elia Note A5 journals. Not bothered too much about the defects as I recycle once filled. They should arrive by weeks end. I'll post a mini review. 496 pages of TR at £12 will, no doubt, help me similarly ignore the defects.

Just received mine and the minor defect was really minor to the point of being unnoticeable in my opinion.  The differences are that the lines are now 7mm rather than 6, are not the original maroon dots which made for a very attractive line, and have no small header line.  The cover is slightly rougher, but the whole thing still feels top quality and at the knockdown price really is a steal.  For a journal this is my favourite to date (and that's having used a variety of brands over almost 40 years).  I can't praise this product enough, and Olivia is always charming in her communications!

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14 hours ago, Firecrest said:

Just received mine and the minor defect was really minor to the point of being unnoticeable in my opinion. 

 

Same experience.

@arcfide. As for B5, I hear Stalogy calling you 🙂

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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11 hours ago, Karmachanic said:

 

Same experience.

@arcfide. As for B5, I hear Stalogy calling you 🙂

 

Indeed, Stalogy is one of the only makers to produce something like this. That grid though. 😞 

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