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Seeking the Goldilocks of paper/notebooks


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Like everyone else, I’m looking for the perfect paper to start off the new year - not too big, not too small, not too thin, not too thick, and so on. I’m in a small town, so I’m searching online and getting thoroughly overwhelmed by too many search results and a lot of incomplete product descriptions. Figured I should ask people who know about such things. 


90-100gsm paper (white, cream, or tan)

Hard cover with lay-flat or wire binding (or loose leaf)

US Letter (8.5x11”) or Moleskine XL (7.5x10”) size or similar. A4 is too big, A5/B5 is too small.

Graph/squared grid (not dots) 5mm or 5 squares per inch (4 squares per inch would be tolerable, but not 7mm)


I write most often with Pilot Precise V5, followed by Lamy FP with EF nib. Clairefontaine paper is nice, but I tend to smear the ink before it dries. I have used Moleskines as daily work notebooks for years, but the 70gsm paper is just too flimsy. Ribbon page markers or elastic closures are nice, but not necessary. 

Any suggestions?
Thanks for reading! 


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  • Firecrest


  • arcfide


  • Kristin-KSHR


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I take it that you are into the thicker paper because you want something that feels more substantial in the hand instead of something that resists bleedthrough better? 


I'd look into soft cover options as well and purchasing a hardcover sleeve that goes over the notebook, since that will open up your options a lot more. 


90gsm+ is a more rare beast, so if you demand paper of that weight or greater, then you can easily start reducing your selection and find something that will stick out for you. For US notebooks, you should also make sure to search under the same pound rating equivalent. 


The easy choice is Leuchtterm1917's new thick notebook offerings, as they are the "Moleskin replacement" for people who want something a little nicer. If you're willing to go Japanese style and put a cover over your notebook, there are really excellent options from Tsubame, Maruman, Apica, Kokuyo, and others in the B5 size, which is just about what you want. They often have slightly thinner paper than 90gsm, but it often feels much better than the stuff in the Moleskins. Some of them, like Tsubame, use an 83gsm paper that feels quite substantial and is very good, but you will probably encounter smearing like you did with Clairefontaine. 


I would give https://www.fountainpenlove.com a look. He has a huge list of papers and notebooks listed there. There's both a huge table of paper tests, but also a paper finder. You can focus on dry time and ghosting, as that's likely to get you something that addresses your current issues. 

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Tomoe River at Elia Note is the loveliest paper I have ever written on.  The paper is thinner than you have described but is the most fountain pen friendly I have ever written on.  Olivia, at Elia Note, is a delight to deal with!

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