Tag Archives: Rhodia

Rhodia Premium “R” Paper

With Rhodia’s 80th Anniversary Celebration and Giveaway going on this week at the shop, I figured it might be nice to see some of Rhodia’s greatest hits. Rhodia’s Premium paper is some of my favourite paper out there for fountain pen nuts. 

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Rhodia Premium “R” Paper is the higher end version of their paper, and it’s available in pads or in their Webnotebooks. It is super paper. Back when I was in the store full time, I had a regular customer who came in to buy stacks of Rhodia pads for his research and notes, and every once in a while he would get a Premium pad as a treat, and we would discuss how it’s a bit more luxurious, and how your ideas suddenly become much classier when it’s on the smooth ivory paper. (We are mostly referring to his ideas, as I just doodle, and I am assuming he still comes in.)

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Rhodia Premium Paper is the more expensive and higher quality version of the Rhodia paper that is in most of their pads. We carry the Premium pads in orange and black, and in A4 and A5 size.

Here are some of the key differences:

Premium Standard
Ivory White
90gsm 80gsm
Ruled, Plain* Ruled, Graph, Dot, Plain*
70 sheets 80 sheets
Costs more Costs less

*We normally don’t stock the plain, but let us know if you’d like us to bring it in as a special order.

The cover on the premium paper is also a bit more suede-y.

This stuff is the bee’s knees. It’s creamy, both in colour and texture. It’s super smooth, and there is as close to no feathering or bleed-through as you can get. If you are writing a letter, a note to your boss, or playing around with a flex pen, this is it. It’s heavier and denser, so even though a pad of it is the same thickness as a regular Rhodia pad, it has fewer sheets.

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The writing sample was done with a Noodler’s Ahab and J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie, which is a great shading ink. With many shading inks or inks with sheen, it shows up best on good paper, like Clairefontaine, Tomoe River or this Rhodia paper here.

The thing about an Ahab or a Noodler’s flex pen is that they’re flexible, but more like an average person flexible, not ballerina flexible, so when you write with it, sometimes your pressure on the tines forces the tines to dig in a bit to the paper. On some paper, this is terrible, and on most paper it’s okay. The digging into the paper with the tines scratches up the fibres, and the ink feathers more as a result. 

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However, I also find that part of being so “ink-resistant”, or so completely anti-feather or bleeding at all, is that if you have a very dry pen, it will seem to write even drier, because there is nothing to help draw the ink out.

While this paper can handle the really wet pens, it also has a noticeably longer dry time – something to be careful of if you’re writing with a super broad or italic nib, or if you’re left-handed. It’s the trade-off for your inks looking crispy crispy.

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There is no bleedthrough at all, even where the tines pressed the hardest. With a regular nib and writing without pressure as you normally would with a fountain pen, you would certainly be hard-pressed to get any bleed through with almost any ink.

Rhodia’s standard line of paper is great for getting the job done, but the premium stuff is when you need to get it done with a little panache. It’s also just…nice to write with.

Rhodia 80th Anniversary Celebration Giveaway

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You may vaguely recall those beautiful white special edition Rhodia pads that disappeared very quickly from our shop (we tried to get more! we’re still trying!). These were released in celebration of Rhodia’s 80th Anniversary.

Even more special, however, is that we have been invited to join the cool kids in giving away these limited edition pad and pencil sets!

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Come see us in our brick & mortar shop sometime this week and speak the magic words:

“Please give me a Rhodia box set”
“I heard there was a Rhodia giveaway”
“I could use some Rhodia paper and a Rhodia pencil”
etc.

…to receive your very own celebration.

*Limited quantity- come soon!

Fountain Pens & Paper

Often when people start using fountain pens, they discover quickly after that not all paper is made equal. When using ballpoints or rollerballs, most paper performs fairly similarly, which has to do with the oil-based greasier ink of these types of pen.

How well your ink does on your paper has to do with your pen, your ink and your paper. The wetter the pen, the more ink goes on the page, and so the more likely you’ll have problems. Certain inks display certain tendencies, and so you’ll have to play around and try a few inks to see how they differ. However, the paper you write on often has the biggest variation in how your pen and ink perform.

Paper weight is an indication of how heavy it is. Most paper is measured according to “gsm” or grams per square meter. American paper weights are in pounds, and it’s very confusing. My reference point is: 20lb paper is around 75 gsm. Rhodia’s standard staplebound pads have 80gsm paper. If you ask me any more questions about paper weight in lbs, I will likely spend a long time on this online conversion tool.

I think the real difference between how paper performs comes down to the sizing of the paper, or how the paper is treated in manufacturing to change the absorbency level of the paper. The basic idea is that the more absorbent the paper is, the more feathering and bleed through you will experience. Paper that has additional surface sizing will have the ink sit on top of the paper and take longer to dry, rather than absorbing into the paper, to dry quickly.

Bad things that can happen with paper:

Show-through: if you’re writing on the other side of the page, show-through or ghosting can make it more difficult to read what you’re writing. This is much more prevalent in thinner paper, such as Tomoe River Paper, and obviously if you hold it up to the light.

Bleedthrough on low quality paper with fountain pen ink

Bleed-through happens with a lot of ink on more absorbent paper.

Bleed-through: when the ink actually makes it way to the other side, bleed through makes it almost impossible to use the back page. Really terrible paper may even have ink on the next page.

Feathering: this is probably the least acceptable characteristic. Many people are willing to forgo the back of the page, but if the writing itself on the page looks terrible, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

Feathering on low-quality paper with fountain pen ink

Feathering makes your letters look a little hairy.

Here are a few ways to think about paper: 1. Regular paper
This is the copy paper at your office, or the lined notebooks for students. This paper often isn’t great for fountain pens, as it was designed for fast consumption and for use with ballpoints. There are a few types of copy paper that are designed for laser printers, and that perform quite well with fountain pens, for example HP Laser Jet 32lb paper.

If you’re stuck using poorer quality paper, you can try either using a thinner nib, like EF or F, or trying an ink that general performs a little better on cheaper papers, like Noodler’s X-Feather, or Rohrer & Klinger’s Iron Gall Salix.

2. French/European paper
Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper are considered two of the top brands in paper. While both companies make a variety of paper formats and sizes and weights, in general, their paper is smoother, slightly thicker and excellent for fountain pens. Most people find they can use broad, stub or flex nibs without problem because this paper is good.

High quality Rhodia paper for fountain pen ink - J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune and Flex Nib

Rhodia 80gsm pad, Noodler’s Nib Creaper Flex, J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune

This paper is more expensive than regular or copy paper, and it also has longer dry times.

3. Japanese paper
Japanese paper is making is beginning to become much more widespread in North America. Japanese paper tends to be thinner, but definitely holds up to fountain pen ink very well. Even though the paper is thinner, the lines you get are often exceptionally crisp.

Flex Nib Writing Sample and Shading Fountain Pen Ink

Life Noble Note paper, Dilli Flex and Sailor Jentle Grenade.

Life Stationery has a lot of ivory and thin paper in a huge variety of formats (notebooks, typing paper, writing paper, bank paper…), and Tomoe River Paper is exceptionally thin, and so has quite a bit of show-through. Japanese paper tends to have very long dry times.

4. Stationery Paper

Textured Laid Correspondence Stationery from G. Lalo Verge de France

G. Lalo Verge de France Stationery

Stationery or correspondence paper is usually A5 or A4 sized (rather than the North American standard sized letter or legal”) and come from Europe. This paper is often used for letter writing or more formal situations.

G. Lalo and Original Crown Mill are two companies that are known for their stationery paper, and in particular for their laid finish. This paper is thicker and much more textured, sometimes with “verge” or grid textured lines (that can be very helpful for writing straight across!).

What’s the deal with Moleskine?

We get asked quite a bit about why we’re not carrying Moleskine, mainly because we’re a stationery shop and we get a lot of people who aren’t using fountain pens but are maybe looking for a notebook. The long and short of it is that Moleskine paper is great for ballpoints and pencils, but not as great for really inky pens, like fountain pens.

There are many, many other paper products out there, some we carry and many more we don’t. You can always read reviews online, and they often also have pictures, so you can see how one paper performs, but it usually comes down to a combination of the pen, the ink and the paper, so your best bet is to try it out yourself.