Hobonichi Techo Planner A6

So sorry this has taken so long. I’ve been dealing with a lot of administrative stuff and been a little stressed out since I came back. The reviews for July and August will be a bit late as I have nothing new to review as of now. I will try to get some stuff in later this month and will hopefully get back on track come October. Thank you so much for your patience. It really means a lot to me for you to stick around even with the irregular schedule. See you soon!

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Now this is a product that I had been waiting to get for a long time. I initially discovered the Hobonichi Techo during the time it first got extremely popular and there were several stationary bloggers that were extolling its numerous virtues. I’ll admit that I wasn’t very keen about it in the beginning. After years of scheduling and managing my weekly agenda with the excellent Calendars 5 app from Readdle. I never once gave a thought about buying and maintaining a physical planner. That all changed last semester when I found that I wanted to stop depending on my phone to manage my life and I discovered the limitations of the notes and what I can jot down. Alongside this discovery, I realized that it would be a seamless transition because everyday, I focus on writing my notes down in a notebook instead of using a laptop. Just transferring my schedule over to a planner would not be that difficult because of how much I write already.

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So I pulled the trigger and purchased the Hobonichi Techo from JetPens and with bated breath and excitement, I waited for it to arrive. Shipping was fast as always, and within 3 days, all the pens and the Hobonichi were in my hands. Keep in mind, that I had ordered the Techo in the middle of January, so I was a little hesitant to start using it right away and stored it away until the beginning of February. I remember clearly even to this day, on January 30, I excitedly opened up the Techo and started my first page on the 1st of February. Carefully having planned out my day in advance, I decided to keep the markings minimal to leave as much space as possible for any notes I wanted to write. Surprisingly, I found that for regular entries regarding classes and schedules, it wasn’t all that helpful, as most of the due dates for assignments were easily accessible through my school’s assignment portal, Canvas. Without those, I came to realize that it wasn’t the daily occurrences that needed notes, it was all the meetings with groups and friends that I needed to keep track of. Oftentimes, the specific room numbers and locations weren’t able to sync with Google Maps on the Calendars 5 app, which caused me to turn to the Notes section to keep track of room numbers and anything I needed to bring. Now that I had the Hobonichi, it was extremely convenient to write down the specifics of the meeting. I also found that in my case, I remembered a lot of the information off the top of my head, which is a benefit that comes with writing stuff down.

While the Hobonichi clearly became an integral part of my daily writing and just about replaced my smart phone app. There were some things that I had a couple of frustrations with. Since 2016, the amount of hype regarding Tomoe River paper was something that I absolutely could not ignore. With many stationary review blogs extolling its many virtues, I knew I had to get my hands on some. However, the biggest thing that stopped me was the price. Tomoe River notebooks were prohibitively expensive. I remember that there were some sellers selling sample packs of 5-10 pages to try out before investing in the journal. The problem was, no matter when I went on, they were always out of stock. Ultimately, I decided to give up on getting it and chose instead to wait until it became widely available through some of my favorite stores. I never thought that my first experience would come from the Hobonichi and I can definitively say that this paper caused me a lot of headache. To this day, I truly can’t decide whether I love it or not. The paper is silky to the touch and when using any king of pen, it’s smooth. At the same time, due to its thinness, ghosting can be a real issue. I noticed this most prominently when using a Pilot M nib. There were several instances where I just could not focus on writing down my notes because the words on the other side of the page were distracting me.

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Another downside to the Tomoe River paper was that it took a much longer time for the ink to dry. Many times when I thought the ink had dried sufficiently, I closed the planner only to find ink smeared on the following page the next morning. This really annoyed me as I have a thing for keeping pages clean and neat. Overall, there were so many great things I experienced, but it took me a long time to get used to the TR paper’s inherent “flaws”(these are subjective, so while they may be flaws to me, others might not mind as much).

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I have to say that the Hobonichi definitely changed my mind regarding physical planners and I feel that they are a great alternative to a smart phone app. An app does offer convenience and will outperform a planner in terms of efficiency of planning and visualization in some cases. With the ubiquity of smartphones and how attached users are to them, it is a bit of a trip to write in a planner, but it’s something that taught me a lot about prioritization of tasks and gave me some very important insights into how I manage my time and what I could be doing to better my productivity. There are a lot of things I want to get done nowadays, I always used to complain that “I just don’t have the time”. After close analysis, it’s come to my attention that is simply not true and that I need to focus on planning out tasks and completing them. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll end up getting another Hobonichi as I’ve been dying to try out some other alternatives like the Midori planner and the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter, both systems that have been promoted and loved by some of the people I really look up to in the stationary world. While I don’t know about the future, I sure know that I’m currently loving the Hobonichi Techo and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to start keeping a physical planner.

Maruman 3Feet Notepad – A7

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This was a little bit of an impulse buy because I had run out of Field Notes and didn’t want to buy another pack as I found myself using them less frequently now that I had gotten my hands on the legendary Hobonichi Techo planner(review coming soon 😉 ). At the same time, I needed a small notebook to quickly jot down some notes occasionally if I think of something interesting. Enter the Maruman 3Feet, an A7-sized, 7mm grid ruled notepad with some great features that I found really made using it fun.

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This is one feature that I really feel changes the game when it comes to comfort when using a Rhodia style notepad. With the Rhodia, the front cover has notches the help it bend exactly the way to it needs to lie flat, but if not used on a relatively flat surface, it starts to flop around. Maruman fixed this problem by adding a small tab at the back of the notebook that allows you to tuck the front cover into it and holds it securely in place. Now this may not seem like a big deal for most people, but as someone who is usually walking, pacing or generally standing up when my ideas come, the ability to quickly jot down stuff while on the move is important to me and a cover that doesn’t flop around makes writing stuff down easier for me. Now most of you might not be like me, but if you ever want to move around with a Rhodia, due to not being secure, you can’t just lift it by the front and you have to mind the cover coming back around. With the Maruman, moving around is super easy and you don’t have to worry about the cover coming down on your freshly inked page and ruining your writing (If you couldn’t tell by now, this has happened to me several times and I am always annoyed by it).

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With that amazing, highly functional and useful feature properly getting the praise it deserves, let’s talk about the paper. Being an A7 sized notebook, I was initially a little surprised that Maruman didn’t opt for a 5mm grid because it would allow for more lines, but eventually saw why they stuck to 7mm. As someone who’s handwriting is pretty small, I was a little bothered by how big the squares were, but grew to appreciate them when it came to creating flashcards, which is now the main usage of this notebook. To understand some concepts and terms, I find that having a physical flashcards really helps with memorization as it involves writing down the terms, thereby increasing muscle memory.

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The paper is also very smooth when tearing. I am not prone to hyperbole, but this is by far the greatest perforation I have ever experienced. The paper comes out smoothly and without a fuss every single time. I often experience ragged tears when dealing with smaller Rhodia DotPads and it drives me nuts due to my OCD when it comes to having straight, even tear lines. After nearly 3 weeks of usage, not a single time have I ever experienced a misguided tear. I’m pretty much addicted to this feeling now and will hold this as the benchmark for all future perforated notebooks I review.

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The biggest drawback to this notepad is the paper, specifically how thin it is. While it took ink well and for the most part didn’t bleed through, there was a rather noticeable amount of show-through on the backside of the page. This was something that I feel can’t be helped as the size of the notepad constrains how thick the paper can be, but by far, it turned out to be my first negative experience with Maruman paper.

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One of the other things that I found out very quickly was the 3Feet reacts badly to sharper, thinner sizes of pen tips. The Uni Jetstream that I used for the paper test ended up scratching through and indenting nearly 4 sheets of paper, so I would recommend only using pens that have tip sizes of 0.5 and above. At those sizes, the paper will perform just fine.

The Maruman 3Feet is an adorable little notepad with a great feature that I hope more notepad makers will adopt. The paper is thin, yet surprisingly adept at handling larger nib sizes. The main drawbacks would be the limitations with sharp tipped gel pens and the show-through on the back of the paper. If these two things don’t bother you as much and you’re in the market for a pocket-sized notepad, give the Maruman 3Feet a try. For a mere $2.10, I feel it’s definitely worth the price.

Kyokuto Guildford Notebook

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Whenever I find myself in need of notebooks, it’s usually mainly for note-taking and assignments. I found my best notebook ages ago when I first got a 5 pack of Maruman Mnemosyne B5 notebooks from JetPens. Writing with those notebooks was a cathartic experience and no other notebook has ever given me the same feeling whenever I write. To me, the Maruman Mnemosyne line has become the bar I set whenever I write paper reviews. With that in mind, I felt that the blog was really lacking some paper reviews and decided that I needed to try out some new products. So as I was shopping for my spring quarter in early 2016, I stumbled upon the Kyokuto Guildford on JetPens. HAving never heard of this notebook before, I was curious and decided to do some research on it. As it turns out, there weren’t too many reviews from the mainstream stationary blogs I follow, so I decided to get it and put out a review myself.

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The notebook has a very simple design, yet within that simplicity is the sophistication as seen through the ornately embellished patterns that decorate the index page. The color scheme of the notebook is tasteful and bright.

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In regards to the paper, I have to say for such thin paper, I wasn’t expecting it to be so resilient against some pretty wet inks. I used many different inks in this notebook before I wrote this review and the paper withstood all of them, all while providing a smooth writing experience. This particular review was written with a Lamy 2000 M nib inked with Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. The paper simply soaks it up, resulting in quick dry times. This holds true for even inks with longer dry times like Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black. With all the inks, I also noticed that none of them feathered regardless of the nib size of the pen. All of these make the Guildford a solid choice for someone who requires a decent notebook for simple note taking and the like. However, there were some drawbacks that came with these positive aspects. Due to being thin, the paper has a tendency to be affected by the indentations on the opposite side. Ever since picking up pointed pen calligraphy, my writing pressure has gone down significantly, yet it still cause indents on this paper. Along with the indents, come the ghosting and with some inks like J. Herbin emerald of Chivor, it really posed a problem. One reason I simply could not use the Guildford for school more often was the lack of pages and perforation. I usually end up writing about 4-6 pages of notes every day I’m in class. I take a lot of technical courses that require notes to be numerous and comprehensive for future studying. With only 38 sheets, the Guildford would not be able to accommodate the amount of notes I take. Even when I use front and back, with 32 lines of 6mm per page, the notebook would still last less than a month of classes. Also, the lack of perforation means I can never do assignments on this paper and turn it in, as it would both look like and leave a mess.

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The binding is sturdy and does a great job of securing the pages within the notebook. This would be the one thing that I would admit that the Mnemosyne line can improve on. When turned all the way, the cover of the Mnemosyne tends to come loose of the binding and it’s a bit of a pain to realign it again every time. This binding has never failed me even once and is very resistant to bending, unlike the plastic ones present on the Mnemosyne notebooks.

With a tasteful color scheme and classy motifs, the Kyokuto Guildford is a functional and stylish notebook that can take on just about anything you throw at it. The thin paper saves on space and allows the notebook to have a compact form, while the durable covers protect them from wear and tear. The binding is strong and resistant to bending ensuring that you notebook will keep its shape and the pages inside will be protected. While it might not be ideal for doing assignments in with its lack of perforation, it still holds its own against other notebooks out there. I recommend everyone give this notebook a try.

Field Notes Black Ice Edition

Review 3/3

After running through my Sweet Tooth and Unexposed Editions, I was searching for another Field Notes edition, except this one was for a specific purpose. Recently, I’ve really delved into the world of photography and wanted a pocket notebook for quick descriptions of some of my favorite shots on campus. On some select weekends, when I had the luxury of free time and weather permitting conditions, I’ve ventured outside to take some pictures around my campus.

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Spanning nearly 1,933 acres, the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington is expansive and full of places to get some amazing shots. So far, I’ve stuck to the various buildings I usually walk by on the weekdays and seek to view them from a different perspective. On many occasions, I was walking to class or back home and I suddenly stopped after seeing a scene that would make a well composed photo. So to keep it in my head, I whip out my trusty Field Notes notebook and quickly jot down my location and what exactly I was looking at. If I didn’t have this, I would’ve actually forgotten some really nice locations by the my weekend morning photo walk.

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The cover of this edition looks stunning and glints in the sunlight. The embossing of the Field Notes Logo on the front page looks like it has been machined onto sheet metal rather than just shiny paper stock. I found on one of my photo walks that the cover could also be used as a light reflector that helped illuminate some of my darker macro shots.

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The paper they used for this edition is the Finch Fine Smooth 70# paper with gray line rulings and orange on top (Field Notes website). The thing that really excited me into getting this specific edition is the fact that this is Field Note’s very first non-staple-bound notebook. These notebooks are actually PUR-bound and Field Notes made an awesome video showcasing the process. The paper withstood almost everything I threw at it other than the Iroshizuku Shin-Kai that spread out a bit on the paper. Maybe if I had a finer nib, then it would be alright, but as far as the Lamy 2000 medium nib, it is a bit too juicy for the Field Notes to handle. I don’t need to harp on about how good Field Notes notebooks are as well as the convenience they afford. They have already established themselves and their brand in the market and my only input would be to get this edition to not only get a cool notebook, but also see Field Notes innovation first hand with the binding.

Thanks for reading and being so patient with my slightly erratic posting schedule. I expect my workload to drop down back to normal once my first exam week passes. Then I’ll be able to get back to a regular once every 2 weeks review schedule. I’ll see you all near the end of February. Until then, write on, my friends.

Word Notebooks

Post 3/3. All caught up, see you tomorrow! 🙂

Word Notebooks are something that I have wanted to try for the longest time and I finally got a chance to after a friend gave me a pack. I’ve seen numerous versions of these over at Cool Material, a website I visit occasionally to find out about cool gadgets and the latest trends. They always have these in stock for some reason and the one thing that drew me to them was the cover. While Field Notes does a really god job with unique covers for their notebooks, Word just has very aesthetically pleasing covers that immediately draw the eye. I really liked this one in particular due to my obsession with the color blue and the numerous shades therein. The chromatic effect that is the highlight of this cover just really worked for me. I actually didn’t want to use them simply to maintain the neatness of the cover, but I had to review them, so they invariably got bent and crushed mercilessly by the contents of my bag. T_T

Word Notebooks, unlike Field Notes has a very specific system in place for the functionality. It’s a lot like the Bullet Journal system, except in a simpler form. At the front of the notebook, after the property identification and archival system, there’s a dedicated user guide. I honestly had used a bullet journal before, so it was easy to handle the transition.

The paper was much better than I expected and held up against most of my EDC pens to a good extent. The writing instruments I tested are in the picture above and it took just about everything I threw at it. The Platinum Preppy M loaded with Platinum Blue-Black showed signs of feathering and it ghosted through much more than any of the other pens tested. However, it did not bled through at all, but that could change depending on the nib size. I think that Japanese Extra Fine/Fine nibs should be alright, but the ink can also play a huge role in the performance, so some testing with your regular use inks is required.

Word Notebooks really puts out some decent notebooks with quality paper than can handle numerous styles of pens all packaged with aesthetically pleasing covers. The biggest drawback to these notebooks is the inherent system. While effective, it does the one thing that Field Notes doesn’t, and that’s limiting your customer’s choices. With a standard Field Notes notebook, I can turn it into anything I want, be it a to-do list, a photography journal, etc. I’m not limited to what the company dictates I use it for (a to-do list, in the case of Word Notebooks). It’s been a while since I’ve last checked out their stuff, but I hope they’ve stopped shipping their notebooks out with the system, otherwise the use they provide to the buyers would be limited in nature. So if you’re looking for a Field Notes alternative that is functional mainly as a to-do list, then the Word Notebook is the right choice for you.

 

Kokuyo Campus B5 Notebook

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The thought of using something other than Rhodia and Maruman paper threw me for loop. I’ve been using the two for nearly 3 years now and have yet to replace them with anything else. So it took a leap of faith for me to order this notebook. All in all, while not the best I’ve ever used, it definitely didn’t disappoint.

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This paper is deceptively thin, which reminded me a lot about Rhodia paper. It was almost see through when I first brought it to class. I wasn’t confident on it’s performance at all, but was in for a little surprise. This paper soaked up ink like a sponge, but the surprising part was, there was no feathering or bleed through. When I checked the back of the page after finishing my first page, I was stunned by how little the writing on the other side showed through. While at first I used my Platinum #3776 with a fine nib, I transitioned over to the Pilot VP halfway, as I was confident that the Kokuyo Campus Notebook could handle the amount of ink it laid down.

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While it does absorb ink with little show through, I was a little disappointed in the smoothness. My favorite paper, Maruman Mnemosyne, does a great job of balancing the smoothness with the absorbency, but that was not the case with this paper. It was thin, but had a much more rougher writing surface. I was astonished by how much feedback I was getting on my Pilot VP. A pen which usually glides over any and all paper I use with it was actually giving me feedback on this paper. This was something I found I just couldn’t handle, as it took away from the kind of writing experience that I prefer. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great paper if you’re not particular about smoothness, but being one of my main critical points, I didn’t enjoy using it as much.

Maruman Mnemosyne Notebook

Hands down the best paper I’ve ever used! To me, Maruman Mnemosyne paper is the gold standard of fountain pen friendly paper. It is the paper that I use for almost all my schoolwork, whether it be note-taking, homework, writing assignments, etc.

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The Maruman Mnemosyne I use is sized at B5, measured at 7.4 by 9.9 inches with 7mm line rulings. The binding is a double ring, ensuring a smooth flip as well as being able to take a beating (the stories I could tell you…). At the top there are sections for Date/No. and a Title. The lines are all a cool grey making the rulings very subtle and less distracting during use. There are 80 pages that are micro-perforated, allowing for easy tearing. All the pages are acid-free, meaning they won’t yellow over time, making it great for storing notes and the like. Each page is split up into 3 different sections of 10 lines each. I found it very helpful as I used those 10 lines as guidelines to keep what I wrote to a minimum that encapsulated the main points of the section.

Why do I love this paper so much? It is the smoothest out of all the papers I’ve ever tried. Nothing I have used short of Tomoe River has been nearly as smooth. With a slightly larger nib, I feel the pen gliding over the paper. My favorite pen to use is my Pilot VP with a medium nib. After it was binderized, it felt smooth no matter what paper I used it on, even copy paper. I feel that the Maruman brings out the best in it, though.

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Another great reason I love Maruman is the absorbency. On Rhodia paper, it takes a little longer for inks to dry allowing for many potential mishaps and accidental swipes occur. Not with the Maruman! While it doesn’t dry instantly (if only), the dry times on the Maruman is noticeably less than on Rhodia.While absorbent, it also is very resistant to ghosting, which made it possible for me to use the other side of the page without any hassle. The absorbency was displayed to me on accident one day when I was fiddling around with my converter. I think I was frustratedly trying to push the ink to the front as the nib was drying up. I twisted a touch to hard and the ink dropped onto the page creating a large blob. Panicking, I desperately tried to spread it out across the page to prevent it from soaking through (yes, it can possibly happen). I spread it out and waited for about a thirty seconds before daring to turn the page. To my great surprise, the ink blob had mostly dried, other than the very center. The other side was also completely usable despite what had happened.

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So I’ve been praising this paper a lot so far, but now I will address one of its less attractive aspects, the price. The price for the Maruman notebook I use is $11.25USD on JetPens. Rhodia, on the other hand, doesn’t offer any of it’s notebooks in the B5 size. So for the sake of comparing prices, I will use two notebooks of the same size: A4. The price for the Maruman Mnemosyne A4 notebook is $15.50USD. The price for a Rhodia Pad No. 18 is $13.75USD. For the same size, you would be paying $1.75USD more. So it all comes down to: Is the premium worth it? I wholeheartedly say yes, it is. The quality and experience provided by the Maruman is significantly better than the Rhodia in my humble opinion. When I’m writing on the Maruman, I feel how absorbent and smooth it is, I see how the ink pops on the page and I feel the quality oozing from the design. What can I say? You get what you pay for in this case. Keep in mind this is simply my opinion. It is up to you to try the Maruman Mnemosyne out and then make your decision on your willingness to pay. It is subjective for everyone, but I have a hunch that many people will feel the same as I do.

As I mentioned in the beginning, this is hands down the best paper I’ve ever used. I honestly can’t believe how long it took me to get around to this review despite using and loving this paper for so long (approximately 2 years now). If I had a choice of using only one kind paper for the rest of my life, this would be it. If you can get over the slight premium over standard Rhodia paper, you’ll find out why me and many others love this offering from Maruman so much. What are you waiting for?

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with JetPens. I used the prices on their site as it was simply where I have gotten my notebooks from since the beginning. At the time, Goulet Pens was not offering Maruman products, something that changed rather recently. So while the prices may differ from store to store, I’m pretty sure the price disparity between Maruman and Rhodia will stay the same.

 

Rhodia No. 16 Graph

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All my friends ask me: Why do you buy such exotic(read: expensive) paper? The answer is simple. When I got into fountain pens, I realized rather quickly that your typical FiveStar or Mead lined paper wouldn’t be good enough. When I say rather quickly, it was specifically after the ink I was using started ghosting and seeping through the page, not to mention the awful feathering. My writing was illegible and resulted in a huge mess on my desk. That was the first step on my journey of finding the best paper for my fountain pens.

Relying on my old and trusty friend Google, I quickly found that there was a rather big forum on paper within FountainPenNetwork. Navigating through the many threads I stumbled upon one that reflected my circumstances perfectly: “Best cheap fountain pen friendly paper for beginners”. Entering and reading the posts I found that they had started an actual poll with Rhodia leading by a wide margin. Returning to Google, I searched for reviews and was not disappointed. Nearly every big stationary blogger I was following at the time had at least one review on Rhodia paper. Excited I went on to the GouletPens website and added a pad of Rhodia to my cart. At the time, I chose to go with the dot grid for reasons outlined in my review. Then I went on to more conventional options like the graph ruling for my math homework. I have been using that same paper for my math homework for the last year now, and it’s still a pleasure to use it to this very day for my Stats homework.

Most of my feelings and observations about this paper can be read in my  linked review, but I just wanted to share how I got into experimenting with fountain pen friendly paper. Overall, I would recommend it to everyone regardless whether they’re just getting started with fountain pens or not. The price is the most reasonable I’ve found among the many options available. Other than the minor trade-off of slightly longer dry times, there isn’t any other flaw I can think of. There’s very minimal ghosting depending on the size of the nib, the rulings are nice and sharp, yet easy on the eyes and the paper is nice and bright, allowing colored inks to pop on the page.

 

 

Rhodia DotPad No.16

Bogged down by schoolwork, couldn’t finish the planned review on time, so I dug this one up from my overflowing drafts section for you to enjoy. Expect the Pilot Parallel review tomorrow around 6:00PM PST. As always, write on, my friends.

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It wasn’t until after writing my first sentence onto a Rhodia DotPad that I realized exactly what the difference between paper and good paper is. When I first saw the price, my eyes bulged like a Looney Tunes character. Hesitation almost immediately set in, and I was deeply contemplating whether I could justify spending that much on a notebook. After much hemming and hawing, I convinced myself that I should at least try it out. 9 pads later, I can safely say that it’s my favorite paper to write on.

The smoothness is the first noticeable difference. When the nib glides over the page laying down the ink, it evokes a feeling of liveliness that I find lacking when using other paper. The bright white paper allows the vibrancy of different colored inks to really pop on the page. I initially thought that it was way too bright for my taste, but it seems like it’s something that you get used to as time goes on. The micro-perforations at the top allow for easy tearing which is convenient feature because I find myself filing notes under their respective topics and dealing with a lot of loose sheets of paper.

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The DotPad was the first Rhodia pad I purchased. The reason was mainly because I was tired of lined and graph paper (you go through a lot as a high school student). I wanted to see whether I could utilize the “dot-grid” lining to try something different.

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It took a little bit of warming up, but I started using it for all sorts of tasks. Anything from to-do lists, sketching, crafting lean canvases and writing down product ideas. The dots are light gray and are spaced out 5mm. They were unobtrusive, kept my writing straight and also helped easily create graphs and tables.

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While being a light and relatively thin paper, the Rhodia DotPad manages to cope with a variety of different writing instruments. I tested out roller-balls, gel ink pens, fountain pens and a brush pen. The biggest drawback I experienced was the slightly higher drying time. Due to this paper being thin, ink takes a little longer time to properly dry. This might be a bigger deal to lefties, but I feel it’s not too important.

I recommend this paper to absolutely anyone who want to truly experience writing on good paper. One of the reason for Rhodia’s popularity in the pen community is its unbeatable price for performance. I have yet to find a cheaper paper that can perform at the level of a Rhodia notebook. Good paper is also an important aspect of the fountain pen writing experience.

Doane Paper Small Flap Jotter

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Specs:

  • Notebook Size – 2.875″ x 4.75″
  • Grid Size – .125″ (.3175 cm) x .125″ (.3175 cm)
  • Wide (Legal) Ruled Line Spacing
  • 80 Pages per notebook
  • Chipboard 20pt 100% Recycled Craft Covers
  • White 70lb 100% Recycled Content Pages
  • Printed using soy-based inks
  • Rugged Wire-O-Bound binding

(specs taken from product page at Doane Paper website)

Appearance and Construction:

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The construction of the Flap Jotter is very simple. Two pieces of recycled chip board covers that sandwich 80 pages of 70lb white recycled paper. This is all held together by the “Wire-O-Bound” binding on the top. Personally, the Flap Jotter really hits a lot of the points I look for in a notebook. Simplistic design, durable cover, minimal branding and strong binding. Discounting the paper, it’s already proven itself to be an EDC contender of mine.

Paper Ruling:

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Now the ruling is what initially got me into Doane paper products. I found myself wanting it simply because it would prove helpful when doing my math homework. Having lines to stabilize my rather inconsistent handwriting, as well as graphs that allow me to draw shapes, figures and tables easily, it became an instant favorite. The paper is marketed as white, but the color is actually more of an off-white. While this is not too much of a problem, don’t expect bright white paper. the wide ruled lines lets me write big and not worry about trying to save space. It’s the cells are decently sized and not too big. The one thing that I thought could be improved is the color of the ruling. Occasionally, I found myself distracted due to the bright color of the lines. If they could make them just a bit lighter in color, it would be completely unobtrusive. That would make this already exceptional notebook that much better.

Paper Performance:

Now the paper is the one thing that surprised me the most with its performance. Generally, recycled papers aren’t known to go well with fountain pen inks. On a typical notebook one can see instances of show-through, bleeding, feathering and a whole assortment of other issues. I didn’t encounter even a single one when I tested the paper. The results can clearly be seen in the picture below. With an almost unnoticeable amount of ghosting, it opens up the possibility to use both sides of the paper, and that’s a huge plus for me.

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I was going for variety over quantity. Hopefully I achieved this.

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Barely any ghosting. I’m very impressed with these results.

I’m currently using my Flap Jotter to keep track of my daily and long-term tasks. I use it mainly as a both a to-do list and productivity tracker that allows me a look into all the tasks I was given and completed. The ruling makes it easy to draw check-boxes (I love check-boxes). Below is an example of a typical day’s tasks.

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I recommend Doane notebooks to nearly all my friends as it is one of the best I’ve ever used. I use it for anything from homework and accounting projects, to to-do lists and productivity tracking. The ruling allows a lot of experimentation to find the best use for the individual. I will definitely be picking up more of these in the future.