» Favorite Pens + Favorite Paper

I started to regularly use Rhodia and Clairefontaine products after discovering years ago that the waterbased inks in my (at that time) new favorite writing tool, (a fountain pen) did not play well with the paper in my then favorite notebook. I then started upon a mission to seek out the perfect pen/ink/notebook combination and documented many of my findings along the way on my personal blog Spiritual Evolution of the Bean.

What I would come to discover is that while some papers worked some of the time, (because some manufacturers buy their paper from various sources)  Rhodia/Clairefontaine was always consistent in the quality and functionality of their paper because they themselves manufactured it. I could always use their paper without having to worry if my new red/blue/purple/green ink would bleed or feather when I touched nib to page.

And why a fountain pen? Smoother ride, less fatigue – they make writing pleasurable.

Have you tried one yet? Lamy Safari’s are an inexpensive way to start and still one of my favorite FP’s. (I have 6 Safari’s in different colors and varying nib widths.)

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Posted on May 8th, 2012 by Stephanie
Filed in: Editorial
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Funny… just this morning I was thinking yet again how happy I am writing with my Noodler’s Ahab. *Love* that pen…the feel in the hand and the lay down on the page. And, Noodler’s blue is my current fave…such a wonderful color.

And to use that on Rhodia Webbie paper…

…contemplative bliss…

Yes, I have a white safari which I love. Lamy makes really nice fountain pens. I also have Lamy 2000 and Lamy Studio models. Nice.

Currently, though, I’m hooked on TWSBI fountain pens. 540 and new VAC 700.

By david bogie on May 8th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I’m starting to get bored with cream-colored paper stocks in all of the popular notebook ranges. Ecosystem seems to be the only readily available units that have bright white paper. What’s Rhodia/Clairefontaine got for me in a webbie format?

I have two fountain pens, and I love using them on Rhodia and Clairefontaine paper. My journaling pen is a Scheaffer No Nonsense calligraphy pen currently inked with J. Herbin Cafe des Iles. I love the line variation/shading I get, and the coffee color on ivory paper has a distinguished look.

I also have a Hero 330 inked with Private Reserve Tropical Blue. On Clairefontaine’s bright white paper it is gorgeous

By david bogie on May 8th, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I’m a Sheaffer guy. I have a bottle of Herbin’s 1670 that I run in my only broad nib. It shades beautifully from scarlet to bright arterial to deeply venal blood. But the cream colored stock tints it. I want white.

By Michael on May 9th, 2012 at 1:34 am

I have a Safari Lamy, but it has been a real disappointment. It just doesn’t write. I have to push the ink into the nib by unscrewing the top, and then it writes for a little, and eventually stops again.

Really put me off fountain pens. Now I use Zebra Sarasa gel ink pens and they seem to work fine.

I miss the old format Quo Vadis Habana. It was the perfect paper and format for my large nibs such as OBB Montblanc 146, 3B Pelikan M1000, Delta Dolce Vita stub or Visconti 1.3 stub. I’m using Iroshizuku inks more these days, as they give the safe performance I came to associate with Herbin inks, but in more intense colors while giving excellent lubrication, flow, and non-staining performance. I still use Herbin, but not the drier-feeling range of browns and reds and not as often, given the awkward bottle shapes and sizes that require constant decanting into other containers.

Ku-jaku or Kon-peki on Clairefontaine is so easy on the eyes!

Rhodia Dot pads work for my correspondence thanks to the detachable sheets and my ability to write larger without the dark lines too narrow for my hand running through the middle of my words. The Clairefontaine staple and cloth bound notebooks are pretty much my only retreat from the dingy cream paper in the Rhodia notebooks that gives me a headache after a few hours of straining to decipher the muddy shades it turns my inks.

When are we going to get pretty colored bindings in a Habana or Webbie format with the lovely Clairefontaine paper and line widths? I buy the Clairefontaine notebooks in bulk as it seems the last bastion of excellent white paper with lines accommodating nibs larger than F or M.

Are you using cartridges or a converter? I tried the cartridges when I got my first Safari, but then I switched to a converter and have not really ever had any problems with any of my Safari’s not writing. If you’re using the converter, once you pull the ink up into the converter by turning the little knob you have to almost turn it back just a hair until you see ink appear at the feed hole at the front of the nib. This leaves the nib “primed” with ink and ready to go. Be aware that if you turn it too far back, you may end up with leaky fingers.

By Fred Pitts on May 10th, 2012 at 10:41 am

Clairefontaine paper is my favorite. I found it quite by accident when I bought three small notebooks on sale at a local art store. The interaction between my fountain pen and this paper was glorious! I was an instant convert.

I have too many pens, but among the favorites are vintage Parker 51s and Vacumatics, modern TWSBI Diamond 540, Pilot, Sailor, Platinum Custom, etc. I love the paper in the Rhodia Webbie and Exacompta Basic journals. Thanks to Stephanie for her excellent reviews on Biffybeans that led me to those!

Thanks for the tip, Stephanie. I’ll give that a try. I am using the converter.

It may also be that there are manufacturing oils inside the convertor causing surface tension, which keeps the ink from flowing.

Suck a little soapy water [touch a toothpick to the top of your dish soap, then touch it inside your convertor] back and forth in the convertor, then rinse well. That should help remove any remaining residue.

By Mike Smukula on May 14th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I don’t know why I call Rhodia my Favorite paper to write on? It’s the ONLY paper that I use nowadays. I have no other paper in my house to write with. I would not think of writing with any other paper! Errrr, My Fountain Pens would not think of writing on any other paper.

I like Lamy Safari, too, because they are inexpensive, their steel nibs are trusty and interchangeable, and there are colors to choose from. I now have the glossy white, red, yellow, lime, and the Vista (clear). I am ready to purchase the rest of the glossies (black and dark blue). I hope Lamy comes up with Safari colors in purple, orange, dark green, gray, taupe, and my all-time favorite, pink, and fuchsia as well.

But I also have other pens. I have the Pelikan Grand Place with the medium nib, the Palikan white tortoise with an EF nib, the Pelikan M205 demonstrator with an M nib, a Pilot Vanishing Point with a medium nib and in chrome finish, and a Taccia Ta-Ke in bamboo, with a medium nib, a gift from a friend. I use them all on a daily basis, carried inside my tote bag in a tumbler, but I have retired the M205 (too many scratches already because of heavy use, so I am now pitying the poor thing) and the Lamy Safari Vista (which I have had since about 2007 so the clear resin has started to turn yellowish. I’ll be purchasing a new one, though).

I am starting to wean myself off Moleskines (paper too inconsistent, no longer fountain pen friendly). In my life, it will be the end of an era. 2013 could be the year I begin using the Rhodia webnotebook, and I hope they will be around for hundreds of years, because I am such a brand loyalist. It’s only with fountain pens and inks that I am a trollop.

By Stephen Surfaro on October 18th, 2014 at 12:24 am

It’s interesting that you’ve got Herbin Violette Pensee with Rhodia ~ this was the combination that helped me discover great paper and ink. My girlfriend and I were in the Louvre bookstore and she said, isn’t that nice ink and paper…twenty bottles later and countless sheets, I am still enjoying it :)



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