In Week 2 of The Paper Project, we offered samples from three different blank ruled Exaclair products:
Clairefontaine Graf It: Stapled pads filled with 90g blank or dot ruled white sketch paper available in 4 sizes. 4×6″, 6×8″, 8×12″ and 12×17″
G Lalo Vergé de France Stationery (white): 100g laid writing paper available in 11 colors and two tablet sizes: 5 3⁄4 x 8 1⁄4″ and 8 1⁄4 x 11 3⁄4. Matching envelopes are also available. (Color availability may vary with size)
Clairefontaine Triomphe: 90g blank or ruled bright white exceptionally smooth writing paper available in two tablet sizes, 5 3⁄4 x 8 1⁄4″ and 8 1⁄4 x 11 3⁄4″. Matching envelopes are also available.
Feedback from our Week 2 Paper Project samplers included the following:
From K.C Dockel’s blog, Scribbling by the Bayou:
Re: Graf-it “… less toothy than the Strathmore I used for comparison (my only other sketch paper) so it did feel as if it didn’t want to take the graphite as readily as the Strathmore. There is some difference in the lead darkness on one v. the other (Graf it is lighter) although the paper is whiter than the Strathmore. However, the GraF it erased better and didn’t leave as much of a scar from repeated erasing compared to the Strathmore. Both smudged easily (intentionally) although it seemed to me GraF it smudged more uniformly. Whether this is an advantage or not, I don’t know. I’m sure it is because the paper is smoother overall.”
Re: Triomphe “…if you want smooth paper for writing letters, this is an excellent choice and is one of my favorites. A lined version is available, as well. There is the one little problem with super-smooth paper like this: dry time. If you use a very wet pen, or a very goopy ballpoint (for shame!) you will get some ugly smearing if you don’t allow the ink to dry a few seconds.”
Re: Vergé de France “A lot of fountain pen users balk at laid paper but I’m not one of them. I love the stuff and I particularly love to use a very fine nib on it. Oddly enough, using a fat, smooth nib makes it feel more unpleasant. Better to tip toe through rocks than walk with flat bare feet on top of them. It’s more than that, however. I actually like the tactile feedback of the sharp nib on the laid lines (the narrow ridges on the paper). It’s part of the process. I equate it with the way many people prefer old mechanical keyboards over the membrane keyboards. I’ve tried to capture the lines in the picture here.”
Bonnie Jean Woolger wrote: “Over all, great paper for pencil drawing and letter writing” See more on her blog.
Vicki wrote: “Of these three papers, I liked the Clairefontaine Triomphe the best for flex nib fountain pen writing with a variety of inks and pens. None of the three papers had any problems with feathering or soak through. The ivory color and texture of the G. Lalo Verge de France just isn’t my thing, even though the paper performed very well. I like the weight of the Clairefontaine GraF it paper but not the “sketch pad” finish of it. The brightness of it, however, really makes some of my lighter ink colors pop. I would probably buy it to play with.”
Tony Thomas wrote: “I inked up some of my favorite fountain pens and also pulled out a pencil for this test. Pens/pencil used were: Pilot Metropolitan Fine w/Noodler’s Black, TWSBI Vac 700 (.8 Nemosine Stub nib) w/Waterman Serenity Blue, Lamy Studio EF w/diluted PR Chocolat, Lamy Vista (1.1 stub) w/Noodler’s Black and a Pentel Kerry Mechanical Pencil with .7 HB lead.
G. Lalo Verge de France (100g): This is a great slightly off-white laid-finish paper that would be great for formal correspondence. As a result, it has a bit of texture that is only slightly uncomfortable when writing with an EF or fine nib. It accepts ink beautifully and drying time was acceptable. No feathering observed. The paper also performed well when I used my pencil, producing a solid, dark line. A really great paper.
Clairefontaine GraF it (90g): This was my least favorite paper of the three that I tested. As it is a sketchpad paper, it has quite a bit of tooth (like most sketchpad papers). That said, it performed quite well with fountain pens with no feathering. It was really uncomfortable when using the EF and and fine nibs. As expected, the pencil worked well with this paper.
Clairefontaine Triomphe (90g): This was my favorite of the three. This is very expensive stationary paper and performs like it. Very smooth texture with great performance with both fountain pens and pencil. Beautiful, crisp, lines with no feathering and acceptable drying time. Pure joy to write on with a fountain pen or pencil.”
Review and photos at: The Frugal Fountain Pen
Regina wrote: “I wrote a two-page letter to my great aunt on the Triomphe and the G. Lalo using J Herbin’s Poussiere De Lune ink with a Platinum Preppy extra-fine nib. The Triomphe took the ink much better. By the end of the letter on the G Lalo, the ink was drier and the line was very thin. The G Lalo, however, looks more like stationery with the laid texture instead of just…paper. If one uses a broader nib or a wetter ink, the G Lalo would probably be better. It also has an advantage in that it comes in colors with matching envelopes. The Triomphe would be excellent to letter-press a heading or a motif at the top–something to give it a little more visual interest. It is stationery after all. If we are bothering to hand-write a letter, we want it to look special.”
Jessica wrote: Re: G Lalo Stationery (white) “This is really luxury paper for fountain pens! I absolutely love it. As others have mentioned, the color is more off-white, if not ivory. But the tone is actually right for the fountain pen ink colors to pop out. I tried all my (entry-level) fountain pens inked with J. Herbin, Noodler’s Ink, or Pilot Namiki. Every pen wrote effortlessly, no bleeding, fast drying. Even J. Herbin Gris Nuage (cloud gray), a very light gray color ink that didn’t show evenly on other paper, wrote nicely on the G Lalo paper.
I also tried some color gel ink pens and highlighters. The G Lalo paper was not as outstanding though, maybe due to the matte finish and off-white tone. Some metallic gel ink pens and the highlighters looked a bit dull.”
Re: Clairefontaine Triomphe “The pens I tried (fountain pens, gel ink pens, and highlighters) wrote easily, no bleeding. It was more slippery, and dries a little slower. The Gris Nuage (mentioned in G Lalo) behaved differently, being too light for beginning strokes and showing obvious feedback for the final strokes. I like how the gel ink/highlighter colors show on the paper, though. They are more true to the color they are supposed to be.
Winners from February’s Rhodia Ice Contest are listed below. Prizes will be mailed out Wednesday of this week. Stay tuned for the March contest later this month!
Louie from Saratoga Springs
John G. From N. Chicago
David L. from Bloomington
Fredric from Arbuckle
Betsy from Augusta
Lee Ann L.