RD: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jim: I’m a mechanical engineer who uses fountain pens exclusively, and will intentionally turn away from my computer to put nib to paper. So, I’m addicted to fine pens, good ink and top-notch paper. There could be worse vices. I probably write three or more letters a week, so I’m trying to keep the post office solvent, one 49-cent stamp at a time.
RD: How and when did you first discover Rhodia products?
Jim: I’ve known about Rhodia paper for more than five years. Rhodia and Clairefontaine papers have a very good reputation in the fountain pen community, and justifiably so. A paper that doesn’t bleed or feather is a joy to write on.
RD: Does using Rhodia products in any way make your job easier? (Do quality tools make the job easier?)
Jim: I wouldn’t use the word “easier.” It’s much more enjoyable. Life is too short to write on bad paper.
RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia products?
Jim: I use the A5 pads and notebooks primarily. They are a great size for notes and short letters. Being a fountain pen user, I have a number of pen pals, so A5 sized Rhodia paper is being sent one sheet at a time from my mailbox.
I also use a Quo Vadis planner at work. It has a permanent spot on the right corner of my desk. The paper is great and the format of the planner is perfect.
J. Herbin inks are one of my favorites and I have some of the J. Herbin wax for seals. Both Perle Noire and Eclat De Saphir are staples in my collection. Perle Noire has a great reputation in the fountain pen community for a black ink.
RD: Pencil, pen, or other? Favorites?
Jim: Fountain pen, of course. Anything from black to vibrant inks and fine to juicy broad nibs. Rhodia and Clairefontaine paper can handle it.
RD: Is there any way we could improve on your favorite product?
Jim: The spacing of the dots on the dot pads is a bit small for my tastes. I would suggest a 7 mm spacing instead of the 5 mm. Also, the grid lines are too dark on the pads with grids (or lines, for that matter). I also find the grid spacing for those with graph lines on the small side for writing.
The 30 ml J. Herbin bottles are poorly designed. It is difficult to ink a pen once the level goes down much. One is forced to decant or use a syringe to salvage a good bit of the ink in the bottle. This is a common complaint in the fountain pen community.
I must pass along that a year ago I was in Boulder, Colorado on business. I stopped in the McGuckin hardware store and was amazed by the Rhodia paper displays in the isles of the store. My colleagues didn’t understand why I was thrilled to see that in a hardware store. The folks at McGuckin need recognition for having a great store and displays of orange and black in the isles.