Monday, August 24th, 2015

The Paper Project: Feedback on Rhodia and Clairefontaine Premium Papers



Week 10 samples for the Paper Project included  6×8″ line ruled sheets of Clairefontaine Triomphe, Clairefontaine 90g and the R by Rhodia Premium pads. All of these papers are 90g in weight pH neutral and acid-free. The Clairefontaine papers are bright white and the Rhodia R is ivory.

Clairefontaine 90g paper is Clairefontaine’s standard paper and is available in a wide variety of products. (Please see the Exaclair catalog for options available in the US) 

Clairefontaine Triomphe is available in two size tablets (6×8″ and 8×11″) and two rulings: blank and line ruled. Matching envelopes are also available.

R by Rhodia Premium Pads are available in three sizes, (3×4″, 6×8″ and 8×11″)  two rulings: blank and line ruled and with either black or orange covers. There is also a gift set available.

(I have noticed slight surface differences between these 3 papers. This could be the result of them being milled on different machines. The 80g Rhodia paper is slightly different in surface texture than each of these.)

Jack Bulkley says: My favorite of these three was the Rhodia. I have been using Tomoe River paper a lot recently and while it performs very well, its parchment like feel is not as suitable in some situations as the Rhodia.

I want to mention the pens that I thought really wrote well on the Rhodia all in one place: Esterbrook 9950 desk pen, Sheaffer Legacy F nib, Pilot Metropolitan M nib,
Fisher Space Pen, Sharpie Pen, Retro 51 Tornado, Pilot G-2 0.7

Now let’s look at more detail starting with the non-fountain pens: After writing just one line with various pens, the no brainer is to use any of these papers with a Retro 51 Tornado and enjoy writing. The Retro 51 was crisp and extra smooth. The Sharpie Pen also wrote really well on all three papers. The other non-fountain pens I tried (see the images) were good but not as nice as the Retro 51 or the Sharpie Pen. In fairness while the Tombow refill was kind of blobby I used a 20 year old refill. I need to get a new one because that is a rugged pen I love to throw in the bottom of my computer bag. The Signo DX and Pilot G2 were also good but the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 was noticeably scratchier than normal on these papers. As listed above the Fisher Space Pen was very good on the Rhodia paper. It seemed about like normal on the Clairfontaine papers.

The fountain pens were generally good on the Clairfontaine papers. No surprise. But they flow best on the R by Rhodia Premium. To me the standout fountain pens were the Pilot Metropolitan (borrowed from my wife), the Legacy and the Esterbrook. The Metropolitan and the Legacy are no surprise to me. They are my favorite pens to write with. But normally the Esterbrook is scratchy and skips some, but on all three papers it was great. These papers made me want to use it more. What else could you want in a paper? See images here. 

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Theresa J says: This was my first ever experience with the Clairfontaine and R by Rhodia papers. I love the feel of them, the weight is really nice, it feels silky to my hand and then I wrote on it. Lovely!

I tested it with a Flair felt tip pen, a Uniball Signo micro and a 207 and a Sharpie pen, medium point. First off, I loved the way my rollerball pens seemed to glide across these papers. My felt tip pen and the Sharpie pen, not as much.

I did however appreciate that there is very little ghosting with all of the pens I tested. This is fabulous if you are a journaler that likes to write on both sides of the paper.

Thierry says: If I had to choose a paper to include some drawing, it will be the Clairefontaine Triomphe. Very versatile. And white. If I had to choose a paper for notes only, it will probably be the Rhodia Premium, because of that Ivory paper. Probably, because, if it is nice to write on it, I sometimes feels a little be bored with that ivory color on my Habana Soft. I feel that reading on that paper is not as comfortable as on white paper. May be my writing is too messy to appreciate it. It could be good as a letter paper, but… this is something that we almost forget.

Having to write that down… it makes me think a lot. Will I really buy the Ivory paper? Should I place it 3rd, after the Classic? No doubt, though, that the Clairefontaine Triomphe is the winner. (Thierry also offered additional detailed reviews of each sample which can be found here.)  

Colleen Gonzales says: I tested the Rhodia Premium Ruled/Ivory/Grey/90g. This paper looks professional and clean. I used a gel blue ball point pen and loved it. I used this to write a quick note to someone who said the paper was smooth and clean.

I tested out the Clairefontaine Classic Ruled/White/Violet/90g. Paper was smoothe with light purple lines. I used a gel pen a pencil a blue fine 0.5mm pen and a fine point black sharpie. With this paper you have to let the ink dry before writing onto the next line. It smudges very easily. When I used the pencil and rubbed my finger lightly over the writing it smeared. So I would not use pencil.

Bonnie Jean Woolger says: I would recommend the Rhodia Ivory if you will be writing outside on a sunny day. This was a great paper adventure as always. Please follow this link for pictures and my larger comment.

Randy Schaffer says: I have been using a white Triomphe (unlined) pad for most of my correspondence for the last several years, and these three papers all feel quite familiar because of that. For letters I much prefer unlined papers (using a lined guide under) but these pages are very nice. I prefer the Triomphe size but if I was going to use lined paper, I like the Classic’s more subtle lines.

The Ivory R is really an attractive ivory color, and I think I would like a pad of this unlined. That is the eye opener of this sample packet.

I use an assortment of fountain pens and inks on my letters and even my recently restored 1920’s Moore’s Non-Leakable with a very wet nib works perfectly on these papers. With PR Ebony Green I have zero bleed or feather, no ghosting and decent dry time…really perfect paper for this grand old wet flex nib.

I ran through a total of 10 pens with various inks and nib styles (from Japanese EF to Binder 1.1mm), plus one Carbone pencil to test the performance of these papers. Smooth, clean, takes ink well, good feedback to my hand—really exceptional all around.

Papers in this format I would almost exclusively use to write letters, so about the only thing I would change would be to choose an unlined version of these pads with envelopes.

I actually kept my Clairfontaine Classic sheet un-sullied for use later to write my Mom a note. The sticky identifier at the bottom just might encourage her to order up a tablet or two for a present…something I just might encourage her to do!

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