Thursday, August 25, 2011

New R by Rhodia tablet: my new favorite paper!


I just got my latest, greatest order in from Goulet Pens, and I couldn't be more excited. I have been eagerly anticipating the new R by Rhodia soft-touch notepads for longer than I even knew. More on that in a moment.

I warn you, this is going to be a long and photo-heavy review. But you already know that if your page is loading as slowly as mine is. I think it will be worth it, though.

First, you might want to acquaint yourself with the hype. Brian Goulet did a wonderful video on his Ink Nouveau blog that gives an excellent review of the new product, and a nice overview and comparison. I wish I had remembered to take a photo of this paper in comparison to other papers, but I didn't - I think he does that in the video. Anyway, worth watching.


So here is the awesome new paper. It is a gentle ivory/cream color. It does not detract from any ink color, but it's not SCREAMING BRIGHT WHITE like Clairefontaine Triomphe and most of the Clairefontaine notebooks, including my current ink journal. Nor is it screaming bright white like the other, original Rhodia pads.

Inside of new R by Rhodia No.16 tablet, close-up

Also unlike the other Rhodia pads, there is no margin, and the lines (this is also available in blank, but I started out with the lined version) are sort of a soft grey, not blue. Subtle. Nice touch. I like the ruling. It's a good width for me. (I just checked, for those of you that want precision: it's 7mm.)

But it's really about the paper, and how well it takes ink. This new pad is an "upgrade" to 90g paper from the previous 80g. It does feel slightly thicker to the touch. In his video, Brian said it was nearly as smooth as Clairefontaine Triomphe, and I would mostly agree with that, but it doesn't have the Triomphe's "glassy" quality... which, in most cases, is a plus. I wouldn't say there is drag on the paper, and there is definitely not "tooth"... it's just a lovely smooth surface.

Fountain pen ink test on new R by Rhodia No.16 tablet

Again, though, it's all about the ink. And this is where this paper really excels. For those who like their colors harmonious, I apologize, as I just grabbed pens with excitement in no particular order, other than thinking, "this is a juicy wet pen!" or something like that... really putting the paper to the test, as it were.


As you can see, no feathering. Slight smudging, due to wet inks and my smudgy over-writing hands (+ general impatience). Ink dries significantly faster on this paper than on Clairefontaine Triomphe: a significant plus! All of the inks played nicely, even one of my newest, least favorite inks: Noodler's Old Dutch Sepia; this is the only paper I've tried it on yet where it doesn't feather! (It's humid here in August. That happens. I hope it will be have better in the winter, when everything, including my pens and papers, is less damp.)

Inks and pens shown:
Noodler's Heart of Darkness / Pilot Varsity M
Diamine Registrar's Ink / Pilot Varsity M
Noodler's Eternal Hunter Green / Pilot V-Pen F
Montblanc Ink of Love / Pilot V-Pen M
Noodler's Old Dutch Sepia / Daiso Mini
Diamine Steel Blue / Waterman Taperite
Montblanc Ink of Joy / Parker Flighter 180
Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku / Sheaffer school pen F
J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite / Noodler's flex pen
Diamine Violet / Dollar Demonstrator
Diamine Dark Green / Noodler's Nib Creaper (firm/non-flex)
Diamine Delamere Green / Waterman Graduate M
Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng / Platinum Preppy F
Diamine Oxblood / Parker Vector M
Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses / Esterbrook 9788
Noodler's Blue Ghost / Platinum Preppy M

Writing with Noodler's LED backlight on my finger to reveal the Blue Ghost

Slight tangent - if you thought the last line of ink was Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses, you thought wrong! Included in my order from Goulet Pens was the awesome Noodler's Blue Ghost invisible ink, which shows up with a black light on non-bleached papers. COOOL! Goulet pens also sells this ingenious set of black light rings that you can attach to your pen or your finger as you write, illuminating in black light just your area of writing. Trust me, this is key: it is eerie to be writing if you can't see what you're writing! I'm writing with a Platinum Preppy M, which came from Goulet Pens already as an eyedropper conversion (and folks, I am happy to pay the extra $2 to Goulet Pens for them to do the eyedropper conversion for me - it's a time-saver, so this pen came all ready to go), and for a specialty ink such as this, I wanted to make sure to use a brand-new pen. Platinum Preppy eyedroppers are one heck of a great bargain for about $6 from Goulet Pens!

Noodler's Blue Ghost under black light

I do happen to have a larger black light, which is handy for the reading part, not so much for the writing... but it allows me to show you the whole line of ink and not just part of a word.

Noodler's Blue Ghost under black light 2

With the ivory color of this paper, this ink looks fabulous! It does not show up at all in my bright white Clairefontaine ink journal... that paper is just too white.


So back to the paper. This photo above is the most exciting photo to me of the whole bunch, and if you're a real fountain pen/paper aficionado, you'll guess why. This is the back of my ink tests page. Not only is there no bleed-through, there's not even any SHOW-through! You can only tell there is even writing on the other side if you look really closely. WOW! And I even flexed my flex nibs with Noodler's BSIAR and Herbin's 1670 Rouge Hematite inks... wet inks in very wet pens! LOVE it. This, as much as anything else, is why this is my new favorite paper. I will use it for second/additional sheets in letters, and I can write on both sides with ease. It's also a great size for the sort of stationery I prefer to use.


And finally, the back of this wonderful tablet. It comes in many sizes, both lined and blank, with black and orange covers. (The inside of the cover has the inverse color.) I chose orange this time, since my other Rhodia pads have black covers.

Important note: I am not affiliated with Goulet Pens, I am just a happy repeat customer. Here's the buying info: R by Rhodia No.16 tablet, 70 sheets for $7. This stuff is new and freshly out, but other retailers may be carrying it now as well.

If you wanted pretty much the paper that comes in Rhodia webnotebooks but in micro-perf tablet form, this is it.
If you wanted "off-white Clairefontaine," this is it.
If you want a great, high-quality writing paper for a great value, this is it.

Highly, highly recommended!


  1. I'm not a paper aficionado like you are but *I'm* drooling over this paper -- the not bleeding/show thru aspect is amazing!!

  2. First, I am amazed that you "happen to have a larger black light." Very cool. Second, I am going to get me a nice little supply of those eyedropper converted Varsity pens from Goulet. Thank you! Third, I love that you have 16 pens with 16 different colors at the ready. Fun! And lastly, I have resisted buying nice paper because I know, for me, that way lies madness, but I'm giving in. I love the back of page blankness!

  3. Isn't it great stuff??

    PostMuse... Um, I have a lot more than 16 inked pens... :-)

    The Platinum Preppy eyedropper conversions are really fabulous. The Platinum converters are great, too, but they cost more than the pens! And a Preppy full of ink as an eyedropper lasts quite a good while. Just be careful not to tighten the barrel too tight, or you'll get micro-cracks that leak. (I learned this the hard way.)

    Give in to paper madness!

  4. Thank you for giving such a wicked review of these notebooks & of course, of the brilliant array of fountain pens! Two interests I've been keen on to experience myself but did not have a starting off point until now! :) Read your review on the goulet site and I must say, your not "too effusive" at all! Your simply over the moon with a new product and are telling everyone about it! Rock on!

  5. Thanks, Anon - I'm so glad to help inspire!

    PostMuse, I forgot to respond to one part of your comment... I "happen to have" another larger black light because, believe it or not, cat pee shows up under a black light. Back in the days of sweet Memo of blessed memory, when we knew he'd had an accident but weren't certain where... we used the black light to pin-point the location. Believe it or not, it really works! Using it to see invisible ink is much, much more fun, though.

  6. That paper looks beautiful! Right now I'm currently writing on a legal pad. That's yellow. haha

  7. OK, now I am going to have to get that paper soon! Wow! You'd make a great sales rep for it. ;) I'm also going to have to get some of that Noodlers invisible ink! Where do you get blacklights, the larger one, like you showed? I'm desperately trying to get my granddaughters interested in writing letters. If they got letters written with that ink and had to read it by blacklight, I think they may just get hooked! Brings out the secret code type stuff that kids love. Thank you for this post. I got a thrill from it.


  8. Sharon, I got the larger black light from a website that no longer sells them. I just did a quick search on Amazon and there are a ton of them there, though.

  9. *drool drool and more drool* I now know my next Paper purchase. Now where to hide it so the Hubby can not see it he aleady laments I have a stationery store in the utility room.

    and is it bad that I had a feeling I knew why you had the bigger black light? we have one too.

  10. Oooh, I love that paper. If I can't find it locally I'll *have* to place another GouletPens order (hmmm, I do want one of the new TWSBI pens they're starting to carry so...). And I just might need to order some of the Noodler's Polar blue, too. Letter writing can be a very expensive hobby, especially for those of us who are addicted to pens, ink & paper as well. =D

  11. Terrific review! Not having seen it, I thought the only difference in the new pad was the feel of the cover - boy would that be oversimplifying!

  12. Thank you for the amazon black light suggestion!

    I also want to thank you for this post. I finally broke down and ordered several things from Goulet Pens because of this very post. I have seen many wonderful posts on other blogs about Goulet and I've looked over their website on more than one occasion, but for some reason, your post did it for me. I bought several of the Platinum Preppy pens (and had them converted - thank you very much), I got the Noodler's Blue Ghost invisible ink and some of the little black light rings to send to the people that I write the letters to with the ink and I joined ink drop! Oh my! I'm new to inks and fountain pens and I feel like I've jumped in with both feet now.


  13. Sharon - so happy to help! I am a stationery enabler. :-)