So, early on I went by reviews alone and bought a brand I won’t name of paper. It was REALLY heavy and VERY shiny-white. The brightness of it seemed to absorb all the brilliance of my ink color and I was very displeased. I moved to high quality printer ink-jet paper as many do (since I could snag it from the office in my house for free) and that was just fine, but not amazing.
Then I started to notice new discussions and comments here and there in the fountain pen world online about Tomoe River, this very thin paper that does unexpectedly well with fountain pen ink… I read more about it and this is what I learned:
Most thin papers crinkle up with the moisture of fountain pens, or even tear if there is pressure being applied. Tomoe River is a mere 52gsm. It’s also acid-free and ph neutral, whatever that means for my ink and paper meeting, apparently it’s good because it’s always listed as a trait wherever T.R. is being sold. It was incredibly hard to come by for a while because there was no American distribute but while it is now easy to find, it is comparatively costly.
I tried it and instantly fell in love for reasons I’ll give shortly. I buy Tomoe River in both White (to really POP the color of my ink) and Cream (for a more subdued overall appearance on a more serious letter) in packages of 100 loose sheets, size A4 which means 8″x11.5.. Keep in mind your standard printer paper is 8.5×11 so this paper is just a tad thinner and a bit longer than your used to; the combined effect IS noticeable and it lends a sort of special appeal to the paper; the reader knows they are holding something special from that slight variance.
It feels nice, even luxurious, in your hands with a smooth but not glossy texture. Be sure to handle it with CLEAN, dry hands because on a hot day, oils will rub off onto it easily and those oils will prevent ink from taking hold as well as just look unpleasant. Even the moisture from your sweat on a hot day may deposit on the paper so turn on a fan and cool down before you sit down to write.
Tomoe River can handle any pen’s ink deposit.. I’ve used it with a broad nib nice and slow to really wet it down, and I’ve used it with a freshly dipped glass pen where the ink is thick, thick, thick.. it may take a bit of time to dry depending on the ink, but no amount of deposited ink has caused it to crinkle or have any other negative response for me yet… in another review I’ve seen, one man had to literally slather the paper with ink on a paintbrush to even get bleed-through of color!
But there’s two BIG NEGATIVES… even though no color bleeds through, the paper is so very thing that you can easily see the writing you’ve done on one side when looking at the other side… you really only get to use one side of each sheet of this paper. The other negative is that it costs about $15 for that 100 sheets… depending how large you write and how often you have to scrap a sheet and re-write this could become the most expensive part of your hobby quickly… I handle this by buying several packages whenever I run into a little money so I never run out of my one and only paper, but I do, indeed have to wait until I run into unexpected money to do that at this cost.
Still, cost be damned, I don’t even worry about all those other paper because I just love how delicate and fancy this looks and feels to me and that it never reacts badly no matter how wetly I ink it!
NOTE: the 100 loose sheets I buy is unlined. I put a lined sheet of paper under the sheet or T.R. that I am writing on, it’s think enough that I can easily use the sheet below as a guide to keep my lines straight.