Friday, August 7, 2009

The Search is (Almost) Over

... for the (almost) perfect paper for my pen reviews.

I must admit that I'm new to this gel pen review stuff and it's an exciting project. My first three reviews were well-received, but I felt that somehow, something is still missing. Until I saw The Pen Addict's Signo review recently. I noticed that for all his reviews, The Pen Addict used the same paper, where he wrote with the pen being reviewed. And he only used a single photo: the pad (with his review written in longhand) and the pen. After reading that post, and seeing other pen reviews, I knew what I wanted to do with my reviews.

Not that I want to duplicate what The Pen Addict and other pen reviewers do, but I felt I could do something similar so I will have consistency in my reviews. I'll post more photos, of course, but I'd like to use just one pad, notebook, or paper type for my reviews. So during the weekend, I went out looking for a white, ruled pad that I can use to write on for my pen reviews. I had a very specific criteria in mind: 1) paper must be white so it won't interefere with ink colors; 2) paper must be ruled; 3) paper must resist feathering and bleed because I also plan to use it for my fountain pens.

As I browsed the stacks of various paper supplies at NBS, a pad caught my attention because of its blue lines. The 8x10in paper is immaculate white and the lines are printed in light blue. Think about Waterman South Sea Blue. Thickness is not very remarkable, but as an elementary pad paper, I don't think I should expect too much. I'm glad the paper is not shiny, which means it's not coated. After "feeling" the paper for some time, I went ahead and paid for it.

The Cattleya intermediate pad: heaven sent!

A closer look at the Cattleya pad's paper.

At home, I was like my four-year old niece in my excitement to try the new paper on my hands. I tried some of my gel pens first and it went well. No bleed, no feathering. I then took out my pen case and tried my inked daily warriors: medium Schneiders, Parkers, and Lamy Safari, Thein (my Frankenpen, a Sheaffer Thin Model), and Pilot 78G.

A test page showing different pens and inks on a page off the pad.

The ballpoints went okay, and writing is silky smooth, as is the gels and pencils. The Sharpies despite being ultra-fine points feathered and bled too much, but that's okay.

A closer look at the upper part of the test page.

Ballpoints, gels, markers, and pencils.

As I wrote the first line using my Schneider Base, I was super amazed - there wasn't any trace of feathering or bleeding even if the ink dried up fast! It looked (and felt) like I was writing with a ballpoint! (But only because the ink from my Schneider, a wet pen, did not feather or bleed.) I went to try my other pens as well - the very wet medium Lamy Safari, then my Parkers this time, and still, there wasn't any feathering or bleed! The long-awaited but tolerable bleed came when when I tried Thein, a medium Sheaffer. But that is okay, I guess. I've seen worse bleed on paper. :) And I must say that most of the FPs I tried fared better than the gels.

Here are the fountain pens, all with medium nibs: Lamy Safari (it should be M), Schneiders, Parker, Sheaffer and Pilot.

The back of the test page shows some "see-through", but it's not a bother at all. And I think some see-through (exhibited by some of the gels and fountain pens) is way better that the heavy bleed shown here by the Sharpies.

The pad's back board showing Cattleya's logo, its manufacturer and where it was manufactured.

And so the search for the THE (almost perfect) paper ended with with the Cattleya intermediate paper. Sold in pads of 90 leaves in 8x10in book paper, it's selling for PHP28.50, or approximately US$0.60! I will definitely go back to NBS this weekend and get more pads. This pad of paper is not only good for reviews, it's good for oodles and doodles too! Well, as another FPNP member said, the good stuff do not have to always be the expensive ones. *Wink.*


  1. Anonymous3:41 AM

    Thanks so much for pointing us to the Cattleya Intermediate Pad. Recently my friend and I returned to cursive writing with fountain pens. We needed good paper and couldn't find any until I read this entry.

    Cattleya brings back many good memories of high school. We didn't find it in National Bookstore, though. I was afraid to ask the salesladies if they discontinued ordering. But when we went to Conanan's in Recto (after reading the entries of your Recto and Binondo trips) we were happy to find them in stock and still PHP28.50.

  2. Thanks for the review of this pad paper. I'm looking for cheap paper to practice on. So far, it's been blue feather & corona notebooks that have worked for me (I use dip pens). Do you think this will work for me? :)

    1. Hi Mandy! I'm not sure if this paper would work for dip pens. The nibs of such pens are too wet and there would bleed on the next page. Thanks a lot for reading my blog!

    2. Anonymous6:44 PM

      Hi! I envy your handwriting so much! It's perfect :) may i ask some tips on how I can improve my handwriting like that? Or are you enrolled in a calligraphy class or something like that? it's beautiful! :)

    3. Thank you. I have not taken calligraphy or any handwriting classes. :) I learned calligraphy by myself using online materials.