Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Paper Review: Tomoe River Paper

After putting LIFE Notebooks in their store shelves last year, Scribe Writing Essentials has another Japanese paper product to offer: Tomoe River Paper. Tomoe River paper, or Tomoe River FP, is highly coveted and very popular among artists and fountain pen enthusiasts because of its high tolerance to inks. For a long time, I was a curious fan. My fellow fountain pen enthusiasts raved about it, pen sellers began stocking it, and more people were using notebooks filled with Tomoe River paper.

As a brief backgrounder, Tomoe River paper is manufactured by the Tomoegawa Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, Japan. On their website, Tomoegawa Co. lists their product range from electronic parts, to display components, to functional sheets and specialty papers. Tomoegawa Co. collaborated with Sakae Technical Paper Co., Ltd. to release a number of stationery products including paper pads and loose sheets using Tomoe River paper. According to Tomoegawa Co., products using the Tomoe River paper are specially trademarked with the logo on the cover page.

Scribe offers Tomoe River paper in blank A4 pads and loose leaf sheets, in both white and cream. Tomoe River paper is unlike any paper. It is thin, and nearly transparent at 52gsm, which is almost half the thickness of regular copy paper at 80-110gsm. According to the Nanami Paper Co., Tomoe River paper was developed to be thin to reduce the thickness of bulky notebooks that use a lot of pages, while remaining strong and resistant to ink bleed-through and feathering.

Tomoe River paper is sheer, almost like Bible paper, and will crease or crinkle if one is not careful, but it is very suitable for fountain pen ink. Ink surprisingly dries faster in it, making it highly suitable for fast writing, and also for left-handed writers. It is also smooth, but not glossy. Writing in it is a completely different experience.

Tomoe River paper is thin, but holds fountain pen ink very well.
The writing guard provided in the pad is a useful tool to avoid unnecessary writing impressions on the other pages when you write on a page. The writing guard also has grids, although I find it a little too wide.

Now for the writing samples. If I wrote in a regular 52gsm paper, ink would seep through to the next page, considering the nibs on my pens are on the wide side. I used my inked fountain pens to test Tomoe River paper. Writing on it, as I mentioned, is a different experience. Tomoe River paper is simply a joy to write on. The paper is very smooth, and there is no feedback at all. I did not feel any snags and those slick spots I sometimes encounter in notebooks and other paper pads.

Writing samples in Tomoe River paper. No feathering even if most of these lines were written with medium, broad, and stub nibs.

Of all the eight pens I used to test Tomoe River paper, only one has a fine nib, the Kaweco Classic Sport. The rest have medium, broad, and stub (1.1) nibs. Not one of these pens' inks bled or feathered in Tomoe River paper. There is show through, though, and this is the only downside to this paper: I cannot write on the back side because of the show through.

The back side of the paper is clean, as there is no bleed though. There is some ghosting, though.

I recommend Tomoe River paper to anyone who wants to experience writing on excellent quality paper. Tomoe River paper pads and loose sheets are also reasonably priced at P1,550/pad or pack of 100 sheets.

Tomoe River paper is available in the Philippines at Scribe Writing Essentials. To get your own pad, visit any of Scribe's stores in Eastwood Mall, Shangrila Plaza Mall, Glorietta 5, SM Aura, and SM Megamall. Their 6th store has just been opened in SM City Cebu in April. For their complete location/address, contact numbers, and store hours, click here.

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