This week’s Q&A is about the popular fountain pen friendly paper brands Clairefontaine and Rhodia. Going into it, I really wasn’t sure how many questions I’d get about these, but it shaped up nicely! Enjoy:

1) Rafael P.- Facebook (1:15): 
Do you know if Clairefontaine is going to use dot grids in their notebooks and/or pads? I like Clairefontaine paper more than Rhodia but I am in love with dot grids. Thanks.

  • nothing currently
  • Clairefontaine Grafit (sketch pad) coming out in dot, not something we’re planning to carry right now
2) Berk F.- Facebook (2:36):

How dangerous is paper fibers getting in the nib slit?

  • dangerous? a little dramatic
  • might clog the flow a bit, proper cleaning/brass sheet should fix it
3) Lira M.- Facebook (4:00):
Do either Rhodia or Clairefontaine have post-it notes? Also, does anyone make a pocket size French ruled notebook that can fit in a midori travelers book?

4) Ray C.- Facebook (5:12):
If you select one piece of each of the brands, same size, same weight…which one makes a better paper airplane?

  • great question, never tried it!
  • same weight? probably doesn’t matter, actually! I would think the heavier paper would be best
5) Gopi F.- Facebook (6:01):
The Rhodia dot pads feel different compared with the grid pads. Am I imagining things? How many different kinds of paper do they have? When will they make a wire bound dot pad, and will they make one before I get around to visiting Staples and having them wire bind some Rhodia pages for me?

  • No, it’s the same stuff
  • blank, lined, lined with margin (bigger sizes), grid/graph, dot
  • Webbie paper is different, same as R Premium
  • Webbie planner paper- seems to be different, dries slightly faster
  • technically, three types of paper (in US)
6) Karl B.- Facebook (9:18):
I’ve often heard that Rhodia *Is* Clairefontaine paper (or a type of it), but I’ve always read it as a high quality vellum of sort, what exactly are the differences?

  • technically, not the same paper
  • both made by Clairefontaine, owned by same company
  • machines used to make CF paper is different than Rhodia
  • vellum used to loosely refer to fine paper
7) Andi S.- Facebook (11:38):
I see on the Rhodia website that the Rhodiarama books are now available in A5 – any plans to carry those in the future? What about blank Leuchtturm neon books? Thanks for doing such a great job! Love watching the Q&A’s every week.

  • We considered it, but haven’t moved on it
  • Not sure interest is there, maybe I’m wrong
  • Leuchtturm we can get them, but not sure interest is there
  • If interested, email and we’ll consider it if interest is there
8) Tina M.- Facebook (14:02):
This may be too specific of a question so I apologize but I have been curious about the paper in the Clairefontaine Basics notebooks. Some of my pens don’t seem to write as smoothly as others so I was wondering if it was the paper. I noticed that it is a bit glossier than the Rhodia pad and notebook paper so could that be the difference? Thanks for all of these Q&As – you’re the best!

  • CF paper is slightly smoother than Rhodia
  • Some pens are smoother than others just because of the way their ground, but paper does make a difference
9) Jessica O.- Facebook (16:13):
Brian, I was wondering if you could show the new white/silver Rhodia line and the sizes. Also, not connected to Rhodia or Clairefontaine, but I am curious about fountain pens and stone paper.

  • show the notebook
  • never used stone paper myself
  • doesn’t seem like it’d be fountain pen friendly, since it’s not absorbent
10) Tristan N.- Facebook (19:25):
Does Rhodia or Clairefontaine paper beat scissors?

  • unfortunately not, you’d need stone paper to beat scissors! (ba dum ching!)
11) Christine M.- Facebook (19:44):
My Rhodia Webbook specifies that the paper is Clairefontaine, so my question to you is: If Clairefontaine makes Rhodia paper, what’s really the difference between the brands? (Thanks for all the videos!)
  • They started out as separate companies, but joined (I think in 1997)
  • Rhodia is made in Clairefontaine mill just outside of Paris
  • separate set of machines used for making Rhodia, so similar but slightly different
12) Bill V.- Facebook (20:53):
1) Do Rhodia web-books come in something closer to an A4 size?

  • In Europe, but not in the US

2) Does Rhodia hold some kind of patent on dot ruling? I find the dot grid ideal, but it’s not available from Quo Vadis or any of the other papers I’m interested in trying, which is kind of a deal-breaker.

  • no patent, there are other brands with dots ( Leuchtturm for one)
  • I agree, I don’t know why dots aren’t on everything!
13) @will_C_W- Twitter (23:11):
Will Rhodia offer a side wirebound notebook in ICE?

  • probably not
14) Edgar H.- Facebook (24:27):
Is Clairefontaine Triomphe the better ‘fountain pen friendly’ paper out there?

  • It’s pretty freaking awesome
  • Rhodia Premium is comparable
  • lots of things are fountain pen friendly, a lot boils down to preference
  • some say Triomphe is too smooth, or too white
15) Randy P.- Facebook (25:42):
Do certain inks work better on Rhodia than Clairefontaine, and vice versa? And if so, can you share some examples and describe how they differ? Thanks for doing this, and for your great videos and great service!!

  • These papers are ink resistant
  • how people define “better” can vary a lot
  • shading- higher on these papers
  • dry time- usually longer
  • feathering/bleeding- usually lower/non-existant, better for broader nibs/wetter inks
  • smoothness- write faster
16) @Mandrew_Manatee- Twitter (27:42):
Does Rhodia/Clairefontaine sell any notebook/pad larger than ~80 sheets? I’m a student and I take LOTS of notes 

  • C8267– 90 sheets, that’s it!

17) Steven C.- Facebook (31:01):

Hi Brian – I love the paper specifically used in the Rhodia Weekly planner. What paper is this and what other Rhodia and related products use this EXACT paper? 

  • seems to be a unique Rhodia paper offering, don’t know what else has paper just like this
  • planners in general use paper with less sizing/coating
    • decrease dry time
18) Bill E.- Facebook (32:34):
I like very much the two Clairefontaine journals I own, and the smoothness of the paper is amazing. BUT I feel sometimes it is too smooth and my pens will skip or hesitate to write. Does Clairefontaine make any paper that is still fountain pen friendly, but not be so glassy smooth?

  • All CF paper used in notebooks is the same 90g, white paper (except Triomphe)
  • Rhodia would be your next option, or the Quo Vadis Habana
    • still paper made by Clairefontaine, but slightly less smooth (though not by much)
  • skipping could be hand oils, especially if happening at the bottom of the page
19) Winnie U.- Facebook (35:35):
I love CF! Wondering when the small envelopes will be back in stock as I have been waiting to buy a bunch! Thanks!

  • supposed to be here soon…very possible coming early next week!
  • been out of stock since January
  • we ordered a lot!
20) Garth M.- Facebook (37:25):
Would you consider carrying the no.19 rhodia pads, and if so is it possible to get them in the Rhodia Ice edition?

  • we will carry every Ice Rhodia makes,
  • 11, 12, 13, 16, 18
21) Daniel N.- Facebook (39:54):

Hi Brian, my question is maybe a bit off for this Q&A but here it goes: I see you have tons of ink swatches, what paper have you found best for these? Which paper best shows off the properties of the ink, generally? I want to start making swatches for future reference but don’t have all that many brands of paper at hand to test it. Thanks.

  • I use Clairefontaine Pollen Cardstock, not something we regularly carry
  • cardstock is thicker, what’s needed for swabs that last
  • doesn’t have to be CF, really any ink-resistant cardstock would work, you’ll have to experiment

22) Keith C.- Facebook (42:52):

Two things: First are you really out of the “Nighthawk” monteverde pen?

  • yup, gone
  • had some bottom shelf pens as of late, but are now gone

Second, I am a poet and I usually have written in the mead type composition notebooks, is there an equivalent in either clairefontaine or rhodia notebooks, i am more interested in the size than anything else. thanks and I love the Q&A’s

I’ll be back next week with another Open Forum, so ask me any random fountain pen questions you have in the comments. Be sure to check out old Q&A videos you may have missed. Thanks, and have a great week!Write On,
Brian Goulet