Posts filed under Tomoe River

Curnow Bookbinding Backpocket Journal Review

As a frequent fountain pen user I find it hard to beat Tomoe River Paper for every day use, especially if you want to show off your inks. When it first became a hot item, users were limited to loose sheets of Tomoe. Fun to use, but not exactly functional or portable.

Since then, many companies have been able to get their hands on the pixie dust and turn it into all kinds of bound products. Curnow Bookbinding was the first I recall to bind it into smaller formats, most notably the memo book sized Backpocket Journal.

This pocket rocket contains 48 pages of blank, cream-colored Tomoe River paper. The binding is hand-stitched tightly, and the size is just a tick shorter than standard memo book, checking in at 3.5” x 5.25”. Included with each three pack is a lined guide card to help keep your lines straight if needed.

The overall package is nice, if bare-bones. That’s completely fine by me, because it’s what’s between the covers that counts. What Tomoe River paper does for fountain pen inks is a turning point for many people. It is so thin that you think you are writing on tissue paper, but without the feathering and bleed. Unless you pour ink onto the page you aren’t going to see either of those things.

Even more importantly, the paper allows the ink to shine, almost literally. If you want to see any and every feature an ink has you must use Tomoe River. All of the shading comes out, and inks you never thought had sheen light up around the edges. Using this paper never fails to put a smile on my face.

If I had my druthers I would increase the pages in the journal by at least 50%, if not more. 48 pages is what memo books without thin paper use, giving them a nice, sturdy feel. The Backpocket Journal is flimsy in comparison and could use a bump in that area. But still, it’s Tomoe River paper in a pocket notebook. How much can I complain?

Curnow Bookbinding doesn’t have a traditional storefront you can order from. Instead, you can see their inventory on their Facebook page and contact them directly to order. You can also order from Vanness Pens and see all of the sizes, shapes, and colors that Curnow is offering, including refills to fit your Midori Travelers Notebook.

Bung Box 4B has a full red sheen in the right light.

Bung Box 4B has a full red sheen in the right light.

Posted on March 7, 2016 and filed under Tomoe River, Notebook Reviews.

Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Tomoe River paper took the world (well, a very small portion of the world) by storm a couple years ago for its phenomenal paper. Basically, the paper that Tomoe River produces is super thin, but handles fountain pen nibs and inks like nothing else. You're hard pressed to find something that will bleed through or feather on its worst day. Brad wrote a bit about it back in 2013, and I've never had a bad thing to say about it. I love Tomoe River paper.

Problem was, you could only buy Tomoe River paper in loose leaf. There weren't any notebooks or pads at first. Thankfully, this has changed. There are many products nowadays that feature this miraculous paper, and in many different formats and uses. This review focuses on a product that appeals to those who like to write on lined pages without having to switch to a new notebook for a long, long time: The Seven Seas Writer by Nanami Paper.

Most of the notebooks I review come in around 80 pages or so. Some of them even have upwards of 220. The Seven Seas Writer blows that number away with a whopping 480 pages of ivory lined Tomoe River paper. In case you didn't know, that's a ton of paper for one notebook. You'd expect a notebook of that size to be about 3 inches thick to accommodate all those pages, but that's not the case with the Seven Seas Writer. Since it's using the ultra-thin Tomoe River paper, it's the same thickness as other notebooks I have that only have 220 pages or so. Same size, almost twice the pages.

The book is an A5 size, and features a strong (but soft) cover. The cover is thin and made of a fabric of some kind. To my eyes, it's a dark brown or dark green color, and looks really inconspicuous. It's not flashy at all, but you can easily change that by purchasing a high-quality leather cover to go along with it (if you can find them in stock).

The exterior of the book is well-made. When you look at the sides of the book, the pages line up perfectly. There's no sloppy binding here. Everything about the construction of this book is done with care, and that really becomes obvious the more you use it. Tomoe River paper is incredible for how thin it is and how well it behaves with pens and inks of all types, but it's still really easy to tear. The Writer protects the pages very well so you don't have to worry about where you take it.

I've taken my Writer with me (sans-cover) many, many times, and it barely shows any wear. The cover is soft, but strong.

There are a couple of things it lacks that are mostly personal preferences: page numbers and a bookmark. The first is a nice-to-have, and the second can be solved by adding a notebook cover that also has a bookmark ribbon attached. These are really minor quibbles, though.

So, how does the book do when you're actually writing in it? Well, I love mine.

The book has absolutely no issue laying flat, even when you're still in those first pages where most notebooks really resist until broken in. Given the thin paper and high-quality binding, it just lays flat naturally, and closes with ease.

The paper is glassy smooth, the lines are perfectly spaced (8mm spacing), and it just stays out of your way. I tend to get a bit uncomfortable when writing on the fat side of the notebook when I get to the bottom of the page, but that's normal for any notebook that has this many pages (or half as many).

Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer Ink.jpg

Dry time is incredibly fast, but you will smudge or mark up other pages if you close the book just after writing. Nanami was nice enough to include a perfectly-sized piece of blotter paper that you can use to keep that from happening, but I'm reckless and live a life a danger. The paper is thin, so there's plenty of show-through on the backs of pages, but actual bleed-through is extremely rare, regardless of the pen/ink.

I can easily say this is my favorite notebook. It's a pleasure to use, and it just keeps holding up past my expectations. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys lined paper and an exceptional paper. Since it's a standard size (A5), you can customize it by adding covers.

And, did I mention it's only $25? I'm still blown away by the price. Tomoe River paper is like mithril to me, so I honestly don't know how this 480-page notebook comes in at that price. I would guess that the cost is reduced because of the plain, thin cover and lack of bookmark, closure band, etc., but it still gets the job done.

Check out the Seven Seas Writer for yourself or as a gift. If they happen to be sold out, don't worry — they'll likely release a new edition fairly quickly.

Posted on October 28, 2015 and filed under Notebook Reviews, Tomoe River.

Tomoe River Paper now at JetPens

Tomoe River Paper.jpg

I heard about the mythical properties of Tomoe River Paper on various message boards and blogs earlier this year. Reading others thoughts and looking at sample pictures online I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The paper is so thin it is practically transparent, but over and over again people were touting how well it handled fountain pen inks.

A kind reader sent me a sample to try for myself, and I came away very impressed. It is the most unique paper I have ever used, handling the widest nibs and inkiest inks with ease. I even mailed a few sheets to friends telling them they HAD to try it.

Since then, Tomoe's following has grown in the US, but there hasn't always been a reliable source to order from. Now that JetPens is stocking it I hope it will be easier to acquire.

Tomoe River Paper is packaged as loose sheets in packs of 100 for $10. If you are looking for an amazing and unique writing experience I highly recommend you check it out.

Posted on November 21, 2013 and filed under Tomoe River.

Raymay Davinci System Tomoe River Paper Refill Review

Raymay Davinci

The recently released Raymay Davinici System piqued my interest for one reason, and one reason only: The use of Tomoe River paper.

Tomoe River paper is something special. When I reviewed it earlier this summer I was taken aback. How could a paper this thin be this receptive to ink? I put it through the fountain pen ringer and it performed so well I started seeking out other products that use it. That was, and still is, a challenge.

The tide is changing though, and Tomoe River is starting to become more available. One of the new sources is the aforementioned Raymay Davinci planner system. I opted to pass on the full Davinci planner since I have a Hobonichi Techo on the way for 2014 (which also uses Tomoe River), but I wanted to give the paper a test run so I ordered the plain, pocket size refill pack.

Raymay Davinci

As expected, the paper performed like a champ. It is very smooth with all inks, with only wider-tipped liquid ink pens like the Lamy Tipo and Pilot brush pen bleeding through to the back - barely. That is an amazing accomplishment for a paper this thin. The lone tradeoff is that inkier pens do take some time to dry. It's not as immediate as more porous paper.

Raymay Davinci

I wanted to see if my first experience with Tomoe River paper held true when used in other products and it did with flying colors. This is not a paper for everyone, but if you want to try something unique - and quite frankly, amazing - search it out and give it a shot.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on September 19, 2013 and filed under Tomoe River.