Posts filed under Clairefontaine

Clairefontaine Triomphe Stationery: A5 Tablet and Envelopes Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

I really wish I wrote more letters than I do. A few years ago, I signed up to be pen pals with several other pen addicts. It was actually really fun. I had an Australian, British, and several American pen friends, and we wrote back and forth for almost a year. But then I got overwhelmed at work and extremely depressed, and I just . . . stopped. I’m really sorry that I did.

Regardless, I still write to a few people occasionally. When I do write letters, I prefer using nice stationery, and Clairefontaine is one of the best brands. I’m reviewing the Clairefontaine A5 blank tablet and the small envelopes.

The A5 tablet has 50 sheets of 90g acid-free, pH neutral paper. The first page is lined so you can use it as a guide. The other pages are smooth-as-silk, pure white paper.

The paper is glued to form a tablet, but pages are easy to remove without tearing them.

I tested the paper with several fountain pens, a rollerball, some gel pens, and a Sharpie. All of them wrote beautifully on this paper.

Although some of the broader nibbed pens’ ink showed through slightly, the only bleed through came from the Sharpie. But I doubt most people would use Sharpie pens to write letters on nice stationery.

The only pen that bled through was the Sharpie (the last lines in green).

The only pen that bled through was the Sharpie (the last lines in green).

The Clairefontaine paper is super smooth, so I tested a few inks for dry times. As I suspected, if you use broad nibs and wet inks, the dry time on this paper is significant. The only ink that dried fairly quickly was Iroshizuku Shin-Kai, and it’s drier than my other Iroshizuku inks. In any case, just keep in mind that fountain pen ink will take some time to dry on this paper. Lefties may find this paper difficult to use.

Although I appeciate that Clairefontaine provides one sheet of lined paper as a guide, the lines aren’t dark enough for me. I love SketchyNotebook’s guides. They are dark and provide a smooth surface on which to write.

The Clairefontaine small envelopes (114mm x 162mm) come in a package of 25. They use the same lovely 90g paper, and they have a peel and stick closure. No licking necessary.

The envelopes hold up just as well as the paper, as you would expect.

I used a cool little template I got from JetPens to address the envelope. It’s called the Lettermate Companion Envelope Addressing Guide. It’s really nice to have something to keep the lines straight.

You can buy Clairefontaine stationery from Goulet Pens. The A5 tablet is just $5.00, and the set of 25 envelopes is also $5.00.

If you’re interested in the SketchyNotebook templates, you can find out more here. And you can get the Lettermate Companion Envelope Addressing Guide for $9.95 at JetPens.

And, hey, if you’re interested in being my pen pal, I’m really awful at it, but we can give it a go.

(Goulet Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on August 4, 2017 and filed under Clairefontaine, Notebook Reviews.

Clairefontaine Basics Staplebound Pocket Notebook Review

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

For a product that has such a long name, the Clairefontaine Basics Life Unplugged Staplebound Notebooks Duo are a pocket-friendly notebook worthy of respect. I've long been a fan of Clairefontaine paper, and this newest addition to my collection is a new favorite. A 3.5" x 5.5" notebook filled with creamy, white Clairefontaine 90gsm paper is hard to beat.

When I picked up these notebooks to try, my goal was to find something in the pocket notebook category that could handle fountain pens with ease. Well, these notebooks hit the mark perfectly. Let's take a look at the specifics and then look at how they perform in real life.

These notebooks share the same measurements as Field Notes, but their about the same thickness as two Field Notes books. This is good and bad: It's good because you have plenty of paper to use, but it's bad because it means you can pack one less notebook in pockets and sleeves that normally accept two notebooks. Not a big drawback, but just be aware that it might require you to change your carry a bit.

The covers are a thick material that have a textured exterior. It's a strong material, and I'm not worried at all about these things falling apart after daily pocket abuse. The front has a subtle Clairefontaine logo embossed in the lower right corner, and the back cover has a SKU and barcode, as well as some info about the book. Apart from that, there are no other markings on this book — just 96 empty lined pages.

The notebooks are assembled with two staples. I have my doubts about the longevity of this binding system, but time will tell. They feel strong, but I know that Field Notes can get a bit weak at the staple areas, and they have one additional staple over the Clairefontaines. Either way, they seem strong enough for normal use.

As I mentioned briefly before, the paper in these notebooks is exactly like the paper you'll find in any Clairefontaine notebook. That's something I love about their notebooks. Once you've tried their paper in one format, you've tried it all. It's predictable, and it's dependable. Now, if you don't like lined paper, you're out of luck because it's all they make.

As for the paper, it's splendid. It handles inks so well, and it's always been a favorite of mine from day one. The lines are spaced at 7mm, which is similar to a "college rule" in the U.S. The lines are a faded light blue color that's easy enough to ignore if you want to draw or think outside the lines. It's 90gsm paper, so it's bound to handle most pens with ease. It isn't sketching paper, so anything else (like markers, watercolors, etc.) will probably be out of bounds. For writing, it's fantastic.

The paper does a very good job of minimizing show-through on the opposite page. The only way I was able to make it show up in the pictures was by putting the notebook between my camera and a bright light source. Under normal conditions, it's nearly impossible to detect any show through unless you're using an extremely wet nib.

Overall, I'm extremely happy with this notebook. It's a familiar size, familiar paper, and excellent price. At less than $7 for a pair, it's quite a good deal considering how much paper is included. It's become a favorite for me when paired with a Fodderstack XL and a favorite pen. This makes a great mobile writing kit.

These notebooks are available from JetPens in a variety of sizes and colors. For this review, I used the 3.5" x 5.5" Red/Green combo, but you can also get them in Black/Tan. Or, if you want something a little larger, there's always the 5.75" x 8.25" versions in the same colors. Those cost a few dollars more (still less than $10) and are an equally excellent deal.

These are currently my favorite "disposable" journaling notebooks. They don't break the bank, but they still feature some stellar paper inside. Now all we need are some more color options!

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, which I am very grateful for.

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Posted on July 27, 2016 and filed under Clairefontaine, Notebook Reviews.

Clairefontaine Triomphe A5 Notepad Review

International Correspondence Writing Month is almost over, but that is no reason not to have a nice pad of letter writing paper on your desk. Sure, you could use the Clairefontaine Triomphe as a high quality notepad, but where it really shines is for letter writing, and is one of the best options around.

Clairefontaine has long been known for making wonderful fountain pen friendly paper. The Triomphe pad is perfectly smooth and extra white, both features which make your writing pop off the page.

It handled any pen or pencil I threw at it, with fountain pens being the standout of course. My nib choices tend to lie at the extremes, with extra fine needlepoints mixed in with fine cursive italics. Soft, rolling nibs these are not, and they all performed flawlessly. When I branched out to medium nibs, the Triomphe paper handled it in style, with no feathering of bleeding to speak of.

Rollerball inks did well too. They are the most similar to fountain pen inks since they are water based, and I saw no issue with them. Gel inks did well, as did ballpoints and pencil. The one pen style I did not enjoy on this paper were plastic tip pens. My beloved Kuretake and Copic felt waxy on the page, even though there is not much coating on the paper as best as I can tell.

Outside of pure performance, there are two small features that make this pad perfect for letters. One, the glue binding allows for clean page removal, and two, the pad includes a lined guide sheet. I can write somewhat straight lines on my own, but getting the neat output like I got below only comes from guide lines.

When I have a size option, A5 is usually my first choice, but there is an A4 pad option as well, with envelopes to match. The price is reasonable too: $6 for 50 sheets of A5, $9 for 50 sheets of A4. If you are looking for quality letter writing paper I would look no further than Clairefontaine Triomphe.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on February 22, 2016 and filed under Clairefontaine, Notebook Reviews.