(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 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.
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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