Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Perusing the web, I came across these splendid little notebooks- these in particular known as "Panama Notes."
Handmade in England by Smythson of Bond for 100 years, I was intrigued by these luxurious little books and surprised to read what they say about their paper; "Normally such thin paper is not appropriate for use with a fountain pen but Featherweight paper is tested to ensure that it is strong and opaque enough to be used with fountain pens without bleed."
Oh sure. I've heard that before.
So these days, anytime I hear a paper laying claim to being fountain pen friendly, I know that I have GOT to check it out. Especially when the paper in question is labeled as "Featherweight" and weighs in at 50g/m.
So I sent an e-mail off to Smythson of Bond Street and received a few sample sheets of this FABULOUS paper.
No feathering, no bleeding....it's incredible. It's a light pale blue watermarked paper that reminds me of that thin airmail paper. (But not as crinkly)
The paper is very smooth, completely wonderful to write on, but the fountain pen inks I used in this test did take quite a while to dry. I would suggest keeping a sheet of blotter paper in the book. Take notice of how the heavily saturated Midnight Blues showed really nice shading on this paper.
All pens tested on this paper wrote to their true nib width and didn't spread out all over the place.
Showing how thin the Lamy EF Studio wrote on this paper compared to a Sailor F.
Showing a scan of the reverse of all 4 test sheets. Paper came out very light on scanner & I had to up the contrast a bit to get them to show up - which is making the color a little darker than it actually is. No bleeding at all.
Smythson's products may not be for everyone - the 3x5" Panama Notes runs $70, but these might make excellent gifts for those fountain pen enthusiasts that you never know what to buy for.
I sent another letter off to Smythson inquiring if their books lie flat, and if the Featherweight paper is available in all of their books.
Per Amanda B. Doherty, Senior Account Executive KENT & COMPANY, "Most of our notebooks and manuscript books feature the Featherweight paper (from pocket notebooks to 8x10 manuscript books) as well as most of our diaries. The larger books lie flat when opened but the smaller books tend to close due to the binding, etc. And all of our Featherweight Paper is Smythson's signature pale blue color."
See more of Smythson's products here: diaries and books