Friday, October 8, 2010
Whitelines sent me these products to test early this year. (March) I tried them out ages ago but have been holding the review. I had questions about their products that I wanted to address in the review but have never heard back from them. I sent my questions to them June 18th, and on June 23rd I received a response that they would be sending the questions to the factory for answers. July 1st I received a follow up that they were still waiting for answers from the factory in Sweden. August 29th I sent a follow up e-mail and received a call from someone that had replaced my original contact. He too said that he would work to get answers but as of today, October 8th, I am still waiting. The one thing he did tell me is that all of the paper came from the same factory in Sweden.
My questions consisted of the following:
"Of the four products that you sent me, two have a cooler tone (tablet and hard bound) and two have a warmer tone. (saddle stitch and ring bound) Is this normal? Or is one newer than the other? Can customers expect to see a standardization across the line? The warmer toned items seemed to also be darker, with the white lines being more pronounced.
I also noticed that the surface texture in each product is different. The tablet is very smooth and the ring bound textured enough to feel it under my hand as I write. The other two were in between the others as far as smoothness. This makes me think that the paper could be sourced from different suppliers.... Can I ask where the paper is manufactured, and if it is in fact all coming from the same source? If it is all from the same source, why such a difference in surface variation?
My main purpose in testing these papers was to see how they would hold up to water based fountain pen inks. Since all 4 are 80g paper, one would think that they would behave the same but alas, they did not. In fact, once again, each responded differently. The tablet bled through the worst, and the ring bound had no visible bleeding at all.
Lastly, I do not understand why the staple bound composition books are called "Saddle Stitch." To me, saddle stitch implies a stitched product - like the Moleskine Cahiers."
These were my test pages from the glue bound tablets. They had the nicest writing surface but there was bleed through on the backside.
Showing the variance in paper tones. Two warm, two cool.
A close up of the paper showing the printed surface.
Papers in each of the 4 test samples (Glue bound, spiral, hard cover and saddle stitch) all felt different under my fountain pen nibs.
There were varying degrees of bleedthrough with the 4 different products. I genuinely got the sense that these were 4 different papers. .
A non color corrected doodle. I tried scanning it to see if the lines disappeared which they did, though not completely. My apologies for not including the actual scan... (I lost it)
The Saddle Stitch composition style book. I don't understand the name as it is staple bound, not stitched at all.
I myself love small notebooks like this, I like to use them as project books. This one has a soft cover and sells for around $2.
This is the spiral bound book with a soft cover. They sell for around $8. There is also a hard cover version for $12.
The Whitelines paper is available lined or squared.
Pages in the spiral bound version are micro perforated for easy removal.
This is the Hard Cover version which sells for around $12.
The book itself is beautiful...
Though it doesn't come anywhere close to opening flat. Notice that the cover lies flat but the pages do not open flat.
Pushing the book down, you see that there is still a major hump that you will be writing in/out of. This to me means not being able to write near the inner margins and that to me, wastes paper.
In closing, Whitelines is a company that makes an effort to be extremely environmentally friendly. They wish to have the smallest carbon footprint as possible. I have to admit that while I do care about products being made under unsuitable working conditions, or those that are aggressively harmful to the environment, I am not typically swayed to purchase "Green" products because I often feel that becomes the companies main sales agenda rather than making the best products possible.
Right now, I can't recommend the Whitelines products because I don't know what you will end up with if you purchase them. Cool paper or warm, that's important for some people. Smooth or rough, that makes a big difference for fountain pen users. When I buy paper products, I am most concerned about consistency. I want to know that when I go to buy more in 6 months that unless they have clearly stated any improvements or changes to the item, I expect what I buy to work in exactly the same way each time.
For more information or to see the other available Whitelines options, visit their website.