I use fountain pens with tomoe river paper exclusively. It just never felt good using them with anything else, be it an L1917, Munken paper, etc. The Seven Seas Crossfield has been my go to and I have finished one cover to cover in the last couple of months so let’s start with that 🙂
Full disclosure, I do have my own notebook coming out in the near future which I will post here. I am a regular customer with regard to both of the notebooks being reviewed and am a real tomoe river paper user.
GSM: Grams per Square Meter
The Seven Seas Crossfield – $26.00 + $8.00 for shipping.
This notebook features 480 pages of 52GSM tomoe paper in an A5 size. The cover feels like it is a coated paper of some kind but it is extremely sturdy, over a year of use the only real wear on it is a little bit of the cover splitting a bit. It is a very utilitarian cover but it can be dressed up with covers.
Despite the amount of pages the book is surprisingly thin due to the 52GSM weight of the paper, standard paper like those found in L1917 usually has 80GSM for the A5 dot grid size.
The grid for the Crossfield makes it unique, instead of the standard graph type lines or dot grids, it uses a cross style grid.
The book also comes with a blotting paper which comes in handy as tomoe paper is prone to slow drying with certain inks. The paper is cut to A5 size, other blotter papers I have tried out such as the J.Herbin are cut smaller which I find cumbersome because it does not cover the entire page when I close the book leaving some parts exposed to smearing. The blotter paper that comes with the Crossfield is very good.
The beauty here is in the simplicity.
The Enigma from Taroko Shop – $30.00 + $10.00 for shipping
Loving 52GSM tomoe paper so much, when I found out that there was 68GSM tomoe I was more than intrigued. I found the Enigma notebook from Taroko Shop with a little or well a lot of googling. It does not seem to be as popular as the Seven Seas Crossfield and I felt like it took a fair bit of effort to find them. Not the website or anything, but I had to dig to even hear of the brand. If I had not been in search of great tomoe notebooks I probably would not have stumbled across them.
Similar to L1917 there are index pages in the beginning:
The Enigma also came with a surprise free Orchid Paper Notebook. I have no idea what Orchid paper is so I will have to investigate 🙂
Now on to the good stuff, the ink!
I tested a bunch of different inks for the standard issues, feathering, bleeding, and an overall check of the colors that come out as tomoe is infamous for bringing out the hidden properties of color.
This is the Crossfield practical application test:
This is the Enigma practical application test:
The results were very similar, however I notice a tiny bit of bleed through on a couple of the top entries. I was not sure if it was just the pressure I used with the pen so I decided to do a Blob test. Everyone loves playing with ink right ^_^
Crossfield Blob Test
The colors of these inks come alive on tomoe paper, I am using indoor lighting so they would probably be more radiant in the Hawaii sunlight….but the sun is hiding here behind torrential rain so….
The 52GSM paper took it like a trooper but eventually it succumbed to the bleed through in a big way with the Diamine Shimmertastic Blue Lightning.
Enigma Blob Test
The Enigma definitely did better on absorbing the ink, I am guessing that is because of the heavier paper weight, but the Diamine Shimmertastic ink got through. The other ink which is J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre did not have nearly as much bleed through.
Photo of the inks while they were drying. Please note this is in no way a scientific test, I just I just ordered it the same amount of ink on each paper and spread them around to make a nice blob. I think in general terms my findings are sound though.
In both cases the ink performed very well and you can see the depth that makes these inks so beautiful.
So what is the verdict for me?
I love all tomoe paper in a big way, and the slight increase in bulk seems worth it in terms of 52GSM vs 68GSM.
One thing I definitely think though is that I would rather have a book coming to me from the USA. Taroko Shop shipped their book to me from Asia and it was stuck in customs for a bit, I am impatient so that is a consideration for me.
The extra features that the Enigma has are nice, but definitely not going to be useful for everyone. For myself, I like the index pages but would never use the keyword page or the ruler. I suppose it is good to have just in case 🙂
***I have not gotten any special offers or incentives for reviewing these notebooks from either company.
Thanks for reading ^_^