Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Rhodia 'R' Pad No. 16 Orange

This is a review and drool-fest of the new Rhodia Premium “R” Pad No. 16. It's long overdue but I've been really under the weather. I eventually lost to the flu and decided to lie around and do nothing to let my body recover! As soon as I felt well enough, I pounced on this review!
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Ok. Let’s do a run down of the technical stuff so I can move to the juicy bits! As I mentioned, I won this beauty in a giveaway held over on Rhodia Drive. Many thanks to Karen at Exaclair for the great giveaway!


Notepads with "Soft Touch" coated cover
90g smooth ivory paper
70 sheets
Top bound - cover is scored to fold back neatly
6 x 8 1/4” (14.8 x 21 cm)

Two covers: orange with black inside, and black with orange inside

It’s no secret that I am madly in love with Rhodia. I just love everything Rhodia I’ve ever tried. But when I tell you that this notepad makes my heart beat faster, you better believe it’s racing. WITH LOVE.
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Begin the drool-fest.

The new design is premium. It looks expensive. I mean, Rhodia screams premium regardless of what you have but the new “R” pads are truly cool.  I realize it’s just a simple little R in the bottom right hand corner of the notepads but it looks cool. It adds pizzazz and makes you think "limited edition". Draws the eye - “depuis 1934”. Oooo fran├žais!

The R pads stand out to the naked eye from other Rhodia products because of the new soft touch coated cover, and it's awesome. It’s soft and smooth, and, with the orange cover that I have, it doesn’t scuff as the Webbie or Reverse Book covers do, but it can be scored such as with sharp objects. Both the outside (orange) and inside (black) are matte. The black inside looks like really, really smooth dark volcanic rock...but velvety volcanic rock. And the whole thing is velvety soft, like a peach!
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You can see the difference between the new soft touch coated cover and the normal covers of other Rhodia pads. I used the flash on purpose to show the reflection of the Bloc No. 11 (top) whereas there is no reflection off the R pad's cover (matte, bottom).
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The size of Pad No. 16 is perfect. It’s portable but big enough to be useful for whatever you want - notes, journalling, doodling... Fits into most purses (unless you carry a teeny tiny clutch-type purse). Doesn’t fit into pockets (like the itty bitty adorable No. 11) but who cares?? It’s so gorgeous you’ll want to hold it and flaunt it anyway. I love it. And for the ADD in me, it’s the perfect size and amount of pages that I can actually fill it up without getting terribly distracted by another Rhodia notepad.

The whole pad has micro perforated pages - easy tear out. I have never had the need to tear out a page to give away or leave a note or whatever. I also wouldn’t have the gall to tear a page out and part with it, but it’s available if I need to. The micro perforations are pretty clean for tearing out so it won’t leave your notepad looking like you haphazardly ripped your pages out. In addition, the perforations make folding the pages back a perfect art. I hate when I fold pages in a notebook and it ends up crooked. Am I the only one who experiences this frustration? Anyway, the perforations at the top of the page are convenient for tearing out but also for maintaining order.
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On that note... the top bound cover is scored to fold back neatly - thank goodness for this because the idea of having to fold this sexy (...I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself...) cover back in a way that may have been uneven would be too much for me to bear. This is great if you like drawing or writing outside where sometimes the wind can pick up and blow your cover closed on you while you're trying to write - very annoying. Plus, having the scoring for folding ensures the notepad still looks good after it’s folded. The cover doesn’t tear or fray from repeated folding!
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Score lines on the front cover for easy folding 
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The pad also lays flat! Glory Hallelujah! One of the cons, if you want to call it that, about the Webbie for me was that it didn't lay flat. Not really a huge deal because I'm a big Webbie fan as it is but the way the R pad pages fold back is very tidy. The front cover folds back completely with two scored lines and all following pages tuck under just as easily. Furthermore, the back cover is reinforced with cardboard so that it feels like you're writing on a mini-clipboard - makes writing when you're walking around a cinch!

Another obviously giant point worthy of drooling: the paper. The ivory paper is warm, classy, and elegant. Combined with a fountain pen (if you're into fountain pens, that is), you’re going to fall madly in love with this notepad and it’ll make you feel like a million bucks. The paper is divinely, satiny smooth. When I pet it (yes, I do pet the paper), I picture really rich, creamy, silky chocolate cascading down a chocolate fountain (didn't I say this would be a drool-fest?). *Sigh*. There are no markings on the paper aside from the ruling; it has a very clean appearance.

More on the paper - 90 g Clairefontaine paper is solid. As I begin to explore fountain pens and inks more, my appreciation for paper that makes the writing experience outstanding continues to grow. This paper is thick enough to prevent bleeding with almost all of the pens I tested, but doesn’t feel like paper stock which tends to lack flexibility.

Premium paper tends to add a few seconds of drying time to inking - this is not uncommon and it's well worth it. It enhances the luscious qualities of my inks. No feathering on this paper makes the lines pop - sharp with contrast.
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This paper can take a beating. I accidentally dripped a huge blob of J. Herbin Vert Olive ink onto the paper and it just barely bled through. Fountain friendly paper, without a doubt.
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This is the side of the ink blob (top left corner) that I tried to disperse
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Note the bleedthrough from my blob of ink
I do not write heavily with fountain pens but Shangching (East...West...Everywhere) has a great review of the R pad and reports that even with heavy writing, the paper handles it and only shows an imprint of the line. Because I write lightly with fountain pens, I didn't even see any lines on the back sides of the pages written on. 

This paper is also very micro tip friendly. I have mentioned before that premium paper (Habana & Webbie) are micro tip-friendly because they are so smooth that the fine tips of pens like Pilot Hi-Tec C and Uni-ball Signo DX/RT glide across the paper allowing ink to flow smoothly, and does not scratch and collect fibers that clog the tip.
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Sometimes I wish I could go back to school just so I can use notepads like this. You know, so I'd have enough writing to do that I could fill it up quickly... and get another one. I know, it's a sick, nonsensical illness to be addicted to filling up journals and notepads but to each his own!

I hope Rhodia adds dots to the rulings! So far, there is blank and lined but seriously, dot rulings are my favorite and it would just ... wow. A dotPad "R" would knock my socks off. 

Writer's Bloc - $6.65
Goulet Pens - $7.00 (with quantity purchase discounts. See? It's better to buy more.) 


At this point, if you're wondering if you still need to try the R pad, allow me to smack you with my own R pad and scold you for hesitating. Fill it with your hopes and dreams, or school notes, or doodle and sketch! Anything! You'll love it! I'm sure as much as I do!


John M. said...

Nice review. Sometimes I'll write in a notebook with every pen in every color just have the page filled up faster.

GourmetPens said...

Thanks :) Heehee, I'm with you on that one. "I must test EVERY pen I have". Plus it uses up my pens faster :D So I can get more!

Azizah Asgarali said...

Hey Chris!
I would tear out the page to use the back of it. You can fold it over and write on it, but it's tough because you lose a lot of space over the top when it's folded.
I have switched over to the Rhodia dotPads because I prefer the dot grid better than lined.

Chris Fink said...

Hey Azizah, thanks for letting me know. I've just started using rhodia paper with my fountain pen and wanted to know what I should do with loose sheets of paper after they have been torn out? What do you do with the loose paper?

Azizah Asgarali said...

I guess how you store them will depend on what you do with them. I do ink reviews on mine, so I put them in plastic sheets in a binder. That works for me because it's easy access to find and flip through them again if I need to check a particular ink... but that might not work for all purposes...

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