While many people reading this probably use their fountain pens on a regular basis for daily tasks such as writing lists or taking notes, some of you may occasionally write (or want to write) letters. Today I’m going to take a quick look at some paper that you’ve likely seen before but may have never tried out. I’m talking about the Strathmore Writing Pad.
I’ve seen these for sale in quite a few different art supply and craft stores. Strathmore is a well-known name in the world of art paper, but not so much in the world of fountain pens. With over 130 years of paper-making history, one would hope that they know what they are doing. Let’s take a look at their writing pad and see how it works with fountain pens.
This pad of paper certainly feels nice to hold. The front cover looks like watercolor paper and feels great. The yellow and blue may not be very exciting, but don’t look bad. The back cover is a very stiff piece of cardboard. Overall, it feels solid and high quality. Opening it up and looking at the paper, the blue lines are not very dark and should work well for writing without being distracting.
There aren’t a lot of features here, but let’s see what’s available.
- Pages: 50 sheets
- Paper Weight: 90gsm
- Binding: Glue
- Page Style: Lined, Blank
- Size: 6×8 inch, 8.5×11 inch
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: Low
- Shading: Low
- Bleeding: Very Low
- Ghosting: Low
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: Very Low
- 25% cotton content
- Natural white (cream) color
- Wove finish
- Acid free paper
- Also comes in hardbound notebooks with the same paper
This is a simple notepad, so there’s not a lot of “use” scenarios I can cover here. Still, let’s see what there is to see. The cover of the notepad folds back easily and stays in place for distraction-free writing. It also easily folds underneath the pad if you want to hide it completely. The cardboard backing is stiff enough that you can use it to write without a surface underneath if you need to. The glue that holds the paper together releases the paper easily. I don’t think I’ve ever torn the top of a sheet while removing it.
How about the paper? If you love sheen or shading, you’ll probably find this paper pretty boring. It hardly shows any sheen or shading, but that doesn’t mean inks look bad on this paper. If you place more emphasis on paper that handles fountain pen ink very well, you’ll probably love this paper. It has very low (to no) bleeding, feathering, and ghosting. Ink also dries very quickly on it. Even high-sheen inks are quickly and completely absorbed and resist smudging. For writing letters, these are the qualities you want.
In addition to handling ink very well, it is also a pleasure to write on. The 25% cotton content gives it a nice, soft feel. It has a tiny bit of feedback, but I didn’t experience any type of snags with finer nibs while writing on it. One thing I did notice is that the blue lines tend to resist ink, so that’s just something to note if that sort of thing bothers you.
I should also point out that this is not a standard-sized paper (like A5). These sheets measure 6 x 8 inches, while A5 measures 5.8 x 8.3 inches. This makes it a little more square. Thankfully, the folded paper still fits just fine inside of an A6-sized envelope, which is typically the size used for A5 sheets of paper.
When writing letters, the paper choice can be just as important, if not more so, than the pen and ink choice. Fortunately, Strathmore Writing paper makes a good all-around choice for use with fountain pens. It is enjoyable to write on, handles ink very well, and is fairly easy to find. While it may not show off your sheening and shading inks as well as other papers, it is a no-fuss paper to use with quick dry times and no smudging once the ink dries. If you enjoy writing letters and haven’t tried this paper before, it’s definitely worth a try. It is just different enough that it may earn a spot in your letter-writing supplies.
If you’d like to read about some other papers that work great for writing letters, I have a blog post about it that might be helpful.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Strathmore Writing Pad
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Fast dry times, handles fountain pen ink very well
Cons: Doesn’t show sheen or shading
Value Rating: 3.71 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.15
Who this paper is for: People who write letters and want fast dry times
Upgrade to this paper from: Basic printer paper
Upgrade from this paper to: Crown Mill paper