Are Clairefontaine Paper Notebooks Worth the Money?

Clairefontaine Medium Side-Wire Notebook

Clairefontaine Medium Side-Wire Notebook

If you are serious about writing and are wondering whether or not Clairefontaine paper notebooks are worth the cost, we would definitely have to say yes! If you’ve heard the buzz about Clairefontaine and haven’t yet given their notebooks a try, we’d like to tell you some of the reasons we highly recommend them.

Clairefontaine paper is super smooth so your pen will feel like it is gliding across the page. If you’re writing a lot every day the last thing you want to feel is your pen dragging across the paper as you write. Just thinking about a day of writing with a cheap ball point pen on cheap paper makes me feel fatigued!  Your hand will thank you for the exceptionally smooth writing experience that these notebooks provide.

The paper is high quality and 90g so you can write on both sides of the page without any ink significantly showing through to the other side of the page (with most pens – not so great with Sharpies). If you’re writing in cheap notebooks and only use one side of each page, the cost per page could actually be higher than what you would pay per page in a Clairefontaine notebook where you can use both sides of each page. You can even use both sides of the page when you’re writing with a fountain pen.

This paper works fabulously with fountain pens! Many writers have already discovered that fountain pens provide a very satisfying writing experience and can reduce writing fatigue. Many cheap paper notebooks on the market today do not work well with fountain pens. Fountain pen ink will feather and bleed through a lot of cheap paper and you may even find your nib poking through or tearing the page. This is not the case with Clairefontaine paper. It’s ultra smooth and minimizes any feathering or bleed through of fountain pen ink. The fact that this paper is extra-white means it will make your ink colors pop!

Clairefontaine Side-Staple Notebook

Clairefontaine Side-Staple Notebook

Clairefontaine makes their own paper, which means it is of consistent quality, and they have control over the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. This is in contrast to cheap paper which is of inconsistent quality and can have dubious origins. Clairefontaine goes out of their way to manufacture their paper in France using environmentally responsible methods. For example, their paper is made from pulp and wood by-products from forests independently certified by PEFC or FSC as sustainably managed. The paper is chlorine free and uses water-based ink made from vegetable oil pigments. Clairefontaine has reduced its water consumption through an advanced recycling method. Any water returned to the River Meurthe after manufacturing is cleaner than when it arrived at the mill. Waste from the water treatment plant is converted into agricultural compost. Clairefontaine operates a dual power generation system (electricity and steam) which supplies 80% of the mill’s own energy needs.

Clairefontaine Large Top-Wire Notebook

Clairefontaine Large Top-Wire Notebook

Clairefontaine paper notebooks are well designed and provide a fantastic writing experience, therefore the price is worth it for their superior quality. If you love writing they are definitely worth seeking out over the cheap alternatives. The right notebook does make a difference!

If you want to give Clairefontaine a try, here’s a list of some of their lower priced paper notebooks to get you started:

Clairefontaine Twinbook

Clairefontaine Twinbook

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Clairefontaine Music Notebook Review

Are you a modern day Beethoven or Mozart? Jot down your inspirations and melodies in a Clairefontaine Music Notebook that’s designed for music composition.

The greatest advantage of the Clairefontaine musician’s notebook is it’s high quality, super smooth 90 g paper. You can safely write on both sides of each page with minimal show through of pencil or ink, and little ink bleed-through or feathering – even if you use a fountain pen! Take a look at the scan of my writing test (below). The only ink that showed a bit of bleed through was Noodler’s Bernanke Blue fountain pen ink.

The paper is bright white printed with a violet lined musical staff – 8 staves with no clef on each side of the page, designed for general parts or lead sheets. The lines of the staves are spaced 2 mm apart, and each stave is evenly spaced about 15 mm apart. The lines are printed all the way to the edge of the page.

This sheet music notebook is in landscape format with a double-wire binding on the shorter edge of the paper. The paper is A4 size, approximately 8.25″ x 11.75″ and the overall notebook size including the spiral is about 8.25″ x 12″. Clairefontaine also makes an A4 portrait format Music Staff Notepad with the same great paper and glue binding so that you can tear off the sheets if you wish.

The notebook cover is made from laminated card stock. Each notebook contains 25 sheets of acid-free, pH neutral paper made from forests certified by PEFC or FSC as sustainably managed.

I’ve been studying to play the Irish penny whistle for about a year now (whistles in the photos are from Burke Whistles), but most of my learning is by ear and my musical notation is terrible! Maybe one day I can do this notebook justice. Do you use a blank sheet music notebook? What do you like to use it for?

Clairefontaine Music Notebook - Writing Test (Front)

Clairefontaine Music Notebook – Writing Test (Front)

Clairefontaine Music Notebook - Writing Test (Back)

Clairefontaine Music Notebook – Writing Test (Back)

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2016 is Our 10th Anniversary!

Writer's Bloc Shop on NW 23 Ave

Writer’s Bloc Shop that was on NW 23 Ave

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 10 years since our family owned business opened in Portland, Oregon. Time has flown by, and since then we’ve moved and now we’ve got a small office and warehouse in the bustling metropolis of Houston, Texas.

NW 23 Avenue

NW 23 Avenue & the Portland Streetcar

Our first brick-and-mortar store shared a space with a flower shop and was located on NW 23rd Avenue in the Nob Hill area of Portland. This charming neighborhood is both a great shopping and a great eating destination! We loved walking out the door to find lots of interesting boutiques, coffee houses and restaurants with delicious food from around the world. In addition to the food, shopping and coffee, we love the large trees and old Victorian homes in the area. When we opened it was autumn and the colors of leaves on the trees was fantastic!

Fall Colors in Portland OR

Fall Colors in Portland, OR

When our store first opened we featured many kinds of Japanese pens that you can’t buy at large office supply retailers. We really like the superior writing quality that these Asian pens provide, especially the pens with a very fine tip.

Jetstream Pens

Jetstream Pens

Since we love Eurogames, or German-style board games, these were also featured in our shop. If you’re not sure what these are you’ve been missing out on a lot of fun times with friends and family! Board games like Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan are considered Eurogames and our customers were excited to have a local shop to buy these at.

Metro Board Game

Metro Board Game

We had (and still have) a good supply of environmentally friendly rice paper which is harvested from the branches of the paper mulberry tree. The manufacturing of this paper does not require that any trees be cut down. It is made from the bark of the tree and does not harm the health or growth of the tree. It is naturally pure white and when it’s colored it is dyed naturally, eliminating the use of harsh chemicals.

Rice Paper Party Favors

Party Favors Wrapped in Rice Paper

When we were able to get them, we had a good variety of super cute Asian planners, notebooks, stickers and pencil cases from Jetoy, Lamb-Lamb, the storybook themed Art Deco 7321 and many more.

Alice In Wonderland Notebook by 7321 Design

Alice In Wonderland Notebook by 7321 Design

Then customers started asking for Clairefontaine, Rhodia, Lamy fountain pens and Noodler’s Ink. We were as excited as our customers were when we started to stock our shelves with these fantastic products! These have become some of our favorite writing tools of all time and have grown to become a major part of our store’s inventory today.

Clairefontaine Notebooks

Clairefontaine Notebooks

The best part of this experience is you – our wonderful customers! We appreciate that you’ve loyally been with us over the years and share our love of all things related to pen, ink and paper. We’re happy that you’ve taken the time to introduce us to many new writing tools that we hadn’t had the opportunity to experience before, and we’re sure that you’ll continue to help us grow in the years to come. Thank you all!

Lime Green LAMY Safari Fountain Pen

Lime Green LAMY Safari Fountain Pen

 

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